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Competing when you know you don't stand a snowball's chance.

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  • Competing when you know you don't stand a snowball's chance.

    I compete in the Morgan show ring...all subjective judging. I show AOTS and am proud of it. HOWEVER, once I enter the ring in my AOTS class, the judge know I *did this myself*. Then when I go up against the amateurs out of the trainer's barn, I'm knocked way down in the ribbons. They would never dare to reward someone like me when they have all their *dues* to pay, even if I was hands down the best horse in the ring.

    Personally, I don't care about ribbons. All I want is a good ride and to do my best. BUT, it's really hard to justify the expense, time and work of showing KNOWING I'll never win anything big. I'm having a hard time with the expense part of it, despite no lack of funds. Seems like such a waste of money.

    I'm wondering if anyone else feels conflicted about the cost of showing and the chances of placing/winning. I would never give up my AOTS and pay a trainer just so I can be on the winning side of the politics. It all seems so pointless, sometimes.

    Opinions? Comments?
    Ride like you mean it.

  • #2
    I have heard that said often, but it is not really so.

    Those that train with an instructor just tend to have an edge, because they are more professionally presented just for each judge's preferences.

    In the AQHA world, many would say Tommy Manion always won in halter classes, other trainers "owed" him the win, since he later would judge them.

    Well, if you had some of the best horses in the country and best operation to train and showcase them to perfection, well, you too would win most times.

    I would not look at others and think their wins are not deserved, they may or not, but you don't know that.

    I would look at those winning, see what they do to win and try to rise to that level, have your horse and performance as polished as their trainer has for them and demands of them.

    I do agree with you, as being a trainer, I always was showing to do my and my horse's best that time out, not really to beat others.
    If that happened, that was nice, the next show that may change again.

    Since you can't change what others do, if you want to keep participating and enjoying what you do, try changing what matters to you and your goals to be there.

    Comment


    • #3
      Of course I feel like that sometimes. It's a lot of money, and a crap load of work to show as an AOT. But the cost/reward factor never gets me down enough to turn me away from the show ring. I don't care about the ribbon I receive. Sure it is great to get recognition for all my hard work, but in reality I just want to go in the ring and have fun and most of all know that I did my absolute best that I could.

      I know that there are a lot of politics in the showing world. But, I wouldn't say that you will always get knocked down in place when showing against amateurs from training barns. I've gotten 2nd and 3rd places in Country Pleasure when showing against training clients. Probably my all time favorite memory was when I was at a pretty nice show and I was entered in the Open English Pleasure class. So I was going up against Morgans, ponies, other Saddlebreds, a Friesian, and some other breeds, trainers, amateurs with trainers, and other AOT's. There were 16 in the class so I wasn't expecting to get anything out of it. I'd never placed in an Open English class before. Well what do ya know, my name and my horse's name was called out as 6th place. It's my favorite ribbon that I have.

      So I guess that was a round about way of saying don't get too down about it! Showing is FUN and it gives you a chance to show off what you've done and what you have accomplished. Plus AOT's are a vital part of each breed, in my opinion. And if you need a break from spending the cash then take a couple shows off and see if you miss it a lot.

      I would look at those winning, see what they do to win and try to rise to that level, have your horse and performance as polished as their trainer has for them and demands of them.
      Just wanted to add that that is great advice. At the end of each show I always go look back at the photographer's pictures to see who won in my classes. I look at my pictures and compare how the horse looked, how the horse moved, the turnout, my turnout, cleanliness, etc. Sometimes you will pick something up that can really make a difference. My horses aren't going to be groomed like a trainer's horse and my horses aren't going to move the same as a trainer's horse. And those things can make a big difference.
      http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
      The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
      Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
      Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding

      Comment


      • #4
        If I had the choice between going in front of a judge who, by your post, is judging the owners/trainers and not judging the horse in the ring on its own merits, I would take my smiling face and my $$ and show in small open shows anywhere else I could find a judge that would place the class based on the criteria they are supposed to.

        Dang, find some 4-H or local riding club sponsored local shows, where the judges are used to a huge mix of backyard, fancy stable, and DIY horses and still manage to judge based on what is presented in the ring.
        Less expense and more relaxed people to show with. That is where we would "warm up" every year and honestly, those many of shows were more fun that the rated ones.

        Comment


        • #5
          You might have the best horse in the ring, but it may not be trained as well as the one's under a trainer so then a lesser horse can win as it's shown off better. Or the judge simply prefers a difference type/style/movement than your horse. Each judge will like something a little different.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I'm looking at the whole of showing as being marketing of goods and services. Goods being horses and services being training and lessons. Since all judges are/were trainers and promoting the exchange of goods and services, it makes sense that they would reward each other.

            And you are right: very rarely is a poor performance rewarded with a big win.

            For instance , our Michigan All Morgan is coming up at the end of May. The judge they have hired is a local trainer from nearby in Ohio. He's had many horse dealings with 2 of the trainers and is 'thick as thieves' with them. I won't be surprised to see those trainers win all the top spots. They usually do anyway. It's become very apparent to me THIS YEAR that I'm going into it only for the personal *fun* of it. I'm trying my darnest to have my first ride that please me, the first ride that could deserve to be in the ribbons...haven't had one yet because I am just a beginner in western showing although have been involved in showing for over 30 years.

            One of the winningest trainers in my area offered to buy my horse from me the first time she saw it. Probably for a 6 year old tho, not an adult amateur. So as nice as he is, probably not suitable for any class I would show him in.

            I guess I have to stay in my division, my one class and let the trainers have all the others. Or pay my money just to participate, knowing that out of 25 amateurs and 6 ribbons 19 of us will go out with nothing to show for it but a memory and maybe a story.
            Ride like you mean it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Do something that's performance related rather than judged by politics and opinion. A good, well trained Foundation Morgan will beat anything in lower level eventing.

              **ask me how I know this **

              Comment


              • #8
                From that post alone it seems kind of like you're burned out on the whole idea. Yes, it is a lot of money and yes it is a lot of hard work/stress. If you're feeling discouraged by the whole idea before even showing this year, then maybe you need to sit one out and decide where to go from there.

                Certain barns always get the top ribbons. It just happens. Whether that is because their horses really are that much better or because the judge "knows" them. But I don't think that it's fair to assume that the person is getting 1st place just because they are cool with the judge. Maybe that horse really WAS the best in the ring, regardless of if the judge knows that trainer well or not.

                I was recently at a show that was put on by a particular well known training barn. Whenever that training barn's horses were in the ring, they pretty much always got 1st place. You could argue that they won because they put on the show and it was politics... but looking back at the classes... they did have the best horses, they did have the best turnout, their horses did have the best manners. So it was actually fair judgment.

                Maybe you should focus your attention more on what you get out of your horse than the rewards you do or don't receive at a show.
                http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
                The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
                Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
                Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding

                Comment


                • #9
                  So instead of making changes or looking at it as thers suggested; that the trainer's preparation/experience that goes into those horses that place is the reason they win rather than it being about "trading favors", you'll just sulk and decide it's all due to favoritism.

                  Now it just sounds like sour grapes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I entered my first Paso Fino show last year and was really pleasantly surprised by my results. In the AO class there is one woman (wife of the national PF Association President) who will ALWAYS beat me because she has the better horse, not because of who her husband is. However, I placed 3rd in a class of 6. I would be extremely happy to make it to 2nd - that would accomplish my goal (unless she's not there). I really didn't have any expectations - we don't train with a trainer, I did it all myself and actually an quite proud of myself and my boy, who was a total handful when I started riding him. I now think he's a rock star!
                    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Some of you posted while I was typing. So far, I've been racked with anxiety in the warm up ring so this has not been fun. Also had a bad reaction to a medication last year and had to bail on all my classes at All Morgan...couldn't get more than 10 feet from the lady's room. :-( Solved that problem...now we have his hock arthritis to deal with. I'm not even sure he'll be sound enough to show or at what price will soundness come. I'm in a funk. Like, go thru all these injections, adequan, acupuncture, massage chiro and then the entry $$$...for what? And yet I PAID for a show horse and have the Dale Chavez show saddle so it's like I can't bail now.

                      I am looking at going to some open shows. Not sure about those because they usually have a stock judge for the western. Not sure I want to go to all the trouble there for more *also ran* ribbons.

                      I guess I'm in a funk, it's March, haven't been able to ride for 6 weeks because of weather. Maybe I'm discouraged because it's been 6 months of nothing but work and worry.

                      I don't have to win...but it would be nice to know that our best would at least be considered for the win.
                      Ride like you mean it.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I'm not sure what the phrase sour grapes actually means. Pouting? I guess. Discouraged? Yes. Old? Definitely. Running out of years? Yes. Another horse with a devastatingly short career. Possibly. Can't seem to catch a break? Seems not likely.

                        Believe me, everything you guys are saying are things I've said to myself. Not sure where to go from here.
                        Ride like you mean it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dressage !

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I fall off my dressage saddle too much. But, I am going to try western dressage. Different judge and the trainers can't be bothered with it.
                            Ride like you mean it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I switched to a sport that is objective (jumpers). Either I'm fast and the rails stay up or I'm slow and they don't. My bargain basement horses are extremely competitive if I ride well.

                              If you want to stay western, how about barrels? Trail? (trail is technically subjective but I found it easier to do well as a "freelance ammie" because your horse either executes the pattern or doesn't, there's not much room for judges' opinions until the very top when everyone executes everything well).

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I've thought about trail class and worked with a few obstacles. When I was carriage driving, obstacles was our favorite class. Different horse.


                                I don't jump...at all...most trail classes have a small jump in them. I am old and missing some bones, have had a stroke, heart problems. Western is about all I'm up to. :-(
                                Ride like you mean it.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  ezduzit, I understand what you are saying. I show Morgans and I had exactly the same feelings as you are, but in all honesty, after viewing my own show photos, I had to admit that most of those that beat me did do a better job than I did and even though politics exist, the ones winning are usually the ones who did well.

                                  Now, many times I don't agree with how the judges judge - for example, I showed hunter pleasure, and judges pretty much wanted to see English Pleasure horses in hunt saddles. AMHA even sent out pretty stern letters demanding judges to judge hunter pleasure horses as hunter pleasure horses, but few judges follow. Most of them are Saddle Seat people, and they just like to see horses that look like Saddleseat horses. With that said, it is usually the horses that do the best English Pleasure in Hunter Pleasure classes that win, because that is what the judges look for, not because which barn they are with. The only difference between barns is some trainers are able to find and convince their clients to pay for the fanciest horses and they are able to put in the most polished touches than others. Again, it is not really the politics, but what is expected at show rings. Yes, I have beaten those horses before, but it is far and in between. That is why I no longer show Hunter Pleasures. I resent the long toes and weighted shoes. I now show Dressage instead, and have tons of fun. My little Morgan win at Morgan shows, and we can get toe to toe with some of the fanciest warmbloods at open shows.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
                                    I'm not sure what the phrase sour grapes actually means. Pouting? I guess. Discouraged? Yes. Old? Definitely. Running out of years? Yes. Another horse with a devastatingly short career. Possibly. Can't seem to catch a break? Seems not likely.

                                    Believe me, everything you guys are saying are things I've said to myself. Not sure where to go from here.

                                    If you really want to win, get into one of those barns that are winning, and stay for a month or two to see what they are doing. You cannot win unless you put on a winning ride.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
                                      I fall off my dressage saddle too much. But, I am going to try western dressage. Different judge and the trainers can't be bothered with it.
                                      Don't count on it. Have your seen Western Dressage at Grant National? That competition is fierce, and a big chunk of horses are horses from those winning barns at other divisions. By the way, it concerns me that you say you fall off your dressage saddle too much. How do you expect to win, at any shows, if you don't have a decent seat?

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I have a decent seat as long as the horse goes forward. When it spins, leaps and rears I fall off. It's sad because I have a really nice dressage horse in the barn that I can't ride anymore. I don't have a sternum and the stroke left me with some left side weakness so I won't risk coming off of him. The last time I did I broke my arm and considered myself lucky.

                                        You're probably right...I'm wishing for things that can never happen for a multitude of reasons. I'm trying to make myself be content with what CAN happen and give up on the rest. I have to accept that and for me that's hard.
                                        Ride like you mean it.

                                        Comment

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