Originally posted by Alix;3758736 originally posted to Challenges Facing NA Sport Horse Breeders
I have been an Adult Amateur Dressage rider off and on for over 40 years, a sport horse breeder for over 30 years, and a Hanoverian breeder for over 10 years. During this time, I’ve noticed that many of the problems facing sport horse breeders in the U.S. today are the same as those that existed when I bred my first mare many years ago. And it appears we have made little progress toward solving these problems. I think this is because breeders have failed to look beyond registry differences and focus on the things we have in common; and we have failed to work together to solve common problems.
A COMMON PROBLEM – No Sport Horse Performance Tracking System
The idea that we need a performance tracking system is not new. At an ASHA convention in the 1980’s, Dr. Walter Hartwig, director of horse breeding in Germany, stated “either you start a national performance recording system with pedigrees or you keep on buying horses from us.” Performance tracking has been the subject of countless discussions since that time; but here we are twenty years later, and we still have no performance tracking system, and we still import hundreds, if not thousands, of sport horses from Europe every year.
American sport horse marketing is in the stone age when compared to other countries. Most U.S. sport horse breeders agree that we must develop some method for tracking the performance of the horses we breed. Without a breed related performance tracking system, it is difficult, if not impossible, for U.S. breeders to demonstrate that they are breeding quality sport horses; and as a result U.S. sport horse $$$ continue to flow to Europe in increasingly large numbers. Note I did not say we do not breed quality sport horses, because I think we do. What I am saying is that we have a difficult time demonstrating to the buying public that we breed quality sport horses, and in turn, a difficult time marketing these horses in the U.S.
And we are getting no help from the rest of the sport horse industry. Once a horse leaves the breeding farm the knowledge of that horse's pedigree usually disappears, and the breeder’s role in the success of that horse in competition tends to be forgotten. When a horse is entered into a recognized show in the U.S., the pedigree is not required on the entry blank. When a horse wins a class the announcer does not announces the horse’s sire, dam, and breeder. When a horse wins a big class and there is money awarded, there is no percentage that goes to the breeder. And when year end awards are announced and publicized, there is no mention of the sire, dam, or breeder. And who loses the most because of this, . . . the breeder!
Lately I have overhead numerous conversations at sport horse competitions, where trainers and/or riders give themselves total credit for the making of a successful show horse. They actually belittle the breeder's role in presenting them with a well bred, correct, naturally talented animal that carries a rich heritage of successful relatives in its family tree. So breeders need to take the bull by the horns and become proactive in turning things around.
While the current efforts of the various equestrian organizations to track competition results are noteworthy, from a breeder’s perspective, significant pieces of the puzzle are missing. There is no 1# horse tracking system; a breed declaration statement is only required in a limited number of cases when competing a horse in the U.S; and breed registration numbers are not currently required nor are they automatically linked to Horse ID or life recording numbers issued by USEF, USDF, USHJA, or USEA.
I'm aware that there are many who object to the establishment of a 1# life recording system for horses, and that is exactly why I am suggesting we approach this problem from a completely different direction. My proposal does not require a 1# recording system. My proposal is for the establishment of a new awards program.
THE AWARDS PROGRAM – A Carrot That Leads to Performance Tracking
I believe that IF we develop a U.S. breed based awards program that results in more horse registrations and more entries at competitions (which translates into more income for USEF, USDF, show managers, etc.), THEN a logical outgrowth of this program will be the development and implementation of a performance tracking system for U.S. bred sport horses. In my opinion, the major challenge to development of a performance tracking system is motivating stakeholders to participate in the program. Breeders need to answer the question "what's in it for me”, in order to gain the support of those impacted by such a system. For the past several months I have been working on the development of an awards program that I believe addresses these concerns.
The purpose of the U.S. Sport Horse Breeders' Challenge Awards program would be:
- To encourage performance tracking of U.S. bred sport horses;
- To encourage U.S. sport horse breeders to register with their respective breed organization, and life record their foals with USEF;
- To encourage horse owners to:
- register their horses for competition with their respective equestrian organization (EO) (USEF, USDF, USHJA, USEA, etc.) AND
- when registering with said EO to submit a Breed Declaration Form. The Breed Declaration Form would require the owner to provide:
- the horse’s competition name,
- the horse’s USEF, USDF, USHJA, and/or USEA number,
- the owner’s name, address, phone number and email address,
- the owner’s USEF, USDF, USHJA, and/or USEA number,
- the horse’s participating breed registry or organization (PO),
- the horse’s breed registration number, and
- a copy of the appropriate breed registry papers
- To encourage show managers and equestrian organizations to record results and track performance of horses for which a Breed Declaration Form has been submitted.
- To encourage owners and riders of US bred sport horses to register, breed declare, and compete these horses;
- To highlight and publicize the successes of US bred sport horses;
- To encourage and promote breeding and sales of US bred sport horses;
- To encourage the use of US based sport horse stallions.
- To recognize and reward sport horse breeders in the US, their horse owners, trainers, and riders.
If the awards program worked as I envision, it could motivate:
- competitors by offering significant prize money
- show managers by encouraging more entries by more competitors
- equestrian organizations by encouraging more registrations/life recordings for horses and more owner/rider registrations by competitors
- breeders by providing a means for advertizing successful offspring
- sponsors by getting their name out in front of a wider audience
Of course, the down side is that this program may also cause more work on the part of the show managers and equestrian organizations, but I'm trying to develop a program that utilizes the results reporting requirements and systems that already exist, and could use the breed registry/organizations to help share any additional administrative burdens. Hopefully we would devise a fair distribution of costs/benefits.
By providing relatively significant prize money, I believe owners/riders of U.S. bred sport horses will be motivated to register/record their horses, file a breed declaration, and compete for these awards. If more owners/riders register and compete, this means increased revenue for USEF/USDF and show managers; i.e., the benefits of the program should outweigh the administrative costs. The key is offering significant prize money.
As explained below, to fund the pilot program would cost over $70,000 in prize money alone. And I'm not yet convinced that $1000 for Champion and $500 for Reserve in each Region is enough $ to make the program work as a performance tracking system. It has already been suggested to me that we would need to offer cash incentives down to at least 5th place in order to get the volume of entries needed; so that puts the costs even higher. Nonetheless, I think breeders may be willing to commit to this level of support IF they truly believed it would result in a viable performance tracking system for U.S. bred sport horses.
COMMENTS AND CONCERNS:
I’ve included herewith a draft description of the proposed awards program. As you can see, there are details still to be worked out but I believe it's a start. Ultimately I could see the program expanding to include all levels of dressage competition, and the additional disciplines of USHJA, USEA and perhaps others.
I would especially appreciate input regarding the workability of this proposed program. How might this awards program augment or detract from existing awards programs designed to accomplish similar purposes? Would it place an undue burden on competitors, show managers, equestrian organizations, breed organizations, etc. If so, in what way, and what could we do to minimize those impacts?
What would be the best way to establish qualifying score criteria? It should be as broad as possible in order to encourage recording and breed declaration of the maximum number of U.S. bred sport horses. Ideally we would initially consider scores from all rides, Training – 4th Level at USEF licensed shows. But, if this is not feasible from a recording/administrative point of view, what would be feasible?
Funding such an awards program would be a concern. I estimate that prize money alone for such a program would be on the order of $70,000 (i.e., 5 levels x 9 Regions = 45 Regional Champions @ $1000 each = $45,000 PLUS 45 Regional Reserve Champions @ $500 each = $22,500, PLUS National Champion = $1,500 and National Reserve Champion = $1000). In addition to the prize money, there would be the cost of awards, money for advertising, etc. How could this money be raised?
Assuming that initially breeders had to contribute ALL the prize money, that means we are looking at 70 breeders contributing $1000 each (probably not a realistic expectation), or 140 breeders contributing $500 each (also may not be realistic). But, what if 700 breeders contributed $100 each, or 1,400 breeders contributed $50 each? Are these combinations equally unrealistic?
How many sport horse breeders are there in the U.S? The AHS roster alone lists about 2500 members; what % of those members are truly breeders, and of those, how many are active and would be willing to contribute? And what about other sport horse breeders? There are 23 other "warmblood breeds" listed on the eWarmbloods forum index. How many members are there in each of these organizations, and how many of them might be willing to contribute?
Does this awards program have the potential to be of sufficient benefit that breeders and/or breed registries and organizations would be willing and able to contribute the funds needed to ensure the success of the program?
What about sponsorship? Could other individuals/organizations be persuaded to contribute to this program? Why would someone choose to become a sponsor (i.e., what benefit would they receive for their sponsorship?
OPPORTUNITY FOR INPUT
If you would like to participate in a discussion of this matter, please join us at the AHS Open Awards Committee meeting on Saturday morning at 10:15a.m. All constructive comments/criticisms, suggestions and assistance will be welcome. IF enough people express interest and a willingness to participate, THEN perhaps the time has come for our contribution to the U.S. sport horse industry to be acknowledged!
Hope to see you on Saturday.
US Sport Horse Breeders’ Challenge Awards
Designed to recognize horses bred in the United States that achieved high scores throughout the competition year at Training through 4th Levels of dressage. Unlike other breed awards programs, this program would focus attention on all sport horses bred in the United States and competing in this discipline.
- Horse must be declared with USEF for a participating U.S. sport horse breed registry/organization (PO) by September 30 of the award year in order to participate in the award program. Horses already declared will remain declared for that organization.
- Horse and owner must meet all requirements of the PO
- “Open” is the standard division and “1st through 4th Level” are the standard levels for Sport Horse Breeders’ Challenge Awards
First, Second, Third, and Fourth Levels
- Minimum of eight scores:
- From four different judges
- From four different competitions
- Including two at 58 percent or higher from highest test of the level
- Median score of 60 percent or higher to qualify
- Have a USEF Lifetime Recording when scores are earned. Horses with only HID numbers are not eligible.
- Have a Breed Awards Declaration Form on file with the USDF and be entered in qualifying and championship classes under their official breed recorded registration number and ownership. Transfers of ownership or lease registration for breed recorded horses must be recorded with the applicable PO, and must be completed prior to the competition in order for the horse to compete under the name of the new owner or lessee.
- Be U.S. bred, owned, and registered which is defined as:
- out of a mare owned by a resident of the United States at the time the mare was bred;
- by a stallion approved for breeding by an American Sport Horse Registry or breed organization;
- foaled in the United States; AND
- registered with a recognized U.S. sport horse participating breed registry/organization (PO)
- Be a current member of a recognized U.S. sport horse participating breed registry or organization (do we need to require current year membership??)
- Be a resident of the U.S.
- Be an Senior Active, Junior Active or Life Member of USEF in good standing when scores are earned
- Verify horse eligibility with PO
- Verify that a Sport Horse Breeders’ Challenge Award declaration has been made by accessing the USEF data base or owner’s portfolio
- If a horse does not have an existing Sport Horse Breeders’Challenge Awards declaration, the owner must make a declaration by September 30 of the award year. Once a Sport Horse Breeders’ Challenge Awards declaration has been made, it cannot be changed. Horses are eligible for awards based on the registry into which the foal is first registered. IF the horse is eligible for multiple registrations, and IF not previously recorded with USEF, the owner can make a choice of registry for the purpose of USEF Sport Horse Breeders’ Challenge Awards only. IF the horse is eligible for multiple registrations, and IF not previously recorded with USEF, and IF there is no PO for the registry into which the foal was first registered, the owner may declare for one that is participating before September 30 of the award year.
Rider must be a Junior Active, Senior Active, or Life Member of USEF when scores are earned.
Memberships and horse registrations begin when all application forms and fees are received by USEF. If joining USEF (including changing membership to participating status) or recording a horse at a competition, membership and registration begin the date of application. This date must be in accordance with USEF dressage division rules.
All horses are eligible for National and Regional Awards, as long as all requirements of this Section are met.
- Scores must be from USEF/USDF qualifying and championship classes, or other classes specified in the general rules (need to more clearly identify which classes will count toward qualifying; any open, junior/young rider, adult amateur, only those specified as qualifying, or some other method???).
- Score equivalents:
- FEI Junior Preliminary Tests = Third Level Test 2
- FEI Junior Team and Individual Tests, FEI Young Rider Preliminary and Consolation Tests = Fourth Level Test 1
- FEI Young Rider Team Test = Fourth Level Test 3
- FEI Pony and Individual Tests = Second Level Test 4
- Qualifying classes may not be offered in breed-restricted classes.
- Qualifying classes may be offered at Training through 4th Levels.
- Eligible competitors must be given the option to enter the class as “US Sport Horse Breeders’ Challenge qualifying” for a maximum additional fee of $10, which must be paid prior to the start of the class. (Would this need to be in addition to other “qualifying” fees; e.g., HOY, or just one fee for both?)
- Championships must be offered according to USDF Championship specifications.
- Each USEF/USDF Qualifying and/or Championship class must be designated as such in the prize list and in the competition results. (Would this be required in order to administer the program, or is it only desirable?)
- During each USEF/USDF Regional Championship, only one class per division and/or level may be held to determine USEF/USDF Regional Champions.
- National Awards will be determined based on the highest scores received in the nation in all Regional Championships
Awards (Total prize money $70,000)
- Both National and Regional Awards will be presented.
- Certificates and prizes are awarded to the owner and the breeder of the horse.
- All award winners will receive personalized certificates sponsored by _______
- Ten at each level for Training, First, Second, Third, and Fourth
- Regional Champion and Reserve at each level in each of 9 Regions (presented at regional championship) receive:
- a commemorative plaque sponsored by ___________
- Champion receives a wool cooler sponsored by _______________, and $1000 in prize money to be split 80% to owner; 20% to breeder
- Reserve Champion receives $500 in prize money to be split 80% to owner; 20% to breeder
- National Champion and Reserve receive:
- National Champion receives an additional $1500 in prize money; split 80% to owner and 20% to breeder (Do we also want to offer a trophy, plaque, jacket, cooler or something in additional to prize for National Champion & Reserve?)
- National Reserve Champion receives an additional $1000 in prize money; split 80% to owner; 20% to breeder.
- National Champion and Reserve Champion will be presented for each level at the USEF Annual Convention
All constructive comments, criticisms, suggestions and assistance will be appreciated.