Friday, May. 24, 2024

Between Rounds – Susie Schoellkopf



Our columnist wants to see tougher courses, bigger fences and more people striving to do—and watch—the hunters at the highest levels.

In everything we do, we need to make sure we’re continuing to challenge our riders.

As the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association convention approaches in early December, several recent Chronicle articles have given all of us in the hunter/ jumper world something to think about.

Many people complain about the issues Shelley Campf, Leo Conroy, George Morris and Ron Danta have brought up in their articles.


Our columnist has noticed some things that seem to be in vogue in the horse show world—and explains why she likes some and hates others.

The first of the hot topics I’ve noticed lately in the hunter/equitation world involves money won in the professional divisions.

Many are saying there aren’t enough professional rated horses to fill the divisions such as the first year, second year, high performance and conformation divisions. I think there are some different factors that need to be figured into this concept.

Our columnist examines some changes to the fall show schedule.

As the winter show circuits were thriving, three of our major indoor shows experienced significant changes that could have a strong impact on the hunter industry. As people start packing to move back to their summer bases, they’re deciding which shows to attend based on criteria like distance to their home, quality of the show and footing, and costs. The managers of most top shows have learned that they must make improvements in order to attract exhibitors, and the indoor shows are no different.

There were certainly many highlights in equestrian sports this year, as well as some disappointments. Being optimists, we think that the disappointments often turn out to be opportunities once you get past the initial emotion of the situation.

This year we witnessed the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on our home turf. Yes, show jumping and eventing experienced some problems and did not produce the hoped-for results, but other sports such as vaulting, reining, dressage and driving really stepped up their games and proudly represented equestrian sports on the awards podium.

My most recent article, “We Need To Strive To Better Ourselves” drew a huge reaction. Most of the article was asking the question: Do we ask our riders to strive to go to the next level? It was by no means knocking the lower height divisions. All I was saying is that we should use all the divisions as steppingstones.

I’ve always thought that a good writer presents topics that can be discussed. I’ve never thought I had all the answers, but simply many of the questions.

After 30 years in the horse industry, our columnist sees changes that worry her.

What’s happened to our country? I know that’s a rhetorical question and one that has a myriad of answers, but I often wonder where our sport is heading. The problems I see in our world are mirrored in our culture as a whole—the obsession with instant gratification, the focus on short cuts and the shunning of tradition—these are paths I don’t want to see us following.



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