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  1. #1
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    Default USEF High Performance Dressage ... and the Performance Standard Rule

    The USEF has this lovely system already in place to support / train / track / monitor "High Performance" dresssage riders and horses. It is an "opt-in" system, where the rider has to declare the intent to play in that sandbox. Riders who do opt in get access to various training opportunities that are held for them. Right now, only GP and InterMed riders are allowed in.

    Question: why can't this (already existing) system be extended to include Third, Fourth, and PSG?

    If the goal of this entire Performance Standard discussion is to improve the quality of the US international-level riders, it would seem that building and maintaining a pipeline of lower level riders as they move up the levels would be 'a good thing'. And this would be riders who really want to play at that level -- not the rest of us who just want to ride our horses in the occassional show at a level we feel suits us and our horses.

    No need for an additional level of paperwork to track scores for the majority of riders who don't opt in; an existing system already up and running so no start-up costs/issues to the extension; an earlier opportunity to identify and train up-and-coming riders interested in international level competition .... this is workable.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  2. #2
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    good thoughts there
    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”



  3. #3
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    For that to work, that would have to be the intent of the lower level qualification; I don't think it is. I mean I don't think the motivation behind the current 3rd/4th level qualification proposal is to develop elite riders.

    And, if that were to work, it would have to be true that the elite riders develop by showing at training thru 4th level, and I don't think they do. They may show some at that level but I don't think that's what makes them elite riders; it's other things.



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    For that to work, that would have to be the intent of the lower level qualification; I don't think it is. I mean I don't think the motivation behind the current 3rd/4th level qualification proposal is to develop elite riders.

    And, if that were to work, it would have to be true that the elite riders develop by showing at training thru 4th level, and I don't think they do. They may show some at that level but I don't think that's what makes them elite riders; it's other things.
    Elite riders have to bring on young horses.....and currently, the only "pipeline" for developing riders is the Jr/Yr....why not expand the HP Division to include thoese lower level riders....it would replicate somewhat the system of LeGoff/DeNemethy when people went to "selection trials." The intent to form 2 tracks would provide the pipeline for international-level riders while leaving the rest of us alone....and since it is "opt-in" there would not be a need to do score-keeping.

    If the goal of this entire Performance Standard discussion is to improve the quality of the US international-level riders, it would seem that building and maintaining a pipeline of lower level riders as they move up the levels would be 'a good thing'. And this would be riders who really want to play at that level -- not the rest of us who just want to ride our horses in the occassional show at a level we feel suits us and our horses.



  5. #5
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    The more I think about this issue (and obviously, I have burned up a lot of little grey cells on this ....), the more I like the idea of two tracks: an Open track for anyone who wants to show and a High Performance track for those who want to compete, possibly at the international levels. The EF could impose whatever qualifying requirements its little heart wanted on the High Performance track.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShotenStar View Post
    If the goal of this entire Performance Standard discussion is to improve the quality of the US international-level riders...
    A thought occured to me this morning, since the first proposal was truly an Artifical Standard* if there ever was one.

    What if this qualifying standard was going to be introduced at third level solely because not many riders there and not much objection. The following year: standards introduced at second because it was "so wildly successful." The year after that: standards introduced at first.

    Pretty soon there's a whole lot more tests in the hopper and more revenue. Let's not forget the USEF runs it's award programs by the rider accuing the most points over an entire season. USDF is the only one (unlike hunters, jumpers) that averages a median score from a very limited amount of tests. The DCs original proposal would address this "loss" of revenue...

    This whole proposal never made sense as it was presented. WANT TO BOOST RIDERS' QUALITY? Address or reconfigure the riders' marks on the tests.

    *ARTIFICAL STANDARD: who would want to overtax a non-dressage bred horse and encourage the possibility of too harsh training methods? The welfare statement is clear in working well within the horses' natural limits (I'm willing to bet that's why the original 50% was determined). Who doesn't understand a talented horse can put in 65% even with an abusive/poor rider on board. Ridden decently the same talented horse should, for example, average 73%.



  7. #7
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    from sm
    What if this qualifying standard was going to be introduced at third level solely because not many riders there and not much objection. The following year: standards introduced at second because it was "so wildly successful." The year after that: standards introduced at first
    Yep, I've been assuming all along that that's the direction this will take. Put it in at a high enough level that people will be complacent because it won't affect them (whoops, they sure misread that!) and then push it down the levels until you have to qualify to ride First Level at a recognized show.
    A boon to the schooling shows. And I guess the hunter shows...
    Only one cat - must not be totally crazy yet!



  8. #8
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    Actually a rep who posted here already said that that was the case, and that the qualifying scores would continue to increase, AND that it would eventually affect all levels.

    The goal is that dressage just isn't going to be a place where people can show at any level, and the requirements for moving up will be quite restrictive. The goal IS to get the lower scoring, AND ESPECIALLY, the average scoring, riders, OUT. I feel that has far more to do with this than with 'abusive riding'.

    I went thru the USDF yearbook edition last night and crossed off all the award winners that would not get awards if qualification was put into effect, simply based on the score their award was based on.

    The list was astoundingly long. The most heavily affected were the vintage and all breed awards, where many awards come from sub-62% scores, but frankly, I was quite stunned at the results. It would completely change all the award programs.

    The other thing I noticed was that ALREADY, at ALL levels, the people winning those awards (non vintage, non amateur, non all breed), are nearly all professionals. Nearly all were not the owners, and even many of the amateurs I felt were not your typical 'grass roots' amateurs at all.

    The other thing I noticed was that a great many riders that I know, I mean those who I know have been showing 3rd 4th and PSG-I1 for many many years(some for 12-15-20 years), got their bronze medals in 2007. Most of them haven't shown training-1st-2nd in years except to briefly school youngsters they are bringing along....some of them aren't shown at all til they're ready for 3rd level (alot of people who already showed those levels and can't afford to show all the lower AND upper levels, simply don't show til they're ready to come out at 3rd).

    And surely, egon, I don't know them all, but I know some of them, they are very nice riders but their scores are 60-62% range, really great is 63-64%, not always so 65-70-ish, and to be frank the list of bronze medals rewarded in 2007, I don't think it has EVER been that long. And I don't think that's just from 'growth in our sport'.

    So it is already having an effect.


    My concern is that people here are acting very complacent, as if they HAVE stopped this, as if they CAN stop this thing, by protesting and questioning the grounds on which it is being done.

    When it appears to be very obvious that a great many people are going out and getting ready for it, as if it is a done deal. And I think for better or worse, it IS a done deal. I think the committee members are just THRILLED about it and I think they think that everyone who is NOT thrilled with it are those who are disgruntled because it will prevent them from showing at 3rd and 4th level!

    It would take many years for a new organization to get off the ground. I think it's valid to discuss 'what would you really do?' Not show? Lease or borrow a horse to get the bronze on, work really hard ithe next two years to get your bronze and show your own horse...any other options?

    I know a great many people aren't aiming for 3rd or 4th level any time in the future and are very incensed about qualification, though in its present form it would not affect them...what are the rest of the people doing, those who are close to that and would be affected by the present proposed qualification?

    Other than 'not show' nearly NONE of those options is going to make any professionals selling lessons and training...unhappy. All are money makers for them. They aren't, by and large, going to fight qualification.

    In some ways, the 1st, 2nd level students are often a trainer's most solid bread and butter. They often get many more lessons and schooling at shows, they very often are working very intensely with an eye toward moving up, they VERY often see a need to buy a new horse (commissions) and in a way, they are the trainer's 'dream students', much more so than the student with more modest goals - they areally, honestly are the big money makers, and since that is often where the most past training holes surface, they can need a LOT of expensive help, seek out clinics, etc. If large numbers of them see NO avenue othr than schooling shows as even a prayer of moving up, they may really 'kick back' on their expectations...and their spending...

    Do you think to protect their customer base, that judges will simply start giving scores that are 5-7% higher, so the 'close' riders qualify and continue up the levels? We have already seen 'score inflation' once, will it simply compensate for qualification requirements?
    Last edited by slc2; Mar. 16, 2008 at 09:49 AM.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Actually a rep who posted here already said that that was the case, and that the qualifying scores would continue to increase, AND that it would eventually affect all levels
    My apologies then to the original poster. I have my faults, but I never knowingly hone in on someone else’s idea and re-package it as mine.

    Slc2, your post indicates a trend NOT TO EDUCATE ALL but pick a certian portion (less then 20%) of an overall membership. So, is that legal? Does that entity deserve not-for-profit status?

    - USDF is a 501(c)(3) . A 501(c)(3) covers Charities, Churches, and Educational Organizations
    http://www.irs.gov/charities/charita...155030,00.html

    - other Tax-Exempt Organizations, such as 501(c)(1), 501(c)(22), etc, covers other functions/responsibilities http://www.irs.gov/charities/article...=96184,00.html

    - “Education is a vital part of the mission of USDF." Gee, ya think?????
    http://www.usdf.org/education/index.asp

    So if there is a dismantling of All Breeds to focus on an elite group of riders, dismantling fair access to educate all to distinctly favor a few... it's looking like a c-corp, LLC, or another entity to me. Which leads to revoking 501(c)(3) status. And the IRS has a form for that:


    Abusive transactions: Complaint to IRS on Non-Profit
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f13909.pdf



  10. #10
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    I don't know much about the legal side, but I am not really at all sure that selecting elite sports performers and offering them special training comes under the category of denying someone an education. I don't think that has a leg to stand on.



  11. #11
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    If the USEF just offers additional training opportunities to upper level riders, its 501(c)(3) status would be fine I would think. However, if the organization relinquishes its role in educational programs for all members by dismantling All Breeds, that could become a sticky wicket.
    "We don't ride the clock. We ride the horse." Reiner Klimke.
    http://community.webshots.com/user/arnikaelf



  12. #12
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    They wouldn't get rid of all breed per se (actually, it's not spelled 'per say'), but qualification would mean that most of the all breed scores would not be high enough to allow those riders to show at various levels. If qualification expands, it wouldn't allow most of them to show at most levels. i am sure of one thing - qualification would cut a great many riders out of the awards they now get - they are getting awards for showing at scores below the 'qualification barrier'.

    It is in fact really strange and ironic to read the year book and think about what a huge impact qualification would have. Without another round of very big 'score inflation', it would have huge effects.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    Actually a rep who posted here already said that that was the case, and that the qualifying scores would continue to increase, AND that it would eventually affect all levels.
    Who? When? I must have missed this.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    For that to work, that would have to be the intent of the lower level qualification; I don't think it is. I mean I don't think the motivation behind the current 3rd/4th level qualification proposal is to develop elite riders.

    And, if that were to work, it would have to be true that the elite riders develop by showing at training thru 4th level, and I don't think they do. They may show some at that level but I don't think that's what makes them elite riders; it's other things.
    Actually, most elite riders did develop by showing at the lower levels when they *first* came up through the ranks. This is especially true of anyone going through the Jr/YR system. Don't forget, the rider only has to go through the levels once in their lives to be able to show back at lower levels (with this system).

    Personally, I'm hoping that the continuous extension of the young/developing horse classes, the ultimate "opt in" classes, will appease the tinkerers-that-be.

    The USDF (yes, DF) every once in a while does come up with programs aimed towards what I consider to be elite/wealthy riders whose horse budget is some multiple of my gross annual salary. Lots of people write in at these times. One time, my editorial made it into a Connections and also started a lively email discussion with a USDF member about "the importance of our future Olympic teams" (which I don't buy). The program didn't go through as proposed. The point I guess I'm making is that member opinion, esp. en masse, makes a big difference and sometimes reminds these organizations what the base is all about as well as what the average, not elite, rider experiences.

    J.



  15. #15
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    They may have, but I don't feel that is what causes them to develop into elite riders. They get extra training, they apprentice under top trainers who are already doing what they want to do. And quite a few of them were eventers, not YR, at least in the past. Now that YR programs are stronger that may change.



  16. #16
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    It actually appears that 'all breeds rides' are responsible for a very large number of rides in shows in many areas.

    I took a couple 'elite' shows (those with cdi classes and a lot of pros competing on more expensive horses) and compared them to 'grass roots' shows - smaller shows in dressage-strong areas, or shows with more owner/riders, non warmblood breeds in higher percentages, areas not traditionally dressage boom areas, etc. If the 'all breed rides' decreased in accordance with them seeing much less purpose or possibility at recognized shows, then I think that in some areas, show participation WOULD drop. One thing I'm sure of, even if a person DID manage to qualify to ride at third level, I seriously doubt any awards would be awarded for scores below the qualifying mark.

    I felt that dressage would change markedly when the USEF stepped in. Basically what they're doing is trying to make it as much as possible like their other divisions. Grass-root types compete in schooling shows and saddle club shows, and higher dollar and not-quite-elite to elite riders go in the recognized shows. None of the better heeled amateurs or professional riders will complain. And as the economy changes, gas prices, membership and class fees rise, they may be the only ones who can really afford recognized shows anyway.

    and ah...when they say 'education', keep in mind that isn't defined well enough to really be able to say when they AREN'T educating people. I think that's basically another 'bell and whistle' type thing.

    What would happen if open riders had to qualify, but amateurs were not required to qualify, but they could face being 'removed' from a level if 1-2-3 different judges at different shows feel they're not cutting it, or their scores are below a minimum boundary? That doesn't address what I think is their real goal, which is raising the average score for a level (not abusive rides, etc).

    Another thing I think one can logically expect is that the regional qualification scores will have to also be raised again. I bet that's going to be another effect of this qualification.
    No one's discussed that yet, but logically, that would have to happen as well. You can't let people to go to regionals at 2nd level if they don't hit that qualification level score, can you? Probably not. It makes no sense.

    And we might also eventually see 'drop dead scores' at all levels where you can't show unless you maintain a minimum. Eventually, that would, I think, eliminate people from showing at training, first, second level as well.

    The philosophy in the past has always been, if you suck, you show and get a bad score, and if you get an average score, you just keep showing, you may get better, you may not. Oh well. You pays your money you gets your ticket.

    Dressage for years has been a place where anyone could learn and grow with any horse. If I understand people correctly, THAT is what people are upset about - losing that.
    Perhaps in some ways we always had a little too much freedom, and some people abused that.

    But one thing I totally refuse to accept is that a ride from 55-62 percent is by definition an 'abusive ride' if you can (and I have) gotten scores like that for accurate, quiet tests (really, typical amateur tests) that just weren't quite forward enough. That I just will never accept is an 'abusive ride'. And that, to be honest, is what most amateurs in that range are doing.
    Last edited by slc2; Mar. 17, 2008 at 11:07 AM.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    ...I felt that dressage would change markedly when the USEF stepped in. Basically what they're doing is trying to make it as much as possible like their other divisions. Grass-root types compete in schooling shows and saddle club shows, and higher dollar and not-quite-elite to elite riders go in the recognized shows. ...
    This may prove to be a truer statement of the future than we all might think. The vibe that I am getting from various conversations is that part of the driving focus with this rule is to make dressage appear better in public -- only the 'best' are allowed to compete in licensed shows.

    Now, minor details such as:
    -you can qualify at one level and still suck at the next
    -there is no provision for being sent back a level if you suck at the next
    -you can qualify on one horse and suck at showing another at a higher level

    do not appear to be part of the decision process.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by slc2 View Post
    They wouldn't get rid of all breed per se (actually, it's not spelled 'per say'), but qualification would mean that most of the all breed scores would not be high enough to allow those riders to show at various levels.
    Bingo. It couldn't legally be allowed to happen as stated, yet that would be the underlying result.

    - RYs data shows there is no need to restrict entry at the upper levels as per the original proposal.

    - catering to a select few by disenfranchising others, or the restricting upper levels from fair entry, is not something that qualifies as the education business.

    - restricting certian breeds from continuing to participate in an established and quite successful program is not something that qualifies as the education business.

    The hard thing is proving the trend/results, but maybe data will support. Certianly adding rules that have ths impact, while at the same time do not help those who meet this standard actually ride better, should indicate such a trend.
    Last edited by sm; Mar. 17, 2008 at 12:01 PM.



  19. #19
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    My own feeling is that no one is going to stop this, Rebecca or anyone else, and I'm not saying that to downgrade Rebecca. I think her intentions are wonderful and she is someone I have always looked up to. She is brilliant, fair, methodical, logical, yet has empathy for others. She is a great human being.

    I think there is something called organizational momentum going on. I think the people on the committee are convinced that this is needed and that it's a good thing. Those who object are those weak riders who would lose the ability to show at 3rd and 4th...and clearly, those we don't need in the new modern age of dressage. In some sad ways, this sort of change is an expected part of dressage becoming a 'popular' riding sport, a part of those higher olympic placings, pretty freestyles, magazines, interviews and web sites, all of which did not exist 15 or 20 years ago (yes i know the websites are new, but i mean the WHOLE ball of wax of dressage being a publicized sport). It's actually very hard to explain what dressage was 30 or 40 years ago...it was a tiny little group of very devoted people who were fairly aware that it wasn't a way to get wealthy, and didn't care if people said, 'WHO?' when they heard their name. It was almost a counterculture...and of course the down side of that is that there were people all over claiming to be experts doing very poor training...and they had a completely captivated audience back in those days.....

    I think there ARE good aspects of it, I really do. I just think that not having any other options, which European countries DO have, means that less affluent competitors are going to be...scr*wed. A different show track, a different showing organization, a 'testing out' process...NOTHING. There is NOTHING.

    And unfortunately, unless alternatives materialized, I think the boundary line is going to be in the six figure annual salary range; that's a guess, but it may not turn out to be all that wacked out.

    They wouldn't prevent any 'alternative breed' horses from competing at all. The people that own the horses would decide to do that, or be out based on scores.

    There are already people going out and getting bronze medals - people who as far as I know haven't focused on showing training, 1st, 2nd for a decade or more...WOW.



  20. #20
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    I agree that is is an uphill battle .... but like my sigblock says, well armed lambs need to contest these things.

    We have already managed to stop the initial proposal and our fussing as made the Dressage Committee back up several steps and consider things they had not thought of before. We need to remain watchful and do a thorough review and discussion of whatever the next version might be. Our input MATTERS .... if not to them, to us. I, for one, need to know that I was actively involved in the process, not passively sitting on the sidelines.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



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