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 Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT

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Ladynyellow
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PostSubject: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:44 pm

Hi; I just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on the two recent articles by Mr. Battglia in the Times. I thought they were thought provoking, well written, and filled with some great ideas. While I don't necessarily agree with cutting down to just four Regionals, I do agree completely that there is just no incentive or focus for the regular Class A show anymore. Everything is Regionals and Nationals for Sweepstakes monies. As someone that is really wanting to get back into showing, I search for A or B level shows and really don't see all that many (except in Texas - they seem to have quite a few).

Mr. Battaglia included an excerp of a letter from a gal who was a successful National level exhibitor (and then took a break for family & career) that really put into words what has been in my mind. She said in part, "I feel like I only rate the attention of people in the idustry if I buy an expensive horse and only show at a national level", and "What I am trying to say is that the Arabian horse industry needs to create incentive for people to jump back in or for new people to step in. Now, if I'm feeling intimidated, I can only imagine how self-defeating it feels for someone who is trying to get into the industry for the first time". Those words echoed what has been going on in my mind the last two years as I've tried to get it together myself. If she feels that way - imagine how the newbies feel when they consider Arabians.

I can remember a time when Class A shows were HUGE and to win a ribbon was hard work. Now when I go to shows as a spectator, it is unusual if a class has a full five entries. (This is a general observation on my part) It is sad to me that you just don't see big classes and filled grandstands except for the bigger shows.... and then I'll throw in that I watched the Buckeye last weekend and when I was watching, the classes seemed light and not many spectators.

I thought Mr. Battaglia's articles were just terrfic and some very good food for thought in our industry. It is discouraging to me that there just doesn't seem to be shows appropriate for horses' abilities. Not all the show horses out there are National level and we've got to create a good market and place to show these horses that is also family friendly (and cost friendly so they can afford it). Until we do, I think we will continue to see what could be our market moving into breeds that are more family and dollar friendly. I have a friend that raises Rockies and she trains and shows herself and does great. The shows are fun and there are tons of families involved. That is what the Arabian breed was like back in the early 80s - at least to me. I miss that.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but we've got to open more doors for our wonderful breed and get people intersted and excited. I think this Ammy Army is a very good start. Now if we can just convince the powers of AHA to start looking at and taking steps forward, maybe we'll get this train back on track.

Just my thoughts and opinions. Anyone else have any ideas?

Kelli
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:51 pm

I agreed with Battaglias article. It was a good read too. I can barley afford to take in one class A show let alone a Regional show. The arabian show scene is driving out the the very people they need for growth...the first timers and smaller budget minded exhibitors. There is no place for us ( them) in the arabian world anymore....
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:44 pm

It was a wonderful article! His thoughts on rebuilding from the bottom up were so true. People don't show at local Class A shows once they're qualified for Regionals, because it gets too expensive to show at Regionals. When I first started showing as a child, being a Regional Chmpion meant something. I started in Region 16 and for those of you who know the Big E, the temporary stalling was filled at AHCC and AHANE! It was a 4-5 day show that people hauled in from all over to go to. At this point they're lucky if C Barn fills. Now it means nothing unless it's a National Champ/Top Ten. We can only hope that his thoughts are taken into consideration by those in charge, and someone at AHA realizes we do need some restructuring. we need to bring some of the glory back for the smaller shows, and make them more accessable to those who enjoy showing for something other than Nationals.
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DELGADO
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:50 pm

It is the members of this very Army that have a chance to change things. By banding together you will be able to keep the cost down and fill the rings.

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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:18 pm

Well, we showed in Region 16 back in the early 80's and then moved. The shows were great back then, but it was before Sweepstakes. Sweepstakes hurt Class A shows as it emphasized Regionals and Nationals and it helped trainers justify larger fees.

Not to be pessimistic, but I believe there are conditions from three areas that we have to consider - Cultural, Economic and Recreational.

From a cultural standpoint horses are no longer a central theme of our culture. When I was young there were as many as 30 shows a week on TV that had horses in them (and that was back when there were three main channels). Now you are lucky if you can find one. It is sort of out of sight out of mind.

Economically there are many problems. First, land use near larger populations has gotten so expensive that it is tough to be able to afford enough acreage for a house and a barn. Rural land is disappearing at something like 25 acres an hour and being turned into developments. Consequently, less and less land can be found to pasture your horse, raise hay on or raise grain. It is much more profitable to use grains to produce ethanol or sweetners or Jack Daniels.

There are many more recreational choices for the person now. Young people play organized sports like baseball/softball, basketball or soccer. Parents drive their kids to karate lessons or other activities. Places to learn to ride no longer exist to a large extent. Further you are more likely to stick with the breed you learned to ride on. Few Arabian trainers give lessons to the public. They tend to be more interested in selling you that national quality horse.

Further, look at the other options kids have today to spend their time. Video games and PC's are being used by parents as surrogate babysitters. Look at how many copies of popular video games like Grand Theft Auto are sold.

Perhaps a solution would be someone much smarter than me to start making video games with horses in them.

I also think that a problem we have with the Class A shows is the emphasis placed on having a trainer. Those equine sports that are growing are the ones where a trainer is only a minor part of the sport. My own present sport, Cowboy Mounted Shooting, has only a few trainers. Most either take a clinic or two and rely on their own riding or buy a finished horse. And the finished horses start at a much lower price than a national quality horse. Look at the growth of groups like ACTHA. Or the growth of Ranch Horse.

These growth sports have an additional aspect to them. Since most stay in their own trailers at competitions, there is tremendous socializing. I have drunk more moonshine in the last year than the previous 20 years. LOL People get together, socialize, cook out and have fun. This is just not encouraged at breed shows.

These problems are not insurmountable but we need to develop a longer range plan than just a year. We need programs aimed at school kids. Affiliation with other discipline groups, like CMSA, ACTHA, Ranch Horse, Pony Club, etc.
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Lovemycrabbet
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:09 am

I didn't get to read the full article but I get the jist of it here.

I agree with what everyone has said. As someone on a "horse" budget class A prices are ridiculous. I show in a group that holds ACS shows and not the open show type with so many Arab only classes. Our ACS are strictly for Arab/halfs only. With 120+ horses usually per show and normally more than 6 horses per class, some are in excess of 20. Super family friendly and alot of fun. People actually talk to you instead of look down at you.

I look at costs between these and the Class A. We both use the same arenas stables etc etc.
ACS stall price: $35 for a weekend tack stalls $25
Class A: $75 and up

ACS camping: $32 for the weekend
Class A: $70 a weekend

ACS class prices: $8 normal classes and $10 championships and dressage tests
CLass A: $25 and up a class

There are many more fees in Class A. I remember doing the numbers one day, between fees, stalls and such...not even classes. I would spend more by almost double than my whole weekend including classes at the ACS show. Which honestly has better quality horses. And what gets me another Arab club here puts on ACS and a Class A and they have the same huge difference...what gives?

Yes too much emphasis is put on Regionals and Nationals. Too much push for a trainer...right down to the entry forms asking for names for said trainer. I wish we had a way to truly keep true amateurs in separate classes from those with a BNT horse riding in an ammy class. All because they don't make a living off training.

Sadly I know myself I would go only to enough class A shows to qualify for Regionals, its just to expensive other wise. But right now I find going to a Class A show is not worth it even more so if you only take one horse. So I'm honing his skills as I will have another horse within a year, so I'm looking at 2012 before I go to a Class A show...possibly late 2011 depends on whether my dear thoroughbred mare takes and gives me an Anglo next year (long story on her) or if she turns out to pretty much be sterile and me buy the 2 yo PB filly by the sire I am trying to breed my mare with.

This is comming from someone who spent time working within Class A but not competing leaving Arabians and horses for a bit then comming back with their own horse to find it has only spiraled down even worse. And don't get me started on economy matters that revolve around these shows.

Ok done ranting a bit for now.

rideem: I get the possible need for a GOOD horse game but I can tell you as the older sister of an animator, Horses are an animators worst nightmare! Which is what makes them so beautiful. The flowing manes and tails, eye and ear movement, and getting the run cycle(any gait) proper. It don't matter if its for a games or movies horses are hard. But lets not get me started on the laziness of people my age and younger nowadays. And the whole I want this without working for it attitude...hmmm sounds alot like ammy classes in Class A.
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:17 am

I also haven't read the article - but get the message from your posts - I am an old Class A shower when my Dad footed the bills! But I was also my own trainer, groom, stable hand, hauler, conditioner -slept in the tack stall type of person. It was a great experience in the 70's. I did go to the Regionals and the Nationals all by myself (and parents).

Frankly I am just hard headed enough to try it all again. Older, more responsibilities, and now I am footing the bill . So, while I am doing everything myself, I am choosing to do a couple of Class A shows and a bunch of local open shows - to have fun and continue to train my horse.

I just wish there were more of us hard headed Ammy's out there - to take back our Class A shows and our breed!
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rideem
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:28 pm

To answer your question, Nicole, about the relative costs to the exhibitor of Class A shows versus ACS, a lot of the difference is the requirements of the sanctioning organizations. This is not castigating any organization, but compare the requirements of an A show and an ACS show. The A show must have a carded judge (most charge around $500 per day) while the ACS can use a volunteer judge. The A show must have a Vet on premises or on call. The A show must have a steward. The A show, because of the reporting requirements, usually has a professional show secretary. The A show is required to have a farrier on premises. Add these costs together and divide over the number of competitors and you can see how the costs could add up quickly.

I do Cowboy Mounted Shooting and my costs are substantially less for a weekend of competing than at an A show.

As to the animation, my son-in-law is an animator. My daughter is a graphics artist with a master's in restoration architecture. One of her last projects was the restoration of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington.
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:07 am

Rideem: That's awsome about the SIL and daughter!

Oh I fully understand the extra fees associated with A Class. Which is where the AHA needs to look. With fewer competitors the prices get sky high, we have some shows here that border on Regional prices. But I know of some competitors that pay for the Judge and a few other things themselves with what they spend at the show. It's just rediculous and something DOES need to be done. What doesn't make sense is the shows here that have the highest # of competitors are usually the most expensive. But some of it comes down to is simply greed.

Cowboy Mounted Shooting: I keep telling my soon to be Brother-in-law that he should ge into mounted shooting. Marine who doesn't go a week without going to the range and loves to ride. And has a steady headed but quick 17.2HH Tennessee Walker. I think mounted shooting is awsome, too bad my horse wouldn't take kindly to it, lol. Wish I they had some competitions near my I sure would go to watch at least.
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:41 am

A trainer's signature on the entry blank is to certify someone who is responsible for the horse since often times an owner is not present. If one doesn't ahve a trainer, there is a place for "coach" to sign. It doesn't mean you HAVE to have a trainer. (keep in mind whoever signs the entry blank, will be held responsible for any infractions that may occur!)
I can understand the expenses of runnimg an A show but what happens when your regional show is a C rated one? YOU STILL PAY THE SAME! and of course get less USEF points!
I also don't understand why entries need to be in so early at some of these shows-a month in advance? The entry deadline for EAst Coast comes to hard on the heels of just having spent a pot load of $$$ for Region 15 so we aren't going to EC.
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:05 pm

Originally, post entry fees were created to encourage everyone to have their entries in so that the show program with the lists of entries for each class could make it to the printer in time. I haven't seen a show program in years. There really is not a good excuse for hoge post entry fees any longer.
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:36 pm

I can understand $25 per horse to help the secratary since it can be a pain to add entries at the last minute but $120 PER CLASS? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot as far as limiting entries and taking away from a show's coffers! How many need to wait until late to enter due to checking when they can get off work or those coming back from Youth to see if they can make it? We all are punished big time for waiting and it is unfair, especially in these econmical times!
It sounds like greed to me since it isn't going to cost the show anymore if the class has 10 or 20 entries in it, jsut a few extra minutes of paperwork! Many shows are not requireing post entries and Regionals and East Coast need to take notice!
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:12 pm

How about the fee if you miss a class and didn't have a chance to make it to the office to scratch........as in your horse is injured in the warm-up.....the only "good" way around it is to ride in the gate, get off and ask to be excused.

Then there are the "intent to show" forms at regionals and nationals - if you made the entry fee and haven't scratched, why are they creating extra paperwork for themselves and everyone else?
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PostSubject: Re: Bob Battaglia's Articles in the AHT   Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:17 pm

spike25 wrote:
A trainer's signature on the entry blank is to certify someone who is responsible for the horse since often times an owner is not present. If one doesn't ahve a trainer, there is a place for "coach" to sign. It doesn't mean you HAVE to have a trainer. (keep in mind whoever signs the entry blank, will be held responsible for any infractions that may occur!)
I can understand the expenses of runnimg an A show but what happens when your regional show is a C rated one? YOU STILL PAY THE SAME! and of course get less USEF points!
I also don't understand why entries need to be in so early at some of these shows-a month in advance? The entry deadline for EAst Coast comes to hard on the heels of just having spent a pot load of $$$ for Region 15 so we aren't going to EC.

Hi Beth,
The only difference between an A show and a C show is the amount of prize money offered. So, much of the cost is the same.

Most times the early entry deadline is the show secretary's requirement. Other times it may because the show needs to order stalls. The companies that provide rented stalls often have staggered prices - lower when ordered in one order and higher when ordered in smaller lots and/or close to the show date.
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