1.Standardization of height, width and technicality at National level.
Between feet, levels and inches, it has become extremely difficult for riders, professionals and course designers alike to ride, train and build courses for the Low, Medium and High Amateur Owner Jumpers riders at AA rated shows.
Oftentimes, the Medium Amateurs are lower than the Low Amateurs, and the High Amateurs in Florida are like the Grand Prix during the summer on the East Coast circuit.
This, while the rest of the country jumps at much lower levels than the East Coast/Florida riders. (Lake Placid is another example where fences are set at maximum height and width) and there is a big gap between the two Florida circuits, the ESP circuit in Wellington FL, and the Hits Circuit in Ocala Fl.
ESP offers amateur jumper riders three levels or classes of jumping, the lows, mediums and high amateurs, while Ocala offers only two: the lows and the highs. (Hits during the summer months in Saugerties also only offer the lows and the highs - somehow at different levels than the lows and highs in Fl).
This is very confusing for riders and trainers as well, who don’t know what classes to enter, find themselves often scratching, going against their will, and falling, or dropping down to the Modified Jumpers, which does not serve any purpose to their chasing points in the summer for indoors.
ESP is a wonderful venue for all riders, offering many different rings like the Mogavaro, Denemethy, and Ring 7. The problem is: the Lows, Mediums and High Amateur Owner Jumpers all have three, not one course designer per week. And often the Saturday classes in the Denemethy Ring are higher than the Friday classes in ring 7, and the medium courses are lower than the lows, depending on the ring they show in.
One suggestion would be to have one course designer for the lows, one for the mediums, and one for the highs, and rotating them all through the circuit. This would give the course designers a chance to build in different rings and shine in each division and stop all the confusion. Each course designer could plan his week accordingly, the degree of difficulty and the height of the fences each day, ending with a Classic for each division at the specs the horse show/USET enforce.
No course designer should be able to decide alone what height and width the fences should be on a certain day. This is why ESP prints every year detailed prize list, and this is why the USET has guidelines for shows across the nation to follow.
If both course designers and horse show managements across the country take the initiative to do as they please, then riders, horses and trainers alike are doomed to walk in a ring with different heights and degree of difficulty on a daily basis, which is unfair. The Low Amateur Owner Jumpers should not be more technical than the Medium Amateurs and the Mediums not harder than the Highs. This is why riders move “up” to challenge themselves as they go, and not “regress” as they progress.
2. Split classes after a certain number of participants.
Horse shows across the country should set guidelines whereby after a certain amount of entries, the classes and prize money should be divided.
Why should some classes in Florida like the Adult Jumpers, the High Amateur Owner Jumpers, be divided, while the Low Amateurs and the Medium Amateurs Owner Jumpes with over 80 entries in each class not be split?
This pushes riders to take unnecessary risks, make mistakes and often fall in an attempt to get a piece of the the prize money. With 12 ribbons handed, one has to oftentimes beat over 60 horses to be in the top 10, and take unnecessary risks with their horse like leaving strides out and making unnecessary inside turns.
Why should this be, when the same horse/rider combination, once back home in the summertime can day after day be in the top 10 ribbons, since entries never reach over 25 horses? If ESP chooses to divide the Adults and Highs, then they should apply the same standards to the Lows and the Medium Amateur Owner Jumpers as well.
3.Give the Lows Amateur the same advantages in the GP ring as the Mediums, Highs, Masters and Modified horses.
Why does it take 10 weeks for the Low Amateur Owner jumpers to step foot in the GP ring in Wellington, while the Masters, Modified, Mediums and Highs show there on a regular basis?
The Low Amateurs for a solid eight weeks last year have jumped their Classic round in the Denemethy ring and while many other divisions have had a chance at jumping their classic in the Grand Prix Ring ring.
Oftentimes, a rider will switch and do the Masters if old enough, Modifieds, or even the Mediums to step foot in the Grand Prix ring. This falsifies results and once again does not equalize the jumpers in their division.
4. Apply the same rules in the Adult, Amateur Owner Jumpers and GP riders.
Why does a low amateur rider in Florida not be allowed for 30 days to jump a different horse in the Adult classes, while a GP rider is allowed to jump Low Amateur Owner courses every week, (win 90% of the time!), and jump the GP and Highs on Sunday.
This does not seem fair, and again, rules should be changed. Just like if a Low Amateur Owner realizes the low courses are too big, he should not be able to switch to the Masters one week, beat all of them, get to ride In the GP Prix ring, and go back to do the Lows in the summer.
There should be more detailed guidelines for the Low, Medium and High Amateur riders. After jumping 4’7ft, one should not be able to compete at the Low Amateur Level.
Although on a different horse, one would argue the horse he/she enters in the Low Amateur is “green.” But the rider is not green, and oftentimes beats on a regular basis the true green riders in the Low Amateur Owner ring.
Many other divisions like the 1.20m , 1.30m, 1.40m divisions and schooling jumpers exist for such riders who want to get their “green horse” around. They can aslo choose to jump their young horses in the 5, 6, 7 or 8 year old classes, created specifically for young horses. The low amateur classes should be restricted to true amateurs rider who can jump 3’11 to 4’1ft in Florida, and up to 4’3ft in the summer where shows do not offer the three heights of classes.
There has to be a national standardization of height and width in the Low, Medium and High Amateur Owner jumpers. For riders and professionals alike who train and find horses for their amateur clients. Why should the Low, Medium and High Amateur Owners always be guessing on how big, and how technical their courses are?
Why do most Low Amateur Owner Jumper riders in Florida be able to show in the Highs in Vermont, but not in Lake Placid?
Classes should be split after a certain number of entries, regardless or not if they have a sponsor, all jumper divisions should rotate rings throughout the show circuit, giving them all a chance to compete in the Grand Prix Ring for example.
Finally, there should be rules regarding the ability of a rider and the divisions he or she is authorize to enter. The amateur riders in this country represent the majority of the riders, sponsors and entries at ESP and shows across the country. They should have a voice and be heard, like all other division in the sport.
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