Have you read your emails from USHJA lately? The annual meeting is fast approaching, I have no doubt it will be a lively one, (it has been a rough year) and there will be heavy discussion, I can almost guarantee it.
One rule change proposal addresses Hunter Breeding, a struggling division at best, as we all are hearing day in and day out.
The rule suggests enforcing a One Handler to One Horse/Pony per class per show. Have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous? This is actually being proposed?!
If this doesn’t bother you it should….
I get to ride multiple horses in the hunters. You do, too. Jumper classes as well. Kent Farrington became number 1 in the world with multiple rides. Multiple rides for a professional is not unusual. It is called business and being a top jockey.
I get to watch Scott Stewart ride multiple horses in classes at shows.
I get to watch an open gate for ten minute because of multiple rides for a professional in a class.
I have had the classes stay open so that I may show all six of my horses in a class.
THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.
What is next? One horse per rider for every other class offered at a horse show? How’s that going to go over?
Who is going to walk up to Scott and say sorry, pick your favorite one, you can only ride one today in the Pre-Green Incentive Finals. Or sorry, Liza Towell, you can only ride one horse in the Derby Finals. We just feel your owners should do a better job of delegating to different jockeys……
uhhhhhhhh, my head just exploded with the thought of this.
Who can jog a horse for Scott Stewart when he is only one person? A groom? Do you think the groom should have a USEF number to jog a horse? Is that a serious question?
I am not offended by a non-USEF member jogging a horse back in the ring to check for soundness.
Do the two relate?
Yes they do. I can understand why one handler will want to show all of his or her horses in the appropriate classes, then hand the horse to a groom or helper to hold for a final pinning. It is called horse showing.
Is this a personal thing? For me? no. For the perception of sport? Yes. I am seeing something like a personal attack on a specific handler who wins too much. Or has too many rides. Get over it. Some people are better than you. Sometimes I win more than you, sometimes I don’t. But now you want to make a rule for me to keep me from doing my job?
If this proposal goes through, we are finished with hope. I will give up. I can’t look at this happening and think this association will survive. I hope it is no longer even a discussion by the time I get to San Antonio.
Instead of placing more restrictions on a struggling division, try leniency for a change. Try introducing proposals for reducing costs for Hunter Breeding. Try answering the breeder’s pleas for help. Try offering more prize money. Try a mentorship program. TRY ANYTHING to help breeders get a stronger foot hold in this country.
Look at the sport for what it is – our future. Placing strangle holds on exhibitors because they win too much is not a philosophy which should be supported by the USHJA. Don’t like the fact that Heritage Farm produces top winners year in and year out? What are you going to propose? A rule which says they can only bring one equitation horse to a Final?
If the Devon horse show would like to restrict handlers from having more than one horse in a division, that is their right as a horse show to keep everything moving along. We have also seen special Grand Prix classes limited to one horse per rider. But that is a decision made by horse show management, not a rule put forward to the USEF.
I hope all of our members read through the rule change proposals. Because if sweeping changes across the board are going to start with the Hunter Breeding classes, we could be in for a helluva ride.