First year green eventing?

I’m sure it’s been discussed before but I can’t find a thread: I don’t fully understand why USEA doesn’t have a “first year green” equivalent division for eventing. (I don’t think forcing people to level up is the solution for horse or rider, by the way)

At my last show I saw senior riders ranging from those on ex prelim horses, to riders who’d been competing/winning consistently at that level for 15 years and who had won the AEC for that level too, to people with lime green babies with AAs at their first comp. The seniors were split in two groups - A and B - without apparent intent to split instead by horse experience, rider experience or combination.

What’s the current thinking on that? If smurfs are supporting the base of sport it doesn’t feel like a big ask to pit relatively equal competitors against each other, if there are enough entrants. No doubt ribbon costs are among the lowest line items for event organizers…

It’s less fun spending wads of cash on a competition when you know you’re very unlikely to actually be competitive. And I don’t mean “a ribbon for everyone” just a slightly more level playing field?

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Everyone is equal out there on the XC…

Feels amazing when you beat an Olympian :slight_smile: I like to compete against competitive classes though, that’s the fun for me!

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I get what you’re asking… but some people won’t. My SO’s first experience with eventing he asked something similar: he didn’t understand how the $800 TB I brought along myself could be in the same class as the $50k ex-Prelim import who was produced by an UL eventer and shown by a professional. But that’s eventing. We all like to think that XC separates the wheat from the chaff, but the reality is that it’s dressage that does – at least at the lower levels.

There are days I love that I’m competing BN while rubbing elbows with the world’s best on their fresh babies or client horses. Then there are days I feel really defeated and ask myself why I even bother going to the one or two recognized events I can afford a year, put in a solid performance on all three phases with no refusals and time penalties, only to get wiped on the floor by not one but six Ivy-League Susies on their 75k Cooley horses – and not even place.

But… that’s life. You either like it, or you hate it and quit, or you hate it and you learn to live with it.

No matter how much we try to level the playing field, it just won’t ever happen in a way that will still be objectively feasible to organize, and financially feasible to patronize. There will still be people out there on horses better than yours, with more experience than yours, or riders who have ridden all over the world. I think this diversification helps keep eventing from leaning too much into the HJ model.

If we picked and split, I suspect it’d be a slippery slope and before long we’d be paying 2k in show fees for one weekend just to show against fellow amateurs. Professional riders would be a whole 'nother category, and they wouldn’t get the brunt of the fees – the floppy amateurs would.

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Depends on how you want to look at it.

I can be a triple threat one day, and be a complete bag of poop another. I’ve won and I’ve been eliminated. Just because the rider is on a Prelim horse doesn’t mean they are going to win. The pilot has to be capable and usually when they’re a senior, there are nerves, they could be someone just getting back into the sport after a 15 year hiatus. Horse could’ve gone prelim and sidelined for years. You can’t go into a show worrying about who you’re competing against.

Shows are meant to be a benchmark in our training, see where we’re at. You’re competing against yourself IMO.

But when you beat an olympian on a green horse in a lower level, it sure makes you feel good!

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I try to tell myself this but I don’t always find it meaningful to measure my completions as a standalone – because part of objectively quantifying your progress is measuring yourself against your peers. It can be hard to measure your progress if you aren’t placing – even if you are finishing on your dressage score. Ask me about the time I finished 8th on my dressage score of a 35, while 1st and 2nd had time faults and a refusal XC respectively.

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I definitely do not disagree with what you’re saying. I completely get it, I have to tell myself that its based on my feelings of results that day and the horse I had that day. I also have a horse that is either in it to win it or in it to throw it all out the window when he’s not feeling it. Maybe because I’ve had so much lows… my highs are held just a little differently.

The new dressage scores suck. You literally have no room for error. Which is great for those that can lay down a sick dressage and go double clear, but not what Eventing used to be like.

Eventing is extremely hard on a good day. Especially for us Amateurs who don’t have the sharpest eye, who don’t have the infinite funds to have lessons weekly or be in a program. I think it hits those of us who are scraping by much harder then the ones who just show up and have a horse ready to go.

When I have a bad day, I also look at the results and go, if I was clear in everything where would I be? Usually I’d be in the top 3 every time, but that’s Eventing, again. I went from 3rd in the Prelim a few weeks ago to being eliminated at the 8th fence on cross that came out of nowhere unexpectedly. Believe me, you’re preaching to the choir of constant failure here, who keeps dusting themselves off and getting back up and going again (and currently asking myself why I do this). I sit here and watch people who easily soar up the levels, at least so it seems. Social media is absolutely awful for those of us that struggle. But I know everyone has their own story, everyone has their own struggle at some point. I’ve just been lucky enough to have a ton of struggles LOL. This is why I base my show on myself, because I’d be further depressed if I got upset about who I was riding against.

If I was competitive in the level I think it would be a different outlook/feeling.
You know my most memorable outings have been the worst results, but it’s more so because I completed seriously tough tracks and I’m proud of that.

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It does suck when the horse you’re riding that day doesn’t want to play. Sorry to hear about your Prelim run. Jingling your next outing is fun and successful.

I am definitely on the fence on whether brackets for amateur divisions, green horses, etc, should be introduced. I get where people are coming from and I’ve lived it myself, but I worry about how it would impact the sport in terms of its cost. It’s already so expensive.

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Eventing offers sections for exactly this situation.

Rider section (EV Appendix 3 1.4) “Open to competitors who have not completed an event above the next highest level in the 5 years preceding the date of the competition, e.g. a Novice Rider may have completed an event at Training level, but not Modified or Preliminary level or higher in the 5 years preceding the date of the competition; a Training Rider may have completed an event at Modified or Preliminary level, but not Intermediate level or higher in the 5 years preceding the date of the competition.”

and a Horse section (EV Appendix 3 1.5) “HORSE (H) - Open to competitors of any age, horse may not have completed an event above the next highest level. e.g. a Novice Horse may have completed an event at Training level, but not Modified or Preliminary level or higher; a Training Horse may have completed an event at Modified or Preliminary level, but not Intermediate level or higher.” for exactly this reason.

If organizers near you are not offering these sections, you can ask them to offer them.

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OP is asking for splits beyond Horse / Rider division.

Well what’s the cost/benefit?

Costs: Person hours at a computer to divide the greenies out from the highly experienced (or done by computer), and ribbons?

And the benefits? Customer satisfaction, increased entries. I am sure even ONE more entry would pay the cost per division.

And I really identify with this: “there are days I feel really defeated and ask myself why I even bother going to the one or two recognized events I can afford a year, put in a solid performance on all three phases with no refusals and time penalties, only to get wiped on the floor by not one but six Ivy-League Susies on their 75k Cooley horses – and not even place.”

That is what stops people entering. Running events is a business, and if your customer feels they don’t have a chance no matter how hard they try, they stop buying what you’re selling. We want competition, not spending $1000 and feeling hopeless, right?

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We already are! I’m an AA and the pros go in the Open divisions.

I would be so firmly priced out of the sport if a show entry was $2k :scream:

I miss the old COTH emojis. Really need that “eek” emoji right now. Surely you are not paying this now??

I get what you’re saying though. The Horse / Rider / Open doesn’t really sufficiently “protect” the average amateur from pairs that have significantly more experience, or prevent a first timer greenbean from being added to a class with horses that have competed at or above that level for the last six years. Not sure what the solution here would be but very interested in hearing workable ideas.

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They are not, and I will! :+1:

NOOO! I was referring to “Professional riders would be a whole 'nother category, and they wouldn’t get the brunt of the fees – the floppy amateurs would.”

Ohhh! Gotcha. I meant like a whole 'nother category to discuss. But that’s my fault for wording it that way. I’m thinking about how some big jumper shows and HJ derbies are done here… They are very, very expensive to enter.

But they also have prize money.

One thing about everyone competing along with the good or very good is that it does raise standards over all. The poor and average have to up their game and become good in order to have any chance of being competitive. Eventing is particularly unforgiving of poor riding. Maybe impose a minimum below which professionals may not compete or have to run HC?

From my observation, only as seen online, so welcome to tell me I’m totally wrong, the endless subdivisions of hunter classes has lowered riding standards such that today I was watching a Very Big Name in horrified fascination thinking “Put her over any xc fence and she would just fall off” but she obviously thrives in her world.

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Then why waste money on ribbons and awards and AECs? :wink: It’s a competition! Who is best? Let’s all get together and celebrate them.

Yes I definitely look at MY scores and say hey - see how we improved XYZ and get a great deal of satisfaction. But I could also stay home and do that without any of the expense and hassle. We go to shows to compete against others :slight_smile:

well that’s a whole other topic! :smiling_imp:

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In Canada we have Junior, Senior and Open. Juniors do not have to be in open ever, even if they’ve gone 2/3*
We definitely have the seniors that are on the horses made for them, but that’s the point of being an adult amateur if you having the funding. If I could afford it I would buy something easily going just to make it fun, but I don’t have those funds. My journey automatically becomes different because of this.
I think it would be harder as a junior to witness the wealthy child on their $45k packer while I was on the $1000 OTTB (which they don’t even come that cheap anymore lol).

Entries are expensive, add on top coaching, gas, trailer if you don’t have your own, and food. A day is easily $500 I feel like. Hence the lack of ability to afford lessons if you want to compete a couple times a year.

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The addition of more division will not increase entries. That is a VERY poor argument. All it will do is turn eventing further into the hunter/jumper show that it is going. Look at the A shows. They offer a different division for every 3" of height and rider category. And they are failing to attract sufficient entries. Additionally, because of all these divisions, riders ARE getting priced out and leaving the sport. Look at the kerfuffle between WEC and USEF.

The sport has already gone too far down the H/J business model where all money is targeted at the top riders and competition venues. People are too invested in the concept of a ribbon as a defining moment as to relevance and ability. I left the H/J world because of what happened in the 80s and 90s and now it is happening here. There was a time we could go from dead last in dressage to top 5 after XC. But now XC is really a stadium jumper course with groomed terrain so it has less and less effect, especially when they killed off the multipliers.

Adding divisions is simply trying to get more blood out of a stone and to give everyone a participation ribbon. If you don’t want to ride against pros, enter the Rider division. If you only goal is to get ribbons, do the work or change your approach.

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