HOYS - Showing the world that a lame and obese pony can be a champion

RachelFerd

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I don't think 'one foray' in any discipline is adequate to form such a strong judgement on the discipline as a whole, a broad discipline at that.
My NHOH banned me from ever doing it again (or at least forcing him to come and help again) as he found the entire show to be such an unpleasant experience. I did also back in my distant youth show cobs at county level - I didn't enjoy it then either. I'm fine with people having a nice time doing it. I'm not fine with fat horses winning, lame horses winning, badly trained horses winning, horses forced into double bridles which totally aren't ready to wear them, totally random subjectivity, bizarre turnout traditions and random views about outdated types that bear no relation to modern sport. I'm also not fine with people referring to it as a sport - call it a hobby, an art, a historical re-enactment society, a showcase, whatever - but a sport in the pure sense, it is not. And back to the original topic of this thread - that pony is not participating in a sport, is it.
 

ihatework

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Art. Skill. Discipline.
All valid descriptions of showing.
Sport it isn’t!

Mainstream equestrian sports all have their issues but I, on the whole, see supporters of those disciplines willing to acknowledge the shortfalls.

Yes there are people who enjoy showing who acknowledge the shortcomings there, but there are far more who vehemently use attack as a form of defence and can’t openly admit how bad showing is.

I don’t show. I will never show. Not because I couldn’t, but because I’m not prepared to participate in something so corrupt and anti horse welfare. And I’m more than happy to say that out loud, because I don’t have my livelihood on the line. The discussions I’ve been part to behind closed doors from people whose livelihood depends on the whole production-competing-selling-judging-clients type scenario is soul destroying (for them too!)
 

teddy_eq

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My NHOH banned me from ever doing it again (or at least forcing him to come and help again) as he found the entire show to be such an unpleasant experience. I did also back in my distant youth show cobs at county level - I didn't enjoy it then either. I'm fine with people having a nice time doing it. I'm not fine with fat horses winning, lame horses winning, badly trained horses winning, horses forced into double bridles which totally aren't ready to wear them, totally random subjectivity, bizarre turnout traditions and random views about outdated types that bear no relation to modern sport. I'm also not fine with people referring to it as a sport - call it a hobby, an art, a historical re-enactment society, a showcase, whatever - but a sport in the pure sense, it is not. And back to the original topic of this thread - that pony is not participating in a sport, is it.
I don't think there would be many horsemen and women who would dispute there are shameful examples in the discipline. As there are in most notably, dressage.

What I do dispute is you taking the broad brush approach and labelling the whole discipline as 'not a sport'. How can you compare a lead rein M&M class to a Cuddy working hunter final? Where arguably, the courses are more technical and beefier than a lot of affiliated showjumping. On top of negotiating the course, you then do a show on the flat and are assessed on tack, turnout and conformation. I know people who work damn hard to get to the top levels in showing. They work just as hard as those striving to aim for the top of any other discipline.

What about the Elite ROR series? Is that not a sport? Retraining a racehorse to present at the highest level and be foot perfect?

Just because your personal experience of something has not been positive, does not justify what you're saying. You seem to be completely blinkered.
 

RachelFerd

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I don't think there would be many horsemen and woman who would dispute there are shameful examples in the discipline. As there are in most notably, dressage.

What I do dispute is you taking the broad brush approach and labelling the whole discipline as 'not a sport'. How can you compare a lead rein M&M class to a Cuddy working hunter final? Where arguably, the courses are more technical and beefier than a lot of affiliated showjumping. On top of negotiating the course, you then do a show on the flat and are assessed on tack, turnout and conformation. I know people who work damn hard to get to the top levels in showing. They work just as hard as those striving to aim for the top of any other discipline.

What about the Elite ROR series? Is that not a sport? Retraining a racehorse to present at the highest level and be foot perfect?

Just because your personal experience of something has not been positive, does not justify what you're saying. You seem to be completely blinkered.
Yep, I've watched quite a bit of ROR 'elite' showing in person. As someone who is passionate about retraining racehorses for eventing, I found the entire thing rather odd to watch. It isn't a sport. It isn't unskilled (clearly there are lots of skills on show), but it isn't a sport. I'm not saying people don't work hard - you can work hard at things that aren't sports. You can work very hard at writing a book, or being a supermodel... still not sports.

PS - the whole bit where you are being assessed on tack, turnout and conformation is specifically the bit that makes sure that it is NOT a sport.
 

teddy_eq

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Yep, I've watched quite a bit of ROR 'elite' showing in person. As someone who is passionate about retraining racehorses for eventing, I found the entire thing rather odd to watch. It isn't a sport. It isn't unskilled (clearly there are lots of skills on show), but it isn't a sport. I'm not saying people don't work hard - you can work hard at things that aren't sports. You can work very hard at writing a book, or being a supermodel... still not sports.

PS - the whole bit where you are being assessed on tack, turnout and conformation is specifically the bit that makes sure that it is NOT a sport.
Agree to disagree on this one I think :).
 

humblepie

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You aren't really assessed on tack and turnout - there is correct tack as there is in dressage and most other disciplines. I must admit I love the traditional turn out - I think there is nothing smarter than a line up of quality horses (ideally thoroughbreds or hacks but others are acceptable!) with everyone dressed the same and the horses all gleaming and beautifully turned out. I love that the stewards wear nice clothes and the male judges wear suits and bowlers or dinner jackets for an evening performance. I haven't worn a top hat probably for 10 years and it is perfectly acceptable to wear a strapped hat in an evening performance and won't affect the placing.

As you say we all have our different likes and dislikes - there are issues in all disciplines and we all have to do our own bit to help things improve.
 

rara007

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Afaik there hasn’t been workers at Olympia for a very long time- if ever.
The 2019 worker winner is now a 7yo international eventer. Ie. He managed to win as a 5yo, professionally piloted of course.
I’m going to watch tomorrow and I do enjoy the show. I enjoy the little bits of showing I do, but keeping it as an experience for the horse or a nice day out or weekend away. Unfortunately the mini champion highlights for all the reasons why it shouldn’t be taken more seriously than that! You can’t argue that pony wasn’t lame by the lap of honour time. Be interesting to see how it presents in the next round.
 

Ratface

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My only showing experiences are those of entering youngsters (2-3 year olds) in little local shows, as part of their low-key education.
Occasionally, we came away with a frilly and once with a little cup!
 

Ambers Echo

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My only showing experiences are those of entering youngsters (2-3 year olds) in little local shows, as part of their low-key education.
Occasionally, we came away with a frilly and once with a little cup!
Me too but I never went back after I was told my extremely healthy 3 year old was 'too thin'.
 

millikins

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I thought showing was moving away from this The New forest and Highland look superb but this might have been under a more old fashioned judge
I watched the ridden Dales and the ridden Connies final and was pleasantly surprised by how not overweight they were. Shame that only one non grey in the Connie line up.
But that poor pony looks terrible, especially compared to his earlier photo.
 

Ambers Echo

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It isn't a sport. "Sport pertains to any form of competitive physical activity or game[1] that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills " - showing is equivalent to crufts. Working Hunters are a weird mid-zone - the thing that doesn't make it a 'sport' for me, is that you could produce the most well trained and athletic horse to jump clear around a WH track, and STILL not win, because the judge didn't like it's ugly face or wonky legs. Thus, not a pure sport.
As a slight side track - I actually think an element of subjectivity can or should improve horsemanship. Take SJ vs JwS. I see so many kids dragging and spurring whizzy SJ ponies around and winning because the ponies are fast and clever and motorbike roumd corners on 3 legs or jump sideways. But the standard of riding of the winning jockeys can be abysmal. But they win so they aren't going to stop riding like that. The ponies deserve better imo. JwS includes style scores and I think the better partnerships win. Hamfisted, whip & spur happy speed demons don't win and I am very glad!
 

RachelFerd

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As a slight side track - I actually think an element of subjectivity can or should improve horsemanship. Take SJ vs JwS. I see so many kids dragging and spurring whizzy SJ ponies around and winning because the ponies are fast and clever and motorbike roumd corners on 3 legs or jump sideways. But the standard of riding of the winning jockeys can be abysmal. But they win so they aren't going to stop riding like that. The ponies deserve better imo. JwS includes style scores and I think the better partnerships win. Hamfisted, whip & spur happy speed demons don't win and I am very glad!
I agree with you there too. But I don't think presence of subjectivity means that something isn't a sport. It's when subjectivity is applied to turnout and style, and judgement is given to the unchangeable conformation or 'type' that a horse is. I know that dressage scoring feeds huge discussion, but there is a weighty tome of FEI dressage judge guidelines which set out very detailed explanations of marks. I don't think such a thing exists for showing (and the huge selection of different associations all probably differ from each other anyway).

I'd personally love a world in which U16s competition all had a style and horsemanship marking element...
 

tristar

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(dons tin hat)

I watched the ridden welsh cob class at GYS and thought some of the stallions were hideous.

I get that stallions are expected to have a large cresty neck but I don't believe thst said crest should be wobbling side to side. Nor should they be blowing hard after trotting one circuit of an arena.

(crawls back under a rock)
no horse should blow during normal work, you are so right
 

ester

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the live vid I have seen is of lap of honour I think of class. (There's no one else in the ring to tell). I'm afraid I don't have a link though.
 

SEL

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Where is the video please, is this in the lead rein class or championship?
It looks to be lead rein but I can't find the 2021 video. There is one of the same pony from 2019 where he looks a lot better. I can't quite work out if that is just a really bad photo from a really bad angle, but I guess if people saw the pony on a video then obviously not!!
 

tristar

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I have just read the H&H report with the mini Mountain and Moorland champion and I am absolutely gobsmacked that the judge chose a pony with a topline comprised of fat instead of muscle. It has fat wrinkles on its wither and its topline is so faked through the use of side reins that its back and neck do not match. Was this seriously the best example on the day of a ridden mini mountain and moorland that it beat the rest?

I have little time and respect for showing because judging such as this causes a systemic stink in the system, and for me, animal welfare issues on the way they are treated. If you look back in 1970/80s at ridden ponies they look like mini TBs compared to today's bloated little puffer fish which are being marched round as examples of prime breed examples.

Showing continues to stick its head in the sand and judges are completely responsible for allowing this to go on. Showing is more corrupt than an Irish horse auction and that is saying something with the amount of shenanigans that go on at those. Nothing will change until judges unite and actually have some balls to look beyond who is riding/producing the pony and judge it on the best horse on the day. Moving fat horses down the line and having open marking. Dressage manages to have open marking. We might not agree with marks and comments but you either choose not to ride under that judge again, ignore it or improve.

Showing is a joke and it continues to be a joke in the horse world yet week on week H&H devotes pages to this ridiculous sport which encourages no true values of horsemanship.

The other thing which blows my mind is not a single show horse canters round straight, they all go quarters in. But that's a whole other annoyance.
agree with most of that, however on the irish auction comment i am still reeling from what i was told by the vendor of a horse, post auction, and vaguely wonder from time to time if the purchasers ``reste vivant``
 

teddy_eq

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It looks to be lead rein but I can't find the 2021 video. There is one of the same pony from 2019 where he looks a lot better. I can't quite work out if that is just a really bad photo from a really bad angle, but I guess if people saw the pony on a video then obviously not!!
I don't think it's the best photo in the world...
 

Elf On A Shelf

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Afaik there hasn’t been workers at Olympia for a very long time- if ever.
The 2019 worker winner is now a 7yo international eventer. Ie. He managed to win as a 5yo, professionally piloted of course.
I’m going to watch tomorrow and I do enjoy the show. I enjoy the little bits of showing I do, but keeping it as an experience for the horse or a nice day out or weekend away. Unfortunately the mini champion highlights for all the reasons why it shouldn’t be taken more seriously than that! You can’t argue that pony wasn’t lame by the lap of honour time. Be interesting to see how it presents in the next round.
If you are passing by the TopSpec arena around 3.20-3.30pm cheer on The Wee Coloured Job! I can't go and I am absolutely gutted because I couldn't get the time off of work! But his new family have worked so, so hard with him the last 2 years and qualified for the M&M Junior Ridden in his 1 and only HOYS qualifier to date at only his 6th ridden show. He is an all round pony who goes hacking, xc schooling, beach rides, show jumping etc so isn't a molly coddled show pony by any stretch of the imagination!
 

Elf On A Shelf

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As to RoR's the racehorse Champion yesterday has a Wilkie "snaffle" in as a bridoon. Most of those lead rein and first ridden ponies will have had Wilkies in too. I think it is time that showing came back and used only dressage legal bits rather than letting, what are essentially Gags, be used by children and as part of a double bridle.
 

teddy_eq

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As to RoR's the racehorse Champion yesterday has a Wilkie "snaffle" in as a bridoon. Most of those lead rein and first ridden ponies will have had Wilkies in too. I think it is time that showing came back and used only dressage legal bits rather than letting, what are essentially Gags, be used by children and as part of a double bridle.
I can never understand why people put wilkie's on lead rein ponies, a lot of judges don't like it either.
 
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