Item #3- what are the chances?!

Does anyone have an idea on the support for and against Item No. 3?  What are we up against here? Is there a chance it passes? Internal polling?

-Michael E., VA ( Please Vote NO on Item No. 3)

19 Responses to Item #3- what are the chances?!

  1. leslie says:

    Just to clarify, this is the term limits one, right? A yes vote would remove or expand the current term limit. A no would keep them at the current limit of 15 years.

    I don’t have a strong opinion on this, mostly because I still don’t understand what the AMHA directors do. I just waded through some of the documents on the Members Only section of the website and I still don’t really understand. Obviously there are a lot of members (and former members) who are unhappy with the board. I’ve heard it called a good ol’ boys (and girls) club. Is that a widespread perception? Can someone give a reasonably concise explanation for what the board does?

  2. Vintage_Rider says:

    No….It is not on just term limits. Please go to the below video to understand all the ramifications to item 3 and pass the site on to your friends/peers. It is a dangerous proposition.

  3. Vintage_Rider says:

    By Laws and responsibility of the board:

  4. RaeOfLight says:

    There’s been no formal polling that I know of. But the subject has been discussed at length on this blog here: and here: Both those links contain good, fuller summaries of the proposed changes. In general those who have chosen to comment on this blog have been against it.

  5. leslie says:

    Oh, THAT one. Y’know, there are four issues on the AMHA ballot this year, and I can’t find a description of what they are, just that the board has endorsed all of them except 3.

    I’ll be voting against 3 for all the reasons that have been discussed ad nauseum on here already. But, about a week ago I did talk to some other AMHA members who support it, which was interesting, because I hadn’t really heard that perspective before. Basically, they feel that something needs to change because the board is perpetually skewed toward the A-circuit show people and doesn’t represent the recreational owner. I pointed out that if they’ve set foot in a Morgan show ring in the past three years, or if they’ve bred a horse who has, then they’re still going to be considered show members. They conceded that it’s not perfect as written, but that it’s a step in the right direction because something has to change.

    I respectfully disagree that this is a step in the right direction, but these are reasonable, sane people who own and/or breed Morgans in a variety of jobs, including show horses, so I have to believe their feelings on the issue aren’t totally biased or without merit.

    Which brings me back to my previous question. I muddled through the job description of board members, and skimmed some meeting minutes. Honestly, most of what they do seems mundane and non-controversial. So, I guess I can reword the question from “what does the board do?” to “what has the board done to piss off a large chunk of the membership?”

  6. Leslie, early on in the discussion of the by law changes, I (and others) asked for supporters of the changes to speak up. We heard nothing. I cannot find ANY on-line blog that discusses the point of view of the persons who want these changes. GoMorgans has nothing at all on the subject. We are pretty civilized on this blog and if we had someone lay out their point of view, I think it would get a respectful hearing. Yes, many of us realize that the A-Circuit is over-represented on the board and has been for years. The suspension of the gingering rule, shoe bands, false tails are all indicative of a board that seems dominated by those who show and who seem to have lost sight of the very negative impression on the general public that such practices have.
    That being said, dividing the breed into two completely separate camps seems to be a terrible idea. There seems to be an actual distaste and even intense dislike for SHOW people which is reflected in the language used (particularly in the initial version). Most of us do not feel that way at all about recreational users and are very happy to cheer on our trail riders/endurance riders/WesternWorking Morgan people. We participate in these events when we can, but we also love to show our horses to our highest level of achievement in a setting where we have to compete against the best that other riders/horses can do. Most of us don’t ride for the ribbon, we ride to do the best we can. We are all aware of the abuses, but we believe the positive effects of reaching for a goal of excellence outweighs the negatives.
    Should we have a more representative board? Damn right. I have to ask, however, whether any non-SHOW board electee can be trusted to work with the AMHA rather than use their position to file suit after suit and bleed the breed to death. Many non-show people proclaim they only have the best interests of the breed at heart, but their means for “saving” the breed seem to involve “destroying the village”. I have heard more than one recreational Morgan owner express their heart-felt conviction that AMHA needs to be completely broken up in order to save the breed.
    We need a more representative board, clearly. All those angry persons out there need to be heard, but this is not the way. We need some people of good will on both sides of this conflict to come up with a better system of representation.
    The SHOW people present the Morgan to a large section of the public. They are the primary support of the magazine. The show Morgan saved the breed in the 1940s. They must be a part of this breed going forward. However, I contend with equal conviction that the recreational/open competition/using Morgan owners are going to be the source of growth for our breed in the future (if we are to have a future). They are person-to-person contact with the initial Morgan rider/owner in so many settings-on the trail, in a riding school, at an open fun day, in a carriage drive. These are our best ambassadors for people who “just want a pretty, sensible, do-everything horse” but who do not have a fortune to spend at the Class A/Grand National level. These Morgan owners are invaluable to our growth as a breed and we need to hear their voices.

  7. leslie says:

    You’re preaching to the converted, Chris! But no, I hadn’t heard any supporters here or anywhere else. My conversation with supporters last week was in person, not online.

    “The suspension of the gingering rule, shoe bands, false tails are all indicative of a board that seems dominated by those who show…”

    I’m going to display my ignorance of the process here. I didn’t think rule changes were the BOD’s territory. That’s the USEF Morgan Committee’s job, right? (Are they board members? Appointed by the board?) I wouldn’t expect non-show people to be USEF members, so certainly they’d be underrepresented in that process, but doesn’t that sort of make sense?

    I understand and agree with your point that a lot of the rule changes that have made our show ring less “natural” (loose use of the term) and more, well, Saddlebredy, are bad for the breed as a whole. But how do you include non-show people in the affairs of the USEF, an organization that exists solely for competitive pursuits?

  8. Very good point, Leslie. I am not completely sure how such rule changes are presented to the USEF committee for adoption, but I believe the breed organization/BOD are where the proposed rules originate (or am I wrong?) The USEF Morgan Committee does not have the power to originate these rule changes, do they? If they do, and the membership does not have input, maybe some of the anger out there is justified.

  9. smskelly says:

    Rules for Morgans at USEF shows…. The Morgan Rules Committee is appointed by USEF. It may propose rule changes, and any individual USEF member may propose rule changes. Morgan rule change proposals go through the Rules Forums, where people may comment and vote on whether they want the rule change to be enacted or not. The AMHA board hears the rule proposals, and like a rules forum, gets to vote on the proposals. The Morgan Rules Committee then brings the rules forward to USEF, who considers the input from the forums and AMHA board before making a final decision on whether or not to accept the rule change(s).

    And on “false tails” – this is NOT allowed in the Morgan show ring. MO105.3:
    The use of supplemental hair on the horse is prohibited in any class restricted to
    Morgans and shall result in disqualification from the competition, and all entry fees and winnings
    of the entry for the entire competition will be forfeited.

  10. Thanks for the useful explanation of the Rules. I apologize for being unclear. I know that false tails are not allowed at the present time, but there has been a proposal that they be permitted.

  11. leslie says:

    Is anyone who attends the rules forums allowed to vote on the rules? And then how much weight do those votes have? Anyone know? The way the procedure is written, it seems like at the end of the day the decision lies with the USEF committees, regardless of what else happens along the way.

    You can look at all the current proposed rule changes on the USEF’s site:

    Off-topic, but there’s one in the Morgan section about limiting shank length on curbs in the hunter division. There’s also one bringing shoeing limits in western to the same level as classic. These seem like steps in the right direction.

  12. smskelly says:

    Yes, anyone who attends a rules forum is allowed to vote.
    There was a supplemental hair rule change suggested, it did not pass.

    The USEF board has the final say, but they seriously consider the input from the USEF Morgan Committee, which includes the results of the rules forums and the AMHA Board’s vote, along with comments. If the USEF board feels that the Morgan community does not favor a rule change it is highly unlikely to be enacted.

    We (the Morgan breed) are very fortunate. We are one of the (very) few breeds that accept membership input on rule changes.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Earlier this year I submitted a rule change to the USEF Morgan Committee. It didn’t make it for the 2010 rules forums, but I’m happy to see it now! It is a simple process of completing a USEF form and submitting it to the Committee contact person. Mine is for the hunter pleasure class specifications.

  14. dressagemorganrider says:

    but but but …. didn’t one of our JUDGES have the embarrassing incident with a false tail falling off one of his horses that was being shown? False tails are out there and stuff like this does not help our breed’s reputation.

    I show dressage, and have very little interest in showing at Morgan shows…. It seems too expensive and artificial and completely out of the question for someone who wants to trail ride their horse as well as show. My horse is a better ambassador for the breed competing in open dressage, and going out on the trails. I don’t think dividing the breed is the right thing to do, though, and killing the AMHA with lawsuits won’t help anyone.

  15. jj4osu says:

    “I show dressage, and have very little interest in showing at Morgan shows…. It seems too expensive and artificial and completely out of the question for someone who wants to trail ride their horse as well as show.”

    I abosolutely cannot understand this position. We show primarily dressage. We trail ride our show horses, fox hunt them, seldom hit any open shows due to confilcts on all the ones around here, but do hit a 2-3 daydressage clinic where its mostly WB/TB types at least 6-8 times a year, and they all love our Morgans…but we still show at Morgan Breed shows when we can..usually at least Regional & Nationals, and try to hit one or two other breed shows in the region….and generally not just in dressage, but hunter pleasure, and show our nice youngsters in-hand. You know what, I bet there are park folks out there that take their show horse trail riding occasionally.

    We believe it is important to do both…be an ambassodor outside the breed, BUT also be a part of our breeds shows and work with and enjoy those who show in disciplines that don’t really lend themselves to open competition.

    Thankfully you are not for the division of the breed being proposed…BUT those who are pushing it are sure trying to get your demographic by the way they’ve framed the proposal. Its not a big step from “very little interest in showing at Morgan shows” & ” ARTIFICIAL and completely out of the question for someone who wants trail ride their horse as well as show” all the way to the point of view where the Morgan breed show crowd has no relevance to me and I’m not represented and need to change things, etc. Thats what they are hoping for by including SPORT horse show folks (STILL A FREAKING SHOW!!!) on their side of the division.

  16. smskelly says:

    Is it fair to the association, the members, or the breed itself to create a division within our (admittedly very small) breed? I find it unfortunate that the proposal assumes that a person ONLY does this or that with their horses.

    Yes, many show horses do other things during the non-show season, from trailriding to pulling a sleigh. Many people who show in carriage, dressage, reining do in fact enjoy bringing their horses to the breed shows. And the spectators and other exhibitors enjoy the opportunity to see these different disciplines.

    Our breed, and our people, are versatile. If a person chooses to concentrate on one discipline, that does not mean that they don’t participate in others, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they aren’t aware of the others.

    I only see negatives in this proposal – division, which the breed and association do not need and will not benefit from, and the loss of regional representation, which is certainly not in the best interests of the membership.

  17. Vintage_Rider says:

    It may be foolhardy to trail ride during show season with the full show shoe package, but I trail ride western and hunt horses throughout the season. I also know some dressage riders that would cringe at the thought of trail riding at ALL…. Viva la difference!

  18. leslie says:

    “I find it unfortunate that the proposal assumes that a person ONLY does this or that with their horses.”

    That’s kind of my biggest beef with the whole thing. Most people do lots of things with their Morgans, especially if they own multiple horses.

    The proposal creates a two-party system. We already know how well that kind of system works out.

  19. dressagemorganrider says:

    Agree that a lot of “serious” dressage horses never see the outside of an arena, but I am not talking about that… just someone who shows in Training to Second Level or so. Some of the dressage trainers I know are finding that there’s a huge, untapped market for LL horses who also trail ride, and this is a place that Morgans would be perfect.

    There’s a Morgan schooling show in my general area that does all-breed dressage classes one day, and then pleasure-oriented Morgan “show” classes the next day. I just may take my horse to that one and stay over to put us in hunter pleasure/eq on Day 2. Hopefully we will not get laughed out of the ring.

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