What if we “embrace” the “chasm”?

We all know about the current great divide and the issues of “show” vs “use.”  Fine.  I’m not going to beat a dead horse.  But I was thinking: the Arab people have the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals… what if we were to do something similar?  I don’t think it would solve the problem, but part of the underlying issue is lack of breed promotion to the outside, rather than just within our insular group.  It may be that promoting the Morgan as a sport horse would actually help to ease the tensions between the ideas of how the breed is represented – because we would be doing both.

It’s still just a very vague and fuzzy idea, but I would love to hear others’ thoughts on it.

10 Responses to What if we “embrace” the “chasm”?

  1. jj4osu says:

    I could be way off base here, but it seems that the chasm that was brought to the forefront this year has been in existence forever…and is pushed by those who are truly ANTI-show. It felt like the inclusion of “sport” horses on that side of the issue was simply a way to try and sway votes to their side by making the sport horse folks fell they are being slighted by the AMHA and the current setup.

    I would certainly have no issues with the proposed idea. It would be great for us, as we show primarily in dressage and are breeding/raising sport horses as well as more park type show horses.

    BUT, I think the AMHA could spend every promotional penny on Working Western, Sport, Lippit, etc….have Regional & National shows for each, etc…and that still wouldn’t pacify the group creating the uproar. Because lets face it, that group isn’t spending $$$ on ads like the show world (including dressage, lippit, etc), so the TMH is still going to look like a “show” magazine. And that group will still feel like outsiders, despite any efforts to include them…UNTIL all shows are extinct.

    Just my thoughts.

  2. leslie says:

    I think that the people who actively dislike show horses are a very small and very vocal minority. I think there ARE a lot of sport and trail people who are totally rational about the show horses, but they just feel undervalued by or indifferent to the AMHA. Those are the people worth trying to win over, IMO.

    I definitely love the idea of Morgan shows offering sport divisions, but they’d have to get entries or the shows won’t be able to justify keeping them on the prize list. Shows like New England and the GN can offer hunter/jumper, dressage, and carriage divisions because they draw from a wide geographic area, but I wonder if smaller shows could pull in enough entries.

    A lot of people who own sport Morgans have them because they were the right horse for them and the breed is inconsequential. Honestly, a lot of the dressage and eventing people I know think of “breed circuit” as a four-letter word. They’d rather spend their show dollars at a dressage show or a hunter/jumper show or a USEA event. That’s why I think the best solution is to run the sport horse divisions as a separate show held concurrently with a breed show. For example, have a one-day USDF show open to all breeds during a Morgan show. Give awards to the high-point Morgan for each level so there’s an added incentive. This requires a second ring and show officials, so it’s not easy or even practical in a lot of cases, but if a show was serious about attracting sport horses, I think that would be the way to go.

    Our breed just doesn’t have the numbers to do what the Arabian breed does. You have to remember that besides the fact that there are far more Arabs in the world than Morgans, they also allow half-Arabs at their shows. It’s a lot easier to fill a hunter/jumper division when Anglo-Arabs and Welsh Pony crosses are allowed in.

    BTW, on a related topic, I noticed the KYOVA prize list included a Morgan reining class. Does anyone know if that fills? Do any other Morgan shows (besides the GN) have reining divisions?

  3. Trisha says:

    Kyova usually has a decent turnout for the reiners. There are two different barns that I’m aware of that have multiple reiners that go. Gold Cup and Buckeye both have reining classes as well. Freestyle reining is the most popular at all three shows and usually has the most entries.

  4. mbk says:

    WNY Morgan offers an Open and Freestyle reining classes as well.

    We do offer a full carriage division as well.

    As to the dressage it is far more affordable for a Morgan show (with lower numbers) to run breed restricted as there is no need for a TD.


  5. leslie says:

    It makes me a little giddy to know that Morgan reining is alive and well. I’m determined to have a Morgan reiner one day. It may not happen for twenty years, but it will happen.

    For dressage, you’d still need a judge and a second arena. Would having more entries by allowing all breeds not make up for the cost of hiring a TD for the day, or are there other costs added by having an open dressage show? Does the USDF recognize breed-restricted shows?

    How are the numbers in the dressage divisions at the Morgan shows that offer them? Are any of the smaller Morgan shows offering hunter/jumper divisions?

  6. mbk says:

    @ Leslie,

    You are correct you still need ring space etc. with the open dressage…here in NY we never drew enough “open” horses to warrant the difference in costs.

    Personally as one that runs a show I would rather run a division for the breed then “support” the open division. JMO

    Yes Our dressage at our NY shows are USDF rated.

    At WNY we lost numbers years ago for actual hunter/jumpers…though we do offer a Hunter Hack division with Hi-Pt.
    The big problem for full h/j is the rental on the fences.


  7. leslie says:

    Dressage has the advantage of a scoring system where your score is more important/meaningful than your placing in the class, so maybe it’s not a big deal, but I know I personally hate showing in one- or two-horse classes. It’s just frustrating to spend all that time and money to go compete and then find no competition. So my thought with having an open dressage division wasn’t about supporting open dressage shows, it was more about just making the dressage division at a Morgan show more worthwhile to competitors.

    I’ve been told that you have to have more or different insurance to include jumping classes, so that’s why a lot of Morgan shows don’t. Is that true?

  8. mbk says:

    Not sure where you heard the insurance was different..to my knowledge that is not the case for Morgan shows to run over fences. Though it could be different from state to state.

    Again with the dressage there ARE different requirements for officials from breed to open. That is the issue if you still don’t have good numbers, the open regs. cost the show more money to meet.


  9. Well as a response to the need and desire to promote our Sport Morgans, there IS a Morgan Sport Horse show offered this year.

    The East Coast Morgan Sport Horse Classic Sept 9th and 10Th, 2011. in Doswell, VA. Just North of Richmond. Divisions offered include Dressage, Carriage (Open to all breeds) Working Hunter, English Trail and Sport Horse Suitability. $5,000 in Prize money to be awarded. The show is geared to showcase Morgan Versatility. Friday is a Novice show and also offers Western Dressage classes. The “Classic” begins Friday evening with Sport horse Suitability and all day Saturday. It is a USEF “A” Rated, AMHA 4 Star, Incentive Cup, Morgan breed show. All of our (6) judges are non-Morgan. The highlight and incentive to show is the Over All High Point Sport Morgan Award, taking home $1K, reserve award is $500. Prize money awarded in every division.

    This is a first show of it’s kind and I hope those who are grumbling about not receiving a fair share in AMHA promotion with their Sport Morgans come out and support this show. Even if you can’t attend, please consider sponsoring a class or division. For more information, please visit the website ecmshc.org or e-mail me directly, I’d be happy to answer any question you may have.

    Suzette Bodnar-Boisselle

  10. knr28782 says:

    Speaking as an enthusiastic Morgan owner who shows in the Dressage divisions at Morgan shows I must say I never have felt “dissed”. Management as well as other competitors are always friendly and helpful. Suzette I LOVE the idea of your September show and plan to be there-put me on the prize list distribution please-but I also love going to the shows where all types and varieties are represented. I just got back from Citrus Cup where in addition to having a great experience in the dressage arena with my own horses I loved watching the saddle seat horses,harness horses,etc. And as far as Nationals I have a friend who does Arab dressage and always does Arab Sporthorse Nationals and I always tell her I LOVE that ALL of us Morgan people come together for our National show. Whatever we do we ALL love Morgans and I think it’s great that we all come together once a year to celebrate that. Speaking as a Dressage person my victory pass for my Reserve World win at Nationals in the Big Ring was a highlight of my life and I’m thrilled I got to do it with ALL the Morgan folks there not just the Sporthorse contingent. I think balance is key-some shows geared just for the sporthorses but keep Regionals and Nationals open for all of us-Dressage to Park to Reining because I think we can all enjoy each others performances! Just my two cents!

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