Part of me hates how dumbed down all the divisions have gotten - and that part of me wouldn't really mind if shows went back to starting at 3' for the lowest option. However as a floppy Adult Ammy, I also really like being able to bop around at lower heights and still chase satin so I don't really complain about the current structure.
|(winning all the floppy-ammy-awards)|
For non-Hunters who get confused by all the weird names for our (weird) divisions, here's a quick, down and dirty summary of the "Green" divisions limited by show experience. There are some funky details but for most intents and purposes this is what you need to know:
Baby Green - Open to horses in their first year of showing, regardless of age. Fences set to 2'6".
Pre-Green - Open to Horses in their first two consecutive years of showing at 3' or 3'3". Horses can NOT have ever shown 3'6" or higher. You can switch between the 3' and 3'3" divisions at different shows. (USHJA National Derbies limit the high options at 3'5" so that horses don't cross the 3'6" threshold.)
First Year Green - Open to horses in their first year of showing at 3'6" or higher (fences are 3'6")
Second Year Green - Second year of showing 3'6" or higher. Fences set to 3'9"
Lots of horses (regardless of discipline) aren't capable (or safe, or maybe even sound) showing at 3'6" or 3'9" so for some, trying to make the First Year Green's is a huge reach goal. Of course there are plenty of Open divisions at every height (even 2'6") so you can always continue to show a horse at a lower height, even once their experience prohibits them from staying in the "Green" divisions. In fact, at some shows I think the competition is stiffer in the Greens since those tend to be the fancier, fully campaigned horses - whereas the horses who hang around 2'6" or 3' forever may not have the same quality as a horse moving on to bigger and better things...
Anyway, I knew literally nothing about any of this when Prair started showing over fences, so here's what our record looked like:
Prair's first show over fences was a schooling show in July of 2012 where we showed over cross rails with no fill. In September, we ventured to a B show where Prair showed in the Baby Greens and I took her in the Long Stirrup. We did awesome on the flat, but nearly died over fences.
That was the end of our 2012 how season - one schooling show, one outing at Baby Green.
In 2013, because Prairie had shown the previous year in the Baby Green's, she could no longer compete in that division. We could still show the 2'6" open divisions (and maybe we should have), but instead we showed primarily in the 3' Pre-Greens with considerable success.
|Pre-Green Champ, and Zone Finals|
No matter. 2014 saw the start of Prairie's second year of eligibility for the Pre Green division, and we started with three weeks down at HITS Thermal.
Well the mare was a bit... nervous. So we stayed low at Thermal (2'6" and 2'9") the entire time. When we came home and started the Spring season locally, Prair showed a full week in April in the 3' Pre-Greens before the mystery lameness started. She had one more show at 3' in May, with mixed results before we dropped her back to 2'9" in June to log some good, relaxed miles. July saw the return of the mystery lameness so we skipped all shows in July and August and now we're staring down the barrel of more stall rest and an uncertain recovery time.
A First Year Green horse in our barn was also out for a chunk of the season and when her owner opted to take the rest of the year off she applied to "reinstate" her mare's First Year Green status for 2015.
Intrigued, I spent some time on the USEF website and looked into what was involved with reinstating Green status. Basically, the reinstatement process exists so that if your show season is cut short (for one reason or another) and your horse had minimal experience, you can repeat that year of eligibility - like red shirting in the NCAA. There are some intricate details, but the basic qualifications are not having shown more than 4 times at whatever height you are trying to reinstate, and not having shown that height at all after September 1.
So, for Prairie, I wouldn't have been able to reinstate her Baby Green Status since even though she only showed that height once in 2012, it happened after September 1.
But this year I can reinstate her Pre-Green status since she only showed 3' twice (before September 1) and she won't show 3' again this year.
I don't want to jinx Prair's recovery by planning for our 2015 show season, but reinstatement applications have to be processed in the year that competition occurred. So basically I can't rely on waiting and seeing if we'll need it. Really the only downside of applying for reinstatement is the $100 fee... Which I guess I'll just consider a donation to USEF (sigh).
I'm pretty sure that the reinstatement process exists for two reasons. 1) to keep owners happy (since horses are expensive and get hurt and screw up the best laid plans). and 2) to make USEF a little more money.
I'm fine with both, and glad that if we're able - Prair will get to play in the Pre-Greens one more year in 2015.