Plaidcast 338: Colleen McQuay by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services

Plaidcast Episode 338 Colleen McQuay


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Piper speaks with Colleen McQuay about how she has helped to change and grow the hunter sport in this country. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!


  • Host: Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse Magazine
  • Guest: Colleen McQuay, along with her husband Tim, own and operate McQuay Stables, Inc. in Tioga, Texas. As a rider, Colleen earned numerous USEF hunter championships while also competing at the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) events. Colleen is a six-time Congress champion, with numerous AQHA World Championships. Over the past 25 years, Colleen has trained both horses and riders to numerous wins and championships. Colleen served as a founding board member of the United States Hunter Jumper Association and a founding member of the USHJA International Hunter Derby. Colleen is also a founding member of the Super Series Group, pilots of the Texas Pre-Green Super Stake Series. After launching the Texas Pre-Green Series, Colleen was instrumental in the USHJA’s launch of the Pre-Green Incentive Program in 2013. Colleen also serves as chair of the Hunter Development Task Force.
  • Photo Courtesy of Colleen McQuay
  • Title Sponsor: Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (THIS) was founded in 1987 to provide specialized insurance for all types of equine risk. THIS places their policies with the highest rated and most secure carriers, meticulously selected for reliability and prompt claims settlement. THIS is proud of their worldwide reputation for responsive and courteous service, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your equine insurance needs and provide you with a quote.
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This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.

Piper Klemm 
[00:00:32] This is the Plaidcast, I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of The Plaid Horse magazine. And coming up on today’s show, episode 338, I’m going to be joined by Collen McQuay. This episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. 

Piper Klemm [00:02:56] Colleen McQuay, along with her husband Tim own and operate McQuay stables Inc, in Tioga, Texas as a rider, Colleen earned numerous USEF Hunter championships while also competing at the American Quarter Horse Association AQHQ events. Colleen is a six time Congress champion with numerous AQHA world championships. Over the last 25 years, Colleen has trained both horses and riders to numerous wins and championships. Colleen served as a founding board member of the United States Hunter Jumper Association, and a founding member of the USHJA International Hunter Derby. Colleen is also a founding member of the Super Series Group, pilots of the Texas Pre-Green Super Stakes series. After launching the Texas Pre-green Series, Colleen was instrumental in the USHJA’s launch of the Pre-Green Incentive Program in 2013. Colleen also serves as chair of the Hunter Development Task Force. Welcome to the plaiddcast, Colleen. 

Colleen McQuay [00:03:49] Good morning. Thank you for having me. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:53] I think a lot of people that come into the sport to see see how it is now, which is very natural and don’t understand how things came to be. And when I talk to a lot of young people, especially or new people to the sport, it seems like the Hunter Derby is an institution that’s been around forever. But that’s not exactly the case. Do you want to tell us a little bit about how long people have been jumping these tracks and kind of what the motivation was and how we evolved to this point? 

Colleen McQuay [00:04:26] So actually Ron Ganta and a group of people had meetings in Wellington prior to me even being in Wellington showing around 2007, 2006. And that was kind of a part of the Hunter restructure that was headed by Geoff Teall originally when all 100 people got together and said, we need we need to put some life into hunters and create new reasons for people to show hunters. Our goal was to try to create spectators and eventually sponsorships, etc. So that’s how it all started. It was just meetings in the homes in Wellington and some of the original high end Hunter people developing this concept semi thinking about the days of the Hunt tracks, etc., but also thinking about how to present it to where it could be livestream and more appealing to today’s content. So it’s been since 2008 that the derbies have been in play. 

Piper Klemm [00:05:43] And and prior to this, there was no kind of crowning achievement for hunters at the horse show. There were a lot of great divisions, but like something like the Grand Prix, I think something we struggle with in Hunter Jumper Sport is that we don’t know what what a big competition is. If you ask ten people what’s the biggest competition all year, you’d get ten answers. Whereas in contrast, something like the Superbowl, we all know the Super Bowl is the biggest football game of the year. We all know that Land Rover, Kentucky is the biggest, you know, maybe the Maryland five star right now. But we have one or two big eventing championships in the U.S. If you ask our people, jumper people, I quotation people. What’s the biggest one that you would get so many different answers. And then we have that issue down to like a structural level that at any given horse show you could say what’s the most important division? Or if you watch one Hunter class, should it be? And prior to the Derby, we didn’t have that one one answer, and now we do. 

Colleen McQuay [00:06:46] Right prior to the Derby and even up to today. There are certainly prestigious horse shows that the normal divisions create a lot of excitement and high credentials, obviously capital challenge and certainly the horse shows and that’s probably going to remain because it is a tradition and those producers is such a good job of making it special. I think the fact that we have livestream for all of our major events nowadays makes a big difference in our audience and promoting what we do. And so I think that’s made a big change for us over the years. Just like now, I’m in Dallas, but Carly’s in Devon, and so I get to watch. I still get to be a part of the horse show. And in the past that didn’t happen. And I think that also makes a big difference as to what our audience is and how we educate and market our sport. So after the Derby started, we started the green incentive, as you know, and that started in 2012. And we combine those projects and as most people know, it’s been held in Kentucky at the horse park in the middle of August now since 2012. So those two right now, I think our marquee event for our sport because of what they are and what that formula is, but also because of the money that is paid out, which is also drawing new attention to the sport. 

Piper Klemm [00:08:30] Let’s talk about that prize money again, kind of prior to you to the derby, there wasn’t a standardized place where where real prize money would be offered to the hunters. As soon as Derby competitions started, we saw people chasing the International Derby circuit around and in a new way, going after that prize money. There was a lot of excitement in the Hunter Sport right out of the gate for it. And then now we’re seeing Hunter Rider as we have one Hunter rider that’s earned over $10 million. We have I’d have to check the numbers, but I think it’s almost ten or we’ll cross over to be ten riders this year that have crossed $5 million and earnings and mechanics. What’s the most recent rider to cross $5 million in earnings? These staggering numbers are all out of these programs. So can you talk a little bit about the need for prize money and then how prize money shaped at a normal horse show compared to kind of the pay and for the incentive and International Derby finals in August in Kentucky? 

Colleen McQuay [00:09:39] Right. It’s it’s amazing to me. It’s only been recent. I stepped out of the management part of it for a little bit. And when I came back in to help, I looked at the numbers and I even myself was amazed. I mean, amazed that that we have a $10 million rider and we have several $5 million riders that we’ve noted and even a lot of million dollar riders, which is a lot of money for the Hunter world. And when we began the program, and particularly those horses that jumped three, four and three, three were earning significant money that was never available before, which answered the question, you know, how do I afford to how does the average person afford to to raise and develop and show young hunters and great peregrine hunters? So it’s to me, it’s had a significant impact, too, for a lot of our owners and riders and trainers. And I think that helps draw the media. When you talk big numbers, the media goes, Wow, I need to look at this. And I think that’s what’s happened in the ah, preliminary rounds in the pre green have been significantly $40,000 classes. And the numbers that you know play out at the at the Derby and the green incentive are very impactful in our sport. But I think mostly it’s helped people like me play the game because we have at least a chance to, to help pay our expenses, but it’s brought more value to our horses as well. The same original group that did the restructure created the system for. Money won. So we started tracking the money won on our horses and our riders, which was not done prior to the early 2000. And that’s created another whole history for our sport. Now, now, riders use that number as credentials for their career, just like just like we do in the reigning world. That’s a huge part of the reigning world as well. But also on the horses, I think it’s really interesting to learn what horses have earned in their career and in fact, they earned it with different owners or different riders. And of course, if they go back to the breeding barn, that that’s part of their credentials as well. So that’s been an interesting ride, I think, for all of us and those of us that track it can appreciate what’s going on. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:23] Tell us a little bit more about how the rating world informed the payout system. I sat at Derby finals this year and really read up on it more them than I had in the past to really understand the payout structure. And it’s absolutely fascinating. And the fact that there was a whole vision for this and did all the paperwork and all the math and all of the all of the moving parts of it, it was just so impressive to to read about and and execute year on year. 

Colleen McQuay [00:13:00] Well, it’s. It’s funny because Tim and I are like second generation of the reigning world. We have. During our beginning years, the roads were gravel and very bumpy, trying to produce and promote and make a living in the reigning world. The three year old fraternity was the the biggest event and really the only high paying event. And even that does not have the numbers it does today. So we were part of the pioneer group, just like the Hunter Group did before me. And during my initial participation, I kind of consider as pioneers because we had to develop a lot in the real world. And through that process we learned to develop levels of rider eligibility, which helped keep the assistance in the game. And more horses in the game. So the Rangers show today with five levels of payouts. They ride their eligibility is based on their annual income. The highest being level for the entry level being level one. And then they have actually they have a senior bonus one for they call it prime time, but it’s for riders over 55. They have a bonus section, even though the formulas had to be developed and how to pay that. And each event similar to ours can create their own formula, but it’s based on enrollment and then for eligibility of the horses and then entry add back and their entries are B, the big classes are paid 2 million. The entries are probably 16 to 1800 and but that makes two eligible for whatever level the rider is eligible for. And once that formula is set, then the offer is just, you know, there’s a percentage that goes pay you all for 100,000 in a class and you dedicate 75,000 of it to level four, which everyone’s eligible for. Then, then you take the rest of it and you dedicate it to the other levels. So as I said, each horse show can do that and then the officers figures out the percentage in the payout is determined based on the number of entries and the add back included. But the leveling system for eligibility is what would help me with creating the care system for the Derby. Because what I learned in the reigning world that if you only have the top of the game level for four riders to ride it, it’s discouraging for the intermediate typewriters or the entry level riders. And when you have an entry add back process and an enrollment process that promotes. More participation in order to create a bigger purse. You have to figure out how to appeal to the newer professional, the younger professional, the professional that’s not at the top of the game. Otherwise, they think, well, that’s just so-and-so’s game and it’s not for me. Does that make sense to you? 

Piper Klemm [00:16:36] Absolutely. And you know, yeah, if you have someone who dominates and in any sport, they almost always say they like, suck the oxygen out of the room and make it harder for other people to grow and and develop and and hone their craft because it’s it is discouraging. I’ll never ride like X, like, why bother trying verses, you know? Yeah. Ira, I’d like paper, but there’s prize money out here, and then there’s a tier system that can make this worth it for me. 

Colleen McQuay [00:17:04] Yeah, it’s it’s we have we just completed the whole show that we created all these formulas and that’s called the Nurturing Breeders Closet. We just completed that this year and we had huge increases again, just because of what our world is doing in the horse world, I think. But the non-pro grew by 50 horses, the open horses grew by 50 horses. And that was that’s an unheard of growth over a one year time. And so what that alluded to was almost was over 500 entries in our classic. And what we do in our world is we divide the open classic and the non pro classic and the money is divided and then paid out according to the levels. So then that the amateurs do not that do not compete with the open riders on a normal basis they can, but on a normal basis they show in the non pro and even though they can show in the open, it’s just that it takes now it takes me to 50 horses in the non pro so they just focus on their thing and we have a lot of very high level riders and competitive riders in that. But with that said, as in any sport you will have a top tier that that are phenomenal and there are always going to be that because they get the best out of their horses, they have the most talent, they have the ability to to to show under pressure all the pieces that you see in the rain sport in in the Hunter and jump sport. Why do you think we have so many of our teams with so many of the same people? I mean, you have a gift to make them jump. You have a gift to handle that pressure. Same thing applies in the hunters. And it for me, that’s never going to change any any sport is going to have that top level that’s hard to get around. And it’s not just because they maybe have money or they have customers that have money, it’s because they ride that special, in my opinion. They ride that special. They make the horses more special and that’s great and that’s great for our sport. And that’s what we all love to watch and see. But we also like to see new ones being developed. And so by having the tier system, it gives that new group a chance not only to help finance what they’re doing, but to gain that mileage and recognition and the credits to move up the ladder. And it has worked beautifully in the reigning world. And it’s the only reason our numbers stay up and the money is as big as it is. And I think it’s worked in the Hunter and Trumper world in the beginning, as you might know, people didn’t understand it. And sometimes, just like the reigning many years ago, the top people go, Well, wait a minute, you’re taking some of our money and giving it to somebody else. I don’t know if I like that so much. But soon everyone understood the process and they especially understood it when they were tier two rider and they got involved with. The Tier two section of the Derby. So sometimes it takes a while to get people to understand the process. But if if I was asked and we were really looked at dedicating more of that effort into studying the tier levels, I would maybe even say there is room for another tier, but I’d want to study the statistics. 

Piper Klemm [00:20:56] And as you alluded to earlier, you know, this has a big impact on the breeding and for so many reasons. But I think this is a huge part of it. We are seeing an absolute explosion in U.S. sport, horse breeding correlating with the popularity increasing of of the pre game and the International Derby. 

Colleen McQuay [00:21:16] Right. Right. There’s a there’s a pathway now. There’s a channel, there’s an end goal. And through the process, there’s a way to to win some prize money, which, as I said, puts credentials on your horses. And I think the U.S. will always struggle to catch up with Europe or even compare to the numbers in Europe. But certainly we have the ability to have the same amount of quality, and I think we already do with some of the farms that are being developed right now or have been. Ironically, we just had a meeting with some of the breeding people regarding is it time to connect the dots between the actual breeding and the breeding committees and owners, etc., to a pathway into the green incentive? So that’s actually a project that a project that we’re working on right now. We’ll see what happens with that. Um, I had some ideas about that because ironically we’ve had to do some of that tie in some pieces to an already existing program in the reigning world. And so it’s always interesting to me how things parallel in in many cases the jumper world is ahead of the the reigning world and remains ahead of the reigning world. But in the enrollment incentive programs, the reigning world has about 25 years on the 100 jumper. And so like I said, it’s interesting how things parallel in horse industry, especially these two sports. 

Piper Klemm [00:22:54] So you talked about the beginning days of reigning. Where were you? You had to build it if you wanted it, and you brought that kind of pioneer ethos over to the Hunter Jumper community. You know, I talked to so many people that they really get discouraged by things that they don’t like or it seems hopeless. And and I’m always saying to them, like, get a group together and fix it. Like, that’s the only thing that’s ever changed our industry. And I use you and your whole group of, as you mentioned, Jeff Teal and Ron Dante and so many people. I think there are, what, about ten, 10 to 15 people in that kind of original group that were a big part of these conversations and having dinner in Wellington and discussing and looking at numbers and looking at statistics like, what would you kind of say to people who see things that they don’t like or see something that they think might work or, you know, how how do we get people who grew up with a ton of infrastructure to still embrace that that pioneer and improvement vision that that you had basically by a requirement. 

Colleen McQuay [00:24:03] You know, it’s funny because that that’s really the world we live in. That’s America. I mean, you you have so many opportunities. Maybe they’re not easy to achieve, but, you know, Tim and I are supposed to be retired and I still it’s not a part of me to just do nothing or not have a project or not have a vision or a goal. And and so it’s it’s easy for me to say, okay, well, this can be improved and this may be how we do it. It’s not easy. Piper, I don’t need to tell you, because not especially not for profit. Governments are very cumbersome, very cumbersome, lots of layers. You have to respond in answer to a lot of people that maybe are don’t have skin in the game that you’re interested in. And so it’s a long, cumbersome process. But what can be done and is being done is what our managers are doing. You know, they’re creating events now that fit their region, their style, their show, their time of the year, whatever might apply to them and their clients. And they’re doing I think a lot of them are doing a good job at presentation. And I know what we tried to in Texas and have been, I think relatively successful is working together. I mean, I’m just an exhibitor that is on a consulting group for the South on show management, and they’re awesome to work for. And in fact, you know, the girls that work for the Super Series group and work in other areas of the country helped develop it. And I always say to myself, as well as everyone you can produce if you surround yourself with the right people. If you have the right people that that have the energy and the connections and the ability to produce something, you can make it happen. And, you know, you and I could give lots and lots of examples of that in our industry as far as changing rules and changing eligibility or age groups or anything that applies to a specific to like the amateurs. I’m sympathetic because we have a governance structure that is very slow and very cumbersome. And I don’t you know, I would have to get back into the governance structure, too, to determine. How and if and when that could get fixed. But as I said in a meeting the other day, our sport, both of our sports raining and the hunters and jumpers has changed dramatically in the last three years. Dramatically. The numbers, for whatever reason at many, many places, are giant, especially during our circuits in the winter, etc.. And, you know, our our exhibitors are demanding. They know what they want. They want the live stream. They want the live scoring. They. I mean, we’re a fast moving sport right now. And so the governance and the producers need to approach it the same way. You know, maybe our three year moratorium is not correct anymore. Now, we need to you know, maybe we need to be able to tweak our events or our projects within a year’s line. I don’t know the answers without studying that. But I when I what I would say to people that are disgruntled is find the right people to surround yourself with and you’ll have a chance of coming up with solutions. But it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work. If, for example, if you’re going to talk about the controversial thing about amateur owner versus amateur rider in the Hunter world right now, that I mean, my ears are open. But you’ve got to study in every part of the country, your numbers and your client, and you have to involve your clients along the way before you can make any kind of formula or make any decision. And that takes time and that takes a lot of work. Time and work. And that’s that’s what people need to realize. You know, you do it. You study everything everywhere and then therefore can develop an opinion or a direction. But my. Even me, I can’t have an opinion on that without doing my homework. And it’s going to take time and homework. So that’s just you know, that’s just an example. And there’s a lot of things that the jumper people do that I love it and have influenced us as hundreds of people that develop hunters. But it’s also different because it’s not subjective, it’s not judged subjectively. And so there’s a very different attitude in that group and a feeling and comfort zone and etc.. And what the jumpers have done is obviously been quite successful over the years and there are areas that we can follow their lead and there are areas that we may have to study of of deeper before we make a change in the Hunter world. Interesting, though, I have to say, I was in some meetings at Wellington regarding how can we beef up the excitement at the main hunter ring over, etc. And it’s always interesting to me, Piper, how the exhibitors, writers, you know, want more, need more, decide that the management is not doing enough. But if you come up with a discussion on, well, how about if we change the format of a basic to visit, you know, for example, how about if there’s a hunt and go in one of your, your classes and you know, how about if you do three classes so that you can do a specialty class, or if you come up with all of that, they’re like, Oh, no, we don’t want to change what we’re doing. It was somehow we just wanted to be more fun and better. Well, you see what I’m saying? You know, you’ve got to be willing to make changes in order to have change. 

Piper Klemm [00:30:21] Absolutely. 

Colleen McQuay [00:30:22] Yeah. It’s interesting to me how those kind of. We had a great meeting. Dave Burton is awesome. Louise Serio. She’s the driving force for, you know, staying on top of the game for the hunters. And, you know, that’s one of the things we talked about. And we have some ideas that I think are going to present the Hunter ring a little more. But then you also run into the fact that at the major winter circuit, we are very spread out with a lot of rings. We are subject to weather. And also our our hunters, they do too much as it is. So in order to do something special, you may have to make choices, not show all the division or two divisions or. And that’s another thing. You can’t ask for something different and then not be willing to do something different. And that’s a little bit of the crossword. I think that the hunters are out right now with their their weekly divisions, etc.. You know, like like Carly said, I wish we had two classes out of the division that were handy. And, you know, obviously that makes it more challenging, more fun. And, you know, you could turn one of the classes into a hunt and go format sort of to make it more fun. But you you’ve got to be willing to make a change in order to make the change. So anyway, my. 

Piper Klemm [00:31:48] My perspective on this is a little bit. Like that we so select for the type A personality in the Hunter ring. Which I’m not. So I very much notice this… Then kind of what you’re saying, like they’re not people who are amendable to change because we’ve kind of selected for this group of people who’ve loved their routines so much. 

Colleen McQuay [00:32:12] Yeah, it’s it’s like we hunter people we want to improve our judging system and we want to, you know, talk about this in our education and everything else. But then really we don’t really want to make a change in it, so. Okay. Again, you can’t make a change unless you make a change. So it’s interesting. But the good news for me right now is and I felt this in the judges meeting for the trainers the other night, I feel like we do have a large group of people who are opening their ears and want the conversation and are willing to at least compromise in some areas. And and that’s that’s promising to me. That’s making me feel like it’s worth doing the work. And you know that that’s a start. That’s how you have to start. I mean, the 100 breeding people, which was think differently than the the performance, the Hunter performance people, they think a bit differently, but at least they’re talking about how do we tie this together? And I have some ideas that could help both groups and we’ll see what happens. But, um, I feel like there is some, some feeling in the air now, like we had 15, eight years ago where people say, Yeah, we need to get together, we need to have these conversations, we need to update. And while we haven’t really come to firm decisions, we’re talking at least there’s a recognition and you first have to recognize the issue before you can come up with solutions. And so I feel like that’s the beginning. 

Piper Klemm [00:33:55] I feel the same way. I totally get the sense that we have not had in the last decade that people are really all ears and listening and thinking and absorbing data sets. And I feel a lot of pressure to keep producing data sets. And that’s what we’re really working on this summer, is how can we feel professionals with as much data as we can so that as these conversations happen, you know, it’s easier for people to pull from from different data delineations because there are so many things in the sport that like what you think people think or what you think is important. When you sit down with the data, it is not what your preconceived notion was. I mean, that happens to me all the time. 

Colleen McQuay [00:34:38] Exactly. Exactly. And that’s like we have to track right now how many horses are showing in the six and seven year old young hunter that are not eligible for green? Because that’s a big question I have as far as how we mesh the programs together. And we can’t do that. We cannot make a decision without tracking those numbers and knowing what reality is. We can’t just go on how many horses are recorded as six and seven year olds that doesn’t have the information we need. So we have to fine tune that tracking a little bit. And, you know, I don’t need to tell you that any time we do anything in any horse world, you have IP questions and issues and what’s available and all of that. And so, you know, people need to understand it’s just it’s hard to make it happen overnight and. It’s especially hard when it’s only when it’s a government owned project and it’s nobody’s fault that he’s doing anything wrong. It’s just the process. It’s the machine. It’s a slow moving, cumbersome machine. So different than the two projects I own. You know, we can I can pull the team together and we can make it happen. And certainly within a month, much less within the years, you know, Showtime. But when it’s a different vehicle to different vehicles like drive a semi into a parking spot, it just doesn’t always work. So that’s always hard for me to deal with because I when I see the path, I want to make it happen. And it’s it’s hard, you know, and especially when I’ve had experience in the other world or even in my world of the super secret squirrel, you know, I just know how we can make it happen. But it’s hard for me to be patient and I know I need to be because as I said, it’s not that somebody is doing something wrong. They’re just following the protocol of that, that big, slow moving machine. And, you know, that’s the world we live in right now. But. The one thing I will say through this process over the last ten years, 15 years, again, organizations paralleling their mindset and their direction with the respect that we need to bring in new people, we need to bring in regional people. We need to be transparent about how they’re elected and all of the above. So. I’m not even familiar with the US HCA board right now, but we in the training board. It got so spread out and people got elected. Basically, regional elections are popularity contests and people that are available might be great people, but they don’t have skin in the game and they don’t have mileage. And so it’s very difficult to address the current issues of the sport if you don’t have mileage and you don’t have boots on the ground and you don’t and you’re not, and if you’re new and you’re quiet, it’s hard. And then it’s even harder now when we do everything on the phone. And like our world, you know, we tend to kick the older people to the curb because you’ve done your time, you’ve had your day. It’s my day now, which I believe in, that 100% support that 100%. But I’m still going to call my biggest adversaries, much less my teammates from the past, because they’re the ones that have the mileage, the experience, and they’re also the ones that are going to say no or yes or what about this or what about that? And that’s what I think we’re lacking today. We’ve lost a lot of our founders, basically the founders of the origin of the USA Today. And we don’t have their voice and their voice doesn’t have a vote. And I think that slows our path even more. So I’m continuously encouraging at least sidebar task forces that could swoop in on their knowledge and experience and their, I guess, bravery, if you will, to, you know, say what needs to be said. And we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I have promoted that in this with the junior, the Young Hunter process, because I for me, I want the young Hunter founders. I worked on that group, but I know the people that did all the work and then revamped it to where it was correct. And those are the people that need to be involved. If you can’t do this without them, I mean, I don’t know why you would. You need them and you need their information because they did what had to be done and. Again, you know, like they’ve said over and over and over, you’ve got to surround yourself with the right people in order to get the right answers. 

Piper Klemm [00:39:49] I think it’s such an interesting point of view. You purposely pointing out that you’re calling people that you know won’t agree with you and hearing them out and hearing their opinions. And I was thinking about you know, how many times you call me and tell me I’m wrong or I call them and I’m like, what do you think? And they’re like, You’re wrong. 

Piper Klemm [00:40:09] And people, I like and respect and still have dinner with and still say hi to at the horse shows and we’ve lost as a society. It’s, it’s, it’s not unique to our world, but this ability to not take the same side but like respect you know the overall right. Yeah. And I think so many people are afraid to be told that they’re wrong. And and I like the word bravery here because it doesn’t feel good. I mean, I’m not going to say it feels good when someone I respect either calls me or I call them and they tell me that I’m I’m wrong and I’m doing everything wrong and I’m ruining it. But that that’s part of change and part of this process. And we can’t make good change unless we truly consider everyone’s vantage point. 

Colleen McQuay [00:41:02] Yeah, well, it’s also part of education. And I don’t care how old you are, we have to continue to be educated. And what better way than to, you know, talk to the the founders or the group ahead of you and what’s been developed in our sport. And, you know, I had to give a speech years ago in the reigning world. And my my dad taught me this when I was quite young. I mean, you know, you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. And don’t be afraid of the people that disagree with you. And, you know, some of my best advice was for my adversaries, because they would make me go back and dot the I’s and cross the T and and answer the questions that they had. And, you know, I reference is so clever. I don’t think she’ll mind because I always respected the first only knew of our as a judge because I was going on the West coast and I always respected her but I was always afraid of her for years. And and as a lot of my seniors and not seniors and seniors in their experience, in their success. But she has been my best advisor for many, many years. I mean, I got to work with her and Louise and Jeff when they invited me in on their projects. And, you know, again, I started out being afraid. I mean, I was afraid to get on your podcast. I mean, it’s it takes courage to use your voice and you have to have mileage and experience and you have to be willing to step out there and say, okay, this is what I think. And, you know, talking to all those people that helped develop the USA Today, I always looked at them as heroes in our sport and so successful and so above my my level of participation. But getting to work with them, those 14, 15 years was the best part of my life because they are so smart, so dedicated, and so willing to, you know, to get through the process. And we would not have the green incentive if Susie was not in charge of that committee, because basically she just told us all to write checks. So we get it. We had the money, the back up, put, put where our mouth is. And we did. We had a large group of people that wrote checks to kick off the green incentive to prove to the USHJA that we would finance it. And it’s been a self-financing and money project. I mean, it’s it’s it’s finances itself. But my point being, you know, I still call Suzi all the time. I don’t get to see her as much and Geoff and all of those people because whether you agree with them or not, they are they really are on your side because they’re going to tell you how they feel. And I love that in a person. I love that you can tell me I’m wrong all day long. But, you know, don’t don’t give me smoke and mirrors. I don’t like that. Just tell me. No. You know, then at least I know what to do from there. So anyway, that’s my my generation, I guess, is a little more like that. I think now we live a little bit in the I call it the oh well generation. You know, if my horse has a jump down in there and they’re all going, Oh, well, I’m thinking, oh, well, I’m going to see how high that jump was down and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But it’s different. It’s a little bit different today. And I need to I need to find more patience for sure. 

Piper Klemm [00:44:50] And I do think that’s that’s a good point, because for sure, like I call all these people to ask their opinions and my heart thumps when the phone’s ringing, they all scare me. Still, as much as I want to hear what they have to say. And I think that that’s like respect, though. I mean, and that’s something we’re losing a little bit, too. I think the fact that like I want I think that’s wanting to make a good impression. I think that’s horse show nerves. It’s kind of the same, you know? 

Colleen McQuay [00:45:22] Exactly. Yeah, exactly. 

Piper Klemm [00:45:25] Yeah. And I don’t walk away from a conversation saying, oh, well, either I’m like, okay, how do we make something that benefits? And most people, how do we have this discussion so that it’s productive and we go around and around and around on, on how to have discussions because, you know, there’s no reason to, you know, anyone can write an article that burns our sport down. I mean, I think very few people can write an article that talks about something constructively and tries to make our sport better. And it takes a lot of a lot of effort and a lot of interviews. 

Colleen McQuay [00:45:59] Right. Right. And I feel, you know, when you ask me, what do you say to people that don’t like what’s going on? And the first thing that comes to my mind is, are these people willing to go to work? Because if you’re the person that wants to come and play on the stage that someone else built with money has to hire 100 people or even 30 people, etc., etc., etc.. If you’re if you’re the person that just comes in and wants to reap the benefit and then tell them how they’re doing it wrong without a solution or contribution, that kind of person is not going to bring value to the table. And unfortunately, often those are the kind of people that have a big loud voice about what they’re not happy with. And I’m going to work with anybody that has an opinion as long as they’re going to work with me to find a solution. And as I said, do the homework, etc. And if you have a problem at a horse show, you have to understand you are in play. You might have a good idea, but you can’t go to a manager or a technical coordinator or a gate person or whatever and say, Well, this is all wrong. You need to do a different you’re in play. You can’t change the rules of the game in play. If something needs to be fixed, there’s still a process. Something could possibly be changed within a day or fixed within a day. But you have to understand the process and not have a seat at the gate. I mean, you have to be willing to go up the channels, go through the right process and understand. Connect the dots. I mean, maybe there’s a truck parked over there because there’s a reason for it. You know, find out the reason that things are happening and then you can find out the solution. And most people don’t do that. I mean, they just complain about the judges or they complain about the designer or the pudding or, you know, whatever. All of the above. And granted, we are spending a lot of money and granted, we should have a lot of voice. But there’s a time and a place and a way to do it. And I think that’s the reason that most managers in the country don’t mind it when they see me coming. You know, because I have talked to managers and I have asked what about this instead of that? And ultimately they end up inviting me into the conversation instead of because I have a I might have a solution sometime or a suggestion. And I think there’s a lot of people that are like that and feel confident enough to go to the managers and. That’s just part of the way I operate. Because know, because of the reigning world, I put on more shows and. Many years ago. We put on schooling shows when I still lived in Minnesota. And so I have just a tiny, tiny taste of what it what it’s like. So I have an appreciation for that. And I know what it’s like to try to hire 75, 80 people to run a show or show and rely on your staff, etc., etc. And you just have a better understanding and you have some empathy for what’s going on. I mean, it’s a it’s a tough gig. And, you know, for example, our horse show, the ratings show increased tenfold because we moved from Houston to Tulsa. And it was very sad to do that, but it was just needed. We outgrew that facility, and because we’re in the center of the country, I think we attracted way more people. But now, I mean, because of the numbers and the new clientele, we’re going to have to tighten our belts. I mean, our rules are going to have to be more strict, growing rules and just protocol in general. And so the world and the event sort of makes those things come into play. And I know we’re going to get pushback on some of them, But, you know, we’re going to try to explain things in advance because we have a newsletter that goes to our people and hopefully will will get it to work. But it’s all about change. It’s just about change. You’ve got to face what’s happening in your field today.

Piper Klemm [00:52:37] Yeah, it’s about adding value. You know, something I say on the phone like a hundred times a day that people say what when their making fun of me is, How are you adding value to the chain? And it’s looking at a situation and saying, like objectively, am I adding value? And as you said, like complaining at the gate, you’re not adding value to any that you’re not adding you’re not being a good role model. You’re not adding value to the show because it’s not the time or the place. You know. And and I think that that’s it’s taking a holistic approach of of not just me and not just my show experience and not. 

Colleen McQuay [00:53:13] Right 

Piper Klemm [00:53:13] Is it right for me. Right. You know it’s and I think the amateur hunter debate it you know it’s a lot of what’s right for me it’s not a lot of people looking at the entire data. You know, it’s fine. I’ve worked to get up to the AO’s for like 15 years and I just got in. And You know, I for sure empathize that that like, Oh my God, I just made it. Why are we talking about changing the rules, but that’s about me and that’s not about the good of the sport and that’s not data driven. And so like, really, really looking at that, everyone holistic. Am I adding value to the situation? How do you add value to a situation? And and I think thats. 

Colleen McQuay [00:53:58] I love that phrase, love that phrase, adding value, How are you going to add value? And that’s that’s so good. We need to coin that phrase. 

Piper Klemm [00:54:07] And that’s big or little like you picking up your trash after yourself is adding value to the horse show day. 

Colleen McQuay [00:54:15] Exactly. 

Piper Klemm [00:54:16] Little things they add up and big things add up, too. And you know, you’re adding value might be making sure that the people around you are well fed or caffeinated. You know, it doesn’t need to be these grand gestures, but like, we’ve lost this sense of community. And I do think some of that is is covered. And that’s like being forced to being so isolated and so individualized. But we need to make a conscious effort to to look at the value of our whole community and how how what our individual roles are in that. 

Colleen McQuay [00:54:49] I think one of the I think yeah, I think one of the biggest hurdles that we face today in in our governance structure, our creative structure, is that we don’t meet face to face anymore. And for me, that’s huge because if you’re timid, you’re really going to be timid on the phone. And if you’re on the phone, you don’t know, you know, in some meeting who’s taking notes. How are the notes transcribed? Are the notes transcribed exactly to the point that you thought you got to. It’s and I again, I’m not blaming anybody or. Anybody doing anything wrong? It’s the nature of the world we live in today. Everybody’s in a hurry. Everybody’s got a huge schedule. Nobody wants to donate three days, much less a week. And that’s what we used to do. I mean, we used to have two and a half day seminars or workshops on a specific item and literally hammered it out and then would break for lunch and then hammered out the more and then break for dinner and hammered out some more and actually come to a solution or a path that we then pushed up the ladder and we don’t do that anymore. And that is a big tipping hole in our business. And again, I understand it. Everybody’s going way more. Our schedules are way harder. But but it is definitely weakening the system. It is definitely weakening the system. And I don’t know that it will ever change. I don’t know. I I’ve tried to promote more face to face during six months of of Wellington, and we we didn’t get a lot done like, like they used to. So I don’t know if that’ll ever come back into play, but certainly. You know, there was there’s a there’s a project that I’m on that I would have driven Joel Coen that there and that would have proven to a met in Wellington and conceivably like we used to, we used to go to get on an airplane and go meet and hammer things out and. But we just don’t do that anymore. And that, I think, is causing a lot of our problems. That’s how things are falling through the cracks. And it’s just very difficult on the phone. Very difficult on the phone. And and then in some cases on some projects, we’re not meeting enough to where it stays fresh and the momentum stays. And, you know, but it’s it’s the same way in the reigning world. Everybody’s doing everything the same way. So I don’t know that that will ever change. And maybe, you know, if people will ever even do it again. I don’t know that maybe the younger generation might not feel they want to donate that time. I’m not sure. But I do know that’s how we got everything you see on the table today in the Hunter world. Not everything, but a large part of what you see today is by hammering it out face to face. And our board meeting seems to be that way, too. 

Piper Klemm [00:58:04] Yeah. Yeah. And then you know who’s in the room and who isn’t. You know, I was on a call the other day and I was like, I’m pretty sure someone else is listening, but I can’t figure out who, You know, like. 

Colleen McQuay [00:58:14] Exactly 100%. I mean, that’s that’s another piece of what we’re doing. I mean, we are everybody always talks about confidentiality, which, of course, that’s logical. However, I’ve asked several times, okay, what what’s the line on confidentiality? Because for me, I need to go outside of this box and do my homework. I need to go talk to people and vet this conversation, this proposal. And I can’t do that if you’re saying I can’t talk about it. See what I’m saying? I mean, so that’s it’s a it’s a ha. Again, I’m not pointing fingers or blaming anybody particularly. It’s the system that our governing bodies and our horse worlds are living in right now. And it is a problem. And that’s why I think the there’s a new director of judges, we call it a director of judges, because the the reigning or association has a working judge’s group. And then they have a full time employee called the director of judges who, you know, basically is like a liaison. That’s a bit of a director and that’s a working group. And they they receive all the videos that come in and questions. And if there’s any bad reports and all, they vet everything before it goes up the ladder to be determined by the hiring committee, whether they lose their card or go back to school or there’s a process is what I’m trying to say. And we don’t have that in the Hunter jumper. What the USA chair does not have a a judges group. They only have we only have the the license official in the U.S., the F and that group is very overloaded with just the education process. And trying to bring it up to date, etc., etc.. And keep in mind with these projects, you have a lot of IP work, a lot of film editing. All of that people don’t understand doesn’t happen overnight, but it can be a process that becomes way more efficient than what we have it. And so the director judges for the reigning very bravely brought her part of her committee, part of the judges that judge the National Reigning Breeders Classic, which had just happened two weeks prior and invited all the trainers in the area, which in in our area, it’s like living in Wellington. You have probably they’re even moving here from Europe. They’re probably the top 20 money earners are in this area live here now. So you can imagine what that room was like. And I said to her, I said, Patty, you have a lot of courage and I respect you for it. And they were organized. They presented themselves well and they educated the crowd while they took the criticism. And this is just an interesting note. They passed out judges cards to the audience, which was also high level trainers, and said, okay, I’ve got six runs for you to judge here and we’ll see how you guys do. One of the biggest complaints from the exhibitors and the reigning world is that the judges have five point spreads without necessarily without penalties. And that was a big argument and a big conversation. And so after they collected their cards, that they. And audited what they had done. The audience had a five point spread also. Very interesting to me because I’ve said for years that the system is a very good system, but the system allows that to happen because of how it’s built. And so it’s all in how you use the system. Do you give that maneuver zero or do you give it a half In Either way, you’re not considered wrong. So conceivably you can end up with big spreads because it’s still subjective. But my point to it to that statement is that group has a working judge’s group that has to work among their peers. They they vet things themselves. They talk about the problems they have in the field. They talk about how do we get to the managers and solve this? How do we get our education process better? We need to audit our films more often. All of that. But we don’t have that in the U.S. or in the U.S.A. and I’ve asked for it for a couple of years. I’m hoping it maybe is in the horizon, but. That’s a big gaping hole right now for a working mechanism for our judges, for our judges to contribute back to into the field and for attorneys to be able to do just what the training just did, kick it back and educate these examiners. And they were not afraid to say, you know what, that that probably was an error. This is how we got to that. But it was that probably should have not happened because guess what? I don’t care what system you use if you’re human. There’s a human factor involved. It’s never going away. So let’s all be realistic about that and let’s not destroy our industry by bashing the judges. That doesn’t make any sense. Anyway. It’s all about the mechanism of how we run our sport and we can’t have missing folks in the wheel. I don’t think. 

Piper Klemm [01:03:44] I agree. And and both licensing I mean, I think fundamentally no one can look at the average age of our judges and stewards and not be concerned about, you know, the future of our sport. And I think a lot of people are talking about changes and hopefully, you know, they implement some of the things that you’re talking about because, you know, I think all all changes that bring educated people together are going to be good changes. I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about Carly. Having done the sport for so long, kind of how do you see your perspectives changing, you know, going to the ring with Carly back, you know, at the rotation ring and developing new talent, seeing all the pressure is really up close that young people are facing. You know, Can you talk a little bit about your perspective of our our youngest, you know, teenage generation growing up right now and and what they’re facing and how as adults we can be productive. 

Colleen McQuay [01:04:52] You know, it’s. That’s a really good question. And it’s certainly a big controversy in our sport. The education of the application people is very intense and very. It takes a huge amount of dedication to write at that high level. And maybe in the application. I myself feel like my whole career and Mandy’s whole career, my daughter, Mandy’s career, we didn’t focus on that for a multitude of reasons in my business, my career, my clients. I always directed them in it to the venues that I thought the horses would be competitive and they would be competitive. And it worked within everybody’s budget and all of the above. During that same time, we showed at all the highest levels in the reigning world. So we felt the pressure at that end as well, including in the US teams and our philosophy. My, our family’s philosophy is do your homework and do your best job. Do what’s best for your horse, and you’re going to last a long time in the business. And so I think it all goes back again to how you raise your kids and how you look at the sport as a parent way before you start blaming the trainers or the sport itself. You’ve got to start on that at home. And from day one, that’s been you know, Tim has always been low key and very accepting, never aggressive on his horses. But he was a lead money earner for 11 years in that industry. And he was on the gold medal team was in the finals when he was 65 years old. So that mentality helped with the longevity of our sport, of our business and of our family. And I think, you know, the competitive Carly is very competitive, even though she’s very quiet about everything. But we know we’ve been taught not to hold a grudge, not never blame your horses. If you’re not working, then you’ve got to get different horse for that level or you’ve got to find the horses level. You can’t blame your horses. And that, I think, has helped our family. And that’s where I think all I see. Some of the parents are great with their kids. Some of them I can’t read them at all and have no idea what goes on. I think some trainers are great, some trainers are unrealistic, but I can’t I never really want to stand on the outside and evaluate things in general because in general, if you approach it correctly, the application has a lot to offer. But how you approach it internally and as a family is what I think makes the difference. And that also correlates to this world today. I mean, how many times have you heard, Oh, my kid has anxiety, so you can’t do this, You can’t do that. You know, you’ve got to go to all the you got to get all the help and you’ve got to, you know, back off and do this and do that. Okay, maybe that’s all good. And well, I will not ever evaluate someone else’s approach to things, but I also think that complicates it for our EquityZen kids because. You’re almost convincing them they have inside and they need sports psychologists and all of the above. I don’t know. It’s a it’s a new it’s a new approach to life for my generation. And hopefully it’s all doing the right thing. I see a lot of good kids and obviously good kids that go on to have a good career. I think sometimes and I have this in my past, some family decides their kids should be an application writer. And when they came to me, I said, We’re taking a different path because I knew there was no way this kid was going to succeed in that world. And it all worked out great. And I think that’s part of it. It’s just got to come from the parents first. And then I think you have to have the right trainers. You have to know where you fit and. I feel like T.J. O’Meara, as everyone probably knows, is really the most work with Kali in the application. And he’s done a lot of things. That I wouldn’t have done for a number of reasons, because me as a teacher with Carly, I always had to work with her like a team player, not more than her. Adult instructor and Carly was actually very timid. And so I had to work around all of that. And we worked a lot on how to train horses and develop horses and things like that. She did win, I think, probably five medals with maybe four. She went to ride with TJ, but he has definitely improved her track riding and her focus and, you know, her confidence and what has to be done on corners, etc. And I’m happy that we did that. I mean, I think it’s been a a good path for her and it’s been a new world for her to learn how to work with groups and all of that. But, you know, I just keep reminding her, do what’s best for your horse and whatever the result is, is fine. That’s that’s all you can do is, you know, be on time, do the homework, pay your dues. And if you win, that’s the frosting on the cake. It’s not the ingredients. And that’s what we have taught in our family from day one. And I think that’s why, you know, even Mandy, she actually qualified as is two non pros that qualified for the run for the million. And between that and riding for the US team, that’s about the highest level of pressure you can ever take. But I think what we’ve tried to teach is it’s not the end of the world. If you don’t win, you’ve got to be able to walk away from failure or the successes aren’t going to come. So hopefully in the EquityZen world, that piece is being taught first by the parents. And and then, you know, the the trainers would be realistic about each of their children. The one thing I do see and as forward today in the application, but also in the jump, are people moving up the ladder way too fast. And I don’t know if that’s the customers running the game or if it’s the the trainers thinking they got to be at that ring. I don’t know. But I do see that in both worlds. They’re just moving up the ladder too fast. And I don’t need to tell you that education courses are hard. They are not easy, often even in the regular divisions at the major circuit. They’re not easy. And so it takes a lot of horse to do that as well. And I think being overseas is harder on kids than the discipline of trying to win. Does that make sense? I feel that’s a big part of. What the concern would be is just being over faith, moving up the ladder and the jumpers and the application before there. Physically, mentally or or mounted correctly. It’s probably my biggest question. 

Piper Klemm [01:12:22] And I also think that it’s an interesting communication piece, too, because I interview trainers and they say, Oh, my clients are in a big hurry to move up. And I interview a rider and they say, My trainer is in a big hurry to move up. And I -you know, I do think that that that’s an interesting like communication you know, break down a little bit. And I think again, back to that kind of bravery that people being afraid of in-person discussions, people, you know, being timid about these relationships are being a little scared by human. Human relationships is like that. 

Colleen McQuay [01:13:00] Exactly. 

Piper Klemm [01:13:01] Hard on the kids and hard on the horses. 

Colleen McQuay [01:13:04] Yeah. It’s amazing how communication can make such a difference in every aspect of our lives, and that certainly is one of them. I happen to be a parent that’s not afraid to say No thank you or yes, I agree. And you know, in my position, I think I have the credentials to say no, that I should not move up, etc.. In a normal parents, they’ve got to rely on their trainers. And so the trainers have to have the courage to say, we cannot go to that ring. And I did. Years ago, I had to do it when I was quite young and I was nervous because it was a big client with big horses and they had Grand Prix horses and Tony fight also in that era and it was hard for me, but I just flat said, Look, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about the safety of your child. She’s not go into that ring with me and you know, I made the right decision. But it takes a lot of courage to do that. And you have to say, you know what, If that client will not listen to me, they need to be somewhere else. Because I’m not going to jeopardize anybody’s safety. And I also don’t want to jeopardize their, you know, their self-confidence or take away what they were. They could enjoy the sport. There’s a lot of levels our kids and our people can enjoy the sport. It doesn’t have to be winning a medal or, you know, winning a high jumper. There’s a lot of levels. Let them be happy where they where they’re comfortable, what their comfort zone is. And that, to me is success. And that’s what parents need to hear. And trainers need to be confident in telling them that it doesn’t matter what that horse cost. If he can’t jump on me or 50, don’t enter him in that class. You know, and that’s that’s part of what we’re up against today, is people spending a lot of money and us trainers having the courage to direct them correctly. And parents think they can just buy more horse and the kid’s going to be more successful. You know that whole story, That’s not a news story. It’s just probably more numbers in that story now. And no disrespect to anybody. That’s again, it’s just a vehicle We we’re driving right now and we’re in an era where we’re recognizing it and hopefully we can communicate it to where we get back to our safety zone, our comfort zone. But I have to say, the application is a lot of pressure. And one of the things that I did for Mandy and I tried to do for Carly, even though it was. Being hard on our budgets always. I always tried to have more than one horse, as many as I tried to keep four for Mandy, her last two junior years along with her dad’s writing. And I’ve tried to do that with Carly, and I could do it until we got back, even though it’s a little bit harder. But because then you don’t have all your eggs in one basket, and then if your middle class doesn’t go well that day, let’s just move over, get over to the medium jumpers or the high junior jumpers or the 100 class or whatever else it is, and you just move on and you enjoy the sport. And of course, horses are best educators anyway, so the more you can ride, you know, the, the, the better you’re going to feel about yourself. And I think that has helped that helped Mandi through the process. And Carly, Carly is way more timid and way more she’s harder on herself probably than Mandy was, but. Moving on and doing. The next thing is is helped. You know, she had an issue on Sunday morning in the middle and then she had to go on to do the high junior jumpers and was third in the classic. And so she ends up having the opportunity to feel good about herself again and enjoy a horse, which is why we do it. I think I think it’s why we do it. We love voices. I’m home right now without my horses. I miss my horses. So anyway, that’s I don’t know, again, I get to rambling about the whole philosophy of it, but. My advice is to the parents. It has to start with the parents. Has to start with the parents. And for me, you know, I, I spend a lot of time visiting with PJ, and of course it’s really Max’s program, but he goes young and he’s he’s a great guy and he’s a great listener and a great communicator, and he does a really good job, but he’s still young and he’s still going to need more and more courage to to help communicate with parents and all of the above and. You know. I. I’m grateful for what they’ve done for her, for sure. But like a lot of people, they kind of all say the same thing. Okay, glad we did it, but glad we’re moving on from the equity issue. The V.A. man, there’s a lot of horses. A lot of kids do it. A lot of people do it now. It’s very popular, as you well known. 

Piper Klemm [01:18:14] Yeah. Yeah. It’s huge. And, you know, and like you said about the tracks being hard and stuff, I think one of the things that stuck out to me so much at that World Cup finals this year in Omaha, you know, kind of similarly sized ring that we don’t always see the jumpers go in in in North America. I was like, oh, I was like, this question was at Medal finals this year. This question was clarified also here, this question, you know, I was like. it literally at its base and at its purpose, it was the same questions being asked, you know, obviously meter 60. But but that was fascinating to me to watch. 

Colleen McQuay [01:18:51] Yeah. Yeah. I definitely I mean, Cali has a lot of natural feel and she has a huge amount of empathy for horses. She’s very passionate about them. Even the ones you catch, right? She tries to be a part of them, which is I think part of the reason why horses like her. But. The echolocation is made her get more deliberate. I mean, I, I would make her be very deliberate in schooling and practicing teaching horses how to improve the front end and, you know, be better jumpers. And how do you make your hunters as well as your jumpers jump clean and all these things. And you know, we actually developed two or three horses, but when she was starting at 15 years old, she was the only one that wrote them. And so she has that skillset. But I tell her you have to be a little bit careful because she really tries to be a good school. She really wants to follow the instruction to the tee, which, okay, that’s great, but riding is reacting. You have your plan A but you better be able to react to a plan B. And that was never a problem for me. I mean, she was always aggressive and always with Laura Kraut. And I laugh about it sometimes because, you know, mainly what she had no problems with in the plant. BE But it’ll inhibit Carly sometimes because she’s so busy trying to be the perfect student and stick to plan A And so in the jumpers, you know I kind of remind her, look, you know, if it jumps up in the air and hangs a right, you’ve got to hit the deck and added a step in that line and get aggressive to adjusting to plan B. And so my point is, you have to as a teacher, you have to make sure that you’re not teaching so much that they don’t think for themselves. And I felt that way even with my adult amateur writers, etc. I needed to know how they could think because they are the ones that have to make it happen in the ring. And so I was always his plan A. But if this happens or that happens or, you know, you feel this, that you feel that shift to plan B, sometimes you can still win in Plan B. I don’t know if repetition trainers train that enough. Maybe they do. I don’t know that. But I think a lot of times equityzen trainers, in their defense, they get kids that have not done the honors. They haven’t done the jumpers until they’ve become an equity jumper client. So they’re learning everything all at the same time. You know, we’re clearly had. It was different for Carly. I think. 

Piper Klemm [01:21:44] But, you know, I think it’s that perfectionism thing that that. You know, has always been there. But but I think social media is driving it even worse. I think we’re selecting for for perfectionists. I mean, I think a lot of the courses we have that we’re setting for. For perfection, I think it was last year in the middle finals. I think it was last year in the middle of finals that the judge said that they’re in the first round. They had like something like 18 scores over 90, which like to me that’s setting a course for perfectionism, not setting a course for for a challenge in quite the same way. Or the kids are really just that good. You know, it’s such a mix because the kids are that good that a challenging course does still yield perfectionism. 

Colleen McQuay [01:22:30] Yeah, it that’s another controversy right now or not controversy as much as conversation. You know, do we really have these many rides in the nineties? Well, I think two things are happening. As you’ve said, they’re all there. Everybody’s better. The horses are better. But there’s also more numbers. There’s more. So the judges have to use higher numbers in order to fit everybody in. But that’s also why I’m a proponent for the championships to use multiple judges and to score the rounds, not place around, because that’s the system we use in the green incentive. I’m sure you’re aware we have three sets of judges. They just score the round based on its merit of performance and quality and whether there’s any penalties, of course. And then the scores are added together. Guys at the cut off are brought to the second phase. And I think that could happen in the application world smoothly. And I think it would it would lessen the pressure on the judges. It would be way more logical on keeping track of everything. And they would not have their eyes off the horse’s entries circle or finishing circle or any of the pieces that seemingly have been raising questions because they’re not trying to write a bunch of notes and put horses in order and all of that. Imagine paper judging being two people sitting there judging 247 horses in an application class. In one day. I mean, to me that is just not logical for today’s game. It’s not necessary. That should be split over two days. There should be a different format that gradually brings the numbers down to a logical separating numbers. Often you’ll watch the final test separates itself. I think it would end a lot of a lot of undue pressure on our judges, a lot of bad behavior on the exhibitors and training trainers part and make it more fair for the horses and the kids and also make it more healthy. Because if you’re a kid that draws up early, you have to be up at 4:00 in the morning. And if you do well, you are still supposed to be peaked by 7:00 at night and your horse is coming out a minimum of 3 to 5 times a day in one day. So to me, that’s why you’re seeing falling off the lead, making errors, all of these things, because it’s pure exhaustion by that time of the game. And not to mention, you know, the nerves that carry you for 15 hours and the day before. I mean, these kids are they’re physically exhausted. And I don’t think it should be an Iron Man contest. So the formula itself can improve our game. Now, whether the exact quotation trainers will allow it or the managers will allow it, it remains to be seen. But that’s my recommendation, is especially because they’re having trouble figuring out what really should qualify the kids to get there. And they’re not agreeing on any terms, really? Well, I don’t think they application trainers and producers. And so, like I said, if you have just a day of round one. For them. As I said, everybody gets a chance to be at the bake field and do what they do. But you only take half of the cut back to the second day, and then by the third round, you’re down to reasonable separating numbers. And you can you can use below the cut off. You don’t have to announce scores of 40 and 50. I just think there’s way healthier way for both judges and exhibitors to do those finals. The other thing is it’s hard to find judges that will judge the finals anymore. They have to have bulletproof vests. 

Piper Klemm [01:26:48] Yeah. You know what? They have to have no skin in the game that year and, you know, and had qualified people with no skin in the game for any aspect of our siloed sport is always a challenge for every final. 

Colleen McQuay [01:27:03] It’s not reasonable. It is not reasonable. And you know what? That’s the part that trainers don’t understand. I mean, first of all, as we get older, it’s hard to focus much like 15 hours sitting in a chair. And we we have the same conversation in the reigning world and they have a scribe. You know, their job is not anywhere near as hard as the hunters and application people. So the first thing we have to do is improve our game. Ah, formula. We cannot expect our judges. I don’t care if it’s a regular horse or a championship to be in the chair that long. I mean, we just can’t. That’s not reasonable. I don’t care what age you are, that’s not reasonable. And I mean, it’s one of the reasons I didn’t get my card. I mean, besides my schedule, I just thought I can’t I cannot sit still that many hours in a day and or be waiting with an empty ring and all those pieces. I just don’t have that kind of patience. And maybe I don’t have the courage. But the point is, let’s improve our game and then expect the judges to improve with it. Right now, we’re we’re burdening the judges with our system in a lot of ways, I think. And it’s just to me, it’s not necessary. The system we use for the green incentive has been very well-liked among our judges and our exhibitors and. Of course, that’s a different game and people don’t think it’s life changing like they do the metal finals. But nevertheless, the judges, if they want to judge in pairs, I’m fine with that. They don’t seem to like the five judges drop high and low like they do in the ratings. That I’m fine with that. But they’ve got to sit at reasonable places. Not three in a row. You’ve got to put one team on one side and two teams spread apart on the other side at a level that they can all judge reasonably the same round, that they’re not seeing different rounds or different highs and all of that and. Anyway. The point is, is there’s been a lot of really good discussion and we’ll see what happens in the future with that. But part of it is changing our game in so many areas is we’ve got to look at how can we change our game to make it better for the horses, the riders, exhibitors and judges, and then we’re going to come to better solutions for the rest of it. 

Piper Klemm [01:29:27] Colleen McQuay, thank you so much for joining us on the plaidcast. 

Colleen McQuay [01:29:30] Thank you so much. Thanks for the patience and getting me organized to do it, and I really appreciate you thinking of me. 

Piper Klemm [01:31:25] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit the You can find show notes at Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of the Plaid Horse magazine at Please rate and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!