Sent May 27, 2008

Dear CGA Board,

I'm a new CGA member. Since I started last October, I've gone to every show that I could possibly get to. I love this new sport. I applauded the way that the California Gymkhana Association included everyone, and encouraged family membership and participation. This is the first sport that I've ever competed in and appreciated how the different divisions allowed great competition at every level. Having said this, I'm confused as to why the board would make a new "rating rule". Did you survey your members or individual districts before you voted this rule in?

Last year, I was too new to compete at the State Show, but went anyway to watch my Uncle compete. I thought that this was the grandest event ever and have been planning and preparing all year to compete at this year's show. In preparation, I bought two young mares (for my uncle and me), and hauled them, eight hours, from northern to southern California. I spent the last three months driving and flying down so he could help me train my new mare, and marveled at how he was able to train a new horse each year for the State Show. My family and best friend have asked for vacation time, months in advance, so they could get the time off to watch the show, and make this week a huge family gathering. I've been preparing a special presentation, to perform at the Wednesday night Follies, to honor my uncle for being the oldest CGA member, and for still riding at the age of 91. As you can see, this was a HUGE deal for my family.

For an association who welcomes new membership and family participation, I see this rule excluding the wrong people. For example: What about the person who can't get weekends off, but can get a week off for the State Show? The person who is healing from an injury, and can't get their three rides in, but could still make it to the State Show, or a lame horse that heals in time for State. Out of state family members, who drive two days, just to spend this week riding with their family. In my uncle's case, a man who brings a new horse each year to the state show? Why would the board, vote in a rule, that excludes these participants? Personally, it appears to me that this new rating rule doesn't seem to follow what California Gymkhana Association WAS all about. Doesn't the organization still support good competition at every level? Is it the pro that you were trying to exclude? Maybe a better rule would have been, "Once you've gone pro (paid to compete professionally), you can't compete in CGA. Although, I think that our top riders are good enough to compete against a pro rider.

This new rating rule has demoralized my motivation for competing in CGA, specifically the culmination of the year at the State Show. My uncle is an honorable man who follows the rules, and believes in good fair competition. He has said nothing to me about wanting special treatment. He only said that because of this rule he would not be able to attend the State Show this year. This is unbelievably sad, for a man who has spent over 30 years, being an incredible competitor, to be voted out in such a way. I can't express how sad I am that I won't be able to spend a week with my family, and the "Hyde's Trybe", at the state show this year. The opportunity has been taken away for a remarkable experience for my family and CGA. I don't want to spend a week wishing that Frank and Clara Hyde were being honored, instead of dismissed.

Tiffani Shiro

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