Monday, February 27, 2006

Organizational exercise

This is a rough outline for my paper. I compiled this when doing the prewriting exercises. I found that in choosing to outline as my organizational exercise, it really does help me with preparing and later creating my papers.

I. Introduction
A. Brief history of the equestrian community
B. Introduce controversy
C. State what will be displayed about said controversy all throughout the paper
II. History of the sport
A. How it came into being
B. Typical participants that are actively involved in this community
C. Customs and Traditions made and practiced within the community
D. Generalizations made by and about this group and its members
III. Controversial Topics within Equestrian Community
A. Examples of the mulitiple controversies that have arrived
1. English vs. Western Saddles
2. English showing vs. Western showing
3. Riding for fun vs. riding to acquire place and excellence within your community
B. Chosen controversy
1. How by nature the Equestrian community is exclusive, therefore categorizing this community as elite
2. Examples of how the controversy is present within this community
IV. Exclusivity and Elitism in the world of Equestrian sport
A. Perspectives of those who support this community’s reputation and believe that it is meant to be that way for a reason (thus, should not change).
B. Perspectives of the opposing side of the above arguers. This includes examples that support those who believe that it should be a sport that should be available to everyone, and not include any type of discrimination (such as race, gender, money, etc).
C. Other examples from miscellaneous groups and individuals that come from all different corners on the issue
V. Organizations and Associations that incorporate this “elitist’s hobby” into the lives of those who otherwise cannot participate
A. American Competition Opportunities for Riders with Disabilities (American ACORD)
B. Work to Ride Program
C. Sierra Club
VI.Organizations and Associations that mandate qualifications and guidelines for those who want to be members of their equestrian community, and willfully turn down any of which are not up to standards with their criteria
A. Unites Thoroughbred Trainers of America (UTTA)
B. Deep Run Hunt Club
C. Equine Colleges
VII. Conclusion
A. Restate the chosen controversy
B. State how this research has or has not shaped your own opinions about your community

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My Annotated Bibliography so far. . .

1. Bacon, Richard. Equine Business Guide and Research Project. 2004- 2005. Moreton
Morrell, Warwickshire College. 22 February. 2006

Within this source it discusses the importance of having knowledgeable trainers and participants in the equestrian sports. This Project highlights a specific focus on those who participate in such sports at the equine college Warwickshire. It also talks about the different types of people who are presently involved in the industry as well as the hopes for where the practice might some day be.

2. Brown, Christin Michelle. E-mail to President of Association. 20 February 2006.

ABRA stands for the American Barrel Racing Association. I have planned on using the contact information available to reach the President of this association in order to hopefully receive some help. I will be asking for any type of documents or personal interviews of the knowing of the controversial aspects of barrel racing, as well as their perspective on the perception of the Equine Community. In getting responses from the different type of riders and their organizations, I will be able to piece together the way in which this community is exclusive by nature.

3. Cave, Suzie. “Widening Participation in Equine Training and Education.” 2003-2004. Warwickshire College. 22 February 2006.

This is an article that was in with the “Business and Research Guide” by Richard Bacon. This article discusses the barriers in the equestrian world as well as the liberties that it can allow its community members to face. Also, this article covers how in gaining and obtaining a vast knowledge of the sport, can help tremendously with many other aspects of being a rider.

4. Feezell, Randolph. Sport, Play, and Ethical Reflection. Chicago: University of
Illinois Press. 2004.

This book discusses everything from the love of sports themselves, to the ethics behind the game and the players playing that game. The first part of the book follows the whole experience of being involved with a sport and the ways in which playing an active role, and sometimes a too intense role, in that sport can affect you. The second half of this book talks about the meaning behind an athlete’s character and values to the sportsmanship factor help by all. The madness behind “cheaters” and why they might go so far as to actually rig a sport in order to ‘just’ win. I think that it is good to have at least one or twp sources whose audience is not just one particular type of athlete or sport.

5. Freund, Charles Paul. “Who Killed Culture?” Centre for Civil Society. 20 Febraury 2006.

This text tackles the “elite” reputation that many arts and sports have been labeled with throughout time. This source will help in understanding how my community as well as many others that are similarly compared with it. This article also goes into why these different arts and sports are categorized the way that they are.

6. Ivanhoe Broadcast News. “Work to Ride.” Ivanhoe’s Medical Breakthroughs. 24 February 2006. 25 Feb. 2006.

This is an article that discusses a program called “Work to Ride.” This program is designed for inner city children to get involved and be apart of this environment. The program is said to “‘give them [the kids] a lot of responsibility, builds a lot of self esteem.’” In looking into the programs that help take children out of the city and into a different and fun cultural experience is a great way to learn the different ways in which the equestrian sports are thought of as “out of reach” for some and not others. Therefore, helping to differentiate horseback riding as elitist or not.

7. Kaplan, Max. Leisure in America; A social Inquiry. New York: John Wiley
and Sons, Inc., 1960.

This is a book that covers the many ways in which the people of the United States choose to do for leisure. Other than talking about the numerous amounts of different activities that one can do, they discuss how there is a particular ways in which we do things and also how the social structure of a place can highly affect what kinds of things that people from there take leisure in. This text will help with uncovering the many sides of the equestrian world, how they came to be, and why it has the reputation that it does.

8. Nagey, Judy Serie. American Competition Opportunities for Riders with Disabilities (ACORD). Email to contact person for Association. 20 February 2006.

This is another organization that I am emailing. ACORD is responsible for organizing safe way for riders with disabilities to participate in horse shows. This group allows people with various disabilities, who would usually not be able to be apart in the horse riding community, and takes it to the next level, and creates safe and quality ways for the people to participate as if no one there were disabled. In contacting this group I hope to be able to piece together the way in which this community is exclusive by nature, and the ways in which that categorization is becoming obsolete in some cases.

9. Ramer, Sam. United Thoroughbred Trainers of America (UTTA). E-mail to Primary Contact person. 20 February 2006.

This is another Association that I am emailing. In emailing them I hope to hear the counter reaction to that of the response I will receive from ABRA. The difference between the two, form my perspective anyway, is that ABRA consists of the Western rider where as UTTA consists of the more prestigious and competitive English show riding, most of whom slightly frown upon the ways in which the Western riders choose to treat their horses and the ways in which they choose to compete. This will help with the figuring out of the different parts of this community and how they interpret each other.

10. Cohen, Michael P. The History of the Sierra Club. California: Sierra Club Books, Inc., 1988.

This book is one that I chose after visiting the Sierra Club’s website ( and learning about all of the different things that this organization has been doing for kids for generations. This group offers a program called ICO, Inner City Outings, which offers the opportunities for young inner city children to come and experience trips into the wilderness. These trips have made vast differences in many of the children’s lives that are involved. There is a whole page that is dedicated to the testimonials from some of the youths where they dedicate their striving for more on the experiences that they have encountered with this group. This is also another source that I can use in helping define and piece together the way in which this community is exclusive and the ways in which that categorization can become obsolete in some cases, such as this one.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

My final thoughts on that good book!

Although one may think that in telling a story in a way that seems totally backwards, would defeat the purpose of the way a story should be told. However, I found that in the book How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Alvarez’s use of strategically placing events from end to beginning helps illustrate to the reader the importance of one’s beginnings and the way that those times indefinitely affects your future. The opening of the text therefore makes the rest of the text almost an extended flashback to what got them to where they were by 1989.
Throughout the entire book there is a major emphasis on the Garcia’s status in the United States compared to the way they were used to living in the Dominican Republic. When on the island, the family had plenty of wealth, servants, a nice home that was connected to their beloved and large family, and were basically in the lap of luxury. Whereas in the States, their once high social and financial status is stripped away from them; scrambling to make ends meat, being disrespected by others, and no sense of family or belonging.
Within the beginning of the book, it seems that the girls’ mother was the most affected by the complete and drastic change that their lives had been forced to undergo. She was constantly sad when they first moved there, and felt that she needed to find a skill that would make her as important in the American society as she had been in her homeland. But in reading the rest of the text, it is shown within all of the Garcia’s that there is a vast difference between the way that they fit into the culture of the island and the way they seem to counter- fit into the culture in the United States.
In the case of Yolanda however, her character seems to make a complete circle in terms of where she begins, goes, and ends. The fact that Yolanda was one of the sister that found herself to be able of communicating in a good enough way in English that she felt comfortable in many interactions that her sisters, who could not imitate her use and technique of the language, could never feel. Yoyo finds herself contemplating staying on the island for good when she returns to it after five years in the beginning chapter, which is a plan of action that could easily be foreshadowed if the contents of the book ran in the correct chronological timing. One of the examples that support this idea that stood out the most to me is that of the kitten Yoyo named Schwarz in the section “The Drum.” In this chapter, Yoyo takes a young kitten from its nesting place with its brothers and sister, when a man shot his gun and scared away its mother. Because of being told by the same man that shot that gun, Yoyo was aware that taking an animal away from their mother at too young of an age can critically maim that kitten therefore making it a bad pet. Then when Yoyo is tired of the relentless “meowing” of the kitten she takes it out of her drum, and throws it back outside to find its own way back to the shed in which she had taken it from; it’s home.
Although the kitten disappears and may not have ever found its home again, here, the kitten can easily be symbolic of Yoyo, Sandra, Carla, and Fifi, being taken out of their native Dominican Republic and its culture at such a young age, and hurling them into the American culture that inevitably causes them to find themselves back in their island, just as Schwarz was trying to do.
This was a great book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Researching my community

Within my community, I will be focusing on how it qualifies to be an exclusionary sport, and therefore elitist. I will also discuss how due to this catagorization of my community, the controversy of the high financial demand that being an active part of the “horse rider” community entails. Within the active horse rider community, there are quite a number of things that are of great importance and necessity that are also quite a hard hit on the wallet. To name only a few, there is the horse itself, the cost of the running of a barn or the cost to board your horse somewhere else is you do not have the means (or land) to have it where you live, the prices of large veterinarian and Ferrier bills, saddles, bridals, feed, blankets, and many more. And most of these expenditures are ones that need to be made on a regular basis.
In picking out this controversy, it made me think of the many different controversies that exist within this particular community. But although there are obviously a lot of different controversial issues surrounding this community, I still chose to focus on the controversy how this elitist hobby expects extremely large amounts of money by any active member of the community. This is something that affects everyone in the entire community, and is a huge loss for those who are passionate about horses as well as the sport but are not able to participate and become a member due to their lack of funds.
In finding sources on this matter, I have found that researching in the “sports” department in the library really helped my out. This morning I went to the library on a mission to hopefully find some books that would aid me in my topic. When I finally found some I was relieved. Some of the books that I found, including Leisure in America: A Social Inquiry, Sport Play, and Ethical Reflection, and Fair Play: The ethics of Sport, all of which are books I am finding helpful facts in that I was definitely not aware of before now. Another book that I found today is that of one called, Managing White Supremecy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crowe Virginia, which I believe will help me in desiphering the real and imaginary lines between other controversies and my community, along with how the affected one another. I am thinking, with the help of Prof. Malesh’s suggestions, that if I take more of a historical approach, then it will be more substantial and much easier to research and write about.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

More on my community and controversy project

Here are the answers to those “specifics” about my controversy that Professor Malesh asked for us to define. My topic is the exclusionary, therefore elite, equestrian community. Here are some of its vital and defining factors explained (with one or two things that aren't in here due to more tweeking that needs to be done) :

My role: I have been a part of this community ever since I was little. My family has two horses and we live on 13 acres, almost half of which is for the horses and their different areas. However, I am not as active as I used to be due to my living away from home now.

Geographically: It is a necessity for members of this community to have access to or even to own land. Land is a necessity for the horses as well as the riders. The horses feed, graze, and have plenty of room of exercise and run around freely. The riders use the land to ride, train, groom, wash, and sometimes just watch their horses. And due to this, the barns and other open areas that are used for this sport are often times not in the city, but instead in the surrounding suburbs or country.

Shared history: Mostly, one will become interested in being apart of the elite equestrian society when members of their family, or even their friends are horse enthusiasts. Also it is much easier to get into the sport when you know that you are able to handle all of its needs financially. When one’s parents, siblings, or friends are not horse enthusiasts and are afraid of the animal, often times it is more likely that due to the reaction of those around you, you yourself will not want to participate in this activity.

Age: I’d have to say that this sport is all ages. From the littlest of kids to the seemingly too ‘in shape’ elders, there is an enjoyment made out of the equestrian lifestyle by all. However, it is with the older riders, where often times you can find arrogant and even rude remarks and actions being made to those whom the elders feel are not “good enough” to be within their league.

Interests: Within this community there are many different interests that the members are apart of. Just to name a few there is breeding, racing, showing, buying and selling, just to ride, or even just for the love of the animal. This community also represents a certain style, grace, and eloquence that many people join to be apart of such a group.

Ethnicity: It is mostly white females although it used to be a sport where it was mostly men who rode, due to the danger factor. However, if the group in which you are apart of is not one that is discriminatory, then it is not odd to find both boys and African Americans riding along with the girls. But on the other hand, there are many different groups of riders that do discriminate against people who try and be apart of their community, and feel as though that’s the way that every elitist group should be.

Membership: In this community, other than the limitations that are mentioned above, it is fair game to anyone that wants to try and be apart of. It is not by invite only, but in order to be taken seriously, you must be able to show that you are into the sport as much as the already existing members are as well as wanting to be apart of their community with them, not just to do it for the reputation it entails.

Rewards/ Costs: The rewards here are the discipline that you retrieve, the good form, the good reputation for being apart of a nice, well respected community of people. The costs for this community can also be part of the rewards. For example, when being an active part of this group, the costs are outrageous. Between the horses itself, all of its proper attire (bridal, bits, saddles, shoes, blankets, etc), along with any type of money used for land use or boarding fees, it can become quite expensive. Due to such expensiveness, it limits the number and type of members that can join. And though this might limit some, the ones that are able to proceed with all of the necessities in hand, it creates a reward for that person, a spot in the elite community of (rich) riders.

Language: As far as language is concerned, the only things that I believe you can consider ‘language’ is that everyone that is in this community knows all of the specific terms that relate to horses, the barn, riding euipment, grooming equipment, along with many more miscellaneuos terms that every person with a sport or hobby would know about something that they are routinely involved in.

Appearance: I would say that the dress, rituals, and behavior, all depend on what type of riding style you prefer. But as far as the way I was taught, along with many others who prefer the more prestigeous English riding, every owner must have a few things. Every English rider should own at least a saddle or two for every horse that they owned, everyday “out in the fields” leisurely attire for their horses (like blankets whens it’s cold, comfortable cloth bridals, cotton lead lines, fly masks, etc.), as well as the nicer bridals and fixings that one would use when riding at the barn or maybe even a show. As for the rider, it can be predetermined that they own a whole wardrobe of ‘barn clothes’ which consistes of those jeans and t-shirts and sweatshirts that you don’t mind getting filthy and smelly from being out with the horses all day. They would also have many pairs of the various riding boots that are expected for the different types of working and riding that they do. Right above these fabulous boots would, accordingly, be “jodfer” pant which are very tight tights that usually have the suede patches on the insides of the knees. If one were to be showing or wanted to dress up to ride, they would accompany the tights with patches with a collared oxford shirts, long with a nice navy or black blazer. And the last two items that I find every rider, no matter what style they prefer, will own a pair of chaps and of course a helmet! Riding isn’t fall proof, therefore there are certain saftey precautions that must be taken.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My thoughts on a good book I'm reading. . .

Outside of my reading for my own classes, one of my friends had recommended that I read this great book that she had had to read in one of her classes last semester. The name of that book is How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. I just finished the first few sections of the book and I am going to post my reaction to what I’ve read thus far.

Throughout the first two sections of the book, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, the struggle between the girls and their Dominican culture as well as their American culture is very intricately described. In many of the sections there is a constant theme of a direct battle between “the four girls” and their father. Though it was their father, Carlos, who originally brought the girls to the United States due to the heinous dictatorship of Trujillo, he is portrayed just as harshly of an authoritarian than that of what he and his family escaped from in the island. The four girls; Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia, find themselves really struggling with the vast difference between their lives on the island of the Dominican Republic and their new life in New York. At the beginning of the novel, the family has come together again for the birthday of their father on the island, which is a tradition that they always do. Throughout history, Dominican males tend to be the protector of the households as well as the protector of his female children’s virginity. Due to this role that Carlos finds himself trying to uphold, in both New York and the island, he is indirectly stunting the girls from their independence that is needed for them to grow as people.
There is a particular example that stood out to me when reading that totally embodied what can happen when someone’s independence, both overall and sexual, is severely hindered. It is that of the relationship between Sofia and her father. It occurs when Sofia has her father’s birthday party at her own home, instead of what they usually do. She does this in order to reconcile with her father and show off her family’s newest addition, a new baby named after her father, Carlos.
Sofia and her father had not been on speaking terms due to her marriage to Otto, a German man that she met while “vacationing” in Columbia with another one of her previous boyfriends. Vacationing for Sofia was the only way to become intimate with her boyfriends. After Sofia returned from her vacation, her father found sexually explicit letters from Otto, and then accused Sofia of trying her best to ruin the family’s name and everything that he had worked so austerely to provide for them. This is the reason for throwing the birthday party at her home. Towards the end of the party, Carlos seemed sadder and sadder due to thoughts of being old and in order to cheer him up a game is made. The game consisted of all four of Carlos’ girls and his wife. They were to come up to him and kiss him while he is blindfolded and he is to guess which one it is. Due to him being able to guess all of the other ones but not Sofia’s, it really hurts her feelings. Sofia then wanted her kiss to be easily recognizable, therefore kissing her fathers ear with a big, wet kiss. This enrages Carlos and he ends the game immediately. In this part of the story it is clear that the way that Carlos thinks his daughter’s should act and the way they see fit for themselves are two completely opposite views. Sofia and her sisters see themselves as women first and see their culture as a close second, whereas their father holds their reputations, culture, and traditions high above them as individuals.
The way in which this book is formatted, with starting from the end and then going back into the history behind the characters and circumstances, makes the story even more relatable because when your looking and thinking back through the years about the things that have really affected you and made you the person you are today, that is something that everyone can do and relate to. I hope that the rest of the book is as engaging as the parts that I have already read!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


For one of my other classes, we watched the film Casablanca and then had to write a response that included how we felt the music played a big role in the movie. We also had to comment on the different types of scores that were used.

The 1942 film, Casablanca, is that of a classic romance that is surrounded by turmoil and blatant emotion. The major dilemma in Casablanca is to get out of there. War is on its way to this small place and its inhabitants are doing anything they can in order to escape; even if it means to gamble in order to get the money to leave or even to illegally buy transit passes with forged signatures, as long as it gets them out of Casablanca. The music within this film helps to undoubtedly clarify to the viewer the emotion that the characters are going through. Although some might take offense to this, I believe that the music, in this case, is not condescending towards the viewer at all. In fact, Steiner, the composer, made sure that the synchronization between the characters and their circumstances portrayed through the music is extremely supportive.
Within the opening scene of this film there are loud horns and drums. Towards the fading out of the music, where the characters will begin to speak, a tune that slightly resembles that of a middle-eastern tone presents itself. These, like many other musical sequences in the film, are constantly replayed whenever Steiner wants the viewers to remember a certain point in the movie that links to the present one at hand. Another example of repeated musical themes would be that of the jazz orchestra along with Sam and his piano inside of Rick’s Café. Being the protagonists in this film, Rick and Elsa have a certain themes of music that is usually played when he and/or she is on screen.
For instance, when Rick is shown, there is usually a jazzy, yet sad sounding tone that is portrayed by the piano, violins, soft horns, and light drums; occasionally the sound of Sam’s singing following. Elsa’s theme music, however, is that of a more depressing, confused tone. Her theme has a lot of sad, slow horns, followed by slow piano. These themes help to translate musically to the viewer how the characters are feeling as well as how they do not want to feel. Though the themes for Elsa, Rick, and other certain areas in the film which have a constant sound are non diagetic, it is that of diagetic music which basically guide the film.
A song that is a huge part of the emotion in Casablanca is “As time goes By”. This song is displayed in many different ways throughout the film. In one scene it will be Sam playing his piano while singing the song, usually when requested by Rick or Elsa. In the next scene only the soft melody of this song will be played by that of a jazz orchestra with no words at all. Through playing this song so much throughout the movie and in so many different ways, Steiner, not so subtly, lets the viewers know that this is probably a good hint as to how the characters had once felt as well as how they might feel in the end. Though Elsa states that “As time goes By” is her favorite song, it is played in parts of the movie where it is obvious that Elsa is upset. This is a good example of how the same music can be interpreted in many different ways.
Another example of diagetic music in the film would be that of the constant sound of a jazz orchestra blaring from Rick’s saloon. This portrays to the viewer a happier, lighter hearted feel for the city of Casablanca as well as what its people are going through. The jazz orchestra also represents the sound of a good time and happiness. It is not often that you will hear a person listening to poppy jazz music, or see them dancing to it when they are having a problem.
I believe that the fact that this film has much more diagetic music in it, rather than non diagetic really does help the viewer to feel as though they can perfectly imagine how the characters are taking in their situations at hand. It is obvious that Steiner felt this way as well, because he was one of the first composers to really use synchronization to his advantage in the films that he composed.