Point well-made, and right on target, Appy!
I have been showing in breed rings, open, and ADS-rules(ONCE, the Open Driving classes at our State Fair 'went for'ADS approval, TD and all, but the cost was so high, it was never tried again)since the early '70s. One of the most well-respected riding instructors in my area, a man who trained you to train your horse AND present it at its best, taught that it was important to keep showing until you were 'released', so to speak, and I believe in doing so.
In the miniature breed ring, there are even today a considerable number who really don't 'know' much about horses or the showing of them; this may explain a lot of the sloppy stuff you see...but back when, it was expected that you'd STUDY and LEARN about a subject you intended to immerse yourself in, so not knowing is really not an excuse. Standards exist for a reason; when they are allowed to fall, so does successful accomplishment.
I did the 'breed show thing' for a good number of years, esp. in miniatures, and with good success --even though I never traveled extensively(and didn't want to; I wanted to ENJOY it(and I DID-- believe me, I DID!)--but, not feel DRIVEN by it.)As my 'education' in driving progressed--AND, things changed in the miniature breed show ring, from the friendly easy-going atmosphere when I began to an increasingly widespread 'anything goes as long as I win' approach, complete with what I consider abuse of horses(NOT SAYING everyone does it; that's never the case, in any breed...but the sad fact is that more and more DO, in about EVERY breed)...I lost my desire to participate in much of what's offered there...so I don't, and I won't, again.
Susanne, what you wrote was just 'perfect'...and I'm a confirmed 'righty', in MOST but not ALL, ways!-- I really admire what you said-went right to the heart of the matter.
I am not particularly 'PC', so I would say that I think a couple of you owe Myrna an apology. You know, it is NOT against any law for someone to hold their own opinions,have faith in the evidence of their own experiences and education, and not walk in lockstep with the opinions some of you may hold.(And to allude to the 'stick up some ADS members'rumps' is, I believe, needlessly insulting, and quite beneath the dignity of the one who posted it.There may well BE some 'elitism' among the ADS'ers on the coasts...so what else is new?--but to point a snide remark about it to a fellow LB Driving Forum member who did NOT deserve it was uncalled-for. Yes, my opinion.
Frankly, I am one who has come to GREATLY prefer ADS-style, warts and all, over miniature breed ring manner and style--and I'm not shy about saying so... so shoot me!! (I started in the '50s with QHs, and I don't care ONE BIT for the sick, sad way they have been 'prostituted'over the years, either, in halter conformation and ring movement(rail, mostly)- and I don't hesitate to say so, including how they are driven and 'go' in the breed ring!) Additionally,in a breed show(AMHA)-I have(gasp!) gone right ahead and circled to an open space on the ring on occasion...when going deep into the corners and other practices haven't been enough. I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING, and how to do it! Often? NO, but when I had to...I don't think it ever 'hurt' me. I did know the rules, made it a point to when I was showing...but I also trust my own experience and judgement.
I also have(gasp again!!) used breeching in the breed ring, and when I had a good 'go', did well under judges who truly knew their subject(many still do NOT, in the miniature breed rings, at least where driving is concerned.)
Being an ADS-carded judge is not a 'guarantee' of being a 'good' judge, either...as in ANY organization, there are some really GOOD ones, and some who are really NOT so good.
Fire away; I'm old and my hide is tough. I have, and have had, some mighty good horses; well-trained and reliable. I am at the point where I will enjoy them outside of most 'show rings', but I feel I have the right, based on experience and a great immersion in the subject in general, still to have valid opinions and comments on the direction of the sport. I admire those of you who are active and always working to be 'better' at this,BTW--that's what it's about, not imagining offense where none was intended.