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View Full Version : Why have the FEI tests gotten so much easier?



Tasker
Dec. 12, 2007, 06:32 PM
This is not meant to be a super-controversial discussion but I had forgotten how much harder the I1 used to be until I dug up footage of my mother riding her stallion in the mid-late 80's.

*if this is viewed as advertising, it is not meant to be...just footage of the test in question & the horse is deceased*
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXVjKEnD5ac

There was a swing rein back (trot-halt-back-forward-back-trot out), 4-8-8-4 zigzag, extended trot into medium AROUND the arena, as well as the regular extensions, mediums, 2s, 3s, full pirouettes and then the capper - a canter-halt-rein back-canter out on the last centerline before the final halt.

Blame some form of amnesia but I honestly didn't remember the tests being HARD until I watched the footage. By comparison, the current test is a breeze. (I am not being snotty, I swear) But all of the HARD stuff is gone at I1...what is left is not easy by any means but it is a dumbed-down version of the old test.

I remember the PSG had canter 10m 1/2 circles in true & counter canter with a single change on the long side to do the same exercise on the other rein. And there used to be a 6 loop serpentine & the swing (halt-rein back-forward-back). The canter zig zag used to be 5m-10m-10m-5m...where did all this stuff go?

The GP has had major changes for crowd appeal (gone are the walk pirouettes, swing rein back, etc). Test B is is wa-aay easier than Test A was...so that too is part of my question...is the marketing aspect ruling what riders/horses are expected to do in the arena?

Why did this happen?

snoopy
Dec. 12, 2007, 07:10 PM
How funny to see the indoor with out the dressage stands/banners/and people!!! My, how Raleigh CDI has come a long way since then.

Tasker
Dec. 12, 2007, 07:15 PM
Actually it was an April show in Raleigh...I think before there was a CDI. I was 8 or 9 on that trip and on my spring break in Elementary school. I came home with a southern accent (its easy for me to pick up accents) and all my friends at home thought I'd been some where fancy...) :lol:

But the place has changed...so has the sport (obviously). Sponsorship, advertising, etc play a huge role (and it's a good thing) but...why have the tests changed so much?

Puddin Pie
Dec. 12, 2007, 07:28 PM
Beautiful horse. About the ring, I remember showing in that ring in the same time frame with my Arab at the NC State Fair and breed shows, with those awful pickets along the top of the walls. If you were really lucky, and a kid was kicking on them, they would fall out on you as you went by on the rail!

class
Dec. 12, 2007, 07:30 PM
well, if you can first tell me why the "best" rider in the world cannot get her horse to halt at x, then maybe i can tell you why the tests have gotten easier.

Tasker
Dec. 12, 2007, 07:36 PM
class - Thanks for the heartfelt & sincere answer. Really, it helps a lot to enlighten everyone. This test is from '87...so a bit before that individual's break through on to the world stage...and besides, I believe my mom got a low mark on her halts as this fellow offers up some piaffe steps before squaring up...oh and he got marked down for being 'too expressive & having too much movement' but I digress...

None of that stuff explains why the tests have changed!

PP - yep, it was a different place back then! The fans still squeaked in the roof & the outside doors would bang...ah the joy of the indoor @ Raleigh! :winkgrin:

Coreene
Dec. 12, 2007, 07:48 PM
class - Thanks for the heartfelt & sincere answer. Really, it helps a lot to enlighten everyone. Amen, sister, I was just thinking the same thing.

grayarabpony
Dec. 12, 2007, 07:58 PM
It seems class touched a nerve. :lol:

I can't answer your question, but I remember being at Dressage at Devon back in '95 I think it was, and seeing beautiful tests all the way up to Grand Prix -- at Grand Prix the picture changed, a LOT of tension in many of the horses, pacey walks, etc. Does anyone know if the Intermediaire and PSG tests had changed by then?

class
Dec. 12, 2007, 08:27 PM
my answer was heartfelt and sincere. and you answered your own question when you said it was too hard. why don't people train their horses to levade or capriole? because it's too hard. why don't you have to jump a rolling barrel anymore? because it's too hard. why did they eliminate the swing? because it was too hard. what is the mystery?

siegi b.
Dec. 12, 2007, 08:31 PM
In my opinion, today's FEI tests try to be a little more harmonious and easier to watch, not necessarily easier to ride. I do think that one of the goals is to attract more spectators which is evidenced by the emphasis on free styles.

Margaret Freeman
Dec. 12, 2007, 09:29 PM
I think one of the main reasons was to make them shorter, especially in regard to the indoor shows in Europe. Those indoor shows only have one ring and have to stuff in as many tests as they can while leaving time for the jumping classes and other events. This has happened with all the FEI tests. The test in your tape was 6:45, and there were two breaks where something was skipped in the tape (some walk left out?). The current Int. 1 is 5:30. It's also part of the reason why the 1 minute warm-up round was tightened to 45 seconds (that's one rule we have copied from the FEI that I really don't like).

The only thing I see harder now is the trot half pass, all the way across the ring. The zig-zag was definitely tougher. They actually too it out for awhile in the '90s.

Dressage Art
Dec. 12, 2007, 09:47 PM
what did this stallion scores for his medium walk?

angel
Dec. 12, 2007, 09:52 PM
It is not just these upper level tests that have been dummied down. Yes, they are too hard...too hard if the horse is not being trained correctly....too hard if the rider has no seat...too hard if the horse is not in proper contact, but being pulled by the hands.:no:

dressagediosa
Dec. 12, 2007, 10:08 PM
The canter tour of the 1998 (97?) Young Rider Individual test still gives me nightmares. Now it's the (yawn) Prix St. Georges, where if you get lost in the test, just go across the diagonal, and you're probably still on course. :)

I'm hoping to ride 3-3 and 4-3 next year with my nice young mare, which I think are the hardest tests currently out there short of the GP Special. I liked the technical questions of the old YR tests (not that I could ride them at the time), because they didn't require a super mover to score well. I think 3-3 and 4-3 fall into that category as well. The current PSG? Not so much.

Tasker
Dec. 12, 2007, 10:27 PM
class - sorry for snapping...I guess I misinterpreted the tone behind your response! Sorry for the misunderstanding!!! Whoops!

Funny thing about the swing - I always found it to be the best way to see if the horse was on my seat...but maybe that was just me. One of revisions of the GP a while back had either passage in or out of the swing and ooooo that still makes me cringe! I don't know how many times I got piaffe forward instead of walk...aaahhh! :lol:

grayarabpony - I don't have a clue when the PSG & I1 were changed. I do remember having to learn 5 new GPs in 4 years though! Try telling your schoolmistress (who knew if a right turn after a halt meant the GP and a left meant the Special, etc) that things had been changed each year! The Madam didn't think it was necessary to change Her Test! :lol:

Dressage Art - I don't have a clue for the walk scores. The test isn't up to be picked apart for scoring purposes - it was just up as is (without any editing from me, goodness knows what was missed/changed, the tape was in a box in a back room covered with dust) to show what used to be in the test. Scoring was a bit different back then in general - a 60something was a BIG score, so it is hard for me to guess. There is a filing cabinet in the basement that has all of the old tests, but I am not going to go digging to find this particular test - it was a long time ago. I was more annoyed that a ride from 06 is missing an entrance & other 'missing' bits from far more recent shows!!! urgh.

Margaret - Thanks for the explanation! It does make sense to have shortened the test but it really is much easier than it used to be. Having found it makes for new exercises for the ponies to practice this winter! :)

dressagediosa - when I did YRs it was the individual test that was the most technical but easiest to keep them on their game...difficult enough to keep them focused without 'free time' to get creative like the Preliminary test... :lol: But I agree about 3rd3, 4th3 & the GPS (love that test)...tough and real tests of where things stand! :yes:

not again
Dec. 13, 2007, 09:03 AM
All the tests have gotten easier. And shorter. Eventers do tests with no halt at the beginning of the test, in the interest of getting more entries processed in a day. Shows added Training level and then Intro level below First level. I have heard there is a movement to develop walk tests for those who don't want to trot. Show economics.
Regarding scoring. If a horse's nose went behind the vertical or the poll was not the highest point when this test was ridden, the movement was given a four. No Rollkur in the seventies or eighties!

AllWeatherGal
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:46 AM
So, what you mean by "easier" is less technical?

I have no facts, but it seems that it might be following (or leading?) the trend to great movement and harmony that has been attributed to the influence of the "German" horses?

It's an interesting question ... I'd love to see the experienced FEI riders' and judges' opinions. What does your mother say?

grayarabpony
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:50 AM
I think no initial halt for eventers is a brilliant idea. :lol:

Velvet
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:52 AM
All the tests have gotten easier. And shorter. Eventers do tests with no halt at the beginning of the test, in the interest of getting more entries processed in a day. Shows added Training level and then Intro level below First level. I have heard there is a movement to develop walk tests for those who don't want to trot. Show economics.
Regarding scoring. If a horse's nose went behind the vertical or the poll was not the highest point when this test was ridden, the movement was given a four. No Rollkur in the seventies or eighties!


I was stunned the first time I worked an event rider through a lower test that had no halt. :eek: I didn't really see the point of taking it out. If you can mount and dismount, you can get a halt! And it really doesn't add much time to the test.

Walk tests????? Egad, I'd HATE to have to judge that! How would the judges stay awake? Red Bull anyone?? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

grayarabpony
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:59 AM
The initial halt is actually a very difficult movement to do correctly, and as most event horses are very forward, especially the greenies at their first few events, why begin the test with an argument?

AllWeatherGal
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:02 AM
The initial halt is actually a very difficult movement to do correctly, and as most event horses are very forward, especially the greenies at their first few events, why begin the test with an argument?

I don't mean this to sound as snarky as I suspect it might ... but why?

To show good training!!

I'm a wanna-be eventer, I admit it. I love the boldness and elegance of a great eventer. I love how they stand quietly and then explode into action. I love that someone else will risk life and limb to give me the thrill of watching X-C.

But even *I* almost fell down watching people in shadbellies POST the trot the first time I saw a CCI.

grayarabpony
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:09 AM
In return, not to sound snarky -- but have you been to an event before? Event horses hardly ever stand quietly and then explode into action. Only very well-trained ones and then only rarely. Have you watched the dressage at Rolex?


I'd be much more impressed by a beautiful crosscountry and stadium round (rare to see at lower level events) than an initial halt. And it is a difficult move. What is the highest score you've ever gotten for one?

SillyHorse
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:14 AM
I got tired just watching that test! :lol:

NoDQhere
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:40 AM
I evented through Intermediate Level and I think taking the halt out of the Event tests was a poor idea. JMO, but I think that a horse that can't do an obiedient halt has no business going cross country.

SillyHorse
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:49 AM
In return, not to sound snarky -- but have you been to an event before? Event horses hardly ever stand quietly and then explode into action. Only very well-trained ones and then only rarely. Have you watched the dressage at Rolex?

I'd be much more impressed by a beautiful crosscountry and stadium round (rare to see at lower level events) than an initial halt. And it is a difficult move. What is the highest score you've ever gotten for one?
Not to sound snarky? How did you think it would sound?

I evented to Prelim and I agree 100% with NoDQhere. If you can't get your horse to halt obediently, you shouldn't be going XC. The whole point of the dressage test is to show that your horse, while fit for XC, is still obedient enough to do a moderate dressage test.

Velvet
Dec. 13, 2007, 11:51 AM
I evented through Intermediate Level and I think taking the halt out of the Event tests was a poor idea. JMO, but I think that a horse that can't do an obiedient halt has no business going cross country.

As a former eventer (who evented when I was VERY young and many moons ago) who thought dressage was just that stupid thing you had to do before you could go out on x-country and throw caution to the wind, I think a halt is still a good idea. I had a few tests in my youth when I couldn't get the halt. The horse would not stop. I was penalized for it. I deserved it. The people who won had horses that were MUCH better behaved and safer on the x-country phase. My horse was safe only because he was very clever and wanted to take care of me. If not, I would have been a nasty statistic proving eventing is too dangerous. Years later, we figured out control and dressage, and the scores and safety of our rides improved dramatically. It's a good thing to expect and demand, even at the lower levels. It sets up your future riding and safety.

quietann
Dec. 13, 2007, 12:26 PM
I rode my first dressage tests ever this summer, on a friend's *very* forward, elderly TB mare. We did Intro A and B. The halt at the beginning, especially on the first test, was absolutely the most difficult part. I will admit I didn't ask the mare to collect herself at any point; she just doesn't know how and it was only a little schooling show. My goal was to get through each test without any major problems. The halt on the second test went better; there our screwup was the good mare deciding on one of the circles that my attempts to get her to have better impulsion meant "CANTER!!!!" Whoops! :lol:

I have to say, though, that the judge was very kind to us and very encouraging to me to stay with it. And gave wonderful, detailed feedback.

BTW -- not *all* event horses are that crazy-forward. The same friend's new horse, a Connemara/TB cross, is absolutely one of the quietest eventers I have ever seen, and he knows his halt very well -- but when she asks him to gallop out, he remembers his TB dam and does so! He is schooling at Prelim and was competing and doing well at Training before she got him.

Dorienna
Dec. 13, 2007, 12:46 PM
Speaking of harder tests - I remember I was "lucky" enough to ride YRs the year they had the tempis on center line, the 4s going away from the judge and the 3s going towards them if i remember correctly. To add to the challenge, my horse had just started doing 1 change cleanely in the spring, and so being very green to tempis, would swing almost from quarter line to quarter line. Try looking at the judge in the eye while doing that, quite embarassing:eek: It sure taught me how to *try* to ride them straight...

millerra
Dec. 13, 2007, 01:09 PM
I also vote for putting the halt back in the eventing tests. It was a point where both of us, after entering the arena, could go "ahhh, relax" and move on. It was a tiny bit of a breather. And even my old mare, who BOLTED down centerline due to the video guy behind us halted... well, sort of...

Good brakes are essential...

AM
Dec. 13, 2007, 01:11 PM
I understood that the initial halt was removed from lower level dressage tests not because eventers couldn't halt but rather because they couldn't get the horse going again.

dressagediosa
Dec. 13, 2007, 01:37 PM
Speaking of harder tests - I remember I was "lucky" enough to ride YRs the year they had the tempis on center line, the 4s going away from the judge and the 3s going towards them if i remember correctly. To add to the challenge, my horse had just started doing 1 change cleanely in the spring, and so being very green to tempis, would swing almost from quarter line to quarter line. Try looking at the judge in the eye while doing that, quite embarassing:eek: It sure taught me how to *try* to ride them straight...

Remember all the walk work on the centerline too? OHmygod.

grayarabpony
Dec. 13, 2007, 02:12 PM
Oh brother, it's not a matter of getting the horse to stop, but doing it quietly and obediently. I evented too, and my horse was not crazy.

But I suppose you wouldn't think it was right that I used to let my OTTB mare walk on when I first got on her too. If so I don't think you would have gotten along with her very well....

pintopiaffe
Dec. 13, 2007, 02:38 PM
The horses have changed. Size, movement, type of movement.

The tests have changed to suit the horses.

Now, whether that's a change for the better or not is a hotly contested issue on the SHB. ;)

millerra
Dec. 13, 2007, 02:41 PM
But I suppose you wouldn't think it was right that I used to let my OTTB mare walk on when I first got on her too. ..

Ummm, no. :) My OTTBs start walking when I get on. Not worth the fight initially and now I'm so used to my horses walking on that I'd probably land on a horse's neck that stood still...

AllWeatherGal
Dec. 13, 2007, 03:08 PM
In return, not to sound snarky -- but have you been to an event before? Event horses hardly ever stand quietly and then explode into action. Only very well-trained ones and then only rarely. Have you watched the dressage at Rolex?

I'd be much more impressed by a beautiful crosscountry and stadium round (rare to see at lower level events) than an initial halt. And it is a difficult move. What is the highest score you've ever gotten for one?

Okay, honestly? You made me laugh out loud!

And thank you, Sillyhorse.

I never said the initial halt wasn't a difficult movement! Just that it does demonstrate excellence in training. I absolutely agree that it was the most difficult part of every test I rode.

And I've probably been to more events than you have, since I'm usually on "the other side of C" or holding a walkie talkie at a jump and don't have to cough up those fees ;)

I see LOTS of horses, including lower level ones, just hang around at horse trials and let their riders visit. Yes, they start getting amped when they go into the starting box ... but that's what I mean!

And yes, my OTTBs also walked on as I was mounting at first. I didn't teach them not to, they taught themselves for which I was very grateful.

Now, remember to thank the volunteers that make your showing experience possible and consider not snarking in response to a genuine observation ... just once.

Dressage62
Dec. 13, 2007, 03:51 PM
I think no initial halt for eventers is a brilliant idea. :lol:
I remember seeing an old video of dressage at a major three-day event...when one horse would not halt and do the rein-back Luncinda Green commented, "Well, event horses are principally trained to move forward."

SillyHorse
Dec. 13, 2007, 04:01 PM
And dressage horses aren't?

grayarabpony
Dec. 13, 2007, 04:58 PM
My "snarking" has nothing to do with volunteers at shows, as I too, have volunteered, as well as shown.

grayarabpony
Dec. 13, 2007, 05:09 PM
I think this whole "argument" about the initial halt is at cross purposes -- I was thinking more in terms of relaxation, not obedience. Could I always halt my mare at X? Yes (or in the neighborhood :lol:) Was it square, immobile? Probably not really. I considered a good halt one where I got to salute before she started going on. I kind of liked it when they took the halt out, because then the flow wasn't interrupted.

Relaxation, especially when eventing was all TBs, has always been a problem with eventing dressage, more than straight dressage. When I went to Rolex back in '97 I saw maybe 5 good tests. I'm sure that's not true anymore, but there were a lot of excellent crosscountry horses who were not good at dressage. Were they out of control? No, or they wouldn't have been good cross-country horses. Were they tense in the dressage ring? YES.

akor
Dec. 13, 2007, 05:24 PM
I must say, I'm with class on this one. I'm an old fogey though, don't believe she is, and "grew up" with the notion that the halt and walk at any level were some of the truer tests of the horse's "core" training and development. But, even more important at the upper levels. It's always easier to have holes in your training than the whole package.

I don't see tests above first level much anymore, so I can't really comment on old vs. new. You brought back a lot of memories though! Thanks!

Dressage has changed, oh oh so much.

akor
Dec. 13, 2007, 05:30 PM
Oh, just had a flashback. The halt/reinback used to be VERY critically judged (late 1970s here...). I remember so many times a horse I was following "lost" a class becuase they did not pause sufficiently or the xth step back was only a half one. Or, they had a trot stop after the halt, etc...It was taken very seriously and not performing it did not get you an 8 like not halting does these days. (for some special few, of course)

Valentina_32926
Dec. 13, 2007, 05:33 PM
I remember taking clinics with Col. Lindgren. He told us about the Olympics where you had to jump at the end of the dressage test. :eek:

I'd love to see some of the dressage BNTs now even attempt to jump! ;) On the other hand I wouldn't like to jump very high (I've gotten chicken in my old age). :winkgrin:

Tasker
Dec. 13, 2007, 05:36 PM
The horses have changed. Size, movement, type of movement.

The tests have changed to suit the horses.

Now, whether that's a change for the better or not is a hotly contested issue on the SHB. ;)

Interesting...especially when I look back at some of the 'old fashioned' types that were prevalent in the 80's, etc - all these highly technical bits would have much more difficult to 'motivate' a heavier horse through than the more responsive/modern horse. JMHO, there though. In theory, the 'modern' horse is more of a ladies type that does not require the strength of a linebacker to get through a test.

Tasker
Dec. 13, 2007, 05:46 PM
akor & class - I'm truly with you guys on the halt & walks. (now how old does this make me sound???) When I did YR's, you would get nailed for a step backward in a halt (anywhere in the test), even if it was a rebalancing step...and I honestly miss the swing in the GP, I2 & I1 - it was a cool exercise. And the walk pirouettes in the GP - my mare would piaffe in and out of them all the time...it was a good day if she didn't. :lol: But it made me a better rider! :) Oh well, I'll be quiet now as my age is showing!! :D

Margaret Freeman
Dec. 13, 2007, 06:37 PM
Oh well, I'll be quiet now as my age is showing!! :D

That's really not nice of you to say, since I was riding with your mom and dad before you were born.

I've never understood why the first halt was removed from the eventing tests, except for time saved. Gee, if the halt is too hard, then the free walk should also be too hard. Let's skip that, too, since so many event horses jig instead of walk.

If you're looking for really tough FEI tests, try the FEI junior and pony tests. They're diabolical.

Tasker
Dec. 13, 2007, 06:53 PM
That's really not nice of you to say, since I was riding with your mom and dad before you were born.

If you're looking for really tough FEI tests, try the FEI junior and pony tests. They're diabolical.

Ahhh, Magaret...it is like having a big collective family! With all the changes that have gone on, it does begin to make me feel some age! I did find footage of Chip & Addy from the mid 80s and it really makes me smile as they had been 'old' for so long...it is hard when they age because that memory overlaps the one of them being young & vibrant. :cry:

I will pull out those tests tomorrow as it is a quiet day in the indoor and have a go at them...the busy bee children need some new challenges! :) Thanks for the suggestion as I haven't looked at them. (I'm not a JR & they're not ponies) :) But they need some new projects!

FWIW - It was a couple of years ago when I saw one of the strenuous YR tests with the half pass-pirouette-half pass sequence all happening on the centerline...it might have been the one with the changes on the centerline, but I can't remember all of it! That was one of those days that I gave thanks I had aged out...I think it was when the GP A was still being used, so I was more focused on getting from D-P-R-G in the trot without having a 'surprise' canter transition or some passage crop up and convincing Annie that we were going to do MY test not HER test! Such a great teacher but WOW it could be exciting some days!

Caroline Weber
Dec. 13, 2007, 08:16 PM
Tasker, thanks for reminding me of this stuff! Winter is a nice time to torture ponies with useful exercises, I think. It's a good thing my horses are at home...there won't be anyone around to hear my evil laughter.

Tasker
Dec. 13, 2007, 08:31 PM
No problem Caroline! Just when your horses ask you, "WHERE did you come up with THIS????" Just blame COTH! :D :lol:

Kementari
Dec. 13, 2007, 08:43 PM
In return, not to sound snarky -- but have you been to an event before? Event horses hardly ever stand quietly and then explode into action. Only very well-trained ones and then only rarely. Have you watched the dressage at Rolex?


I'd be much more impressed by a beautiful crosscountry and stadium round (rare to see at lower level events) than an initial halt. And it is a difficult move. What is the highest score you've ever gotten for one?

An 8, for the record. (And since I've never gotten higher than an 8 on any move, I'm fairly proud of it... ;)) On my OTTB eventer (who I also taught to never DREAM of walking off when I get on).

It's a matter of priorities. TPTB decided that opening halts shouldn't be a priority - and many eventers agree with them. That doesn't mean event horses COULDN'T be taught to do it, just that people don't bother. Personally, I teach my horses to halt, anyway, but admit to being happy, sometimes, to not have to do that first halt on a greenie who I've just managed to get into a nice rhythm... :D

Caroline Weber
Dec. 13, 2007, 09:00 PM
And as far as eventing dressage goes...my mare, who was competing at training/schooling intermediate when I decided to just do dressage with her (now showing 3rd/schooling PSG), usually received 8s or 9s for her halts. Even when right next to the XC course. With her, it's all a matter of keeping her focus. On the other hand, the other two horses I'm riding right now (my intermediate horse and my sister's prelim OTTB mare, who I'm riding for a few months while she does an internship at a track clinic in FL), are perfectly capable of good halts during schooling, but if the ring is next to the XC course, it will take a lot of effort to get a 7 for the halt. But they do indeed halt.

grayarabpony
Dec. 13, 2007, 10:01 PM
My mare eventually stood still when I mounted. But when I first started riding her, her only experience being ridden was on the racetrack, where the jockey was legged up while she walked. I met her in western PA, where horses don't get out as much as they'd like. Getting her to stand still while I got on just made the sweet mare mad, as she was often about to come out of her skin. I learned not to start a ride with an argument. After we moved to NC and she got out every day for at least 12 hours a day, she learned that when I got on was her last chance to stand still for a while. :D

I'm pretty sure I never got an 8 for an initial halt. There was usually a comment about the straightness of the line in too.

ltw
Dec. 14, 2007, 01:05 AM
Why have the national tests - Training-4rth become so much harder??????

Examine the tests from 10-15 years ago, everything is elevated close to one level.

Lgd1
Dec. 14, 2007, 09:04 AM
And just to add to the fun - they are going to be reviewing ALL of the straight FEI level tests for next season Pony, Jr, YR, PSG - GP. Not sure about the freestyles.

SillyHorse
Dec. 14, 2007, 09:27 AM
And a little birdie told me that it's likely that Training through Fourth will not be changing for quite some time (as in, no change in 2011).

canyonoak
Dec. 14, 2007, 11:44 AM
The 'short' Grand Prix (Test B) was designed by Jo Hinnemann, and it was designed for television--show as much as possible in the shortest time.

Test A was deemed a physical nightmare by almost everyone (and here I am talking Klaus B and every other trainer out there) and was retired very quickly.

In Europe, when time and space allow, they still use longer Grand Prix tests which ask more questions.

But those are part of the German and Dutch tests, not particularly FEI.

Yes, the schaukel ( forward-back reinback, aka 'the rocker')is a great test of how through the horse is and I would hope that riders still practice it.

With any luck the throughness will still show in the actual test.

magnum
Dec. 14, 2007, 12:22 PM
They got easier ???

Magnum

grayarabpony
Dec. 14, 2007, 02:50 PM
That is a gorgeous location! Where is that?

grayarabpony
Dec. 14, 2007, 02:51 PM
They got easier ???

Magnum

:lol:

slc2
Dec. 14, 2007, 05:43 PM
the school airs are not in any competition test because it would be a terrible, horrible thing to do that - the old masters would roll over in their graves. i feel indeed the early designers of the tests are right and the school jumps should never be part of competition.

I don't feel the GP test has gotten easier in any marked way. Ask the people riding it if it's easier, that's always a good idea.

there's a very sad tendency of people to look back at the 'great old days' of dressage. it's always about 20 years. now it's the eighties, in the eighties, it was the sixties, in the sixties, it was the forties. it's always some period 20 or 30 years ago that was great and the current era sucks. human nature i guess.

There is no indication that early tests involved jumping a barrell. That is often stated by 'experts' who were not there, but try to find it in the tests - that's difficult. there was at time mention of proving the horse's obedience by taking him up to something that had startled him in an olympic test. and there were jumps, but there was no mention of a moving barrel in the competition rules of any of the olympics. there were other, officers tests that involved the horses performing in the presence of drums or other parade ground things, but this was not present in the olympic dressage tests. it was very intentionally and specifically excluded.

Early tests in the 2nd olympics in 1912 (the riding event did not take place in the first olympics) for example involved 5 jumps which by the time of podhajsky were as of his own admission irrelevant and a big problem and something of a formality.

In the 1912 olympic riding there was no tempe changes, no half pass, no piaffe, no passage, the test then was much more like a 2nd level or 3rd level test than a grand prix test. it bore no resemblance to modern tests in difficulity. it's hard to find a photo of top notch work in those days unless one makes sure the rose colored glasses are firmly on.

in the 1920's when the one time changes were first proposed it created a firestorm of protest, with the french i believe it was claiming they are not a movement at all but an impure 'amble' and the german's saying, 'well no wonder you don't want 'em in the tests, since your horses can't do them!' despite the fact that baucher was supposed to have invented them and the french were supposed to be so great at flying change work.

and those 'difficult' movements were not a consistent part of the early tests at all, in fact they were explicitly left out, put in for a time, and removed again, like a ping pong ball, til 1948.

the changes in the GP test more reflect the evolution of the sport, such as the dropping of the 'ride off test' and the creating of the grand prix special and the freestyle, as well as the creating of national tests that absorbed the schaukel, so that it was removed from teh GP only because it was covered in lower national tests.

the GP test is supposed to flow and show fundamentals and these others are supposed to contain the more difficult work and transitions.

the tests are not always changed in effort to make them easier - that's another part of the 'good old days' mythology we all so want to embrace. sometimes they are changed as an admission that so many people are doing a movement so badly, that the test is not achieving its goal - to help average people train properly.

some movements in early tests were very abrupt. they sound good on paper only and were part of a sort of military idea of 'handy riding'. they looked pretty nasty in real life like the half pass half center line to rail to the center line and then WOOPS! run into the end of the ring! turn, turn, sparky! some of those things were pretty ugly. i'm glad they're not with us any more.

the horses have gone from doing 1 test of early on 10 min and at various times 12-16 min, and possibly a ride off test of under 6 min, remember the gp test to start with was not 17 min but 10 min, to doing 2 tests and a freestyle, which actually totals more ring time and represents far more difficulty than 'the good old days'. but i'm probably the only one who doesn't want to create a 'good old days' of when i was a yout and men were men and horses were horses and they all rode like Apollo, LOL! There were great riders then and now, the sport is always changing and growing, there are always problems in any competitive sport that people feel passionate about and that represents an ideal.

class
Dec. 14, 2007, 06:40 PM
I don't feel the GP test has gotten easier in any marked way. Ask the people riding it if it's easier, that's always a good idea.

that is a good idea. wait a minute. the person actually riding gp is the person who asked the question! so tell us again the highest level you have actually competed slc?

Tasker
Dec. 14, 2007, 07:16 PM
Well, I wasn't trying to stir up fond memories of the 'good ol' days' as I was a child then and certainly not showing FEI...it was a rational 'from the saddle/in the ring' observation & query as to why the tests have gotten less technical than they used to be...believe me! It IS much harder to do a 4-8-8-4 zig zag in the canter than 5m-10m-5m like it is now. You just have to ride the I2 vs. the I1 to know it! :) :yes: :) A 6 loop serpentine might be time consuming but it will tell you a lot about the quality of the two leads in the canter!

JMHO but I would rather the tests were tougher, personally. The walk pirouettes, rein backs, etc are all important 'tests' of the horse, so maybe when the new tests come out there will be additions to them. (I can hope, right?)

Or maybe the philosophy is that a horse must have learned those things to have made it to GP, so there is no point in asking those ?'s in the upper levels?

FWIW - The old schoolmistress I had the privilege of showing during the years of multiple GP revisions was so much easier to ride in the GP A...she had never learned that test pattern, so she couldn't do 'her' version of the test!! And the higher level of difficulty kept her honest & on the aids. :D Unlike B and the various revisions that went on - it was always fun to try to 'discuss' that in this test there was now a walk/canter/passage/piaffe/reinback or some other transition and it is NOT where it used to be...*shakes head & smiles* What a horse! Maybe that belongs over in the 'embarrassment' thread! :)

slc2
Dec. 14, 2007, 08:02 PM
that's actually exactly what i've been told many times, and i asked a lot of questions exactly like that because on first learning the changes i was really wondering 'why in the WORLD do that???' and when the committee changes tests they usually can back up their changes with exactly that. it's already been proven in a lower test is the reason alot came out of the gp test and allowed it to be shortened. when i look at some of the old tests i thought they were very rough and the changes represent improvements too.

alot of changes to lower tests have been to make them 'young horse friendly', 'more rideable' and many complaints have countered 'okay so now it's too easy', so these test writers sometimes cain't win for losin', LOL. at the same time you can find plenty of evidence to prove the lower levels have been 'leveled up' and made harder over specific time frames too. 3rd level used to be the stomping ground of the 'no further' amateur, it's now 2nd level, 3rd is too hard, LOL.

na, that doesn't belong in the 'embarrassing' section, it belongs in the 'i had a wonderful horse' section. i think you have a lot of very valid points and i liked your discussion about it and learned from it. i don't entirely agree that the tests are in major ways easier (when competing in the GP, GPS and Kur are taken into consideration) and i especially don't agree the riding was better - but you have made good points i respect.

where i think i differ the most is the suggestions others have made, for example, that it's such a shame a halt was taking out of an eventing test, or that all or even most event horses don't do halts because they're so hot to trot and fit - i also think it's very common to get really good scores on halts - i've gotten the same good scores on halts many others have mentioned and in many past threads here people have said many times that their best score was for a halt, so it's not rare.

i also am not unhappy about changes to the int 1 and 2 tests over time to make them more distinct and different, more progressive in a development program. the test writing committee always seems to have a sensible rationale about the changes made - though over time some don't hold up, like allowing double at third because a lot of people bought schoolmasters that bull them if they don't have a double (hilda gurney was sited as originated those remarks and that rationale, i don't know if she really did or if she felt that really carried that rule all that well) - that rule just has alot of detractors.

i think if you really think it's bad, you should be active and put in your 2 cents and serve on the test committee, i'm not saying so to be rude, if you have some valid points they should be presented to committee - it's good to have different inputs. i realize my point of view is not popular here and alot of 'it's not THAT bad' comments go over very, very badly here and have for a very long time. it HAS to be that bad, here, LOL.

i think there was a lot of grand prix riding 20-40 yrs ago in america that isn't of the same quality today, i can remember going to shows in fla, even devon, many years ago, seeing 'the best of the best', and i think the good old days were not all so good - at all. i think overall, the quality of the riding is better at that level. i think alot of the intentions are good in the changes that have been made to the tests, i think alot of the changes made don't make that much difference especially taken together with other changes made there is a method to the madness at least most of the time.

Tasker
Dec. 14, 2007, 08:15 PM
Thanks slc! I am mainly a lurker on SHB and tend to shy away from this board (I'm a chicken), so any feedback from other people is much appreciated...I just don't know how much my opinion as a rider would count for with TPB. Any suggestions of who to make suggestions to at the USDF? It would be nice to say something to someone who could make a difference...

TIA!

Oh my Annie was/is quite a girl...she was wild (a la Man from Snowy River wild) until she was 7 and then trained up to GP in just 3 years. Kept me humble and taught me more than any other horse. :yes: :D

Ellie K
Dec. 14, 2007, 08:41 PM
the USDF has no input to the FEI whatsoever. USEF does, but are not going to forward your comments/inquiries/whathaveyou to the FEI unless they are already of the same opinion and intending to do so anyway. So if you wish to comment about the FEI tests, best just to tell the FEI directly, although if you don't compete in FEI-recognised events they don't have much reason to listen since you would be outside their competitor pool. e.salomon@horsesport.org (Eva). For CDI competitors, the IDRC (http://www.idrc.de) is the other avenue for input.

slc2
Dec. 14, 2007, 08:50 PM
i think it's good to discuss it and educational to know the history regardless.

i can very dimly recall years ago seeing 'The Rawls' ride back east, LOL, talk about 'being in at the start of the hunt', man oh man. it was great to see the photo gallery on your web site. absolutely beautiful.

CapitolDesign
May. 20, 2008, 10:29 PM
I also remember the YR test with tempis going towards the judge... who, on my first time out, was Axel Steiner. That memory will stay with me forever and I still get nervous when I see him at shows/clinics.

Am I the only idiot who failed to remember that the PSG is still from 2000? I knew it hadn't changed in a while, but was oblivious until the other day that it was that old. Wasn't that the first year they started requiring YRs do a freestyle?

...another terrifying "first" - My canter music didn't even match my horse!

oldschool
May. 21, 2008, 01:24 AM
Is it not true that, 25 yrs, ago, a whip wasn't allowed{not just for championship classes} and the zigzag had alot less zigzagging, PLUS the passage and pissoff{i mean piaffe} tour was alot longer. I could be wrong and ready to accept appropriate beatings. :)

freestyle2music
May. 21, 2008, 07:00 AM
In my opinion, today's FEI tests try to be a little more harmonious and easier to watch, not necessarily easier to ride. I do think that one of the goals is to attract more spectators which is evidenced by the emphasis on free styles.

This is THE correct answer, at least this was told to me by the designer of the new tests, and when you love the schaukel and all other movements you can always use them in your freestyle test.

Theo

slc2
May. 21, 2008, 07:01 AM
it depends, if you think doing piaffe and passage in 3 tests instead of 1 test at a competition is 'shorter'.

Some people want to see 80 1 time changes, or 200 steps of piaffe and passage, school leaps, levades, yadda yadda yadda. I don't. The shorter the tests are, the longer the horses are able to compete over the years. The simpler they are, the less unscrupulous people are trying to force horses to do at home. In any case if a judge can't watch a simple test and evaluate the horse, he is not a good judge.

Even if some earlier tests were harder, what would be the purpose of it? To wear out the horses sooner? If the test demonstrates the principles are there then I think it's fine. After all, the modern horses are doing THREE tests in most competitions now, not one, and going to many, many more competitions for a longer part of the year, having to do much more to qualify, having to get much higher scores to make it to the top, traveling much further, and often, showing more at prior levels. It all adds up to 'harder', not 'easier'.