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View Full Version : NEW focus (x-c rules question)? Rules, beginners and coaches (@ post #96).



pwynnnorman
Jan. 14, 2008, 06:08 AM
Jump judged the water yesterday. Saw a number of pros in BN "school" spooky babies into the water before going thru the flags. Saw a couple of ammys, not having schooled outside the flags first, get penalized when their spooky horses resisted/refused.

With all due respect to the pros, isn't the water the "obstacle," and thus taking them in the water, around the flags, before going thru the flags the same as showing the horse the obstacle first? Or is this something acceptable at the lower levels in the spirit of developing horses? If so, when does it become unacceptable? Novice level? Isn't this the same, in essence, as, say, taking the Novice-level ditch and rail, circling around and then doing the similar but bigger/scarier Prelim one?

Apparently, there is a parallel issue concerning jumping fences not on course--for schooling purposes. This seems quite odd to me, too, given the safey issues that could be involved. What's up with this?

Fallbrook
Jan. 14, 2008, 07:54 AM
Jump judged the water yesterday. Saw a number of pros in BN "school" spooky babies into the water before going thru the flags. Saw a couple of ammys, not having schooled outside the flags first, get penalized when their spooky horses resisted/refused.

With all due respect to the pros, isn't the water the "obstacle," and thus taking them in the water, around the flags, before going thru the flags the same as showing the horse the obstacle first? Or is this something acceptable at the lower levels in the spirit of developing horses? If so, when does it become unacceptable? Novice level? Isn't this the same, in essence, as, say, taking the Novice-level ditch and rail, circling around and then doing the similar but bigger/scarier Prelim one?

Apparently, there is a parallel issue concerning jumping fences not on course--for schooling purposes. This seems quite odd to me, too, given the safey issues that could be involved. What's up with this?

I've seen it done a good bit with water. It does take time to school, so the rider can incur penalties. Apparently someone disapproved of the practice enough to propose a rule change for 2008:

http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleChanges/562-07.pdf

It looks like it was withdrawn, but there is a contradiction in the document because it also says that the issue was referred to the eventing technical committee for review for 2009.

If you have an opinion on the matter you can submit comments to the USEF.

scubed
Jan. 14, 2008, 07:56 AM
there is ongoing discussion about this in the USEA. I think there was a whole thread on it a while back. I think that to some degree, with the water thing, you are penalized by the time it takes to make that circle to get your horses feet wet, so if you choose to do that, well that's what it is. However, I know that some TDs have elected to penalize it (from the former thread that I can't seem to find). In the past, there was a rule that you could not jump fences above your level, nor could you jump anything unflagged, but that rule is no longer there. If anyone can point you to the prior thread, there was a lot of discussion about whether this constituted "schooling" etc.

Fallbrook
Jan. 14, 2008, 07:56 AM
One more thing - The "obstacle" is between the flags.

pharmgirl
Jan. 14, 2008, 08:21 AM
Interesting. I didn't see the previous thread, either. I'm with pynn on this one- I'm curious as to how this would be different than some other obstacle on course, such as a fence with height. Doesn't the same rule concerning refusals and "presentation to the obstacle/fence" apply?" I've JJ for years, and nowadays is told at every briefing "even if it's a gazillion strides out, if the horse has clearly presented to the fence and starts refusing/stopping, etc, then it is counted as a refusal b/c that was due to presentation to the fence". I would love to see video of riders doing this--Most of the places I've judged have flagged the water complex so wide for the pass through at BN that I don't think it would be possible to do this without going through the flags.

Fallbrook
Jan. 14, 2008, 08:29 AM
Interesting. I didn't see the previous thread, either. I'm with pynn on this one- I'm curious as to how this would be different than some other obstacle on course, such as a fence with height. Doesn't the same rule concerning refusals and "presentation to the obstacle/fence" apply?" I've JJ for years, and nowadays is told at every briefing "even if it's a gazillion strides out, if the horse has clearly presented to the fence and starts refusing/stopping, etc, then it is counted as a refusal b/c that was due to presentation to the fence". I would love to see video of riders doing this--Most of the places I've judged have flagged the water complex so wide for the pass through at BN that I don't think it would be possible to do this without going through the flags.

At a SC event last year a fairly well known trainer approached the water obstacle very wide and yelled "I am NOT presenting to this fence yet". His line was obviously not direct to the fence but had probably had an issue w/ a JJ in the past.

LisaB
Jan. 14, 2008, 08:51 AM
I've seen this done with various obstacles where a rider will go on the other side and then approach the jump. Yep, they generally get a lot of time penalties. They are not approaching the obstacle therefore no refusal
Suggestion:
they may circle past the flags after a refusal but if they go past the flags on the first go, then that's considered a refusal.

KBG Eventer
Jan. 14, 2008, 09:26 AM
At Champagne Run this past summer many Training level riders were having stops at a house that was right before the first water. There was a couple of feet of dry land afterwards, and you actually could jump it at a slight angle and not have to go through water at all. Most of the problems seemed like the occured because the riders were coming at funny angles and the horse didn't see the water until the last minute. One rider game galloping up through another gap in the fence, cantered through the water, looped around and jumped the house very well. I thought it was pretty smart. :) I know some places that won't let you do that though.

At Middle TN, the third BN and Novice jumps were benches next to each other. My trainer said that if you had two refusals at the Novice to loop around over the smaller BN and back to the Novice. He told us that the officials might not be too happy with it, you would rack up tons of time, but that it was legal.

Janet
Jan. 14, 2008, 09:27 AM
I've seen it done a good bit with water. It does take time to school, so the rider can incur penalties. Apparently someone disapproved of the practice enough to propose a rule change for 2008:

http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleChanges/562-07.pdf

It looks like it was withdrawn, but there is a contradiction in the document because it also says that the issue was referred to the eventing technical committee for review for 2009.

If you have an opinion on the matter you can submit comments to the USEF.
IIRC it was proposed by Brian O'connor.

He missed the deadline for "standard" individual rule change proposals (which was back in May/June), so he submitted it as an "emergency" proposal.

They (not quite sure which "they") decided that it was an idea that needed to be investigated, but it really didn't meet the criteria for an "emergency" rule change.

So it was withdrawn as a 2008 individual emergency rule change proposal.

But some variant will almost certainly be presented as a "standard" rule change proposal for 2009, either as an individual proposal, or by the Eventing Committee.

eqsiu
Jan. 14, 2008, 09:30 AM
One more thing - The "obstacle" is between the flags.

Ah, but I was eliminated for that very situation once. Okay, not exactly, but my coach told us that since the exit to the water was flagged it would not be a refusal if the horse danced at the entrance. I went and talked to the TD afterwards and apparently it doesn't matter where the flags are, the whole water is the obstacle in a non combination pass-through water (I guess its different if it's an A-B combo).

However, if the rider put the horse into the water to the side of the flags, perhaps that would not constitute presentation to the jump.

Badger
Jan. 14, 2008, 09:39 AM
At Hill 'n Hound last year, the TD decided that schooling the obstacle by splashing through the unflagged portion before presenting to the flagged portion of the obstacle would be considered a refusal. There were numerous PA announcements to that effect to let competitors know.

As stated above, this sort of schooling while on course is usually penalized by acquiring time penalties, but I think it's a good option to have for youngsters at the low levels. I hope the USEA clarifies it one way or the other and doesn't leave it up to the whims of individual TDs.

sassparella
Jan. 14, 2008, 09:40 AM
At Hill and Hound this past fall, it was announced just before the start of XC that “schooling” the water prior to passing through the flags would incur a dangerous riding penalty. I believe there was a thread about that and some discussion as to whether or not it constituted “dangerous” riding.

eqsiu
Jan. 14, 2008, 10:14 AM
but I think it's a good option to have for youngsters at the low levels.

I don't think a competition is the time to school water.

MTshowjumper
Jan. 14, 2008, 10:25 AM
I don't think a competition is the time to school water.

Say you don't have regular access to a xc course though, or they have only seen one water jump? When else are they going to get to if not in competition? I'm not saying it is the time to do a schooling session, but for a lot of us we compete at a certain level to give the horse exposure to just this kind of thing.

FlightCheck
Jan. 14, 2008, 10:26 AM
Wynn and I are in TOTAL agreement.

During the Florida winter season we see all the young horses that the pros are eventing for the first time, at BN or Novice. They usually are in the BNH or NH division, and almost ALL of them splash through the water jump before presenting. Sure, it uses up time, but at BN, time is usually not an issue.

Then, some poor BN or N rider who DOESN'T know that this is allowed tries to do the water correctly the first time, and either gets a refusal or is eliminated all together.

It irritates me to no end - I consider it CHEATING. I also see experienced riders do this with ditches.

Hilary
Jan. 14, 2008, 10:27 AM
I had a really quirky horse who would panic at drops into water he had never seen IF he was not allowed to walk in first. Quirky. It is not possible to school every single water fence, but I did as many as I could get to and actually competed him at lower levels just to be able to give him good water experiences on those courses so next time I could do the higher level and have him be OK.

I took advantage of this loophole twice in his eventing career (of 5 years - N-Prelim) because I felt that giving him a good experience and getting time penalties was the more horsmanshiply (is that a word?) approach than scaring him into a lathered panic attack and getting eliminated (I did that twice, too, before I figured him out)

And also, while you're not supposed to "school" at an event, you are supposed to compete. If I can find an edge for myself, why would I not take it? Risk getting a few time faults, and ultimlately having a safer, better trained horse, or risk certain elimination?

I think the upper level competitors know all the rules and use them to their advantage - this is just one more.

If you are complaining because someone who did this placed better than you did, that is sour grapes.

FlightCheck
Jan. 14, 2008, 10:34 AM
Wynn is not complaining about placings - she was the FENCE JUDGE at the water.

I'm not complaining about the placings - I was the control/announcer at the water.

3dazey
Jan. 14, 2008, 10:38 AM
I don't like it, I consider it against the spirit of the sport. Go to schooling days, unsanctioned fun days or what have you if you need to school. When at a competition, compete. Don't try to find loopholes in the rules that clearly weren't meant to be circumnavigated, just to give yourself some kind of edge.

Camstock
Jan. 14, 2008, 10:53 AM
Dang it, I always examine my position carefully when I am in disagreement with Flight Check and Pwynn. But I've thought about it, and here I am, still in disagreement.

Professionals do this because they are professionals and have been around this block before and they choose not to ask green horses questions that surprise or scare them and cost them 20 penalties if they don't have to. That's one of the reasons why some pay them to ride their young horses around their first courses.

I start a fair number of greenies. I haven't had to use this tactic yet, but I would if it was best for the horse. It is far from cheating and I admire people, pros or not, with the presence of mind to ride so thoughtfully for their horses . It is setting the horse up for success. I personally care much less about the color of a piece of satin awarded at the end than that my horse is more confident when he ended than when he started. If giving him the best chance to be successful at an obstacle means that he also goes clean and places high, well, that's a nice bonus.

If they change the rules, that's fine too.

FlightCheck
Jan. 14, 2008, 11:15 AM
Camstock, we're SORT of in agreement in a weird way.

The Pros usually don't care about the ribbon. Heck, I don't usually care either, and I am FAR from a pro.

But at BN they are often riding "against" the BN who has one horse, and that horse is the love of their life and may never go above BN. This may be their only recognized show the whole year. That ribbon IS important to them and to their SO/parent/etc.

They don't KNOW that they can "school" before presenting to the obstacle. So they have an average dressage ride, and a clear SJ, and maybe just the one stop XC. And they go home with no ribbon because 5 pros who "schooled" and 3 others with clear rounds took the top 8 placings.

I know there is a BNR and NR division. Here in Florida those are usually comprised of riders with "retired" upper level horses.

So maybe my 2 cents is that the pro should be in the Open division if they really don't care about the ribbon (which is now not making sense because I am totally against the Adult Amateur divisions so I am shutting up now).

3dazey
Jan. 14, 2008, 11:27 AM
Sure, the pros care about the placing...because they want to sell the horse! :lol:

Badger
Jan. 14, 2008, 11:29 AM
There IS a penalty for doing this, because it costs times and can add time penalties to the score. I've never used this tactic, but it is legal and as long as it is legal I think it's smart riding for the horses that will benefit from a splash throuth before a down bank into water early in their career. I think think the arguement that not everyone know about it is pretty weak, I've been hearing about it done for years. If the BN riders are getting good coaching, they should be told when it's an appropriate option for their horse on a specific course.

Camstock
Jan. 14, 2008, 11:47 AM
Thank the Universe, Flight Check and I are somewhat agreeing. Peace and happiness returns to Camstock's little mind. :-)

I really hadn't considered the "love of their life" angle and it is a good one. However, if the BN rode with a really thoughtful trainer, trainer would have advised the BN of the option. That's most of what the BNR had over them, better coaching. The BNR's coach just happens to be onboard at all times, in his/her own head. If I were a BN and my coach didn't tell me that option before I needed it, I'd want a refund!

3Dazey and Badger have good points. I care about clean rounds. I'll take time penalties any day of the week, looks better on the USEA horse record if the owner does decide to sell. If I have to pick one, it is time penalties every time.

CapturinYerRide
Jan. 14, 2008, 11:50 AM
As a photographer who is often at the water show after show, I see this all the time. As an ever-so-rare jump judge myself, I'm always curious as to the rules. I've asked many a TD in passing about the practice. I've been explained that it isn't at all against the rules, in fact, interpreting the rules, it is clearly allowed in other similar situations. Mostly I see this with the "pros" when riding new horses at BN, but also quite often at Novice level. I don't recall ever seeing it done at Training level or above.

This is all a matter of knowing the rules and how to use them to your advantage as well as to not break them unknowingly. Seems to me that this is akin to what my golf instructor drilled into my head as a junior golfer; "Know the rules." Jack Niklaus lost a '50s US Open to Ben Hogan because he didn't know he was allowed to take a particular measure on the green and lost a stroke as a result. Both of my daughters also event, and while their trainer, a very fine example, certainly instructs them about this rule and why it is allowed and used by many pros, they are both strictly forbidden to use the rule in competition! (Likewise one daughter, not knowing the rule that one can't slow down or circle between the last element and the finishe line, did just that. No official caught it, but the trainer did. It was a bad Monday at the barn to say the least!)

While we might view this as "cheating," it is clearly not against the rules as they are currently written, so we should be careful not to call someone a cheat because they used the rules to their advantage.

I looked up the rules on the USEA site, and in a quick read only found this: EV142-3c states: "At separately numbered obstacles, a competitor may circle between or around them without penalty provided he has not represented his horse at the second or subsequent obstacles."
http://www.useventing.com/resources/files/docs/EventingRuleBook_optimized.pdf

I don't see anything else addressing this specifically at water obstackles, but it seems a good idea to take a read of the rules!

hey101
Jan. 14, 2008, 11:50 AM
What Camstock said.

I never saw anyone do this until I jump-judged the water at Copper Meadows in Ramona, CA this past October (up to then having spent 8 years in Area II). When the first horse did this, I was very confused, and radioed up to the tower to ask them how I should score that mess that had just happened in front of me! :lol: The TD explained the schooling-the-water thing to me. She said a lot of people do this in CA because there is so little natural water for them to school otherwise. Maybe that is the case in Florida as well?

In any case, if it's legal to do and your young/green horse is goofy about water, why wouldn't you take advantage of it at BN and N. I would suggest that if you still need to school your horse through the water first on a Training level course, than perhaps you should not be going Training level. :cool:

pwynnnorman
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:06 PM
Interesting perspectives. I suppose the current ambiguity (more or less) allows for some flexibility, which is a bonus--although it'd be nice to find some way for the ammy to know about it (we're not exactly encouraging folks to try and stay in the sport by keeping them in the dark--and expecting BNs to be paying for expensive coaching -- Coaching, such as at events, not "training" to be safe and secure, OK? -- seems a bit unreasonable, too). S'true that the TD can announce a policy, I suppose--and the organizer can rope off the loop hole, so-to-speak (I thought it was great the way they roped off the direct line to the tables at FHP this weekend, for example: riders had to go around the rope before they could approach the jump, so they definitely had their horses well in hand going down to the penultimate jump (the tragic table)).

It will be interesting to see how this is handled when the rule change comes up again. I now see the other side of the issue in the way I hadn't before.

Camstock
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:10 PM
Completely unrelated aside: you can slow down after the last fence and before the finish. You can't circle, serpentine, stop or walk. I trot after that last fence, sometimes, if my time could use a little paddding...

Pwynn, coaching at an event is cheap compared to everything else invested. Course walks with a pro can be had for $25 or so in Area IV.

Badger
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:13 PM
Completely unrelated aside: you can slow down after the last fence and before the finish. You can't circle, serpentine, stop or walk. I trot after that last fence, sometimes, if my time could use a little paddding...

Did they change this rule? It used to penalize slowing down like that between the last fence and finish.

inquisitive
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:13 PM
Interesting perspectives. I suppose the current ambiguity (more or less) allows for some flexibility, which is a bonus--although it'd be nice to find some way for the ammy to know about it (we're not exactly encouraging folks to try and stay in the sport by keeping them in the dark--and expecting BNs to be paying for expensive coaching -- Coaching, such as at events, not "training" to be safe and secure, OK? -- seems a bit unreasonable, too). S'true that the TD can announce a policy, I suppose--and the organizer can rope off the loop hole, so-to-speak (I thought it was great the way they roped off the direct line to the tables at FHP this weekend, for example: riders had to go around the rope before they could approach the jump, so they definitely had their horses well in hand going down to the penultimate jump (the tragic table)).

It will be interesting to see how this is handled when the rule change comes up again. I now see the other side of the issue in the way I hadn't before.

I see this as exactly the problem: ambiguity. Even though it is not disallowed in the rules, many people won't know it's possible just because they don't think that way, haven't tried it, or don't have someone to tell them to try it. Forget the argument about whether or not it is fair, pros vs. ammies, etc. Look at the few posts where people have said they saw people doing this at a HT. There were many different perspectives on how to score it, what exactly was allowed by the rules, and what was pushing it. What is really allowed? Should riders who think of it be talking to TD's and calling out what they're doing every time they're on course? I read the proposed rule change (which I guess won't be up for consideration until 2009) and unless they didn't put all the information in there it is sooo ambiguous:

Schooling the obstacle: 20 penalties
To eliminate the practice of 'schooling' over cross-country fences

Even if this rule is in place, I think people will still be struggling with how to score it.

I'm not one for a bunch of rules (see my previous responses to similar topics) but whether or not it's allowed, I think there needs to be some clear verbage about this.

hey101
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:16 PM
Pwynn, I don't think it's a case of anyone keeping anyone else in the dark. It's more like something you learn as you gain more experience. I never knew you could school water like that until a few months ago, but happily I now know it just as I happen to have a young horse that I will start competing at BN in February. Will I do this? Probably at her first competition, even though she happily splashes through water like a duck. If all goes well the first time, i will probably choose not to do it at the second one. If all still goes well, then I will assume that she has showed me water is not an issue for her and will not take advantage of this loop-hole any more.

If I hadn't found out about this water-schooling advantage, I would have just done what I have always done, and trust that my pre-competition schooling of water had been sufficient, and head straight through it at her first show.

I would think pros approach it the same way.

3dazey
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:29 PM
Watch out, now, no one said a word about cheating...and the separately numbered obstacle rule is for fences in a combination where you have an option to get to the second fence if the "straight route" doesn't work out for you, or if you have a penalty and need to present yourself to the second fence again...so you're not penalized for getting back to it.

Don't doubt for a moment we haven't read the rules...:eek:

I compete and volunteer, and this issue first arose where I was fence judging an OI water...a horse who had (previously that year) gone advanced was schooled through the water in just this way before jumping (very stickily) the actual fence into water. The TD, an FEI official, was standing right next to me shaking his head and muttering in disgust. He told me to "let it go" but was not amused.

At any rate, for the time being, it appears we can agree to disagree and do it our own way!

(I still love you guys, I just think you're WRONG!!! :lol::D:winkgrin: )

Janet
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:37 PM
Did they change this rule? It used to penalize slowing down like that between the last fence and finish. You can slow down to a trot without penalty.

But walk, halt, circle, or serpentine can be penalozed.

Hilary
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:42 PM
See, in my view, the same could be said for someone squeaking through the flags at some water fences right at the edge and not actually getting in the water. It doesn't happen often, and mostly at N and BN, but is it wrong? Or cheating? Or gaining an unfair advantage?

Not really - if it's flagged in such a way that a clever horse and rider can go through the flags and not get their feet wet, they have navigated the obstacle, but they have not done in in the way you are "supposed" to. It hasn't tested the horse's ability to get in the water.

But it's not illegal and I don't think it should be.

I still stand by my reasoning that any time you have the choice to give your horse a GOOD experience over a bad one, give him the good one. Because next time he'll be willing and you won't have to worry about it.

Camstock
Jan. 14, 2008, 12:57 PM
Badger, and you wonder why my time at Longview was exactly on optimum. Being tied after dressage had me double checking that rule before xc... ;-) I knew I wasn't likely to be over time.

Of course it made no difference as I went slightly braille around stadium... Pffft!

hey101
Jan. 14, 2008, 01:03 PM
See, in my view, the same could be said for someone squeaking through the flags at some water fences right at the edge and not actually getting in the water. It doesn't happen often, and mostly at N and BN, but is it wrong? Or cheating? Or gaining an unfair advantage?

Not really - if it's flagged in such a way that a clever horse and rider can go through the flags and not get their feet wet, they have navigated the obstacle, but they have not done in in the way you are "supposed" to. It hasn't tested the horse's ability to get in the water.

But it's not illegal and I don't think it should be.



I agree with this. If the horse and rider pass through the flags correctly, then they have negotiated the obstacle. Kudos to the smart rider who can figure out a way to do this to the ultimate benefit of their horse if the horse has an issue it is still working on.

I remember reading a similar discussion on here once about someone who had a young horse going prelim for the first time who was sticky over corners. As eventing karma would have it, the horse in front of them broke the flag on the corner jump. THe jump judge was in the process of replacing the flag when the young horse came galloping up; the jump judge jumped backwards still holding the flag, and the VERY astute rider simply galloped between the jump judge and the scary corner fence! They had passed between the flags, and it was scored as clear. :eek: I am quite sure if it were me riding, I would never have had the presence of mind to think that quickly in the heat of hte moment- I would have still taken the jump! :lol:

Camstock
Jan. 14, 2008, 01:06 PM
Now THAT is smart riding!

eqsiu
Jan. 14, 2008, 01:11 PM
Perhaps the ideal situation is what my coach had thought when I got eliminated. Flag the exit of a water and don't worry about how a horse gets in as long as they go out willingly. That would allow fo the "schooling" of water at BN and N. It would probably need a time limit though, i.e. the rider has 30 seconds to get the horse in or something like that. Water jump judges would need a stop watch...

Saskatoonian
Jan. 14, 2008, 01:30 PM
It's not cheating if it's not against the rules, regardless of who is "disgusted."

I don't think there is anything inappropriate in the advantage some - whether pros or just longstanding eventers - have by knowing the rules and knowing what's permitted or not.

Janet
Jan. 14, 2008, 01:32 PM
Under the current rules, it is not "cheating", whatever anyone may think of it.

But the question is whether to CHANGE the rules to penalize it. Then if someone wants to take the 20 penalty points, they can.

Avra
Jan. 14, 2008, 01:53 PM
I'm an amateur who's aware of this rule and has taken advantage of it. I'm not sure exactly why it's "unfair" if only people who are aware of the rules take advantage of it. Isn't this kind of like the people who protested that it was "unfair" that the rule against whips in championship classes was enforced? Or hey, the guy I saw at a recognized Training level event last year who whined that it was unfair no one reminded him to take his bellboots off before dressage?

I jumpjudged at an (unrecognized) event a few years ago with a new water jump. There were numerous stops and eliminations and a fall or two at the water (why, exactly, I have no idea--this was BN and N, and it was not at all scary as water jumps go--just a big puddle to trot through, really.) This was DESPITE the fact that it was clearly flagged so that riders had the option of going between the flag and the water--like a five foot gap of nice footing, nothing scary or horrible.

At some point, people have to learn to think for themselves, right?

eqsiu
Jan. 14, 2008, 01:55 PM
At some point, people have to learn to think for themselves, right?

*gasp* :eek:

Surely not!

CapturinYerRide
Jan. 14, 2008, 02:01 PM
Rules, EV142-6 (Page 42 of the downloadable pdf) reads:

"WILLFUL DELAY. A competitor is considered to have willfully delayed his finish if,
between the last fence and the finish line, the horse halts, walks, circles, or serpentines.
The competitor will be penalized at the discretion of the Ground Jury."

I suppose that the word trot was left out, so one could actually trot without breaking the rules. If one serpentines while trotting....

The way to keep this from being an issue is to check your watch after the penultimate, after which one is allowed to lollygag in any manner to waste time, before the last....

Read and know the rules!

ponyjumper4
Jan. 14, 2008, 02:02 PM
this all kind of reminds me of the '04 Olympics when McLain Ward jumped decorations in the last team jumper round of the jump off against Sweden? His time made it impossible for them to catch us so they didn't even jump their last horse in the jump off. It wasn't illegal by any means, but people considered it cheating or "disgusting", when all he did was play smart and take advantage of the rules.

Ja Da Dee
Jan. 14, 2008, 02:04 PM
but I would if it was best for the horse. It is far from cheating and I admire people, pros or not, with the presence of mind to ride so thoughtfully for their horses . It is setting the horse up for success. I personally care much less about the color of a piece of satin awarded at the end than that my horse is more confident when he ended than when he started. If giving him the best chance to be successful at an obstacle means that he also goes clean and places high, well, that's a nice bonus.

I agree with this. It's about knowing your horse and giving them a good ride. I have friend who was taking her ditchy horse Training for the first time, he got spooked at the second jump, and lost his confidence. She stuffed him over the next few jumps, and was E'ed at the 1/2 coffin. Her trainer told her that next time she felt him scared like that, she needed to get his confidence back by popping him over the novice ditch before attempting the training ditch. If she had thought about doing that at the time, I bet they would have gone clean. Sometimes restoring your horses confidence with a smaller jump is just plain, good horsemanship.

Beam Me Up
Jan. 14, 2008, 02:10 PM
We all have the same rule book, so we can't really argue that only pros know the rules.

I don't have strong feelings on which way to go on this rule (I do see how it conflicts with the spirit but not the letter of the schooling on course rule), but I would like to see its enforcement tightened up, just so all events are consistent and everyone knows what to expect.

There are a few areas in the eventing rules that do seem a little loose and inconsistently enforced (e.g., dangerous riding, whip rule esp in terms of what constitutes an "incident" and what is encouragement/reprimand). Unlike these subjective and hard to legislate situations (there will always be an unforeseen situation), this one is pretty straightforward. I think most of us could live with it either way, if we just clarified it rather than leaving it to each event's interpretation.

Muck r us
Jan. 14, 2008, 02:12 PM
I remember reading a similar discussion on here once about someone who had a young horse going prelim for the first time who was sticky over corners. As eventing karma would have it, the horse in front of them broke the flag on the corner jump. THe jump judge was in the process of replacing the flag when the young horse came galloping up; the jump judge jumped backwards still holding the flag, and the VERY astute rider simply galloped between the jump judge and the scary corner fence! They had passed between the flags, and it was scored as clear. :eek: I am quite sure if it were me riding, I would never have had the presence of mind to think that quickly in the heat of hte moment- I would have still taken the jump! :lol:


:eek: I wonder if that jump judge had to change pants afterwards.

Badger
Jan. 14, 2008, 02:55 PM
Rules, EV142-6 (Page 42 of the downloadable pdf) reads:

"WILLFUL DELAY. A competitor is considered to have willfully delayed his finish if,
between the last fence and the finish line, the horse halts, walks, circles, or serpentines.
The competitor will be penalized at the discretion of the Ground Jury."

I suppose that the word trot was left out, so one could actually trot without breaking the rules. If one serpentines while trotting....

The way to keep this from being an issue is to check your watch after the penultimate, after which one is allowed to lollygag in any manner to waste time, before the last....

Read and know the rules!

I've read that rule and always interpretted pulling up to a trot between the last fence and finish line to be "willful delay."

I can't tell you how many tie-breakers I've lost from misinterpretting that rule. Bunches.

WindWillowStable
Jan. 14, 2008, 03:01 PM
I remember reading a similar discussion on here once about someone who had a young horse going prelim for the first time who was sticky over corners. As eventing karma would have it, the horse in front of them broke the flag on the corner jump. THe jump judge was in the process of replacing the flag when the young horse came galloping up; the jump judge jumped backwards still holding the flag, and the VERY astute rider simply galloped between the jump judge and the scary corner fence! They had passed between the flags, and it was scored as clear. :eek: I am quite sure if it were me riding, I would never have had the presence of mind to think that quickly in the heat of hte moment- I would have still taken the jump! :lol:

I don't see how this was judged as clear and that was taking advantage of a situation...I would be an angry competitor if I found out someone in my division didn't even have to jump one of the obstacles but was still considered clear.

I jump judged a corner this past weekend and when the TD was discussing the corner he said that the horse had to complete the "obstacle"...so if the horse jumped sideways and took the flag down I had to make the decision rather the obstacle was completed or was it a run out where the horse jumped into the flag instead of over the jump.....even if they went through the flags. Thankfully I wasn't faced with that since the flag only broke once and that was by someones knee.

ThirdCharm
Jan. 14, 2008, 04:29 PM
It is the competitor's job to know the rules. Or ride with someone who does! I don't think of it as cheating, I think it's being smart. I've never done it, though.... :-)

I have seen a LOT of pros school the water on their young horses. At one SC event a BNT took multiple Prelim horses through the water before presenting each to the Prelim fence in. If the organizer or CD really wants to discourage this practice, there aren't a whole lot of water jumps around here at least that couldn't be roped off in a few minutes between divisions. *shrug*

Jennifer

enjoytheride
Jan. 14, 2008, 04:59 PM
I agree, I don't care if you have dobbin your trail horse reject doing BN at a trot, the rules are the same for everyone no matter how famous.

I do have a question about this rule in context of individual shows. If this is a firm rule, can TDs change this rule to suit them?

As a jump judge I have had a TD tell me that nobody was allowed to school the water or jump the smaller ditch, doing so would count as a refusal. I inquired because I know the rules and she said "not at her event" or something similar. It was not announced.

As a competitor I'd be pretty upset if I knew the rulebook front and back and then showed up with a penalty because the local TD decided she didn't like the rule.

If this is a rule, what do we do about locations that feel the need to change those rules?

snoopy
Jan. 14, 2008, 05:36 PM
It irritates me to no end - I consider it CHEATING. I also see experienced riders do this with ditches.



I absolutely agree. IMO you are showing your horse the "obstacle"....even if only a jump is flagged, water by its placement is considered to be part of that question or why have it?

quietann
Jan. 14, 2008, 05:44 PM
A somewhat related question: is it OK to *walk* one's horse into water if there is no "jump" at the entrance but only one at the exit? A friend's horse, a lovely guy, is partially blind and scared of water (and schooling has only slightly improved him; she's had him for over a decade now), so the standard approach is to take him down to a walk just beforehand, walk him into the water, pick up a trot (which he will do fine, once he's in and knows the water isn't more than knee-deep), and then jump out. My friend's understanding is that as long as he doesn't *stop* at the entrance to the water, walking him in is OK. They've never been penalized for this approach.

Needless to say this guy never competes above N, though my friend's daughter has schooled him successfully through Training level water (requiring a jump in), and wants to try him at that level at the end of this season. If it was not for his eyesight, he would have easily been a Prelim or Intermediate horse. He's a real DQ and can go fast when he wants to! The old guy *has* mellowed as he's aged (to the point where even I can ride him, and I might get to take him to an Elementary-level event this year!)

bambam
Jan. 14, 2008, 05:49 PM
Rules, EV142-6 (Page 42 of the downloadable pdf) reads:

"WILLFUL DELAY. A competitor is considered to have willfully delayed his finish if,
between the last fence and the finish line, the horse halts, walks, circles, or serpentines.
The competitor will be penalized at the discretion of the Ground Jury."


I am with you Badger. I thought this prohibited any wilfull delay, which trotting obviously would be. I am still not sure I think that is incorrect. This could be read as prohibiting wilfull delay, and giving examples of what is unquestionably wilfull delay. As in numerous instances in these rules, the examples of what constitutes some particular conduct are not exhaustive but illustrative. Me? I am not taking that chance and if I am so far ahead that I need to trot, I will do it before the second to last fence :D
As for the issue in this thread- I don't think it is cheating, but I do think the rule should be changed. You are not allowed to school or show your horse any other kind of fence on course, why should water be different? If your horse has a water problem, that is no different than a ditch problem and should not be treated differently under the rules.

cllane1
Jan. 14, 2008, 06:07 PM
A somewhat related question: is it OK to *walk* one's horse into water if there is no "jump" at the entrance but only one at the exit? A friend's horse, a lovely guy, is partially blind and scared of water (and schooling has only slightly improved him; she's had him for over a decade now), so the standard approach is to take him down to a walk just beforehand, walk him into the water, pick up a trot (which he will do fine, once he's in and knows the water isn't more than knee-deep), and then jump out. My friend's understanding is that as long as he doesn't *stop* at the entrance to the water, walking him in is OK. They've never been penalized for this approach.


As long as the water entrance is not flagged, they can get in however they want, although I imagine some jump judges could consider a stop at the unflagged water entry as a refusal, as it is in connection with negotiating the obstacle. And as long as they exit between the flags, it doesn't matter if he trots or not. If it's just a step up it would certainly be acceptable to walk it. There aren't any rules that say jumps have to be taken at a trot or canter (I don't think!).

throwurheart
Jan. 14, 2008, 06:29 PM
A somewhat related question: is it OK to *walk* one's horse into water if there is no "jump" at the entrance but only one at the exit? A friend's horse, a lovely guy, is partially blind and scared of water (and schooling has only slightly improved him; she's had him for over a decade now), so the standard approach is to take him down to a walk just beforehand, walk him into the water, pick up a trot (which he will do fine, once he's in and knows the water isn't more than knee-deep), and then jump out. My friend's understanding is that as long as he doesn't *stop* at the entrance to the water, walking him in is OK. They've never been penalized for this approach.

Needless to say this guy never competes above N, though my friend's daughter has schooled him successfully through Training level water (requiring a jump in), and wants to try him at that level at the end of this season. If it was not for his eyesight, he would have easily been a Prelim or Intermediate horse. He's a real DQ and can go fast when he wants to! The old guy *has* mellowed as he's aged (to the point where even I can ride him, and I might get to take him to an Elementary-level event this year!)

That's absolutely fine. A refusal is defined as backward movement, which is also sideways movement that goes even an inch backward. The movement can even halt, as long as zero movement backward happens.

Or so I understand it. I haven't JJ in three years, so it's always possible there may have been a rule change. The horse I was competing during this time never refused, so I wouldn't have paid attention to any such rule change. :D

Duramax
Jan. 14, 2008, 07:59 PM
I'm not a pro and I have access to the same rulebook the pros do and I'm aware that I can do this... I second what Hilary said. I did it once at the VA Horse Center. The training level water was a rather largish house right on the edge of the water and you landed in the water. That wouldn't have been a problem for this mare but the way the water is at VA you come up a slight hill and there it is, so she wouldn't have seen it until the very last moment. So that she didn't feel like I was tricking her I ran through an unflagged part first and then looped back around and did the training part with no problem. I checked with the TD before xc and she praised me for considering the emotions (for lack of a better term!) of my mare. :shrugs:

Duramax
Jan. 14, 2008, 08:04 PM
-- although it'd be nice to find some way for the ammy to know about it (we're not exactly encouraging folks to try and stay in the sport by keeping them in the dark--and expecting BNs to be paying for expensive coaching -- Coaching, such as at events, not "training" to be safe and secure, OK? -- seems a bit unreasonable, too). S'true that the TD can announce a policy, I suppose--and the organizer can rope off the loop hole, so-to-speak

The USEA does that for them. They mail them a rule book when they join or rejoin the organization. :)

Duramax
Jan. 14, 2008, 08:05 PM
I still stand by my reasoning that any time you have the choice to give your horse a GOOD experience over a bad one, give him the good one. Because next time he'll be willing and you won't have to worry about it.

And I stand right there next to you Hilary... :yes: :D

Janet
Jan. 14, 2008, 11:31 PM
The movement can even halt,
Only if it is an obstacle without height, and only if it is a momentary halt. But "if the halt is sustained or in any way prolonged,this constitutes a refusal".

msghook
Jan. 15, 2008, 01:39 AM
scubed,
unless you are a lot older than me or have been doing this longer, both of which I doubt, there have never been rules such as you describe. There have been interpretations, something like yours, but no rules.

Malcolm

Kementari
Jan. 15, 2008, 03:35 AM
We all get the same rule book. The fact that many choose not to read it thoroughly doesn't make it unfair that others pay closer attention. And if you have a question about it, I have yet to meet a TD who wouldn't be happy to answer it for you.

That said, I do think that allowing schooling of obstacles goes against the spirit of the competition, and would support a rule change that penalized such an activity. :yes: If you have no schooling opportunities and your horse needs help with x y or z obstacle, then you can choose to take the penalties....

But until then, it's perfectly fair, as pros don't get any secret decoder ring with their rules that the rest of us don't - they're just smart enough to read for comprehension! :winkgrin:

Janet
Jan. 15, 2008, 07:19 AM
scubed,
unless you are a lot older than me or have been doing this longer, both of which I doubt, there have never been rules such as you describe. There have been interpretations, something like yours, but no rules.

Malcolm
Malcolm,
I can't lay my hands on the relevant rule book, but I distinctly remember such a rule (making "not permitted" to jump an unflagged obstacle). It changed sometime between '87 and '90. Before '90 because I have the '90 rule book, in which I had underlined the relevant new phrase. After '87 because it happened while I was organizer for CDCTA HT. I distinctly remember having a conversation with Brian Ross (who was my TD that year) about the change in the rule.

Since I can't lay my hands on the '88-'89 rulebook, I can't tell whether it was clearly specified, or a question of interpretation. But if it was a quesion of interpretation, it was consistently interpreted as "not permitted to jump an unflagged obstacle" in this part of the country.

saje
Jan. 15, 2008, 08:11 AM
I see nothing wrong with taking an alternate approach to the water flags that happens to go through another part of the water. In theory you could canter past each fence and circle around and jump it, and the only penalties you'd incur would be time. I wouldn't consider it cheating, because you ARE taking time.

I am however of two minds about jumping the lower level fence before your own. Again I guess you trade "schooling" for time and an extra jumping effort for your horse.

Frankly there are so many variables in this sport that I don't think that the water issue is that big a deal.

As for the trotting after the last fence, I don't think it's really an issue for Training and above because by that point the times are tight enough that you generally don't need to delay, but for N and especially BN (where a lot of the course may be done at trot) it's not necessarily a delay tactic but just part of the natural pace of things. The key is that the pace be forward and the line straight, I think.

Camstock
Jan. 15, 2008, 10:25 AM
That sucks, Badger. I could have told you that, had you asked, but it sounds like you wouldn't have believed me anyway (smile, my icons don't work). With Janet and Malcolm agreeing with me, I'm golden. (another smile) You are the showjumping guru and I am the rules babe. Together we are <drumroll> Area IV Eventing Divas. I see a team in our future at Longview, and clearly we need capes...

Edited to add, I want to see Janet pulling out a cobwebby 1989 rulebook and Malcolm looking askance at her over the top of his glasses. Reminds me of an old joke, the punchline of which has a crying monk declaring, after having carefully reviewed the original document, "It says celeBRATE!" (Quick hint: monks, recopying holy manuscripts, copying error, "celebate")

flutie1
Jan. 15, 2008, 10:54 AM
Cam - Too much sugar this morning?
:-)

Camstock
Jan. 15, 2008, 11:17 AM
You've no idea. Its worse. This ice and cold is keeping me from playing horsegirl and I'm just a goofball. Poor Jay.

Badger
Jan. 15, 2008, 11:24 AM
Camstock, I really had no idea you could trot at the finish. This explains why I NEVER win a tie-breaker (and I've had my share). Glad I finally learned something. For the record, when we tied at training last year...I came in one second off of optimum, and hadn't even started my watch because my TB was being so screwy at the start box. And you eyeballed your watch and trotted the finish to come in exactly at optimum. The fact that you could actually get your watched started and use it properly AND interpret the rule book means the tie should and did go to you! But I'm glad to know my internal stopwatch was pretty darn close to target in case there is a next time....heh heh heh.

Camstock
Jan. 15, 2008, 11:34 AM
I've spent months teaching Eddie a teensy western jog just for "next time".

SO kidding.

You do rock, though, one second under without a watch. Kudos.

UMass Director
Jan. 15, 2008, 12:12 PM
Two quick responses

Schooling (training) is for home, showing is to "show" what you have taught your horse and how well.:winkgrin:

Don't knock the fence judges, they are VOLUNTEERS, our sport needs them. If there needs to be better education at the events for our fence judges, perhaps the TD's should spend a bit more time making things clear. :)

BillytheKid
Jan. 15, 2008, 12:37 PM
If your plan for x-c includes anything even slightly out of the ordinary (but something you feel is allowed by the rules), it is never a bad idea to approach the TD, explain your plan, and see how they feel about it...I have seen rules interpreted different ways by various officials.

thumbsontop
Jan. 15, 2008, 12:45 PM
I remember reading a similar discussion on here once about someone who had a young horse going prelim for the first time who was sticky over corners. As eventing karma would have it, the horse in front of them broke the flag on the corner jump. THe jump judge was in the process of replacing the flag when the young horse came galloping up; the jump judge jumped backwards still holding the flag, and the VERY astute rider simply galloped between the jump judge and the scary corner fence! They had passed between the flags, and it was scored as clear. :eek: I am quite sure if it were me riding, I would never have had the presence of mind to think that quickly in the heat of hte moment- I would have still taken the jump! :lol:

I have to tell you, those jump judges are volunteers and if it were a rookie, it may very well have been judged clear because the JJ didn't want to worry about it!

TDs? How should that have been handled?

Camstock
Jan. 15, 2008, 12:58 PM
<disclaimer, only a TD wanna be and will be> The rule is that you have to pass between the flags. It was scored correctly.

asterix
Jan. 15, 2008, 01:25 PM
Two things (sorta related now that I think about it):

1. Although we all have the same rule book and can always ask the TD ahead of time about some ingenious "plan" we have devised regarding an obstacle, it is stretching it to assume that a nervous new eventer at her first horse trial going BN spends any time thinking about how to do things EXCEPT straightforwardly -- how should I ride to the water? not "how should I examine the water complex so I can sneak in from the side and then loop back..."
I certainly would never have known I could have asked the TD about stuff like that -- not as a new eventer.
We want to encourage new eventers, right?

2. THe corner example. I'm sorry, I don't think the rider should be congratulated. Trust me, I would have loved to have gone around the trakhener at my first prelim, but I certainly wouldn't have considered myself to have "completed" and I would never have taken home a ribbon if the flag had been moved off to the side and I had cantered by. Actually, my coach would have instantly disowned me had I done this, so it wouldn't have been worth it anyway :D.

I understand that this was within the technical wording of the rules, but surely not the intent. How, then, do you score a rider who jumps the corner after the flag has been taken out by a previous rider but NOT YET REPLACED at all? This happened at an area II HT this fall -- I saw the rider take out the flag, and then saw at least one rider jump the corner (properly, no worries there) with only one flag present.

Surely one can apply a simple logic/intent test here.

Muck r us
Jan. 15, 2008, 01:26 PM
The discussion of jumping unflagged obstacles is kind of interesting. A couple of years ago, I was jump judging a CCI ***. The track between a couple of jumps, about 100 yards apart, curved. Right at the apex of that curve, there was a unflagged BN jump; unflagged because BN was not running that weekend. Well, Phillip who was riding a herd (as ususal) popped every one of his horses over that BN jump, thereby taking the shortest route. Everyone else went around. At the time, it was generally regarded as smart horsemanship.

Janet
Jan. 15, 2008, 02:29 PM
<disclaimer, only a TD wanna be and will be> The rule is that you have to pass between the flags. It was scored correctly.
I guess it depends, in part, on how close the jump judge was. I can certainly see it being considered "dangerous riding" if they "almost ran down" the jump judge, and if the jump judge jumped backwards BECAUSE they were riding straight for her.
<another TD wannabe>.

With 20 20 hindsight, it probably would have been better if the jump judge had stopped the rider, started the stopwatch, and restarted the ruder after the flag was in place.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 15, 2008, 03:27 PM
We want to encourage new eventers, right?


Alas, sometimes there does seem to be a difference of opinion on that one.:(

Gotta admit that, having read through this thread, it seems to me that the course designer and/or TD should just DECIDE, y'know? I don't like the spirit of it, but I can see how under various circumstances it makes sense and is good for developing the horse. But it shouldn't be ambiguous, so the course designer or TD should either position the flags in such a way that it can or can't be done, or rope off any schooling routes.

I also think that at the BN level, it should be noted on the course map (whether you can enter the water before going through the flags). I am uncomfortable with the lack of compassion some folks have for BNs. Right now, we are trying out an "intro to eventing" series for non-eventers. That kind of coldness isn't good for the sport, IMO--not to people who may well be just trying it out (or to kids--remember them?).

A bit OT, but have we gotten to the point where, even at the BN level, you can't go to an event without a trainer? Now that's getting a bit too h-j-ish, surely! Seriously. It's OT, but I'd like to know, given that series we're working on. It'd be useful to hear from that perspective. This topic is the sort of thing a trainer/coach would tell you. Should BNs be expected to have a coach (at the event) now? Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's exactly in the sport's tradition, is it? HAVE things changed, requiring coaching (at events) now from day one?

Fallbrook
Jan. 15, 2008, 03:44 PM
The discussion of jumping unflagged obstacles is kind of interesting. A couple of years ago, I was jump judging a CCI ***. The track between a couple of jumps, about 100 yards apart, curved. Right at the apex of that curve, there was a unflagged BN jump; unflagged because BN was not running that weekend. Well, Phillip who was riding a herd (as ususal) popped every one of his horses over that BN jump, thereby taking the shortest route. Everyone else went around. At the time, it was generally regarded as smart horsemanship.

I agree (good horsemanship/strategy). I think we have to be careful what we wish for here (rule change). If you have a rule that prohibits schooling, then you have to clearly define schooling in such a manner that not only the riders, but the average jump judge can clearly recognize it and score it appropriately. Otherwise, we might as well mark a dashed line on the track and penalize people for stepping off it.

bambam
Jan. 15, 2008, 04:10 PM
pwynn- I think a BN rider going to their first or second event should be there with a coach so I am cool with encouraging that. And if they don't, then they should be discussing the rules and such with their coach beforehand- actually they should be doing that regardless of whether the coach comes to their event with them
Also as a little starting BN rider who was not training with a BNT, I knew about this "hole" in the rules and that this was an option from Day 1. I don't consider it a big secret.

eqsiu
Jan. 15, 2008, 04:39 PM
Isn't it against the rules to jump an unflagged obstacle? Or did that change somewhere along the way?

Janet
Jan. 15, 2008, 04:45 PM
Isn't it against the rules to jump an unflagged obstacle? Or did that change somewhere along the way? Not against the rules to jump an unflagged obstacle, since 1990, at the latest.

Blugal
Jan. 15, 2008, 05:10 PM
A bit OT, but have we gotten to the point where, even at the BN level, you can't go to an event without a trainer? N

When I was growing up, it was considered necessary to go to a HT and spectate/groom for a fellow eventer before entering your first HT. That person can spend the drive there & back explaining the finer points of the rules ;) You can see what people do, walk the course, etc. etc.

Blugal
Jan. 15, 2008, 05:13 PM
Not against the rules to jump an unflagged obstacle, since 1990, at the latest.

Unless you compete in BC, Canada. I have the dubious distinction of being eliminated on two horses at one event, one for jumping a flagged obstacle on another course, and one for jumping an unflagged obstacle on another course. (I didn't mean to do EITHER of these things. :lol:) Then I lost the tie for 2nd place by going too fast on my 3rd horse, and not thinking of slowing down/serpentining etc. until the 2nd to last fence, by which point the TD was already looking for me due to the 2 earlier horses, so I decided not to add "wilful delay" into the mix.

All of that, and I have read the rulebook, and I was "new" to this sport... 12 years ago! :lol:

pwynnnorman
Jan. 15, 2008, 05:48 PM
pwynn- I think a BN rider going to their first or second event should be there with a coach so I am cool with encouraging that. And if they don't, then they should be discussing the rules and such with their coach beforehand- actually they should be doing that regardless of whether the coach comes to their event with them
Also as a little starting BN rider who was not training with a BNT, I knew about this "hole" in the rules and that this was an option from Day 1. I don't consider it a big secret.

I find this useful information. The need for coaching from the get-go, even at the lowest levels, itself creates a need to "orient" newbies (or potential ones) along those lines. It means one can't light their fires without making sure they hook up with someone afterwards. I think I'm going to suggest that folks who attend something like an "intro to eventing" clinic be given maybe a printout or something -- something they can take away with them that isn't just in their heads: the local or area trainers or a membership list or something like that. And perhaps such a clinic needs to be sure to include a talk during the clinic about the need for coaching. Definitely worth some thought.

snickerdoodle
Jan. 15, 2008, 06:02 PM
i have seen it at training, prelim and intermediate at Morven Park, the little pond down from the stables. no one penalized

saje
Jan. 15, 2008, 07:44 PM
Skimming through this thread again I see several comments about not discouraging new eventers, about callousness towards BN riders, etc.

It disturbs me, not because I want eventing to be an elitist sport where you can't sneeze without a trainer handy, but because I dread seeing the ultra thin-skinnedness trend in the world today creep into eventing. SO WHAT if someone interprets the rules creatively and uses it to their advantage?! Shut your mouth, open your eyes and ears and learn so that you can have some tricks up your own sleeve. It isn't about cheating, it's about using every bit of the terrain given you, and using it wisely within the parameters of the rule book.

The art of riding has ALWAYS been about learning, for ever and ever amen. We never learn it all, that's part of the joy of horsemanship (at least to me). I dread the day when everyone has to be a winner, when there are no losers, when everyone's hand is held and the paths are drawn in the grass in pink glitter, so it's pretty and no-one gets lost.

Eventers are supposed to be the ultimate multitaskers and cross trainers, right? Well then, develop those skills, hone them, and USE those skills to ride better and smarter. Don't whine, go and do.

Duramax
Jan. 15, 2008, 07:59 PM
Saje for president! :lol: :D

Hannahsmom
Jan. 15, 2008, 08:25 PM
With 20 20 hindsight, it probably would have been better if the jump judge had stopped the rider, started the stopwatch, and restarted the ruder after the flag was in place.

I've been pretty close to this situation as a jump judge. Sometimes you are rushing over to replace the flag and here comes the next rider within 30 seconds that it is tough to flag them down, radio in, etc. etc. etc. Things can happen so fast at the smaller events with fewer jump judges. I know the flags that aren't attached so strongly are safer, but I really miss having those old little "pipe things" that flags just slotted down thru rather than juggling radio, pen, scoresheet and plastic ties! :D I do remember in one case freezing and just holding the flag. The rider did what I considered the right thing and jumped the jump even if they could have squeezed by between me and the flag which sure made my life easier.

retreadeventer
Jan. 15, 2008, 10:00 PM
What a sport! Her horse gets Horse of the Year one weekend and she's jump judging the BN water the next! Don't you love Wynn? I sure do!

quietann
Jan. 15, 2008, 10:50 PM
Actually, having watched a few rounds of eventing, from pre-elementary on up, I would not think of going to my first event without a trainer! I'm not an idiot, but there are so many things involved in riding a good, safe event that I don't know yet! Luckily I have one, and she's very good, and she's happy to come along with me, in return for my being her groom when she competes.

Janet
Jan. 15, 2008, 11:00 PM
I've been pretty close to this situation as a jump judge. Sometimes you are rushing over to replace the flag and here comes the next rider within 30 seconds that it is tough to flag them down, radio in, etc. etc. etc. Things can happen so fast at the smaller events with fewer jump judges. I know the flags that aren't attached so strongly are safer, but I really miss having those old little "pipe things" that flags just slotted down thru rather than juggling radio, pen, scoresheet and plastic ties! :D I do remember in one case freezing and just holding the flag. The rider did what I considered the right thing and jumped the jump even if they could have squeezed by between me and the flag which sure made my life easier.
I quite agree.

saje
Jan. 16, 2008, 07:22 AM
Saje for president! :lol: :D

Hee!

Thanks :D and :eek:no way in hell! :lol:

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 09:44 AM
Sorry, Saje, I'm from Iowa and I caucus you in. Seriously, what Saje said.

eqsiu
Jan. 16, 2008, 10:10 AM
Not against the rules to jump an unflagged obstacle, since 1990, at the latest.

So can you jump another level's flagged jump if you don't miss any of your own?

Janet
Jan. 16, 2008, 10:28 AM
So can you jump another level's flagged jump if you don't miss any of your own?
As long as you do so SAFELY.

CBudFrggy
Jan. 16, 2008, 10:32 AM
Where's an intro to eventing clinic? Really, where and when?

There are those of us who do NOT have a coach/trainer, who HAVE cross-trained diligently, read the rules and are getting ready to go BNH on a green horse as a first time eventer W/O a coach/trainer.

So, if you see me about to make an @$$ out of myself, maybe anyone could quietly let me know, nicely, as an experienced horseperson to another not quite as experienced horseperson, as long as it would not be considered "coaching" while I'm on course.

Thanks Wynn for bringing up this discussion.

asterix
Jan. 16, 2008, 10:43 AM
OK, look. It's great that we want eventers to be rough and tough and do-it-yourself, but the fact is that IF we are going to have Beginner Novice, which skill-wise looks fairly simple (remind me I said that when greenbean makes his BN debut in April :lol::lol:), then we are going to have to accept that a raft of folks who have a horse that can jump 2'6" in the ring and canter 20 m circles will want to give it a try.

And I do think they will be safer and happier if they have good coaching. I've been a new eventer and I've been around a LOT of new eventers. They are so nervous, it makes my prelim-start-box nausea look like zen meditation. A little professional help is not such a bad thing.

This is not to say that it should be mandated that folks have a coach present, or that we shouldn't be as helpful and supportive as possible to people who do not, but I don't think it's such a ridiculous notion.

I remember being in xc warmup at an unrecognized novice ht with a teenager who asked me what the course was. She had not so much as set foot on the xc course and was due up at the start box in 2 minutes. It was her first event. I don't know how she got that far, but no one ever told her she should go look at her course first. I managed to convince her to go ask the starter if she could come back in half an hour after walking the course.

By the way, pwynn, I think you are spot on about deciding ahead of time -- if it's legal, and flagged/roped such that it can be done, jump judges should be briefed that it is ok. If the td/cd don't want schooling, they should rope/flag accordingly.

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 10:49 AM
They are so nervous, it makes my prelim-start-box nausea look like zen meditation. A little professional help is not such a bad thing.


<snort> Well said!

pwynnnorman
Jan. 16, 2008, 10:53 AM
The clinic is just something being considered. Nothing definite.

Both sides bring up valid points (and while right now, the discussion may seem a bit lopsided, I emailed a bunch of folks who don't post here and got more from the other side).

Hey, here's an interesting coincidence, though: Did anyone else see that quite extensive article in Hunter and Sport Horse magazine this month about reading the rulebook (for eventing)? The very title of the article was "What Your Should Know (But Might Not) About Eventing's Rulebook."

And here's what was written in the second paragraph:


Every rider, every instructor, every horse owner is supposed to read and understand the rule book from cover to cover...[sic]but nobody does, because rule books are so often thought to be boring. Eventing officials know this..."


Later on, the article also points out something else that's relevant to this discussion (these are the words of Gretchen Butts):


Particularly at BN and N levels, it's very important for coaches to know the rules. Rides are also responsible for learning and understanding the rules, but especially at starter eventrs, you hope the coach knows what he or she is talking about and is giving the riders good advice! This situation is improving, but it is still far from perfect. Some coaches are unsure of how to interpret portions of the rule book. Officials do witness some bad coaching.


Also interestingly, Butts mentions how "a lot of rules require common sense," and then even uses the term "the spirit of the sport." (After that, the rest of the article focuses mainly on dangerous riding.)

This is a long post, but again, I think this is a useful discussion, so I want to copy something one of my emailed "test subjects" wrote in response to my query:

Let's not forget those of us in the sticks don't have the option of advanced instructors, let alone affordable ones. Good instructors go where the action is.

Perhaps you recall from back when you were in Michigan the Ford employee who bought herself a big buckskin paint gelding former police horse? She went to whatever type of competition others in her barn were going to if they had an open spot in their trailer. As far as I know her coaching consisted of informal tips from other barn members and friends and perhaps some web-related research on rules, etc. She stayed at the appropriate levels - training level at non-recognized dressage shows and combined training at local horse trials and hunter pace - and had a blast.

It ought to be recognized there are many people who do not compete beyond that level or do not compete at all because it stops being affordable fun. We can't/won't justify the expense or the time commitment just to be frustrated.

The situation you describe below is a perfect example. Anyone there for the first time immediately sees they are not welcomed by someone willing to show them the ropes (see above example of traveling with your barn-mates for this kind of support) and they end up unfairly disadvantaged. Unless they are too stupid to realize it (few are), or they've got some kind of driving ambition or personal agenda, they won't come back. Why should they? It's more fun at the local horse trials where everyone's in the same boat and you don't need to take an extra day off work.

[I forgot to note that I emphasized attending RECOGNIZED events to this person.]

asterix
Jan. 16, 2008, 11:01 AM
pwynn, GB is my coach, and I expect this has colored my thoughts on this subject -- she is the epitome of careful and prepared! She doesn't herself coach anyone really new to eventing (which probably colors _her_ thoughts...) but certainly sees it all as organizer and official.

I hear about it when I do not apply common sense on course, that's for sure (and woe is me if I do it in front of her!). Had I nearly mowed down a jump judge holding a flag instead of facing my bugaboo fence like an eventer, I would probably have just loaded up and driven my trailer straight to some other farm and not even attempted to go back to Waredaca :lol:

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 11:21 AM
I must be a bit thick. What is stopping (some) new eventers from reading the rule book and paying for a little coaching at the event from someone who has been there, done that and can really help them?

If we have people who simply won't educate themselves, do they add to our sport or tax it?

Badger
Jan. 16, 2008, 11:33 AM
You aren't going to create a totally level playing field within beginner novice unless you have a virgin eventer level where everyone is trying it for the first time. Knowing about the water jump option, or knowing about the "willful delay" does not include trotting the finish line, or knowing that you don't have to stay on the mowed path if you see a preffered route between fences...that all comes down to experience—either your own experience or the shared experience from someone else. Everyone has the same rules and rulebook, but experience makes a difference in how much of the playing field you can own, how many nuances are in your toolbox. I think it's kind of odd to expect inexperienced people to do as well as experienced people or those with experienced coaches...there is a learning curve with most things in life, you invest yourself in something and gain experience and knowledge and get better. Eventing is no different.

What I will say is that I've always found eventers VERY encouraging and willing to help, to share knowledge, to share information with everyone else, and that certainly includes encouraging newbies.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 16, 2008, 11:40 AM
That is the essential question, isn't it, Camstock.

But the problem is that, IMO, you have to take people as they are--and convert them later--if you really want to welcome them. That's the problem worth discussing here, I think and it's certainly not an easy one to deal with.

Eventing is far more complicated (and potentially dangerous) a sport than, say, hunters, jumpers or dressage--sports one could say we "compete" against for support (from new members, but also from potential sponsors, owners and even the media). I think this is how I answer what you bring up, Camstock: we have to figure out how to welcome the typical beginner as any beginner in any sport--that is, dealing with the only marginally motivated. We can't present ourselves in such a lofty manner that we turn away such people because if we "let in" only the hale and hearty, we're going to lose out on the opportunities a growing sport can enjoy--and that includes FUNDING, btw, not just numbers.

I'm not arguing that we should absolve beginners of all responsibility. What I'm wondering is how to get them through the door and keep them in the the room while they are learning.



I think it's kind of odd to expect inexperienced people to do as well as experienced people or those with experienced coaches


I don't think that is an expectation, Badger. There's a difference between "doing well" and "being encouraged". Again, I dunno the answer. Maybe it is merely the very reason why there are unrecognized events. Unfortunately, that doesn't help USEA much, especially if--for whatever reasons--a lot of folks decide to continue eventing unrecognized.

asterix
Jan. 16, 2008, 11:44 AM
well said, pwynn.
and, Badger, agreed, totally!
but it is worth examining this once in a while to see whether we are striking a good balance...

saje
Jan. 16, 2008, 11:44 AM
I'm with you Camstock. I don't get why people feel the need to jump in (to anything, not just eventing) with both feet without doing some reconnaissance first. Yes, I know that in some areas events are few and far between. But even going to a small schooling event to watch, ask questions, volunteer, absorb the atmosphere etc can go a long way towards making one's own 1st competition more enjoyable and successful.

I am a shy person, as a rule. But I would rather go up to a stranger and ask for some information that just wing it and really embarrass myself, or worse get someone (me, my horse, a bystander) hurt or upset.

There are SO many resources out there for information to get one started. A coach would be fantastic, but we don't all have access to one. But there are books galore, the USEF & USEA sites have a ton of info beyond just the rulebook (which isn't boring in my opinion, but I'm a geek that way) and there's this little thing called the internet...

Making as many resources available to newbies as possible is a great idea and necessary, don't get me wrong. We do want people in the sport, and we want them to participate safely and happily, but there's a fine line between helping people find the info and training they need and spoon feeding them everything so that there's no effort on their part.

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 11:57 AM
Badger is brilliant as usual, and saje and I apparently have the same wiring in our brains. Poor dear saje.

Pwynn, thanks for your even-handed response. I see your points.

One of the things I think about, though, that you mentioned, is that we want to encourage people who want to do eventing, yes, but the numbers of SPECTATORS has to increase if we want to encourage marketing and money. Newbies are great, but not a huge money earner for our sport (yes, entry fees and the like, but I am talking about Money with a capital "M".) NASCAR doesn't make a lot of money because they have a lot of beginner drivers, because they don't, or at least those guys don't make the big races. They make money because they have something interesting to watch and people who will come out and pay to watch it. They are selling THE AUDIENCE to television and advertisers. Let's be clear: to increase money in a large way in our sport, we need more spectators and more events able to charge money at the door for spectators. It can be done. We have something interesting to watch. Crowds at Burghley and Badminton are huge. Rolex is huge. Why did Foxhall fail? It was gorgeous, but (relatively) no one came to watch. Those sorts of questions are where we have to look if the almighty dollar is our aim.

Sorry for the slight wander in topic there.

Bottom line: bring on the newbies, but let them read the rule book and not expect them to be the financial saviour of the sport.

saje
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:16 PM
Badger is brilliant as usual, and saje and I apparently have the same wiring in our brains. Poor dear saje.


Perhaps that's why we get along so well with Badger?? :D (I'm her TN friend that drove a bazillion hours for the M clinic :) )

Good points all around, and an interesting discussion. :cool:

Janet
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:16 PM
A. I do not think evenig is any "less welcoming" to newcomers than the other disciplines. At least the rules ARE written down. Many decades ago I went to my first recognized hunter show with a dropped noseband - that was what the horse came with and I VERY carefully read the rulebook, which, in those days, said NOTHING about nosebands.

B. For someone that already rides and jumps both in and out of the ring, but who does not have an "eventing coach", I think that volunteering as a jump judge is an idel (and free) introduction to both the "protocols" nad the practical interperation of the rules- at least for cross country.

C. At EVERY event, there is a TD's briefing for the jump judges. Some of them are well rehearsed theatrical performances, and all of them cover the key aspects of the rules. Even if, for some reason, you can't volunteer, and even if you DO have a coach (who may assume you aLready know stuff), it is well worth sitting in on the briefing. If you are not a volunteer, don't ask questions during the briefing, but you can ask questions to the TD immediately after the breifing.

D. I do not know WHERE you are coming up with the idea that eventers/eventing are "unwelcoming" to newcomers. Not my experience at all.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:20 PM
Good points, Camstock...buuuhuuuttttt: Isn't this yet another chicken or egg situation? What comes first: spectators or sponsors?

This isn't fact--what I'm about to write--but spectators can be BOUGHT, wouldn't you agree? Rolex rolls in the spectators because its a big name event. Other events, like The Fork, can attract spectators because they invest a lot in marketing the event to them. Where does an event or the organization itself get the funds to invest in promoting the sport -- or any single event? From sponsors, membership and entry fees, donors, etc. Someone has to pay to reach and satisfy the non-horsey spectator.

And sponsors? This can change, but currently, the companies who sponsor event-related programs and events themselves are those selling products or services to horsepeople, not to just the rank and file who wander in--yes? Real fact is that the sport isn't big enough (and probably never will be) to attract the kind of sponsorship that just wants to reach "spectators" in general--unlike NASCAR, for example. Our sponsors want to reach the horsey set...and it could be argued (not determined, however) that "horsey" spectators are those associated with competitors or the competition itself in some way, shape or form.

That's why it's my opinion that increasing membership will increase sponsorship (and ownership, which is important for fielding international teams, which itself helps attract interest, etc., etc.).

Janet
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:26 PM
One of the things I think about, though, that you mentioned, is that we want to encourage people who want to do eventing, yes, but the numbers of SPECTATORS has to increase if we want to encourage marketing and money. Newbies are great, but not a huge money earner for our sport (yes, entry fees and the like, but I am talking about Money with a capital "M".) NASCAR doesn't make a lot of money because they have a lot of beginner drivers, because they don't, or at least those guys don't make the big races. They make money because they have something interesting to watch and people who will come out and pay to watch it. They are selling THE AUDIENCE to television and advertisers. Let's be clear: to increase money in a large way in our sport, we need more spectators and more events able to charge money at the door for spectators. It can be done. We have something interesting to watch. Crowds at Burghley and Badminton are huge. Rolex is huge. Why did Foxhall fail? It was gorgeous, but (relatively) no one came to watch. Those sorts of questions are where we have to look if the almighty dollar is our aim.
I could not disagree more.

As soon as you put the emphasis on "bringing in spectators" it stops being sport, and starts being entertainment. Rules get changed to attract more spectators, to the deteriment of competitors, and the original objectives of the sport - including safety.

Since you mention Nascar, THEY keep modifying the rules to make the races "more competitive", which A) no longer rewards the innovative engineer, and B) makes the race MUCH more dangerous.
-If you find a way to make your car go faster, they will immediately write a rule against it. They do not WANT "the best car and driver" to win. They want "a tight race".
-As a racer, the safest race is one in which the leader has a big lead, and everyone is well spread out, so there are no more than 2 or 3 in the turn at the same time. But the spectators find that boring, so they modify the rules to keep everybody bunched up, dramatically increasing the chances of collision.


PLEASE, PLEAASE, PLEASE, whatever else you do -

DON'T NASCAR EVENTING

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:28 PM
Good points Pwynn. I'm just going after a bigger egg than you are setting your eye on, in this case, and neither is intrinsically better. Afterall, NASCAR was once small town good ol' boys dirt track and became a multi-million dollar industry (and we'll have to decide if we want that for eventing). But your egg will pay more immediate benefits. If the event gods are with us, we'll get both sets of sponsors.

And I don't disagree, Janet.

eqsiu
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:30 PM
I must be a bit thick. What is stopping (some) new eventers from reading the rule book and paying for a little coaching at the event from someone who has been there, done that and can really help them?



Another problem comes in when the person takes rules at face value, i.e. the spirit. A new eventer has read the rules and knows that at an obstacle you must pass between the flags, but does not take the nest step by realizing that if you don't go through the flags and don't present at the official obstacle you can school a bit. I never would have thought to splash through the water and I've been eventing on and off for ten years. It's the loopholes like this that many riders don't look for. I know I never thought, "Gee, I can my horse in the water without incurring a refusal before I take the obstacle!" It's not stupidity. It's not necessarily not having read the rules. It's not having interpreted every possible meaning of the rules to find the technicalities.

mbarrett
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:30 PM
OK, I only read the first page of the thread before my reply. (I don't have time to read it all.)

I think it is unprofessional that a pro. rider would school a horse during a recognized USEA competiton, at BN, outside the flagged fence, in this case, a water jump.

What a waste of valuable time during a competition. I don't care if they are getting time penalities or not. Shame on you.

A competition is the "test" to see if you did your homework correctly. It is not the place to school, or bend the rules.

Pros. should be able to figure out places to school green horses cross country before their first event. That's why they are pros, right? They have access to all the fun jumps that the ammy's don't. Or at least they should be able to trailer to schooling sites. I'm sure they are more than willing to tack on schooling and trailering charges onto their customers bills.

I don't care how "big time" the trainer is or how many Olympics, World Championships, etc. they've ridden in. It is wrong. I also think that pros. should not be able to even enter BN competitions, EVER. But that's another thread.

To solve the problem, the event organizers need to offer an Open BN class for pros. to "school" their horses in. It should also be the last class of the day so that the other riders won't be held up or inconvienced by the pros. doing their schooling thing at fences. No prizes, ribbons or money awarded.

As for ammy's who do this, shame on you. The event is a test, not your personal schooling session.

I'm sure I'll be raked over the coals, but I don't care, the whole thing is wrong. I hope the USEA addresses the issue soon.

asterix
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:33 PM
Hey, show me that BN event where you can win MONEY!! I'm all for that :D. Greenbean'll do dressage from now until then so we can rake in the bucks...
(sorry, OT-silliness over now).

eqsiu
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:37 PM
No prizes, ribbons or money awarded.



You can win MONEY eventing? And here I'm thrilled if my $200 entry fee gets me a decently pretty ribbon (i.e. longer streamers, fun rosette)!

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:46 PM
If a pro is riding BN, they can usually be beaten by a good ammy. The pro's horse is going to be green as a lilly pad and mistakes will be made. I see it all the time, but it takes a good ammy.

CBudFrggy
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:47 PM
I must be a bit thick. What is stopping (some) new eventers from reading the rule book and paying for a little coaching at the event from someone who has been there, done that and can really help them?

If we have people who simply won't educate themselves, do they add to our sport or tax it?

I've read the rule book, but I am geographically handicapped as to finding a coach--there just aren't any in South Florida. So, I'm entered at Rocking Horse in 9 days under BNH. I've had one XC school there almost a year ago, done a couple hunter paces, one jumping clinic with C. Schlusemeyer, reining trainer instead of dressage instructor for difficult stubborn mule of a horse and some hunter lessons over fences. So, reining trainer does not want his name stamped all over my "eventer" and hunter trainer (wife of reining trainer) can't be dragged to Altoona for this event b/c it's not what she does, and I'm coachless. That's how it happens--but I remain dedicated to going and doing, and maybe there are others out there like me. Hence my earlier comments about someone with more experience taking the time and having the courtesy to give me advice quietly.

I'm even bringing my daughter to "volunteer" b/c I think I might be a little busy my first time out to "give back" like I know we all should.

Hopefully I'll be considered as adding to the sport rather than taxing it.

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:50 PM
Cbud, if you want a coach at the trial, can you post on a local list for an eventing trainer who is going with their own students? Often you can course walk with them and they will help warm you up for phases for a small fee.

Long Shadow Farm
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:54 PM
I know that the Oklahoma Eventers offer a Learning Day once a year. This is a day long activity that usually has riding sessions in the morning and then we do talks in the afternoon. We will offer everything in the talks from "Intro to Eventing" (playing the USEA videos and passing out new member information), to braiding, longing, bandaging, uses of studs, vet topics and farrier topics. Everyone can pick and choose which talks they want to attend in the afternoon (like everyone picks their top four and rotate around). This thread has given me a great idea of adding talks about how to walk a stadium course and how to walk a cross-country course.

I know that our Learning Day is a big hit for the greenier riders and gives the upper level people a chance to give back to the sport.

Bobbi

CBudFrggy
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:58 PM
Cbud, if you want a coach at the trial, can you post on a local list for an eventing trainer who is going with their own students? Often you can course walk with them and they will help warm you up for phases for a small fee.

I had hoped Sonny Little would be there but he's not competing at this event--b/c at least I know him and think he would have walked the course with me as I was planning to ask. Fortunately, stubborn mule of a horse loves anything out of the ring, can jump the moon, will do water just fine (at least at Fellsmere during wet season) and takes good care of us. Logs, coops, ditches and water are fine--we might have a hitch at a down bank if there is one, but oh well.

This is my first and maybe, b/c of finances and work, my last opportunity to event, but it's all I have been training for all year since our first XC school at Rocking Horse last Feb.

If we go double clear, then I will beg, borrow and almost steal to get to Rocking Horse March 7-9 at Novice level. BTW I'm a mid-40's adult re-rider so at least not a pie-in-the-sky 17 year old let loose without a parent or any wisdom.

Camstock
Jan. 16, 2008, 12:59 PM
You go, Cbud. Have a great ride. I think trainers are generally a friendly group. If you asked any one of them to help you (and expect to pay a reasonable fee) they will do it if they have time.

CBudFrggy
Jan. 16, 2008, 01:03 PM
Thank you--and if I find a coach walking the BN course, I'll definitely try to hook-up for the course walk.

PhoenixFarm
Jan. 16, 2008, 01:18 PM
I'd like to bring up two corralaries (sp) to this issue. (For the record, know that you can school the water, and have done it on occaision, but have never tried the jumping another fence thing--always figured the eventing karma gods would make me miss horribly and fall at it or something).

One is the issue of selling horses. Because like it or not, for most pros it's what makes the world go 'round. Now, when I have a buyers hat on, I personally am not going to get fussed at a horse that has 20 at his first event or two. However, I have found that is largely NOT the case. Many buyers won't even come and see the horse if it has any xc jumping penalties on it's record. IMO, that's an incredibly unrealistic expectation--but if it's your job to sell horses, and that's "your market" you are going to do everything in your power to ensure that that 20 never appears. And if that means not taking a chance on the water, then so be it. For the record, I have never taken a horse to an event that hasn't schooled xc, including the water. But, not every horse immediately takes to water, and if I have one that in schooling didn't give me that gung-ho-I-totally-get-it feeling, I'll pass through before presenting to the flags.

Second (and here I'm going to beat my favorite "eventing isn't the same in every part of the country" drum), everyone should remember that they way horses are prepared and competed in one part of the country isn't the same as another.

When I lived in Area II, I had 4 schooling courses within an hour of me. Here in Area VI, I'm about to drive 6 hours to school for the first time this year. Because of those distances, it's rare that I can school any closer than a few weeks before the event. I can school at a horse trials course 2 hours away--but because they run multiple events there throughout the year, it's often closed to schooling. There is a schooling course in my county, but it's closed completely from October to April or May, and having water in the water jump when we go is rare.

Similarly, in terms of course design, most events here have every level--and they all use the same water jump(s). So, at many events, at BN, you will canter up to a pond in the middle of a giant field, with, literally, 8-10 obstacles surrounding or in it. Young horses are often confused, and lose their focus trying to figure out if they're supposed to jump one of these, and you often have to ride less than a straight line ot get to your entrance to the water. Often, because of this, they find themselves suprised at the last minute to find themselves presented with the water, and stop for a peep. Now more than likely, the horse does go in, however, can I guarantee that there isn't a funny backwards or sideways step? Probably not, and then you have your 20, and then we are back to point one.

I think this is a silly thing to get your knickers in a twist about, and it does smack a bit of sour grapes. I would be against the rule chagne to eliminate it, but if it went through I wouldn't lose my mind. And heck, if it had the unattended consequence of making buyers have to look at competition records a bit more realistically, I'd be all for it. Heck, the two upper level horses I currenlty own (one through CCI** and one through OI/CCI*) were both ELIMINATED at their first events. One at the water, and one at a ditch. Thankfully, I wasn't looking to sell either of them. :winkgrin:

bambam
Jan. 16, 2008, 01:25 PM
I don't think that is an expectation, Badger. There's a difference between "doing well" and "being encouraged". .
But we are talking about knowing an interpretation of a rule that merely helps you do better so if doing well/placing is not an expectation, then there is no beef with new eventers sometimes not knowing this rule. I do not see how a rider who is a newbie, coming in coachless and without having discussed the rules with an experienced eventer beforehand not knowing that they can school the water before jumping and therefore possibly having time penalties instead of a refusal makes the sport unwelcoming :confused:
I agree completely with Badger that the field is never going to be completely even and only experience, yours or your coache's, will make the difference
as someone else said- there is a difference between making the informationas available as possible and trying to educate and "spoon feeding" which is neither necessary nor desirable IMO

thumbsontop
Jan. 16, 2008, 02:13 PM
I do agree that the conversation about newbies could vary wildly depending on what area you're in. We happen to be lucky enough to live in area II. My daughter began eventing recognized BN Jr last year. That was after volunteering at a few large events, several combined tests, XC schooling, and an unrecognized event - plus she's in Pony Club. She had a coach at 2 of 4 of her events last summer/fall and had a very successful year.

While the experience was fantastic, the rule book was the key to bringing it all together. We both read it cover to cover. It's not a hard read at all - especially when it's something you're excited about. A coach, in my opinion, is best for bridging training and competing, and pointing out strategy - not rules. They are there to help you recognize those "airy" jumps, the terrain, when to check your watch, pace, why your horse got the wrong lead in the dressage test, etc.

For someone doing their first recognized horse trial, I'm not sure they need a coach so much as someone who has comfortably competed in recognized events before to go with them. That's assuming the horse and rider are completely prepared. Or am I just thinking that because we're fortunate enough in this area to have opportunities for experiences before competing?

Janet
Jan. 16, 2008, 02:37 PM
Pros. should be able to figure out places to school green horses cross country before their first event. That's why they are pros, right? They have access to all the fun jumps that the ammy's don't. Please tell me what schooling fences are available to pros but not to amateurs? I have never heard of such a thing around here.

Janet
Jan. 16, 2008, 02:39 PM
To solve the problem, the event organizers need to offer an Open BN class for pros. to "school" their horses in. It is called BNH. (though not RESTRICTED to pros, amatuers can ride there too)

thumbsontop
Jan. 16, 2008, 02:40 PM
Why would a newbie rider enter in BNH and not BN Rider??

hey101
Jan. 16, 2008, 02:48 PM
I think this is a silly thing to get your knickers in a twist about, and it does smack a bit of sour grapes. I would be against the rule chagne to eliminate it, but if it went through I wouldn't lose my mind.

Agreed! My goodness people, relax! BN, N, and possibly even T, are instructional, introductory levels for horse and rider! If it helps the nervous new rider or green-as-grass horse to canter through the water and then approach the obstacle, what is the harm? Does a ribbon really mean that much to you that you begrudge a young kid or a young horse to have a positive experience? There are already so many other added stresses in a competitive environment as compared to schooling, that having this little loophole to take away just a little bit of that seems like a very good thing. (of course, KNOWING about it is entirely different- I never knew about it when I was a nervous young kid, but with a few years of been-there-done-that volunteering, competing, etc, I can take advantage of it with my young, green horse. :yes:)

CBudFrggy
Jan. 16, 2008, 04:15 PM
Why would a newbie rider enter in BNH and not BN Rider??

My answer is although I'm new to eventing, I've been a, shall we say, more adventurous rider than most my entire life. So I'm not going to be nervous for me, but rather focused on making my first experience fun and positive for my greenie. I'd match him against other greenies any day.

Also, I'd rather compete against better riders on other green horses than against green riders on made packers my first time out! :D

EvntDad
Jan. 16, 2008, 04:59 PM
Slightly OT but related:

As a parent, I've never understood the attitude to rigidly enforce every rule at the BN/N level, particularly for kids. I've been involved with coaching youth sports for 10 years at a variety of levels. At the lower levels for the younger kids in basketball/baseball/soccer, the good refs spend a significant portion of the game helping the kids understand the rules. For example, if the kids do certain things wrong, the refs often allow them to do it over instead of blowing the whistle and giving the ball to the other team. The whole point of the lower levels is to introduce the kids to the sport and give them a positive experience.

Several years ago when my daughter started N on a new horse, she fell off during stadium (I think it was her 4th show ever). The horse tripped over the first jump of a combo, and my daughter came off somewhere over the second jump. She got up, caught the horse, but then was confused about whether she needed to re-jump the combo. She looked over to the officials for help, but no one said a word. I guessed that she had technically jumped the combo, and waved her on. I don't think she saw me waving, and after a few moments, she correctly proceeded to the next jump and finished her round. Later, we learned she could have been eliminated had she incorrectly re-jumped the combo, and she also could have been eliminated because I was trying to give her assistance (oops!). I remember thinking how ridiculous it was that the rules were so sacred that no one could just tell her to proceed to the next jump.

Given all the time, effort and $$$ that goes into just attending a show, I would think a little leniency for non-safety issues would be in order at these levels. Can you imagine driving your kid to a weekend soccer tourney, having them execute in improper throw-in early in the first game, and being eliminated for the rest of the tourney?

Sorry - that's been bugging me for almost 3yrs...now I feel better :)

3dazey
Jan. 16, 2008, 06:30 PM
At sanctioned events, rules need to be rules. You just can't bend them to suit different situations because then you would have chaos. Can you imagine what would have happened if Little Suzie got a pass when she rejumped the combination in question, was E'd, but the TD said, "well, gosh Little Suzie, I feel so bad for you, I'll just pretend I didn't see that rule violation." These screw-ups make us better competitors...who hasn't said to themselves or heard it said of others, "well, she'll never make THAT mistake again..." I can understand that you felt bad for your child, and it WAS a confusing situation, but still, sanctioned competition, rules have to be followed. Ask Bettina Hoy...she knows! :no:

Many kind organizers do allow competitors in these types of non-dangerous situations who end up with the big E to continue in the competition, time allowing. I am all for that.

EvntDad
Jan. 16, 2008, 07:13 PM
3dazey - although I'm not a fan of comparing kids sports to professional sports, I think I see your point. Perhaps what makes the rules so sacred at sanctioned events is that their results are recorded in a national database, they are a potential qualifier for regional/national championships, and the horse's performance can affect it's resale value to the tune of thousands of dollars. Using my analogy, each sanctioned HT is like the grade-level state cup soccer qualifier where the refs certainly enforce all the rules regardless of age. We don't have unsanctioned events in our area, so this is difficult to appreciate when your kid is just starting out.

thumbsontop
Jan. 16, 2008, 07:19 PM
I agree that rules are rules. By the time you enter recognized events, you would hope that there's been enough experience competing in schooling shows to understand what competition means. No way would it fly if anyone got special treatment - even if it were a child.

You hurt for your child when they are disappointed, but learning to deal with it is part of growing up (for us parents too!).

I saw a pro go into a dressage test and she had left boots on the horse. I can't imagine how ticked off she was at herself, but rules were rules and that was as far as she got.

throwurheart
Jan. 16, 2008, 08:40 PM
Phoenix Farm, I couldn't agree more. As long as we have clarity with obstacle rules, I'm not that exercised about it one way or another. Personally, I've never looked for any loophole in the rules because I'm too busy trying to remember the basics :) and I was riding a made horse for a few years. Now that I'm on a greenbean, all bets are off...

The Intro to Eventing clinic that Wynn mentioned is an idea that we're working on. Because this hasn't been mentioned, I thought I'd clarify the original thought behind it... it has nothing to do with burying attendees in rules, or being too uptight about anything at all, really. It has everything to do with killing the notion that eventing IS Rolex. So many riders tell me they can't do eventing, because they're flat out scared. When I say there are Elementary classes under 2', and BN classes at about 2-6, they look surprised and say they might be interested after all.

The point of this clinic would be to get them outside the ring having fun, moving at just a little bit of a pace, and going over logs, and having fun. Oh, and did I mention having fun?

Once they have fun, we win. Just consider h/j world and dressage world! :lol: (I say this with love in my heart for one of my best friends, a h/j trainer, and with a personal adoration of dressage)

We get them hooked on elementary, then before they know it, they're doing BN and thinking N looks doable.

I hear rumors that there are eventers who don't want newbies in the sport, or even to have lower levels at all. I've not met any yet. I hope it's just a rumor.

tulkas
Jan. 17, 2008, 12:14 AM
Congratulations hey101, you appear to be the only one out there who actually gets it. For some, it may be only about competion at the lower levels but the sport used to be called Combined Training for a reason. If water is the fifth obstacle on the course and your horse has three refusals, so you take him back to his stall; he has just learned that he can refuse to jump and then taken back to his stall for dinner. I cannot understand the tendency of some people to get their undergarments in a knot over this issue.

tulkas

Kementari
Jan. 17, 2008, 03:20 AM
I am a lower level riding, and have never been coached at an event. Actually, I take that back - at my first rec event, my coach was there (coaching other riders), and gave me one tip for stadium, telling me to take a different path in one place after seeing several refusals at one particular fence. (And while I took her advice - I figured the Event Fairy would smite me for not doing so! - I'm almost 100% sure my horse would have done fine taking the "regular" path.) I don't do well with coaching while I'm in competition mode, so I don't put myself in that situation. I take lessons, school xc with my trainer, and even tag along on course walks at events I'm not riding in - but when I'm competing, it's all me (though I generally walk courses with a friend or two just to have someone to bounce ideas off of, as it were).

I read the rulebook cover to cover before my first (unrecognized, 2', W/T dressage) event. I read it cover to cover again before my first recognized (BN) event. In between (and since) I skim it each year to see any rule changes. I find, sadly, that I often know the rule book better than more experienced ammies and even lower-level pros.

I also educate myself by reading other things too - like this! ;) I knew well before this about schooling the water, because I read about it right here many moons ago. I don't know whether I would have come up with that on my own or not, though I am a very literal-minded person and I think that helps me when looking at/for "loopholes" in the rules.

I don't think it's too much to ask that even riders at the lowest levels read and understand the rules. Most of said rules are pretty clear, actually, if you have a basic grasp of the terminology (which you should before competing in any sport). I can't think of any sport (or anything else, for that matter) where you aren't required to know the rules beforehand. Certainly at the lower levels of many things you get tuition and lenience, but that's true for eventing, too, if you do unrecognized. Once you are in the big leagues, though, even at the lowest levels, you have to know the rules, and if you DO know the rules you are on a completely level field with everyone (well, actually, you're ahead of all those people who didn't bother... ;)).

In a minor league baseball game, if the runner doesn't touch home plate and the catcher, who's played in the majors before, notices and tags him, he's out. And no one cries that it's not fair because the catcher was more experienced and it's just the lower levels...

mbarrett
Jan. 17, 2008, 10:16 AM
Janet, in reference to my comment that pros have access to jumps that ammy's don't, I ment that many pros. have practice cross-country jumps on their property. They also have the time to travel to schooling areas during the day when most ammy riders are working.

Also, I realize that there is a BNH division that's not restricted.

My whole problem is with pros bending the rules at events and schooling at a competiton. That is very unprofessional. Go somewhere else and school, NOT at a competition.

PhoenixFarm
Jan. 17, 2008, 11:29 AM
My whole problem is with pros bending the rules at events and schooling at a competiton. That is very unprofessional. Go somewhere else and school, NOT at a competition.

But if it's legal, how is it bending the rule? That's what I don't get . . .

mbarrett
Jan. 17, 2008, 11:37 AM
PhoenixFarm, you're right it's legal. But I don't think it's a wise thing to do.

Anyway, I'm not going to win this fight, but I don't care. After reading the original post, I don't agree with what the pro. rider did. Schooling the water jump on a greenie, outside the flags, and then going through the flags.

It's just wrong and unprofessional. A competition is ment to test your training of your horse, not use it as a schooling activity. I know, I know, you all think I'm wrong. But oh well ....

End of story.

saje
Jan. 17, 2008, 01:39 PM
Well, there are pros and then there are pros.

I cannot compete as an amatuer because I teach riding and do a bit of training, and have for about 20+ years. Technically, I am a pro. However, my "farm" is 13 acres, I live in east BF nowhere as far as eventing is concerned, and no I do not have acces to water complexes galore. As it happens my young horse is fine with water so its not an issue. I compete in BNH/NH (at the moment) and would have no problem whatsoever if some other truly BNT thought that their young horse needed a splash through. If it's good for the horse I'm all for it. I doubt highly that at the lower levels they are out for a ribbon, they are there for mileage. Schooling events are all very well and good, but often you don't get the same questions on course as you do at a rated event, it makes sense to do the rateds if you can afford it.

There's also the point that though someone may have their own XC course to practice on, we all know how fast horses can becaome comfortable in their home situation and freak out in a new one, until they get some mileage and experience. And again, they ARE playing within the rules, the rules are same for everybody so what's the beef? Next time out, you can go through the water too.

And yes a competition is meant to test the horse's training, but it's ALSO a test of THE RIDER and a their ability too. That's why there is a rider score on the dressage test, that's why the courses are getting quite technical, YOU have to be able to ride your horse and help him succeed, not just point and shoot. A smart and honest rider will do everything possible within the rules to help their horse have a fun, positive ride and the hell with the ribbon or placing.

If I go to an event and the flagged approach to the water looks like it might worry my horse, and there's a way to splash through that's fairly straightforward, you can bet I'm going to take the splash through 1st, even if it means accruing time penalties.

My FIRST goal is a happy & safe horse. Riding a scared horse is a bad idea on so many fronts.

Whisper
Jan. 17, 2008, 02:47 PM
The "cheating/bending the rules" thing reminds me of the controversy about trainers riding horses in regular dressage warmup. It's completely legal, but many people feel it isn't fair.

For what it's worth, I think it's fine if people learn the fine points of the rules with more experience. I'm going to try to find the article which was mentioned earlier in the thread. I read the rulebook cover to cover before my first Elementary HT, and again each time I had a break of more than a couple of months, and I try to keep up with rule changes. I disagree that it's unprofessional to use the rules to your/your horse's best advantage - if anything, I'd expect the experienced people (pro or not) to have the best working knowledge of the rules.

As a newcomer to eventing, I do feel I need a bit of handholding/coaching at shows. Not all people who are new to eventing feel the need for one, or have the opportunity to work with one, though I understand many pros will do course walks and warmup coaching at shows for people who aren't in training with them. I definitely agree that jump judging is a great way to learn more about the rules and get to know people, and I plan to do more volunteering this year. :D

Janet
Jan. 17, 2008, 05:09 PM
First of all, I think that knowing what is and isn't permitted by the rules, and taking maximum advantageof what is permitted, is an important part of behaving like a "professional".

Whether or not it is "good sportsmanship" is a different issue. But I fail to see how it is "unprofessional".

Secondly, I am an amateur with a full time job. My sister is a full time professional. We have access to EXACTLY the same schooling fences. Yes, she can go and school during the week while I am working. but I can go and school (in EXACTLY the same places) on the weekend, when she is busy teaching.

Personally, I think that adding a 20 point penalty for "schooling" the fence is EXACTLY the right compromise.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 17, 2008, 06:12 PM
Well, there's certainly no consensus here. Fascinating discussion!

tulkas
Jan. 18, 2008, 12:37 AM
Define: "schooling an obstacle".

tulkas

pwynnnorman
Jan. 18, 2008, 06:46 AM
Practical or official?

For me, practically speaking, I'd define it as "working a horse into, over or through an obstacle not part of the course that is similar to, adjacent to or part of an obstacle that is part of the course."

Janet provided the official definition earlier.

And, y'know, I think I do fall in the "against" category after all, although I respect the views others have described. I do not think it is "in the spirit of the sport," and I think we need to protect and honor (and promote!) that spirit--for the participants, but also for those NOT deeply ingrained in the culture of competition. Jump judges, for example--and other volunteers--and also spectators. Would THEY understand, appreciate or approve of the perspective? IMO, if they wouldn't that's a problem.

This includes, BTW, the "read the rulebook" issue. Has anyone put thought to OTHERS invovled in eventing who do NOT read the rulebook and certainly who--because they aren't competing--do NOT look for loopholes in it? Owners, vendors, sponsors, etc.? Yes, yes, I'm sure tons of you are sick, sick, sick of me bringing them up all the time, but y'know, someone has to put up the money to make it happen. OF COURSE, competitors do, but have you ever asked yourself what percent of all horses competing at an event are NOT owned by their riders? I don't know, but I suspect it's significant.

And do you expect owners to read the rulebook? Oh, sure, you'd HOPE we do, but I just don't see Jaqueline Mars (with all due respect to her) memorizing what bits are legal. That's what they hire pros to do.

Now I just KNOW that someone is going to say, well, yeah, that's why pros know that you can school the water before going through the flags. YES, but that's not at all what I'm discussing right now, so please don't pull the non-sequitur rebuttal. I'm discussing the impression that taking advantage of loopholes (or whatever you want to call them--in some instances, I can see that the term loophole is unreasonably negative) can have upon those not steeped in the ins and outs of competing. This includes newbies, too, of course. Do remember the posts others have made here: universal acceptance of the practice doe not exist, not by a long shot and not even among those who DO compete, right?

The issue is image, IMO--and eventing has enough image problems as it is. All "extreme" sports do, of course, but must we add to the issues by condoning even more practices that would not be understood by the public?

Janet
Jan. 18, 2008, 07:30 AM
Define: "schooling an obstacle".

tulkas
Hasn't been formally defined yet - and would have to as part of the rule if it is resubmitted.

The simplest would be "jumping an obstacle not flagged for your division", but that would mean you couldn't take a shortcut by jumping another division's jump.

Definig what is really intended would be a bit fiddly.

Muck r us
Jan. 18, 2008, 09:44 AM
Defining what is really intended would be a bit fiddly.

Yep. I can imagine situations where what is, to us, very obviously an unflagged BN bank or ditch, would to an Advanced rider look like "terrain". Is a log lying out in the middle of a field an "unflagged obstacle" or a "log lying out in the middle of a field"? "Sometimes a log is just a log" -- apologies to Freud :)

Camstock
Jan. 18, 2008, 10:23 AM
Every sport has rules that are used to the advantage of the really thoughtful competitor who has the poise to use that knowledge in the heat of the moment. In football, when time is running short, guys run to the sidelines with the ball to stop the clock, rather than getting tackled midfield and have the clock keep running down time. This is not cheating and is not perceived by the fans as so. Basketball people know that the timer doesn't start after a basket until the player who catches the ball inbound touches it. Fans do not perceive it as cheating when the inbound catcher lets the ball bounce as far as he can up the court before he touches it if time is of the essence. Spectators can easily understand this when they see it happen, and if they don't know about the rule, they ask someone next to them and then they know. Using the rules to competitive advantage is part of any competition. No sponsors are pulling their sponsorship or not getting involved in a sport because of it.

I wrote a short article that relates to knowing and applying the rules, last year, for our local DCTA: http://www.camstock.net/articles.html#reallife

Regarding ownership, I'd venture an educated guess, having read the ownership and riders in the programs of any horse trial that I have been at that provides the information, that most horses below Prelim level are owned by their riders. The vast number of horses who compete at eventing are at the lower levels, so one might reasonably conclude that most horses who compete in eventing are ridden by their owners. Some percentage of horses who are not owned by their riders are owned by friends or instructors, not necessarily expense-paying sponsors.

If I were Ms. Mars, I would expect the rider, who I am dropping huge bucks to support, to know every rule backward and forward and to use that knowledge to the horse's best competitive or developmental advantage, just as every other competitor may. KOC has the experience, knowledge and cool head under pressure that allows her to keep Ms. Mars and her horses happy and finishing well. That's why Ms. Mars chooses to support her.

Sports have rules. If a person doesn't care for a particular rule, they can go to the national level and work to have it changed. Everyone has the right to pursue that, and if a critical mass of people who agree and feel strongly about it is reached, the rule change will prevail. Until that day comes, those who follow the rules as they are stated have every right to do so with out being painted as anything less than rules-abiding competitors.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 18, 2008, 11:18 AM
If I were Ms. Mars, I would expect the rider, who I am dropping huge bucks to support, to know every rule backward and forward and to use that knowledge to the horse's best competitive or developmental advantage, just as every other competitor may. KOC has the experience, knowledge and cool head under pressure that allows her to keep Ms. Mars and her horses happy and finishing well. That's why Ms. Mars chooses to support her.



Now I just KNOW that someone is going to say, well, yeah, that's why pros know that you can school the water before going through the flags. YES, but that's not at all what I'm discussing right now, so please don't pull the non-sequitur rebuttal. I'm discussing the impression that taking advantage of loopholes (or whatever you want to call them--in some instances, I can see that the term loophole is unreasonably negative) can have upon those not steeped in the ins and outs of competing.


?

hey101
Jan. 18, 2008, 11:52 AM
The issue is image, IMO--and eventing has enough image problems as it is. All "extreme" sports do, of course, but must we add to the issues by condoning even more practices that would not be understood by the public?

Pwynn, for the most part I always enjoy your posts; you clearly bring a lot of well-reasoned thought to them and you are clearly passionate about eventing.

But OMGIH, this is making a mountain out of a molehill! We are talking about green horses early in their career getting a chance to have a canter through water. How is it any different from the gigantic opening circles riders make in stadium to "show" their horses every scary obstacle before actually jumping it? Why not just enact a rule that says you must canter directly from the gate through the flags to the first obstacle?!

You say eventing has an image problem. Well I would respectfully suggest that that image problem is due to people and horses DYING, and NOT because a rider chose to canter their four-year old through the water before approaching an obstacle on a beginner novice course!!

Camstock
Jan. 18, 2008, 11:59 AM
Yep, I still think experience being a powerful tool is a valid point, so I repeated it. I also addressed your other points.

3dazey
Jan. 18, 2008, 12:15 PM
Who is making the mountain out of a molehill? A few of us, some who may have been around a looooong time, are saying we think the water schooling thing is contrary to the spirit of the sport. It's just our opinion, nothing more, nothing less. Your example of the large courtesy circle in show jumping doesn't jive...you are making this circle before you cross the start line, ergo you aren't competing yet, and I think it is smart for some horses.

I made my point earlier, but I want to say I have only seen the water schooling thing twice, the first time two years ago while fence judging OI, and once this year while fence judging T. Two times does not make it a rampant practice. However, pwynn and FlightCheck mention many instances at one competition. Now this seems problematic to me for the following reason (in addition to my other objections). I am a competent fence judge, also an active competitor of some many years and I do know the rules. If you have people careening this way and that through an obstacle (water) before deciding to attempt the flagged portion, you are going to confuse fence judges, and now you may be creating a dangerous situation in the event of an overtake where one horse is busy schooling while one is oncoming to attempt the flagged portion, a rider/horse falling in an unflagged portion of the obstacle which may have hazards unbeknownst to competitors and fence judges, etc. etc. I'm sure you can see the concerns that arise here.

I need to add, earlier someone talked about the water as fence 5 on course, Dobbin says no three times and Little Suzy walks home in tears "having taught Dobbin that he gets to go home and eat oats" if he gives Little Suzy the finger at the water. Doesn't hold any merit at all, if fence 5 is not water but a man-eating coop and Dobbin says no, Little Suzy still walks home in tears, but having an exact replica of fence 5, unflagged, next to fence 5 for Suzy to "practice" over before she attempts the real fence 5 is patently ridiculous. The truth is, Suzy needs to go home and school Dobbin and ride in some fun days and get some xc schooling under her belt before she tries again.

I know we will agree to disagree, though I have read all the posts and appreciate the discussion that has ensued. I don't think anyone is suffering from sour grapes, hatred of green horses, or having psychotic episodes because of their viewpoint on this. My greenbean is as likely to bug out at the water as anyone else's on the given competition day, but I'll take my 20 and realize more schooling is in order. I remain in favor of a rule change, cleverly worded, that will eliminate the "schooling water" practice. :yes:

hey101
Jan. 18, 2008, 12:33 PM
3dazey- let us agree to disagree then. :)

I can certainly see the "contrary to the spirit of the sport aspect". HOpefully you can also understand my point that perhaps people dying on course is a little more important in the greater scheme of things than the USEA spending the administrative time to address a loophole in the rules.

I think whoever suggested penalties for the schooling practice has a good idea. If a rider is TRULY only concerned with giving their horse a good experience, then a few penalties should be worth that experience to them (versus, someone SAYING they want a good experience for their horse, but ALSO want the advantage to help them win! :lol:). Maybe not 20 penalties though, because that DOES look like a refusal on the horse's record, which isn't necessarily fair. Maybe 10 or 15 penalties, so it is clear that it's not a refusal?

(and FWIW, see your statement on the courtesy circle being "smart" for some horses... just like a quick canter through the water would be "smart" for some horses? ;))

pwynnnorman
Jan. 18, 2008, 01:27 PM
3dazey- let us agree to disagree then. :)
If a rider is TRULY only concerned with giving their horse a good experience, then a few penalties should be worth that experience to them (versus, someone SAYING they want a good experience for their horse, but ALSO want the advantage to help them win! :lol:).

That's a good point.

But I'm not sure why you felt the need to connect this issue with the far more serious one of eventing deaths. I don't see how one detracts from efforts or concerns about the other. Moreover, while being steeped in it may prevent some from sensing how things can just "add up" in the minds of others, well...they do, sometimes, alas. This is kinda near and dear to me in a way because I once "lost" (well, didn't even approach the subject after what happened) potential support for Ted when certain traits of the event turned off the group of folks I'd brought to an event to watch him go. It wasn't one single aspect that made them question getting involved--it was the combined weight of several.

I'm sure everyone would prefer, if possible, to minimize such impressions. Again, just a little compassion for those who might not see the world the way you do is well worth exercising sometimes.

3dazey
Jan. 18, 2008, 07:52 PM
Wow, hey101, this is a pretty big leap...

"I can certainly see the "contrary to the spirit of the sport aspect". HOpefully you can also understand my point that perhaps people dying on course is a little more important in the greater scheme of things than the USEA spending the administrative time to address a loophole in the rules."

The two agendas are nowhere close to each other, dying on course is not even on my radar when I'm talking about the subject at hand. I don't know how you are linking the two because there just is no link. Absolutely no one is making light of serious safety issues involved in our sport...believe me when I tell you I have been on the front line watching the fallout of at least one grievous eventing accident involving a personal friend.

I do, however, think the USEA and it's membership are competent to address more than one issue at a time, don't you? ;)

Re: courtesy circle...no problem for me because it is done BEFORE you cross the start line.

To each his own, I have enjoyed our debate. Happy eventing!

hey101
Jan. 19, 2008, 12:26 PM
The issue is image, IMO--and eventing has enough image problems as it is. All "extreme" sports do, of course, but must we add to the issues by condoning even more practices that would not be understood by the public?

I made the leap because of this statement. To me, THIS is the "pretty big leap"... that eventing's image is being tarnished by schooling through the water, when it is more likely that....other.... issues are the factors tarnishing eventing. JMHO of course.

If the loophole stays, I will take advantage of it in the right circumstances. If it goes away, well I've never used it before to begin with, so it won't matter anyway (where is the ~shrug~ smiley when you need one?). I'm not going to comment any more on this thread, we've all said our piece... and I almost didn't write this response, but I didn't want to leave it like I was this horrendous person for equating schooling horses to people dying. Because I think we can ALL agree that the one issue does not even begin to compare in importance to the other.

As you said, Happy eventing. :cool:

pwynnnorman
Jan. 19, 2008, 01:20 PM
To me, THIS is the "pretty big leap"... that eventing's image is being tarnished by schooling through the water, when it is more likely that....other.... issues are the factors tarnishing eventing.


Actually, that is a pretty big leap...which is why I didn't say it. Please recall the phrase I used was "the combined weight of several." Nor did I say the sport specifically HAS a "bad image," since that's impossible to define or support. Nor would I used the term "tarnished," either. To use such terms would require a "in the eyes of whom" detail somewhere in there, wouldn't you say?

But it does have an "image." Positive to some, negative to others, neutral to those who've never encountered it one way or the other. I can't see how someone who knows the sport could see the image as anything but positive--it is a uniquely challenging, thorough and yet egalitarian sport. But what about those who see or are inclined to see negative qualities--or those who are neutral? This is the differentiation I tend to explore (and, yes, want explored), probably because I'm a breeder and so have a reason to want to convert negatives and neutrals into positives.

Have you ever tried, for example, to convert the neutral into the positive? I have--a lot. And some aspects, like what could be viewed as "loopholes" in the rules, can be quite difficult to explain into the positive realm to those without a ready reason to put it there. The "combined weight of several" I referred to before had to do not with loopholes, but with just plain old "holes" in preparation and handling. To say the result was singularly unimpressive would be an understatement, as would to say I was disappointed and embarassed (mortified was more like it). Whatever. Holes are holes are holes. My point is merely that minimizing such things would be of benefit to the sport's image. (Of course, that raises an intriguing question itself: What's more important--the sport or its image? :p)

sunhawk
Jan. 19, 2008, 01:51 PM
Much ado about what??

As an experienced event rider, only ridden to training, but have brought a few greenies up and sold them, I shall be starting a new young horse out this year. I intend to school him on a few courses in the spring, and probably do our first actual event by june or july. First time out, will he be lookie or going confidently forward. I'm paying my entry fee, and doing the three phases, but competitive? I sincerely doubt that I'll give a d## if we place in the ribbons, but I do want him to go to each jump and jump it. If that means doing some circles and making sure he is presented in a good pace, then I will do whatever that takes. If he's spooking sideways because a bush scared him, and not looking at the jump I want to present him to, then I will get his mind back in order before I present to the fence. My current training level horse was ga-ga because of the jump judges, and we used events to school, because I needed to school cross-country with him when there were jump judges. Who knows what issues a young horse will have until he is actually on course. People walking around, spectating etc. just don't exist in schooling situations I've been in.
It is well, and good that newbies should ride experienced horses. My first event I rode a green horse. I've never had a chance to ride a horse that someone else brought along, only my own. The school of hard knocks is not the best school to learn in, but it's the one I learned in. You gotta use what's available. Also when I started pretraining/novice was the lowest level available. I did 3 pre/trainings and moved up to training. Not bragging, just had to learn the hard way. I would have had a way easier start in eventing if I could have had solid coaching and a broke horse to ride, but I'm glad I did what I did, because I got started. If I'd waited until the perfect situation came along, I'd still be waiting 20 years later.
My vote is, I've learned tons from watching the pros on green horses and the higher levels. The light bulb moments from watching a rider like that school a young horse were worth the cost of the entry just to be there, and watching the rideability of a higher level horse, and thinking what it was going to take to get my horse that responsive......... The results of that meant that I always find I ride way better after a weekend that before, even if it meant I watched some stinko riding and didn't want that for myself.
Awesome discussion!