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View Full Version : Spinoff: Is moving up w/o Mastery exclusive to Eventing?



LookinSouth
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:30 AM
" Personally, I feel that somewhere along the way "competitive" and "sport" has been diluted by the "move-up mentality", and it begs the question, why? Why are riders, who are not even placing at their current level, "WANTING" to move up? Why are riders more ambitious in regards to the "move up" than they are to the "pursuit of perfection" in the division in which they are currently competing? Eventing is, after all, a sport (an Olympic sport at that), and in sport competition is the basis for the existence of the sport itself. Why is there a general lack of desire to "be competitive"?



Vuma's commentary in the sportsmanship thread got me thinking......

Why does it seem that moving up the levels and getting to Prelim and beyond rather than mastering the lower levels has become a trend in Eventing?? ( and I am NOT referring to Pro's on greenies etc...)

Perhaps I am just imagining this but when I think about other equestrian disciplines I just don't notice this issue glaring out at me. I am sure it exists...but is it widespread enough to cause issue ( as far as safety )as it does in eventing? What IS with the move up trend? Is this an issue that is unique to our sport??? :confused:

For example: If you think about the ammie levels of the hunters and jumpers. How often do you hear of someone competing in the Modified Hunters/EQ NEVER ribboning or riding competitvely whatsoever but yet moving up to the Amateur Adult Hunters and Eq?

In dressage.....how often does a 1st level rider score regularly score 50% and below but move on up to 2nd and 3rd??

In jumpers..... is it common for riders (non pros) in the Low training jumpers to not place at that level at all and then move up to the Adult Jumpers???

I honestly do not know the answer to all these questions but I think they are important to ask. What sort of systems are in place in other disciplines (if any) to promote good sportsmanship and safety that are effective?

Ideas/Opinions???

eqsiu
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:32 AM
No. Just watch some mid level jumper classes or venture over to the dressage board to find evidence of the same mentality in other disciplines. People think they have to be competing at X level in order to be a "real" equestrian. For some reason they forget that one must be competent at that level as well.

c_expresso
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:42 AM
Hah, MANY of the rounds I have seen in the Child/Adult jumpers are not even worthy of a cross rail class. Plenty of dressage riders I have seen going 1st or 2nd level who have no concept of proper bend, or lateral work.

Most eventers, just like in other disciplines, that have GOOD COACHING will not be the scary riders, and will move up when the time is right.

The difference between eventing and other disciplines IMO is "placing." Getting a ribbon is not as important in eventing as it is in other disciplines regarding moving up. If you are consistently ribboning in the children's jumpers, you are probably going consistently clear/double clear fairly easily, and it may be time to move up to the high children's or modifieds. Although this is not even the case lots of times, as a kid can race around in the low level jumpers and win, but should they move up? If you're at 1st level in dressage, always scoring in the mid/high 60s, occasional low 60 or low 70, you are probably ready to move up.

However it is different in eventing. The low level divisions are very tight, and it's hard to win them because so many people have great dressage scores, and almost always finish on them. So if you are usually in 10th with a -38, but consistently going clear at, let's say, Novice, why shouldn't you move up?

Some event horses will never be dressage stars, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't move up. At the lower levels in general, you need a dressage star to place, but you don't need one to be ready to move up. You need to be jumping clear to move up. Obviously you shouldn't have god awful dressage scores, but you get my point.

And as an eventer moves up through the levels, dressage does become less important, because at Intermediate you can have a mid-range score, but if you finish on it you are most likely going to place very well.

Fuego
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:45 AM
It's in every discipline. A very good friend of mine is a typical, text-book Dressage Queen. She bought a lovely TB cross and started at Training - did well enough to bump to First level. She had not scored above 60% once at First level before moving up to Second in the same season. She has shown a couple of Second levels and is now bumping up to Third for this year. I believe the issue there may have been that she was placing in the top 1,2,3 out of classes sized 2-6ish, so maybe her good placing out-weighed the actual class size and her received score, so she upgraded.
Eventing and show jumping is certainly no different. I think that once people place well enough for their liking (ie: in the top 5) that they believe that they are ready to tackle the next higher level.

I'm a firm believer of mastering one level at competition while schooling the next higher level at home. When you are receiving consistent and predictable scores at that level, that may be a good time to move up. There are of course some horses who can't handle the smaller levels and only get better results as the levels get more difficult. But I always question why that horse can't master a smaller level in the first place?

mbarrett
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:51 AM
I personally think the "move up" mentality is pushed by coaches and trainers. (I by no means think that all trainers/coaches think this way.)

If they encourage students to move up before they are ready, they get their students to become dependent upon them for everything. They want students to be "needy" because it means more income for them: training, board, lessons, show fees, trailering, etc. They also encourage/demand that students purchase a new horse (from them or their buddies so they get that commission) since they are moving up.

These people want the students to come to them for everything: how to tack up, walk the course, warm up their horse, what event to go to, what suppliments to feed the horse.....

Why aren't trainers/coaches teaching eventers to be independent thinkers who can figure things out? Isn't that the goal of any teacher- teach your students to become proficient and compitant? Every good rider needs a trainer or coach to bounce ideas off, but a rider should be able to figure out how to solve a problem. That's what lessons are for, aren't they?

I know there are plenty of super coaches and trainers out there that do teach riders independence. But there are a lot of trainers/coaches who do not teach independence. I think the bad trainers lack self-confidence and good teaching and horsemenship skills themselves.

Many eventers don't have a lot of options when it comes to lessons and training. They train which who is available, not who is necessiarly a good coach/trainer. They aren't enough good trainers and coaches out there, especially in some areas of the country.

In the AQHA, the Beginner Novice and Novice sections of classes (western pleasure, huntseat pleasure, equitation, etc.) are HUGE! To "move up", a rider must win a set number of points, and then they must "move up." The AQHA keeps increasing the number of points it takes to "move out" of the Beginner Novice or Novice class. People WANT to stay in those classes. As the rider gaines points, they gain proficiencty, so in theory, they should be more competitive when they move to the next class.

I'm not saying eventing should do that, but they must change the "move up" mentality. It's dangerous and we're not producing safe and proficient riders.

deltawave
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:52 AM
Ever seen the level II/III jumper classes at a jumper show? :eek: Yes, there are some VERY polished teams, but there are also a bunch of freaking TERRIFYING rides with out-of-control riders on really fast horses just flinging themselves around. They are often successful, too--after all, you only have to leave 'em up and go fast to win. :eek:

c_expresso
Mar. 6, 2008, 10:06 AM
Ever seen the level II/III jumper classes at a jumper show? :eek: Yes, there are some VERY polished teams, but there are also a bunch of freaking TERRIFYING rides with out-of-control riders on really fast horses just flinging themselves around. They are often successful, too--after all, you only have to leave 'em up and go fast to win. :eek:

And unfortunately the polished teams often don't place, since they aren't out of control galloping over everything...:lol:

LookinSouth
Mar. 6, 2008, 10:29 AM
If you are consistently ribboning in the children's jumpers, you are probably going consistently clear/double clear fairly easily, and it may be time to move up to the high children's or modifieds. Although this is not even the case lots of times, as a kid can race around in the low level jumpers and win, but should they move up? However it is different in eventing. The low level divisions are very tight, and it's hard to win them because so many people have great dressage scores, and almost always finish on them. So if you are usually in 10th with a -38, but consistently going clear at, let's say, Novice, why shouldn't you move up?

.

The difference is in the lower level jumpers than eventing is those that
race around like madmen CAN because the jumps aren't high yet. But the higher the fences go the harder it becomes to get away with that. There comes a point in the jumpers where the scary, running willy nilly rider IS NOT going to survive and the rails will start falling.

As far as going Novice and dressage scores in the high 30's keeping you from ribboning??? What's wrong with focusing on improving the dressage work and schooling Training level fences??


I realize moving up unprepared in Dressage is an issue as well. There was recently a thread about creating a qualifying score system.

I am not saying this issue is exclusive to Eventing. I am just more or less attempting to analyze the issue and create discussion, hear opinions etc...:D

LookinSouth
Mar. 6, 2008, 10:33 AM
In the AQHA, the Beginner Novice and Novice sections of classes (western pleasure, huntseat pleasure, equitation, etc.) are HUGE! To "move up", a rider must win a set number of points, and then they must "move up." The AQHA keeps increasing the number of points it takes to "move out" of the Beginner Novice or Novice class. People WANT to stay in those classes. As the rider gaines points, they gain proficiencty, so in theory, they should be more competitive when they move to the next class.

I'm not saying eventing should do that, but they must change the "move up" mentality. It's dangerous and we're not producing safe and proficient riders.


Interesting. This is similar to the rules in the Modified Adult h/eq. After a certain number of blue ribbons the rider must move on out. The 2'6 divisions in the H/EQ are very poplular and there are alot of people that could careless about moving on out.

c_expresso
Mar. 6, 2008, 10:53 AM
The difference is in the lower level jumpers than eventing is those that
race around like madmen CAN because the jumps aren't high yet. But the higher the fences go the harder it becomes to get away with that. There comes a point in the jumpers where the scary, running willy nilly rider IS NOT going to survive and the rails will start falling.

As far as going Novice and dressage scores in the high 30's keeping you from ribboning??? What's wrong with focusing on improving the dressage work and schooling Training level fences??


I realize moving up unprepared in Dressage is an issue as well. There was recently a thread about creating a qualifying score system.

I am not saying this issue is exclusive to Eventing. I am just more or less attempting to analyze the issue and create discussion, hear opinions etc...:D

I don't really see your point. Moving up when you aren't prepared in any discipline will eventually catch up with you and be dangerous, whether it's jumpers, eventing, or anything.

Why shouldn't you move up if you are consistently getting -38s in dressage at Novice and always going clear? If I waited til I had consistently awesome dressage scores at Novice to move up I would be there forever. Some horses just aren't that great at dressage. But we were nearly always clean in SJ and XC, so we moved up. I am not consistently clean XC yet at training, so I won't move up yet. But as long as my dressage is decent, it is the thing I am least worried about regarding an upgrade.

eqsiu
Mar. 6, 2008, 11:02 AM
If you can consistently go double clear in both stadium and cross country I think it's okay to move up. Many horses are never going to be dressage horses, but a lack of dressage skill isn't unsafe. You just won't be competitive.

If you move up and can't get around cross country without jumping penalties, you need to drop down and school more. I did that, and placed second at my second training after being eliminated the first time out. It's a good rule of thumb.

Long Shadow Farm
Mar. 6, 2008, 11:19 AM
I, personally, will never probably score in the low 30s or high 20s in dressage. Heck, it's a party when we break into the 30s. But my gelding is has had an almost two entire seasons at Training with the last one not having a single jumping fault on cross country and only once had time penalties (because I was very sick and couldn't breathe and had to keep pulling up and walking to catch my breath). In stadium, we may have one rail down here and there but that is usually me either letting down mid-course and having the rail cause I relaxed to much or I sat down too early and pulled a rail with the back. We are planning on a move up to Prelim this spring. Is his dressage up to par? I don't know.. he can do the movements, but he isn't a fancy dressage horse by any stretch of the imagination (nor am I a DQ...LOL). We have extensively schooled Prelim questions on cross country with great results and I am currently attending a lot of H/J shows and showing in the 3'6" jumper divisions (and placing in the top 3 usually). So should I hold back and stay at Training yet another season even though we are just not going to ever get those low 30s? I doubt I will. I will "get through" the dressage and enjoy myself on cross country and stadium. We do school dressage a lot and take lessons whenever we can, so I don't scoff that off... but we are going to be limited because he isn't the big fancy mover.

Just my thoughts......from someone who dreams of scoring in the 30s in dressage.... LOL.

Bobbi

RAyers
Mar. 6, 2008, 11:31 AM
How does one define "mastery?"

There are plenty of folks who can jump 5 foot at home and do one-tempies but blow up at competitions? Have they mastered the sport? Does placing define mastery?

I would have never progressed if placings were used to define my "mastery." Things did not get better until I started running at Preliminary and above. I've never won a HT but I am consistent in the ribbons. Does this mean I haven't mastered what I am doing?

Reed

millerra
Mar. 6, 2008, 11:50 AM
JMHO

There is not necessarily a direct correlation between placing, mastery and scoring... And when to move up.

In eventing: A low dressage score at BNovice/novicemay mean that your horse is very very steady, and obedient - not that he/she has the strength/flexibility to do a training or prelim test. He/she may clock around at 350 mpm over 3 foot fences yet struggle terribly w/ the combinations and footwork required at training/prelim or not yet have the balance in the gallop.

In jumping: A horse/rider that screams around a low level jumper course cleanly (and winning) may very well lack the balance and timing to jump fences 6 to 9" higher.

In dressage: a horse scoring 70% at first level may have a lot of pushing power, obedience and w/ lengthening and lateral work developing but may not be ready to do collected work or counter canter in a test and therefore is not ready to move up to second at a show...

All move ups require a certain skill set in place for the move up to go well. this skill set does not necessarily directly correlate w/ scores or placing.... The responsibility and decision truely resides with the rider and his/her coach.

LookinSouth
Mar. 6, 2008, 02:24 PM
I don't really see your point. Moving up when you aren't prepared in any discipline will eventually catch up with you and be dangerous, whether it's jumpers, eventing, or anything.

.


My point is it seems to definitely be an issue in eventing that people have noticed. That's all. Is it an issue in other disciplines too?? Of course. But some of those disciplines have systems in place to help prevent it while eventing does not.

The other thing is if it doesn't catch up with you until Prelim that means there is quite a potential for safety hazards on the road to that level. In the 3'6 jumpers everything falls down, yeah it's still dangerous, but not as nearly life threatening.

Honestly, in Area I (maybe this is limited to my area) I have yet to see the fancy dressage horses consistently pull in the low scores at BN/Novice. IF they do, it's because they were ridden well. It is usually won by the most CORRECT horses.
The things required to score in the low 30's in the Dressage at BN and N are the same elements required to ride a good stadium/jumper round. If the rider can't get the horse on the bit, going at a consistent pace and responsive on the flat how on earth can we expect it o/f?? Stadium is just dressage flatwork with a few jumps in between.

Going clear IMHO does not translate to mastery/correctness. Afterall, look at the scary level I and II jumpers. They go clear all the time:winkgrin:.

What I got out of the OP's quotes in the Sportsmanship thread was what ever happened to working on mastering a finessed and correct ride with great form on the part of both horse and rider?? But maybe that's just my take. It's interesting to hear everyone's opinions.

LookinSouth
Mar. 6, 2008, 02:29 PM
but a lack of dressage skill isn't unsafe. .



But isn't it unsafe if it means the rider cannot half halt, adjust or whoa the horse to any degree on stadium and XC??
We've all seen the very scary riders out there whipping around, barely hanging on with the saintly horses clearing every fence. It's safe until that rider gets hurt when horsey decides to stop etc...

eqsiu
Mar. 6, 2008, 03:01 PM
But isn't it unsafe if it means the rider cannot half halt, adjust or whoa the horse to any degree on stadium and XC??
We've all seen the very scary riders out there whipping around, barely hanging on with the saintly horses clearing every fence. It's safe until that rider gets hurt when horsey decides to stop etc...

Yes.

I was speaking specifically to the outstanding jumpers that are die hard safe on cross country but are shitheads in dressage. Being able to score in the low 30's is admirable, but a score in the low 40's does not indicate that you shouldn't go cross country. My old event mare was very good jumping, but I usually got too tense in dressage to ride a great test. So my hands sucked ass and my mare got pissed, which led to 6's instead of 7's. I could still half halt and balance her before jumps.

eqsiu
Mar. 6, 2008, 03:02 PM
It's safe until that rider gets hurt when horsey decides to stop etc...

Or how about the highly skilled rider that gets a horse around, but the horse is at the limit of it's ability? There are always exceptions to the rule. I still believe that adequate middle of the pack dressage should not prevent someone from moving up if their jumping is in line.

RAyers
Mar. 6, 2008, 03:41 PM
Or, how about the fact that you get high enough in levels there is no way there will be consistent placings simply because there are so many good riders?

Hell, one year Sally O'Conner told me that me and my horse were totally inappropriate at Intermediate after dressage, placing us last, yet we were one of only 2 double clears on XC and one of only 3 double clears in stadium. Subsequently, over the past few years she has been very gracious to us at competitions.

I feel Vuma's and Lookinsouth's implications work well for low level eventing but not above prelim as at that point a lot of chaff has already been separated.

At the same time, there is no way to prevent folks from lying about qualifications on their entries. I know of at least one instance where a fatality had lied about their background.

Reed

LookinSouth
Mar. 6, 2008, 07:40 PM
I feel Vuma's and Lookinsouth's implications work well for low level eventing but not above prelim as at that point a lot of chaff has already been separated.




Agreed. I am certain 99% of riders beyond Prelim are more than competent in all phases regardless of their dressage scores.

I think a system is neccessary for the lower levels. And your right...there is no way to prevent people from lying

yellowbritches
Mar. 6, 2008, 08:00 PM
I don't think there should be any system regarding move ups at novice and training. Demanding ribbons and certain dressage scores is unrealistic and, honestly, takes the fun out of the sport. If a rider understands and grasps the concepts of the level of dressage they are doing (which, at those levels, is very, very basic) and can jump around safely and cleanly, why must they wait until they start getting ribbons or certain dressage scores to move up?

Of course, this thread sounds very, very much like the other....

Yes, there is a "move up" mentality in all horse sports. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with trainers wanting riders more dependent on them (though, I don't think that is totally true in eventing), and I'm sure it also has a lot to do with peer pressure, etc. I can speak from experience that it is very, very hard to sit by and watch friends and acquaintances mover right on up the levels, while I still struggle to find a horse that will stay sound and sane enough just to do a frickin one star.

Kcisawesome
Mar. 6, 2008, 08:02 PM
I think there are too many exceptions to make any sort of system other than providing good instruction!

There are too many potential upper level horses who are never going to win a Beginer Novice dressage test. There are too many winning beginer Novice horses who would be dangerous at Novice. In eventing when you have the pros competing alongside the ammies, there is such a wide range of personal goals to have a system that is fair to every horse and rider and keeps everyone safe!

I mean, many of us have heard the stories of completely unrideable horse whom upper level riders have taken at the high levels only to have the horse "shine" when given a real challenge.

We also all know many people who never want to compete above Training...

I would agree that low scores and going quarduple clear is probobly a good indicator of a good rider (or a good horse!). But winning is not! You can win at some shows with a refusal. Others you have to be riding a Gran Prix dressage horse on it's secound career.

I think having a qualifcation system too based on dressage score is not a good idea either because Judges judge with such wide variety! Some judges are very generous (I've gotten a 5 for cantering on my lengthening) and some are not. At 50,those on crazy wild dangerous horses are being weeded out, but a "hot" horse or a couple of technical mistakes won't keep you from maybe getting to the level where you need to be.

I am pretty adament about this because this whole discussion directly relates to my horse. Every time I have moved her up a level she has been a happier horse. If anything, she has been a safer cross country/stadium horse each time I move up..And I place better each time I move up. (At novice I regularly finished 15th, Training: 8th...MY first Prelim I was 1rst) Were placings or dressage scores keeping me from moving up....I would have never been able to improve my (And my horses) education in the way it needed to go. But, let me add, my horse is the exception! She is also the horse who has never refused/runout before, and the horse on whom making time XC (Prelim) is a piece of cake and she can do so without ever going out of a balanced jumping canter.


I just think there are too many different exceptions, too many different goals. I mean, that is what I love about eventing from the begining! kids on ponies, middle-aged athlete pros on Thoroughbreds and everything inbetween and out-between (Is that a word?) Can compete at the same show. Any age, any breed, any goal, any lifestyle. It's diverse and friendly...And not competitive...really until the upper levels. You compete against yourself. You better yourself, even those looking to stay at their level often aim for better scores instead of better placings. That is what I love about eventing, I hope it stays that way!

yellowbritches
Mar. 6, 2008, 08:17 PM
I think having a qualifcation system too based on dressage score is not a good idea either because Judges judge with such wide variety! Some judges are very generous (I've gotten a 5 for cantering on my lengthening) and some are not. At 50,those on crazy wild dangerous horses are being weeded out, but a "hot" horse or a couple of technical mistakes won't keep you from maybe getting to the level where you need to be.
Ahhh, an excellent point here!

A few years ago, I rode a steady, rhythmical, but not spectacular test on Ralph at prelim. I got a 52!!!! A couple of weeks later, Ralph pulled out just about every trick in his book (including his favorite "Halt at A, proceed to buck and rear in attempt to leave at A"). I was CERTAIN this was going to be well into the 50s, and, since we were concerned he had soundness issues that was causing the really bad behavior, I withdrew, not wanting to sour him for the jumping. Later on, I checked my scores...I got a 49...no, not stellar, but undeserved. Judges are hard to rate, and would make a true dressage score criteria very difficult at the lower levels.

KBG Eventer
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:09 PM
Ever seen the level II/III jumper classes at a jumper show? :eek: Yes, there are some VERY polished teams, but there are also a bunch of freaking TERRIFYING rides with out-of-control riders on really fast horses just flinging themselves around. They are often successful, too--after all, you only have to leave 'em up and go fast to win. :eek:

We visited HITS while in Florida and stopped to watch some 3'9 rounds. I was all excited thinking about how polished and professional these riders would be...WRONG! The first person came cantering in with her hands in her lap and her lower leg swinging a little. I thought to myself "Maybe she just rides really differently and this works for her." She just picked up the canter and went towards the first fence with the horse in a sort of lope. I was wrong. She didn't ride some special but good way-it was pretty scary. Things got worse from there. There was multiple horses in draw reins and one particular person that has been burned into my memory for the rest of my life. The bit was hanging out the horse's mouth, her saddle pad extended past the horses side (think the length of a blanket), her ENTIRE leg was off the horse flapping and kicking. Wow. They got around with no crashes luckily. Thank god I have never seen someone that scary on cross country. Some of those people might crash and flip at Novice!

Eventer13
Mar. 6, 2008, 09:18 PM
There was multiple horses in draw reins

Wait, can you jump in draw reins?

KBG Eventer
Mar. 6, 2008, 10:23 PM
I guess you can!? Many, many, many horses outside of the competition ring were schooling in them. That did not surprise me that much though.

Gnep
Mar. 7, 2008, 12:00 AM
I have to second Reed,
what is mastery in Eventing, scoring in the low 30 in dressage ? or having 0/0 in jumping ? if you can't get through X-C? Or toiling around a certain level till you make the dressage score, so you get into the ribbons. Or pounding out ride after ride after ride in the real question, X-C. In X-C you answer all the questions, dressage and stadium, if you can answer X-C every time, than screw dressage and screw stadium move up and have fun and screw the ribbon. Have fun.

One more time seconding Reed, Juan Bob, a dressage Judge, at a CCI wrote he would make a nice pleasure horses, double clear for the rest of the dog and pony show, Harlekin, judge not suited for the level, double clear.
Harlekin barely got into the upper thirties, mostly mid 40 at prelim, never the less moved her to I, she never got a dressage score less than 35, which meant either leading or very close second, we had one bad stadium, with 20, she did not like the sniker turf and I rode like a ass.
So what means to be perfect at one level to move up, absolutely nothing, you move up and you find out, if you and your horse got it. If you toil around one level till you get the perfect score in all 3 deciplines you get stale and than never make it at the next level.
Part of eventing is to through your heart over the fence and follow it, screw perfection, experiment, inovate, dare, take the challenge and have fun.
Quit to be so f.... serious about your favored past time

LookinSouth
Mar. 7, 2008, 07:54 AM
Wait, can you jump in draw reins?


Technically you CAN. Is it safe? that's debateable. Would I do it??? Nope. But I've known more than one trainer that has employed this practice.

LookinSouth
Mar. 7, 2008, 07:57 AM
I think having a qualifcation system too based on dressage score is not a good idea either because Judges judge with such wide variety! .


Good points. Let me clarify that I am by no means advocating a qualifying system based solely on the dressage! I think a qualifying system should be in place based on ALL THREE phases based on some sort of scoring system.

c_expresso
Mar. 7, 2008, 09:40 AM
Wait, can you jump in draw reins?

Yes. It is actually a useful tool on some horses over small jumps, as much as it may be frowned upon.

I believe that in the jumpers, it is the prize money offered that determines what "devices" can be used... for instance I believe that over $1k prize money only runnings and standings can be used... don't quote me on that though :winkgrin:

Vuma
Mar. 7, 2008, 09:54 AM
(I promise I do have a life :yes: and appologize in advance for the lenghty epistle below, but I am passionate about this issue. Thanks "Looknsouth" for continuing the discussion....)

On ‘Sportsmanship”;

Mastery of riding and mastery of competition is something entirely different. I don’t think anyone cares how good someone rides at home where it’s relatively safe. We all care about how someone rides at competitions, because that is where the accidents/fatalities are recorded and shed so much negative PR on our sport. (Not to mention the real issue of loss of life to riders and/or horse.) And this is where my interpretation of “Where is the sportsmanship in that?” comes from. Moving up before someone is “competent at a competition in all three phases” is not embracing the striving spirit which incidentally is in the definition of “sportsmanship”.

The definition of “sportsmanship” that I find is;

1. “Striving spirit” and 2. “Synonymous with skill”.

(answers.com & yourdictionary.com)

In my opinion, riders are not doing anything at all positive for our sport if they are moving up without reaching competence in the “3” phases. I don’t care if they are a gracious looser, encouraging of others, not concerned with a ribbon, competing for their own personal best, blah, blah, blah. They are not displaying sportsmanship when they show a complete lack of respect for the sport itself by not policing themselves to be competent at the “3” disciplines that make up our sport.

Competent in each discipline, no doubt, means something different for each of us. But if, for example, an average division where to have 12 rider/horse combinations and the rider looking to move up can never be found in the top half of their division (which would mean placing) I think that is telling.

I also think you can’t discount the Dressage score when gauging competence in competition at any level – even the UL’s. (And for those who are claiming that Dressage is only important to place well at the lower levels, go back to the Pine Top placings from last weekend. Enough said.) Dressage gets a score for a reason. (As an aside, someone on the “sportsmanship” post mentioned that Dressage “does not” account for 1/3 of the score. Then the poster went on to say that the formula showed that Dressage counted for 30% of the score. I’m confused about the poster’s math on that one. I guess I was .0333 off in my assumption w/ the idea of 1/3 of the score. Anyway, does anyone know the percentages for this formula the poster referred to? I would really be interested in knowing the formula.)

I am also confused by those competitors that claim to hang the moon with their Dressage at home, then get into the Dressage area at a competition and everything falls apart thereby giving them the excuse to diss Dressage and move on up. Sadly, on these posts, I’ve heard the horse be unfairly blamed for this phenomenon over and over. I wonder if these riders ever considered that at least on occasion maybe “they” are the ones choking….not the horse. Once again, think of how this relates to competition and sportsmanship. I know of plenty of 4.0 tennis players that can kick anyone’s tail in practice, but can’t seem to beat other 4.0 players in a match. So they STAY at their current level until they can either win. (Or impress the Raters enough to be rated higher, where it would again be a competitive arena of sport to be rated higher). They master their skills “in competition” first. (Again, not saying you have to “win” to move up, we’re not playing our game with inanimate objects, but placing would be a pretty attainable goal I should think.

On Safety;

For those who claim the fatalities are happening at the UL’s, I don’t know the stats on that, but I’ll take your word for it. I do know, however, that the overwhelming majority of the recorded “falls on course” (or maybe it was worded “falls at fences”) before ‘07 were at the N & T levels. (Can’t find the Eventing USA magazine from last year, but there was a quantified calculation/chart and I clearly remember that N & T were by far the most dangerous in re: to falls on course/falls at fences.)

The BN, N & T levels are the foundation of our sport. If the majority of the falls on course or at fences are happening at those levels, I would venture to say the foundation of our sport is weak. This weakness will only be magnified as these riders move up. Based on the stats, it seems these lower levels are where “most’ of the disillusioned rider are lurking. More importantly, it is entirely conceivable that these “accidents” at the lower levels could have easily been “fatalities”; there is a fine line between the two.

Eric Smiley had a great play on words to express what he considers being a problem in out sport with regards to riding/competing in general which would also apply to moving up.

Riders are one of the following;

Unconsciously Incompetent
Consciously Incompetent
Consciously Competent
Unconsciously Competent

I think once you get to either of these last two statements, you could “safely” move up. I also have faith that if you were to get to either of the last two statements in your current level of riding, you would be at least placing at that point and very possibly winning. Respect for our sport and sportsmanship (striving spirit/synonomous with skill) would be to wait until you are “safe” and “competitive” before you move up as they really do go hand in hand!

“It should be about the pursuit of excellence. If you’re excellent at what you do, then you’ll win.” ~David O’Connor

(Or at least place!)

RAyers
Mar. 7, 2008, 10:32 AM
In my opinion, riders are not doing anything at all positive for our sport if they are moving up without reaching competence in the “3” phases. I don’t care if they are a gracious looser, encouraging of others, not concerned with a ribbon, competing for their own personal best, blah, blah, blah. They are not displaying sportsmanship when they show a complete lack of respect for the sport itself by not policing themselves to be competent at the “3” disciplines that make up our sport. Competent in each discipline, no doubt, means something different for each of us. But if, for example, an average division where to have 12 rider/horse combinations and the rider looking to move up can never be found in the top half of their division (which would mean placing) I think that is telling.

A rather broad and egotistic statement. Again, somebody HAS to finish last. Are you saying that an amateur, who, competes against top pros on a regular basis, yet goes around consistently but finishes in the bottom half of the division has not "mastered" the sport?

Using your logic here, let's consider that the OI division at the AECs had 4 amateurs and the rest had either recently run at the Pan Am Games, or at some point represented their country (e.g Lesilie Law, Donna Smith). Given the amateurs finished "last" (the highest placing was 9th) by your definition they have not "mastered" the sport, yet they are riding at the top levels.


I also think you can’t discount the Dressage score when gauging competence in competition at any level – even the UL’s. (And for those who are claiming that Dressage is only important to place well at the lower levels, go back to the Pine Top placings from last weekend. Enough said.) Dressage gets a score for a reason. (As an aside, someone on the “sportsmanship” post mentioned that Dressage “does not” account for 1/3 of the score. Then the poster went on to say that the formula showed that Dressage counted for 30% of the score. I’m confused about the poster’s math on that one. I guess I was .0333 off in my assumption w/ the idea of 1/3 of the score. Anyway, does anyone know the percentages for this formula the poster referred to? I would really be interested in knowing the formula.)

I am also confused by those competitors that claim to hang the moon with their Dressage at home, then get into the Dressage area at a competition and everything falls apart thereby giving them the excuse to diss Dressage and move on up. Sadly, on these posts, I’ve heard the horse be unfairly blamed for this phenomenon over and over. I wonder if these riders ever considered that at least on occasion maybe “they” are the ones choking….not the horse. Once again, think of how this relates to competition and sportsmanship. I know of plenty of 4.0 tennis players that can kick anyone’s tail in practice, but can’t seem to beat other 4.0 players in a match. So they STAY at their current level until they can either win. (Or impress the Raters enough to be rated higher, where it would again be a competitive arena of sport to be rated higher). They master their skills “in competition” first. (Again, not saying you have to “win” to move up, we’re not playing our game with inanimate objects, but placing would be a pretty attainable goal I should think.

Have you ever ridden or trained a true (long-format) 3-day horse? We have gone through this conversation before. If Dressage was such a telling factor in safety, a GP Dressage horse and rider should be qualified for Advanced right off the bat. There is NO correlation/causation between dressage scores and XC ability/safety. The statistics bear this out as the USEF tried this once before.


On Safety;

For those who claim the fatalities are happening at the UL’s, I don’t know the stats on that, but I’ll take your word for it. I do know, however, that the overwhelming majority of the recorded “falls on course” (or maybe it was worded “falls at fences”) before ‘07 were at the N & T levels. (Can’t find the Eventing USA magazine from last year, but there was a quantified calculation/chart and I clearly remember that N & T were by far the most dangerous in re: to falls on course/falls at fences.)

The BN, N & T levels are the foundation of our sport. If the majority of the falls on course or at fences are happening at those levels, I would venture to say the foundation of our sport is weak. This weakness will only be magnified as these riders move up. Based on the stats, it seems these lower levels are where “most’ of the disillusioned rider are lurking. More importantly, it is entirely conceivable that these “accidents” at the lower levels could have easily been “fatalities”; there is a fine line between the two.

Could it simply be that more riders at a level means more falls? Again you are trying to equate placing with ability/safety. Of course you are going to have more falls at N and T. That is where folks new to horses or new to the sport start. They are going to make mistakes. To say they are unsafe because they lack ability is to say the ocean is wet because it has water. That is why these levels exist in the first place! To put emphasis on placing is to dilute what the ideas behind N and T are.


Eric Smiley had a great play on words to express what he considers being a problem in out sport with regards to riding/competing in general which would also apply to moving up.

Riders are one of the following;

Unconsciously Incompetent
Consciously Incompetent
Consciously Competent
Unconsciously Competent

I think once you get to either of these last two statements, you could “safely” move up. I also have faith that if you were to get to either of the last two statements in your current level of riding, you would be at least placing at that point and very possibly winning. Respect for our sport and sportsmanship (striving spirit/synonomous with skill) would be to wait until you are “safe” and “competitive” before you move up as they really do go hand in hand!

I think this has more to do with proper training and education.

As to your final quote, in my opinion, I think David O'Conner is a nice guy but I also don't think he is the best representative of how this sport should be run or how to manage the discipline.

Reed

flyingchange
Mar. 7, 2008, 10:40 AM
As to your final quote, in my opinion, I think David O'Conner is a nice guy but I also don't think he is the best representative of how this sport should be run or how to manage the discipline.

Reed

Agreed!!!! :cool:

LookinSouth
Mar. 7, 2008, 12:28 PM
Of course you are going to have more falls at N and T. That is where folks new to horses or new to the sport start.


If people that are new to horses and riding are STARTING at Novice and Training we have a problem. I don't know any competent rider that when just starting out riding was jumping 3ft -3.3 fences. Are there such people out there? Yeah of course, but I can guarantee they are not doing it safely and correctly. I also wouldn't doubt these are the same folks that can barely pull a 50 on a Novice/Training Dressage test:no:

These people should be starting at Pre-Elementary and Elementary unsanctioned's IMO. If we have total greenies galloping around over 3ft+ XC fences we are just asking for injuries.

c_expresso
Mar. 7, 2008, 12:36 PM
If people that are new to horses and riding are STARTING at Novice and Training we have a problem. I don't know any competent rider that when just starting out riding was jumping 3ft -3.3 fences. Are there such people out there? Yeah of course, but I can guarantee they are not doing it safely and correctly. I also wouldn't doubt these are the same folks that can barely pull a 50 on a Novice/Training Dressage test:no:

These people should be starting at Pre-Elementary and Elementary unsanctioned's IMO. If we have total greenies galloping around over 3ft+ XC fences we are just asking for injuries.

I think you missed Reed's point, of course most people don't start out at novice/training. What he meant was, the lower levels are for greener riders and horses. BN/N/T riders don't have to be scary, but for the most part they are relatively inexperienced riders.

It is slightly different for people just coming over to eventing though, IMO. For example I have never done a BN on my horse, we went right to N... but I had been riding for 9-10 years already and had been doing the children's jumpers. I know lots of people like this that start out at N and move up to Training very quickly, but they are just new to eventing not riding.

There are some riders who are real naturals, and can move up quickly even if they hadn't been riding long, especially if they have a good horse. It doesn't mean they are scary.

IMO there are good enough qualifications in place, re: a rider must do 4 trainings before moving up to prelim. That is more than I can say for the jumpers... I could technically go and do a junior jumper class tomorrow even though I am in no way shape or form prepared, but I couldn't go and run intermediate because of the qualification system.

Vuma
Mar. 7, 2008, 12:50 PM
RAyers,

Firstly, I am not implying that we make this an “elitist” sport where you have to win or master the sport to move up. As for “mastering” the sport, I don’t think ANY one, pro or ammie can ever “master” the sport. But, can we not all agree with the simple idea that attempting to be “competent” at your current level before moving up is good sportsmanship? I know this is a general statement but it bears repeating. More often than not, good riding equates to good scores AND placings and bad riding equates to bad scores AND bad placings. If a rider continues to be dead last, they haven’t attempted to be competent at anything but being last. Are you seriously implying they have grounds to move up? My point is that weather they have grounds to move up or not why would the “WANT” to? That is my question and I seriously hoped to get an answer to it. I’m looking for the phsycology here to better understand.

For example, I have recently seen a T rider in their Dressage test literally plant their right hand into the horse’s neck while using their body for leverage to pull the horse’s head to the left in the corners (plural!) and vice versa to the right. Legs off, horse gets ticked but complacently fulfills the requirements of the test. The score was, as it should have been, atrocious. (Incidentally, this rider was mere seconds from receiving a tongue lashing from the judge I scribed for. I was hoping it would happen, but alas…) The jumping score and cross country scores paralleled the bad riding; had to look it up – wasn’t there for the 2nd day. However, I did overhear that rider after their D test say, “yeah this was just our warm up for the season, we’re moving up to P at ……” And I see that the rider is in fact moving up. Now, even if the rider had been 4x clear w/ the jumping are they competent at that level? I would maintain, no, they are not. There is a difference between getting through w/ no J/XC penalties and respect for your team mate – the horse. Did we forget about “the horse”? If you are ripping its face off in D, whether or not you can jump competently and safely, (which I seriously doubt) you are not doing the horse or the sport in general any favors by adding complexity to your day and moving up.

If anyone thinks this is a solitary situation, I think denial has set in. Watch. Look around. It is happening more than people are waking up to admit. And you can slate me for it all day long, but I still believe that as a “general” rule good/safe riding equates to good scores/placings and bad/unsafe riding equates to bad scores/placings no matter who you are competing against. That is what is both challenging and great about our sport. If you wish to, you can compete against the pros. Or at the OI’s at the ’07 AEC’s, as you mention, there wasn’t a choice.

You mention;

Quote:

“Using your logic here, let's consider that the OI division at the AECs had 4 amateurs and the rest had either recently run at the Pan Am Games, at some point represented their country. Given the amateurs finished "last" (the highest placing was 9th) by your definition they have not "mastered" the sport, yet they are riding at the top levels.”

You are talking about the AEC’s with only one division for I. These riders were in effect rated from 1st to 17th in the country at I for 2007. No one would argue that they are not competent. But you are talking about the AEC’s. The riders I am referring to are not placing where they could even qualify for Regionals let alone the AEC’s. But are still moving up.

You also state;

“Could it simply be that more riders at a level means more falls?”

I think there is truth to the “more riders” idea. I would love to see the study again and look to see if there is a per capita basis.

Quote:

“Have you ever ridden or trained a true (long-format) 3-day horse?”

I have not as I don’t aspire to ride a true 3-day. I spent a year of my life fitting up horses at the track, riding out in 6 strings/day 6 days/week and don’t care to ever spend all my time trying for that level of fitness again. Something significant I can add on the topic of Dressage making horses safer or not, is that after having 48 2 yr. old’s training for the Ready to Run Sales I know first hand that dressage can benefit and “does” add to the safety of any horse in any discipline. I have pulled horses out of the strings for weeks at a time to settle them with basic dressage so that they could get their minds on the job, and teach them to move safely and more efficiently by using their bodies “in balance” to gallop. This equates to extra “feet” added to their stride length which, incidentally wins races. But, even a basic understanding of dressage took horses who couldn’t gallop safely at a ¾ pace in a straight line and fumbled around aimlessly and dangerously with their heads in the clouds, to horses who won their next 3 starts (for one horse) and the following 5 out of 8 for the next. Some of the T Dressage test I’ve seen lately would not have been up to par with these track horses. I will have to disagree with the notion that Dressage does not make a safer horse. Dressage is afterall "training" and training, if correct, will make a safer horse.

Quote:

“Again you are trying to equate placing with ability/safety.”

As a general rule, absolutely/ Once again, if you are placing well you “typically” have accomplished a certain skill set that those behind you did not accomplish in competition on that given day. And again, “in competition” on “any given day” is where your skill set counts most for 1.) Safety of the horse who was entrusted to you and 2.) as a competent competitor and ambassador for our sport.

RAyers
Mar. 7, 2008, 01:30 PM
If people that are new to horses and riding are STARTING at Novice and Training we have a problem. I don't know any competent rider that when just starting out riding was jumping 3ft -3.3 fences. Are there such people out there? Yeah of course, but I can guarantee they are not doing it safely and correctly. I also wouldn't doubt these are the same folks that can barely pull a 50 on a Novice/Training Dressage test:no:

These people should be starting at Pre-Elementary and Elementary unsanctioned's IMO. If we have total greenies galloping around over 3ft+ XC fences we are just asking for injuries.

Maybe I am an exception but I have never done a Novice or BN HT. At my very first HT, I started at Training. I see no reason why a person who can tool around in the AA or A/O hunters or jumpers should not be able to start at Training. Sure they will need to get dressage help and learn what XC is about but that does not make them necessarily unsafe. They may be green to eventing but they are not green riders and you are lumping them in with complete green riders/horses. Of course if a rider is just starting out with horses they should start from the ground up.



Reed

GotSpots
Mar. 7, 2008, 01:40 PM
RAyers,

You are talking about the AEC’s with only one division for I. These riders were in effect rated from 1st to 17th in the country at I for 2007. No one would argue that they are not competent. But you are talking about the AEC’s. The riders I am referring to are not placing where they could even qualify for Regionals let alone the AEC’s. But are still moving up.

* * *
I think there is truth to the “more riders” idea. I would love to see the study again and look to see if there is a per capita basis.

Two corrections on the facts here: (1) Look at the qualifications for Preliminary Horse, Intermediate, and Advanced and AECs. I'm not putting down any of the riders or horses who went, but the qualifications required for those three divisions do not require that a horse/rider be in the top of the country or "rated from 1st to 17th in the country at I for 2007." They are the horse/rider teams who had previously gotten around successfully at that level once before and who chose to enter the division at the AECs. I think Reed's point stands.

(2) The data reflects pretty strongly that on a "per capita" basis, the serious incidents are happening at a substantially lower rate at Novice and Training. There is a huge increase in the number of entries at BN/N/T from those at P/I/A - the center of gravity is between N and T I believe, last time I looked at it. The risk of life threatening injuries is pretty substantially weighted to the upper levels, statistically speaking. Of course, that doesn't tell you anything about the predictive power for any one horse or rider at any particular level, but that's what the data shows.

JER
Mar. 7, 2008, 01:42 PM
Vuma, please be aware that there are experienced riders out there who have never ridden in a dressage arena in their lives yet have the skills to jump around a Prelim-level course quite well.

I've foxhunted with a number of these folks and I've ridden around XC courses with them. Their years in the saddle, especially their experience riding a few hours' worth of XC twice a week during hunting season, has taught them a lot about XC riding and jumping.

Personally, I think it's the lack of hunting/field experience that contributes to the perceived lack of safety in the scary eventers you're talking about.

It's great that you've set high standards of horsemanship (by your own standards, of course) for yourself. But your attempt to globalize them to all eventers makes you sound a tad judgmental.

Badger
Mar. 7, 2008, 02:01 PM
Vuma, I'm the one that posted about the formula for eventing on the other thread. I was countering your argument (paraphasing from memory here) that there are three phases and each should count as 1/3 of the score. That's what I disagreed with and I stated that there IS a formula and it does not weight all phases equally. Off the top of my head, I remembered it being 50% x-c, 30% dressage, and 20% show-jumping...in other words, that x-c is supposed to count nearly TWICE what dressage does.

When I responded on the previous posts, I was on a business trip and unable to check my library for references. I'm home now, and grabbed Wofford's "Training the Three-Day Event Horse and Rider." I haven't found the exact formula (it may be in some other book) but the following quote is relevant (pg 88):

"The three-day event rules are set up so that the emphasis is on your performance cross-country. This is not as true at the lower levels as at the higher but if you have a refusal or a fall cross-country, the chances are pretty good that you are not going to fibure in the placings. So cross-country should be the strongest of your three skills. It should also be the one that you enjoy the most, with all its high speeds and greater risks. At some point in your deveopment as a rider you're going to have to ask yourself, 'Is this the sport for me?' Every rider has a different amount of nerve. Most riders have different levels of nerve on different horses. It's up to you to find out just exactly how far you really want to go int he sport—and how far you're willing to take your mount."

I agree whole-heartedly with Wofford: x-c is at the heart of eventing and cross-country skills are the most important.

Vuma
Mar. 7, 2008, 02:03 PM
Gotspots:

You say:

"but the qualifications required for those three divisions do not require that a horse/rider be in the top of the country or "rated from 1st to 17th in the country at I for 2007." They are the horse/rider teams who had previously gotten around successfully at that level once before and who chose to enter the division at the AECs. I think Reed's point stands."

1.) They became rated in the top 1st-17th in the country by competing at the AEC's and with the results of their competing; that wasn't the qualification for them to be there.

2.) By your admition above you are now batting for the wrong team if you were trying to support Reed's point as he was implying that by being at the AEC's in I in general that those ammie's were mastering their sport because even though they were not placing high they were in a field with pro's. (Correct me if I'm wront Reed.)

Badger
Mar. 7, 2008, 02:13 PM
Edited to remove duplicate post.

RAyers
Mar. 7, 2008, 02:45 PM
Gotspots:

.) By your admition above you are now batting for the wrong team if you were trying to support Reed's point as he was implying that by being at the AEC's in I in general that those ammie's were mastering their sport because even though they were not placing high they were in a field with pro's. (Correct me if I'm wront Reed.)

Gotdpots has it right. Amateurs have very few chances to make qualifications to run the AECs or to run at the high levels. To get entries, they have a relatively low number of qualifications because it is accepted that if you run at that level and get 2 completions, you are competent enough to run with the big dogs (e.g. we have MASTERY without ribbons).

UL amateurs always compete against the names that get tossed about here as if they are badges of honor. Well, a few of us do well (e.g. Corrine Ashton who has now turned pro) and the rest of us just keep pushing. You keep saying that placing is a HUGE indicator of mastery but in this case it has no meaning.

I have NEVER won a HT yet I plan to run Advanced. I have very rarely placed above 3rd at a HT, yet many top trainers and riders are happy to have me out there competing with them. How do I know? We talk about these things on course walks, dinner parties. Many of the officials (FEI etc.) let me know that they are impressed with my rides and even come to me to ask for my opinions about XC or stadium courses.

By your definition, I, like JER, should still be in the Training divisions.

Oh, I must add that how do I know how good my horse's dressage is at home versus cometition? I train with a FEI "S" and a FEI "O" (he will be judging in Bejing). They have seen the difference between home and away. We have addressed my difficulties but my pony has other ideas (dressage is what you do on the way to XC, "Letter? What is a letter? Get that crap out of my way.").

So if THEY can figure out I have mastered an ability, a ribbon is going to mean squat, bubkiss, nada to them.

Reed

Vuma
Mar. 7, 2008, 03:42 PM
Reed - slow down…. If you can find anywhere in these two related posts (or anywhere else for that matter) where I have claimed someone must “win” to move up I’ll send you a sizeable gift cert. or your choice! You’ve place 3rd – genuinely awesome – I would contend you were pursuing excellence in your level and are one of the riders I am hoping to hear from. You are obviously not who has been referred to on the other posts. (Did you read the other post through?)

Quote; ”By your definition, I, like JER, should still be in the Training divisions”.

What definition? That you should be competent to move up and that competence is generally quantified by scoring in the top half of you peers in your given level. Didn’t you do that already?

Quote:”Oh, I must add that how do I know how good my horse's dressage is at home versus cometition? I train with a FEI "S" and a FEI "O" (he will be judging in Bejing). They have seen the difference between home and away. We have addressed my difficulties but my pony has other ideas (dressage is what you do on the way to XC, "Letter? What is a letter? Get that crap out of my way.").”

If you’ve placed third you’re Dressage is obviously competent. Not sure why you think the comment was dirrected at you.

Sincerely, keep up your good work!

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 7, 2008, 04:09 PM
If people that are new to horses and riding are STARTING at Novice and Training we have a problem. I don't know any competent rider that when just starting out riding was jumping 3ft -3.3 fences. Are there such people out there? Yeah of course, but I can guarantee they are not doing it safely and correctly. I also wouldn't doubt these are the same folks that can barely pull a 50 on a Novice/Training Dressage test:no:

These people should be starting at Pre-Elementary and Elementary unsanctioned's IMO. If we have total greenies galloping around over 3ft+ XC fences we are just asking for injuries.



LOL....not everyone starting out in eventing is NEW to riding. I was a jumper rider. My first event was at training level...and the fences looked small. Dressage was painful to watch...but jumping was fine. There use to not be a level below training. I still haven't ever competed a horse below novice. NO way in HELL am I ever going to pay the cost of a competition...rec. or not...to run at elementary. My green horses start out jumping that height and I can go jump logs that size for free out in the country....through just schooling and waiting until they have been schoolled enough, they are absolutely fine to start out at novice and some could start out at training level.

There are many riders who would be fine at Prelim...especially coming from a foxhunting background or race jump background. You absolutely can not make generalization.

LookinSouth
Mar. 7, 2008, 04:16 PM
:rolleyes:
LOL....not everyone starting out in eventing is NEW to riding. .


Seriously?? Well that's a shocker

Which is why I said people new to riding:winkgrin:
My point was people NEW TO RIDING should not be galloping around N and T. And I absolutely WILL make that generalization because IMO it's common sense in terms of safety!
Those people should do the absolute lowest levels first. Obviously this does not translate to experienced riders switching from the H/J'ers etc...

RAyers
Mar. 7, 2008, 04:22 PM
Vuma,

In several posts to others you state that riders should be placing high in a division as a measure of competence. That, I assume would include winning. That is your definition of mastery. I quote, "I still believe that as a “general” rule good/safe riding equates to good scores/placings and bad/unsafe riding equates to bad scores/placings no matter who you are competing against." From you other thread, "Sincerely trying, I cannot think of another single sport in which competitors forego winning at their level in order to compete at a higher level. " Obviously, you put some belief that one must win at a level in order to move up.

I have never placed 3rd in dressage. At competitions I am usually in the bottom half of the division after dressage. As for placing in the top half, I don't think 12th out of 22 at the AECs or 14 out of 25 at a CIC** puts me in the top half of my peers, hence my comment on that JER and I should be still at Training.

I take this personally because having been through the process of moving up the levels in a "nontraditional" manner, I think there are hundreds of others who can, and do, do the same. I am also tired of this "blame the rider" mentality that has taken hold. Yes, riders must be accountable (and many times it is with our lives) but a hell of a lot of other people need to take responsibility. Others and I are working on designing new, safer fences (including tables). I am active in making sure officials are open to communicate with competitors. I am happy to stand up when I see unsafe conditions, and I see plenty.

So, while you focus on placings and dressage, others focus on the entire sport.

Reed

LookinSouth
Mar. 7, 2008, 04:25 PM
.

Personally, I think it's the lack of hunting/field experience that contributes to the perceived lack of safety in the scary eventers you're talking about.

.


I certainly will not argue with the fact that foxhunting will help prepare you for the XC portion. I do think Dressage is very helpful for stadium though (at the lower levels especially). However, I don't think that many eventers foxhunt anymore. There are some of course, but I wouldn't say many, at least not from what I gathered in previous threads about the topic.

c_expresso
Mar. 7, 2008, 04:33 PM
I certainly will not argue with the fact that foxhunting will help prepare you for the XC portion. I do think Dressage is very helpful for stadium though (at the lower levels especially). However, I don't think that many eventers foxhunt anymore. There are some of course, but I wouldn't say many, at least not from what I gathered in previous threads about the topic.

I know lots of eventers that fox hunt/ have fox hunted, but usually they only hunt their low level horses or different ones, no point in risking the safety of your nice eventer in the hunt field.

Vuma
Mar. 7, 2008, 04:44 PM
"I still believe that as a “general” rule good/safe riding equates to good scores/placings and bad/unsafe riding equates to bad scores/placings no matter who you are competing against."

Reed, honestly where in that statement did you even see the word "winning". (And "assuming" is never a good thing.)

I take it personally that riders aren't thinking of themselves as part of the problem. It' a common thread in our society, let's blame everyone else (course designers, fences, etc.). But the one person who has the greatest ability to control our lives is ourselves. There are events out of our control when we sit astride a 1200 lb. horse and gallop at solid fences; given. But, if by competency of our own skills we can narrow that margin, let's do it and let's do it before we move up. If you're competent, it will show up on the leadboard at some point.

Does anyone else have input re: the question of why someone would "want" to move up before placing? So far I've heard "saving the horses legs", "peer pressure", "horse preforms better at higher levels than lower levels". Any other thoughts? Just curious.

millerra
Mar. 7, 2008, 05:20 PM
A reason to move up...

Your horse jumps very well/easily at the given level - and getting bored and/or not respecting the fences. Reason enough...

Highflyer
Mar. 7, 2008, 05:23 PM
"Does anyone else have input re: the question of why someone would "want" to move up before placing? So far I've heard "saving the horses legs", "peer pressure", "horse preforms better at higher levels than lower levels". Any other thoughts? Just curious.

Well, for me, my ultimate goal with my horse is to do a Training 3 Day, specifically Waredaca--and note that by do I mean complete, without jumping faults--although winning would be nice, of course.

I want to be safe and competent, and I want to get to that goal by doing the minimum number of events. In an ideal world, that would mean maybe 1 or 2 more unrecognized BNs this spring, 3 or 4 unrecognized Ns, 1 or 2 recognized Ns this fall and next spring--and then the 4 clear Ts necessary to qualify.

If you assume that each event costs roughly $150, plus diesel fuel at $3/ gallon, and lessons at $45 an hour, and xc schools at $35--well, it adds up, depressingly fast.

If I'm 13th out of 24 in every one of those events, but I have clear jumping rounds, if I have a 40 in dressage instead of a 39--I can live with that. I like to win, and I love getting ribbons and prizes, but I don't think they are necessarily the best indicator of safety OR competence.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 7, 2008, 05:51 PM
:rolleyes:


Seriously?? Well that's a shocker

Which is why I said people new to riding:winkgrin:
My point was people NEW TO RIDING should not be galloping around N and T. And I absolutely WILL make that generalization because IMO it's common sense in terms of safety!
Those people should do the absolute lowest levels first. Obviously this does not translate to experienced riders switching from the H/J'ers etc...


Sorry, must have missed that in your other post. In my view....if they are that new to horses....they shouldn't be competing. Not sure I understand the need to go out and compete when you are still learning the basics....just as I wouldn't bother paying to take a green horse out at a level below Noivce.


I think this debate has been beaten to death. There are many schools of thought and I don't think there is one right answer. Whether it is right or not to move up will depend on the individual rider and horse and their goals...and there are many vaild reasons. Sometimes people will make a mistake and move up too soon...and others perhaps should have moved up a while ago....in the end, I don't think this is an area that is truly causing the accidents or even what is causing the scary riding....to be honest, that rider that is scary at training level is probably pretty scary at novice. There really isn't as much difference between the lower levels as people are making it out to be....and most of those differences are mental if anything.

I focus on how the horse and rider are handling xc. That is the most dangerous aspect of our sport and the most important aspect to master at a particular level before tackling the next level.....but I don't see a huge difference between novice and training so I'm not sure why people are talking about making "qualifications" to move up between these lower levels.

LookinSouth
Mar. 7, 2008, 06:30 PM
I know lots of eventers that fox hunt/ have fox hunted, but usually they only hunt their low level horses or different ones, no point in risking the safety of your nice eventer in the hunt field.


Well perhaps in your area the demographics are different. Up here there are definitely eventerst that foxhunt but I would estimate the Hunts are largely made up of people strictly devoted to foxhunting.

There has been threads in the past concerning this topic and I don't recall many saying they foxhunt.

LookinSouth
Mar. 7, 2008, 06:34 PM
Not sure I understand the need to go out and compete when you are still learning the basics....just as I wouldn't bother paying to take a green horse out at a level below Noivce.


.


But this IS the point. There are many, many riders out there at BN, N and T who clearly are still learning the basics and need to devote some time at the lowest levels developing/perfecting those basics BEFORE moving up.

JER
Mar. 7, 2008, 07:26 PM
If you’ve placed third you’re Dressage is obviously competent.

What it comes down to, Vuma, is you really do put a value on placings.

You can place 3rd -- and even higher -- with lousy dressage. Like I said on the other thread, if there's a bogey fence, weird weather, technical eliminations, warm-up ring accidents, lost shoes, or SJ/XC courses that very much favor technical precision, you might only have a few finishers. I've seen one rider out of a dozen complete a division at N due to all sorts of mishaps and oddities. I've seen riders have stops and still come in 3rd.

It sounds like you'd think you're entitled to pat yourself on the back for your 3rd place ribbon, regardless of how well you rode. I've earned some good ribbons on just-passable dressage and I went home not resting on my laurels but thinking about how I could improve my dressage.

Most eventers I know are highly-motivated individuals. They event because they like to work hard at all aspects of riding and would approach riding the same way whether or not they competed in events. A good ride is more important than a ribbon.

If you think placings = mastery, go watch the AA jumpers at your local h/j show. You'll see what I mean.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Mar. 7, 2008, 07:47 PM
Would now be the appropriate time to toss out the modest proposition that the sport is made LESS safe by the inclusion of BN, elementary, and probably Novice?

There might be a touch of Swiftian argument here - but really, you can get away with so much at those levels. Believe me, I know, I have! And you can score decently, and win - but still be insecure atop the horse, and unprepared to cope when stuff happens.

This is a little related to the "in the old days, when the jumps were airy and we trudged uphill both ways from the start box" line of safety I believe gooddirt and others have discussed before (not meaning to demean that argument in the least) If you perceive that an activity is fairly safe, do you approach it as cautiously as if you perceive it to be risky?

I'm not saying everyone should start at training - but really, maybe that should be where actual competiton starts. Go to derbies and hunter trials and schooling days below that, but don't think of it as a sporting competiiton.

Discuss, if you're not over it all already. ;)

c_expresso
Mar. 7, 2008, 08:00 PM
Going to agree with Jeannette on this one... look at the UK. They start out at prenovice aka our training, but a lot of shows only have novice and up aka our prelim. From what I have seen, your average competing eventer is much better than over here [I am talking about your AVERAGE junior or ammy, of course there are great, OK, and awful in both places...].


Would now be the appropriate time to toss out the modest proposition that the sport is made LESS safe by the inclusion of BN, elementary, and probably Novice?

There might be a touch of Swiftian argument here - but really, you can get away with so much at those levels. Believe me, I know, I have! And you can score decently, and win - but still be insecure atop the horse, and unprepared to cope when stuff happens.

This is a little related to the "in the old days, when the jumps were airy and we trudged uphill both ways from the start box" line of safety I believe gooddirt and others have discussed before (not meaning to demean that argument in the least) If you perceive that an activity is fairly safe, do you approach it as cautiously as if you perceive it to be risky?

I'm not saying everyone should start at training - but really, maybe that should be where actual competiton starts. Go to derbies and hunter trials and schooling days below that, but don't think of it as a sporting competiiton.

Discuss, if you're not over it all already. ;)

imapepper
Mar. 7, 2008, 08:00 PM
Most eventers I know are highly-motivated individuals. They event because they like to work hard at all aspects of riding and would approach riding the same way whether or not they competed in events. A good ride is more important than a ribbon.

If you think placings = mastery, go watch the AA jumpers at your local h/j show. You'll see what I mean.

JER is right ;) The AA/Childrens jumpers are not for the faint of heart.

I do think that I understand the riders that Vuma and LookinSouth are really talking about. It's the beginners that instructors buy very made horses for as soon as they learn how to jump a crossrail (which they might not have the proper foundation for) and start taking them to shows. I get what you all are talking about. But at the same time, placings are not necessarily the best way to measure competence. Just for an example, the last horse I took to a HT (his first and he placed 2nd) scored 32 in the dressage and had a stop in the showjumping. I don't think he should have been moved up even though his dressage was good and he placed. My current mare, getting ready for her first, will be lucky to get a dressage score in the 40s. Dressage will be difficult for her but I am pretty sure that a clear round in stadium & XC will not be a problem. Should I keep her in Novice until her dressage improves enough to win/place when she does everything else easily? Or move her up where her strengths are more likely to help her place?

Whatever the standards are, they need to give some credit to very competent horsemen/riders who might not score well enough in the lower levels to "test out" whether it's because they have a green horse or are switching disciplines. Because if you make real beginners test out, you will also have to make experienced riders that do not have a show record test out.

yellowbritches
Mar. 7, 2008, 08:18 PM
Would now be the appropriate time to toss out the modest proposition that the sport is made LESS safe by the inclusion of BN, elementary, and probably Novice?

There might be a touch of Swiftian argument here - but really, you can get away with so much at those levels. Believe me, I know, I have! And you can score decently, and win - but still be insecure atop the horse, and unprepared to cope when stuff happens.

This is a little related to the "in the old days, when the jumps were airy and we trudged uphill both ways from the start box" line of safety I believe gooddirt and others have discussed before (not meaning to demean that argument in the least) If you perceive that an activity is fairly safe, do you approach it as cautiously as if you perceive it to be risky?

I'm not saying everyone should start at training - but really, maybe that should be where actual competiton starts. Go to derbies and hunter trials and schooling days below that, but don't think of it as a sporting competiiton.

Discuss, if you're not over it all already. ;)

I would go along with this! While I think it is great that we have lots of levels for everyone to participate, if the lowest levels were a little harder (ie training, or even way back in the day, prelim) we might not be worrying so much. People get away with a lot of stuff at the low levels and because of no coaching/poor coaching (yep, I said it again) don't realize that you can't get away with certain things as you climb the levels.

I also think that you really do need to go to competitions while you are learning/perfecting the basics. Obviously, there is a point where you (or the horse) are just too green, but at some point, you have to learn how to deal with nerves. We have a client who has very solid basics at home, but nerves get in the way a little at shows and events. She can't learn to deal with them UNLESS she is nervous. I don't think she is un-safe or incompetent (if I did, we wouldn't let her go to shows and events). But she makes silly mistakes occasionally under pressure, so, we keep going out so she can learn to deal with pressure.

And, just a little anecdote for these two discussions. A few years ago we hosted a clinic with a VERY BNR (won't name names, but she is very, very well decorated and highly respected). We hosted a dinner over the weekend and had a Q & A session. Someone asked, in her opinion, when she considered her riders ready to move to the next level. She said when her riders had 6 good goes at their current level. She said nothing about placings or dressage scores, but I do know she wanted 6 clear xc rounds (and knowing her, she wants 6 smooth, clear rounds). hmmmmm....makes ya think a little....

RAyers
Mar. 7, 2008, 09:56 PM
What is there to discuss? I agree!

Reed



Would now be the appropriate time to toss out the modest proposition that the sport is made LESS safe by the inclusion of BN, elementary, and probably Novice?

There might be a touch of Swiftian argument here - but really, you can get away with so much at those levels. Believe me, I know, I have! And you can score decently, and win - but still be insecure atop the horse, and unprepared to cope when stuff happens.

This is a little related to the "in the old days, when the jumps were airy and we trudged uphill both ways from the start box" line of safety I believe gooddirt and others have discussed before (not meaning to demean that argument in the least) If you perceive that an activity is fairly safe, do you approach it as cautiously as if you perceive it to be risky?

I'm not saying everyone should start at training - but really, maybe that should be where actual competiton starts. Go to derbies and hunter trials and schooling days below that, but don't think of it as a sporting competiiton.

Discuss, if you're not over it all already. ;)

Dr. Doolittle
Mar. 7, 2008, 10:18 PM
I would go along with this! While I think it is great that we have lots of levels for everyone to participate, if the lowest levels were a little harder (ie training, or even way back in the day, prelim) we might not be worrying so much. People get away with a lot of stuff at the low levels and because of no coaching/poor coaching (yep, I said it again) don't realize that you can't get away with certain things as you climb the levels.

I also think that you really do need to go to competitions while you are learning/perfecting the basics. Obviously, there is a point where you (or the horse) are just too green, but at some point, you have to learn how to deal with nerves. We have a client who has very solid basics at home, but nerves get in the way a little at shows and events. She can't learn to deal with them UNLESS she is nervous. I don't think she is un-safe or incompetent (if I did, we wouldn't let her go to shows and events). But she makes silly mistakes occasionally under pressure, so, we keep going out so she can learn to deal with pressure.

And, just a little anecdote for these two discussions. A few years ago we hosted a clinic with a VERY BNR (won't name names, but she is very, very well decorated and highly respected). We hosted a dinner over the weekend and had a Q & A session. Someone asked, in her opinion, when she considered her riders ready to move to the next level. She said when her riders had 6 good goes at their current level. She said nothing about placings or dressage scores, but I do know she wanted 6 clear xc rounds (and knowing her, she wants 6 smooth, clear rounds). hmmmmm....makes ya think a little....


This all sounds *extremely* reasonable to me...:yes:

Vuma
Mar. 7, 2008, 10:36 PM
JER; you say;

"You can place 3rd -- and even higher -- with lousy dressage. Like I said on the other thread, if there's a bogey fence, weird weather, technical eliminations, warm-up ring accidents, lost shoes, or SJ/XC courses that very much favor technical precision, you might only have a few finishers. I've seen one rider out of a dozen complete a division at N due to all sorts of mishaps and oddities. I've seen riders have stops and still come in 3rd."

You are referring to MANY exceptions here that I think we can safely say are not the norm. We are trying to stay within the norms for this discussion. Why go off on a tangent?

You also say;

"It sounds like you'd think you're entitled to pat yourself on the back for your 3rd place ribbon, regardless of how well you rode. I've earned some good ribbons on just-passable dressage and I went home not resting on my laurels but thinking about how I could improve my dressage."

I was referring to Reed's third place and was very much encouraging of his placing at what sounds like I. Whether he rode great or terribly that day, I don't know. But I do know he was better than the rest of his field that day, save 2, so he must have been doing something competent. (Or maybe there was, as you say, a bogey fence, complicated by weird weather, resulting in technical eliminations, warm-up ring accidents, lost shoes, and let's throw in that all the 4th place finishers and up had food poisoning from bad Chinese food the night before, and......)

We only have one "quantifiable" way to "attempt" to assess competence. Whether you like it or not that "quantifiable" way is in scoring and placing. A scoring/placing/winning/losing system is innate to all sports and this is one of the intentions for scores; to quantify wins/loses, qualifiers for chamionships, championships themselves, etc. Until and unless there is another method, this is what we have to work with.

As for eliminating lower levels from "any" competitive sport, why would that make it safer? If this were the case, a newbie to the sport (who may very well have been training/riding competently at home) would now need to contend with a higher level of difficulty (riding at an event vs. home) to start competing and deal with the onset of nerves all at the same time.

Lookinsouth, sorry that this thread has gotten so far away from your original question. I must say that being striken in bed with the flu for the second time in a month has been more educational this time around!

RAyers
Mar. 7, 2008, 11:40 PM
We only have one "quantifiable" way to "attempt" to assess competence. Whether you like it or not that "quantifiable" way is in scoring and placing. A scoring/placing/winning/losing system is innate to all sports and this is one of the intentions for scores; to quantify wins/loses, qualifiers for chamionships, championships themselves, etc. Until and unless there is another method, this is what we have to work with.



Uh, NO! Read the rule book again, and again. Another method already is in place. Have you ever looked online at your qualifications. Faults in all phases are tracked regardless of placing. It is pretty easy to tell a person's mastery based upon level and faults at a given competition (e.g. at a difficult or easy course).

The USEA and FEI have removed the need to "quantify" placings by looking at the whole ride. As a matter of fact, at the upper levels they look at these in order to provide waivers to riders who may not have competed recently. There have been plenty of instances where a rider who may have a score a few points away from qualifying in dressage but have excellent XC and stadium scores that are allowed to move up or otherwise compete.

Reed

LookinSouth
Mar. 8, 2008, 07:45 AM
"Lookinsouth, sorry that this thread has gotten so far away from your original question. I must say that being striken in bed with the flu for the second time in a month has been more educational this time around!


Hey no need to apologize! I am not one to complain about threads carrying on in various directions. My philosophy is if you don't like it, dont' read it!
Though I think the entire discussion is interesting and some good points have definitely been brought up by many.

Auburn
Mar. 8, 2008, 08:27 AM
To Jeannette, formerly Ponygirl,

And all of those who have agreed with her post that BN, Elementary and probably Novice should not have a place in recognized competitions - who will foot the bill for your competitions? Besides, Starter and Elementary became recognized divisions, when?

Because there are so many "lower level riders", isn't it true that we support and fund many of the competitions? What will happen to your events, if you take our money out of the venues? Are there enough of you to support our eventing system? If we cannot be recognized, then why would we join the USEA? How much money would that organization lose, if we were to be taken out of the USEA?

When I was younger (I am now 55 years old) I was a "B" pony clubber and rode through Prelim.

I have absolutely no desire to go there again. Currently, I am a competent rider, through the Novice level. This was told to me in two separate clinics, by Denny Emerson and Diana Rich, as recently as two weeks ago.

There has to be another way to make certain that we "lower level riders" have the knowledge to safely compete. We have just as much right to go to the AEC's or any other Area Championships, as you do. :yes:

flea
Mar. 8, 2008, 10:39 AM
Auburn I agree! Jeanette, I am 57 doing competent safe Novice. Might go training but not higher. Does that mean there is no place for me in recognized events? My favorite activity is a cross country scooling day but thoroughly enjoy competing also and do compete at recognized events. Under rules with only training and higher I would never get to compete in a recognized event. Eventually one wants to test ones skills in a competetive situation. Even the schooling shows will not satisfy the urge. I feel you are trying to punish the vast majority of competent lower level riders to bar the few that are not ready to compete. Its the young whippersnappers barreling around:) We oldies are carefully making it around the course as we know we break easily!:) If we could not compete in recognized events I would have to move to another discipline although I can't think what would provide the same fun, horsemanship, comraderie, good sportsmanship, and challenge.

quietann
Mar. 8, 2008, 12:20 PM
It makes me sad to see people saying get rid of (recognized) levels below Training. Look, I might, someday, make it to recognized BN level. I'd be thrilled. But it won't happen if the higher-level folks turn up their noses at people like me. (I am, also, a re-rider, and I have discovered that I do not bounce anymore! I don't want to push up the levels!)

And listening to my trainer, who evented as a teen back in the days when things started at Training level, I think you'd still see a lot of scary scary rides by people who are not ready -- but just over bigger fences! She was a scrappy little rider and it sounds like she scared the jump judges to death a few times, until she had more experience. These days, she's happy to have recognized lower levels so she can have the "real" experience while getting her horse ready to move up to T and P.

RAyers
Mar. 8, 2008, 12:50 PM
Auburn, flea, quietann,

The reality is that almost everybody agrees with you. However, when folks argue that it is always the rider's responsibility, then there comes a "push back." The arguments that Vuma presented here would easily be answered by getting rid of the divisions she says are so dangerous (N and T). In so doing it would force folks who want to event to consider their choices seriously, as Vuma and others advocate.

On a tangent that to be shows that responsibility goes beyond the rider, I feel course designers and builders must also be held to a standard. Many accidents have been attributed to poor fence placement, design, as well as the fact many of these "new" technical courses now ride like Goofey Golf courses and not XC courses.

Personally, I don't want to eliminate BN-T (as I agree with your statements), but as Devil's Advocate I agreed. I realize that Training and below have become the foundation of the sport in the US. I feel that to put placing requirements on these divisions will further push this sport to a game rather than to encourage the development of HORSEMEN and SPORTSMEN.

Reed

Auburn
Mar. 8, 2008, 01:27 PM
Thanks, Reed.

What about having competition clinics?

(Now that we have many more ICP certified instructors) Why not have them be required to have a competition/x-country clinic, for a nominal fee?

All of the folks who want to go BN or move up to Novice would be required to attend a clinic. The ICP instructor would judge whether the riders would be safe enough to move up to the next level. If the rider isn't ready, then they are told to stay put or go get more instruction.

Yes, I know that it would be a bureaucratic nightmare! :winkgrin: However, something of this sort might be a way to help make the lower levels more safe and give the ICP instructors a way to give back to the sport.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 8, 2008, 06:02 PM
I can't believe I'm even going to suggest this....since I'm NOT one who thinks anything needs to be done as far as qualifications for the lower levels....I'm just not seeing that it is needed. Are there a few scary rides...sure. But they are NOT the norm at the rec. events that I go to. They are a bit scary at the starter trials...but even there they are not rampant like this thread seems to be.

But to me, any scary riding I've seen at the lower levels has come from a lack of good instruction. So if a qualification is needed, instead of having a "clinic" or competition....how about having a signature needed from an experienced eventing training stating that they have watched this horse and rider and believe that they would be competent at X level. Once you have competed at X level, you don't need that 'certification.'


Again, this is just a suggestion.....my own opinion is that this aspect of eventing is really not broken.

JER
Mar. 8, 2008, 06:16 PM
Thanks, Reed.

What about having competition clinics?

(Now that we have many more ICP certified instructors) Why not have them be required to have a competition/x-country clinic, for a nominal fee?

All of the folks who want to go BN or move up to Novice would be required to attend a clinic.

So let's say you live out west. The closest HT is 8 hours away. Requiring you to attend a separate clinic in order to enter a BN HT is asking a lot of you.

I'd be all for getting rid of the OT at BN or changing it to trot pace (220mpm). There's no need to worry about making the time or having a fit horse at that level. BN usually runs at the end of the day anyway, it's not like it's going to add much to the schedule.

Because of land and money issues, it's a necessity to hold ULs and LLs at the same HTs. In many parts of the country, Prelim will have a handful of entries. but N and BN will be quite robust. No organizer is going to host a full HT for 5 Prelim riders and no one else.

Schooling events are a rarity in many places, again due to land and expenses. If you have to provide stabling and competitors have to travel long distances, there's probably not a significant difference between hosting a recognized HT or a schooling HT. For your competitors, however, they don't get a chance to qualify for awards or championships or PC stuff.

The scary riders are eternal. We talked about them years ago, we talk about them now. But really, how do they impact you? I just try to stay off XC when I see them coming and I give them a wide berth in the warm-up ring. I do worry about safety and the really serious risk factors in eventing but the fact is, the scary LL riders are not the ones dying out there.

deltawave
Mar. 8, 2008, 06:33 PM
What BNR is going to sign his/her name stating that they vouch for a rider's skill? What happens then, if an accident happens--is that BNR now "responsible" somehow, legally? You can bet someone will think so and be calling a lawyer, because there is ALWAYS someone to blame when things go wrong in our society, never the individual but someone else. :no:

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 8, 2008, 06:46 PM
What BNR is going to sign his/her name stating that they vouch for a rider's skill? What happens then, if an accident happens--is that BNR now "responsible" somehow, legally? You can bet someone will think so and be calling a lawyer, because there is ALWAYS someone to blame when things go wrong in our society, never the individual but someone else. :no:

That was why I was hesitant to suggest it. But not sure it is any different then making someone ride in a "competition clinic". As a lawyer, I think we could draft it to be clear that the only thing the "trainer" was certifying was that they have seen the horse and rider at least demonstrate on one occassion the competency for the level....and thus ensure that the riders have ridden and discussed what level they should compete at with an event trainer....and make it clear that they have no liability.

But you are right....I sure wouldn't want to sign anything on behalf of someone else.

As I said....I personally don't think anything needs to be done. I was not calling for BN-T to be eliminated either. I personally don't understand the levels below that....but they are popular. Just as the 2' puddle jumpers are popular. When I was first learning how to ride....my trainer wouldn't let me compete in public until I was well beyond that level.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Mar. 8, 2008, 06:48 PM
The scary riders are eternal. We talked about them years ago, we talk about them now. But really, how do they impact you? I just try to stay off XC when I see them coming and I give them a wide berth in the warm-up ring. I do worry about safety and the really serious risk factors in eventing but the fact is, the scary LL riders are not the ones dying out there.

amen. I would need to think long and hard, and probably sit around a campfire with a bottle of whiskey and an articulate selection of both sides to decide what I really think today. But I do "think making the sport 'safer' " doesn't necessarily make the sport safer...

I also suspect Vuma is talking more about things a rider should consider before moving up, and many of us are reacting as though she is advocating rule changes. I seriously doubt any of us advocates moving up will nilly, but the spectre of a rule change does raise one of my favorite sayings in my brain - "Rules are a substitute for judgment."

Sometimes that substitution is a good, or at least necessary, thing, but eliminating or minimizing judgment from eventing seems a very bad idea.

Rather than getting completely entrenched in "opposing" ideas, maybe it's the mediator in me, but I do see real value to being willing to brainstorm, to coinsider alternate realities - maybe USEA could sanction a vibrant series of part competition part schooling days which would feed competitors into sanctioned competition ata reasonable cost?? I have spent my share and then some of time spending pretty big $$ at N competions which I would be more than happy to spend at things which created some competitive atmoshphere, but maybe lacked all the expenses of currenet sanctioned competition...

pwynnnorman
Mar. 8, 2008, 07:31 PM
I haven't read the thread, so I'm not going to present an opinion, but I wonder if anyone sees or wonders about what I see and wonder about in the stadium results on Rocking Horse this weekend. Check out the OI divisions results in stadium: http://www.rockinghorseht.com/. Is there something to be drawn from the data--or it is just coincidence? Again, I'm asking, not proposing, BUT I have seen similar division-comparative results this winter at FHP. So, what's up with that (if anything)?

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Mar. 8, 2008, 09:47 PM
just a quick glance, but I would guess if CD's have upped the technicality of XC, and pairs have risen to the challenge, and you don't want it to be a dressage test with some extra phases, you gotta set SJ so poles are likely to fall...

quiet5
Mar. 9, 2008, 06:10 AM
It's in every discipline....<snip> show jumping is certainly no different. I think that once people place well enough for their liking (ie: in the top 5) that they believe that they are ready to tackle the next higher level.
There are of course some horses who can't handle the smaller levels and only get better results as the levels get more difficult. But I always question why that horse can't master a smaller level in the first place?

There are some horses for whom jumping a 3 foot course is the same as cantering poles on the ground--but that reflects the horse's potential and skill level--not the rider's. It happens!

pwynnnorman
Mar. 9, 2008, 08:22 AM
But -- and again, I'm sure not all see it this way, which is why I'm asking -- don't stadium rails also reflect a certain skill level? In Eventing (the magazine) last month, Richard Jefferies quoted an FEI article which, he notes, the USEF rulebook will soon adopt:



The main objective is to prove that the horse and rider are well trained in the specialist discipline of show jumping [emphasis mine].


It was with that in mind that I looked at RH's stadium results and then thought about posting on this thread. Also banging around in my mind was the thread on Ted at WEF where folks talked about the difference between eventing show jumping and...well..."specialist" show jumping. On that thread, mademoiselle noted:



Overall, jumper courses are more technical. They offer more questions with unrelated distances (you have a to make a choice), the turns are tighter and the fences come faster.


and



So, even if the height is the same, the rider will have to give more input to the horse on a jumper course and the horse will need to be a little bit more adjustable.


Pony Fan added that "there are going to be a lot of serious questions of scope and rideability all at very tight speeds....You'll see lots of lines set on the half step which means that riders have to decide to agressively move up or sit tight and wait it out."

Now, Janet pointed out e philosophy behind Eventing course design vs. Show Jumping design (below), BUT how does that effect the FEI impetus and what does all of this stuff say about skill levels that effect safety? I can't pinpoint it, but I have a suspicion there is indeed a relation. If one did an empirical study, would one consistently find the "profile" of rider having safety issues correlated with the incident of higher penalties in stadium in divisions populated by riders with that profile? (NOTE: not individual scores, but aggregates.)

So, if you were to add up the penalties in OI-R, or PR, etc. and compare them to OI or P or T (O or H), would you find higher totals? Yeah, sure you would, right? But my question is how much higher would they be in what could easily be a highly valid dataset (provided one controlled for environmental conditions, perhaps)?

OK, that might have gotten a bit muddled, but essentially, it's a "they take the same cross country course that requires many/most/all (???) of the same skills" question. Could there be a disconnect here? FEI focuses on skill, the philosophy Janet notes does not necessary do so???



Janet: The biggest difference is that an upper level straight show jumping course is DESIGNED to sort out a single "winner" while the eventing show jumping is designed simple to separate the "can do it today" from the "can not do it today".


Yes, she is focusing on the upper levels, but what about "lower" levels (T, P, I)? What if one problem is NOT "can do it today" vs. "can not do it today," but rather "can not do it EVER"? After all, x-c ain't that hard for the talented creatures some get to ride at T, P and I, so it's old influence on stadium just isn't really there any more, hence why stadium courses have been made more difficult, right??? Sooooo, see what I mean? The horse trips around x-c, well within himself and in spite of the rider's genuine skill level, but the pair is "outted" by the time they get to stadium, which proves they really CAN'T "do it" with skill (rather than luck or talent) after all????

Badger
Mar. 9, 2008, 08:33 AM
Focusing on ribbons and placement puts the focus on things that are out of the rider's control, rather than things that they CAN do something about.

I prefer to focus on skill level and things like scoring consistently in the low 30s or better at dressage (this number depends on the horse), and jumping clean x-c with a high percentage of really good jumps and no scary ones, and having no more than an occasional rail in show jumping, as a measure of mastery. These are things a rider can control.

The alternative, focusing on placings, puts the focus on things the rider can't control, such as who else shows up in the division on high-dollar horses with pro riders, etc. Or racking up time penalties because the footing is slick. Or having to deal with a tense horse in dressage because of all the squalling feedback coming out of the speaker right next to E during your ride. All that affects placing, but has NOTHING to do with the competency and skill set and safety of the individual rider who may place down the line in the final order but still has mastered the questions tested by the level.

Badger
Mar. 9, 2008, 08:46 AM
the difference between eventing show jumping and...well..."specialist" show jumping

I rode in a clinic with Buck where he talked about this, and it's not only the course design, but also the way the horses jump and the riders ride.

He said that, in eventing, riders ride for the front rail of the oxer. Event horses jump out across the jumps so the rider takes care of the front rail and the horse's jumping style takes care of the spread. This is the style that's effective x-c.

He said that in jumpers, the riders ride for the back rail of the oxer, and the horses are trained to take care of the front rail. (With the exception of the lowest levels), the horses jump up over the jumps rather than across them.

I competed in a rec jumper show a couple months ago, and one of the things I noticed is that, at jumper shows, a lot of rounds consist of riders schooling in the ring and prepping for the class that counts later in the show. At events, you get one shot only at the course. At the jumper show, riders had schooled in the arena and over the jumps the night before. At the event, there is no chance for the horses to see the arena or jumps.

Lisa Cook
Mar. 9, 2008, 10:09 AM
I'm a little late to this discussion, but I want to add a couple of points.

1. I really disagree that dressage scores are a reliable way to indicate the ability of the horse & rider.

I leased a cute little Morgan a few years ago when I was between horses. Due to his very conformation, he was a classic sewing machine mover, all vertical leg flinging, and no reach...he was, er, not a favorite of the dressage judges, and it sure was reflected in our dressage scores. ;) However: he was a jumping machine..one of the funnest, safest, most reliable horses I've ever ridden over jumps.

Now a few years later, I'm lucky to have Linus. We came in 2nd our first time competing at a recognized event at BN. He has scored as well as a 16 (schooling event) and was in the 20's at our last 3 events last fall. But Linus is something of a Baby Huey. :) Dressage is very natural and easy for him, but jumping...not so much. He's very brave and willing, but just needed time to figure out where to put his feet and how to stay in balance on rolling xc terrain. If I had used his dressage scores and his good placings and moved him up to novice right away...that probably wouldn't have gone so well.


2. In regards to doing away with the lower levels: My ambition (or lack thereof) is to be a career novice level rider. So sue me. It's where my comfort level is, and I do this sport for the fun of it. I don't have the time to invest in the the training, conditioning and coaching I would need to move past novice. (Although maybe if Linus really shines this season at novice I'll change my mind ;) ) If BN and N were no longer offered at recognized events, I'd probably change sports. I don't want to be relegated to world of unrecognized events where quality of courses can vary so wildly.

Vuma
Mar. 9, 2008, 03:58 PM
Maybe I need to redefine what I am trying to say here and what I “think” Lookinsouth is also questioning;

If a horse/rider combination is not scoring well and/or placing at their current level, they have not "mastered" their division in competition - which means they are not "competitively competent" at their current level.

Forget safety for a moment. Forget how well a rider/horse rides at home for a moment. Forget that some riders/horses will get lucky on a certain day, and while they may not be competent in some regards, they will have been competent in competition that day and place. Forget all the excuses we have heard; the footing was bad, speakers were too loud, I was competing against pro's? Everyone else is dealing w/ the same issues on a given day.

The questions is;

As a “competitor” why would you “want” to move up to attempt being competitively competent at a more difficult level if you can't be competitively competent at your current level?

There is no wrong answer. We’re just curious to what the answer(s) might be.

And on a different note:

Reed, both the AEC and Regional qualifications START with a rider/horse combination's PLACING, and THEN look at S and XC. (I think the cases you are refering to are, again,...."not the norm"!) And, I am not "focusing" on Dressage, I am just not "ignoring" Dressage.

Oh yeah, and I am NOT for elimintating ANY divisions! (In case other's posts have made this questionable.)

Kcisawesome
Mar. 9, 2008, 05:25 PM
The questions is;

As a “competitor” why would you “want” to move up to attempt being competitively competent at a more difficult level if you can't be competitively competent at your current level?

If you forget saftey, individual situacions, etc...

Because the new level is more fun! Heck, if saftey, skills, riding ability and my life were not an issue, I'd be going advanced....


So if you throw saftey back into the question, this obviously is not a good enough reason....But if you throw the individual situacions into the equation, it may be a good enough reason.

You should be able to move up when you are competent, not specifically "competitively competent". Which is a big difference, As explained in many, many posts in this thread. And is quite common.

And when you are able to move up, many people choose to because they are bored with the old level..Instead of remaining and "perfecting" at the old level.

RAyers
Mar. 9, 2008, 06:11 PM
Your question already is a red herring with this comment:


If a horse/rider combination is not scoring well and/or placing at their current level, they have not "mastered" their division in competition - which means they are not "competitively competent" at their current level.

That automatically assumes that not placing or scoring well means they are not competent. I have seen plenty of horses score poorly at lower levels only to come into their own as they move up. Also, many pros may push a horse through the lower levels to simply get minimum qualifications to move the horse up for sale or otherwise.


And on a different note:

Reed, both the AEC and Regional qualifications START with a rider/horse combination's PLACING, and THEN look at S and XC. (I think the cases you are refering to are, again,...."not the norm"!) And, I am not "focusing" on Dressage, I am just not "ignoring" Dressage.

Oh yeah, and I am NOT for elimintating ANY divisions! (In case other's posts have made this questionable.)

Uh, you are mistaken, at the I and A level the AECs only require 2 completes, no placing needed.

I was talking about that many times, the FEI will allow a horse and rider to go at a CCI or CIC if the combination has a history of good rides (e.g. do you think they would require Denny to re-qualify?). Even I have gotten a "pass" because, even though my dressage scores were outside of the qualifying range, my XC and stadium rides were good. The FEI never asked about placings or such.

yellowbritches
Mar. 9, 2008, 08:49 PM
Just to address the concern that some of us are advocating getting rid of the lower levels...I think you missed the point. The point (or at least MY point) was that the lower levels tend to be terribly safe and a great introduction to the sport. They are terribly safe and allow for mistakes, greenness and errors. Where we get into trouble is the many riders out there who don't seek out QUALITY INSTRUCTION, and think that because they jumped around at BN and N (and even at T) that they are ready for the next level...even though they are just surviving and not truly mastering the level (mastering, in my definition, being safely and smoothly navigating the jumping phases with few big errors, and hopefully at least KNOWING when they make a mistake. Dressage should at least not be totally embarrassing ;)). Before the lower levels existed, people either hunted or prepared themselves properly for the level. So, not so much that I want to see the lower levels done away with (FAR from it in fact, as I love them and think they are great for young horses and new riders), but that I want to see lower level riders with aspirations of moving past them get the QUALITY INSTRUCTION so that they are prepared for the next levels properly.

Does that make ANY sense??? It has been a long day.......

LookinSouth
Mar. 9, 2008, 09:46 PM
Dressage is very natural and easy for him, but jumping...not so much. He's very brave and willing, but just needed time to figure out where to put his feet and how to stay in balance on rolling xc terrain. If I had used his dressage scores and his good placings and moved him up to novice right away...that probably wouldn't have gone so well.

.

I don't think anyone can say that competency is SOLELY based on dressage scores etc... However, IMO Dressage should be a vital part of the equation when evaluating competency. Yes some horses are naturally more talented than others but if the correct basics are there they should be able to pull in decent scores regardless. The problem is in the move up rush so many eventers just put Dressage on the back burner and come up with every excuse in the book as to why their scores (not neccessarily placings) aren't up to par. IMO anyone can take a bold, scopey TB that likes to jump and go around stadium/XC totally clean at the lower levels. To me the dressage is what teaches the rider/horse about the essentials/tools for competency in Stadium/XC. Rather than just whipping around pointing/shooting.

This quote by J. Wofford in the Mar 08 PH pretty much sums up my viewpoint:

" Things started to improve and become safer for me once I started to apply my dressage training, with its emphasis on balance, self-carriage, to training my horses over fences. As I developed my competence, my risk factor became much lower"

Lisa Cook
Mar. 9, 2008, 10:06 PM
Lookin South...the point I tried to make, apparently unsuccessfully, was that the experienced, safe, jumping machine that I leased always had bad dressage scores, while the horse who scores 20 points better is not nearly the same jumper, at least at this point in his training.

The little Morgan just was never going to score well in dressage, even if Klimke himself was riding him. He took forever to do a test because he was all up & down, and was at least a foot short of tracking up. He had a nice gallop, though. :) An accurate circle on that horse was *at best* a 6. An accurate circle on Linus can be an 8 or 9. It's not the difference in my riding, it is just that one is a fancy mover, the other is an unfortunate mover, as far as dressage is concerned.

VicarageVee
Mar. 10, 2008, 12:11 AM
However, IMO Dressage should be a vital part of the equation when evaluating competency. Yes some horses are naturally more talented than others but if the correct basics are there they should be able to pull in decent scores regardless.

ahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaah!
*Breath*
:lol:


I've competed through the *** level with my horse. We never would have left Prelim with our dressage scores! And he HAS the basics, AND we have weekly lessons with a grand-prix rider in addition to our 3-4x per week regular event lessons. Just because he acts like a maniac in the dressage arena (and trust me I'm really trying to improve this weakness), doesn't mean we don't have the basics down to navigate an UL xc course or stadium course safely (i.e., our flat skills aren't holding us back, but they don't get us good dressage marks). The double bridle ended up being the thing that let us move up to the advanced level and be competitive! But of course it isn't allowed N-P!!!!

Each horse is different.
We need more responsible riders and trainers, not more qualifying hoops.

Whisper
Mar. 10, 2008, 11:02 PM
Hmm, I'm also wondering how many combos get good or great dressage scores, and go clean in both jumping phases, but the rider looks scary while the horse packs them through it? I know one person said she felt I would be scary if I moved up to recognized BN, though I consistently had scores in the low- to mid-20s in dressage, went clean in stadium and XC, and had one win and several 2nds in unrecognized competition. I definitely still had work to do, and my trainer was very clear about that, but she felt we'd be ok at BN. It seems like most of the focus within this thread is about credentials, but those don't necessarily have a correlation to the rider's position over fences.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 11, 2008, 08:21 AM
What I wonder is, how many really scary riders really do move up? What if they become scary because they are at a level they or their horse can't handle? Is it a chicken-or-egg type of thing? Seems to me if the level causes the scariness, then the essential question is "What is mastery?" If there's no scariness at the previous level (for rider and horse X), but it appears at the next, that's a whole different set up in terms of how it would need to be addressed, don't you think? It would mean that a horse and rider pair can appear to have mastered a level (or genuinely HAVE mastered it), but still be unprepared for the next. I can think of a number of psychological and physical reasons why that might occur, irrespective of the kind of ride/success achieved at the previous level. Can't you?

eqsiu
Mar. 11, 2008, 09:44 AM
It is entirely possible to have mastered one level and still have no business moving up (sadly, I know this from experience). I can't speak for all such riders, but I know that training was a walk in the park, I placed in the top third every time out, my leg was tight and my dressage was respectable as long as I didn't get tense. So, I moved up to prelim. I had been schooling 3'9" at home consistently, without stirrups too, and had been schooling prelim cross country satisfactorily. Seeing me at home and running training you would never have though moving up was a bad idea.

On to my first prelim. Dressage was okay, my lengthenings sucked but I knew they would. I was terribly nervous before cross country, and soon found out that it's not necessarily the fences themselves that make a level hard. I got around, without looking scary, but with 40 time penalties because I was just not comfortable with the entire course at speed. T-storms resulted in no stadium.

Second prelim. Shortly after the first, so no time to drop back, and I was too much of a weenie in the face of outside pressure to scratch completely. Dressage was okay, lengthenings sucked. 6 rails in stadium, loose in the tack, I scared and embarrassed myself. Cross country started out fine, it was a nice middle of the road course without anything too tricky. However, I lost a stirrup over the first element of the coffin, lost the second and a rein over the ditch, and my saint of a mare trotted over the last. That right there fried my brain to bits. The subsequent galloping fences were fine because I had plenty of time to prepare, but I came off in the water. That was 2002 and I haven't competed since. It is only in the last year with my filly that I have gotten my desire back. And if I never get above Novice again, that's fine. I don't care to do something that is not fun, and I am good enough to know when I'm loose or questionable even if I can't always fix it (doncha hate that?).

To make a long story short, sometimes mastery of one level does not mean you're ready for the next.

LookinSouth
Mar. 11, 2008, 11:33 AM
. It seems like most of the focus within this thread is about credentials, but those don't necessarily have a correlation to the rider's position over fences.


To me it's not about credentials at all. But how else are you going to begin to assess the mastery of each aspect??

Moving up from Training to Prelim is a huge jump I think alot of people that have mastered the elements of Training might not be ready for Prelim. Even if Training was a breeze.
Yes it is difficult to assess a riders position o/f in terms of a dressage score. Or any score for that matter. However, mastering the elements of a correct/good dressage (movement of horse not considered) test is a vital part of the puzzle. Is it the most important? Not neccessarily, but it should not be pushed to the wayside or it will catch up to you.

This applies especially to riders at the lower levels not pros on green horses.

In your case Whisper; that is where a good trainer/coach is essential. That is where MASTERY of a level is needed. I don't mean mastery as in winning consistently. I mean Mastery of TECHNIQUE. I think that is what Wofford was talking about in his quote I posted earlier.

I won 2 of my unsanctioned's this year and got third in another. I am still concerned about moving up to recognized. Not because I don't think I can handle the questions on course. I just think I need to spend more time taking lessons and improving my form/technique BEFORE spending the money to go out and compete at rated HT's. I want to be able to breeze right through it correctly and be competitive while I'm at it. I know my horse will jump clean, that's not the problem. I dont' want to be a passenger.

You might be able to go clean in stadium at BN but that doesnt' mean your TECHNIQUE is safe enough to move up to Novice. This is where things that affect riders in the Hunter/Eq ring like pace, distances, position etc...that eventers often ignore will eventually catch up to you. There will come a time where the swinging lower leg, restrictive release or lack of control of pace/distances in stadium will start to effect your ride, your placings and probably your horses way of going.

Why not address these matters at the lower levels like BN?? Who wants to be galloping around Prelim with a swinging lower leg? Then when you DO get yourself into trouble at a given level your more than prepared to handle the issue.

hey101
Mar. 11, 2008, 11:35 AM
Pwynn and Equisu- excellent posts. That about sums up how I felt going from Training to Prelim. I was bored at Training and was schooling Prelim really well- even 3'9. I felt ready and confident- AT HOME. But like Equisu, I was also terribly nervous at the few Prelims competitions I entered. (actually, my very first one went great, but that was at my home course- once I started venturing further afield, I felt out of my element- and what's worse, I KNEW I was losing confidence too.). I never got the chance to improve at the level and become confident due to a variety of factors... and now I"m back to BN with a coming 5yr old. This time, I'm going to be EXTRA careful about moving up, for her and for me. I've got nothing to proove. I'm an ammy. I do this for fun. She's a super-nice horse, and I want us to have fun together.

As for the rest of the debate, I think some of you are being terribly literal as to what Vuma is trying to say. No, I don't think that a sub-30 dressage is necessary to move up either, but I get what she's trying to say- that eventers should seek to improve ALL aspects of their performance, not just one aspect, and stop making excuses as to why one part is still subpar, even if the other one or two parts are good or great. Get out there and fix the bad part. (at least, I think that's what she's trying to say :))

RAyers
Mar. 11, 2008, 11:46 AM
Why not address these matters at the lower levels like BN?? Who wants to be galloping around Prelim with a swinging lower leg?

Have you ever watched Andrew Hoy? George Morris would be horrified at his leg and how much it swings. Yet, Andrew is a beautiful rider. Look at Rodrigo Pessoa, Hugo Simon, John Whitaker, they all swing their legs (and in some cases their bodies) all over.

Anyway, judges don't judge equitation so a swinging leg wold never be caught, even if it was important.

I will take the classic point of view. How can you think if you "master" one level you can breeze through the next level? Only by doing the next level and getting pounded into the dirt. I spent an entire year with my nose to the ground and no place to go at Preliminary (even though I never had a fall or such at Training).

hey101, sure eventers must improve all aspects, we have discussed this ad-nauseum so there is nothing new in bringing it up again, and again, and again. When Vuma and LookinSouth state that scores are the best indicators, then that is where I will point out the fallacy in that logic.

Reed

hey101
Mar. 11, 2008, 11:54 AM
Reed- well then what IS a good indicator that it's time to move up?

If you spent a year at Prelim with your nose in the ground, what made you decide you were ready for Intermediate?

flyingchange
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:06 PM
There is no cookbook recipe that can reliably guide anyone in the decision to move up. It's different for everyone. I would venture to say that for many eventers it's a desire to be challenged and to rise to said challenge. You obviously should know you aren't ready if you are barfing over your jumps at the lower level. But if you are having solid rides, your horse and you are agreeing on xc and sj, and hopefully in dressage, and the level becomes a bit easy, then it's probably time to think about moving up (if you want to move up).

For me, while my horse and I eventually found training to be quite easy, prelim was, and is, quite hard. It's supposed to be!!! And it wasn't until we started doing prelim that I realized what I needed to do to get the job done. Until you are out on course in real time, it is very difficult to really understand that feeling of either rising to the occasion or deciding, on course, that you are in over your head. The latter realization is OK to have! And does not necessarily mean that you moved up too fast. You may end up going back down a level, doing more lessons, schooling, hacking, or whatever, and then maybe try again.

You can't really know how you are going to react and how well you are really prepared until you go out and do it. You can prep as well as possible, thereby giving yourself the self-confidence and knowledge that you did your homework and you are, at least from a technical standpoint, ready to move up. But to actually answer the question of if you are truly ready for the challenge, then you have to go out and do it.

hey101
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:08 PM
I can't seem to edit my post, so I'll just add on with another post to clarify. I'm assuming, Reed, that you spent a year (or however long) at Prelim learning the ropes, becoming confident again and getting your nose back out of hte dirt, and then (hopefully), spent a little MORE time at Prelim becoming solid, all the while schooling Int in preparation for moving up to that level.

And, with no snarkiness intended at all, HOW did you decide that you were ready for INT?

Because in all honesty, I'm not sure what else I should have or could have been doing at Training/ schooling Prelim at home (and other local courses such as NJ horse park) that could have made me more ready for Prelim competition. Other than just getting out there and doing it, and being a "scary" rider again for a few competitions until I relaxed and got it back together again at this new level.

hey101
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:10 PM
flyingchange- you and I were posting at the same time. Thakns for your post, it was very well thought out and makes a lot of sense- kind of along the lines of how I've been approaching it/ thinking about it. :)

LookinSouth
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:13 PM
When Vuma and LookinSouth state that scores are the best indicators, then that is where I will point out the fallacy in that logic.

Reed

I have never said that scores are the best indicators. Although I would argue that someone who consistently scores at the very bottom has hardly mastered the current level.

What I said before and what I will continue to say is that Mastery of one level should be required BEFORE moving onto the next. How do we gauge Mastery? Well that's all part of the question and why I posted this thread in the first place.

Oh and swinging lower legs may be fine and dandy for greats like Pessoa, Hoy and Whitaker. BUT most of the swinging lower legs I see at BN,N and T are the result of a weak base! Then people wonder why they can't stay on when they come across a sticky situation at the next level up:D

I wouldnt' compare the issues of riders in the lower levels to the likes of what I see at the International level. Clearly those riders do not have a weak base.

LookinSouth
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:18 PM
No, I don't think that a sub-30 dressage is necessary to move up either, but I get what she's trying to say- that eventers should seek to improve ALL aspects of their performance, not just one aspect, and stop making excuses as to why one part is still subpar, even if the other one or two parts are good or great. Get out there and fix the bad part. (at least, I think that's what she's trying to say :))


EXACTLY!! :yes:

RAyers
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:37 PM
EXACTLY!! :yes:

Well, then scores should not be part of the discussion. The only time they have bearing on driving a person to improve is if they want to win. Others are driven to improve simply to move up the levels while still others want to improve to be solid at one level. On top of that there are THOUSANDS who simply are happy where they are and they only want to have fun and be safe without the full on pressure of "mastery."

Reed

CBinVT
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:41 PM
I will start by saying, I never judge my ability to move-up by the ribbons hanging on the wall. It is not fair to judge a rider's ability by this scale. BUT I don think that there is moving up without mastery going on. This whole post seems to show that everyone has a different opinion of mastery. My firm belief is that even the score board CANNOT tell the whole story. Clean ride does not necessarily equal safe, a good dressage score does not always equal a rider who has mastered the necessary skills.

Mastery should be about competence, which needs to be judged by the rider with the help of a trainer. Especially at the lower levels and learning the ropes, we all need instruction - eyes on the ground that point out weaknesses, strengths, and areas that need improvement before a move-up is considered. Only with this competent instruction can we work towards getting riders who are more prepared to move-up with mastery at the lower level. That instruction helps to work towards better dressage, more safe jump rounds which leads to, hopefully, safe and clean cross-country and show jumping.

eqsiu
Mar. 11, 2008, 12:57 PM
It seems the bottom line is that there is no good way to quantify mastery.

CBudFrggy
Mar. 11, 2008, 01:32 PM
I dislike these threads. Eventing can be dangerous. Period. We all choose to ride it at our individual levels. As long as we sign on the dotted line as an adult, we assume the risk for ourselves and our horses--like it or not. If a rider is scary, don't watch.

"Mastery" is at best a goal, personally set by each of us. Reed, I gather, is aiming for Advanced. I'm aiming to master Training and run the T3DE. How any of us gets there depends on our locations to some degree, our intelligence, our ability to be objective about ourselves and whether we have any of that oh-so-not-common common sense. Goals can also be elusive. I might have to adjust my goals depending on the weather, my personal relationships or finances. My short term goals are geared toward my long term goal. I'm the only one who will know when I reach my goal--until I share it with my family and friends and the COTHers, of course.

I'll move up when I'm darn good and ready. I'll make that decision for myself. I will, of course, ask my trainer for his or her input.

Is moving up w/o mastery exclusive to eventing? I doubt it. Do we ever reach "mastery"?

Whisper
Mar. 11, 2008, 01:59 PM
In your case Whisper; that is where a good trainer/coach is essential. ... I just think I need to spend more time taking lessons and improving my form/technique BEFORE spending the money to go out and compete at rated HT's. I want to be able to breeze right through it correctly and be competitive while I'm at it. I know my horse will jump clean, that's not the problem. I dont' want to be a passenger.


I agree that's really important, and I've been working really hard on it lately. I've been doing lots of smaller gymnastics, focusing on my position, and making slight adjustments (number of strides in the line, giving a half-halt or adding a little leg inside of a combination), etc. lately, and it seems to have made a huge difference. I'm just saying that I don't see a direct correlation between placings and mastery, which was what the OP seemed to be about.

I don't think anyone who is new to eventing is likely to truly "master" BN. To me, that implies being absolutely superb at the level - which is very likely to happen if an UL rider moves back down there with a green horse, or with a horse who is coming back from time off/etc. Someone who has been eventing for only a year or two just isn't going to be as good a rider as someone who's been doing it at higher levels for years. I suspect that moving up to Novice when they and their instructor feel they have achieved competence (NOT mastery) at BN in all three phases will make them far more solid at BN if they go back to it after a few months. Perhaps that can be simulated to a degree with lessons (including schooling XC and clinics), but I think some people need to actually go out there and do it to get there.

On that note, since you asked about how it compares to other disciplines, I *just* moved up to the Canter level for vaulting (gymnastics on horseback), so it's something I'm really focused on. I was really solid at Trot, but definitely don't feel quite ready for prime time yet at Canter. Stretching for that moveup, including doing two clinics/workshops the past couple of weekends has made a huge difference for me, and I did ok at my first non-recognized show at the new level. I'm definitely going back to basics and doing much easier things at the new level while I'm learning.

eqsiu
Mar. 11, 2008, 02:07 PM
Vaulting scares me. I think I would die if I had to do all that stuff on a moving horse.

LookinSouth
Mar. 11, 2008, 02:27 PM
Well, then scores should not be part of the discussion. The only time they have bearing on driving a person to improve is if they want to win.



Not true. If one is scoring in the 50's in dressage and they are working to improve their riding so that they are scoring in the 30's...that is an admirable goal that is going to benefit BOTH horse and rider.
You could very well be scoring in the low 30's consistently and never see a blue ribbon. :winkgrin: Depending on the company you may never even see a placing. So what does that have to do with winning??

In dressage, what do you suggest riders evaluate to determine where they need to improve other than considering the scores and comments on their tests???

Whisper
Mar. 12, 2008, 03:02 AM
Eqsiu, I think that actually really ties in to the whole move-up/scary riders thing. Vaulting is one of the safest horse-related disciplines in terms of serious injuries and fatal accidents, since the horse is always under the control of the longeur, horses must be at least 6 years old in order to compete, we have those big handles to hang on to, we learn how to fall/bail out safely (and practice it frequently), etc. We have handicapped people, toddlers, and senior citizens competing in appropriate classes. It does look scary, though, and I know some people who've had minor injuries (none from the horses, just from the barrel or trampoline).

Lots of people are scared to fly, even though driving (or being a passenger in a car) is statistically a lot more dangerous. Scary-looking riders at BN rarely get killed or seriously injured, but people in the audience can practically have a heart attack watching them. I'm not saying eventing, even at BN, is safe (especially for an unprepared rider), but I do think that the perception of risk is slanted disproportionately.

criss
Mar. 12, 2008, 11:14 AM
You know, every time I read one of these threads I'm sort of stunned at how much contempt there is for the lower levels. You'd think I would know by now.

I guess I will never be "good enough" to call myself an eventer in some people's eyes. Which, okay, fine, y'all who think the lower levels are "fine for new riders and horses [but not okay if you don't move up to the "real" levels right away]", I suggest you try paying the real costs of your sport on your own.

I just don't get how it's okay to be so rude to the people who make up the numbers that keep the sport alive. You certainly have just as much right to free speech as anyone else, but a little tact never killed anyone. Nor did a little awareness that not everyone is skilled enough for the upper levels, but that doesn't mean we're all lousy riders at our level.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 12, 2008, 11:37 AM
You know, every time I read one of these threads I'm sort of stunned at how much contempt there is for the lower levels. You'd think I would know by now.




I don't think that there is contempt for the lower levels. Most eventers completely understand why someone would choose not to ride above novice or Training or even BN. But where there is contempt I think comes from people trying to dictate how others should be making their decisions.

There is no right or wrong answer to the questions raised by these threads.....but you will get people arguing in circles. I know what I personally do...I know what my experience level is, my horses capabilities and my own abilities are. Questions of when a person should move up or not are very complicated....and are best answered by that person and educated eventers who know that person and horse combo well. I have NEVER and will never say that there is one method that will work well for everyone.

But I do think that there is a change in the sport now because there are many many lower levels available that were not there before. When I started, which is not as long ago as many of my friends, you didn't meet anyone eventing who wasn't aiming at least for a CCI*. Perhaps that was more of an circumstance of the crowd that I fell in with. In most barns that I have been in, I'm the low level rider (even when riding at Prelim). But that doesn't mean that a person's decision to stay at novice is wrong or looked down on. I welcome that it is easier for people to participate in the sport now. I think that the answer to all of these threads is simple....riders need good educations so that they can gain the tools and have the suport group in place to help them answer the VERY individual question of when to move up....or of even when to participate.

As for the mastery.....I consider riding like golf and most other sports....it depends on how you define mastery....and the way I define it, there is NEVER mastery at any level....and that is what frustrates the hell out of some riders....and why others find the sport interesting.

criss
Mar. 12, 2008, 01:00 PM
Okay, but there's definitely this attitude that those of us who ride at T and below (I personally have competed through T, but nowhere near solidly enough to go P, despite having schooled P XC without incident) have NO RIGHT to an opinion about the direction of the sport, or about what it takes to achieve various milestones. The fact that someone may not have competed at as high a level as you, or may be realistic enough to see that aspiring to a CCI* isn't realistic for him or herself, does not mean that that person is ignorant of the sport.

If I could afford a $20K horse, I probably could spend a season at T and go P without scaring anyone or hurting myself or horse. I can't, and the older I get the less likely it is that I will be able to train a horse up through the levels myself. There are a lot of people like me, competent riders who understand the sport, who are really offended every time someone says there's no possible way we could understand the real, competitive levels of eventing since we haven't done it ourselves.

And yes, I think it reflects the unusual company you keep that P is considered a low level, just like it reflects the company I've kept over the years that N seems small to me, where plenty of people are as afraid of a log on the ground as I am of the biggest P fences. By definition, the things you have done easily, and seen done easily, seem easy. That's no excuse.

eqsiu
Mar. 12, 2008, 02:20 PM
I have found that there is contempt from below (or sideways, if you want to look at it that way) when a person who does well at Novice or training does not move up. They are seen as cheating. People think they are staying at the lower level just for the ribbons. In reality, it could be many things. They are scared of moving up, or have no desire when they enjoy competing at their current level. They don't have enough time to condition or train for the higher level. They or their horse is physically not capable at the higher level, whatever.

At the same time, I do think that people without goals to go at least prelim are seen as not being "real" eventers. Sometimes enjoyment of a sport is paramount, rather than achievement in the sport.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 12, 2008, 02:24 PM
I guess I see things differently...I don't see the attitude that says that just because you do not compete at a higher level means you don't understand or have a right to an opinion. I see people objecting to requiring that riders who don't get in the low 20s in dressage or win should not be allowed to move up...or that all horses and riders must start at the lowest levels and work their way up. That will be true for some and not others. If there are attitudes at events etc....those are probably from people who have attitudes about more then just eventing ;)

FWIW...my first horse that I took Prelim (his and mine) was a $1400 OTTB...not a 20K horse but I got EXTREMELY good help bringing him along and after only 2 novices and 3 training he and I moved up to Prelim and never looked back. He only ever had one xc jump penalty and that was my rider error. It is not the price tag on your horse....but his talent, your talent and the talent of the people helping you that matters.....and finding that talented horse often requires a bit (or in my case--a lot) of luck. If you make your goal Prelim...I would think that there is no reason you can not get there and know for a fact that you can do it safely without a 20K horse.


All that said....because I haven't ridden at Adv., I might have opinions but I do weigh more heavily the opinions of those who are at or who have been at that level. It doesn't mean that someone else might not have a great insight and very valid opinions....I try and keep an open mind and listen ...and hope others do as well....but the more experienced person is just going to have a bit of an easier time convincing me. Just as I will trust a more senior level attorney's analysis of the legal issues of a particular problem..but that doesn't mean that junior attorney might not have the best point and valid insight. That junior attorney should speak their mind....but that junior attorney should expect that they will need to be even more articulate and clear and might have to do more convincing. It is the way the world works in just about all things.

Auburn
Mar. 12, 2008, 06:35 PM
eqsiu,

I definitely understand how you feel. Last year, my horse and I did very well in BN. I had so many people ask me when I was moving up to Novice. I felt pressured to move up. We are more than capable of going Novice, but, mentally, I am not ready.

Hopefully, the lessons and clinics will get me there, but I have decided that I will know when to make the move. I am not going to let someone else dictate when I should go, by how well we have "placed" in the past. :cool:

deltawave
Mar. 12, 2008, 06:48 PM
Does someone simply asking you when you were going to move up to Novice make you feel pressured? Or were there people actually urging you to do so against your wishes? Someone simply asking the question would not, to me, be any sort of "pressure". In fact, I can't imagine perceiving as "pressure to move up" ANY comment from ANY person unless it were my trainer. Nobody else has the knowledge of my issues (which are legion, hee hee) and my experience to put "pressure" on me.

eqsiu
Mar. 12, 2008, 10:07 PM
When you hear that question time and time again you feel a sort of cumulative pressure. It's not that individuals are being overt about it. Even when the tone of the question is friendly, if many people are asking you start to feel harried.

deltawave
Mar. 12, 2008, 10:39 PM
I guess it's all variable depending on where you are--I have never, EVER heard anyone say, either overtly or covertly, "So and so should really move up, he/she is forever winning at XX level.". I do see (and participate in, to be perfectly honest) a little bit of eye-rolling when so-and-so, who has won everything in sight for years on end at XX level is still riding in the "XX Rider" division for 10 straight years, but that's not the same thing. Nobody I know gives a damn if anyone moves up or doesn't move up, as long as they're having a good time and riding in the appropriate division at their level. When I stepped Gwen down from P to T due to her age and my lack of time, NOBODY said anything negative to me--quite the opposite, in fact. Of course we were never in danger of stealing anyone's good ribbons! :lol: Anyone whose opinion I value "gets it" that moving up (OR DOWN) is a very individual decision between rider, horse, and trainer.

As to what might or might not be said out of earshot--anyone who gives even a tenth of a damn about that is just crazy. It's not even worth worrying about. Gossip and snarky horse-show comments are as common as empty TP rolls in the Porta John at a Horse Trial. :D

Auburn
Mar. 13, 2008, 08:04 AM
Deltawave,

Whether asked in jest or, as I took it, in seriousness, I have had several BN riders ask me when am I moving up? "Hey, how about giving the rest of us a chance?" Unfortunately, I tend to take things very litterally and often don't hear an implied joke, especially when it does not sound like a joke.

So, yes I did feel pressured to move up to Novice. We placed 6th, our first time out, but I did not have fun. As someone else said, "I want to be so bored at BN that I can't wait to move up"! I have not reached that point, so will stay at BN for a while longer.

Should I let what other people say and think affect me? No, but I do anyway. I am trying to change this about myself, which is why we are going BN at Spring Bay. :)

deltawave
Mar. 13, 2008, 08:17 AM
Good for you. :) I guess if anyone asked me that question (not likely, as I'm not the type of rider to inspire awe in anyone, LOL) I'd honestly say "No way, I'm not ready!" and I'd be telling the complete truth. Or maybe I'd say "I'm thinking about it, maybe next year!" if I were having a good day. :lol:

I really doubt you'd hear those kind of comments from riders at the higher levels. Not to emphasize any sort of perceived "divide" between upper levels and lower levels, but people who have worked their way up the levels almost certainly understand how difficult it is whereas someone who's never done so might not. :)