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lstevenson
Mar. 16, 2008, 10:21 PM
Is anyone else noticing that the majority of the horrible fatalities are happening on CMP's courses?

And to add to the recent issues, I know of a fantastic horse that died at Menfelt (which was a CMP course also) many years back on a complex that rode horribly for many people. It was a campfire complex with two very airy and skinny 4 foot verticals down a steep hill to a ditch and wall. The solid ditch and wall was visible through and underneath the very vertical skinnies, and I think was quite visually difficult for the horses, especially being downhill. Many good horses hung legs at one or both skinny verticals. They continued to use that complex even after the horse's death, until the event stopped running.

I feel like he tries to impress the spectators with his creatitivity, but is not creating horse friendly jumps. I wasn't at Red Hills this year, so can't fully comment on that course, but I saw the same trend in course design on the pictures from the Red Hills thread. And the constant, constant technical questions are definitely part of the problem.

Thoughts?

c_expresso
Mar. 16, 2008, 10:32 PM
I think the fact that so many serious accidents happen on his courses says a lot.

There can be technical questions and combinations that still encourage forward, rhythmical riding. But it seems that his courses to not promote this, and without rhythm successful XC is impossible.

Ellie K
Mar. 16, 2008, 10:53 PM
CMP designs a heck of a lot of courses although I have no idea how many in comparison to some of the other really active CDs. But if Course Designer A designs 5 courses, and Course Designer B designs 30, and all the accidents happened on B's courses, I'd still have to take into consideration the huge increase in the number of attempts at obstacles on B's courses, before I could draw such a conclusion.

Just like in assessing the risk inherent in any particular fence type, you have to take into consideration the number of opportunities for accidents to occur at that fence type, before you identify something or someone as a problem. In one of the last safety threads, someone was going on and on about how tables had to be banned because more accidents occurred at tables than any others. Yet when you look at the actual data, which show the RATIO of falls at fence type X to ATTEMPTS at fence type X, tables did not come out tops on the list and no particular fence seemed to have a statistically significant higher RATE of falls, rotational falls etc. This may well vary substantially from year to year, but it's the same with the number of serious accidents. How many starters were there? If you don't take into consideration the huge increase in the number of starters, a/k/a opportunities for disaster, you are not getting a meaningful picture.

And I do think riders putting their necks and those of their horses on the line have a right to a sort of "safety analysis" of every CD, and should demand that the governing bodies publish it to them on demand so you can make informed choices. That will go over real well, I'm sure. :lol: If it were me, or my kid, I would be demanding it. And I'd copy various higher ups at the USOC, and then start collecting signatures and send it again.

TexasTB
Mar. 16, 2008, 11:59 PM
I think part of the problem is also the position that CMP is in.. no riders are going to criticize his courses, as it might affect their chances for being on the team, and no officials are going to because, quite frankly, they're probably scared of him and his self-righteous attitude.

In all reality, Mark Phillips has been a major factor in transforming this sport into what it is today in America. Why do you think so many ULRs/BNTs blindly followed him into the (apparent) disaster which is the short format? Because if they disagree with him, they're screwed for a spot on the team.

Have you seen the course design at Burghley in the recent years that he's been designing it? I consider it apalling.. technical question after technical question after technical question. Granted, there have not been injuries at Burghley such as the ones we've seen at other competitions, but that course has gotten so trappy and unjumpable, and yet you still have people going clear so apparently it's not tough enough, and it will become increasinly technical every year.

It's a vicious cycle and we've lost touch with what cross country is supposed to be about. And you would think that with the injuries and deaths occuring on his courses, he would step back and evaluate what he was doing, but of course Mark Phillips is the messiah from heaven and it was everyone else's faults for not being perfect like him and jumping his fences clear.

closetoperfectionfarm
Mar. 17, 2008, 08:55 AM
I think part of the problem is also the position that CMP is in.. no riders are going to criticize his courses, as it might affect their chances for being on the team, and no officials are going to because, quite frankly, they're probably scared of him and his self-righteous attitude.

In all reality, Mark Phillips has been a major factor in transforming this sport into what it is today in America. Why do you think so many ULRs/BNTs blindly followed him into the (apparent) disaster which is the short format? Because if they disagree with him, they're screwed for a spot on the team.

Have you seen the course design at Burghley in the recent years that he's been designing it? I consider it apalling.. technical question after technical question after technical question. Granted, there have not been injuries at Burghley such as the ones we've seen at other competitions, but that course has gotten so trappy and unjumpable, and yet you still have people going clear so apparently it's not tough enough, and it will become increasinly technical every year.

It's a vicious cycle and we've lost touch with what cross country is supposed to be about. And you would think that with the injuries and deaths occuring on his courses, he would step back and evaluate what he was doing, but of course Mark Phillips is the messiah from heaven and it was everyone else's faults for not being perfect like him and jumping his fences clear.

We are signed up for the Fork and I am worried. I need your advice out there,
who is the organizer, it is not listed in the Omnibus, only the sec.?
Also, it closes tomorrow so in order to withdraw and get a refund, it has to be today.
We have never done it, so for those of you experienced ULR, Intermediate-
Please tell me, is it another " show jumping" cross country course with combination after combination or a TRUE gallopping fair course???
I see CMP is again the designer.... YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LisaB
Mar. 17, 2008, 09:00 AM
I don't know if he's always been the cd but in the past, the nov and tr courses were VERY nice.

justdream2ride
Mar. 17, 2008, 09:10 AM
Have you seen the course design at Burghley in the recent years that he's been designing it? I consider it apalling.. technical question after technical question after technical question. Granted, there have not been injuries at Burghley such as the ones we've seen at other competitions, but that course has gotten so trappy and unjumpable, and yet you still have people going clear so apparently it's not tough enough, and it will become increasinly technical every year.

It's a vicious cycle and we've lost touch with what cross country is supposed to be about. And you would think that with the injuries and deaths occuring on his courses, he would step back and evaluate what he was doing, but of course Mark Phillips is the messiah from heaven and it was everyone else's faults for not being perfect like him and jumping his fences clear.

I agree with TexasTB - I think this is the biggest issue. If too many people go clear then make the course harder - WHY? Why should we not be aiming for 90% to go clear?!@! If the course is appropiate for the level and riders are running the right level then 90+% SHOULD go clear?? When did cross country become about trying to eliminate rather than test horses and riders??????

snickerdoodle
Mar. 17, 2008, 10:18 AM
Did CMP design the course where Mia had her accident?

Shrapnel
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:18 AM
The Question: CMP course design the problem?

Answer : YES!!!!!!!!

eqsiu
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:51 AM
The BIG question:

Why does cross country have to get more and more difficult? Grand Prix dressage doesn't get harder movements added each year, Grand Prix show jumping doesn't get taller each year. Why must eventing get more challenging? What happened to having a few combos (coffin, sunken road, water) and mostly galloping fences? The local event around here had less than half the competitors make it around prelim, and the ones that did were shitting themselves. I think courses should be challenging, but they don't need to be intimidating to a well-prepared rider.

c_expresso
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:55 AM
Did CMP design the course where Mia had her accident?

Don't think so, that was at Galway downs in CA I am pretty sure and I don;t think CMP designed it.

justblu
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:57 AM
Mike E S designed Galway at the time of that accident. Ian Stark is now the course designer there as of this year.

snoopy
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:58 AM
Well I'll bet the chain saws are out in full force at the fork this week. There simply cannot be a repeat performance of last weekend. All this in an olympic year as well when we should be building confidence...not tearing it apart.

flyingchange
Mar. 17, 2008, 12:06 PM
I won't enter events where he is the CD. Not that there are many near me, but it's the main reason I'm not interested in The Fork.

boppin along
Mar. 17, 2008, 12:06 PM
Actually, just spoke to the Fork. Seems that CMP just got in last night and is "just starting to lay out the tracks".... HMMMM
Let's all pray that he does the right thing and makes it SAFE and FAIR.
This sport cannot afford another weekend like Red Hills.
People should call The Fork and voice their concerns NOW.
(704 )474-4052 X228

jumpjesterjump
Mar. 17, 2008, 12:32 PM
i agree with snoopy, these courses should be building confidence it is an olympic year, why are we trying to hurt our horses before they have a chance to shine? This sport at the lower levels is closer to what it used to be, the upper levels not so much. The XC courses are getting more technical with every year, even the dressage and show jumping is getting tougher and bigger. If they want to make the dressage harder, ok. But why do we need to make the XC so technical that no one can get around a course with out time/ jump faults (beyond a run out or a mistake?) Why is the Show Jumping turning into a Grand Prix? The horses are usually tired/sore after XC at a big competition lets throw some big a$$ jumps at them and break their confidence down (having rails/refusals). It doesn't make sense, after what people have said about how much the sport has changed it is not right.

I don't think it is one particular course designer either, i think they all have some problem fences/courses that need to be re-designed to make them more horse/rider friendly. There was a broken bridge jump at Rolex some years ago (early '90's) they had to airlift a rider from there too, they ended up taking that jump out. I went to Rolex a couple years ago '02 and '06 on each of those courses there were some serious bogey fences, the same one's over and over again catching riders (the skinny stumps out back by the hollow on weird bending line thing, and the brush boxes on the "hills" again on a weird line, that did not ride the way it walked) I don't know who the course designers were but it just goes to show that through the years there have been some not so good choices made on XC and the horses and riders pay for it.

I think the higher ups in the USEA need to look at what has happened over the last couple of years and listen to its members on what they think would be appropriate for the level.

I jump judged this weekend at Southern Pines and there were things on that course at BN and N that when i started eventing would have been a training/prelim question.(trakehner (N), up bank-three strides down over a log(N);was on champ course.) It was just made smaller and slightly easier, and its fairly early in the season, so by the end of the season the people going novice are pretty much going to be jumping a training course without the height. I am all for introducing the harder questions at the lower levels but jeez, its march! most of the people that i know this is one of the first events of the season.

Sorry for the long post and little rant it is just frustrating to see people/horses get hurt when it could be avoided (i.e. a more open galloping course, instead of jumping a solid fenced show jumping round) the courses need to be more horse friendly, instead of having forty jumping efforts in which twenty five of them are in a combination, make it less about the jumping and more about the stamina of the horse, if they can go out and jump thirty galloping, straightforward always on the go jumps and they still look good at the end of the day then you know you're doing something right with your training. We need the long format three day back, it was less about the technicality of the course and more about the stamina/heart of the horse and rider.

sorry, it just frustrates me to no end.

purplnurpl
Mar. 17, 2008, 12:38 PM
I'm glad someone started this thread.
Reed and I were talking about this very subject last night. I want to say something on COTH but was too chicken.
He and Gnep design XC fences. Right now they are working on the frangible pin design for tables and other fences which most of you know about.

I mentioned that pretty soon every XC fence was going to have to be designed with the pin system and the courses are going to become too expensive to build and eventing will go ka-put.

So I ask CMP, "Why the hell are things getting WORSE!?"
I just want to go sucker punch some people.
CMP is putting in fences that are unfair questions for the horses. We all have agreed on that aspect.
I don't understand how the system works and I don't understand why such tough XC questions need to be asked.
If the USEA needs to increase technicality why not increase the level of efficiency in the dressage? Put up great SJ courses, and open up the XC courses again.
If they don't, I'm sad to say, our sport won't be around much longer.

EX: Pine Top Advanced. I ran the Prelim course. There were two technical combos and one kind of technical water combo. The rest was open and running. I think we even had a minute with only two jumps at one point. I didn't even have to check and sit up at the 1st water. I just galloped in, up out via bank and then two very open strides to a small coop. It was fun and tested my horse’s willingness to keep pace through the water.
The course was not difficult and gave lots of gallop room, yet no one made the time. That course was fantastic. Caused little jumping issues and still proved its point by time penalties. Allowed the horses to jump out of a good strong pace.

I just don't get it.
I'll tell you what though. Right now I am getting to the point where I don't want to go advanced and I know there are tons of other riders that are feeling the same emotions.
Once the big wigs of today are gone there will be no up and comers to take their place.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Mar. 17, 2008, 12:40 PM
I'm not hallucinating a memory am I? This spring wasn't David O brought in to CD at The Fork? I had assumed (whoops) that it was in the tradition of bringing a fresh eye to the course, but maybe Mark just couldn't make it over in the spring, or something?

crazy_horse1095
Mar. 17, 2008, 12:41 PM
The BIG question:

Why does cross country have to get more and more difficult? Grand Prix dressage doesn't get harder movements added each year, Grand Prix show jumping doesn't get taller each year. Why must eventing get more challenging? What happened to having a few combos (coffin, sunken road, water) and mostly galloping fences? The local event around here had less than half the competitors make it around prelim, and the ones that did were shitting themselves. I think courses should be challenging, but they don't need to be intimidating to a well-prepared rider.

I think this is exactly the problem. There is NO need for any course to get harder as the years go by. Courses need to be changed up, but they don't need to get harder every year.

roki143
Mar. 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Actually, just spoke to the Fork. Seems that CMP just got in last night and is "just starting to lay out the tracks".... HMMMM
Let's all pray that he does the right thing and makes it SAFE and FAIR.
This sport cannot afford another weekend like Red Hills.
People should call The Fork and voice their concerns NOW.
(704 )474-4052 X228


X228 is Rebecca's line - dial x 221 to get someone in the main office.

purplnurpl
Mar. 17, 2008, 01:37 PM
I also find it interesting that CMP never comes out with a press statement.

at least I have not heard of one.

lstevenson
Mar. 17, 2008, 01:37 PM
I jump judged this weekend at Southern Pines and there were things on that course at BN and N that when i started eventing would have been a training/prelim question.



Really? What fence were you judging? I was there this weekend. I had students going Novice and Training. And I thought those courses were lovely. The jumps were very horse friendly, safe fences for the most part.

The training level I thought was very fair for the level. The fence that caused the most bad rides (I'm told) was the vertical to the drop. But the design of that fence was fantastic. It was the way people were approaching it. Someone who stood out there all day said that many riders galloped into the vertical. Why their coaches are not telling them to slow down and show jump a vertical before a drop is what I don't understand.

The novice had 2 fences that I thought were maybe a bit much. I thought the novice trakhener was less inviting than the training (They had trees in front of the training, but not the novice?? It made the ditch less inviting.), and the brush before the second water was a serious question for that level. But both rode suprisingly well, which is a sign of good course design.

I'll take a John Williams course over CMP's anyday.

snoopy
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:08 PM
A blind hollywood style gossip question...


"which course designer is "lighter" of their services at a well known spring horse trials?"

wlrottge
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:27 PM
"which course designer is "lighter" of their services at a well known spring horse trials?"

senor, hable por favor inglés
;)

InVA
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:40 PM
I admit this is not a direct quote but didn't CMP once say he designed the courses to see which ones would "survive" them?

As I said not a direct quote but I believe the word 'survive' was used...

martyc
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:45 PM
A blind hollywood style gossip question...


"which course designer is "lighter" of their services at a well known spring horse trials?"

I don't get this... ???

wanderlust
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:47 PM
The XC courses are getting more technical with every year, even the dressage and show jumping is getting tougher and bigger. If they want to make the dressage harder, ok. But why do we need to make the XC so technical that no one can get around a course with out time/ jump faults (beyond a run out or a mistake?) Why is the Show Jumping turning into a Grand Prix? The horses are usually tired/sore after XC at a big competition lets throw some big a$$ jumps at them and break their confidence down (having rails/refusals). It doesn't make sense, after what people have said about how much the sport has changed it is not right.


Well, as a jumper rider, I can tell you that neither the height (4'3) nor the technicality of showjumping is anywhere close to a grand prix. In fact, its not even JR/AO jumper height/technicality and should be no problem for horses of this level.

However, and this is just an idea I'm throwing out, but maybe part of the answer is to leave the trappy, ridiculously technical fences out of XC, and test the more technical pieces in the showjumping where the fences come down if you miss. It would certainly make the showjumping more interesting if there were skinnies, bounces and tight turns.

La Gringa
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:48 PM
I admit this is not a direct quote but didn't CMP once say he designed the courses to see which ones would "survive" them?

As I said not a direct quote but I believe the word 'survive' was used...


Originally Posted by Mary in Area 1 http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?p=3077324#post3077324)

CMP has gone on the record saying that he thinks American courses are soft. He thinks he can make our teams tough by seeing who can survive his extremely difficult, and often unrideable, courses. It is very tragic that the word "survive" has taken a literal meaning for both horses and humans. He is an arrogant, ignorant bastard. The emperor has no clothes. There, I said it.


This was from the Red Hills Blog Thread

tx3dayeventer
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:48 PM
I was reading an article in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Heres the link http://tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080317/NEWS01/803170312

There is a lovely quote from CMP himself:

"Phillips said Chiacchia's misfortune has affected the entire team, but he expects the short-list riders to regroup in time for their next test at Rolex next month in Lexington, Ky. Phillips, who also designed the Red Hills course, said he was surprised by the difficulties that riders had navigating it Saturday.

"I think the cross-country course wasn't what everybody was expecting," he said. "I'm not sure why that was but it turned out to be a tough day. We are going to take some positives away from this."

food for thought.

I guess Holly (my mare, RIP) disliked him for a reason unknown to me. She did rear everytime he swung a leg over her :winkgrin:

snoopy
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:54 PM
I was reading an article in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Heres the link http://tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080317/NEWS01/803170312

There is a lovely quote from CMP himself:

"Phillips said Chiacchia's misfortune has affected the entire team, but he expects the short-list riders to regroup in time for their next test at Rolex next month in Lexington, Ky. Phillips, who also designed the Red Hills course, said he was surprised by the difficulties that riders had navigating it Saturday.

"I think the cross-country course wasn't what everybody was expecting," he said. "I'm not sure why that was but it turned out to be a tough day. We are going to take some positives away from this."

food for thought.

I guess Holly (my mare, RIP) disliked him for a reason unknown to me. She did rear everytime he swung a leg over her :winkgrin:


"we" aren't taking anything away...now!;)

wlrottge
Mar. 17, 2008, 02:59 PM
I don't get this... ???

Per a PM, Snoopy thought that "light" was a more polite term than "sacked" (for us US'ers, fired)

wanderlust
Mar. 17, 2008, 03:01 PM
I fail to understand why we continue to keep on the payroll someone like CMP, who is eschewed, mocked and totally unvalued by his countrymen and the Europeans in general. And I have yet to hear a good explanation. Its not like the US is setting the international eventing scene on fire and winning everything out there. Unless you count Kim, and lets be honest, she and Dan were a once-in-a-lifetime team that had little to do with the great Captain's mentorship.

3Day-Eventer
Mar. 17, 2008, 04:12 PM
The USEA Board Of Governors is having a Strategic Planning meeting THIS weekend about the future of our sport.
I suggest everyone call or email with what THEY would like to see happen with OUR sport.

TB or not TB?
Mar. 17, 2008, 04:58 PM
The vindictive part of me would definitely like to say that it's all CMP's fault. I personally would never send a horse over a meat grinder of his.

Last year when the string of 11 deaths happened in a one year period, CMP did design the course for at least 3 of those riders - Sherelle Duke (hardly a novice!!!), Amanda Bader, and Eleanor Brennan. He may have done more, but it's not very easy to gather that information. I'm still working on it.

However, keeping in scientific method, we also have to calculate the percentage of courses he designs overall before that statistic can be pronounced meaningful.

Nonetheless, that's enough for me swerve away from his courses with my life and that of my horses'.

RunForIt
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:03 PM
The BIG question:

Why does cross country have to get more and more difficult? Grand Prix dressage doesn't get harder movements added each year, Grand Prix show jumping doesn't get taller each year. Why must eventing get more challenging? What happened to having a few combos (coffin, sunken road, water) and mostly galloping fences? The local event around here had less than half the competitors make it around prelim, and the ones that did were shitting themselves. I think courses should be challenging, but they don't need to be intimidating to a well-prepared rider.

THIS post is why discussions works! What a different question to ask to put the ever-changing-XC-eventing dilemma in a spotlight .... what an IMPORTANT question...WHY INDEED?

RunForIt
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:04 PM
The USEA Board Of Governors is having a Strategic Planning meeting THIS weekend about the future of our sport.
I suggest everyone call or email with what THEY would like to see happen with OUR sport.

Names/emails, please - I'm on it.

RumoursFollow
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:10 PM
As a total outsider to the event world.. this whole thing with Phillips blows my mind.


Is there ANYONE out there who doesnt think he's a majority of the problem? I see no one here defending him and that really leaves me scratching my head. If everyone thinks the guy is not so great- why cant you oust him? I'm sure its more complicated than that.. but I am stunned by all the falls and injuries and fatalities in your sport and I guess I'm just trying to understand.

I came into this thread expecting to find people defending him. Not that I think he should be defended- I dont know enough to think either way. But WOW!

boppin along
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:29 PM
I contacted the Fork today to inquire about the CD, if it is still CMP and if so..........What can they guarantee us riders that this will not be a carnage like last weekend. That it will be safe and fair?
The reply was and I will paraphrase, that CMP has been the CD for the past 4 years and designs very safe courses and the accidents at Red Hills had nothing to do with the courses!
So, there you have it, there are the powers out there that really buy into his camp.
I feel sick.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:38 PM
Wait a minute, guys and gals. There is something here that you aren't giving enough attention to, IMO.

I'm about to say this NOT because of my relationship with KOC, but rather because of what I've read in Horse and Hound and also, funnily enough, in William Fox Pitt AND Mark Todd's autobiography's--oh, and also in an interview of Clayton Fredericks, who is the current chairman of the Event Riders' Association (if that's its current name).

Everyone seems to think that BNTs don't speak up for various reasons. Well, according to Fox Pitt, Todd and Fredericks, they can't. That's why they've tried twice now to get an organization off the ground that represents the riders. According to FP, it failed the first time around because the riders weren't prepared to support it organizationally. But recently (well, last year at Badminton--I think--when the footing was to atrocious) there was something of a revival of what the old organization stood for: RIDER INPUT.

So, y'see? ERA illustrates how the riders DO care and DO want to have input. It's very existance illustrates the fact that they WANT to address issues, but have not had the influence to do so.

Read those two autobios. I don't have the time right now to search, but there are passages in them which provide a lot of insight into the bind riders are in when it comes to event management, national governing bodies and the FEI (especially Fox Pitt's). FP and Todd both make it really sound like riders are at the very bottom of the respect pile--and I don't see why those two individuals in particular would have any need to exaggerate about this.

Here is the mission statement of the ERA:
Since its inception in the 1990s, riders have created and inspired the Event Riders’ Association. And the original concept of the Association – to provide a platform for riders to voice their concerns and ensure professionalism across the sport – remains as strong as ever. The Association acts as a united voice for riders from all corners of the global eventing community.

Now, have you ever heard of this association in conjunction with any of the issues out there? I have, through H&H, but I'll bet most haven't. The only issue ERA seems to succeed in getting heard on is the world ranking system. Whoopie, huh?

RunForIt
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:38 PM
I contacted the Fork today to inquire about the CD, if it is still CMP and if so..........What can they guarantee us riders that this will not be a carnage like last weekend. That it will be safe and fair?
The reply was and I will paraphrase, that CMP has been the CD for the past 4 years and designs very safe courses and the accidents at Red Hills had nothing to do with the courses!
So, there you have it, there are the powers out there that really buy into his camp.
I feel sick.

actually, the two horse deaths cannot be attributed to CMP - both were the result of cardiac problems. The cause of Darren's fall has yet to be determined.

The fact that the courses CMP designs RIDE the way they do, certainly produced many, if not most, of the time faults, scratches, withdrawls, eliminations, banged up horses...good rider after good rider rode those fences like XC-turned-SJ-turned-nightmare...lots of internet video as evidence.

roki143
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:43 PM
I contacted the Fork today to inquire about the CD, if it is still CMP and if so..........What can they guarantee us riders that this will not be a carnage like last weekend. That it will be safe and fair?
The reply was and I will paraphrase, that CMP has been the CD for the past 4 years and designs very safe courses and the accidents at Red Hills had nothing to do with the courses!
So, there you have it, there are the powers out there that really buy into his camp.
I feel sick.


I will assure you that The Fork will always stand by CMP - the ties there are binding ones, and revolve around the same principles that keep the captain in his position - money, prestige, connections, etc...

Sometimes the qualifications stretch beyond talent, product, execution, etc... and instead (sadly enough) lead towards show-boating and flaunting connections.

Sorry if this post is a bit confusing, but I will leave it at that.

I will say that The Fork did have a horse go down last year over CMP's course - it was my first and (hopefully last) press release I had to issue with that subject. So really, how can anyone promise that events will not occur? I'm sure that the events of Saturday smacked the staff and organizers of Red Hills in the face just as much as it did the rest of it. If they had seen it coming, then it wouldn't have happened.

BarbB
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:51 PM
I contacted the Fork today to inquire about the CD, if it is still CMP and if so..........What can they guarantee us riders that this will not be a carnage like last weekend. That it will be safe and fair?
The reply was and I will paraphrase, that CMP has been the CD for the past 4 years and designs very safe courses and the accidents at Red Hills had nothing to do with the courses!
So, there you have it, there are the powers out there that really buy into his camp.
I feel sick.

The only people who can convince organizers that the courses aren't safe enough to run are the upper level riders who are out there running over them.
While I agree with pwynnorman that the riders are, in reality, often caught between a rock and a hard place because of many many factors......they need to speak up for the sake of their horses and their own necks.

If they allow this to go on because of money, politics, sponsors, clients.....all the many pressures they are under (to say nothing of their own ambitions and goals)....this sport is heading for a dead end and they will then pay the price for that also.
It's a case of pay me now or pay me later....and later may be too late.

flutie1
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:53 PM
Names/emails, please - I'm on it.

You can pm me. I'll be there.

flutie

flutie1
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:58 PM
Snoopy - you have a pm.

Flutie

RunForIt
Mar. 17, 2008, 05:59 PM
You can pm me. I'll be there.

flutie

FANTASTIC!!!! After I ride one more I'll try to collect my thoughts...

TKR
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:01 PM
Maybe someone who has incurred a serious injury, lost or horse or lost a loved one should file a suit against the organization and name the course designer in the suit. Or maybe a class action lawsuit? Sounds pretty dramatic, I don't event so I don't know if it's feasible, but that might get some attention and negative press about him and his work. If there is consistency in problems and injuries/deaths associated with his courses, it could create the changes you are all seeking maybe.
PennyG

snickerdoodle
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:08 PM
Dutch Twist Fatally Injured
Dutch Twist, ridden by Lindsay Pearce and owned by Patricia Pearce, was fatally injured while competing in the open intermediate division at The Fork Horse Trials in Norwood, N.C., April 7. The 11-year-old bay gelding fell while jumping fence 3, The Stone-Fenced Table, a portable fence...
Apr-09-2007

JER
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:11 PM
v
Last year when the string of 11 deaths happened in a one year period, CMP did design the course for at least 3 of those riders - Sherelle Duke (hardly a novice!!!), Amanda Bader, and Eleanor Brennan. He may have done more, but it's not very easy to gather that information. I'm still working on it.


To add to your list: Simon Long was killed at Burghley 1999 at an absurdly dangerous obstacle designed by CMP.

RAyers
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:19 PM
To add to your list: Simon Long was killed at Burghley 1999 at an absurdly dangerous obstacle designed by CMP.

Wasn't it the same sunken road that took out Blythe Tate's femur? (4' vertical, bounce, down, 1/2 stride road, up bounce to 4' vertical.)

Reed

Jazzy Lady
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:26 PM
I'd like to give CMP the benefit of the doubt by thinking that perhaps Darren's accident may be hitting him a little bit. This is a rider he is very closely associated with, he can't possibly just chalk it up to "I don't know what they expected or why they had problems?" when a rider he coaches to ride his courses, is in as rough as shape as Darren is now while riding the preliminary course. I sure hope he's thinking about this.

Highflyer
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:27 PM
Maybe someone who has incurred a serious injury, lost or horse or lost a loved one should file a suit against the organization and name the course designer in the suit. Or maybe a class action lawsuit? Sounds pretty dramatic, I don't event so I don't know if it's feasible, but that might get some attention and negative press about him and his work. If there is consistency in problems and injuries/deaths associated with his courses, it could create the changes you are all seeking maybe.
PennyG
Someone else suggested this, too.

While I don't think you could win a lawsuit like that, you could easily kill the sport with it, or at least make insurance so difficult/ expensive to obtain that entry fees would have to increase exponentially--which might very well do the same thing.

canyonoak
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:29 PM
To the poster who asked why no one is defending Mark Phillips:


because this thread belongs to people who are emotionally upset--which is totally understandable--and who want to blame some one or thing for the tragedies;
because Mark Phillips does not need anyone defending him, his courses, or his ability as coach/rider/trainer.

and as to why he does not speak out: he does not speak out because he is LEGALLY bound to not speak out until and unless the people who pay for his services decide to make a public statement.

kacey'srider
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:40 PM
I just don't get it.
I'll tell you what though. Right now I am getting to the point where I don't want to go advanced and I know there are tons of other riders that are feeling the same emotions.
Once the big wigs of today are gone there will be no up and comers to take their place.

I HATE HATE HATE that I am now feeling this way. I have a horse, assuming he comes back from this injury, that could probably do it. But, with his injury and all of these problems, I am beginning to wonder if I ever want to ask him to do it at all.

Remember, we ASK our horses to do this for us, and the ones who love the game oblige us. But is it fair to ask them ridiculous questions that many will do b/c they have the heart to? NOPE

JER
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:43 PM
Wasn't it the same sunken road that took out Blythe Tate's femur? (4' vertical, bounce, down, 1/2 stride road, up bounce to 4' vertical.)

Reed

Yes. Ugly effin' obstacle. Never should have been allowed.

When I saw the Burghley preview in H&H, I said to my coach, "Someone's going to die at this fence."

The group that built the course for the '84 Olympics wanted to do a bounce in the water. They did some tests and concluded that a horse's stride varies too much when you add water. The idea was scrapped. (I know one of the people who was involved in the tests.) I suspect CMP didn't bother with such tests.

But the Burghley fence was especially diabolical in that it trapped a horse that ran into trouble. If you tripped up the bank or came up on a bad stride, you were effectively trapped by big obstacles directly in front of you and directly on your right. Long's horse tried to jump the right-side option from a standstill, perhaps trying to go forward the only way it could. It wasn't clear whether Long was trying to turn away from the straight route and inadvertently presented to the obstacle on the right. What was clear was that no one should ever have been put in this situation.

As for Blyth Tait's broken femur -- it's all there on the video. Reed, you know how much force it takes to break that bone. That was one ugly accident.

RAyers
Mar. 17, 2008, 06:48 PM
As for Blyth Tait's broken femur -- it's all there on the video. Reed, you know how much force it takes to break that bone. That was one ugly accident.

I still have the video. Yes, a downslope bounce tends to make the horse jump even farther across the road, leaving less room for it to get its feet back to jump up. Tait's horse bounced the road, it was going so forward, that it had no place to go except drop its shoulder, spin right and broadside the fence.

It makes you winder why/if the CD HATES horses or horsemen.

Reed

RunForIt
Mar. 17, 2008, 07:03 PM
To the poster who asked why no one is defending Mark Phillips:

because this thread belongs to people who are emotionally upset--which is totally understandable--and who want to blame some one or thing for the tragedies;
because Mark Phillips does not need anyone defending him, his courses, or his ability as coach/rider/trainer.



Not accurate, at least in my case. I have no need to blame CMP; although he's one of the primary symptoms of what's awry in eventing - I want to know that courses are safe for my horses and me, I want to be part of a sport that demonstrates understanding the ethical aspects of the responsibilities participants (in all aspects of the sport) have when we involve another living creature in our RECREATION - yes, sport is recreation - at all levels, sport can become your life style, but see it for what it is. I want to be proud to be part of this sport; I currently defend eventing a great deal. There's no reason that the upper levels of eventing can't co-exist with striving to be at the top, with achievement, with competition, with excellence - without rationalizing "its just a risky sport".

Read the interchange between Flutie1 and Reed re: a particular line in an event both cherish; each listened to the other, each positioned the other as equals, and eventing and eventers (riders and horses) will benefit. Does that happen elsewhere?

bambam
Mar. 17, 2008, 07:21 PM
Maybe someone who has incurred a serious injury, lost or horse or lost a loved one should file a suit against the organization and name the course designer in the suit. Or maybe a class action lawsuit? PennyG
This along with another suggestion of bringing in the large animal spca (do not remember if this was in this thread or one of the other Red Hills ones) are spectacular ideas if you want to get the sport eliminated completely IMHO. You sue the organizers, no organizer is going to want to risk the liability of putting on an event anymore. Would suing bring change? yes, a loss of most if not all venues. The cost of putting on an event is already enormous and the job largely thankless- now you want to sue them? Even if this type of suit would be covered by the insurance, there would be a costs to the venue and either a debilitating increase in premiums or a refusal to insure. CMP ain't gonna be paying the defense costs of this suit. And if you sue USEA- who is going to be paying for that? us, the members.
as for bringing in the ASPCA- cries of they are killing horses for entertainment and adrenaline highs would be their response and the public might very well eat it up - think about it, we know our sport is about the well-being of the horse and that we love our horses and we are horrified by all the injuries and deaths. Someone who is not invested in this, will be horrified and not see any reason not to ban it completely.
I do not think I am being histrionic her ( but of course maybe you do ;))
The change needs to come from within the sport (not saying outside input would not be helpful in figuring out what we can do, but the impetus needs to be from us, the riders, owners, organizers, officials, etc of this sport.)

As for CMP- not that this is scientific, but I just looked at the CD for all of the events for the spring season in Areas II and III and while CMP is the CD for several, there are several other CDs who are listed as or more often, so I am not sure the "he designs so many that needs to be factored in to the statistics" is not being overstated or over estimated.

TexasTB
Mar. 17, 2008, 08:29 PM
Ok, I'm curious.
Does anyone have a pic/vid of the said jump at Burghley that they can post??

Blugal
Mar. 17, 2008, 08:37 PM
Re: the fence at Burghley - wasn't there a very similar incident with Phillip Dutton (not sure if that was Rolex)? His horse didn't make the bank out, I think it tried to add a stride on top of the bank instead of bouncing out, but with no room, the horse fell backwards into the sunken road while Phillip stepped off of him.

WRT Grand Prix dressage & show jumping not getting more & more difficult - I'm not sure that it isn't. But on that thought, is there a reason to believe our CDs need to be more imaginative with their designs, go back to the open courses more, test boldness & courage in ways OTHER than countless skinnies & corners, often after a huge oxer?

I thought a good example was a jump at Burghley in 2005 or 2006. Jump a big oxer and make a turn on a very forward 4 strides to another jump which isn't visible from the first. Bold horses & riders were rewarded, and those who didn't make it (from my recollection) had a run-out.

3Day-Eventer
Mar. 17, 2008, 08:40 PM
Names/emails, please - I'm on it.

http://www.useventing.com/aboutus.php?section=BOG

Names, but no contact info.

RumoursFollow
Mar. 17, 2008, 09:33 PM
To the poster who asked why no one is defending Mark Phillips:


because this thread belongs to people who are emotionally upset--which is totally understandable--and who want to blame some one or thing for the tragedies;
because Mark Phillips does not need anyone defending him, his courses, or his ability as coach/rider/trainer.

and as to why he does not speak out: he does not speak out because he is LEGALLY bound to not speak out until and unless the people who pay for his services decide to make a public statement.

Thanks for being the only person so far to answer my question, canyonoak. So there are people out there that think he's a competant leader? I was just surprised that no one has come to his defense if there really is someone out there who thinks he's great- I'm coming from h/j where even if theres a mass group beating of someone, theres always some person who steps in and says "hey- this person is great!"

I dont know squat about eventing other than whats on those games on the computer and what little I learned about HT when I did pony club when I was 8. I always assumed that Mark Phillips was your George Morris - some people dont like his method, but everyone agrees he's a great. It kind of horrifies me that so many people seem to truly believe (and I'm not in ANY way saying that I dont- like I sad, I know nothing about this whatsoever) that Mark Phillips is atleast partially responsible for the death toll in your sport.

Maybe us h/j people are meaner (??) but I believe we would have taken ole George out back and beat the sh*t out of him long ago. I'm sure its not that simple though. I'm not judging - just interested because I'm concerned for you guys!

TB or not TB?
Mar. 17, 2008, 10:59 PM
Maybe us h/j people are meaner (??) but I believe we would have taken ole George out back and beat the sh*t out of him long ago. I'm sure its not that simple though. I'm not judging - just interested because I'm concerned for you guys!

This made me smile bigger than I have all day. Hear, hear!! :lol::lol:

c_expresso
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:12 PM
Our George is Jimmy Wofford... NOT CMP. :D


Thanks for being the only person so far to answer my question, canyonoak. So there are people out there that think he's a competant leader? I was just surprised that no one has come to his defense if there really is someone out there who thinks he's great- I'm coming from h/j where even if theres a mass group beating of someone, theres always some person who steps in and says "hey- this person is great!"

I dont know squat about eventing other than whats on those games on the computer and what little I learned about HT when I did pony club when I was 8. I always assumed that Mark Phillips was your George Morris - some people dont like his method, but everyone agrees he's a great. It kind of horrifies me that so many people seem to truly believe (and I'm not in ANY way saying that I dont- like I sad, I know nothing about this whatsoever) that Mark Phillips is atleast partially responsible for the death toll in your sport.

Maybe us h/j people are meaner (??) but I believe we would have taken ole George out back and beat the sh*t out of him long ago. I'm sure its not that simple though. I'm not judging - just interested because I'm concerned for you guys!

Mary in Area 1
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:17 PM
"because Mark Phillips does not need anyone defending him, his courses, or his ability as coach/rider/trainer"

I think THIS statement is the problem. Why the hell wouldn't HE or the USEA feel the need to defend him after this tragedy? Why is he above all reproach? Who is he sleeping with besides Sandy????

snoopy
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:31 PM
[QUOTE=Mary in Area 1;3081923

Who is he sleeping with besides Sandy????[/QUOTE]



THAT is the funniest thing I have heard in a long while....;)

Ellie K
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:40 PM
"because Mark Phillips does not need anyone defending him, his courses, or his ability as coach/rider/trainer"

I think THIS statement is the problem. Why the hell wouldn't HE or the USEA feel the need to defend him after this tragedy? Why is he above all reproach? Who is he sleeping with besides Sandy????first off I would question using up precious COTH bandwidth with a list of who CMP is sleeping with :lol:.

But it has nothing to do with who he's sleeping with or any other conspiracy theory. Accidents are followed by (ideally professional) investigations by the governing body/ies in question. Therefore I would expect/hope that any powers that be would NOT be "defending" anyone PRIOR to conclusion of that investigation, because that would indicate bias or a pre-formed idea about what they should only be drawing conclusions about AFTER the proper investigation is done. And since USEA didn't hire him, license him, nor appoint the course advisor, nor license the TD and GJ et al., I wouldn't be looking to USEA to do anything at all WRT a USEF-licensed official. Yes, the issue you allude to does exist. But I don't see any present action/inaction being any way connected to that political reality. It's just business as usual, following any accident.


So there are people out there that think he's a competant leader?Yes, that's why he's the chef d'équipe. And why David O'Connor recently selected him to chair the FEI safety committee's subcommittee/taskforce/whatever-it's-called on course design. And this kind of inbreeding is a big part of the problem (I don't mean specific to this situation as I personally don't have the expertise to critique his course design; however, as a general rule, don't take a unanimous opinion on this BB as reflective of unanimity in the sport at large).

TB or not TB?
Mar. 17, 2008, 11:48 PM
I hate to cross thread, but some of you take a look at my other thread about the correlation between rotational falls and technical courses; some of the questions might be answered and I want your input in my theory.

One Star
Mar. 18, 2008, 12:25 AM
However, and this is just an idea I'm throwing out, but maybe part of the answer is to leave the trappy, ridiculously technical fences out of XC, and test the more technical pieces in the showjumping where the fences come down if you miss. It would certainly make the showjumping more interesting if there were skinnies, bounces and tight turns.

Yes!

JER
Mar. 18, 2008, 01:23 AM
Yes, that's why he's the chef d'équipe. And why David O'Connor recently selected him to chair the FEI safety committee's subcommittee/taskforce/whatever-it's-called on course design. And this kind of inbreeding is a big part of the problem.

I actually emailed the FEI a few months ago with my concerns about their safety committee conference. It was, as expected, a group of insiders assembling for self-critique. I implored the FEI committee to start looking outside eventing, like to safety engineering, EMS, etc.

I got a lovely return email telling me how the fox was going to do a great job investigating the chicken coop.

Why are we still debating this same safety stuff in 2008? When was the last time -- or the first time -- anyone saw a frangible pin fence at a HT? Whatever happened to the mandate that all fences (provided they meet the criteria) be fitted with frangible pins by 2006?

Ellie K
Mar. 18, 2008, 02:00 AM
I keep wondering about the BE frangible pin thing too (did a USEF rule change going through on it too?). I think I will write to BE and ask.

And there's this mentality, from Mike E-S:
"I shan't design to accommodate pins. These pins only work on a certain diameter and weight of rail. If we can use them within what I'm trying to achieve, I'll definitely use them." http://equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/eventing/rolex_070803/
(granted this quote is some years old now)
Yes I know their limitations. And I fully accept that my sometime-groom- for-friends/spectator opinion isn't the one that counts. But when I look at the courses, "what they're trying to achieve" is pretty wacked out, just strictly from a specific-fence composition point of view, so I have to question that thinking.

So for me, if what Mike E-S or any of them "wants to achieve" is, for example, a fricking PIECE OF CHEESE WITH A MOUSE COMING OUT OF IT, well, sorry, I'll take the simple boring jump with the pin that MIGHT FRICKING SAVE SOMEBODY'S LIFE. But the riders will have to demand that or it's not going to happen.

As for the fox guarding the hen house I said the same thing when the idiot princess picked DOC to chair the "new" committee. David is far better than most when it comes to committee work, it's just that...1) he's a CD thus has an interest, and 2) why not just shake it up? He was on the original committee that was unanimous in its recommendations back in 2000, yet some of those recommendations were never even implemented by his own NF, of which he subsequently became the president! ANd look what happened (by USEF's own admission) to US datakeeping when the AHSA took it over from USEA during the last "safety crisis". They had NO ONE to deal with it. At that time they had all of 1/2 of one staff member devoted to eventing in this country. And DOC was subsequently president for 4 years, and yet it took ANOTHER safety crisis for USEF to finally decide to get on the TRL system that was available to them all this time. But he's tight with the princess so he gets the job. :no:

Doodle
Mar. 18, 2008, 03:01 PM
" Who is he sleeping with besides Sandy????

You could start by looking at the Short List... :eek:

TKR
Mar. 18, 2008, 03:16 PM
When I suggested suing/filing a suit, I didn't mean against the organizer, I meant against the USEA naming Phillips as an individual culprit.
PennyG

martyc
Mar. 18, 2008, 03:17 PM
I keep wondering about the BE frangible pin thing too (did a USEF rule change going through on it too?). I think I will write to BE and ask.

And there's this mentality, from Mike E-S:
"I shan't design to accommodate pins. These pins only work on a certain diameter and weight of rail. If we can use them within what I'm trying to achieve, I'll definitely use them." http://equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/eventing/rolex_070803/
(granted this quote is some years old now)
Yes I know their limitations. And I fully accept that my sometime-groom- for-friends/spectator opinion isn't the one that counts. But when I look at the courses, "what they're trying to achieve" is pretty wacked out, just strictly from a specific-fence composition point of view, so I have to question that thinking.

So for me, if what Mike E-S or any of them "wants to achieve" is, for example, a fricking PIECE OF CHEESE WITH A MOUSE COMING OUT OF IT, well, sorry, I'll take the simple boring jump with the pin that MIGHT FRICKING SAVE SOMEBODY'S LIFE. But the riders will have to demand that or it's not going to happen.

As for the fox guarding the hen house I said the same thing when the idiot princess picked DOC to chair the "new" committee. David is far better than most when it comes to committee work, it's just that...1) he's a CD thus has an interest, and 2) why not just shake it up? He was on the original committee that was unanimous in its recommendations back in 2000, yet some of those recommendations were never even implemented by his own NF, of which he subsequently became the president! ANd look what happened (by USEF's own admission) to US datakeeping when the AHSA took it over from USEA during the last "safety crisis". They had NO ONE to deal with it. At that time they had all of 1/2 of one staff member devoted to eventing in this country. And DOC was subsequently president for 4 years, and yet it took ANOTHER safety crisis for USEF to finally decide to get on the TRL system that was available to them all this time. But he's tight with the princess so he gets the job. :no:

The problem with the frangible pin, which IS used extensively in the US, is that you can only use an eight inch diameter log on it. The result is an airy, "trappy" looking fence. Horses tend to jump better over a big solid round log than a skinny rail. The skinnier the material, the more "show-jumpy" cross country riding (that everyone is saying they hate to see) results.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 18, 2008, 04:58 PM
Another suggestion: I think it is the Horse and Hound which publishes a fence-by-fence penalty report. Wouldn't you think that'd be useful data for exhibitors, as well as CDs and organizers and TDs (whom, I assume, do have that data). And wouldn't you think that an analysis of that data might point to "statistically significant" fence designs that need re-examination? A really superb database would include codes for both design (type: table, upright, oxer, etc.; dimensions: height, width at front, width at rear; surface, etc.) and non-design conditions, such as terrain (uphill, downhill or level), weather (rain, sun, cloud), footing (hard, slippery, firm, deep; grass, sand, clay, mix), lines(straight, bending, broken), placement (beginning, middle, end of course), season timing (early, middle, end), course degree of difficulty overall, etc..

It would be very interesting to see what might be dug out of such data.

TexasTB
Mar. 19, 2008, 12:37 AM
As quoted from the Red Hills News Release located here : http://www.rhht.org/PDFs/Red_Hills_Final_PDF.pdf


“Since its inception,” Barron continued, “the Red Hills
Course has been designed by Mark Phillips, U. S. Olympic
Equestrian Coach and riders planning to enter the event are
provided a description of the course, terrain and course
difficulty well in advance. Mark Phillips is a
recognized authority in his field. His courses are designed
to safely test the ability of horse and rider. There will
always be situations where a horse will refuse to go over
an obstacle for some reason, and this weekend was no
exception, but the refusals were scattered about the course
as they have been in previous years.”

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: