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View Full Version : REVISITING THIS (cuz of DC): What if it can't be done the way folks are doing it now?



pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 09:56 AM
Is it the courses or the horses (and riders)?

I think we have to admit that the way a significant number of people prepare horses for eventing today is vastly different than how it was done twenty years ago, right? Some things about prep have improved dramatically, but some things are far worse--and some that are worse are also more numerous.

competing without consistent coaching
spending less time at home and more on the road
shipping horses more often and across greater distances
"investing" more heavily into horseflesh and competition
more people with less access to good ground for conditioning
competing more horses at a single event
competing one horse more often
more riders competing more often, including every weekend
more riders specializing in the sport instead of gaining a wider range of
skills from exploring other types of riding experiences
more coaches with more students but less time to coach them
more trainers coaching students in spite of having comparatively little
experience themselves
better protocols to shore up hurting horses
more pressure to add value to horses by competing them
less access to courses for schooling purposes
more people competing in regions where there are far fewer events
to gain experience in
better horses such that x-c questions of yesterday are just too easy
for the horseflesh of today
a more and more "awkward" ratio of four-legged to two-legged talent
(i.e. horses with more ability than their riders)
more entries in higher level competitions
a wider range of experience and skill levels in higher level competitionAll of these things, and more, IMO, need to be considered. I think it is a big mistake to focus exclusively on the courses. I realize some courses pose questions that simply cannot be answered safely. That's ONE thing. But what about these OTHER things? Should courses be "dumbed down" because more and more people just can't keep up with the times? Dangerous CD trends should certainly be reduced, but maybe the difficulty levels of courses--including technical, twisty, etc. aspects--retained to encourage riders either to do their homework more and better and/or don't attempt what they can't really prepare well for?

flyingchange
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:07 AM
pwynn -

what population is your post aiming at? ammies moving up the levels or pros (doing all the levels)?

If I'm not mistaken, it's the latter, who have access to the best footing, coaching, and schooling facilities, as well as years of experience riding at the highest levels, that are GETTING HURT and whose horses are getting hurt and dying.

I also emphatically disagree with this:




better horses such that x-c questions of yesterday are just too easy
for the horseflesh of today

If it were possible to "improve" "horseflesh", then horses would be galloping faster at the track, jumping higher in the GP and performing new movements in the GP dressage. None of these 3 things is happening, and these are the 3 things that comprise eventing. How, therefore, is it possible that modern day sporthorse breeding has come up with a new stamp that finds "old-time" xc too "easy." If anything, I might argue that the modern show horse/event horse breeding is proving its failures esp on "modern" courses.

yellowbritches
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:12 AM
I agree with all of this.

You picked up on two big things with me...people not getting enough QUALITY instruction (and I'm not talking about needing more ICP instructors, as I know quite a few scary ICP instructors out there, and know some very good instructors that aren't certified) and running our horses into the ground. I am all about modern medicine, but I am not all about the h/j mentality that eventing has taken, with an endless show circuit and horses spending far too much time on the road and not getting quality time at home to allow for physical and mental rest. I do think our courses have taken on some overly technical aspects, but I also think the go-go-go mentality makes the job in and of itself more difficult.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:20 AM
As to the population, I'm just generalizing. Most of the riders out there aren't pros, so generalization is more applicable here to non-pros (although some of the things I listed are related to the pros).


If it were possible to "improve" "horseflesh", then horses would be galloping faster at the track, jumping higher in the GP and performing new movements in the GP dressage.

But aren't they? More flying changes, counter changes of hand, etc.

And perhaps an even BETTER example: Have you seen those "three huge tables on a bending line" questions at the four-star events? Can you imagine that physical challenge being presented twenty years ago to the horse flesh eventing back then? And why are such daunting dimensions being incorporated in courses today? Indeed, what do you think was the reason they increased the height of stadium jumps to 4'3"? Because there are horses which can indeed handle them, with ease. I suppose one could say/speculate that such things weren't in courses in the past because they weren't needed to separate the wheat from the chaff.

But they are today because even the chaff has enormous physical ability. I'm a TB person all the way, but when you see the likes of some WB crosses TROT into the third table and clear it, you gotta be awed by what is being bred out there.

flyingchange
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:24 AM
I want to know how you know, YB, that so many people do not get regular instruction. Do you go up to them and ask them at HTs? I don't have my horses at a trainer's barn, and I do a lot of work on my own, but I do get regular instruction.

As far as 'scarey' ICP-certified instructors. At least they are doing something to improve their technique. I think it is really sad that there is so much judgement displayed here - do you really sit there at shows and critique coaches while they warm up their students? I can't imagine having the time or interest.

RunForIt
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:25 AM
Is it the courses or the horses (and riders)?

I think we have to admit that the way a significant number of people prepare horses for eventing today is vastly different than how it was done twenty years ago, right? Some things about prep have improved dramatically, but some things are far worse--and some that are worse are also more numerous.

competing without consistent coaching
spending less time at home and more on the road
shipping horses more often and across greater distances
"investing" more heavily into horseflesh and competition
more people with less access to good ground for conditioning
competing more horses at a single event
competing one horse more often
more riders competing more often, including every weekend
more riders specializing in the sport instead of gaining a wider range of
skills from exploring other types of riding experiences
more coaches with more students but less time to coach them
more trainers coaching students in spite of having comparatively little
experience themselves
better protocols to shore up hurting horses
more pressure to add value to horses by competing them
less access to courses for schooling purposes
more people competing in regions where there are far fewer events
to gain experience in
better horses such that x-c questions of yesterday are just too easy
for the horseflesh of today
a more and more "awkward" ratio of four-legged to two-legged talent
(i.e. horses with more ability than their riders)
more entries in higher level competitions
a wider range of experience and skill levels in higher level competitionAll of these things, and more, IMO, need to be considered. I think it is a big mistake to focus exclusively on the courses. I realize some courses pose questions that simply cannot be answered safely. That's ONE thing. But what about these OTHER things? Should courses be "dumbed down" because more and more people just can't keep up with the times? Dangerous CD trends should certainly be reduced, but maybe the difficulty levels of courses--including technical, twisty, etc. aspects--retained to encourage riders either to do their homework more and better and/or don't attempt what they can't really prepare well for?

thanks for beginning this list - I was trying to reread 3 threads and bullet the ideas myself. After I'm through (at least for today), I'm going to look at the list and try to see where the ideas can be grouped - obviously there will be grouops that will duplicate.

The goals for producing an upper level horse have changed and I suspect that this is largely connected to what has ensued in course design. When the goals - implicit or explicit - were to produce an advanced horse that could move into the 3*** and 4**** events, the measures of that horse defined the training and the tests. An animal that could handle 2 Roads and Tracks, a steeplechase, AND XC was brought along differently than the horse of today. The mentality of current course design has perhaps evolved out of the all-too-true reality that without Roads and Tracks, without Steeplechase. the old galloping course fences were making it look and feel "too easy"...so, where can you go if you're a CD but to the situation that Red Hills presented last weekend.

herptile
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:27 AM
Ultimately, it is the responsability(sp) of the rider to manage/decide what is best for the horses we (they) ride.Eventing is a dangerous endeavor,accidents will happen.Blaming the course designer,coach,jump etc.. is innapropriate for adults out there eventing at any level.We all walk the courses before we ride ,wether at elem. or adv. level. We decide to ride,our horses take us over the jumps as best they can.
I'm sorry for the horse and rider injuries that have occured,I wish they hadn't.But we have to police ourselves out there.Eventing is a risky sport,people who are underprepared,at any level,can only blame themselves when dissaster strikes.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:31 AM
As far as 'scarey' ICP-certified instructors. At least they are doing something to improve their technique. I think it is really sad that there is so much judgement displayed here - do you really sit there at shows and critique coaches while they warm up their students? I can't imagine having the time or interest.

Oh, but I do. Sorry, I'm a true fanatic and I do indeed watch and listen in the warm ups--at events and also at h-j shows. I can't afford lessons but I have to develop my horses and also be the groundperson for the riders I use. You can learn a LOT from watching and listening. It's worth taking the time to do--and it's QUITE interesting, too!

RHdobes563
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:35 AM
....An animal that could handle 2 Roads and Tracks, a steeplechase, AND XC was brought along differently than the horse of today. The mentality of current course design has perhaps evolved out of the all-too-true reality that without Roads and Tracks, without Steeplechase. the old galloping course fences were making it look "too easy"......

Amen.

RunForIt
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:39 AM
Ultimately, it is the responsability(sp) of the rider to manage/decide what is best for the horses we (they) ride.Eventing is a dangerous endeavor,accidents will happen.Blaming the course designer,coach,jump etc.. is innapropriate for adults out there eventing at any level.We all walk the courses before we ride ,wether at elem. or adv. level. We decide to ride,our horses take us over the jumps as best they can.
I'm sorry for the horse and rider injuries that have occured,I wish they hadn't.But we have to police ourselves out there.Eventing is a risky sport,people who are underprepared,at any level,can only blame themselves when dissaster strikes.

Darren wasn't underprepared. the ULRs at RH that went slowly and incurred big time faults weren't underprepared. the ULRs that were eliminated or retired or withdrew weren't underprepared.

How many of us know what to look for in course design to evaluate how a fence may ride in terms of safety for our horses and selves? You can bet I'm going to learn.

tuppysmom
Mar. 22, 2008, 10:44 AM
pwynn, I'm with you here. This is not just about the CD or the CDer. It just isn't that simple especially when you factor in two warm bodies, both thinking and reacting..or not.

There is always the knee jerk factor and we are seeing it here. I'm not saying that CD doesn't deserve some "looking at", but there are many more things happening than just that.

Are more horses getting into, or staying in the sport, because it is easier on them? By that I mean that without the stresses of prepping for the long format of old. Are horses staying in the sport who would have washed out sooner, be it for soundness, or mental, or skill issues?

Are more riders advancing to higher levels and/or staying at that higher level than would have if they had to do the hours and hours of conditioning required for the LF? I'm thinking of both the saddle time factor and the rider fittness level. Can someone who rides one horse, 4 or 5 times a week for 45 minutes a ride be physically prepared to ride at prelim and up?

Are riders just not putting in the ring time to develope the skills needed to be successful on these more technical courses? Do they practice riding skinnies, bounces and corners in the ring, or do they just go out to a xc course and hope for the best?

Are they choosing to compete the fancier moving, better jumping horses? Should they be choosing the smaller, quicker thinking, cattier horses?

Have the percentages of upper level horses and riders increased or decreased since the LF went away?

Lots of things seem to be happening here besides just CD.

RAyers
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:01 AM
I agree with a lot of what you have, and I think you can also add in:

Safety equipment such specifically designed helmets, better flak jackets, additional safety equipment?

Governance. Are the governing bodies actually doing their job? There are plenty of instances where injured or killed riders falsified their records. With better data keeping and easy access, organizers could easily verify qualifications.

The failures today go beyond simple course and rider answers.

Reed

Blugal
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:03 AM
Are more horses getting into, or staying in the sport, because it is easier on them? By that I mean that without the stresses of prepping for the long format of old. Are horses staying in the sport who would have washed out sooner, be it for soundness, or mental, or skill issues?

Are more riders advancing to higher levels and/or staying at that higher level than would have if they had to do the hours and hours of conditioning required for the LF?

I'd be interested to hear how the proponents of the short-format, who insist that horses are conditioned just as much, would treat the above questions.

tuppysmom
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:08 AM
I think that I really, really want an Exo,(sp), vest for my kid. I wonder why they are not more common over here?

pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:11 AM
I'm a proponent of the short format, Blugal. FRankly and bluntly, I don't really care how it has had an impact. It's here to stay, it's better for the sport in some ways, worse in others, but folks just are going to have to adjust. You can't blame the format for those who just aren't adjusting to it, as Tuppysmom implied.



Can someone who rides one horse, 4 or 5 times a week for 45 minutes a ride be physically prepared to ride at prelim and up?


I wonder about another side of this a lot. How can someone really KNOW a horse if they aren't riding it that much because they are so busy on the road? I saw some really funky movers (in the hind end) in the jog on Sunday at Red Hills. I wonder how that funky movement feels under saddle. If you haven't had that horse for years and years, and then on top of that, you've only ridden it a couple of times each week, and usually doing dressage and some gymnastics or a few isolated jumps (leaving the conditioning to others), how prepared are you to assess what you are feeling in that already funky hind end when you leave the starting box, much less when you are approaching Jump #20?

Blugal
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:12 AM
I'll ask you the same question: how do you know how many times these horses are being ridden, and for how long? How many horses/riders are we talking here? Pros or ammies?

Hilary
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:20 AM
I don't think that horses today are "better" than horses of yesteryear. I think there are more horses who have better training, but the physical animal is about the same.

They have studied racehorses and tried to determine was Secretariate "better" than Man O' War, and since Secretariat, has any one been as good. Today's horses may sometimes reach faster speeds, but some of that is improved track surfaces. Were those 2 freaks of nature? Probably, but we haven't managed to consistently breed them.

Horses jumped 8' single fences in the 20s during high-jump competitions. They don't jump 15 feet today. They still top out at 8' or so.

They don't run at 55mph, and no, the GP dressage tests do not ask for harder movements. The Eventing dressage tests at Advanced HAVE gotten harder. But straight dressage and straight show jumping have not gotten bigger and harder.

If anything there is more and better instruction out there, and far more upper level riders than there were 30 years ago.

I do agree with some of your points, but I also believe that we may be stepping into the territory where the courses are too hard for more horses.

pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:21 AM
Tuppysmom was talking about ammies. I responded with a question about pros. And all you have to do is add up the hours in the day, examine the number of entries per rider, and look at the competition schedule, to get a solid suspicion that, unless they bring their entire barn on the road with them to each even so they can continue to ride each horse...they aren't riding them as much as they used to (the pros). That is a huge change, I suspect. There are so many more events for them to compete in that many are on the road constantly.

Oh, and, while I do know from personal experience, I also know another way: Try to schedule a lesson with a busy pro. I have heard of far more than one with whom it is really hard to connect (to schedule a lesson) because they are on the road so much.

It'd be interesting, in form of confirmation, to look at the results lists of, say, Area III events this season and see whose barns were at each one and whose barns weren't. (Man, am I going to get into trouble if I don't shut up! :winkgrin:)



I don't think that horses today are "better" than horses of yesteryear. I think there are more horses who have better training, but the physical animal is about the same.

Them's fightin' words spake to a breeder, ma'am.

At the very least, a lot of Germans would probably like to lynch you for it.



I do agree with some of your points, but I also believe that we may be stepping into the territory where the courses are too hard for more horses.


I'd just change that to: "...I also believe that we may be stepping into the territory where the courses are too hard for more RIDERS." (Emphasis on "more" as much as on "riders".)

ss3777
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:31 AM
All of these things, and more, IMO, need to be considered. I think it is a big mistake to focus exclusively on the courses

I agree with Pwyn's list. These are things that all eventers need to be concerned about, and have ultimate control over. What we as eventers don't have control over is the CD. When I go to an event I trust that the CD and the POGJ know a heck a lot more than me and I go out there and do my best. What if I both my horse and myself are super fit, prepared, trained etc but the questions are unfair? I have not seen this at the lower levels but when someone like DC is "caught" by a tricky complex (need confirmation but I believe the jump had 3 cannon balls as a ground line for the third element in a 3 element, upright complex) I have to wonder about the impact of unfair CD. As I said in another thread.....Should horses and riders be “running the Derby” between complexes, could that be safe? How many riders made the time at RH? If you are a prelim rider, are you not going to trust that CMP would know more than you about times and that if the optimum time posted is “X” than a well conditioned, competitive, well trained, seasoned pair should be able to make the time?

I "long" for the long format but I understand that we may not be able to put the genie back in the bottle. What I do believe is that we need to make the short format smarter. The mpm for the level needs to reexamined to allow for the complexes, do we want tricky ground lines, how many technical complexes is fair per course, etc etc.

Mary in Area 1
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:45 AM
I know for a fact that the horses are NOT conditioned the way they used to be for the classic long format. I have witnessed with my own eyes the changes. I think the ULR's BELIEVE that the horses are just as fit, but it is a different fitness. They replace more of their gallops with XC runs at competitions because the seasons are longer. There used to be a distinct Spring and Fall run-up to the 3-days, and then the horses were given a specific let down period. That just doesn't happen anymore, or at least not in the same way for all the horses.

The speeds needed between the jumps on XC are way higher than we used to have for xc, it is more like steeplechase between the combinations. Reading what Kent Allen wrote about EIPH really has me scared that the very high sprints are a factor in these horse deaths.

Evalee Hunter
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:45 AM
. . . . Originally Posted by flyingchange
If it were possible to "improve" "horseflesh", then horses would be galloping faster at the track, jumping higher in the GP and performing new movements in the GP dressage.

. . . .But aren't they? More flying changes, counter changes of hand, etc. . . .

To take up just ONE aspect of what you are discussing - GP dressage - you are incorrect. The GP tests of yesteryear were MUCH HARDER. Tasker posted a thread on the Dressage Forum on just this topic, backed up with links to UTube videos of her mother doing Grand Prix 20 -30 years ago (showing what the dressage GP required at that time) vs. what a dressage GP test requires today.

lstevenson
Mar. 22, 2008, 11:54 AM
I agree with all of this.

You picked up on two big things with me...people not getting enough QUALITY instruction (and I'm not talking about needing more ICP instructors, as I know quite a few scary ICP instructors out there, and know some very good instructors that aren't certified) and running our horses into the ground. I am all about modern medicine, but I am not all about the h/j mentality that eventing has taken, with an endless show circuit and horses spending far too much time on the road and not getting quality time at home to allow for physical and mental rest. I do think our courses have taken on some overly technical aspects, but I also think the go-go-go mentality makes the job in and of itself more difficult.


I want to know how you know, YB, that so many people do not get regular instruction. Do you go up to them and ask them at HTs? I don't have my horses at a trainer's barn, and I do a lot of work on my own, but I do get regular instruction.

As far as 'scarey' ICP-certified instructors. At least they are doing something to improve their technique. I think it is really sad that there is so much judgement displayed here - do you really sit there at shows and critique coaches while they warm up their students? I can't imagine having the time or interest.



I agree with Yellowbritches completely. It's not the number of lessons flyingchange, it's the quality. There is a lot of really bad instruction going on out there, and that is probably the biggest reason for bad riding and accidents at lower levels.

And I also agree about some 'scary' ICP instructors. I don't think it's the be all and end all that some think it is. I have seen good and bad instructors who are certified, and good and bad instructors who are not certified. And in fact, all of the best instructors I know are not certified. They are just talented and well educated on the subject.

devcubber
Mar. 22, 2008, 12:11 PM
What we as eventers don't have control over is the CD. When I go to an event I trust that the CD and the POGJ know a heck a lot more than me and I go out there and do my best.

While competitors do not have control over the CD, they do have a friend in the organizer. The organizer chooses and hires the CD, and the GJ. As an organizer, I really pay a lot of attention to how my course rides in the schooling days, and the HT, and the event evals. Of which I got 7 of last year. (PEOPLE - FILL THESE EVALUATIONS OUT!!! Without them, we have nothing concrete to use as data, specifics, etc....) The organizer is where the "buck stops". Open up lines of communication and let them know if you think the course is wonky, or where you or your horse had a bad go. There is a jump on my current course that everyone is complaining is too hard at that level - guess what? It is not going to be there this year. The CD may disagree, but I have to be aware of what my HT's riders are doing, and if the pool of riders feels, as a majority, that it is unsafe, then it just simply is. That is the only part, besided checking qualifications at the levels, that I can do - remove the offending element(s).

A point that I strongly agree with Pwynn is that many competitors (in my Area IV) do not have an opportunity to train with experienced seasoned trainers. They are frighteningly few in our area. To that end, we are having an ICP workshop which will help to fill in those gaps; but as this sport becomes more popular, gains more "coolness" factors, we are going to get more and more low-level tryers who "just do it". I see this all the time; at schooling days, unrecognized events and the HT. People at levels they really are not prepared for. While I don't think we should dumb down these courses so every Tom, Dick and Sally can go clean, we need to be aware that these can contribute significantly to our injured population. I'm talking Prelim down at my HT. We killed our Int. course due to lack of participation. But as we grow this sport from the bottom up, and the paying masses of lower level ammies are the base of the USEA, then we have to look across the board at all levels for safety AND accountability.

Just my opinions.:)

RunForIt
Mar. 22, 2008, 12:32 PM
devcubber, thanks for taking the time to give and explain your opinion, your reasoning - the organizers' perspectives can't be considered if they don't chime in - everytime I read something, I think about what the poster says, how it fits/doesn't fit into my thinking...actually, I EXPECT my mind - my current thinking - to be changed by discussion. Thank you again!

Whisper
Mar. 22, 2008, 01:10 PM
The GP tests of yesteryear were MUCH HARDER.
I'm not qualified to say if they were *harder*, but someone posted the 1960 GP Dressage (http://sodarfarms.com/Misc/1960dressagetest.pdf)test over on the UDBB (http://www.ultimatedressage.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=126866). It was 12 minutes long!

As to the quality of instruction, I'm curious what people recommend to people who are new to eventing? I try to be conscientious about choosing an instructor who is qualified in terms of their own show record, that of their students, preferably has ICP certification, etc., but I don't really feel I know enough to really recognise whether or not the instruction is actually good enough. I felt like my instructors really taught me a huge amount, far more so than the dressage or H/J people I'd worked with before, but I'm very aware of how little I know. :(

pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 01:11 PM
To take up just ONE aspect of what you are discussing - GP dressage - you are incorrect. The GP tests of yesteryear were MUCH HARDER. Tasker posted a thread on the Dressage Forum on just this topic, backed up with links to UTube videos of her mother doing Grand Prix 20 -30 years ago (showing what the dressage GP required at that time) vs. what a dressage GP test requires today.



To take up just ONE aspect of what you are discussing - GP dressage - you are incorrect. The GP tests of yesteryear were MUCH HARDER. Tasker posted a thread on the Dressage Forum on just this topic, backed up with links to UTube videos of her mother doing Grand Prix 20 -30 years ago (showing what the dressage GP required at that time) vs. what a dressage GP test requires today.


I think I misread the original post I responded to. I was talking about eventng dressage--that it has become more difficult.

Fixerupper
Mar. 22, 2008, 03:23 PM
Originally Posted by RAyers http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?p=3088885#post3088885)
"Technical" courses don't separate horses. They separate riders. Like I said on another thread, at the AECS a couple of the combinations on the OI were all about how well I could make my horse do what I wanted. That is not a test of the horse. Stadium jumping is a better place to test rider skills.



The biggest problem with the 'technical' obstacles is the final decision at the fence has to be made by the rider. On the straightforward jumps if the riders misses or is unable to correct the approach the horse has a reasonable chance of finding a way over.
From what I have seen over the years the ability of event riders to find the 'spot' has improved dramatically, (so yes, education & training has improved) but no rider can be right every time. Mixing up the galloping fences and the technical ones is a sucker play for the horse. A horse can be 'educated' to understand that there will be parts of the course that the rider must dictate...but no horse can be expected to recognize 'technical' fences or combinations from a distance at a gallop (the horses do not walk the course). Grouping the technical fences may not be the ideal solution but, because it forces a speed reduction, it is much much safer. Fatalities and catastrophic injuries generally do not occur at the slower speeds. As was mentioned elsewhere, the reduction in pace through the technical areas must be taken under consideration as well when timing the whole course, so as not to force excessive pace over the open parts of the course.

(I realize I lack credibility on this board because I'm new to it.....in real life - I've been around the game a while)
sorry for the italics - technical glitch

Hilary
Mar. 22, 2008, 03:52 PM
Pwynn, my comments were not intented to downplay anyone's breedign program. I'll bet there are more high quality animals out there today because of good breeding programs.

My point, however, is that we have not really improved the absolute physical limitations of the horse.

Huelso jumped 8'3" in 1939. The record still stands.
Race horse speeds range from 39mph in 1968 (over 2 miles) to 40 in 1982 (6 furlongs). None faster since. And I'm more impressed with 39mph over 2 miles than with 40 over 6 furlongs.

We've developed better training techniques, and improved as riders, but the horse can only do so much, no matter how well bred and trained.

yes, eventing dressage has gotten more difficult, but it's still 4 levels below what straight dressage horses perform, which is less than the Spanish Riding School performs.

I don't think dressage and stadium push the limits of our eventers. But maybe some XC courses have.

Mary in Area 1
Mar. 22, 2008, 04:07 PM
[quote=devcubber;3092218]"While competitors do not have control over the CD, they do have a friend in the organizer. The organizer chooses and hires the CD, and the GJ."

Um, maybe in your case you have control over the CD and GJ, but I know of at least ONE MAJOR INSTANCE in AREA 1 where Roger Haller APPOINTED HIMSELF onto the Ground Jury over the objections of the Organizer. How are we supposed to deal with that kind of arrogance?

bridlewise
Mar. 22, 2008, 04:37 PM
I completely agree with the majority of Pwynn's original posted list. And with the fact that there is much poor coaching out there. People who have not had the experience of riding at certain levels are teaching them. Also riders who were not particularly good, are teaching people to ride the same way. And, yes, I watch many of the coaches and trainer's, boh at the events and at private stables, and ahve been doing so for over 30 years.And I have seen how the riding and teaching has changed. I think riders are unprepared, unfit and most have no idea how to sensibly ride a course. And I am speaking ofa ll levels. Lots of those ULRs are not-they just happen to be riding at Intermediate and Advanced, many when they shouldn't be. And many of the lower level riders, just don't have good enough instruction or advice when it comes to how to ride a course, or a fence, how to rate their speed or when to move up. I think a lot of it is just in the numbers and percentages. In the "good old days" there were few Advanced riders. most of them were good, and those were the ones who were teaching the up and comers. Don't know how you fix it thoguh.

RunForIt
Mar. 22, 2008, 04:48 PM
I completely agree with the majority of Pwynn's original posted list. And with the fact that there is much poor coaching out there. People who have not had the experience of riding at certain levels are teaching them. Also riders who were not particularly good, are teaching people to ride the same way. And, yes, I watch many of the coaches and trainer's, boh at the events and at private stables, and ahve been doing so for over 30 years.And I have seen how the riding and teaching has changed. I think riders are unprepared, unfit and most have no idea how to sensibly ride a course. And I am speaking ofa ll levels. Lots of those ULRs are not-they just happen to be riding at Intermediate and Advanced, many when they shouldn't be. And many of the lower level riders, just don't have good enough instruction or advice when it comes to how to ride a course, or a fence, how to rate their speed or when to move up. I think a lot of it is just in the numbers and percentages. In the "good old days" there were few Advanced riders. most of them were good, and those were the ones who were teaching the up and comers. Don't know how you fix it thoguh.

can you give specifics as to what's making you say this? This is important because many people have the same opinion as you, but without specific examples, opinions remain just that. What could make coaching at a specific level get better? What could help riders without coaches know when they're ready to ride a level or a specific course?

bridlewise
Mar. 22, 2008, 05:08 PM
Runforit, as I said, I don't know how you fix it. I just know that I see some grave mistakes being made in advice and styles of coaching. Again, a lot of it is numbers. And anyone figures it's a way to make money, to teach and coach, when they have no business doing so. And there are no regulations on it. And as much as I think the ICP is a great idea, I'm not sure it's the answer. Until you can regulate and restrict people who just hang out a shingle and call themselves coaches, it will be hard to change. And even a lot of the older, experienced coaches make mistakes when it comes to giving advice. I know of some riders doing their first advanced at Red Hills. Now come on, since it's inception, Red Hills has been a difficult course. And that is mostly because of the terrain. Running up and down, canted on the sides of hills and through trees, with people, shuttles, dogs and all manners of distractions, makes it difficult, the course aside. It is NOT a move up course. Young people were warming up who were terrified and their coaches didn't have enough sense to scratch them. And sometimes, they do have to take the initiative and make the final decision. And I've seen it at places other than Red Hills. As far as riders wtihout coaches, well, for themost part, that shouldn't happen. Everyone needs someone on the ground, that's better than they are, to help them. If they can't afford a coach or at least some good lessons with a good person, perhaps they shouldn't be doing it. You'd think you should be able to go Novice or training without coaching but I think people, for the most part, are too unrealistic about their abilities to ride sensibly. We seem to have lost a lot of common sense in the game. That said, it's about as specific as I can get, really. Just think people need to take some responsibility for themselves and coaches, for their students.

LynLyn
Mar. 22, 2008, 05:43 PM
At least at the top levels the long format had the horses under stress being vet checked before going out on XC.

jumpjesterjump
Mar. 22, 2008, 05:53 PM
I think Brian Ross hit it on the head today at the jump judge meeting for the SoPines HT. We were talking about stops, he said that if the horse STOPS puts all four feet on the ground and has no forward movement it is a stop. ( there were a couple people that hadn't jj before) But after saying that he said that there would be people trying to jump from a standstill to avoid XC jump penalties. He was saying that there are more people trying to get that qualifing ride so that they can move up to the next level even when they are not ready too. He was explaining that we need to do something about our sport, before it is too late. We were to report anyone riding dangerously, i.e. going way too fast for the level, about falling off at every jump, etc...

We didn't have any that i know of but there were a few that you could see were there for the qualifing ride even if there horse was not ready. People are not doing their homework before coming to the shows and getting in trouble when they get there, and getting hurt (either themselves or their horses).

Tux61096
Mar. 22, 2008, 06:24 PM
and far more upper level riders than there were 30 years ago.


Could this be due to the fact that folks with enough cash can buy their upper level horses as opposed to make them? Not the case for every ULR, but certainly some.

As a refugee from the top H/J circuit where this happens with regularity, I am disappointed to see it happening with more frequency in eventing. Maybe just sour grapes by my financially lacking self.;)

Beam Me Up
Mar. 22, 2008, 06:24 PM
Poor coaching is not a new phenomenon. I and many others got plenty of bad coaching in the good old days as well.

I'm not sure what the answer is, especially on such a subjective topic (so many controversial trainers and methods, techniques that work for some horses/riders and not others, people with great competition records and questionable horsemanship).

Unfortunately when you are inexperienced, it can be hard to evaluate the advice you are being given. It can take while to learn enough independently to realize that your coach is steering you wrong (though, I suspect that most of us have experienced that at some point in our careers).

If there is any ray of hope, I do think that bad coaching is more common at lower levels than upper. Advanced level riders may choose controversial coaches, but rarely those who have little event knowledge/experience.

I suspect that poor coaching causes more of the scary lower level rides that are complained about on this board than the upper level accidents.

Why do we think that coaching is worse today than it used to be? (Honest question) I've always known trainers who didn't know what they were doing (and generally didn't know THAT).

pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 06:54 PM
Pwynn, my comments were not intented to downplay anyone's breedign program. I'll bet there are more high quality animals out there today because of good breeding programs.

I realize that, Hilary. That's why I was joking about it. Perhaps we are defining things differently, though. I think event horses ARE more talented because they are being bred for the sport, so more event horses have the specific talent needed to succeed in it. So, I didn't mean "all" horses in general, but rather the event horses one sees today compared to yesterday: the "purpose-bred ones," specifically.

Highflyer
Mar. 22, 2008, 07:03 PM
Well, a lot of these things are here to stay.
* competing without consistent coaching
* spending less time at home and more on the road
* shipping horses more often and across greater distances
* "investing" more heavily into horseflesh and competition
* more people with less access to good ground for conditioning
* competing more horses at a single event
* competing one horse more often
* more riders competing more often, including every weekend
* more riders specializing in the sport instead of gaining a wider range of
skills from exploring other types of riding experiences
* more coaches with more students but less time to coach them
* more trainers coaching students in spite of having comparatively little
experience themselves
* better protocols to shore up hurting horses
* more pressure to add value to horses by competing them
* less access to courses for schooling purposes
* more people competing in regions where there are far fewer events
to gain experience in
* better horses such that x-c questions of yesterday are just too easy
for the horseflesh of today
* a more and more "awkward" ratio of four-legged to two-legged talent
(i.e. horses with more ability than their riders)
* more entries in higher level competitions
* a wider range of experience and skill levels in higher level competition

A lot of these things are inevitable/ irreversible: there are more people involved in eventing at every level, there's just less open land than there used to be, and it isn't coming back, and the year-round eventing calendar is here to stay, too.

Some of them (the ones I've bolded) seem to me like they'd be comparatively easy to control: mandate the number of times a horse can compete in a given period; mandate the number of horses a rider can compete on a single day or at a given event; raise/ better enforce the qualification system; strongly encourage events to open courses a couple of times a year for schooling.

A couple of them (the ones in italics) I think are questionable: it's arguable whether competing more often really has a detrimental effect on the rider; it's arguable whether the horses are really significantly better as a group than the horses of ten or twenty years ago, and since the courses are vastly different, I'm not sure it's even comparable--we have UL horses today that have never run a classic 3-day, don't we?

pwynnnorman
Mar. 22, 2008, 07:05 PM
can you give specifics as to what's making you say this? This is important because many people have the same opinion as you, but without specific examples, opinions remain just that. What could make coaching at a specific level get better? What could help riders without coaches know when they're ready to ride a level or a specific course?

There have been many articles written on how to choose a good instructor. Maybe USEA needs to produce one specifically for the sport of eventing.

As for specific examples, how about the rider who bought the upper level horse, never made a horse herself (so has no clue how horses develop over time), is successful in young riders (more because of the $$$ behind her than any real skill or knowledge) and then proceeds to set up shop with Daddy's money: a gorgeous barn, custom-made six-horse and even a beautiful, huge land yacht to live in while on the road?

Actually, I think the land yachts are the easiest way to spot 'em. :winkgrin:

Seriously, though: the sheer number of riders who have never made a horse from scratch are the epitome of some (no, not all) of the problems because they simply haven't experienced green or unbalanced or even subtly LAME (and often also haven't experienced talentless either). Imagine coaching someone on a type of horse you've never even ridden? How about coaching an older rider on a pony when you are a twenty-something that went straight into WBs? Or a timid rider who is too embarassed to tell you that--and you are, again, only in your twenties and can't even imagine that--much less WHY--someone would be afraid of revving up the engine to produce enough rpms to get up that bank?

You might not even think of telling that person she tends to go too slowly because you lack the experience to see through the brave face she puts up. Indeed, you may not have developed enough of an eye at all to even see that she's holding the horse back instead of sending it forward, so you never address her lack of rpms at all. And what about your student's fitness and/or her horse's fitness? How do you even KNOW what level they are at in terms of fitness? What, exactly, do you do to find out? I'll bet you that there are some of folks out there right now realizing that their trainer has never assessed their or their horse's fitness.

[BTW, I'm not condemming eventers about these things. I know that this is a rampant problem in the horse industry, from hunters to western riding.]

I have seen sooooo many trainers who cannot see the issues in front of them and have absolutely no plan for developing a rider over time--no program, no prepared lesson, nothing. And, yeah, I can see what they miss and hear how they are ad libbing. I won't bother to be immodest about that. I was doing clinics with as many as a dozen students in a set as far back as my teens--and getting mightily praised for giving each one advice that was valuable and customized for their needs. I was a pretty confident instructor in my day, so you'll have to forgive me for just coming out with it. I got paid -- and even tipped -- handsomely for teaching when I was in my twenties, but I'd been teaching (and taught to teach, thanks to pony club) for a decade by the time I was earning $100 tips. So I will go ahead and say, yeah, I have seen a ton of trainers miss or skip fundamentals. It irks me, in fact. IMO, they are doing a real disservice to their clients by ignoring critical things like position, pace and preparation...but their clients adore them and simply don't have a clue what they are missing.

Sorry. That turned into a rant.

Tux61096
Mar. 22, 2008, 07:13 PM
There have been many articles written on how to choose a good instructor. Maybe USEA needs to produce one specifically for the sport of eventing.

As for specific examples, how about the rider who bought the upper level horse, never made a horse herself (so has no clue how horses develop over time), is successful in young riders (more because of the $$$ behind her than any real skill or knowledge) and then proceeds to set up shop with Daddy's money: a gorgeous barn, custom-made six-horse and even a beautiful, huge land yacht to live in while on the road?

Actually, I think the land yacht's are the easiest way to spot 'em. :winkgrin:

And yet that person will have folks (primarily new to the sport, lower level riders from what I see) coming from far and wide to ride with her because of all these fancy trappings.

RunForIt
Mar. 22, 2008, 07:19 PM
I believe quality coaching is critical in a sport where people and animals can get hurt and die without the required skills to negotiate a level's jumping questions on XC and stadium courses. This is an aspect of coaching that hasn't been discussed: the skilled, winning rider who turns to training riders and coaching. Just because you can do it yourself on a horse does not mean you know what and how to teach.

yellowbritches
Mar. 22, 2008, 07:25 PM
I want to know how you know, YB, that so many people do not get regular instruction. Do you go up to them and ask them at HTs? I don't have my horses at a trainer's barn, and I do a lot of work on my own, but I do get regular instruction.

As far as 'scarey' ICP-certified instructors. At least they are doing something to improve their technique. I think it is really sad that there is so much judgement displayed here - do you really sit there at shows and critique coaches while they warm up their students? I can't imagine having the time or interest.
Yowza. Why so defensive?

I spend far more time on this board than I should, and frequently see people talking about how they don't have an eventing coach, that they can do it on their own, or they just get help with their dressage or jumping from dressage or jumping specialists. I also talk to people at events and clinics, or when people come and try horses or I run into people in other places. And the prevailing pattern, even in this area that is FULL of awesome instruction, is event riders seem to have an over-abundance of independence and think that they can do it on their own. Independence is NOT a bad thing and I think it is an important trait that event riders need (no side line coaching for us, unlike in the h/j world), but people still need good guidance to stay on a good, safe path. And, as lstevenson said, it isn't the QUANTITY, it is the QUALITY. And part of the dilemma is that there is no really good way for new, inexperienced people to find really good help.

And the fact that the scary ICP instructors ARE certified means that the ICP APPROVES of their teaching style, not that they are improving their technique. Besides, as my mother has always said, everyone can dress up and behave for an hour...meaning here, if you study the material, you can teach the way ICP wants you to teach for your certification. One very good coach that is NOT certified and that is highly respected in her area likened it to getting your PC rating. If you study and read the material, you can pass your rating...doesn't mean that's how you do things.

And, yes, I do observe coaches at shows. I watch warm up frequently while at shows, and when we have horses and people at events, I spend a lot of time there, either coaching myself, offering moral support, or just making sure everyone gets to where they need to be. I don't have to sit and study each coach or trainer intently to know who is saying the right things and have students riding confidently and competently, and who is saying the wrong things and have students that look out of their element. And I am out and about enough that I see patterns in teaching styles. Maybe I am just a good study of humans (I realize this isn't a skill everyone possesses), but I DO enjoy watching and listening to people teach, I am constantly on the look out for interesting ways of explaining things, so, at an event, where there are LOTS of people coaching, it is ripe for the picking of little bits of knowledge...some things, however, are a little too ripe.

This isn't judgment. I am stating what I observe. I am fairly immersed in this sport. I haven't been around it as nearly as long as some, but I pretty much jumped into head first and have been privileged to be surrounded by some of the best (and not just riders and coaches...vets, farriers, you name it) from my infancy stage in this sport. I don't claim to know everything (far from it, in fact), but I DO know good teaching. And I know that it is lacking for a lot of people.

LexInVA
Mar. 22, 2008, 07:30 PM
100 points awarded for telling it like it is without sugar coating it.

RunForIt
Mar. 22, 2008, 07:33 PM
100 points awarded for telling it like it is without sugar coating it.

YB always does!

devcubber
Mar. 22, 2008, 09:56 PM
but I know of at least ONE MAJOR INSTANCE in AREA 1 where Roger Haller APPOINTED HIMSELF onto the Ground Jury over the objections of the Organizer. How are we supposed to deal with that kind of arrogance?


I would hope that your Organizer never hires him or the other members of the GJ who allowed that type of behaviour to happen. Sorry to hear about that. And fill out those event evals....and be specific about your qualms!

flyingchange
Mar. 23, 2008, 10:08 AM
As to the population, I'm just generalizing. Most of the riders out there aren't pros, so generalization is more applicable here to non-pros (although some of the things I listed are related to the pros).

So here we go again, focussing on the ammies (that's the population you said you were focussing on, since by default, they represent the majority of eventers out there). Why do you wish to focus on ammies at lower levels when, as has been stated ad nauseum, the accidents are occuring at the ULs to the best of the best in this sport?


But aren't they? More flying changes, counter changes of hand, etc.

I was originally reputing your point that "modern horses" find yesterday's typical UL courses "too easy" by asserting that todays' horses do not jump bigger, gallop faster, or do more advanced dressage movements than horses from 20 or 50 years ago.

But if you are just sticking to eventing, than yes, the dressage has gotten tougher, but TBs have been doing GP dressage for quite a long time. This is nothing new.



And perhaps an even BETTER example: Have you seen those "three huge tables on a bending line" questions at the four-star events? Can you imagine that physical challenge being presented twenty years ago to the horse flesh eventing back then?


Are you talking about the xc lines set up in the stadium at Burghley, for example? Yes, I've seen it (on video). Yes, I can certainly imagine our eventers from 20 years ago completing those lines quite well, especially since their rhythm would be worked out quite well by that point, since they had done phases ab and c before d.


And why are such daunting dimensions being incorporated in courses today? Indeed, what do you think was the reason they increased the height of stadium jumps to 4'3"?

FEI and Germany and warmbloods.



Because there are horses which can indeed handle them, with ease.
I suppose one could say/speculate that such things weren't in courses in the past because they weren't needed to separate the wheat from the chaff.
[/quote]

Yes, and because the warmbloods would have a much better chance of making it to SJ since they would not have been asked to do phases ab and c.



But they are today because even the chaff has enormous physical ability. I'm a TB person all the way, but when you see the likes of some WB crosses TROT into the third table and clear it, you gotta be awed by what is being bred out there.
[/quote]

Please ... they are there because of politics.

Atigirl
Mar. 23, 2008, 10:20 AM
I know that there is huge pressure to move up the levels. It seems like everyone what to get to Training, Prelim and higher. Maybe even before they have actually mastered the skills. I sometimes think there is an underlying feeling that BN and N are just for greenies (both horse and rider) Just because your horse can jump big doesn't really mean they are ready for a higher level. In Area VII there is an older lady who is quite content to ride training forever and to try to get better at it each year. I would prefer as a spectator to watch a beautifully ridden Training course the peak though my fingers at the carnage that is about to happen with an ill prepared prelim or higher round.

RAyers
Mar. 23, 2008, 10:26 AM
So here we go again, focussing on the ammies (that's the population you said you were focussing on, since by default, they represent the majority of eventers out there). Why do you wish to focus on ammies at lower levels when, as has been stated ad nauseum, the accidents are occuring at the ULs to the best of the best in this sport?

The focus is on UL riders because that is the only place the data is. That is all you hear about. Nobody has EVER tracked the data below preliminary outside of the FEI. From personal experience, I can specifically point out 2 recent incidents of AMATEURS killed or horribly injured at lower levels. Of course these were never included in the data as they were at non FEI competitions. Accidents are happening at all levels.

Safety must focus across the board at all levels and skills. Just because folks focus on I and A doesn't mean the lower levels suddenly get safer.

Reed

Atigirl
Mar. 23, 2008, 10:44 AM
My opinion is to focus safety at all levels. Sure you don't hear of a lot of accidents at the lower ones (although I do believe Christopher Reeve was riding Training at his accident.) Some times people move from BN to Prelim with little difficulty, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they or their horse has the knowledge and skill to compete at the upper levels. In my opinion this is where some of the accidents occur. All levels of courses need to be safe and encouraging. Ridders in general need to seek out training from qualified instructors to gain the knowledge and skills to ride at each level. Bombing around a Prelim course and making it by the seat of your pants is in my opinion not safe.

flutie1
Mar. 23, 2008, 10:51 AM
Horses aren't running any faster, jumping any higher, or thinking any quicker than they did 50 years ago. (Wynn, please don't get offended at this. I am not dissing breeders. Look at the records that are still unbroken after decades). I believe we are going against this fact and asking them, in the case of our sport, to assess problems faster than they had to on the more straightforward courses, but doing so at the same speeds. They (horses) have by necessity become so dependent upon the jockey telling them what to do and when to do it that when pilot error occurs, they have both lost the skill to get themselves out of trouble, and face puzzles that are increasingly difficult - and maybe impossible- for the equine brain to solve.

Flutie

pwynnnorman
Mar. 23, 2008, 12:02 PM
Horses aren't running any faster, jumping any higher, or thinking any quicker than they did 50 years ago. Flutie

I think I'm just not making the point I'm trying to make clear.

I'm not referring to horses in general. I'm referring to "the horses people event on."

The fact is indeed that more and more people are competing on WBs bred for scope. They ARE better at jumping than the TBs/TBxs that were all that was available years ago. Purpose-bred horses ARE, in general, "better" at the sport they've been bred for than horses in general are at that sport. If they weren't, they wouldn't be bred AND they would cost so much.

Yes, sure, I do NOTNOT disagree that the European invasion has had an impact on our sport, but, come one, let's GET REAL. That ain't gonna change. WBs dominate all FEI sports, period. They move better, riders think they are easier (note: I said "think") to produce, yada, yada, yada. The TB isn't making a comeback, except in crossbreeding. And, come to think of it, maybe that's only fair as compared to Europe, NA isn't exactly a hotbed of FEI competition. Why shouldn't the majority rule when it comes to the horse the course favors (or supposedly--I don't really agree that the short format favors WBs)?

Also, I wasn't just speaking my own opinion when I said those bending lines of tables wouldn't have been seen on courses of yesterday. I can send you the tape of...ugh, what Olympics was it? White tables, most chose to loop back before approaching the third, but some went straight through...Maybe Athens? I just can't remember. Anyway, the commentator himself commented on how talented event horses had become to be able to do the direct route like that. (Oh, and I also remembered that pair of huge corners Mark Phillips himself commented on, having designed them. I recall that he, too, implied that it woudl have been an impossible question in the past, and then, at the end of the day (this was Burghley, I think), hardly anyone had problems with it, which someone (on the tape) remarked was yet another sign of how talented both the horses and riders had become.) Anyway, both of those examples took a lot of scope, balance and rideability. All of which the were by no means as common years ago as they are now in event horses--I mean, in the "horses people choose to event."

Heck, the very fact that you can now pay good five figures just for an event horse prospect, when you'd pay that for something proven years ago, indicates clearly that the availability of raw talent is much greater than it was. But the main thing is jump, of course. Many of today's purpose-bred event horses could specialize in dressage or jumpers--yet another rarer trait in yesteryear.

Note, however, that I'm not inserting stamina or speed into the "talent" category of traits, although one could argue about that, too, since "agility" is a function of speed, power and balance and the twisty or technical complexes interspersed with galloping may be, arguably, "agility" challenges. And, certainly, the way folks are NOT making the time on so many courses certainly does strongly imply that speed and stamina are still significant factors. Even if not with respect to galloping, but rather to jumping complexes and then finding places to make up time. Thus as long as there are still a ton of time penalties in the results, it sure seems to me that some form or use of speed is hardly irrelevant today. Meanwhile, the taxing nature (as folks claim) of the new "complexes" so hated by proponents of the old format could also, again arguably, be considered a challenge to stamina...

Flying Change, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on some things, but I was at the Horse Park when Amanda Bader and Eleanor Brennan died. Young people, not "real" pros at all (not even in Eleanor's case). I have also used a fair number of riders in their age range (actually, I don't know how old Amanda Bader was). In all honesty, because I appreciate those young women greatly, it is they I am thinking of in a lot of the statements I make. Unfortunately, they don't fit neatly into either category (ammy or pro) as they are not well-enough established to be your classic pro (with many owners and students making significant demands on their time, attention and managerial decisionmaking). However, they do have a boatload of the sometimes somewhat dangerous (in terms of risktaking) motivations to become pros like that.

flutie1
Mar. 23, 2008, 12:12 PM
"They ARE better at jumping than the TBs that were all that was available years ago."

Not dead sure I agree with you on this, but the point of my post is CAN THEY THINK FASTER? Can they solve the puzzles they meet on XC on the fly? I don't believe so - and this is a problem totally unrelated to long/short format, breed, etc. It relates to the questions being asked and the time frame in which they are being required to answer.

Of course I'm aware that things aren't going to change. I live in Chicago, not under a rock (though some might equate the two!). I'm not talking WB vs. TB either. I'm talking horses in general.

Flutie

pwynnnorman
Mar. 23, 2008, 12:25 PM
Not dead sure I agree with you on this, but the point of my post is CAN THEY THINK FASTER? Can they solve the puzzles they meet on XC on the fly? Flutie

Ah, they need to think fast? (I'm joshing you a bit there.) But don't you mean react fast? I do see where you're headed with that, though, but I don't see how one can assess it. You're presuming that the WB is a slow thinker/reactor. Others believe it is more that they are bred to wait for their riders to tell them, rather than draw their own conclusions. But that trait, if its true, only means they require more thinking riders (so riders who can't do the thinking for them, maybe shouldn't be riding them, but rather riding a more independent type). Does that mean they aren't better--or just that [more] riders aren't?

As to solving puzzles on the fly, I think they can indeed. I am in awe of event horses who carrying on through the flags even when their riders have totally "lost their knitting" at the British commentators put it. But on that, I don't think there is any difference between now and then. It's just what make event horses the exceptional creatures they are (and have always been)

Blugal
Mar. 23, 2008, 12:42 PM
I think what Flutie is saying, is that event horses (in general, whether TB or WB) can't think/react any faster than a few generations ago, but they are required to do so by today's courses.

If so, I agree with this statement.

I do not agree with you pwynn, when you say "purpose-bred WB eventers are better jumpers than TBs available years ago". You are making that an absolute statement. I think that what defines a good jumper has several factors, which are affected by different variables, such as speed, terrain, fatigue, width/height, interference by rider etc.

flutie1
Mar. 23, 2008, 12:48 PM
"I think what Flutie is saying, is that event horses (in general, whether TB or WB) can't think/react any faster than a few generations ago, but they are required to do so by today's courses."

Exactly right.


Flutie

pwynnnorman
Mar. 23, 2008, 01:06 PM
OK, I understand what you mean a lot better. Sorry for being a bit thick about it.

But perhaps course designers think in the same thick way I do: What about the riders, in terms of thinking? What I mean is, if the issue were that the questions come up too fast for the horses, why aren't there a huge number of calamities occuring? If the danger on course is "things happen too fast," rather than "sometimes, for SOME horses, things happen to fast," surely the statistics would show that? So maybe it's not overwhelming the maximum limits of a horse's ability to react/think, but rather taxing the rider's ability to compensate for the horse and/or to make good decisions about his horses capabilities (like, take the long route, pull up, pull out, go more slowly, take a longer, easier, clearer track even if its not officially "the" track, etc., etc.).

Are there actually jumps on courses which give a rider NO CHOICE but to rely on the speed of the horse's reactions? If so, surely, that kind of jump should be banned.

RunForIt
Mar. 23, 2008, 02:00 PM
Thank you all, PWynn, Flutie, Blugal for doing this discussion in such smart ways - you've put your ideas out, followed each other's thinking, countered, commented again...allowing all of us to follow along and learn...and perhaps now draw our own conclusions based on you all growing our thinking along with your own.

The power of the growth of understanding that has taken place through the discussion on these various threads is beyond belief. I've learned so much and my perspective has widened...thank you all.

Gnep
Mar. 23, 2008, 03:07 PM
we have a larger amount of purpose bread horses available.

I beleave that with the ever increasing number of riders the tradional habbits of a solid development of horses and riders have been lost. Horses are not anymore considered a longtime project that a rider develops, ready to go horses are demanded and they are produced. Most ammis buy those horses and are far to often overfaced, to much horse. Just have a look at the hardware those horses have in their mouthes and that already at BN and N. It does not improve at the UL especialy with the ammies. One sees at the UL far to often that the riders are no match for their horses strength and conditioning.

The demise of the LF might have contributed to that trend

One think that needs serious improvement, is rider, trainer and coach rsponsebility. Especialy rider responsebility, we have a leming mentality and for some odd reason are unable to say know, even when we know that we have absolut stupid jumps or combinations on course, we just don't scratch.
If we would say no, more often, than some of the excesses in CD design would go away and coaches have to say more often no.

snoopy
Mar. 23, 2008, 03:24 PM
[QUOTE=yellowbritches;3092826]Yowza. Why so defensive?

I spend far more time on this board than I should, and frequently see people talking about how they don't have an eventing coach, that they can do it on their own, or they just get help with their dressage or jumping from dressage or jumping specialists. I also talk to people at events and clinics, or when people come and try horses or I run into people in other places. And the prevailing pattern, even in this area that is FULL of awesome instruction, is event riders seem to have an over-abundance of independence and think that they can do it on their own. Independence is NOT a bad thing and I think it is an important trait that event riders need (no side line coaching for us, unlike in the h/j world), but people still need good guidance to stay on a good, safe path. And, as lstevenson said, it isn't the QUANTITY, it is the QUALITY. And part of the dilemma is that there is no really good way for new, inexperienced people to find really good help.

And the fact that the scary ICP instructors ARE certified means that the ICP APPROVES of their teaching style, not that they are improving their technique. Besides, as my mother has always said, everyone can dress up and behave for an hour...meaning here, if you study the material, you can teach the way ICP wants you to teach for your certification. One very good coach that is NOT certified and that is highly respected in her area likened it to getting your PC rating. If you study and read the material, you can pass your rating...doesn't mean that's how you do things.

And, yes, I do observe coaches at shows. I watch warm up frequently while at shows, and when we have horses and people at events, I spend a lot of time there, either coaching myself, offering moral support, or just making sure everyone gets to where they need to be. I don't have to sit and study each coach or trainer intently to know who is saying the right things and have students riding confidently and competently, and who is saying the wrong things and have students that look out of their element. And I am out and about enough that I see patterns in teaching styles. Maybe I am just a good study of humans (I realize this isn't a skill everyone possesses), but I DO enjoy watching and listening to people teach, I am constantly on the look out for interesting ways of explaining things, so, at an event, where there are LOTS of people coaching, it is ripe for the picking of little bits of knowledge...some things, however, are a little too ripe.

This isn't judgment. I am stating what I observe. I am fairly immersed in this sport. I haven't been around it as nearly as long as some, but I pretty much jumped into head first and have been privileged to be surrounded by some of the best (and not just riders and coaches...vets, farriers, you name it) from my infancy stage in this sport. I don't claim to know everything (far from it, in fact), but I DO know good teaching. And I know that it is lacking for a lot of people.[/QUOTE}




Agree with this very much...


And have REALLY enjoyed the exchange from this post down...GREAT dialogue!!

Candle
Mar. 23, 2008, 04:28 PM
The fact is indeed that more and more people are competing on WBs bred for scope. They ARE better at jumping than the TBs/TBxs that were all that was available years ago. Purpose-bred horses ARE, in general, "better" at the sport they've been bred for than horses in general are at that sport. If they weren't, they wouldn't be bred AND they would cost so much.

I wholeheartedly agree with you Wynn that WBs are scopier and better jumpers than most TBs, HOWEVER I have always believed that eventing is a test of endurance and finesse. The purpose of the dressage test is not to determine who is the best mover and dressage horse, it is to test whose horse can be trained to be extremely rideable when extremely fit. The purpose of SJ is not to identify the best jumpers, it is to see whose horse is still fit and responsive enough after XC day to leave rails up.

I feel like the sport has moved away from primarily testing endurance and has now grown to try to produce the best dressage horses who are also the best jumping horses and can also be very very fit. I will never disagree with breeding better horses, but I personally want to watch a test of bravery and fitness when I go to an event. I want to leave the brilliant dressage to the dressage folks, and the brilliant stadium jumping to the show jumping folks. A brilliant eventing dressage test to me would be a horse who is fit and ready for a three day being accurate and obedient, not particularly a horse who is just naturally talented and bred for dressage. Same with SJ, the excitement for me is watching to see who is fit and obedient enough to listen to their rider long enough to negotiate technical combinations where the rails fall down after a long long weekend.

I feel that dressage rewards naturally outstanding movers who are proportionally built for collection. Show jumping requires a quick and handy horse who is very very scopey and able to collect and extend at a second's notice to negotiate jumps off of impossible turns. I don't want to see eventing testing some combination of these; we have dressage and show jumping competitions. I want to see a test of whose horse (and rider) is brave enough to gallop down to a giant fence in an open field and jump it after miles of roads and tracks.

Mary in Area 1
Mar. 23, 2008, 04:56 PM
If you RIDE TB's and then RIDE WB's you will FEEL the difference. Most TB's are just faster twitch than WB's, their ability to have a thought go from the brain to their feet is just quicker. Now, that MAY be because the thought goes directly to their feet rather than from their brain to begin with...but you see my point.

RHdobes563
Mar. 23, 2008, 05:34 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with you Wynn that WBs are scopier and better jumpers than most TBs, HOWEVER I have always believed that eventing is a test of endurance and finesse. The purpose of the dressage test is not to determine who is the best mover and dressage horse, it is to test whose horse can be trained to be extremely rideable when extremely fit. The purpose of SJ is not to identify the best jumpers, it is to see whose horse is still fit and responsive enough after XC day to leave rails up.

I feel like the sport has moved away from primarily testing endurance and has now grown to try to produce the best dressage horses who are also the best jumping horses and can also be very very fit. I will never disagree with breeding better horses, but I personally want to watch a test of bravery and fitness when I go to an event. I want to leave the brilliant dressage to the dressage folks, and the brilliant stadium jumping to the show jumping folks. A brilliant eventing dressage test to me would be a horse who is fit and ready for a three day being accurate and obedient, not particularly a horse who is just naturally talented and bred for dressage. Same with SJ, the excitement for me is watching to see who is fit and obedient enough to listen to their rider long enough to negotiate technical combinations where the rails fall down after a long long weekend.

I feel that dressage rewards naturally outstanding movers who are proportionally built for collection. Show jumping requires a quick and handy horse who is very very scopey and able to collect and extend at a second's notice to negotiate jumps off of impossible turns. I don't want to see eventing testing some combination of these; we have dressage and show jumping competitions. I want to see a test of whose horse (and rider) is brave enough to gallop down to a giant fence in an open field and jump it after miles of roads and tracks.

I LOFF you! :D

Gnep
Mar. 23, 2008, 07:43 PM
Flutie is axactly right, nothing in the brain of the horse has changed, we have naturally through selectif breeding increased certain abilities.
But the computer is the same.
Some of the jumps are just jumped out of a reflex, not out of understanding and having mentally understood and solved the problem.
Reflex is an automatic reaction nothing more, it can be trained and improoved.
I think that in to many combinations the horse depends on its reflexes and never has solved the question asked, those hail maries, desperate attemps to clear the jump.

The always returning discussion of the WB and TB, especialy mental ability, agilities, fast thinking, speed etc. is just based on the US market.
Eventing happens in Europe and GB, even taking in account how succesful the US is, and the majority of those horses used in Europe/GB are cross breeds wb/tb.
The one thing the US has always been missing a well established and reckognized purpose bred horse industrie for jumping, dressage and eventing. For Eventing the Racing Industrie produces through sheer mass the few horses that could make it in the sport, but not as a goal.

I think that the loss of the Long Format and its endurance demands has encourage CD, Riders and Trainers to go into todays direction. CD to make the courses more technical demanding, Riders not anymore that much in awe of the task ahead, coaches the same and lowering their standards.
We are see a total change in mentality and thinking, without knowing how to cope with it.
How many people said that Athens was not a true test, it might not have been, but now we got the opposit

pwynnnorman
Mar. 23, 2008, 07:50 PM
I personally want to watch a test of bravery and fitness when I go to an event. I want to leave the brilliant dressage to the dressage folks, and the brilliant stadium jumping to the show jumping folks.


In an ideal world, I'd be right there with you, Candle. But maybe this is yet another area we just can't return to. Why? Because, what happens when the horse fails the test (especially the fitness one)? And given how we're losing conditioning land and opportunity (and, maybe, horsemanship?), isn't that a real threat (more horses failing the fitness test).

Indeed, there are more ways than one to define "fitness," aren't there? Another major can of worms there (When is the horse "not fit" to start?), especially in the upper levels.

tuppysmom
Mar. 23, 2008, 08:14 PM
I don't think that you can excuse lack of conditioning because of land loss. Many people, like us, live in an area with no access to open ground that would be safe and suitable for conditioning an event horse. Here in the desert, any open ground is dry, hard, rocky, and very full of holes. There are little holes and holes big enough to lose a PU truck.

We built a sand track where we can control the footing, watch and or video the ride, time the laps and measure the speed of the horses, check heart rates, all while enjoying a nice glass of wine on the deck.

One horse can be galloping and another one can be standing in ice, and I can keep track of them both.

I would dearly love to have an uphill gallop, but I have accepted the fact that we are flatlanders.

BarbB
Mar. 23, 2008, 08:54 PM
If you RIDE TB's and then RIDE WB's you will FEEL the difference. Most TB's are just faster twitch than WB's, their ability to have a thought go from the brain to their feet is just quicker. Now, that MAY be because the thought goes directly to their feet rather than from their brain to begin with...but you see my point.

:lol::lol::lol:
Yes, it may be a short circuit, but I like it anyway.

arnika
Mar. 23, 2008, 10:18 PM
by GNEP
The always returning discussion of the WB and TB, especialy mental ability, agilities, fast thinking, speed etc. is just based on the US market.
Eventing happens in Europe and GB, even taking in account how succesful the US is, and the majority of those horses used in Europe/GB are cross breeds wb/tb.


I have really enjoyed reading the conversation taking place in the posts above but I have to add just one comment. In reference to eventing lines in Europe, the most popular and winning lines are and have been mostly TB with just a dash (as in 1/16-1/32) WB added in. Those lines were often registered with a WB association but tracing their lineage gives almost all TB ancestors. Also, Great Britain/Ireland still breed mainly TB lines with Irish Draught or a touch of WB added in as well in their crossbreds.

Gnep
Mar. 23, 2008, 11:54 PM
But Arni8ka, that is what the Eventing Warmblood is, a cross, they always have brought in new and fresh blood for what ever purpose they bred.
If certain registries felt they need a bit endurance than they took in certain arabien studs, as long as those stud fit their goals, once the goal was achieved they, discontinued those stud lines, same with TB, if they wanted to get lighter faster horse they took TB studs in their lines, goal achieved, studline discontinued.
My Westfalien mare has 4 TB lines, she is a warmblood, but has combined the qualities of both breeds. Same with my Trakehner mare, 3 Tbs.
They are not speed challenged, they are not slow pluggers, opposit, they are very dynamic horses, very agil on their feed and very good gallopers. I do gallop for a friend TBs and have so a very good comparison.
Basicly, to give a rather simply compariso, say a Chevrolet, answer pick up truck, but if that is the whole answer than you forget the Corvet and that thing is fun.

vineyridge
Mar. 24, 2008, 02:02 AM
Gnep, there was a Hannoverian breeder who died recently named Friedrich Butt. He started with a branded Hannoverian mare and bred mares from that line consistently to TBs. He never brought in any more WB and always bred to licensed Hannoverian TBs, so he always got the brand. His last horses were 31/32 TB. Ingrid Klimke was riding one last year, and I think Andreas Dibowski (sp) had another. If a Hannoverian eventer has Butt for the first part of its name it's one of his. And they have been VERY successful. But, they are branded Hannoverian because he had a vision and was able to play within the rules.

arnika
Mar. 24, 2008, 09:02 AM
Gnep, my point wasn't that Europe doesn't use crosses, but that the crosses have been mostly TB. With just enough WB in them to make them registerable. That has been what has made them suitable for 3-day. vineyridge, Mr. Butts was one of the breeders I was thinking of when I wrote my post. I seem to remember it was Butts Leon that Andreas rode.

Gnep
Mar. 24, 2008, 10:20 AM
I guess we mean the same thing, just are approaching it from differant angles. When people moan and groan that the oh so clumsy WBs and their breeder mafia are responsible, and that those horses are maybe a reason for the accidents, because WBs are slow, clumsy, nervous, easily shying, slow think on their hooves, speed and endurance challenged what did I forget ? than they have never checked out how those horses are bred and are actually putting their TBs down.
When I stand Nymphe besides my rescue TB Spider Man than it is hard to tell who the WB and who the TB is, same with Wild Fire or Dibos or Klimkes WBs.

But geting back to PWs, I feel that at this point the sport needs a education program that is based on the traditional values of Eventing, that stresses, rider and coach responsebility, old fashioned horsemanship, that works against the ribbon at all cost mentality, that works against the pressure of having to move up, that makes it ok to say NO.

west5
Mar. 24, 2008, 10:25 AM
I beleave that with the ever increasing number of riders the tradional habbits of a solid development of horses and riders have been lost. Horses are not anymore considered a longtime project that a rider develops, ready to go horses are demanded and they are produced. Most ammis buy those horses and are far to often overfaced, to much horse. Just have a look at the hardware those horses have in their mouthes and that already at BN and N. It does not improve at the UL especialy with the ammies.

One think that needs serious improvement, is rider, trainer and coach rsponsebility. Especialy rider responsebility, .

As an ammie I'm going to agree with a lot of what Gnep has said here.

The number of horses I was told were "ammy friendly" which were not really was laughable. These were horses being marketed by some of the top pros in the country. It was ridiculous.

I ride a lot of my trainer's babies so I know the difference between a "made" horse and a good young horse that is not really suitable YET (and horses that never will be suitable.)

For the ammy/YR market I'd like to see a lot more horses around the age of 10 that have been brought along slowly, not run into the ground going from BN to P in a year at age 6.

A true ammy friendly horse has to have enough experience and enough sense to say "I don't think so" when the rider makes a mistake. Not to mention a very developed sense of humor.

Also people need to be not so desperate to sell (or buy) horses and say it isn't a good match.

Coaches also have to be willing to say that "you aren't good enough yet" and not be afraid of the rider's response.

Pros, ammys, everybody needs to be much more honest with themselves and recognize their own limitations. It isn't actually that hard.

west5
Mar. 24, 2008, 10:37 AM
I feel that at this point the sport needs a education program that is based on the traditional values of Eventing, that stresses, rider and coach responsebility, old fashioned horsemanship, that works against the ribbon at all cost mentality, that works against the pressure of having to move up, that makes it ok to say NO.

Yes, what I love about eventing is the "process".

More coaches should focus on teaching their ammy students the whole package of horsemanship.

I think my favorite parts are the conditioning hacks :)

mbarrett
Mar. 24, 2008, 10:49 AM
OK, it sounds like there are two different discussions on this thread. Are horses better today than yesterday? Coaching and instructors that may or may not be ICP certified.

Here's my take on the latter. I am a school teacher. I went thorough four years of college and took teaching methods classes, pre-service teaching and finally student teaching, before I earned my teaching certificate. Then I had to take and pass the State Board exams. I am currently getting my masters degree in teaching because I want to improve my teaching.

My question, why is a person who is ICP certified, or not ICP certified, considered a good teacher if they haven't had any training in teaching methods? I had to go through many YEARS of training before I was allowed in a classroom, why can't that be the same with riding instructors?

I don't see how being ICP certified means you're a good teacher? I realize there are some "natural" insturctors out there. But some of them are not certified at all.

My problem is that the people who run the ICP program, how do THEY know if someone is qualified to teach? What are their credentials? Do they have a bachelors or masters in teaching methods? Have they gone through the process to become a certified teacher themself?

Did the ICP program work hand and hand with someone with experience in curriculum development and methods training? Did they work with a college of education at some university to see if their standards were realistic and obtainable?

I'm not trying to pick a fight. I am just wondering how this ICP program makes people "qualified" to teach riding lessons if they have NO formal training in education. In Europe, doesn't a person have to go to university if they want to become a riding instructor? Or at least some sort of approved training program?

fooler
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:38 AM
I don't think that horses today are "better" than horses of yesteryear. I think there are more horses who have better training, but the physical animal is about the same.

They have studied racehorses and tried to determine was Secretariate "better" than Man O' War, and since Secretariat, has any one been as good. Today's horses may sometimes reach faster speeds, but some of that is improved track surfaces. Were those 2 freaks of nature? Probably, but we haven't managed to consistently breed them.

Horses jumped 8' single fences in the 20s during high-jump competitions. They don't jump 15 feet today. They still top out at 8' or so.

They don't run at 55mph, and no, the GP dressage tests do not ask for harder movements. The Eventing dressage tests at Advanced HAVE gotten harder. But straight dressage and straight show jumping have not gotten bigger and harder.

If anything there is more and better instruction out there, and far more upper level riders than there were 30 years ago.

I do agree with some of your points, but I also believe that we may be stepping into the territory where the courses are too hard for more horses.

Just guessing this is what Pwynnorman was thinking. Many apologies if I am off-track. . .

I started eventing in the mid-70's and most horses were nice 'backyard' types or OTTB's. Some stood-out as they presented the complete package - but not many.
I took a 3-4 year 'vacation' from eventing in the mid- to late 90's and on my return was un-horsed, so I worked on my TD license. This allowed me a grand opportunity to view more in the way of horses and riders.
Two things were shocking;
1) The OVERALL QUALITY of horse-flesh being competed - nothing at all like what I had seen before. More money was being spent in purchasing well bred horses instead of pulling Chester out of the back yard and going to an event.
2) The riding level did not match the quality of horse-flesh.

fooler
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:50 AM
we have a larger amount of purpose bread horses available.

I beleave that with the ever increasing number of riders the tradional habbits of a solid development of horses and riders have been lost. Horses are not anymore considered a longtime project that a rider develops, ready to go horses are demanded and they are produced. Most ammis buy those horses and are far to often overfaced, to much horse. Just have a look at the hardware those horses have in their mouthes and that already at BN and N. It does not improve at the UL especialy with the ammies. One sees at the UL far to often that the riders are no match for their horses strength and conditioning.

The demise of the LF might have contributed to that trend

One think that needs serious improvement, is rider, trainer and coach rsponsebility. Especialy rider responsebility, we have a leming mentality and for some odd reason are unable to say know, even when we know that we have absolut stupid jumps or combinations on course, we just don't scratch.
If we would say no, more often, than some of the excesses in CD design would go away and coaches have to say more often no.

YES, YES, YES

pwynnnorman
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:54 AM
Thank you, fooler. That is indeed exactly what I meant. It is, I think (because I read it somewhere), "a" reason why courses have been beefed up: the talent of the horses today makes childs play now of what might have been physically challenging for a significant majority of horses used for eventing in years past.

Couple that with rider's ability to answer tougher questions (like skinnier and skinnier skinnies), and you can see how we got here, in part.

Which points to where we go from here, too. If we take a step back, what will be the result, I wonder? What will be competitive? [I'll admit my concern stems in part from being a breeder who has yet to produce a knock-your-socks-off great mover. I got some good ones coming along, but I'm still a bit distant from "great." Will my products be competitive enough after the revisions, especially at the lower levels where dressage already plays a more significant role in the results?]

mbj
Mar. 25, 2008, 10:59 AM
I haven't read all the posts, but will in the next week, as they are edifying for the most part. Has someone suggested that asking if a potential coach has trained young horses up the levels, or is a B or A rated Pony Clubber? PC at those levels requires tested experience training horse and rider, and until very recently,required all 3 event phases.

lstevenson
Mar. 25, 2008, 04:45 PM
Has someone suggested that asking if a potential coach has trained young horses up the levels, or is a B or A rated Pony Clubber? PC at those levels requires tested experience training horse and rider, and until very recently,required all 3 event phases.


Yes, this would be a much better way to find a good trainer/coach than just looking for certification. I think it's VERY important that a trainer has trained horses from scratch up through the levels instead of just buying made horses and riding them. To me, it's the difference between just being a good rider and being a true horseman.

Currently PC graduates are extremely qualified. But with the (unfortunate IMO) changes recently in PC, it means that when the current PC'ers come out teaching 10 years or so from now, they might not be as fully qualified or as well rounded as the older generation. But at least they should still be well educated.

RunForIt
Mar. 25, 2008, 05:49 PM
Soooo, what if the heights, widths, MPMs are contained because it just can't be justified any longer, the thrill seekers might have to...RETURN TO PRODUCING AN ANIMAL THAT CAN GALLOP LONGER DISTANCES, JUMP, and GALLOP AGAIN! Oh wow, and that animal might need some phases to get warmed up, hey y'all (if you're in or from the south, lets call them Raods and Tracks, and the warm-up for galloping and jumping, STEEPLECHASE!) - aren't we all good horse people?! Damn - I wish I'd been the one who'd thunk it! :lol:

imapepper
Mar. 25, 2008, 07:24 PM
Thank you, fooler. That is indeed exactly what I meant. It is, I think (because I read it somewhere), "a" reason why courses have been beefed up: the talent of the horses today makes childs play now of what might have been physically challenging for a significant majority of horses used for eventing in years past.

Couple that with rider's ability to answer tougher questions (like skinnier and skinnier skinnies), and you can see how we got here, in part.

Which points to where we go from here, too. If we take a step back, what will be the result, I wonder? What will be competitive? [I'll admit my concern stems in part from being a breeder who has yet to produce a knock-your-socks-off great mover. I got some good ones coming along, but I'm still a bit distant from "great." Will my products be competitive enough after the revisions, especially at the lower levels where dressage already plays a more significant role in the results?]

My $.02 about movement and dressage scores....

I really don't think that dressage scores should reward the spectacular mover over the correct mover. I think that dressage scores should be based on the accuracy and CORRECTNESS of the move. I think that is one of the reasons that people end up with unsuitable horses. They try to buy these horses (fabulous horses BTW) with extravagant movement in hopes of getting better dressage scores that they can't ride. I really believe that dressage is all about the training of the horse. Maybe I need to get smacked with the reality stick but....if people didn't believe that they needed a flashy mover to win....maybe they would buy suitable? Again, I might be living in my own "special" :rolleyes: world.

And there is nothing wrong with the way your current horse moves ;) I think Teddy and that other handsome young prospect you have move quite nicely :D

LisaB
Mar. 26, 2008, 08:51 AM
I do have to disagree a bit on competing without consistent coaching.
Okay, I think there's a ton of folks out there that do get consistent coaching. I think there's a greater actual %.
Years ago, you might get a few lessons in before competing. That was very prevalent. Now, we have trainers forgoing riding in the event in order to coach.
On the other hand, we are getting more people in from a lot of different areas where there aren't qualified coaches. AND there are a lot of unqualified coaches, period or coaches that don't lay down the law because they want student to be happy (and dead!).
I also disagree on access to x-c courses. A LOT of people make ditches and banks at home or they school someplace. There's a lot more out there than 20 yrs ago.
There's always been that 'awkward' ratio! Now, talented riders are trying to get that talented horse in more creative fashions whereas before, they just kinda gave up. So we are hearing it more now.
I think our problem with the adv. riders is that they DON'T have a wider range of experience. When was the last time we saw an ex-dr or ex-GPJ out there? Or from eventer to dr or jumper? Or a cowboy taking up eventing? You don't see it anymore and so that wide range of experience isn't there anymore so the rider can't creatively get out of a jam.

And it sounds like you're saying 'suck it up, kids'. Well, I disagree. We've lost the boldness of x-c. People aren't shitting a brick over that huge ditch and wall anymore. They are shitting over that double corner on bending line. And it's not because our horses and riders aren't being tested over that huge jump, it's because cd's *think* that ONLY the technical questions are testing the riders. Not so, not so.
I think you're forgetting that Karen's been there, done that. She's over it as far as the big bold jumps. She can do it in her sleep because she's so experienced. These other guys that don't have her mileage are so wrapped around the technicalities that they don't ever learn real x-c. We've lost what's important on x-c. Leave the technical jumps to sj. X-c is to test speed, endurance, and boldness first.

CBudFrggy
Mar. 26, 2008, 09:51 AM
I don't think that you can excuse lack of conditioning because of land loss. Many people, like us, live in an area with no access to open ground that would be safe and suitable for conditioning an event horse. Here in the desert, any open ground is dry, hard, rocky, and very full of holes. There are little holes and holes big enough to lose a PU truck.

We built a sand track where we can control the footing, watch and or video the ride, time the laps and measure the speed of the horses, check heart rates, all while enjoying a nice glass of wine on the deck.

One horse can be galloping and another one can be standing in ice, and I can keep track of them both.

I would dearly love to have an uphill gallop, but I have accepted the fact that we are flatlanders.

I agree with this. I make up for lack of land by using public parks--one with a hill and 1.15 mile loop going up and down and around. Riders/trainers have to use their common sense and what's available to get the job done.

I also agree with Gnep's posts about going back to the basics of bringing along one's own horse, having responsibility for said horse, and using good basic horsemanship.

Stewie
Mar. 26, 2008, 10:17 AM
What a great dialogue so far!

I fluctuate on the ICP idea... I think it has potential to be great, but it could use some flushing out. I knocked around the idea of going for the certification, but it does come down to money right now. It's pricey, and there would be travel and time. For me, it's not feesable.

Secondly, I had wanted to partner up with a Level III instructor (of which there are none in this area). I could have taken some of LIII's beginners, and taught them the basics, and given them the ability to be ready and prepared for more demanding lessons. Does a full time LIII coach have time to reiterate the basics? I know my limits, and I can admit them. I would have been happy to do BN-T, and then passing them off, with a solid foundation, to someone who would take them further.

I see more and more of the 'hang out a shingle and call yourself a trainer' types in eventing than ever before. In a way, that's ok in the H/J world. (no bashing). When a person stands around in the field going 'Ok, good' when a rider is leaping up a bank at a flat out gallop from a stride away and barely making it... I'm sorry, that's NOT 'Ok, good'. That's dangerous. I don't care if you're a B pony clubber or an HA or whatever. If all you know if how to be a ground person, then call yourself a Certified Ground Person if you want, not a 'trainer'.

So, how to fix it?

pwynnnorman
Mar. 26, 2008, 10:36 PM
Given the never-ending Darren thread, I became curious as to whether anyone might have changed, reinforced or abandoned their views on this subject. I was amazed by hearing that he would possibly be riding 11 horses at one event and that Boyd Martin rode (could ride??) 14. IS that where the business of the sport is headed?

I wonder how the owners of some of those horses feel about it, for example? How well can you know a horse if you have that many? Is the sport getting to the point where you don't NEED to know the horse that well (at least at the lower levels)? Is it now possible for super-talented pros to succeed like this? Is it WISE for the sport to somehow have gotten to this point? Is there any solution? Should there be?

pwynnnorman
Aug. 8, 2008, 01:42 PM
Whoops! I edited a previous post rather than posting a new one. This post is to put it back on the first page. I'm just so curious to see how folks feel now about this topic!

LexInVA
Aug. 8, 2008, 01:50 PM
Better put on your goggles P. This is gonna get messy. :lol:

Fence2Fence
Aug. 8, 2008, 03:37 PM
Wow. Absolutely amazing to re-read this ...five months later.

Ajierene
Aug. 8, 2008, 03:49 PM
Here are my views:

competing without consistent coaching
Personally, I don't see this happening with people looking to move up. I compete without consistent coaching, but I have not moved up in a few years.

spending less time at home and more on the road
This could be a problem. When looking at upper level riders, I see them in the south in the winter and the north in the summer, on the East Coast. Some have farms they keep their horses at in each location, but they are also doing almost one show a weekend. The riders themselves also travel, which is mental wear and tear.

shipping horses more often and across greater distances
This is a bit tough to get a handle on because out west you have to ship longer distances just to get to shows. How are you going to alleviate this?

"investing" more heavily into horseflesh and competition
I do not see this across the board. There may be an instance here or there where people invest rather than bring a horse up, but those that buy 'made' horses tend to get a 3 star horse and run it 2 star, not get a 3 star horse and assume it can do 4 star.

more people with less access to good ground for conditioning
I think this is a real concern. Many people are wanting to get into eventing and living at barns that do not have places to hack out. Trailering out to someplace is difficult also. I own my own trailer and still cannot get out to the trails that often. I think gas prices are a factor here as well, though gas at least is going down rapidly at the moment.

competing more horses at a single event
I do think this could be a real problem. I think there should be regulations on who can compete how many horses at a show, but determining this may be difficult.

competing one horse more often
Not quite sure where this one goes - more often than the other horses that the person owns? Not sure how this is a problem.

more riders competing more often, including every weekend
This is similar to competing more than one horse in a single event. It may need to be regulated because it effects the rider and is contingent on the rider, not necessarily the horse.

more riders specializing in the sport instead of gaining a wider range of
skills from exploring other types of riding experiences
This should be addressed and I believe it would be best addressed by adjusting teaching habits - not assuming someone goes to jump shows all the time or is going to fox hunt over the winter, but making sure those holes are taken care of.

more coaches with more students but less time to coach them
I am not seeing this in large numbers, so I am not going to comment.

more trainers coaching students in spite of having comparatively little
experience themselves
Ideally this is something the ICP should take care of, though as previously mentioned, the ICP may need some tweaking.

better protocols to shore up hurting horses
I agree that this needs to be done, but not sure where to start

more pressure to add value to horses by competing them
I think this is a changing trend that is not going to go away but have to be worked with.

less access to courses for schooling purposes
In my area, I am seeing more access.

more people competing in regions where there are far fewer events
to gain experience in
Definitely an issue, but no idea where to begin other than to say - need more venues.

better horses such that x-c questions of yesterday are just too easy
for the horseflesh of today
No comment - the jury is still out for me.

a more and more "awkward" ratio of four-legged to two-legged talent
(i.e. horses with more ability than their riders)
This one may need some qualification - people rider packers to gain experience and just because the horse has experience does not mean the rider is going to go to a level beyond their own experience.

more entries in higher level competitions
Not sure how this relates to an issue, it may be just an indication of the growth of the sport.

a wider range of experience and skill levels in higher level competition
Not sure exactly how to approach this one.

Some of these bullet points may be able to be condensed down into fewer points.

Personally, I think the biggest issue is education. People are coming into the sport from other sports and/or at an older age. They did not have the benefit of pony club or growing up hunting. I know people like to talk about the 'good old days', but they are gone. The education and expectations need to change to match the changing climate. No longer can a coach assume that someone is fox hunting during the winter or has pony club knowledge or direct access to trails - the student may need a discussion on the subject. Some parents may not want to pay to allow their student to fox hunt or people may not be able to afford it. They may come into the sport to old for pony club, or not be able to trailer to trails. instructions for trail rides and things that can replace this and how to condition a horse need to be addressed and not assumed that it is common knowledge.

I think this does tie into cross country courses being more open. A way to encourage venues to allow people to school cross country during the off season would be great. This year, Fair Hill opened their courses starting early in April - it allows more time for people to get back into the game.

To me, these are the two most important items to look at.