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View Full Version : BRAINSTORMING Thread: Post your favorite eventing solutions here



CookiePony
Apr. 29, 2008, 11:08 AM
I've been reading the Rolex accident threads with interest, as I read the Red Hills threads with interest, and as I read the November Ocala threads with interest.

We have come up with a plethora of ideas over these difficult months, and we need to make a list that will be of use to the USEA and USEF, even the FEI.

One unifying concern is that we are seeing that even the best of the best can make mistakes. So we need to consider reducing the deadly consequences of mistakes, as well as reducing the number of mistakes.

Here are some of the options that have been tossed around.

1. Do away with vertical faces, on fences with spreads or without spreads.

2. Make XC fences collapsible with innovative engineering. The consequence for knocking such a fence down is elimination.

3. Increase the use of frangible pins.

4. Reduce the spreads of fences.

5. Reduce speeds (already a rule change in the works for this).

6. Change course design to include less technicality/ "showjumping over fixed fences".

7. Bring back the long format, or some elements of it (vet checks, mandatory warmups).

8. Make qualification criteria for Prelim and up much more stringent (there is already a rule change in the works for this).

9. Conduct an analysis of style/proficiency (assessed by knowledegable officials) and their correlation with previous experience of horse and rider.

10. Make 4-star events extremely difficult to qualify for/ be invited to.

11. Institute a mandatory XC course meeting and course walk with a respected teacher and rider.

12. Increase participation in the Instructor Certification plan, either by encouragement or requirement.

13. Increase the powers of officials to stop a dangerous ride on XC.

14. Conduct a detailed study of the numbers and frequency of serious injuries or deaths of horses and riders (TB or not TB's project).

15. Conduct a detailed study of horse exercise physiology, including the causes of pulmonary hemorrhage (the latter is now delegated to a task force).

16. Hold a moratorium on upper-level competitions until ____.

We've made quite a list, wouldn't you say? Please add to/ comment on any or all of these as you see fit.

Jazzy Lady
Apr. 29, 2008, 11:16 AM
1- Burn the square spreads! Keep a vertical face without a spread, but make it mandatory that every vertical be installed with frangible pins.

2- Up the qualifications. Demand better results before moving up. It won't get rid of the "scary but clear" riders, but it will help slow some people down.

c_expresso
Apr. 29, 2008, 11:18 AM
SLOW DOWN SPEEDS

RIDER RESPONSIBILITY

I said this in a thread a little while ago


Oxers: Frangible pins ALWAYS USED

Verticals: Frangible pins, or built similarly to these fences:
http://www.photostockplus.com/home.php?user_id=34487&tmpl=28&event=170232&action=viewphoto&photo_id=7856958&album_id=171186
http://www.photostockplus.com/home.php?user_id=34487&tmpl=28&event=170232&action=viewphoto&photo_id=7856959&album_id=171186
http://www.photostockplus.com/home.php?user_id=34487&tmpl=28&event=170232&action=viewphoto&photo_id=7856962&album_id=171186

Ditches, water banks: Not much we can change, but they don't usually cause as many serious problems.

Utilize more logs, hay bales, BRUSH FENCES, etc for jumps

Tables: Slanted front, no vertical faces

CookiePony
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:07 PM
c express- thanks for posting your comment from the other thread.

Others: if you have made a post on another thread that includes your ideas for solutions, please copy them here. I would like us to have an archive of ideas and maybe even something that we could bring to the attention of the sport's leadership.

longrun
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:14 PM
Just have to say, I've been reading here for a long time but this is my first post. I have been eventing since my teens and just celebrated my 40th bday so I've seen the sport go through some major ups and downs. I won't say anymore on this thread here other than I think it is a great, useful and clear topic and well done!

asterix
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:29 PM
CP, very good list and I think it is fairly complete. I am not sure I agree with #16 but it belongs here as an idea to be considered.

I'd add to #1 that square-topped fences should go -- make the back higher -- and for very wide oxers, use fill. Horses should not wonder whether they can or should put their feet down in the Footbridge (not that I think that was the main issue this weekend but it has certainly occurred to horses in the past).

Jazzy Lady
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:30 PM
CP, very good list and I think it is fairly complete. I am not sure I agree with #16 but it belongs here as an idea to be considered.

I'd add to #1 that square-topped fences should go -- make the back higher -- and for very wide oxers, use fill. Horses should not wonder whether they can or should put their feet down in the Footbridge (not that I think that was the main issue this weekend but it has certainly occurred to horses in the past).

Actually, I think that's how Dornin's second fall occurred. A friend of mine has his facebook pics from this years rolex and there is a horse standing in the middle of the footbridge and the rider is being thrown over his head.

missamandarose
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:31 PM
2. Make XC fences collapsible with innovative engineering.

I wonder if there are any engineering schools/colleges with engineering programs that have IHSA or similar teams that would encourage their members to tackle this as a senior project or something like that. I was on the team at Ga Tech I was one of the few riders who wasnt an engineering major.

Just a thought....

Larksmom
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:33 PM
and see what the courses looked like 40 years ago. The original purpose was 'the Military." A horse should go thru nearly anything, TRUSTING HIS RIDER. Now there have been great safety improvements, but do we really need cheese wedges with mice sticking out the top? Can't they do innovative things on a course, with the new pins?
I guess I think they should ALWAYS build an alternate route [safer] unless it is a straight up jump.
As much as I dislike regulation, there perhaps needs to be a little more here, and an Invitational Rolex is sounding better and better to me.
Qualifers sound like a good idea too.

Let's all pray for a safe Badminton

denny
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:34 PM
1. Use the Rider Rep system all the time. Expand and explain it.
2. In Endurance, every horse death results in an immediate inquiry, and if the rider`s actions are found to be contributory, he/she is subject to anything from public censure (least penalty) to fines, suspension, etc.
This REALLY makes people think about going too hard with a tired horse.
3.Mandatory xc walks with the xc designer at major events, major to be determined.
4.More articles about rider responsibility in USEA News by respected ULRs.
5. More stringent penalties for dangerous riding.
I`ll think of some more, but those are a few.
The biggest difference I see between eventing`s response and endurance`s response to horse death, is that in eventing, the rider tends to be swamped with sympathy, whereas in endurance, the rider has to come before an inquiry to determine possible blame.
It makes endurance riders damn careful, let me tell you.

LisaB
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:34 PM
Basically if you have a table or something like the footbridge, DON'T TAKE A TUG!
Anyway, what should be happening is NOT banning verticals and square oxers. If you can't ride them, go home and practice. BUT what's happening is that if you make a mistake, your horse and you can get seriously injured. THAT has to stop. I think if we can put a man on the moon, we can certainly make a table, vertical, square oxer collapsible so the rider/horse doesn't die.
Stop with that, will ya?
Anyway, onto address the points above.

LisaB
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:36 PM
Basically, continue with what Denny said and add from CookiePony:

2. Make XC fences collapsible with innovative engineering. The consequence for knocking such a fence down is elimination.

3. Increase the use of frangible pins.

7. Bring back the long format, or some elements of it (vet checks, mandatory warmups).

8. Make qualification criteria for Prelim and up much more stringent (there is already a rule change in the works for this).

9. Conduct an analysis of style/proficiency (assessed by knowledegable officials) and their correlation with previous experience of horse and rider.

10. Make 4-star events extremely difficult to qualify for/ be invited to.

12. Increase participation in the Instructor Certification plan, either by encouragement or requirement.

13. Increase the powers of officials to stop a dangerous ride on XC.

14. Conduct a detailed study of the numbers and frequency of serious injuries or deaths of horses and riders (TB or not TB's project).

15. Conduct a detailed study of horse exercise physiology, including the causes of pulmonary hemorrhage (the latter is now delegated to a task force).

Whistlejacket
Apr. 29, 2008, 12:57 PM
CookiePony -

Great idea. Thanks!

Something has been rolling around in my mind after reading a description on one of the related threads of a rider falling off, looking dazed, and the poster (who apparently witnessed this) being surprised that the rider got back on looking as dazed as the rider did. And the rider later suffered a serious accident on the course.

In a sports related fall or potential injury (in most / all sports performed on a high level), while the athlete's opinion is certainly important in the assessment of whether they are physically able to continue (or should continue), the final decision of their continued participation is based on the assessment of someone with medical training - and importantly someone other than just the athlete. With no disrespect to the athlete (of any sport), given that the athlete would be pumped up on adrenaline and the fall may have included a minor head injury, the athlete him/herself would not necessarily be a reliable / fair / unbiased final decision-maker on this.

On one of the related threads, flutie1 posted something about a possible rule change (apparently to be voted on soon), that if a rider falls off, that is automatic disqualification.

If that rule change goes through, obviously the above is mute. But if it does not, then it seems like there should be someone assessing the competency of the rider to continue after a fall other than just the rider him/herself. Not that the whole event needs to be delayed to give the rider a complete physical exam. But to me (my day job is medicine), it seems like an obvious "gap in the system" to not have the rider's competency (especially mental / cognitive) assessed after a fall. Shoot...even in boxing, the referee can stop the fight if a boxer appears stunned (or given that it is boxing, too stunned).

WJ

JER
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:01 PM
Revamp the dressage tests so that they focus on balance.

What we're learning from some of these XC 'accidents' is the importance of balance and the rider's understanding of when, where and how to rebalance on XC.

We can teach balance/rebalance at the gallop but we can also make it a priority in the dressage ring.

vineyridge
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:19 PM
Can we break down the proposals by topic?

1. Horse experience qualifications

2. Rider experience qualifications

3. Terrain modification

4. Jumps modifications

5. Procedural modifications after injury and/or before and after XC

6. Total design modifications, including speed, length of course, number of jumping efforts, etc.

7. Rethinking how the phases fit together

With proposed rules modifications after all this has been hashed out and not before.

If we can break down the issues into smaller and more focused ones, they can be addressed with more precision and more dialog.

gooddirt
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:27 PM
2. Make XC fences collapsible with innovative engineering. The consequence for knocking such a fence down is elimination.



Easier said than done, and it will further encourage bad riding.

For several years there has been a strong emphasis on "safe" fence shapes, tilted tabletops, etc. Unintended result: People are moving up faster than they should.

Frankly, I'm wondering, where are all the much-maligned square tables and vertical faces? They certainly aren't here.

XC fences are already expensive as heck to build. For collapsible fences I can't even begin to estimate the cost, but I'm sure you can multiply the present cost by 2 or 3x and up.

Mandating collapsible fences would be the end of the sport as we know it, because organizers can't afford to abandon their existing jump inventory and replace it with jumps that cost lots more and require a Ga. Tech engineer (egads!) to build, certify, and maintain them.

Imagine what could happen if one of them failed to perform? The rider might say "It's not my fault that my horse died. The stupid jump didn't fall down. Who certified it? Let's sue them!"

The best solution is BE PREPARED AND RIDE SMART!
Glenn

NMK
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:38 PM
Make the existing requirements for move ups requirements for both Horse and Rider, not just Rider.

Make a long format *** a requirement for both horse and rider before moving up to a **** of either format, and add a long format *** at Rolex to be run along with the short format ****. It could also be a qualifying round for the next year's ****.

N

RAyers
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:38 PM
I am sorry but I find this to be myopic. Yes, a good, safe fence will be more expensive but I sure as HELL assure you that it will be cheaper than a vet bill, a loss of life or the risk of bad publicity or law suits that can shut this sport down. To say that it is too expensive is a cop out. Remember that in a study of 600 horses and riders it was found that 1 in every 3 horse falls results in a major horse injury and 1 in every 100 falls results in the horse's death (Murray et. al, 2006) regardless of cause.

How would a fence that will collapse if a horse hits the face but can still bank off the top encourage bad riding? To use your logic, just because you have air bags in your car I assume you speed or play chicken with trucks on the road.

Again, to pawn off responsibility SOLEY as a rider's function is to say that all car accidents are the driver's responsibility or that all plane crashes are the pilots. This is EVERYONE'S responsibility.

Reed


Easier said than done, and it will further encourage bad riding.

For several years there has been a strong emphasis on "safe" fence shapes, tilted tabletops, etc. Unintended result: People are moving up faster than they should.

Frankly, I'm wondering, where are all the much-maligned square tables and vertical faces? They certainly aren't here.

XC fences are already expensive as heck to build. For collapsible fences I can't even begin to estimate the cost, but I'm sure you can multiply the present cost by 2 or 3x and up.

Mandating collapsible fences would be the end of the sport as we know it, because organizers can't afford to abandon their existing jump inventory and replace it with jumps that cost lots more and require a Ga. Tech engineer (egads!) to build, certify, and maintain them.

Imagine what could happen if one of them failed to perform? The rider might say "It's not my fault that my horse died. The stupid jump didn't fall down. Who certified it? Let's sue them!"

The best solution is BE PREPARED AND RIDE SMART!
Glenn

rebeginner
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:39 PM
"5. Reduce speeds (already a rule change in the works for this)."

Perhaps change the wording to "re-evaluate what speeds are appropriate for what levels" (and phases, if some version of the long format were to be reconsidered). As several posters have pointed out, steeplechasers, p2p riders, etc. all travel at a much higher rate of speed than eventers typically do. They ride in a different position, and therefore fall differently. There was an excellent article in the British Eventing magazine a couple of years ago about learning how to fall, and using National Hunt jockeys as their models.

Speed in itself may not be the culprit.

Rt66Kix
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:43 PM
Make the jumps out of something soft and flexible. Get Hollywood/Disney Theme Park designers in on this one; they are masters at making styrofoam look like solid granite! In WWII the set designers from Hollywood were sent to England to disguise the large buildup of planes and equipment to be used in the D-Day invasion. I'm sure building jumps would be a piece of cake for them.

After the soft/flexible jump is made, then install an electric eye/laser beam across the top of it. If the horse drags his feet through the soft "top," then the beam is broken, resulting in a penalty.

The horses would think they had to clear the entire jump, but yet if they didn't make it, they wouldn't die or sustain horrible injuries.

The technology is there, but I wonder if the "powers that be" will be bold enough to make the necessary changes.

eventersmom
Apr. 29, 2008, 01:51 PM
I can't really speak to the issues of the way fences should be constructed or the way event should be run. There are others with a great deal more life experience who can and have chimed in on those topics. What I can say is that as a parent of a teen who loves eventing and watching the crashes that have been occuring at the upper levels, my solution seems simple.

1. Hold organizers, CD's and TD's responsible for creating a SAFE course, appropriate for the skill set needed at each level, on which to compete.
2. Hold my daughter and myself responsible for ensuring she is ready and capable of riding the level at which she wants to compete.

After the recent tragic events and watching my daughter school her greenie over cross country and face plant twice, I've already made the changes to our former plans for the year. First, the greenie is being ridden by a pro, especially over fences. Second, my daughter is staying on the flat until her position has improved significantly.

I'm tired of seeing horses and riders hurt. I love this sport and don't want it to get a bad rap in the general population and agree changes need to be made. My changes start at home. I'm looking to our area reps, our riders reps and the USEA to make changes on a more global scale.

Catersun
Apr. 29, 2008, 02:05 PM
Implement a ride score card system that defines a "scarey ride" and allows officials to pull and horse and rider off course with adequate explanations of required errors to do so. Make it as Objective as possible so that decisions are not subjective.

Competitions records don't show scary rides... just whether any penalties were incurred. Maybe they should be a catogry for scary but clear rides to fall into.

frugalannie
Apr. 29, 2008, 02:28 PM
I believe that there needs to be an investigatory team established by the USEA to review and examine the causes of all major accidents, human or equine, that occur on course. I feel strongly that this team must not be comprised of the "usual suspects", but must have an identified core group of a veterinarian, an upper level rider, an engineer, a safety expert, a statistician and/or epidemiologist, someone versed in sports injuries and probably a lawyer to make sure that any findings are worded carefully (just sort of kidding about the last). The core team should be reimbursed for expenses and also receive a stipend. They should be appointed for a time period: one year, preferably two or three, so they are beholden to no one for their assignments. I'm reasonably confident that willing volunteers can be identified in the ranks of USEA members who have many of these skills.

Their assignment would be to convene immediately after a major incident (definition to be developed) whether virtually or in person. They must be empowered to undertake whatever investigation is deemed necessary including: review of veterinary records, necropsy of a horse, collection of any video record, interviews with fence judges, riders, coaches, spectators, officials, etc. If none of them can physically be at the event, they must be able to "deputize" an official to collect information for them, but at least one team member would have to make a site visit within, say, a week of the incident. Then the team will be responsible for the review and analysis. They will follow an established format requiring that key elements be examined, but will have the flexibility to extend their investigations in unexpected directions, should the situation warrant.

I'm sure others will have more ideas than I. I'm using as my model the CDC teams of investigative pathologists and other physicians who literally leave at a moment's notice when a health crisis is suspected.

I would like to think that this team could be funded by grants from manufacturers of safety equipment and other sources, but think it would be important for the USEA to find funding as well. It is time to put money where our mouths are, so to speak, and collect accurate information about the causes of significant accidents. Then and only then can we begin to address them.
__________________

frugalannie
Apr. 29, 2008, 02:30 PM
But my issue is that we aren't even collecting and reviewing the information that is or might be available currently in any consistent fashion. Statistics are used that come from limited databases (FEI competitions only, horse injuries not included, etc.). If we are ever going to learn more, we need to start collecting every bit of information available on every incident now. I'm sure some smart person could figure out how to estimate speed from a video record. Maybe someone who can predict planetary trajectories?

Anyway, I think an education effort would be far more effective if it could be shown that rider error (an example only) resulted in these three specific falls, and the grim details could be discussed. Otherwise, it's just another general disussion that those with egos and arrogance will believe doesn't pertain to them. That may happen anyway, but specifics have a tendency to worm their way past that. It may also help dispell the "&%@# happens" mindset.

Catersun
Apr. 29, 2008, 02:34 PM
But my issue is that we aren't even collecting and reviewing the information that is or might be available currently in any consistent fashion. Statistics are used that come from limited databases (FEI competitions only, horse injuries not included, etc.). If we are ever going to learn more, we need to start collecting every bit of information available on every incident now. I'm sure some smart person could figure out how to estimate speed from a video record. Maybe someone who can predict planetary trajectories?

Anyway, I think an education effort would be far more effective if it could be shown that rider error (an example only) resulted in these three specific falls, and the grim details could be discussed. Otherwise, it's just another general disussion that those with egos and arrogance will believe doesn't pertain to them. That may happen anyway, but specifics have a tendency to worm their way past that. It may also help dispell the "&%@# happens" mindset.


That is a great idea! I would LOVE to see that put into action.

mcorbett
Apr. 29, 2008, 02:54 PM
3. Increase the use of frangible pins.

5. Reduce speeds (already a rule change in the works for this).

6. Change course design to include less technicality/ "showjumping over fixed fences".

7. Bring back the long format, or some elements of it (VET CHECKS!! for ALL levels, mandatory warmups).

8. Make qualification criteria for Prelim and up much more stringent (there is already a rule change in the works for this).

10. Make 4-star events extremely difficult to qualify for/ be invited to.

11. Institute a mandatory XC course meeting and course walk with a respected teacher and rider.

12. Increase participation in the Instructor Certification plan, either by encouragement or requirement.

13. Increase the powers of officials to stop a dangerous ride on XC.

14. Conduct a detailed study of the numbers and frequency of serious injuries or deaths of horses and riders (TB or not TB's project).

15. Conduct a detailed study of horse exercise physiology, including the causes of pulmonary hemorrhage (the latter is now delegated to a task force).

MINE-suspension and review by committee for riders who are involved in x # of wrecks where horse or rider is injured.

LAZ
Apr. 29, 2008, 03:39 PM
I posted this on the Neil Ayres/Jack Legoff thread (and one post prior to that also with some SCCA club racing safety proceedures that would be easy to implement/adapt to eventing--I also clarify that in racing ignoring/not seeing flags is just not acceptable and grounds for (at best) a serious talking to and (at worst) suspension and fines. No one argues about the benefit to everyone's safety that flagging and communication has for drivers/workers/spectators. The drivers know where the flagging stations are on course and they are completely responsible for not only racing (which let me tell you is damn adrenline producing) but for being aware of the immediate environment around them.

Another thing from racing that might be adaptable in some form would be the flags--in racing the control tower (manned by the stewards of the meeting) has control to the Start/Finish line which in turn has the main control of flagging, but the corners have a few flags as well and display them (yellows) as needed and also at the instruction of control.

Green--go race

Red--Stop, do not complete the lap/corner--hold on course.

Yellow--No passing--caution/pay attention/reduce speed

Waving Yellow--something really seriously wrong, pay STRICT attention/no passing/be prepared to dodge/stop

Black (furled)--bad, bad boy(girl), do that again and you're talking to the stewards.

Black--bad, bad, boy (girl) come in and talk to the stewards

Meatball (black with orange ball)--something mechanical wrong with your car, please come in and check.

Yellow w/orange stripes--course conditions problematic.

Knowing you might get blackflagged on course and pulled off might be a good thing....and it could go on a competitors record as something to be watched in the future.

BarnBrat
Apr. 29, 2008, 06:30 PM
We need to be very cautious about making changes before we fully understand the problems. If we are not careful we could end up making unnecessary changes that might make the sport safer, but turn it into something we barely recognize. Which is why we need an in depth scientific study with hard, detailed data on EVERY aspect of EVERY SINGLE 'serious' fall. The information gained from the study will shine light on what specifically is causing these falls and allow us to determine which of the suggestions listed in this thread to move forward with.

An outside entity with expertise should be contracted to help design the study, which could be carried out by a 'team' such as the one suggested by frugalannie. The study and collection of data should be a permanent and ongoing. That way ten years from now if another problem begins occurring in the sport the data we need to analyze and solve the problem will already be there.

I'm talking about going way beyond the basics that are already being recorded. Data on things like: age of rider and horse, relevant medical history of the horse, details and a timetable of the horse and riders previous experiences individually and as a combination (Including level of experience and performance at previous competitions: falls, refusals, eliminations, etc), the type of obstacle preceding the fall, the number of fence combinations which preceded the fall and where on course they were located, any penalties received on course, the riders time on course when the incident occurred so their average speed could be calculated, slope/terrain of the obstacles’ approach and landing and overall terrain/slope of the preceding portion of the course, a rating of the footing condition at that obstacle and overall on the course, lighting conditions at the obstacle, weather conditions, EVERYTHING. Obviously as much of the data as possible should be strictly objective but general observations should be included as well. Such as statements describing: the incident itself, the general performance of the horse and rider over the preceding part of the course, and their approach to the obstacle. When video of the fall is available it should be analyzed and cataloged.

The extent and potential of such a study and the usefulness of the information gained by it would be limitless. Maybe the information collected should go beyond ‘serious falls’ and every xc course at every horse trials should record the number and type of obstacles on each course and the number of horse/rider combinations riding each course. Of course the exact information to be collected and how it is collected should be determined by the experts. But generally the more data we collect the more useful and diverse it will be.

Think of the database that could be developed. We would KNOW if the percentage of serious falls was actually increasing or if there are simply more horse/rider combos going xc. If there were a certain combination of criteria of a horse and rider's performance history which increased their chances of having a 'serious' fall by X percent, that horse and rider combination could be identified beforehand. We could determine that a table whose approach is sloped at X degrees is X percent more likely to cause a rotational fall.

Obviously, the problem with this is that organizing a project of that magnitude, collecting the data, and then analyzing it takes time. And horses and riders are dying NOW. I don't know what the answer is, only that we must proceed very carefully. Maybe we should move forward with the suggestions regarding rider and horse qualifications, but hold off on the modifications of terrain, jumps, and total design of the courses.

A scientific study is something that will benefit EVERYONE. It is something concrete we can ALL get behind and demand NOW. So how ‘bout it?

ideayoda
Apr. 29, 2008, 06:50 PM
Increase EDUCATION(al opportunity) multifold, and decrease shows. TEACH riders how to ride proper two point (caprilli seat), how to put a horse properly on the bit (w/o gags and gimmicks), WHAT (the purpose of) different fences are, What a proper bascule is, what kinds of fences to start over, HOW they are introduced, HOW much fitness is needed to run distances at speeds. Go all the way back to jumping w/o stirrups/two point without stirrups/jumping with reins dropped.

Almost daily I hear from teachers/trainers how stupid a horse is, how willful, how intentional they are in calculating against the rider, I see horses ridden into worse performances, until they give up through being tired, all with more and more bit(ting). And all while teaching the even popular crest release, which just has to be relearned for balance.

Do (written) tests with basics of stable management and horse care.And employ FAR greater repercussions if a rider doesnt know when a horse is breaking down. How are we educating if lameness/exhaustion cannot be felt?

As a judge, I go to see if what I see (as strengths and problems) in dressage come out with the different jumping efforts. And most of the time they do. Training on the flat can be short cut if flat work is the only thing needed, we can just argue how pure the paces are/etc.....but over fences there are many often violent outcomes. Just mho.

AlexMakowski
Apr. 29, 2008, 07:10 PM
Now this has been on my mind for quite some time, but I have not heard anyone else mention it. Does anyone think that in light of recent events that riders are riding differently, maybe more defensively, because of any fears they may have themselves? Everyone I talk to is afraid or upset letely, in every discipline. An upset rider would ride differently than a relaxed one right? I know that in the sports I have done when we were nervous, things didnt end well. Im not saying people are not prepared or riding scared, but do you think that subconciously, or openly, riders are more afraid and that could be contributing some of the accidents.

Its hard to get into words. And I may be way off. Just something I was thinking about and wanted to know if anyone else was thinking something similar.

crazy_horse1095
Apr. 29, 2008, 07:51 PM
Make the jumps out of something soft and flexible. Get Hollywood/Disney Theme Park designers in on this one; they are masters at making styrofoam look like solid granite! In WWII the set designers from Hollywood were sent to England to disguise the large buildup of planes and equipment to be used in the D-Day invasion. I'm sure building jumps would be a piece of cake for them.

After the soft/flexible jump is made, then install an electric eye/laser beam across the top of it. If the horse drags his feet through the soft "top," then the beam is broken, resulting in a penalty.

The horses would think they had to clear the entire jump, but yet if they didn't make it, they wouldn't die or sustain horrible injuries.

The technology is there, but I wonder if the "powers that be" will be bold enough to make the necessary changes.

Hm, that's interesting. Never thought of that...

CookiePony
Apr. 29, 2008, 11:20 PM
FWIW, I sent a link to this thread to the email address given in the joint letter from KB and DOC. I hope this helps eventing, in some small way, to gain something from this sad and scary time.

vineyridge, I agree-- it would help to organize these ideas into thematic groups, discuss them, and use the insights from each area to make rule changes.

JER
Apr. 29, 2008, 11:38 PM
Now this has been on my mind for quite some time, but I have not heard anyone else mention it. Does anyone think that in light of recent events that riders are riding differently, maybe more defensively, because of any fears they may have themselves? Everyone I talk to is afraid or upset letely, in every discipline. An upset rider would ride differently than a relaxed one right? I know that in the sports I have done when we were nervous, things didnt end well. Im not saying people are not prepared or riding scared, but do you think that subconciously, or openly, riders are more afraid and that could be contributing some of the accidents.

Its hard to get into words. And I may be way off. Just something I was thinking about and wanted to know if anyone else was thinking something similar.

Alex, I think you're raising an interesting point.

Riding defensively does change your position. Riding with tension affects the horse and also affects your responses.

We know from vehicles and aircraft that successful ejection vs. unsuccessful ejection is often a matter of fractions of seconds and inches. We know that you want to be thrown clear of your horse in a rotational fall.

Could you be less safe in a defensive position? This could include a deep seat, upright to leaning back, heel forced down in the iron, foot too far home in the iron, stirrups longer than they should be. And it's also possible that adopting a defensive position has a detrimental effect on your horse's balance. So yes, I think it's very possible that riding defensively could be promoting the very problem its trying to prevent. But again, like with almost everything else we've been talking about, we need some good research.

vineyridge
Apr. 29, 2008, 11:47 PM
The Australian National Federation sponsored a safety study of eventing in collaboration with a university. The study started as a limited experiment in 1998, was extended to the entire country in about 2000, and results from their safety questionnaire data for the years 2000-2002 (?) have been published and are on the internet.

In the UK both the Liverpool vet school and the Bristol University vet schools have supported research on safety issues in eventing, with analysis of the safety data for each level separately, and for the long and short formats. They have been doing this for YEARS.

In both cases, computer programs already exist to crunch the data that is collected. The forms for collecting data are already developed and have proven themselves. At every competition, every accident of horse and rider was recorded onto identical forms. I think the USEA and the USEF should be doing this for non-FEI competitions and FEI competitions for a long enough time to make the data valid.

If USEF were to find funding for and sponsor THE IDENTICAL study in the United States, the cost would be less, and the results would be comparable to (say) the Aussies'. It might be possible to see if North American eventing is somehow different in its safety problems from the other country. Using something that is already developed for one of USEF's fellow National Federations would be cost effective, allow for quicker and more considered data collection, and provide North American results faster FOR USE BEFORE CHANGES ARE MADE.

RAyers
Apr. 30, 2008, 12:02 AM
I agree!

FYI, we have been talking to some of the researchers in the UK at Bristol. The BE is different than the USEF so the data collection is different. We would still need to adapt a lot to our system. As a matter of fact, we are working with them to develop a modified form for accident reporting that is better for use in the US. They do not have any special computer systems, as far as any of us knows.

The results you discuss were part of the Murray articles published in the British Veterinary Journal.

I agree with your idea that we HAVE to work with BE and other federations. I listed this as an important component for a safety committee in my letter to the USEF/USEA.

Reed



The Australian National Federation sponsored a safety study of eventing in collaboration with a university. The study started as a limited experiment in 1998, was extended to the entire country in about 2000, and results from their safety questionnaire data for the years 2000-2002 (?) have been published and are on the internet.

In the UK both the Liverpool vet school and the Bristol University vet schools have supported research on safety issues in eventing, with different studies for data analysis at various levels, and for the long and short formats. They have been doing this for YEARS.

In both cases the computer programs already exist to crunch the data that is gathered. The forms that have been used are already developed.

If USEF were to find funding for and sponsor THE IDENTICAL study in the United States the cost to it would be less and the results would be comparable to (say) the Aussies'. It might be possible to see if North American eventing is somehow different in its safety problems from the other country. Using something that is already developed for one of USEF's fellow National Federations would be cost effective, allow for quicker and more considered data collection, and provide North American results faster FOR USE BEFORE CHANGES ARE MADE.

CookiePony
Apr. 30, 2008, 12:16 AM
Reed, would you copy and post your letter here, too?

vineyridge
Apr. 30, 2008, 12:49 AM
Reed, did you and IFG save the link or the Australian study? It's published by the Australian Government/Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, and it's called Monitoring Falls During Eventing: Establishment of a national surveillance system to monitor injury to riders and horses rom
falls during the cross-country phase of eventing in Australia.

I didn't save the link, but I did save the .pdf. If y'all don't have it, I could email it to someone.

Here is the Foreword--


Foreword
Each year in Australia, about 20 people die from horse-related injuries and about 3,000 people are admitted to hospital with serious injuries. Although these serious injuries represent a small proportion of horse-related injuries that occur in Australia each year, their health and social consequences can be severe and lead to lasting disabilities. In 2001, a pilot project was undertaken to see if a national surveillance program to monitor falls at
Equestrian Federation of Australia (EFA) affiliated horse trials events was feasible. Falls associated with the cross-country phase of the sport (known as ‘eventing’) was the focus of this pilot as fallsrelated deaths and severe injuries had been reported in this sport in the immediately preceding years.

Based on the successful outcome of this pilot study, which monitored falls in South Australia and New South Wales, the scope of the pilot was broadened to include all jurisdictions in Australia which conducted EFA affiliated events.

This publication reports on the establishment of a national surveillance program to monitor horse and rider falls, and the results of monitoring these events during the 2003 and 2004 eventing seasons. Results analysed were based on data reported by EFA Branches for 136 of 161 venues which were conducted during the 2002 and 2003 eventing seasons. Data received from venues consisted of jump judges’ fall report forms, scores sheets, and Technical Delegate’s reports. Rider and horse details for riders or horses which fell were obtained from returned questionnaires sent to each rider who fell.

The establishment of this national surveillance program was supported by the Equestrian Federation of Australia, the peak national body for the sport, and their National Eventing Committee, the organisation with policy and rule-making authority. Based on the responses of riders who returned
questionnaires, and communications with other equestrian groups, there appears to be support for an on-going national surveillance system to monitor falls and to inform scientific research on safety in the sport. The EFA is also interested in obtaining information from the study which will inform any future policy development, to minimise the risks associated with the sport of eventing.

This project was funded from industry revenue which is matched by funds provided by the Australian Government. (For program areas DEE, RNF, TTO, CME, HBE, RIC, HOR, FCR and PSE. This report, an addition to RIRDC’s diverse range of over 1000 research publications, forms part of
our Horse R&D program, which aims to assist in developing the Australian horse industry and enhancing its export potential.

Most of our publications are available for viewing, downloading or purchasing online through our website:
• downloads at www.rirdc.gov.au/fullreports/index.html (http://www.rirdc.gov.au/fullreports/index.html)
• purchases at www.rirdc.gov.au/eshop (http://www.rirdc.gov.au/eshop)

Simon Hearn
Managing Director
Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

and the Table of Contents--

Contents
Foreword iii
Acknowledgements iv
List of tables vi
List of figures vii
Executive Summary ix
1. Introduction 1
1.1 Current surveillance of horse-related injury 1
1.2 Purpose of this study 2
2. Methods 3
2.1 Collection of data 3
2.2 Fall reporting form 3
2.3 Fall rider questionnaire 3
3. Results 4
3.1 Cross-country phase of eventing 4
3.2 Profile of riders who fell 9
3.3 Profile of horses which fell 12
3.4 Fall event and injuries sustained 13
4. Discussion 17
4.1 Future directions 17
5. Appendices
5.1 Appendix A1: Eventing, description of the sport 19
5.2 Appendix A2: Methods and Reporting Instruments 21
5.3 Appendix A3: Event fall monitoring tabulations, Australia 2002 31
5.4 Appendix A4: Event fall monitoring tabulations, Australia 2003 49
5.5 Appendix A5: Structured narratives of fall events of riders 67
6. References 71

RAyers
Apr. 30, 2008, 12:53 AM
vineyridge, Excellent! You can PM me and I will go explore the website as well.

Cookiepony,

My letter and how I propose to help:

"The following is based on my experiences in failure analysis in both the medical and aviation industries, and my current membership on several Safety and Environmental oversight committees for both academia and industry.

These are my ideas for what needs to be done.
As I stated, given that safety is a process and not an end, I
believe that NO subject is outside consideration. We must examine
everything from XC course design to rider instruction, to fence
materials, to ground jury responsibilities.

To accomplish these tasks I propose groups of people lead by an
oversight committee of 6-8 people with specific expertise. Each
member of the committee will have a task and area to work wherein
they can create a team to enable them to accomplish established
goals. The overall number of people on the task force is variable
based on need but the core committee will remain. I also believe at
least ONE person on the oversight committee should be a
NON-eventing person from the public. They will have equal say in
all matters. All issues will be considered with recommendations
passed onto the FEI, USEF, USEA governing bodies. At the same time
this committee should be able to have a sufficient
presence/appropriate representation in the governing bodies to be
able to be effective, e.g. the task force shall have some veto
power on issues related to safety.

The broad areas of consideration and what they would do:

1) Accident Data/Reconstruction (This must be done in order to understand the problems and questions.)

MUST include CD, TD, Organizer, Ground jury after any major
incident (horse death, rider death or severe injury)

2) Course Design and Construction

a) they would examine how course design and fence design affect the accident rate
b) Develop specific engineering capabilities to design fences and materials that reduce severity of impact, rotation, etc.

3) Medical/Veterinary
a) Look at accident data, including horse necropsy, rider medical data (e.g. armband, EMT reports etc.) to see trends in rider or horse fitness
b) Examine other sports where significant risk of injury or death occurs to see if processes or equipment can be adapted to Eventing

4) Rules/Governance
a) Examine how rules/qualifications affect rider/trainer decisions. How rules can be tailored to encourage safety.
b) Incorporation of safety findings into rules
c) This effort should also be split between FEI and USEF and USEA

5) Equipment
a) work with other areas [3, 2, 1] and equipment manufacturers to develop new devices and equipment capabilities specific to Eventing

6) Instruction/training
a) Collect and compile data from the ICP program. Track accident rates to ICP qualifications and rider qualifications.

7) Safety Fund Raising/Education

a) Establish a Safety Fund that encourages support of safety research, education in Eventing and subsequently all equine disciplines.
b) Develop safety campaign that encourage every rider to be responsible and knowledgable
This is my broad outline. At the same time, we MUST develop
collaboration with British Eventing and their research groups.



Reed... yada, yada, yada.

poltroon
Apr. 30, 2008, 01:00 AM
Now this has been on my mind for quite some time, but I have not heard anyone else mention it. Does anyone think that in light of recent events that riders are riding differently, maybe more defensively, because of any fears they may have themselves? Everyone I talk to is afraid or upset letely, in every discipline. An upset rider would ride differently than a relaxed one right? I know that in the sports I have done when we were nervous, things didnt end well. Im not saying people are not prepared or riding scared, but do you think that subconciously, or openly, riders are more afraid and that could be contributing some of the accidents.

Its hard to get into words. And I may be way off. Just something I was thinking about and wanted to know if anyone else was thinking something similar.

I was told once of an eventing clinic where everyone came together on Saturday night and watched thrills-n-spills videos ... and on Sunday there were problems and falls left and right.

flypony74
Apr. 30, 2008, 01:10 AM
Just a few thoughts off the top of my head....

• Folks, a lot of this boils down to personal responsibility. If there is any question as to whether or not you or your horse are prepared for a level, DON'T DO IT. Parents need to be involved to make these decisions for their children. Adults should seek a quality, qualified instructor to help guide them. I don't have a suggestion as to how to facilitate this, other than giving everyone an injection of good sense. Maybe some education funds can be earmarked to fund some standardized regional adult and young rider educational programs...make them low cost and accessible to all riders. Quality outings like that would certainly help adult riders, young riders, and their parents make good judgment calls (from selecting a regular instructor, to helping them understand where there may be holes in their training that they need to address before considering a move up, etc)....very much in a nutshell.
• I think a lot of it has to do with modern course design. The show jumping courses set out in a field. My suggestion here is to revert back to a more classical course design (less technical), while keeping the safety features of today. I wholeheartedly agree with getting away from vertical faces combined with spreads (tables, etc). Verticals and open oxers should have frangibles. I'm sorry, but half-coffins and skinnies at Novice are just crazy....that is still and INTRODUCTORY level! I know that horses and riders need to learn to do these things, but let them develop their basic skills and confidence before throwing this crap at them.
• Bring back the long format or some variation of it. Get the horse warmed up and settled before they embark on D.
• Post more officials on course (maybe create "Assistant TDs") that have the authority to stop a rider who is riding dangerously or is clearly overfaced. Many jump judges don't have the judgment or feel like they have the authority to report something like this.
• I have no problem with beefing up the qualifications for the upper levels....heck, that is where we see most of the fatal and serious injuries. But don't put qualifications on the introductory levels (BN-N-T), as many folks with limited time and budget, like myself, get a lot of mileage on their horses at carefully selected unrecognized events, and may not have the funds to do a lot of recognized each year. I don't want to be stuck at BN for five years, but then again, I'm sure not going to move up before I am thoroughly prepared. Goes back to that personal responsibility thing.
• I do not agree with the rotational fall rule proposals. I can guarantee you that, from my perspective as a rider, a rotational fall is a much more frightening scenario than any sort of suspension. That in itself is enough to keep me off a course that I'm not ready for. And I kind of feel like this rule is a moot point, because it seems that most riders don't just pop right up and walk away from most rotational falls.
• I also don't agree with the "one fall you're out" on x-c rule. This goes back to personal responsibility. You get dumped because you're not up to the game that day, do the right thing and RETIRE. You got dumped because of a fluke, non safety-related incident, get back on and ride. Maybe the rider needs permission from the nearby "Assistant TD" that I talked about above before they are allowed to remount and continue?

Personally, I think a lot of it has to do with the modern courses, in general. Like I said before, let's get back to the more old school courses, combined with the safety features of today....seems like the best of both worlds.

vineyridge
Apr. 30, 2008, 01:38 AM
Reed, I didn't find the Australian study. Someone else here posted the link. All I did was save it because it seemed so relevant to the discussion.

PM coming.

wanderlust
Apr. 30, 2008, 03:12 AM
Add a modified 'chase at the start of XC. Or, go back to the old format. But since that will never happen, please, please add a modified 'chase at the start of CCI XC.

I watched the video of poor Laine before it was removed, and I will confess to watching it more than once trying to figure out what the horse was thinking. And all I could come up with is that if the horse had done the 'chase, he would have been ok leaving from the gap he should have taken, instead of putting his feet down and trying to give himself another stride where there wasn't one.

poltroon
Apr. 30, 2008, 04:22 AM
Create opportunities for horses and riders to learn or compete over steeplechase fences, either via separate playdays, by starting courses with them, or by creating special competitions of for example dressage and steeplechase.

Rethink the skills and tests we want to ask of our top eventers and redistribute them between xc and sj: remind ourselves that it takes a fearsome amount of skill to jump a even a straightforward xc course at 3'11" and that we'd be OK with every 4*/Olympic/etc competitor coming home clean or perhaps with a few time penalties. We'd accept x-c basically having little direct/obvious impact on the score for most riders other than you obviously have to be able to do it (keeping weenie riders like me from participating even if I can do 3rd level dressage and 4'3" jumpers). Move some of the technical questions we're asking on xc, maybe even bounces, to show jumping day.

Test out more collapsible options even for solid obstacles like tables and possibly logs. Evaluate each type of obstacle and determine whether rotational falls (and other serious injury) occur. Solid walls can be built from lightweight materials like styrofoam or in another breakaway configuration so that they collapse straight down and not in front of the horse. Test, do not assume, to see if this improves safety. Worry about function first, cost last. It's easier to raise money than the dead.

Consider whether the education of horse and rider demands collapsible obstacles at all levels, or only at upper levels. Maybe BN/Novice are safer learning to jump solid logs than something illusory. At Advanced, the horses will believe they're solid.

We need to make sure we understand how horses read complicated fences and how their education facilitates that. Even the great ones may miss: witness fall of Beezie Madden and Authentic at 2007 show jumping World Cup.

When considering accidents, consider not just the fence for that incident but the fences before it. Consider whether multiple apparently unrelated accidents/incidents at one event, such as EIPH + fall, may actually indicate that a portion of the course is creating unexpected stress for the horses.

Eventing is changing whether we like it or not, due to real estate pressures that affect the early education of horse and rider, more top riders and top horses that do all three phases well (and for more years), the loss of the long format, and other factors that we probably don't understand. Our sport cannot be regularly fatal to horse or rider if it is to survive, particularly in an era of vivid, instant communication. We need to focus on creating the ultimate all-around test for horse and rider without punishing mistakes with death or severe injury, even if it means significant changes in format or scoring.

Proposed changes should be based on data and analysis, not just on gut feelings. (After all, as many people have claimed that changing to the short format would improve safety as claimed it would hurt safety, but no analysis was done.) There are many people with such skills in the eventing community; ask for help if this expertise is not immediately at hand.

poltroon
Apr. 30, 2008, 04:36 AM
Personal responsibility is wonderful, valuable, and important, but even if only the irresponsible die, and even if 99.9% of riders are responsible and competent, we will still lose our sport. Any/every severe accident reflects on us all, and we are all in this together.

And perhaps the most fearsome issue is how many people have been hurt or killed who are very skilled and quite competent at the level where they were competing. This suggests to me that the problem isn't one that individual riders can solve with more preparation, even though I still believe in the need for it and the value of it.

ss3777
Apr. 30, 2008, 06:41 AM
1. My thought is that if the courses have become more technical to separate the “winners” out, why not skip the crazy technical questions (false ground lines, no room for run outs, way to many complexes etc) and “raise the bar” with learning the mpms with out a watch. I think at all levels that would be hugely impactful. Who is the better rider at any level, the one riding the watch or the one that knows how their horse travels given all of variables on any given day,moment,weather, course? You could make the time penalties for going to fast pretty steep in order to weed out that problem. I only ride at the lower levels and have used a watch, forgotten my watch and purposely left it in the truck for various reasons. But let’s suppose a day comes along when I go into XC after winning dressage and my barn mate came in second with barely a point between us. I am going to be really concerned about not getting time faults. Who is the better competitor……….the one that can do that through, feel and training or the one that keeps listening for the beeps? Who deserves that win? I am not saying this is THE ANSWER but I do think it warrants discussion.

2. get rid of false ground lines

Sannois
Apr. 30, 2008, 07:38 AM
Easier said than done, and it will further encourage bad riding.

For several years there has been a strong emphasis on "safe" fence shapes, tilted tabletops, etc. Unintended result: People are moving up faster than they should.

Frankly, I'm wondering, where are all the much-maligned square tables and vertical faces? They certainly aren't here.

XC fences are already expensive as heck to build. For collapsible fences I can't even begin to estimate the cost, but I'm sure you can multiply the present cost by 2 or 3x and up.

Mandating collapsible fences would be the end of the sport as we know it, because organizers can't afford to abandon their existing jump inventory and replace it with jumps that cost lots more and require a Ga. Tech engineer (egads!) to build, certify, and maintain them.

Imagine what could happen if one of them failed to perform? The rider might say "It's not my fault that my horse died. The stupid jump didn't fall down. Who certified it? Let's sue them!"

The best solution is BE PREPARED AND RIDE SMART!
Glenn
I have read yet. Thank you gooddirt!!!
In keeping with the current thoughts on safety in the sport,
Lets remember some of the other professional sports that could be improved by these ideas.
All baseballs, polo balls and jai lai balls will be replaced by whiffle balls!
Indi cars will have a maximum speed of 25mph. 6 air bags will be required, no metal on the outside.
Football, tackling will be outlawed, 2 handed touches below the waist will be forbidden. All players will be wrapped in heavy padding. All players falling down will be required to be seen by medical personnel. I could go on and on. Outrageous isn't it. But to some thats exactly what some of the suggestions are like. I am sure I will be either ignored or lambasted for not being " sensative" or caring enough about our horses and riders.
Not at all. I LOVE this sport. I have also been accused of living in the "Old" days. Well did Mike Plumb, Bruce davidson, Torrance watkins et al. need special jumps? How many thousand of jumps have been successfully executed by horse and rider combinations. Their horses were fit and the riders were up to the task. Do not sound the death knell for this sport.
Look at Dennys suggestions for qualifications. Make it not so easy to move up. a pair HAS to prove themselves. The rules worked for many many years. Sorry to say but it was not broke, and it did not need fixing.
In my humble opinion, the changes to the short format and many new rule changes has seriously altered the sport. A rational look need to be taken at the whole sport. Hysterics are not the answer. Making jumps that fall apart will be the end of our sport as we know it. :no:

LISailing
Apr. 30, 2008, 08:00 AM
SPEED BUMPS!!:) Since speed and vertical faces are a major factor in rotational falls, perhaps course designers could implement speed bumps prior to these types of fences. Obviously I am not refering to the the annoying lumps placed in the middle of a residential street or a parking lot, but designing the course to force slower paces. This methodology is not unknown in road design and construction. Just another thought.

TexasTB
Apr. 30, 2008, 08:24 AM
Add a modified 'chase at the start of XC. Or, go back to the old format. But since that will never happen, please, please add a modified 'chase at the start of CCI XC.

I watched the video of poor Laine before it was removed, and I will confess to watching it more than once trying to figure out what the horse was thinking. And all I could come up with is that if the horse had done the 'chase, he would have been ok leaving from the gap he should have taken, instead of putting his feet down and trying to give himself another stride where there wasn't one.

Agreed.

Here is what I don't understand: Most ULRs claim that for a good CCI*** or CCI**** warmup, they basically simulate phases A,B, and C to get their horses correctly warmed up and in the right mindset before XC. Yet these are the same riders that abhor the long format for its "undue wear and tear" on the horses legs? A little contradictory considering that they can admit that the long format was the best warm up for their horses... and if you're "simulating" it for warmup, are you not putting that same so-called "wear and tear" on your horse's legs as you would be if you were just doing those first 3 phases??

retreadeventer
Apr. 30, 2008, 08:42 AM
Personal responsibility -- trainer responsibility -- dangerous riding definition -- preventing an unprepared/unready horse and rider from accident prior to heading out on XC.

The yellow card/dangerous riding ticket system is being urged to be expanded, which is a function of the eventing official's education and training. It has been said that dangerous riding is undefinable. I disagree.

The ICP program has some really excellent teaching and training level expectations and there is a whole host of good definitions in this program. Let's not reinvent the wheel. Go to what we already know.

Revamp warmup arenas. Having been a warmup steward at many events, I can tell you it's like a free for all and should not be.

There should be:


----Limits on how many horses allowed in warmup. If you are scheduled at 1pm to stadium jump then the earliest you can legally be in show jump warmup is say 12 noon. If there becomes too many horses in warmup the steward can stop the warmup arena activity and kick people out or force everyone to walk until it clears out a little. Or if it reaches a limit of say 20 horses an adjunct warmup area would have to be utilized without jumps where hacking and warmup on the flat would be allowed until the main jumping area has cleared.

----No one can be in warmup after they have competed.
----No one but grooms and trainers with USea memberships in the warmup.
----No one directing riders or coaching unless they have signed an entry blank as such.
Carry your USEA card, it will be checked and you must show it to get in the area.
----No stadium warmup in XC warmup. And vice versa.
----NO approaching the official warmup steward - you speak when you are spoken to. The warmup steward needs to be treated like a TD or judge -- as they are responsible for the safety of all riders and horses in the area and need to observe horses and riders carefully. This steward should sit alone and not have any other responsibilities like getting riders to the gate or in order or in the ring, etc. They need to be directly responsible to the Ground Jury.
----Warmup could be video taped.
----Any rider who falls in warmup needs to be somehow held, talked to, looked at, examined, scratched, etc. Any horse who falls in warmup is done.
----Yellow card system in force as soon as you enter the warmup ring. In other words you can get a penalty warming up. If you and your horse are THAT BAD to get a yellow card in warmup then we are getting closer to stopping the dangerous, accident-waiting-to happen riders before they get on course stuck in the oxers.


I do not mind warmup being policed in this manner. It would make it safer. Most organizers have a defined warmup area already, and a warmup steward as well. These modifications just make the area have a little more teeth and make it less of a free for all and more of a place where indeed the competition is under way and you are being watched. Just being able to check USEA cards at the entrance is one way of limiting it to the correct people and making sure riders understand they are under scrutiny. Organizers, chime in here -- would this work?


This should be done in a friendly and customer service manner to avoid tension and tempers, so the warmup steward should be a knowledgeable person with a nice demeanor but who can be tough when necessary. All steps necessary to keep warmup calm, cool, comfortable, tension free, and welcoming should be taken, but the zoned out rider crashing thru warmup fences needs to be identified before running down to fixed timber on course a few moments later.
JMO.

Sannois
Apr. 30, 2008, 09:09 AM
Just a few thoughts off the top of my head....

• Folks, a lot of this boils down to personal responsibility. If there is any question as to whether or not you or your horse are prepared for a level, DON'T DO IT. Parents need to be involved to make these decisions for their children. Adults should seek a quality, qualified instructor to help guide them. I don't have a suggestion as to how to facilitate this, other than giving everyone an injection of good sense. Maybe some education funds can be earmarked to fund some standardized regional adult and young rider educational programs...make them low cost and accessible to all riders. Quality outings like that would certainly help adult riders, young riders, and their parents make good judgment calls (from selecting a regular instructor, to helping them understand where there may be holes in their training that they need to address before considering a move up, etc)....very much in a nutshell.
• I think a lot of it has to do with modern course design. The show jumping courses set out in a field. My suggestion here is to revert back to a more classical course design (less technical), while keeping the safety features of today. I wholeheartedly agree with getting away from vertical faces combined with spreads (tables, etc). Verticals and open oxers should have frangibles. I'm sorry, but half-coffins and skinnies at Novice are just crazy....that is still and INTRODUCTORY level! I know that horses and riders need to learn to do these things, but let them develop their basic skills and confidence before throwing this crap at them.
• Bring back the long format or some variation of it. Get the horse warmed up and settled before they embark on D.
• Post more officials on course (maybe create "Assistant TDs") that have the authority to stop a rider who is riding dangerously or is clearly overfaced. Many jump judges don't have the judgment or feel like they have the authority to report something like this.
• I have no problem with beefing up the qualifications for the upper levels....heck, that is where we see most of the fatal and serious injuries. But don't put qualifications on the introductory levels (BN-N-T), as many folks with limited time and budget, like myself, get a lot of mileage on their horses at carefully selected unrecognized events, and may not have the funds to do a lot of recognized each year. I don't want to be stuck at BN for five years, but then again, I'm sure not going to move up before I am thoroughly prepared. Goes back to that personal responsibility thing.
• I do not agree with the rotational fall rule proposals. I can guarantee you that, from my perspective as a rider, a rotational fall is a much more frightening scenario than any sort of suspension. That in itself is enough to keep me off a course that I'm not ready for. And I kind of feel like this rule is a moot point, because it seems that most riders don't just pop right up and walk away from most rotational falls.
• I also don't agree with the "one fall you're out" on x-c rule. This goes back to personal responsibility. You get dumped because you're not up to the game that day, do the right thing and RETIRE. You got dumped because of a fluke, non safety-related incident, get back on and ride. Maybe the rider needs permission from the nearby "Assistant TD" that I talked about above before they are allowed to remount and continue?

Personally, I think a lot of it has to do with the modern courses, in general. Like I said before, let's get back to the more old school courses, combined with the safety features of today....seems like the best of both worlds.
Excellent points, all! Well said!

Jazzy Lady
Apr. 30, 2008, 09:21 AM
Qualifications need to be beefed up. More clear cross country rides and better stadium results. We were discussing on another thread that some horses just take rails... well, personally, if the horse can't go and showjump with less than 12 faults, perhaps it should not be doing cross country at that level either. This 24 faults is ridiculous in my opinion. If my horse had 24 faults, I would consider it attrocious, not a qualifying result or something to "move up on".

When you can do a **** without ever going clear in a CCI***, something is wrong.

When you can do a CCI* without ever going clean in prelim cross country, something is wrong.

Who are we catering to here? The pros who are capable (for the most part) of moving up horses at a faster rate than the average ammy and don't care for the qualifications, or the rest of the people, the amateurs, the young riders, who may not understand that they aren't good enough to move up, but the qualifications tell them they are?

flutie1
Apr. 30, 2008, 09:26 AM
SPEED BUMPS!!:) Since speed and vertical faces are a major factor in rotational falls, perhaps course designers could implement speed bumps prior to these types of fences. Obviously I am not refering to the the annoying lumps placed in the middle of a residential street or a parking lot, but designing the course to force slower paces. This methodology is not unknown in road design and construction. Just another thought.

Mike E-S did just that at Rolex this year, and as a respected designer said after Lainey's accident, "We can't design to prevent that."

Flutie

Horseless1
Apr. 30, 2008, 09:51 AM
Great idea to get all suggestions together in one place.

-Design XC fences that are more like what is found in nature. Go back to the roots of the sport and use more natural obstacles like logs, brush, ditches, creeks, etc. Perhaps not all horse brains can understand giant round flower baskets...I don't suspect cavalrymen saw those out on the battle field.

-Use breakaway technology in fence building. At the very least we can use log poles with breakaway cups as the top of a fence (like those used for XC schooling.)

-Eliminate riders for a fall on XC. Why are riders eliminated for a fall in show jumping and not XC? It's as if USEA is encouraging a rough and tumble go around the XC course...

-Increase trainer responsibility for Prelim and above. I know of at least one rider competing at a level which the trainer does not think the competitor is capable of, yet the trainer does not say anything in fear of losing the client. That should end! Trainers should be required to sign any entry and should be questioned, fined, suspended, etc. if the student is eliminated more than once at that level in six months.

-Don't know of this has been done, but compile statistics of fences that have falls (not just rotational) at ALL levels to see if there are any consistent factors such as ground lines, fence shape, etc. that cause problems.

LISailing
Apr. 30, 2008, 10:17 AM
Flutie, do you know if slow down methods were used prior to the fence that Lainey fell? Do you know, what methods were used? Were the riders aware of these controls (i.e. were they passive or active methods)? I'm sure that some methods were incorporated on the course, but would be interested to find out if they were incorporated at this location.

To my knowledge, USEA has developed some specifications for fence and course design. But, I'm do not know if specifications have been developed that address track placement, track footing, takeoff footing, landing footing, speed bump design methods, etc. I do believe that the development of a set of specifications would be beneficial to the event orgainizers, designers, builders, riders, and trainers. However, I do not believe that their implementation should be mandatory, but only suggestive (i.e. hieght requirements for the levels are max., not required as are speeds).

It should also be recognized that regional soil and land charactersitics play a major role in the manner in which a course is designed and built. Within the past fifteen years, I've seen a continued emphasis and improvements made to the tracks. What is considered an acceptable track in VA may not be practicable or obtainable say in NM or AZ, but the horses in each of these areas are familiar with reasonable galloping tracks.

asterix
Apr. 30, 2008, 10:17 AM
Mike E-S did just that at Rolex this year, and as a respected designer said after Lainey's accident, "We can't design to prevent that."

Flutie

Not only did Mike E-S do this at Rolex this year, the flower basket was placed to BE a fence that required a rebalancing half halt, after a downhill run and off a turn, with a dip in the ground 1 stride before take off. If you rode it right it was to help set you up for the upcoming coffin. Jimmy Wofford talked about this fence specifically on his course walk and said that it had been carefully placed to make the rider rebalance.

CookiePony
May. 1, 2008, 09:14 AM
Adding Lincoln's summary of Jiffy Read's thread:


-- train horses to figure it out for themselves over fences and imperfect terrain in training (nb: the inherent tension with highly technical xc courses where obedience is pitted against self-preservation)
-- more training at the gallop and in the hunt field for agility and familiarity with tacking terrain at speed and with distractions.
-- ensure that the increased emphasis on dressage does not produce the unintended result of horses trained to their rider guiding each footfall. Stephen Clarke, the "O" dressage judge, talks about the elusive combination of suppleness, brilliance and accuracy. That comes from a horse being independent enough to remain in self-carriage and in rhythmn without being micro-managed. There is a bit of a parallel theological debate in the dressage community on whether art is in the control or in the partnership.
-- let horses develop more slowly (especially as there is a greater % of warmbloods who mature later), spending more time below the * level.

What else should be added?

Link for the thread: http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=145512

CookiePony
May. 1, 2008, 09:23 AM
You know, here`s a radical idea. Simply make every level one level lower.
Make the training xc courses prelim, the prel.xc, int, the 2 star becomes 3 star, the 3 star is now 4-star, etc. (The current 4-star xc goes away)
It won`t happen, but what an easy way to lower the stress levels and the danger levels across the board.
Then make the big questions get asked in show jumping, and, presto, far fewer falls, because speeds are slower, heights lower, spreads narrower, etc.
Face it, folks, the Classic 3-day event is gone. Is there even a place for eventing in the 21st century? That`s the big question right now. And that`s because we`ve finally reached the famous "tipping point", the point beyond which the general public, the rest of the broader horse community, and finally even the broad event community, will no longer tolerate the degree of danger to both riders and horses.
So, as many have concluded, make xc easier.
Is this a radical departure? Of course it is. Will it save eventing? It well might, and if so, it`s worth it.
Hell, at the end of the day, someone will still get 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. And far fewer accidents.
This may be the only real solution. At least until totally, radically different jump construction techniques are perfected, which may take years.
We don`t have years.

Original thread: http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=145345

CoolMeadows
May. 1, 2008, 09:38 AM
- Stringent qualification rules before pairs can move up.

- TDs who have the right to pull a rider up on course if they feel the rider's dangerous or the horse is having difficulties.

- Leave the technical questions for stadium! Some of the "technical" areas I've seen on XC lately are not so much technical as just plain stupid. (sorry, just MHO!) Some seem to be designed not to ask a question of the pair, but more as a trap and it's ugly to watch, takes away from the horse's confidence, and is punishable by death if you don't luck out through the stupidity. You want to test just how adjustable/brave/quick-thinking the pair are? Do it in stadium.

One Star
May. 1, 2008, 10:29 AM
I just sent this email to David and Kevin at safetythoughts@usef.org and safety@usea.com:

While I applaud your proposals set forth in your recent memo to USEF and USEA members, it’s a little bit like closing the barn door after the horse has run out. Punishing a rider after the fall has occurred isn’t going to save the horse we might lose in that fall, nor is it going to prevent everyone from the kind of riding we are trying to stop. And punishing a rider who isn’t riding dangerously with a suspension for a fluke fall isn’t the answer, either.

What I'm proposing for cross country is a "Yellow and Red Flag Warning System" similar to that in race car driving. When dangerous driving occurs, a yellow flag is waved to alert that driver that he is on notice, and the next flag waved will be red and the driver is out of the race.

This system would involve having Flag Stewards, who would be responsible for various sectors of the cross country. Each Flag Steward would need to have an unimpeded view of every fence in his or her sector, and a radio. Ideally these stewards would be members of the ground jury, the TD, the event organizer, or other educated officials acting as representatives of the safety committee for the event. They would NOT be volunteer cross country jump judges.

If Control is made aware of potentially dangerous riding by a jump judge, or can see it first-hand, they would radio to one of the Flag Stewards, who would be responsible for waving a yellow flag at the oncoming rider, well in advance of the next jump. This rider would in effect be put on notice that they need to modify their riding and slow it down and rebalance their horse before jumping the next fence. The penalty for not doing so would be a red flag of elimination.

Obviously, there are other logistics that need to be considered and worked out, but this is just an initial proposal.

If such a system were in place at Rolex, Lainey might have received a yellow flag at Fence Two or Three, and the fall that occurred at Fence Five might never have happened.

Just a thought.

Lesli

Lesli Cohen
Volunteer Coordinator & Development Assistant
Florida Horse Park
11008 S Hwy 475
Ocala, FL 34480

justdream2ride
May. 1, 2008, 10:48 AM
I really really should be working but here are my random thoughts……..

I think there is more than one problem and there needs to be more than one solution. This hasn’t happened overnight so we need to examine each change and the resulting consequence.

1 – Loss of the long format. It is gone and I unfortunately don’t see it coming back. However to all of those who have issues with the “dumbing down” of the sport – it has already happened – it happened with the short format. So maybe we can find a compromise – small R&T followed by a modified chase then the vet check then xc. If land is the true issue – this could all be done in a very small area – boring yes but if it increases safety who cares.

2 – Qualifications – years ago riders only had 1-2 top level horses and therefore were MUCH more careful with them.(there are exceptions I’m generalizing here) If you lost your UL horse it could conceivably take several years to MAKE another one. So the qualifications could be slack because riders were responsible enough to take care of themselves and their horses. Not so now – and this doesn’t just apply to riding – even at work we can’t find responsible people anymore. So if riders won’t take care of themselves perhaps the sport will have to. Tougher qualifications, STOP more people on course if they struggling, etc. I’ve been to Rolex every year for about 15 years and have never seen so many people ‘just’ getting ‘round.

3 – Course design – get rid of all the vertical faced tables, heck make the whole stinking course out of brush until the pins can be perfected. I think there is a happy medium between the old courses and the new ones – it just needs to be determined what that is.

4 – Training – there is a wonderful topic going on about this now. Horses need to be able to think for themselves. If they are trained by a rider who never makes a mistake who gets them in perfectly 99% of the time what happens when that 1% is at a huge solid jump? Everyone is going to miss – sometime. If the horse is allowed to learn to think for himself and the course is designed so that he can – maybe just maybe it would be a start.

Just my random thoughts…………… back to working now…….

LISailing
May. 1, 2008, 02:25 PM
On another thread someone mentioned Prix Caprille. Perhaps lower level dressage test could be modified into a Prix Caprille Test appropriate for the level. This would accomplish three objectives: 1) Create a dressage test that is more directed towards training of the event horse, 2) Provide an evaluation of the rider's ability to control, maintain rythym, and balance to a jump, and 3) evaluate rider's position. I think it would be interesting to see what the results of this type of test would be based on some of the riders I have seen at recent events.

FairWeather
May. 1, 2008, 08:34 PM
while I have no idea if this has been mentioned before, i thought i'd throw it out there.
What if jump judges had to make note of horses jumping out of balance, riders getting to scary distances, etc? I hate to think of more policing, and lawd knows we all have some bad misses to fences, but you can't be running around the upper levels where jumps are bigger and invite rotational falls, without knowing how to ride your horse to the right take-off spot (whatever your method, looking for a distance, or relying on quality canter, whatever!)
But if you are riding around and letting a horse barrel around on its forehand, and it is scrambling over jumps, a properly trained jump judge should be able to make note of that.
If you are biffing half of your jumps but maybe not jumping badly enough to be pulled up on course, you should be watched more closely by the powers that be. Of course, we'd have to define "biff", but I think we all know the difference between a horse that is climbing over the jumps because of or in spite of its rider, and one that is confidently jumping comfortably out of stride.

Thoughts?

(now i'm going to go read backwards to see if it was mentioned, I just wanted to write it down before the thought disappeared)

Horseless1
May. 1, 2008, 08:43 PM
Another thought:

With so many lower level events running show jumping before cross country perhaps the show jump judge could "pass" or "fail" a rider to continue on to cross country. If someone has ten rails or is getting terrible distances to every fence, the show jump judge would have the power to warn the competitor or eliminate them for not being proficient to continue.

crittertwitter
May. 1, 2008, 09:37 PM
Re: Passing and Failing elements on course

With all the emphasis on observation and intervention - and even without it because I've always wished we had this - why not have jump judges go so far as to score or *comment* on the ride to a fence? I know that right now jump judging doesn't take immaculate knowledge of an approach to a fence, but each judge could take note of anything they observed. I'd never want this to play into the scoring, but riders need feedback on their cross-country rides. One of the most frustrating things about being a spectator when you are very close to someone going around is that you can't see them go. This would be a way to help students, your children, etc., in assessing how their course went.

vineyridge
May. 1, 2008, 09:56 PM
USEF sponsored design competition at Engineering schools for the design of cheap and safe XC jumps to prevent rotational falls. The schools are all set up for computer modelling and for being able to evaluate impacts, heights and speeds.

Don't know what the prize could be, but maybe a trip to the WEG for the Winning design team.

CookiePony
May. 2, 2008, 06:11 PM
Another list of ideas from DOC/KB thread:

Read most of the thread, gotta get back to homework (finals are a mare in heat) but here's what i posted on another board that I thought I'd bring here:

Why not add back in something like an optional roads and tracks with optional warm up fences? That way, if you take your horse out of the stall that day and he's high and fresh and excitable, you have somewhere to get a HORSE under you and between your hand and leg and on your aids. Allowing a horse to relax into his day and giving a rider some warm up space and small fences that were optional could reduce some of the excessive speed seen on course.

I like some of their proposals...I think some of the others are over the top.

Here's what I would propose:

1. I agree that open oxers should be frangible.
2. Must qualify in order to move up...and that should be starting at Novice. I've seen some HORRIBLE Training and Prelim falls caused by rider error. Actually, most of the bad accidents and poor unorganized riding I've seen have been Training through Intermediate, not Advanced.
3. Mandatory education. To compete in recognized events, you must attend 1-2 clinics a year, one of which must be an eventing safety clinic put on by USEF/USEA/your local association on fitness, course design, injury etc.
4. More options on course, even at "simple" fences. You don't always know what horse you have under you each day.
5. Course walking at **** level is a group activity. Yay! Let's have fun together. No, but seriously. Course designer and/or a major level eventer who is well respected and not competing at that event does a few group walks of the course. Discussion encouraged. "Yeah, I can see where if you are just a bit off, you're going to need to add a stride through here." "Be really careful for those of you late in the day: the shadows cast by this jump make it difficult for the horse to get his eye on it!" etc. Individual walks always allowed but something like this.
6. Calling more people on reckless and dangerous riding. You see it at every level, and yet almost no one gets penalized for it. Ridiculous.
7. The eventing equivalent of getting a gate card revoked. If a horse has two accidents in six months, he is suspended from competition for three months. If a horse is spun twice in three months after cross country, he is suspended for three months. This means that if your horse has a fall, dumps you, etc then he is suspended. Or, if he's scrambling through EVERY time he's going cross country and showing up sore the next day, they're going to say, "Lack of competence at this level. Horse spun twice in three months." (And yes, I mean it when I say even a rider fall should be grounds for suspension. I know falls happen but if we're going to be serious, let's be SERIOUS. None of this halfway crap.)

Those are recommendations that I would suggest. I can't make it out to Kentucky, but I am considering writing a letter.

Who knows. Maybe they're all bogus recommendations but either way, the more ideas out there, the better the final product.

CookiePony
May. 2, 2008, 06:20 PM
I mentioned this on another thread but it's worth bringing up again.

I think eventers don't pay enough attention to a 'bad' but clear jumping effort. You get over by the skin of your teeth or you get around clear with a few sticky moments. Then you remember the clean go but not the bad fence or two.

In steeplechasing, everyone remembers the bad fence, even if the horse wins. The press asks the horse's connections about it, they ask the rider if he feels safe riding the horse, they speculate what's going to happen the next time the horse runs, they may even urge the trainer to drop the horse back to hurdles or not run at certain venues.

Bad fences and sticky moments are taken seriously in steeplechasing. So is rhythm. If a horse has a bad fence early in the race and doesn't get his rhythm back or if a horse fails to find his rhythm at all, the jockey pulls up. No one wants to get hurt out there. (NH jockeys fall once in every 12 or so rides. If you don't want your career to end, you have to be careful.)

I think eventers could take a cue from steeplechasing here but right now it's not really part of our culture.

From the rider responsibility thread, where subk also suggested a "peer review" of major falls, including reviewing in detail the rider's performance at the fences before the crash.

CookiePony
May. 2, 2008, 06:26 PM
A more detailed outline of how a review might work:


USEF/USEA 'NTSB' ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION TEAM EQUIVALENT NEEDED
---------------------------------------------------------------
Another specific safety-related idea would be for the USEF/USEA to develop an accident investigation teams and protocols when these incidents occur where a horse and/or rider is severely injured or killed – based upon the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) model, these eventing ‘experts’ – to include an upper level rider, course designer, certified trainer/instructor, event coordinator, medical doctor/examiner, and vet (could be volunteers but they need to be independent of any conflicts of interest in the incident and more importantly, appropriately trained in investigation procedures) – would do a complete investigation and USEA and USEF would need to develop the protocols and procedures to ensure all relevant factors are taken into account and documented as well as develop a cadre of trained volunteers that could be mobilized within a few hours of an incident – the USEA Area Coordinators could assist in this process.

Until the investigation is completed and results fully vetted by the executive boards of each organization, the course designer and rider are suspended from participating in any further competitions or designing any further courses for competition and the fence or obstacle in question where the accident occurred would be struck from all ongoing competitions at that location and others designed by the course designer until the investigation is completed – notational timeframe for this process would be 30-days from the incident occurrence.

It’s important to note, as with NTSB investigations, accidents aren’t always classified as ‘pilot error’ (our equivalent to ‘rider responsibility’) as other environmental factors are taken into account (type of jump, construction of jump and placement on course, terrain, footing, weather conditions, and other relevant factors) and could be causal contributing factors to incidents and should be weighted accordingly.

Additionally, once cleared by the executive boards of each organization, the results would be published (on the USEF/USEA website) to provide total visibility in and outside the community when these incidents occur. We need to get professional about these things and the NTSB model works well…

If the eventing community at all levels is too keep the lawyers, insurance underwriters, and risk-management/assessment folks at bay and keep eventing going in the U.S. and internationally, this is one critical step in establishing our ‘credibility’ with these entities when unfortunate accidents, incidents, and fatalities occur.

is this something 'subk' would endorse in light of the comments on this 'thread' -- if you think this would make ULRs think twice about continuing where maybe it's time to call it quits...send it to the USEA/USEF for consideration...our governing and regulatory organizations need to be have measures that are pro-active and will help prevent incidents when riders are not 'thinking' clearly on course but when these fail, they also need a robust and quantifiable means of investigating and getting 'lessons learned' out to the community -- I used to fly airplanes in the military (almost as 'dangerous' an environment as eventing) and we relied heavily on both proactive preventative measures and lessons learned to prevent incidents and save lives. Don't our loyal and kind-hearted equine partners deserve the best we can afford them in these types of matters...superb 'thread' and everyone should send the link to it to David O'Connor and Kevin Baumgardner TODAY and voice these issues in Lexington in June !!!

subk
May. 2, 2008, 07:30 PM
is this something 'subk' would endorse in light of the comments on this 'thread'
I have to laugh a little here. I don't think my "endorsement" would mean diddly squat anywhere it matters... But yes this is something I was thinking of when I suggested a peer review. (Hubby is a private pilot and we discussed exactly this element last night.) My concern though is two fold. I always tremble to think of a government agency as a role model for the private world. It would be important that this group could respond in a more timely fashion than the NSTB.

Secondly, I think we also need something of a culture adjustment where "peer review" could mean something a bit more informal. I wish as a community we wouldn't be so afraid to discuss exactly what the mistakes were that lead to a fall--but no one wants to step on toes. To this day all I know about Darren's fall is that the horse "missed"--which tells us exactly nothing. Lesson learned: none.

poltroon
May. 2, 2008, 07:56 PM
Increase the height difference between XC and stadium, so that there is at least a 3" difference in the height at all levels. Encourage TDs to make sure that stadium rules follow that guideline - ie, I've competed at Training where the stadium course stayed at 3'. A more challenging stadium will keep riders engaged longer at the lower levels, and intimidate them a bit more before moving up. ;)

sunhawk
May. 4, 2008, 01:05 AM
My daughter had a fall at a table on a prelim course, the horse landed on the table, and she was splatted onto the ground -- if that had been an open oxer with frangible pins, she would have been seriously injured, with the log and horse on top of her.
As far as what is creating rotational falls, I don't think it has as much to do with jump design, as it would with a horse approaching with the rider pulling to the base of the jump. I see so many people that let their horses pull them to the fences. I know that if I do that with my horse, it makes him hang his knees and/or twist. Anytime I have worked with a really good x-country coach, it was about using your upper body to control the horse, and not the reins, and actually, contact on the approach to a jump tends to make a horse stiff in the jaw, and neck, and jump off their forehand.
I would think that dressage incorrectly done would contribute to that scenario, but is not necessarily related.
I think that jumping gymnastics with the reins knotted is the first step to gaining an independant seat over jumps. The only intructor that ever had me jump no hands was an event coach, and that was many years ago. You don't see it much.

CookiePony
May. 4, 2008, 10:57 AM
An idea and some responses from the "required time not scores" thread:


So I've been thinking. After reading the letter by Kevin to the USEA membership, I began to wonder if all of their suggestions were really right. Some feel, to me at least, punitive. One fall and you're eliminated? I think that's not such a swell idea. 3-6 months suspension from ALL competition for a rotational fall? I don't know (although, your horse may need even more time off than that to regain confidence).

Then I began to wonder...

What if instead of having required clean rounds to move up, we required horses stay at a level for a minimum amount of time? So, for example, while one could move up from BN/N to T fairly quickly, we were required (regardless of scores) to stay at T for 6 months. What if, when moving up to P we were required to stay at P for a full year? Same for I, etc. What if, even if you bought a horse that had run A, you were still required to ride it at P for a minimum of 6 months (even if you were a professional)?

Sure, we might get bored. Sure, horses might become harder to "flip" (I mean sell, obviously) if it takes time to move them up. But horses who have had 2 years at P/I will be much better prepared to make up for mistakes at A than those who have run only a handful of events before bombing around a *** course with an experienced rider.

So, now, really. What do y'all think?


I really think none of this is going to help...They need to lower the speed and make the times more achievable. So alot of people are able to make the time...so what?!...there will still be a first second, third etc. The horse would have a chance to see the fences, and we have already established you need to slow down for the combinations anyway.

As for the new rules...how does that work for someone with multiple rides? Say the fall and are eliminated and suspended ...so.... do they finish on their other horses or are they out for 3 to 6 months on all horses? Also If say they have 5 horses going Intermediate and they have done 2 xco and the third falls and they are suspended/eliminated...do they do stadium with the other two? Seems it wouldn't work for people with multiple rides and owners who come out to see their horse run.... Lastly it says... "at the discretion of the ground jury" this seems to be a grey area... so if it is an Olympic year and say a team member falls and itis of the type that they could get eliminated/supended a month before the Olympics then the ground jury really could decide to not suspend that person which would then be special treatment would it not? What would be the defining criteria for that?


Six months can provide vastly different amounts of competition and schooling experience in different parts of the country. In Area II or Area VI, for example, you could, if you wanted, run around 15 or more prelim horse trials in six months. In Area IV, without trailering a LONG way, you'd get substantially less under your belt.

I also don't think a minimum time at the level would have prevented any of the recent accidents (with, perhaps, the exception of Daren's fall -- I don't know how much that horse had competed). And there are certainly situations where it doesn't make sense -- when Mara Dean bought High Patriot, who had run around Jersey Fresh last fall, did she really need to back down to prelim with him for either of their sakes? What would be accomplished in that situation?

I think I'd be in favor of some sort of licensing system, in which riders had to have some sort of credentials to ride at a given level and a different sort of credentials to take a new horse at that level. Perhaps something between PC ratings and a more stringent qualification system -- in addition to the clear rounds, you have to get the TD or President of the Ground Jury to sign off for you X number of times before you can move up, and before you can compete a new horse at I without running him at P, you have to have ridden some number of horses around I? I don't know. I like the idea of looking at qualifications, but I'm not sure that time at the level is the one-size-fits all solution.

What if a rider gets in trouble and wants her coach to ride the horse -- does the coach have to take it all the way back down the levels in order to give it some schooling?

vineyridge
May. 4, 2008, 01:06 PM
Mandate that all course design informational materials and all course design seminars include presentations from scientists on the latest research into horse vision. Just because a former rider can "see" a XC course doesn't mean that s/he understands how the horse does.

There are several scientists in the US doing this research; it's not just limited to Australia.

CdnRider
May. 4, 2008, 02:08 PM
I'm not sure if this has been said, but in regards to the time -- The optimal time is set at predetermined m/min for a given level, but the 30 sec window is set for going faster than your given m/min. Why not make the 30 sec window 15 sec on either side of your OT?

I know it's not a huge change, but in this sport it likely would matter.