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View Full Version : SPINOFF: Abuse of Horse/ Dangerous Riding



Aikenites
Oct. 7, 2009, 06:10 PM
At the barn today, there was a discussion among some of the boarders about an event where a rider maybe getting/ maybe recieved abuse of horse or dangerous riding. Supposedly the TD went to the rider and said certain things to the rider that were unsubstantiated.

The TD told the rider that they would either be given a warning, penalty for the rider but also said that she hadn't decided if it was abuse of the horse or dangerous riding after a xc ride- where the horse was clean jumping and had time penalties for being slow.

During the discussion, the rider was told that some jump judges had made comments about the going of the horse... wherein the rider asked her friends that had jumped judged if she had seen/ heard anything while they were on course(the jump judge said no to either) and the td did not back it up with the jump judge sheets. Also, the TD refused to look at video footage of the ride to comment with the rider present.

The funny thing was, the rider said that they had had one of the best rides on that horse in awhile that day out there on xc. They didn't have to fight him, and got great spots/ distances to all the fences. So now, the rider is confused at the ride, as well as angry because they feel singled out and may never go back to that event. Has the eventing world become too political, to just be an amatuer?

Any thoughts? Comments? I was curious what CoTHer's would say...

Meredith Clark
Oct. 7, 2009, 06:54 PM
My reading for comprehension might not be great.. but what did she DO? :confused:

Did the TD say "you whipped your horse more than 3 times" or something like that?

Aikenites
Oct. 7, 2009, 07:00 PM
from what i understand it was too much bit in the horse's mouth. they were saying this horse is a "go" horse, that the rider needs brakes with him- the horse doesn't run around in a snaffle.

RAyers
Oct. 7, 2009, 07:14 PM
I am familiar with a very similar situation. A junior had a pretty hard bit and the horse bit its tongue on XC (prelim) such that when she finished there was blood. The TD claimed the junior was "abusing" the horse and filed a report. The vet was NEVER notified nor were there any other witnesses. The junior felt she had a great ride and the horse was very good. In the end, it became a she said/he said deal and this was taken all the way to a hearing at the USEF. It was shown that the official had a particular "vendetta" against the rider's family and since they did not document their finding (pictures, jj sheets, witnesses, vet report) the official was censured but the junior still had to serve a suspension for abuse.

Sadly, there are officials who can not remain objective and retaliate against riders and there are few mechanisms to protect riders from such abuses. At the same time, many officials have never competed at the levels they oversee and are not even closely familiar with the challenges. Yes, they are familiar with the rules but have no practical experience by which they can put observations into context.

My lesson was that whenever dealing with an official have a witness (your trainer etc.) with you no matter the level. At the same time, JJs need to WRITE down their observations REGARDLESS. They can come in handy if there ever is an inquiry. Even if they note "nice looking horse" it can help an investigation. Officials also need to be sure they have witnesses and documentation.

In other words, just like in business, in competition you have got to pay attention and make sure not on only that you know the rules but that you can back up any action you take during the show. In all honesty, today's sport is NOT a hobby and we as competitors have to be accountable as well as hold the officials accountable.

Reed

piaffequeen
Oct. 7, 2009, 08:05 PM
I remember helping out at the VA Horse trials where a young rider was eliminated during cross country for dangerous riding. I was in the control area and didn't hear once about this particular rider going too fast-jump judges weren't calling things in but yet the TD flagged her down and eliminated her on the spot. No warning-nothing. Yet they let riders riding tired horses to continue on-heard comments on that!

Trainer of rider asked to ground jury (none of which had witnessed the riding and backed the TD) to watch the video and ground jury refused to. Trainer wanted to know how the rider was riding to consitute dangerous riding by watching the video. I lost all respect for that ground jury and TD because they refused to watch the video. If I was on the ground jury I would want to watch the video! :no:

I felt so bad for that young rider. Hopefully it didn't leave a bad taste in her mouth.

Coppers mom
Oct. 7, 2009, 10:30 PM
I think with all the hullabaloo about dangerous riding, TD's are just trying to be extra careful. Unfortunately, it's easier to go after some no-name rider or try to make it a "learning experience" for a young rider than some of the larger names who actually have gotten a bit carried away.

I had one TD actually try to say I was going too fast after cross country. I asked what my time was, and it was something like 10 seconds under the optimum. I told her that, clearly, I wasn't going faster than safe for the level, but she still kept going on about the speed, the way we went through the water (it was my horse's first event, she jumped halfway through like a baby), blah blah blah. I understood what she was trying to do, but it was really a bit much, and her efforts could have been better used elsewhere.

TLA
Oct. 8, 2009, 10:46 AM
When we encounter Officials who act in an improper manner, it is important that we fill out the USEF Confidential Evaluation of Officials (available for download). This is about the only way the USEF can know of and deal with those situations.
From personal experience, I can assure you that the Official will not see anything of your evaluation.
Tom

Doberpei
Oct. 8, 2009, 12:49 PM
I remember helping out at the VA Horse trials where a young rider was eliminated during cross country for dangerous riding. I was in the control area and didn't hear once about this particular rider going too fast-jump judges weren't calling things in but yet the TD flagged her down and eliminated her on the spot. No warning-nothing. Yet they let riders riding tired horses to continue on-heard comments on that!

Trainer of rider asked to ground jury (none of which had witnessed the riding and backed the TD) to watch the video and ground jury refused to. Trainer wanted to know how the rider was riding to consitute dangerous riding by watching the video. I lost all respect for that ground jury and TD because they refused to watch the video. If I was on the ground jury I would want to watch the video! :no:

I felt so bad for that young rider. Hopefully it didn't leave a bad taste in her mouth.


It did. But she continues to compete with a smile. And did very well in the Young Riders.

Is the Confidential Evaluation of Officials a new thing? I wish I had known about it a few years ago. I saw a professional get eliminated because he couldn't get his horse over a particular type of fence. After schooling the horse a few times to the side of the fence, he came back to the warm up area, got off the horse, kicked it in the gut, and told his groom to "take this POS out of my sight". I marched up to the TD, told him what I saw, and that I would serve as a witness if necessary, and could give him the names of two other people who were standing there talking to him. Said professional was famous for this type of behavior, and TDs were known to follow him around if he had a bad round. The TD never went and spoke to the guy, and when the secretary asked about it, he basically said "I didn't see it happen, so it's not worth pursuing". I wasn't just a random spectator, I was actually on the staff at the event, so I was a little verklempt that a TD I had worked with for 2 days would discount my statement.

Fortunately, the secretary told the organizer, who approached the competitor, and gave him a severe tongue lashing, and said if he ever heard of him doing anything like it again at one of his events, he would make sure his entries would disappear. And the next time the competitor came to the event, he and the horse got eliminated at the same fence, and the organizer asked me to follow him back to stabling and keep an eye out. He behaved.

We're all thrilled that the competitor has left the area. Still have to work with the TD though.

SevenDogs
Oct. 8, 2009, 02:58 PM
Doberpei:

If that TD (and competitor, even if he is now in a different area) is still active, I would go ahead and file the report and just note on it that you did not previously know that such an evaluation was available. Give names, dates, etc. as best you can. It may not be acted on directly, since so much time has gone by but it is on file and will add credence if another incident is reported.

I have found most TD's and other officials in my area to be very knowledgeable, thorough, and trying to do the best for both horse and rider. Unfortunately, one bad apple..... I'm sure the good officials would be appreciative of us "outing" the bad ones.

While I appreciate the discussion that resulted from the OP, I am always a bit leery about "friend of a friend said" and "supposedly" type posts that question officials. Not to say that it did or didn't happen -- it just seems like it has gone through a lot of hands before being posted and information can get lost, misconstrued, or changed.....

Speedy
Oct. 8, 2009, 03:52 PM
People have (unfortunately) different views on what constitutes abuse or dangerous riding. Some cases are a little like pornography - you know it when you see it - but other cases fall into a more subjective grey area and reasonable minds may disagree.

If we are going to cover these types of behaviours in the rules, and expect TDs and volunteer jump judges (all of whom are fallible, and some of whom do not have the experience to really know what they are seeing on course) to make the calls, there are inevitably going to be disputes like this. Riders are going to be unfairly sanctioned, and TDs are going to be unfairly reported. There isn't any way round it - you just have to have patience and be the bigger person if/when it happens to you.

TLA
Oct. 8, 2009, 04:01 PM
The Evaluation form has been around for some time, but I think people are afraid to use it for fear that it will get back to the Official involved. It gets sent to Mary Smith at USEF, and I can assure you that it does not get back to the Official (I think that Mary may be the only person who does see it).
It takes a lot for me to write up an Official (especially being one myself), and I think that I have done so only 3 or 4 times in 33 years. However, it is really the only way for the USEF to be made aware of a problem Official. What they look for is not a one time screw-up, but a pattern of behavior.
Tom

JER
Oct. 8, 2009, 04:16 PM
Can a competitor/trainer/affected party demand a written statement from the official as to the nature and scope of the complaint?

In any dispute of this sort, it always helps to have something in writing.

Doberpei
Oct. 8, 2009, 05:13 PM
d

carolinagirl191
Oct. 8, 2009, 10:10 PM
RAyers wrote - "At the same time, many officials have never competed at the levels they oversee and are not even closely familiar with the challenges. Yes, they are familiar with the rules but have no practical experience by which they can put observations into context."

I had this same belief :yes: and have made comments on this board about "those people" :no:(officials who appear to be dingbats) . . . upon investigation, one must have ridden or trained at least 2 horses to prelim or coached at least 2 students to prelim.
So, while I thought some officials were Pony Club/Stage moms who did the training to take a job to be at the event, at least the TD has to have "been there and done that" to some extent . . .