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View Full Version : Oxers--back rail lower?



SkipChange
Oct. 14, 2009, 09:48 PM
Is it legal to have the back rail of an oxer lower than the front rail in an Equitation class? Nothing I can do about it now but curious as to the rules.

Situation:
At a state h/j association show somehow set the back rail of an oxer lower than the front rail. It was not set this way for previous divisions, the mistake was made during the course change before my division (3ft). Somehow the first 10 people that went did not notice or care :confused: and there were a number of bad spots to this fence. I didn't notice it as I went into the arena but 3 strides out I sure noticed it and we got a pretty awful spot to it as my horse gave it the evil eye. I exited the arena and promptly informed the gate steward that one of the oxers was set backwards. She looked at me like I was crazy, talked on her radio, then told me that since the class had already begun it had to remain set that way. They promised to correct it for the Medal class to follow the Eq division.

I guess that was a fair decision but I, personally, was mortified riding up to a 3' oxer with a pretty big spread and that sneaky back rail. And naturally my horse spooked at it again in the Medal even after it was corrected. Was it legal for them to run the class with the back rail lower? Did they make the right decision to continue the class with said oxer as is?

(I tried to look it up in the rule book, but alas I did not succeed)

MHM
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:13 PM
I don't see it in the equitation rules, but courses are addressed in the hunter rules.

Check HU 119.3 and HU 122.4 for details.

Basically, the back rail of an oxer should be 3" higher (though technically the rule doesn't say higher), and if a mistake in the course is not noticed by the time three entries have gone, the course stays the same for the rest of that class.

snaffle635
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:22 PM
I could be wrong, so check your facts. I thought an oxer with a lower back rail was called an 'offset'. I frequently see in prizelists that there are "no offsets or poling in the schooing area", leading me to conclude that it was an error in the showring.

Sorry to hear about this. What a bummer.

WorthTheWait95
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:24 PM
That seems like a dangerous rule. Off set oxers can cause major problems...especially when sprung on horses and riders. Perhaps not as big a deal at the 3ft level but it's still possible for a horse to misjudge it and get hung up in the back rail. I know some people use them to make horses more careful or to trick them into having a rail (not condoning or agreeing with this practice) but in a show situation that just seems plain dangerous.

I suppose it does depend on just how off set it was too. One hole off I can see being overlooked. 2-3 holes off I can't.

klmck63
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:29 PM
I Canada, anyways, I'm pretty sure that is illegal at shows.

I also believe it is called an off set oxer which is how the prize list usually seems to address it. It is dangerous, particularly with larger jumps and is sometimes used as a kind of nasty training technique.

SkipChange
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:33 PM
I don't see it in the equitation rules, but courses are addressed in the hunter rules.

Check HU 119.3 and HU 122.4 for details.

Basically, the back rail of an oxer should be 3" higher (though technically the rule doesn't say higher), and if a mistake in the course is not noticed by the time three entries have gone, the course stays the same for the rest of that class.

Thanks, that's what I figured was the case. Went to the section of the rulebook, makes sense.


I could be wrong, so check your facts. I thought an oxer with a lower back rail was called an 'offset'. I frequently see in prizelists that there are "no offsets or poling in the schooing area", leading me to conclude that it was an error in the showring.

Sorry to hear about this. What a bummer.

This is why I was a bit miffed. I was a little concerned about safety of jumping such a fence. Luckily I was riding a horse I usually showed 3'6" so I figured we'd clear it but was really concerned by how much he spooked at it and was praying I wouldn't get a refusal.

Janet
Oct. 14, 2009, 10:47 PM
Ofsets (back rail lower) are illegal in competition, and for schooling at the show, but that can be a very useful (not nasty) schooling exercise. When used correctly, it is NOT "to make horses more careful or to trick them into having a rail" but to improve their form.

When using offsets for schooling you have to introduce them in a way so that the horse KNOWS the back rail is there. That is why they are not legal at the show.

For HUNTERS, the back rail should be 3" higher, but for Jumpers (and I presume for Eq) you can have the front rail and the back rail at the same height.

But, unfortunately, you can't change it after half the class has gone, even if it is set wrong.

PNWjumper
Oct. 15, 2009, 12:13 AM
Is there a rule somewhere someone can reference?

ETA: Sorry, just saw the 122.4 rule referenced by MHM that does indeed say that there has to be a 3" difference between front and back rails. I will go back to my jumper world now! :)

I just had this conversation with Greg Best at a clinic. We were discussing the fact that there's no rule stating that offsets are illegal in the show ring, which came up because one of the jumps in the Jr/AO Jumper finals class I rode in a few weeks ago was an oxer with a plank front rail that was a couple of inches higher than the pole back rail. He was commenting on a particularly tough course designer who is notorious for setting offset oxers (and more significantly than a couple of inches) in Grand Prixes. So as far as I know there's no specific rule against offsets in the show ring. But it could be different for hunters and jumpers and I'm not nearly as familiar with the hunter/eq/medal rules. (again, ETA that it is indeed different for hunters!)

As a side note, despite the fact that swedish oxers are illegal in the schooling ring they are completely legal (and used frequently) in the show ring. I would assume the same for offsets. Lots of room for abusing both in the schooling ring which is why they've been banned from there.

ljc
Oct. 15, 2009, 01:30 AM
But, unfortunately, you can't change it after half the class has gone, even if it is set wrong.

Off topic, I learned this the hard way. I was showing in the A/O's at the Menlo Circus Club show back in 2000 (George Morris was one of the judges) and the first few riders were having horrible biffs at one line - everyone got there too short and had to either add a stride or leave from three miles away. My trainer told me to ride in forward and get the distance. OK, major chip. After some of the top A/O riders in the state had problems, the course designer was called in and it turned out the line was set incorrectly (ya think?). But since the class was halfway done, they had to keep it that way. I always thought it was unfair that the later riders knew the situation and could add a stride (arguably not the ideal choice in a "normal" class but a far better choice that launching and having a gasper or doing the chip that many of us did). When the class ended, the younger A/O's had the line set correctly, of course!

MHM
Oct. 15, 2009, 01:52 AM
ljc-

Was there not a course walk before the class? If so, I would think somebody would have caught it then if it was flat out set wrong.

It's the same with adjusting the time allowed. The judge has to change it by (or after) the third rider, or leave it alone for the rest of the class.

feather river
Oct. 15, 2009, 01:55 AM
Off topic, I learned this the hard way. I was showing in the A/O's at the Menlo Circus Club show back in 2000 (George Morris was one of the judges) and the first few riders were having horrible biffs at one line - everyone got there too short and had to either add a stride or leave from three miles away. My trainer told me to ride in forward and get the distance. OK, major chip. After some of the top A/O riders in the state had problems, the course designer was called in and it turned out the line was set incorrectly (ya think?). But since the class was halfway done, they had to keep it that way. I always thought it was unfair that the later riders knew the situation and could add a stride (arguably not the ideal choice in a "normal" class but a far better choice that launching and having a gasper or doing the chip that many of us did). When the class ended, the younger A/O's had the line set correctly, of course!

Maybe if they learned how to walk a course beforehand--costly learning experience for some it sounds like. Bet they will remember that one.

Seal Harbor
Oct. 15, 2009, 02:38 AM
ljc-

Was there not a course walk before the class? If so, I would think somebody would have caught it then if it was flat out set wrong.

It's the same with adjusting the time allowed. The judge has to change it by (or after) the third rider, or leave it alone for the rest of the class.

She is talking about the A/O hunters, since the A/O Jumpers are divided by high and low not age and did mentioned that the younger A/Os had a correctly set course. No course walk in the hunters.

Seal Harbor
Oct. 15, 2009, 02:39 AM
Maybe if they learned how to walk a course beforehand--costly learning experience for some it sounds like. Bet they will remember that one.

She is talking about the Amateur Owner Hunters, not the Jumpers. No course walk in the hunters.

MHM
Oct. 15, 2009, 04:25 AM
She is talking about the Amateur Owner Hunters, not the Jumpers. No course walk in the hunters.

Ah. Since it wasn't specified, I guess the mention of George made me think jumpers.

I don't see him near a hunter ring too often. :lol:

broughton_sporthorses
Oct. 15, 2009, 04:51 AM
In Australia in any form of jumping, you cannot have the back rail lower than the front.

That said, when George Morris was out here giving clinics, he had the riders jumping triple bars backwards! That would have worried me a bit, but I guess he knows what he is doing :P

Madeline
Oct. 15, 2009, 06:45 AM
Just another reminder that I'm old. They used to be called hogbacks and you saw them in the jumpers all the time.

WorthTheWait95
Oct. 15, 2009, 07:43 AM
Just another reminder that I'm old. They used to be called hogbacks and you saw them in the jumpers all the time.

I've always been told hogsbacks are a version of a triple bar not an oxer. With a low rail in front, the middle bar the highest and the back rail the same height as the front rail.

findeight
Oct. 15, 2009, 08:20 AM
Was once watching a 51+ Adult class and saw the lady that is, arguably, the most sucessful nationwide in this division take a nasty spill off a well regarded and many times champion Hunter because they had not moved a line in after the REGULARS went. She was early on and the first 5 or 6 to go had horrible distances to chips but had other issues too and were...ummm...less accomplished riders. It was not obvious just how long that line was. They sort of blew off trainers who wanted a measure on that line 'cause they were poor trips anyway, chalked it up to typical Adult lack of pace to the first line.

Five stride frst line away from the in gate that should have been about 71' to 72'. She made the numbers with a flyer and the horse landed on his nose, pitching her into the dirt face first-in her 50s.:no: And she NEVER comes off at shows.

The judge called for a tape measure and the line was about 78':eek:.

After a conference with the stewards it was determined the course, by the rulebook, could not be reset but they changed the diagram to reflect the correct distance and made sure everybody was aware.

That poor gal, she said later she thought she was just dead in the water pace wise when she jumped in and gunned the horse, by the time she realized just how long that oxer was coming up, it was too late to pull out or add anything and she just grabbed mane and kicked...he hit the back rail with a front foot and went down in a heap.

Once everybody knew, most added (with no penalty in scoring) and others on some of those big strided WBs were careful to really pick up the pace and made it-but they were ugly-and ran off around the corner that followed and overshot the next line.

Lesson learned, ride off your eye and not counting. Always be ready to change your plan based on how your ride is going and what those before you did.

IMO, if you know about a mistake like that dropped back rail on an oxer? You are going to have to just ride to a good, strong and deeper spot and leg him then free up and stay out of his mouth. Most of them will easily clear when placed that way. There is nothing outlandishly dangerous about something like this-as long as you know it's there and are willing to change your ride as needed to compensate.

It sucks. But it happens.

Janet
Oct. 15, 2009, 08:25 AM
Just another reminder that I'm old. They used to be called hogbacks and you saw them in the jumpers all the time.
Hogsbacks are different.
Low first rail
High middle rail
Low back rail.

Offsets just have two rails
High front rail
Low back rail.

SkipChange
Oct. 15, 2009, 09:53 AM
Hogsbacks are different.
Low first rail
High middle rail
Low back rail.

Offsets just have two rails
High front rail
Low back rail.

Thank you Janet, Hogsbacks are certainly different. I would be happy to jump a hogsback any day as I used to event and those are common on XC.

RE: Everyone who asked if we walked the course....I don't walk hunter/eq courses ever. First of all it is not like it is some huge AA show or Big Eq finals. Second, I can figure out inside, outside, inside without having to see it from the ground. I usually check out the course in the morning if they let us hack out before classes. The aforementioned class took place at around 9pm and I don't think anyone wanted to wait around for people to walk the course. Plus it was only a 3ft class, if it was bigger or involved a combination (it didn't) I might be inclined to walk it. The lesson I did learn was do not rely on other people to spot problems, or go at the beginning of the order!

luvs2ridewbs
Oct. 15, 2009, 10:19 AM
Are hogsbacks legal for the show ring? I've seen them in eq finals before.

findeight
Oct. 15, 2009, 11:15 AM
Yeah, seen hogsbacks in Jumpers and Eq, really just like a coop only not solid....but not in the Hunters and you would not be looking for one in a 3' Eq held over the previously set Hunter course as many of these Eq classes are held on those courses with just a roll back or two to differentiate the Eq course from the Hunters-or it's just outside, diagonal over the Hunter courses. Don't think they are against any rules, just not customary these days-maybe in a Derby.

OP, I would not have been looking for anything like an offset either and probably would have just assumed everybody was making errors if I didn't have to go first. Who looks for something like that?

RugBug
Oct. 15, 2009, 11:49 AM
I didn't notice it as I went into the arena but 3 strides out I sure noticed it and we got a pretty awful spot to it as my horse gave it the evil eye.


And naturally my horse spooked at it again in the Medal even after it was corrected.

I'm guessing your horse spooked at it because you did?

Madeline
Oct. 15, 2009, 12:05 PM
I've always been told hogsbacks are a version of a triple bar not an oxer. With a low rail in front, the middle bar the highest and the back rail the same height as the front rail.

My mistake. I thought that all the bitching was just about the fact that the back rail was lower. In a hogback, that's the way it is. I wonder if the fence in question had a lot of filler, etc. If it was a normally stuffed and decorated fence, the lower back rail shouldn't have been an issue. If it was a plain vertical front element, well, that might be a problem...

SkipChange
Oct. 15, 2009, 12:18 PM
I'm guessing your horse spooked at it because you did?

Probably, the first time I was caught off guard but I tried my best to give it a really strong ride the second time but it was still awkward. The 3rd time (medal ride with corrected fence) I gave him all the leg I had but he was still looky to it. Was it my fault every time? Most certainly, but it doesn't seem a fair question for 3ft Child/Adult hunter IMO, and I wasn't the only one who had problems. Oh well, it's not the end of the world I just thought it was an interesting question and wondered if it was legal, and it apparently is since more than 3 riders had already completed the course.

RugBug
Oct. 15, 2009, 12:42 PM
it doesn't seem a fair question for 3ft Child/Adult hunter IMO, and I wasn't the only one who had problems. .

Oh, I don't think it should've been in the course, but like Madeline pointed out, if it was a typically decorated oxer, it shoudn't have been a a problem...the lower back rail is still well within the trajectory of a normal jump arc. If it was an oxer with a true vertical face (no flowers, boxes, etc)that's a little different.

FWIW, I am the queen of getting my horse worry about a fence. I've got this video of him stopping at a brick wall like one he jumps all the time at home. For some reason, I was worried about it and tried to ride strong to it...sure enough he stopped. :lol:

luvs2ridewbs
Oct. 15, 2009, 01:36 PM
On another note, I wonder if USEF is making themsevles liable if someone gets hurt while having to complete an unsafe course because the mistake can't be corrected due to the 3 riders rule. For instance, the unsafe oxer was brought to managments attention, they said, sorry can't fix it, the whole class must complete it, then a horse gets caught on the problematic backrail causing a catestrophic fall. Is USEF liable for damages? They knew about the safety hazard but chose not to correct AND its an illegal type of jump for a reason. IMO they should change the rule. Maybe re run the whole class instead.

SkipChange
Oct. 15, 2009, 02:32 PM
On another note, I wonder if USEF is making themsevles liable if someone gets hurt while having to complete an unsafe course because the mistake can't be corrected due to the 3 riders rule. For instance, the unsafe oxer was brought to managments attention, they said, sorry can't fix it, the whole class must complete it, then a horse gets caught on the problematic backrail causing a catestrophic fall. Is USEF liable for damages? They knew about the safety hazard but chose not to correct AND its an illegal type of jump for a reason. IMO they should change the rule. Maybe re run the whole class instead.

My guess is no since no one forced me to complete the course with the offset oxer. You could have declined to ride the course and scratched. But who knows, people make lawsuits out of everything these days. Of course I would have been delighted if they had let us do the whole class over :D

luvs2ridewbs
Oct. 15, 2009, 02:39 PM
ah the line between choice and whose responsible.... Don't forget, no one forced that lady to buy hot McDonalds coffee.....

superpony123
Oct. 15, 2009, 02:53 PM
On another note, I wonder if USEF is making themsevles liable if someone gets hurt while having to complete an unsafe course because the mistake can't be corrected due to the 3 riders rule. For instance, the unsafe oxer was brought to managments attention, they said, sorry can't fix it, the whole class must complete it, then a horse gets caught on the problematic backrail causing a catestrophic fall. Is USEF liable for damages? They knew about the safety hazard but chose not to correct AND its an illegal type of jump for a reason. IMO they should change the rule. Maybe re run the whole class instead.

My guess would be no. first off, you agree that usef and the shows and any organization are not liable when you fill out your entry. second of all, you arent walking into the ring unaware of your surroundings--you have the chance to look at all the jumps, and even if you dont notice that--which is your fault, no one is forcing you into the ring with a gun to your head. you can always scratch in an unsafe circumstance.

RugBug
Oct. 15, 2009, 02:57 PM
ah the line between choice and whose responsible.... Don't forget, no one forced that lady to buy hot McDonalds coffee.....

She didn't win because it was an average cup of hot coffee, but because McDonalds admitted that they made their coffee hotter than normal, therefore more dangerous than an average cup 'o' joe.

Extrapolating that could mean that the show/USEF/etc might lose a case if they knowingly left an obstacle in a course that is considered more dangerous than other obstacles and someone had a serious injury at that obstacle.

I suppose someone would have to prove that an offset oxer is more dangerous...or maybe they wouldn't since there is a rule forbidding them. Seems murky at best...

MHM
Oct. 15, 2009, 03:06 PM
She didn't win because it was an average cup of hot coffee, but because McDonalds admitted that they made their coffee hotter than normal, therefore more dangerous than an average cup 'o' joe.



IIRC, it turned out they had already ignored numerous complaints about it as well. I think it was one of those things that was not quite as ridiculous as it sounded from the headlines.

findeight
Oct. 15, 2009, 06:05 PM
Well, that overlong line that was not changed I mentioned earlier and the offset are not, really, dangerous in and of themselves. Just not typically seen in 3' Hunters and that level Hunter style Eq over a Hunter style course-not talking the Maclay here.

Riders coulda, shoulda, woulda noticed and prepared but they made assumptions about mistakes at those places that were not correct so misrode them. Gal I saw should have added or stepped on the gas sooner instead of assuming the others were too slow. OP should have realized there was something funny about that jump given errors by others-or looked at the course more carefully if she went first and ridden to the base with alot of leg instead of assuming anything We all do it when we are not looking for anything different and get too complacent.

If something is actually dangerous like a broken rail, standard or a horrifc and slick mud bog at the take off point that is actually causing slips and falls (as opposed to just looking scary and rattling the riders)? They can and do change it.

RugBug
Oct. 15, 2009, 06:21 PM
Well, that overlong line that was not changed I mentioned earlier and the offset are not, really, dangerous in and of themselves. Just not typically seen in 3' Hunters and that level Hunter style Eq over a Hunter style course-not talking the Maclay here.

Riders coulda, shoulda, woulda noticed and prepared but they made assumptions about mistakes at those places that were not correct so misrode them. Gal I saw should have added or stepped on the gas sooner instead of assuming the others were too slow. OP should have realized there was something funny about that jump given errors by others-or looked at the course more carefully if she went first and ridden to the base with alot of leg instead of assuming anything We all do it when we are not looking for anything different and get too complacent.


I beg to differ. If a course chart indicates a certain distance and there is no course walk, then how is a rider suppose to know it's not set correctly? That can be incredibly dangerous...

We had some funky set lines at a show this year. I watched person after person biff the outside lines and at that point made the decision to not believe the course chart...I was going to add a stride. Even the really long strided horses, were moving on and still getting there really long (there were three crashes, IIRC). I ride a horse that can get the distances, but the longer lines are harder for him. I was really worried. It took me a moment to remember that I was only do an eq medal and didn't actually have to jump the lines in question...YEAH!!!! Even so, I shouldn't HAVE to watch others riders biff to realize something is not right between how the line was set and what the line rode.

If show management indicates one thing on a course chart but set it differently, I don't see how they are absolved of responsibility.

luvs2ridewbs
Oct. 16, 2009, 12:06 PM
I agree Rugbug. Also, I did hear that there are some law suits against USEA and USEF for deaths occuring on the x county course. Those riders certainly signed waivers but if the course was at fault? Maybe then the org. will be shown negligent. I really think USEF might want to reconsider their 3 rider rule.

EAY
Oct. 16, 2009, 12:28 PM
Wasn't there a line set incorrectly at Upperville this year during the adult classic? I seem to remember that they remeasured it after the first rider had difficulty with it and that they let her redo her round. I wonder what they would have done if they had let three riders go before realizing their mistake. And as wet as the ring was it was definitely a dangerous situation.

supershorty628
Oct. 16, 2009, 12:31 PM
I was showing a pony at HITS once and the lines were marked incorrectly on the course diagram (they were flipped on the diagonals, so people were running and chipping) - no one protested it until after 4 of us had gone. The lines were measured and the 4 of us who had gone were given the option of a re-ride...I believe the first 3 took it and I did not; I rode the lines off my eye and did the actual numbers instead of the theoretical ones. Given that experience, I think they can reset after 3 have gone, but maybe they need consent or something from the exhibitors? I don't know. That was just my personal experience with it.

RugBug
Oct. 16, 2009, 12:44 PM
I agree Rugbug. Also, I did hear that there are some law suits against USEA and USEF for deaths occuring on the x county course. Those riders certainly signed waivers but if the course was at fault? Maybe then the org. will be shown negligent. I really think USEF might want to reconsider their 3 rider rule.

Well, one of those is here in CA. Rider continued on after being eliminated (although it was the water complex so it may have been hard to flag her), ignoring the jump judges and then had a rotational fall at the next fence or the one following (can't remember which). It's tragically sad situation as her older sister had died a few years prior in a horseback riding accident at CSU Fresno. Parents sued the school on that one as well...and lost. (discussed extensively here: http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=148152