View Full Version : Cannt believe how bad yesterday was!

Nov. 23, 2009, 12:11 PM
Okay just need to vent a bit about my last h.t. of 2009! Sorry its a bit long, but if you ever have someone complain about the price or rules of a USEA event... have them check this out.

There are always things coming up about USEA vs unreg events. I do both, depending on needs of horses and students. Well yesterday we went to an unreg. event (run by folks who compete USEA on a regular basis and event was to run by USEA rules). It was nuts!!!

I had a horse doing his first training level, another doing novice, and two students doing their first ht (besides D pony club eventing rally).

The event stacked all levels on top of each other by running two stadium rings. Wanna know what happened??

1) First times came out... I had 10 mins between my two dressage test.
2) Courses open to walk 2:30 day before. Great! Walked novice course and there was hedge/bush grown to about 6 feet, then part of the center was cut out, very narrow (picture a small key hole barely big enough to fit horse and rider legs through without the top of the keyhole). Okay its open novice level... but entrie course up to that point fences 3 through 8 you had to land and roll back or circle to get to the next. Absolutely no way to get a confident rolling pace going. Then you had to g up hill, roll back to hedge fence, land circle back again on the downside of a hill to go to next fence.
3) Okay, talked to TD morning of event about hedge fence. He decided to make that an option fence with the other novice fence beside it.
4) While walking the course with student #1, I noticed that the novice and training course had already been ridden multiple times that moring. There was frozen dew on the ground and could see the ridden tracks very easily. Later over heard one of the farm's students commenting on how glad she was that they 'schooled' the course that morning before anyone showed up.:mad:
5) Started my novice level dressge.... first warm up steward tells me signal is bell. So I am going around the ring never hearing a bell. Judge tells me she blow the whistle, but she would let me ride my test anyways. I heard the whistle, thought is was the ring near us, waiting for bell.
6) Begin down centerline... after movement number six, whistle blows... I am eleminated for too many errors. WTF? Here judge was given wrong infromation about which level I was riding (hence problem with stacking and intertwining the dressage test of different levels to make time table work:o).
7) Was allowed to re-start my test. Then had to go get my errors points removed from my new test, from riding the 'wrong test':cry:
8) So now I am running late to my next dressage test (had as time table allowed 20 mins to warm up my training level horse, and it took judge 5mins to get my test orgainzed, and another 5 mins to get score worked out without errors!)
9) Get to show jumping... starter says I am two away from going in. WTF again:no: I am on time, but apperantly I am the last training horse and they want to change the course. They start saying I should have shown up earlier since my dressage time was at x:xx. Well, I was already @#$# off and just said fine I'll go... We had one rail, but he's not the best s.j. so okay off to xc!!
10) Get on course had to yell "heads up" three times from fence 6 to 12, then 2 more times between 16 and 19! Another twisty course so people just move from in front of one fence to the front of the next fence to get out of the way. My horse was confused (the only time I say anything to thishorse on course is when he is doing really well, and that is followed by pats on the neck;)) So he is getting scared and thinks he's in trouble or something is wrong. Had a stop due to my not riding they way I should have been and him just not in a pace at all (this course was a mix of little fences and big fences and no pace setting). I almost ran people over 4 strides to the water, hey they wouldn't move and watched me head straight for them!
11) Went to farm owner and TD,just to say you may want to remind jump judges that horses have right away on course and to help keep people out of the way....oh well we dont have jump judges to remind people to get out of the way. The jump judge is watching from the tower.
12) Late to stadium with novice horse (by 5mins.) starter yells and says I have to go now!! There are four people still warming up. I explained I had multiple rides... starter snaps that multiple riders need to expect no warm up time for their mounts. Okay, take deep breath, its an unreg. starter event... before I said anything else one of the "farm students" comes up and says sorry I am late (by 15 mins) my mom and I were having lunch, starter: Oh okay, just let me know when you are ready and you can slip in to the order. Now I am really #%@ed:mad::mad::mad:
13) Finally get on course with novice horse. He was so confused and unhappy on course, twist-jump-circle-jump-rollback etc. courses do not get along with him (have positive thing I now know not to even attempt those types with him;))
14) Get to ditch... okay horse does have a problem with ditches from time to time... we get to the ditch, about to take off over ditch, he looks at it, begins snorting and tries to rear off to the side, WTF again, he usually just slams the breaks on two or three strides out. Here there is now a rubber alligator in the freakin' ditch! Okay he does go over it, but jumps far to the right snorting and bending his neck to 'watch' the alligator while going over the ditch. Another positive... now know novice horse is afraid of alligators:winkgrin:
15) Go to TD, just to ask about the alligator.... Answer from TD and owner...'yeah that thing gets moved around alot in the ditchs'. I tell him that was not in there when we walked the courses that morning or day before. Answer... well someone put it in there then through out the day. Okay, once again I very nicely just remind them that the fences are not to be re-decorated after the start of the competition.

Should I go on!?!?! Cause I can:D

My students had some better luck. Except my one student forgot a fence at stadium. Next time when there are no course maps on the outside of the stadium rings, I am going to draw a map myself and post it for my students, so they can go over the course in their minds as needed. A friend also had multiple rides, she was not treated very well through out the day.

Best part of my entire day.... On the drive home, hubby asks "Next year can we just pay the extra $100 or so per entry and do just USEA events, or stick only to unreg. that we know really well (ie Waredaca, Plantation, Fair Hill, thank god to them or we will be very broke eventing next year) when the greenies need to go out?"

I said yeah... we are NOT coming back to this one:D

Nov. 23, 2009, 12:24 PM
I'm so sorry!!

You've just described some of the reasons I go to recognized events. Sure, they can have their problems, but usually, people are eager to help.

I know a few unrecognized events I'll go to when I have a young horse again, just for the miles--but they are straightfoward, galloping courses. That, and I'll school the places where the recognized events are held when I can (and go to local dressage and jumping shows). Then I'll head to the recognized ones.

Nov. 23, 2009, 12:35 PM
Yikes! Alligator in a ditch would have me looking too! lol

Definitly sounds like a few show jumping shows i have been to around Calgary. Except its normally wait 3 extra hours before you show.


Nov. 23, 2009, 01:09 PM
Ayy Yii Yiii!!! What a nightmare! i feel for you. I am the organizer and run a new HT here in NC (unrecognized) but we STRIVE very HARD to make it on the "up and up" and follow RULES (except where previsouly noted). We ran a HT on November 1, and in spite of the fact it was HORIBLE POURING RAIN WIND AND COLD everyone had great things to say to us about how we ran it, were organized and responded well to the issues the weather created. That made me happy although there WERE things we know we need to work on. After the HT I sent a "Questionnaire" out via email to all the competitors asking for their comments both good and bad on a variety of topics about the HT. Many did respond and I was happy as there were some "issues" that we will address in our spring HT. Hope we never have anything like you jsut described!

Nov. 23, 2009, 01:36 PM
Which is why I went to that H.T. two and a half years ago and will not go back again :no:. The worst was putting the Starter Elementary babies in the small dark indoor- I thought my mare was going to have a heart attack.

Nov. 23, 2009, 01:44 PM
What unrecognized HT is the OP talking about? Sounds like one I would like to avoid if possible. Please, save me some $$$ !

Meredith Clark
Nov. 23, 2009, 01:58 PM
Was this Full Moon Farms in MD?

I haven't been there in years but I know they had an unrec HT Sunday.

Nov. 23, 2009, 01:58 PM
If its the same one i THINK it is - 2 years ago when i was there they tried to DQ me for my sparkly brow band. Even made me talk to the TD about it. WTF right??

that said - they have tried to really improve the place and make it a decent Unrecog. HT.. I went there years ago and have seen all the changes made -for the better. But i still wont go back because of countless issues like this..

Meredith Clark
Nov. 23, 2009, 02:21 PM
If its the same one i THINK it is - 2 years ago when i was there they tried to DQ me for my sparkly brow band. Even made me talk to the TD about it. WTF right??

I also consider your sparkly brow band offensive :lol:

I went the same year SparklePenty did and actually had a really good time. I thought the x-country course was great but stadium was slick and mucky from too many rides (and I was early in the day!)

It's unfortunate when unrec. events state they are going by USEA rules and then pick and choose which ones to follow.

gully's pilot
Nov. 23, 2009, 02:41 PM
Is a sparkly browband ever against the rules?

Nov. 23, 2009, 09:14 PM
For those inquiring minds...

For all of those who have PM'ed me and asked "was this XXX XXXX farm?" I have answered you back, yes.

I really want to call this unreg. event out and tell everyone its name, but dont know if I should. I am trying (really really hard) to be a good sport here;)

Amazing the number of people who guessed the farm name right away. Maybe I should just spill the info!?!?

The man who was "playing" TD really did try to make things right. Got the feeling though was just the front man, as he had to talk to owner about things or owner overrode his decisions on a number of issues that I or other competitors had. He actually seemed reassured that maybe he was right about something, but needed competitor input/support before he could do/say anything.

Equine Studies
Nov. 23, 2009, 09:27 PM
Be a good sport. Don't post the farm on a public BB-sounds like they already have a less than perfect reputation. No need to add to it. Instead write a letter (anonymously if you must, and most definitely when you're less upset) outlining your many concerns to help them improve. By the sounds of it they just might not have the manpower and the experience to put on a good event-I would cross them off the list for future years. Bummer that's how your season ended, which is probably making you feel worse.

Nov. 23, 2009, 09:50 PM
What an awful, disorganized, mess of a day! I am so sorry.

Not to highjack this thread, but my daughter also competed in an unrecognized event this past weekend at Jumping Branch Farm in Aiken, SC. I don't know if you are close to this venue or not, but if you are ..... what a wonderful, wonderful place. Julie Zapapas runs such a quality event. I cannot say enough good things about Jumping Branch Farm. It is such a peaceful, well-run place. If there is any way you can get to Jumping Branch for any of their events, you should try to go.


Nov. 23, 2009, 09:59 PM
Sometimes the First Amendment works wonders.

Nov. 23, 2009, 10:38 PM
Really sorry you had a bad experience. I'm pretty sure I know which event you are referring to. Is it perfect? No. But I do know that the owners and staff are some of the nicest people out there in the eventing world. I am sure they are doing their best and take your concerns seriously. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. All of your concerns are valid but seeing how their event always has a huge turnout, for many people they must be doing something right. I am neither a student, boarder, or client of theirs.

Also, look out. There are two very young ladies that ride there that would blow your socks off. Future Olympians I am sure of it.

Nov. 23, 2009, 10:58 PM
If you are talking about Full Moon Farm, I took a horse who was being a perfectly awful teenager there last year and the folks could not have been more cheerful and helpful. Sure, we were in the indoor, but so was everyone else in the division, the babies are out in the world to get over it, take it as the opportunity it represents for schooling which is what its all about at this level. The course was adorable, lots of little things that were versions of what the horses would see later on. Schooling was sufficiently chaotic to be a useful prep. It was a relaxed schooling event and I appreciated the chance to kick a naughty youngster around and show him that there was a beginning and an end to the whole affair -- he learned a whole lot that day!!

Nov. 23, 2009, 11:12 PM
I'm not a fan of cheating. A couple of people have posted that these are very nice people who put on the event, but there are unfortunate glitches. If the people are really not crazy, I would be very interested in their explanation the cross-country schooling. The jump order could be apologize away as the actions of one person who will be spoken to, but the course riding can not. Either their names would be marked as disqualified in the event records, or I would never be a patron of their events again. Period. (I realize this is already the case for you.)

It sounds from other posts like the people in charge would be concerned that such a thing happened.

Nov. 24, 2009, 10:33 AM
If you are talking about Full Moon Farm, I took a horse who was being a perfectly awful teenager there last year and the folks could not have been more cheerful and helpful. Sure, we were in the indoor, but so was everyone else in the division, the babies are out in the world to get over it, take it as the opportunity it represents for schooling which is what its all about at this level. The course was adorable, lots of little things that were versions of what the horses would see later on. Schooling was sufficiently chaotic to be a useful prep. It was a relaxed schooling event and I appreciated the chance to kick a naughty youngster around and show him that there was a beginning and an end to the whole affair -- he learned a whole lot that day!!

I do agree that the Elementary course was perfect and my mare jumped around everything the first time, but I disagree with using the indoor with the babies. She learned nothing in there but how to scream and have a hissy fit (of course, she is a stubborn as a mule Holsteiner :mad:, so that could have something to do with it :lol:). For me, with so many other closer options, I just prefer not to go back there. I do agree that they run a great lesson program (I work with a woman whose daughter has been taking lessons there for years) and that S.F. can ride the pants off of most of us, but the unrecognizeds are just too low key for me.

Nov. 24, 2009, 11:20 AM
I just do not see faulting the venue because your mare had a problem with the indoor. It would be just as easy to complain about putting the babies outside where it is distracting or they get hyped up when they horses going xc nearby. It is certainly your perogative not to return to this venue, but I don't think it is some grave error on the part of the organizer to put elementary in the indoor- shrug - to each his own
As for the OP, I am sorry you had such a bad experience. I have been to this venue numerous times and never had any troubles, although it is a fairly laidback affair usually. There is clearly room for improvement here and I think you should pass your complaints on to the organizer- I know they do not want anyone to go home unhappy. At a minimum, they should know that they need to do some more education/monitoring of their volunteers

Nov. 24, 2009, 11:41 AM
I really don't think that it is always about rec. vs unrec. I did DVCTA this year, unrec. It was beautifully run. Dressage judges were competent, XC was wonderful, sj a little tough but doable.
When you got your packet, they had coffee - and doughnuts!! Everyone was helpful, friendly, and organized.
And when you came off XC, there was a man there with a bottle of cold water!

And, there have been several times at different rec events where there were, well, glitches. And this was at a time - for 10 years in a row, where I only did rec, and did it in 2 areas - 8 and 2.
I think it is to a large degree, the organizer. I will admit we are spoiled in this area, but still.

I would hate to see the unrec dwindle down, right now, it's what I can afford. When and if (fingers crossed) we someday make it to training, I will go the rec route again.
The talk on the other thread about changing the three phase to some strange version just makes me kind of sad, but I am definitely old school.

Nov. 24, 2009, 12:54 PM
I just do not see faulting the venue because your mare had a problem with the indoor.

Like I said in my previous post, I have a lot of closer options, so I prefer to go to those instead. I am not faulting the venue; I just didn't get a super good vibe from there. Maybe because there were SO many kids around (which is great for the kids, but not crotchety old grown ups :winkgrin:). I don't know, but I have been there twice and I prefer not to go again. It is a good low key venue for people just starting out and kids and we need places like that.

yellow rose eventing
Nov. 25, 2009, 09:55 AM
gotta agree with ya here. normally i don't even post on these things, but i feel compelled and have had extra coffee this morning.

The course was in-sane. roll backs, double backs, inappropriate questions for the levels. I mean, my kids jumped clean and they all got ribbons but several had to stop and look around for their fence. not cool. All the twisty and turny on already slippery wet ground that had been used the weekend before was not only annoying but dangerous. Create a course that flows and encourages a rythm. But whatever, my kids are good enough to deal with that kind of stuff.

However... my main concern was not with the organizational staff, i think most of the volunteers and the people who run the event are fabulous. The farm owners are awesome. I wanted to speak to them directly about this because they're cool but understandably busy. I had an issue, a huge, major issue, with 2 people at the pre-starter-whatever baby elementary when my 6 year old student was doing her first HT ever. Some of you probably saw her.. on paint pony.. cute as a button. I had been told this was an ideal place for her to do her first ever event. So she gets out on XC and is doing a good job, but gets lost because of the doublebacks and turns. OK, whatever, she's 6. She's standing there holding up the course and getting really frustrated. I start to walk out there to help her and the steward says no you cant go any farther... absolutely not, it's the rules... I'm like... you gotta be kidding me... this girl is 6 years old... this isn't even a freakin real division... it's a starter HT. So we're arguing. I say, fine, eliminate the girl, I'm gonna go help her. While we're bantering the XC judge (who come to find out is a showjumping rider... makes perfect sense right..) stands up and says to the poor kid, "you're ELIMINATED. all you have to do was jump THAT FENCE and you would have finished. BUT you did a REALLY GOOD JOB". Um ya, clearly not ideal. Enter blackout rage.

Now I have a totally devastated 6 year old who can't understand what happened, she didn't fall off, her pony didnt run away... all these morons had to do was say sweetie the fence is right there, she'd go jump it, and feel like a million bucks. Then you can mark her as E but even then I'd still feel like you were a meanie, just put her in last place and give the kid a freakin ribbon. But no.

I managed to salvage this situation and spoke to the TD, who seemed nice but kind of blew me off I think. I hope someone inovlved with this HT reads this story because it was NOT COOL.

I did love the dressage judges. They were really great to the kids. I wish they had posted their names in the program. I pay attention to all these details. Having good people around you is so important.