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JER
Dec. 3, 2009, 06:30 PM
From the Chronicle's coverage (http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/news-usea-annual-meeting-and-convention-day-1):


when international superstars like British rider Oliver Townend appear to be running their horses more than ever at the top levels of the sport, it sends a mixed message to up-and-coming eventing enthusiasts. Townend placed eighth at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in April, won the Burghley CCI**** (England) in September and then contested the Pau CCI**** (France) in October, all on Carousel Quest.

USEF Eventing Chef d’Equipe Mark Phillips stepped in to explain that many coaches are changing their theories on four-star fitness. He said British coach Yogi Breisner even considered sending Carousel Quest to the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships, three weeks after Burghley.

“The recovery period is so much quicker than it used to be when we had endurance,” Phillips said. “It’s much more like a race horse, which maintains a higher level of fitness throughout the year and peaks maybe once a month, instead of twice a year. I’m absolutely convinced that the horse has got to be just as fit today, if not fitter, than before.”

The logic here is confusing. Or perhaps not very logical given the facts.

So how did Mr. Townend's horses perform at the end of the season?

Not well at all. Carousel Quest's SJ round at Pau -- was it 7 fences down? -- would lead one to believe that he'd been asked to perform one too many times. As for Flint Curtis (his 2009 record is here (http://www.britisheventing.com/asp-net/Events/Results.aspx?HorseId=46592)), he was E'd from his last two events of the year. He was eliminated on XC at the World Cup final in Poland, then at the European Championships, he had 2 run outs on XC and was spun at the jog the next day.

Given the above, I suspect the real reason Yogi Breisner was considering putting Carousel Quest on the GB team for the Euros was because Flint Curtis was NQR. That would make sense -- the team coach would go with his best chances of success, especially after losing other horses to injury.

Doesn't anyone think to question CMP when he presents his theories? Or is there no venue for this when he speaks to the membership of the USEA?

EventerAJ
Dec. 3, 2009, 06:58 PM
I see MANY holes in this "logic."

Um, aren't the top racehorses actually racing A LOT LESS today, than they used to 20 yrs ago? How many starts does the average GI winner have per year?

And it's not like our top horses "only" compete twice a year... they have horse trials once a month (or more) to help them prepare and peak for the three-day. Just like a horse on the Derby trail has a couple prep races beforehand. But, those races *aren't* the Derby and aren't ridden as such.


It is completely appropriate to run advanced horse trials 3 or 4 weeks apart. But at this point in time, a "CCI" is not a horse trial-- it is some hybrid bastardization that still demands much more of the horse's physical abilities. As such, horses must endure the stress and pressure of everyday training and preparation, taking a gradual toll on the body. Then the extra-long xc at a CCI does a little more damage... this is ok, because you prepared for it, AND because the horse will have ample time to recover afterwards (WEEKS OFF). Eliminating the "down time" will eventually fry the mind and wear down the horses beyond their physical limits.

And wasn't a huge "benefit" of this short-format supposed to be longer, healthier careers for our equine superstars? :rolleyes:

Gry2Yng
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:04 PM
AJ, you are brilliant. I am glad you are the "up and coming" in our sport.

ETA:

adj.
Full of light; shining. See synonyms at bright.
Relating to or being a hue that has a combination of high lightness and strong saturation.
Sharp and clear in tone.
Glorious; magnificent: the brilliant court life at Versailles.
Superb; wonderful: The soloist gave a brilliant performance.
Marked by unusual and impressive intellectual acuteness: a brilliant mind; a brilliant solution to the problem. See synonyms at intelligent.
n.
A precious gem, especially a diamond, finely cut in any of various forms with numerous facets.

findeight
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:06 PM
Um, aren't the top racehorses actually racing A LOT LESS today, than they used to 20 yrs ago? How many starts does the average GI winner have per year?


Don't know about an "average number" of starts for G1 horses but, just off the top of my head...it's got to be under about 6 to 8 a year Look at how many retire unsound at age 3 with 6 or 7 LIFETIME starts. And there are certainly enough G1 races still around they could do as many as they used to when they ran once a month. Or more.

Even something like Zenyatta who retired sound at age 5 coming 6 was undefeated in ...oh, was it 15 or 16? LIFETIME starts. CMP missed the math on that one. Or he is stuck in the past.

JER
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:18 PM
Even something like Zenyatta who retired sound at age 5 coming 6 was undefeated in ...oh, was it 15 or 16? LIFETIME starts.

14 starts.

Zenyatta's connections do put their horses first -- even when there's a lot of money on the line.

EventerAJ
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:32 PM
Oh I agree, JER, I think many of the "less" starts is due to "looking after the horse's best interest."

Take Einstein, for example (because he isn't one of those precocious 2-3 year olds rushing of to the breeding shed after a blip of success). He raced from age 3 (three starts) to age 7 (seven starts). At age 6, he had nine starts...but they weren't all graded stakes!

Did Rachel Alexandra race all year? If you recall, she skipped the Belmont so she could... REST. Her fall campaign ended in September so she could... REST. (yes I know there were other reasons why she skipped the BC, but she could have run somewhere else, like the Clark at CD). But instead, her owner decided to give her a break and bring her out fresh next year.

See the "logic" here? Trainers doing right by their horses and running them sparingly, with the best chance of success. Racing a burnt-out horse doesn't give you much chance to win, and it doesn't set them up well for their next victory, either.

And Gry, thank you for your support. :) I saw you on that other thread too, I just didn't get back in time to respond... glad you liked my site, thanks for your kind comments. :)

deltawave
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:41 PM
Nice that Mark Phillips is "absolutely convinced" in the absence of any data whatsoever. :rolleyes:

Gry2Yng
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:44 PM
Nice that Mark Phillips is "absolutely convinced" in the absence of any data whatsoever. :rolleyes:

Uh, would you expect anything more? What if data got in the way of what he wants? For that matter, what if the horse got in the way of what he wants?

AJ - no worries, I don't expect a response, just letting you know my thoughts.

JER
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:52 PM
Nice that Mark Phillips is "absolutely convinced" in the absence of any data whatsoever. :rolleyes:

And I'm so glad CMP isn't, say, a cardiologist...

:lol:

eventer80
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:16 PM
He adresses fitness BUT he doesn't address the wear and tear of keeping him fit enough to run at three ****'s in a year. So, yes, a fit horse is less likely to injure himself but what is the cost of his long term soundness?

JER
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:25 PM
To extend the racing comparison...

Across the pond, in National Hunt racing, the top horses are prepped for the big races and they run the big races. That's it. No extras.

NH's two big stars -- and these are two of the finest TBs to ever land on planet Earth -- Kauto Star and Denman, are 2000 models at the peak of their careers. They both would make excellent eventers and they're the same size and age and the top horses in our sport.

Here's their schedules for the current season:

This year, Kauto Star (a 16.3hh French-bred) won the Betfair Chase (for the 3rd time) a couple of weeks ago. He'll go on to the King George on Boxing Day (he's aiming to tie Dessie's record) and then try for his 3rd Cheltenham Gold Cup. C'est tout. KS has 31 lifetime starts, although it should be noted he started out as a hurdler in France where starts tend to be more frequent.

Denman, an Irish-bred who is well over 17hh (he is huge), has had 17 lifetime starts. Last year, he was treated for an irregular heartbeat and raced only twice, still managing a 2nd in the Gold Cup. This year, he won the Hennessy Gold Cup and was jumping out of his skin. He will run a race in February as a prep for the Gold Cup (he won in 2008, ahead of KS).

These horses race over substantial fences, over 3+ miles over undulating terrain in varied weather conditions.

In NH racing, a bad race can be debilitating. If a horse misses at a fence but stays on his feet, he may lose confidence. If a horse falls, he may lose a lot more than that. So you plan your battles carefully, choosing courses and races that suit the horse, all with the Big Race as the underlying goal. You only do what you need to do.

RAyers
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:38 PM
The ignorant leading the uniformed. While I will never question these folks' abilities on a horse, they have continued to prove that they are incapable of independent thought and are unwilling to grow their understanding of the animals to which they owe their livelihood.

When has it ever been shown that horses physically (joint, bone, tendon damage etc.) recover to baseline faster now?

Isn't it amazing how the their theory is changing to fit the new format/business model while the actual veterinary science has shown that the intensity and effort is somewhat GREATER than the old format?

Reed

JER
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:51 PM
The ignorant leading the uniformed.

uniformed? I think you mean uninformed. :D

But I agree with you 100%. Especially about the business model part.

RunForIt
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:58 PM
Thank you JER, for beginning this thread...I say this as someone who loves this sport and the horses that make it possible.

Gry2Yng
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:59 PM
Isn't it amazing how the their theory is changing to fit the new format/business model while the actual veterinary science has shown that the intensity and effort is somewhat GREATER than the old format?

Reed

I read some interesting stuff in Dr. H Clayton's book about how the lungs function like a "piston", my words not hers, meaning the air is pushed out by the internal organs as the leading leg reaches for the ground (and this system become rhythmic) and that when you interrupt the rhythm of the system it causes additional stress. It would make sense that our new courses are interrupting this rhythm of the respiratory system and making a shorter course harder on the horses. Has this been discussed?

It actually doesn't amaze me in the least that the powers have decided to market the model that supports the business, regardless of the facts. Sad, but not surprising.

fooler
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:30 PM
In addition to the added physical wear and tear - the 'short format' adds mental stress.
The UL dressage test have increased difficulty, the SJ is becoming more complex and well, we know how the XC courses have changed.

I believe that even the horses who survive the physical wear & tear may well mentally crash. Not to mention the 'indoor' eventing classes offered - it is almost becoming a 24/7-365 "sport." Hmmm - how is the current eventing environment encouraging true horsemanship?

SevenDogs
Dec. 3, 2009, 10:56 PM
I

Hmmm - how is the current eventing environment encouraging true horsemanship?

It's not encouraging true horsemanship and neither does Mark Phillips. He may be "absolutely convinced" that it is fine to run horses over and over, just like he is "absolutely convinced" that his design not responsible for all the serious injuries and deaths that have happened on HIS courses.

Those riders that *are* exhibiting true horsemanship are being squeezed out or, at a minimum, generally ignored by team selectors. Since day one of his tenure, Mark Phillips has been preaching more is better. Just look at the way we selected our last Olympic team.... pound, pound, pound outing after outing until a very large portion of the training list was seriously injured or dead. We were one of the last countries (if not THE last) to select our team because we needed to get one more outing done.

Anytime he is "absolutely convinced" of anything, it is generally detrimental to horse, rider, or the sport in general (or all of the above).

Bobthehorse
Dec. 3, 2009, 11:50 PM
I believe that even the horses who survive the physical wear & tear may well mentally crash. Not to mention the 'indoor' eventing classes offered - it is almost becoming a 24/7-365 "sport." Hmmm - how is the current eventing environment encouraging true horsemanship?

I agree. Its so sad. Its more like the hunter model now, shipping up and down the coast to follow the weather and showing every weekend with no break in sight. Forget the horse, Id be burned out. I love taking my winters off to regroup, work things out, spend more time thinking about just riding than thinking about getting ready for a show.

To see the recent evolution in horse sports is really disappointing. Even more so that we seem to be in the minority. If this is what it takes to make it nowadays, I guess I dont want it bad enough, because its certainly not worth my horses. After all, didnt we all get into this because we just loved horses in the first place?

riderboy
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:26 AM
I can tell you as a low level rider with one horse, I treat that boy with great care. I would never consider pounding him like they do some of the upper level horses , even if I could get to the upper levels, which I won't. How in the hell do they keep them sound?

retreadeventer
Dec. 4, 2009, 08:15 AM
In the pro riders meeting yesterday, many were bemoaning the fact that they actually condition now the same way they have conditioned in the past. One rider said if he compared his Badminton schedule of 2005 to last years it would be identical, despite the format change. They were chiefly interested in the promotion of their continual adherence to traditional conditioning methods. Not sure how that fits in here, just reporting what was said.

Racehorse comparisons are apples to oranges. I race horses and you guys are off on that. They are actually racing horses more in America than ever before. (This has to do with venues and additional race dates in addition to east coast slots-driven purses.) The comparison is simply not valid, as racehorses don't condition, train or require the skill of an event horse in the three phases especially at the upper levels. Now that's a bit.... UNINFORMED. Any racetrainers care to chime in?

(Keep watching. I will have more to say. Have to work right now.)

deltawave
Dec. 4, 2009, 08:54 AM
To be fair, his "absolutely convinced" was referring to the need for horses to be fit, if not fitter, nowadays.

It's hard to argue with that.

But there is more to "fit" than "this horse can do 3 six minute canters at 550mpm and his heart rate stays at 120". Fit also means "this animal's bones, joints, tendons, heart, lungs, and mind are fresh, ready, in optimal shape, and ready to tackle today's job".

How do you make that happen simply by force of will, and on demand, dictated by a calendar? :confused:

RAyers
Dec. 4, 2009, 09:07 AM
In the pro riders meeting yesterday, many were bemoaning the fact that they actually condition now the same way they have conditioned in the past. One rider said if he compared his Badminton schedule of 2005 to last years it would be identical, despite the format change. They were chiefly interested in the promotion of their continual adherence to traditional conditioning methods. Not sure how that fits in here, just reporting what was said.
...



Retread, not picking on you, just the rather interesting logic presented by the pros.

So, in the past they conditioned in a certain way, the horses got X time off after the competition to recover. Now they condition the same but compete more, but the horses supposedly recover faster/better?

Was there an equine evolutionary change nobody told me about?!

Does anybody notice the logical disconnect in the pro's justification? Has anybody questioned that?

Reed

hey101
Dec. 4, 2009, 11:25 AM
Was there an equine evolutionary change nobody told me about?!



:lol::lol::lol:

In a few short years, no less. ;)

JER
Dec. 4, 2009, 11:52 AM
Was there an equine evolutionary change nobody told me about?!


In a few short years, no less. ;)

At this rate, there's not much time left until our horses start to walk upright and develop opposable thumbs.

Carol Ames
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:05 PM
I:confused: agree! It "looks/ sounds to me as if he had "gone to the well," to:eek:o often"

magnolia73
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:07 PM
How in the hell do they keep them sound?


Well.... they sure do have a lot of tools to keep 'em sound. Sups, injections, chiro, massage, lasers, icing, ultrasound. If it is anything like human elite athletes, you spend a lot of time treating before anything may even go wrong. There is a lot you can do to speed healing and eliminate pain without resorting to drugs. For reference, I can walk into my sports therapist's office with screaming back pain and 30 minutes later walk out pain free after therapy- without putting a chemical in my body.

I'm not so sure all that stuff is that desirable long term, but it works short term, and overall... probably not to the benefit of the horse.

Carol Ames
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:08 PM
It will be interesting to see how:confused:, he comes out next spring:o

LexInVA
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:12 PM
At this rate, there's not much time left until our horses start to walk upright and develop opposable thumbs.

That's just what the ponies want you to believe. They are well on their way to overthrowing us.

Carol Ames
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:15 PM
It would depend on what the horse did acupuncture and massage therapy done correctly definitely benefit the horse:cool: but, not :no:, if he is put on "bed rest, ie., stall rest.
Well.... they sure do have a lot of tools to keep 'em sound. Sups, injections, chiro, massage, lasers, icing, ultrasound. If it is anything like human elite athletes, you spend a lot of time treating before anything may even go wrong. There is a lot you can do to speed healing and eliminate pain without resorting to drugs. For reference, I can walk into my sports therapist's office with screaming back pain and 30 minutes later walk out pain free after therapy- without putting a chemical in my body.

I'm not so sure all that stuff is that desirable long term, but it works short term, and overall... probably not to the benefit of the horse.

RAyers
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:21 PM
Well... For reference, I can walk into my sports therapist's office with screaming back pain and 30 minutes later walk out pain free after therapy- without putting a chemical in my body.

I'm not so sure all that stuff is that desirable long term, but it works short term, and overall... probably not to the benefit of the horse.


Interesting point. Does the treatment only affect the symptom or truly cure the condition? If you feel better does that meant the damage was fixed?

Studies are beginning to show that healing may not speed up due to these treatments but only that the quality of the tissues is better.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:21 PM
So, in the past they conditioned in a certain way, the horses got X time off after the competition to recover. Now they condition the same but compete more, but the horses supposedly recover faster/better?

Was there an equine evolutionary change nobody told me about?!

Does anybody notice the logical disconnect in the pro's justification? Has anybody questioned that?

Reed



I think the logic they have (and it's NOT necessarily mine) is that the current format takes less out of them without the endurance. So while they need to be just as fit to be competitive...at the end of the day, they do less in the short format than they do in the long format....and therefore recover faster (that is his logic not mine).

I think that this is where there is no scientific support....and if anything, perhaps science is saying the current format takes more out of the horse.

I personally think what has happened is that the short format changed the test...doesn't necessarily make it easier (given the changes in dressage and stadium and the types of questions asked on xc) but makes it different.

The reality is...MOST UL riders DO give their horses time off like they used too....all the ones I've know get a month or two off in the summer and again in the winter....and they compete depending on what schedule works for the individual horse, not running in every event available.

I think the OTs are still the exception and not the rule. And a team coach may WANT a rider/horse combo to compete more...but ultimately, that horse's rider and owners make the decision...and most do still decide to give them breaks and manage them for the long term.

RAyers
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:29 PM
I think the logic they have (and it's NOT necessarily mine) is that the current format takes less out of them without the endurance. So while they need to just as fit to be competitive...at the end of the day, they do less in the short format than they do in the long format....and therefore recover faster (that is his logic not mine)....



But you see then that either the coaches, trainers, etc were lying/mistaken in the past or they are doing it now. Years ago, nobody ever said it was the single weekend effort that beat the horse up and that was why they needed time off. They said it was all the conditioning up to that point.

Using what you explain here, they are now saying it is the competition that is the hard part. That endurance was SO, SO, hard the horses needed time off.

In other words, they (e.g. CMP and other current "leaders" of the sport) keep changing their arguments/justifications and are now beginning to contradict what they always taught in the past.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:44 PM
But you see then that either the coaches, trainers, etc were lying/mistaken in the past or they are doing it now. Years ago, nobody ever said it was the single weekend effort that beat the horse up and that was why they needed time off. They said it was all the conditioning up to that point.




I could be off...but I thought there were other arguments made for killing the LF. Lack of land available to do the roads and tracks (and steeple chase)...and that the speed in the steeple chase caused too many injuries. (not saying I buy those arguments but they are ones that I remember)

I personally prefer the long format and want it back...and I don't disagree with you that the justifications and reasoning seems to be changing.

But I think the argument that CPs is making is not that the conditioning isn't hard on the horse...but that since the competition takes less out of them..they can do a couple of competitions on the same conditioning that they used to only do one competition. I also don't think he is saying horses shouldn't be given breaks....or managed in the manner best for that individual horse. But I'm not him so really don't know what he is thinking.


I personally think the new format takes more out of the horse mentally and the stop and go type of xc is harder physically....I also thought that the old long format endurance gave a good warm up for xc both mentally and physically for most horses and especially the riders (got them forward thinking)......but I also don't have any scientific evidence to back up my thought.

faluut42
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:59 PM
I personally think the new format takes more out of the horse mentally and the stop and go type of xc is harder physically....I also thought that the old long format endurance gave a good warm up for xc both mentally and physically for most horses and especially the riders (got them forward thinking)......but I also don't have any scientific evidence to back up my thought.

i have to agree. watching videos from 15 years ago to now is quite diffrent. It goes from horses going a long distance in a nice rythm (atleast the good pairs), to now a days where its stop and go. A lot of the time i watch the SF XC and think "ouch those poor joints" where as in the old videos the courses werent as technical and i dont think "ouch".

i also agree that it mentally burns a horse (and rider) out. When a horse is pulling uncharacteristical rails, something is not quite right. Maybe its because a good portion of the horses i ride are project/problem horses that get burnt out or shut down easily, there is a point when you are going, going, going, that the horses get burnt out.

JER
Dec. 4, 2009, 01:14 PM
I could be off...but I thought there were other arguments made for killing the LF.

Yes.

One big one: the President of the FEI from 1994-2005, an Aristocrat of Many Many Names* made it her mission to get steeplechase out of eventing.

She was not an eventer or a vet or an equine exercise physiologist. But she decided steeplechase was cruel and unnecessary and that was that.

(*María del Pilar Alfonsa Juana Victoria Luisa Ignacia y Todos los Santos de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias a/k/a The Infanta Pilar of Spain, 1st Duchess of Badajoz, Grandee of Spain.)

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 4, 2009, 01:21 PM
I should add...that I don't think CMPs logic is hard to follow...but I disagree with one of his assumptions. That the new short format courses the horses recover faster. That is were the question lies....what is the basis for this assumption?

It can't just because people are running their horses more and they are getting around. They could have done that with the long format. I know that some horses came out of a long format breathing fire and acting ready to run the next week.....didn't mean they should run.


So to me his logic isn't faulty.....as much as one of his assumptions. That they recover faster in the new format.

I'm not sure we can really measure that they have recovered...nor can we compare it since there are no long formats left at those levels to compare.

RAyers
Dec. 4, 2009, 01:29 PM
...
So to me his logic isn't faulty.....as much as one of his assumptions. That they recover faster in the new format.

I'm not sure we can really measure that they have recovered...nor can we compare it since there are no long formats left at those levels to compare.

I agree his logic is not hard to follow because it is not there based upon past arguments and teachings.

You point here show to me what I consider his faulty logic. When one makes unfounded assumptions, then the conclusions made fail to follow logical reasoning.

To me recovery is NOT respiration and heart rate. It is repair of micro damage to tendons, ligaments, bone, and muscle. It is the upregulation of healing/inflammatory processes to generate new tissue. At no point has that ever been described. We also know that even with high powered medicine today the HEALING process most likely can not be accelerated. It can only be enhanced to generate a better quality of tissue (e.g. no scarring). So, by logic, horses do NOT recover faster from the training and competition. They only are more capable of taking more damage before tissues fail.

Reed

Thames Pirate
Dec. 4, 2009, 04:32 PM
So, by logic, horses do NOT recover faster from the training and competition. They only are more capable of taking more damage before tissues fail.
Reed

They are capable of taking more damage IF they are allowed to recover to the fullest extent possible.

midnightride
Dec. 4, 2009, 04:55 PM
not to disagree with RETREAD but... I had a 2 yr old filly that spent the summer at the track with a trainer, raced 3 times over about a month and a half span.... in her third race she stopped about half way threw.... she came home and I just gave her some time, lots of hacking, trails and some light dressage work. She galloped 3 times and breezed once. We ran her exactly 30 days after her last "track" trained race.... she flat out ran her eyeballs out!!! Just got caught at the wire by the favorite!!:D

So yes, time off is a good thing. Just use it wisely!!!!

retreadeventer
Dec. 5, 2009, 08:49 AM
....To me recovery is NOT respiration and heart rate. It is repair of micro damage to tendons, ligaments, bone, and muscle. It is the upregulation of healing/inflammatory processes to generate new tissue. At no point has that ever been described. We also know that even with high powered medicine today the HEALING process most likely can not be accelerated. It can only be enhanced to generate a better quality of tissue (e.g. no scarring). So, by logic, horses do NOT recover faster from the training and competition. They only are more capable of taking more damage before tissues fail.

Reed


I was overjoyed to read this, as you so eloquently put stuff I was thinking about but cannot articulate.

OK. Next question - be honest, too. Reed, isn't there "micro damage" in ALL horses that actually go into work for us, whether it be a leadline pony, or young horse just being broken, or the medium level eventing horse for a novice rider who is worked 3-4 times a week, or the advanced level event, show jump, or dressage horse worked on a high level?

IF: There is some level of micro damage every day and time we ride or compete. What we are seeking to limit is the amount of this damage, and to limit it based on conditioning -- interval training or gallops or just regular mild work with occasional hard work? How are we distinguishing the micro damage from what people are horrified by or worried about? When is it too much?

If a horse such as Carousel Quest manages to survive a brutal schedule and remain sound, yes, he will have some level of microdamage; but is the amount less or more than, say, for example, an unfit pasture horse being dragged out to a horse show where they are ridden all day long? I am just sayin'....micro damage is micro damage. Why complain about the big horse ... and not the pasture puff? Because it's just publicised more? Or is there a bigger difference, Reed, I am not educated enough to know about. I mean, unfit+hard work=danger of injury no matter what level, am I right?
Would like your analysis. :)

gardenie
Dec. 5, 2009, 09:28 AM
On running horses twice a month or more. When I was getting ready for a three day, I remember being told one did their fitness work to get the horse's base going, then one used the events as "gallops." One expected time penalties or rode slower in the earlier events if the horse was lacking speed work. Also, one can ride in an event to get a xc school in, and I can recall seeing David O'Connor do this on a horse where he stopped the horse before every jump. Just depends on what your goal is. I think he won a two star with the horse later in the year.

Over the years, this has morphed for myself to mean, I can use a horse trial to keep my horse in shape and tuned up. If I'm at home, I must do some galloping to keep the horse sane and relaxed if I've got him fit for prelim/intermediate. And why "waste" the gallop at home when I can go to a competition and I have the funds. So...if I have a horse that's fit, I don't necessarily think he needs a whole month between events. And sometimes it works to do two back to back weekends. However, for me, funds are the deciding factor in how I plan my schedule.

Unlike me, many of these upper level riders end up at competitions every weekend. So they may choose to run a horse rather than not get a school that someone else who isn't at a competition every weekend might do instead of competing. I did a clinic two weekends ago. Two days of two hours of standing and jumping each day. Then the next weekend I competed. I think two weekends of competing would have probably been easier on my horse.

And for those that think, well, they should just let the horses be in the stalls at competitions and let them rest. I know that standing in a stall all day and night winds horses up, and often getting them out and competing them relaxes them for a while--especially the ones that know the game, so you can say its better to give them the time, but is it?

And should they not take those horses with them? Well, that's another subject. I guess what I'm getting at is, we don't have all the facts. We aren't the ones training the horses. I think we SHOULD ask the questions and do studies. However, training horses is an art, not a science. Each horse is an individual, and most horses cannot take the pounding to get to advanced. So us chickens who haven't got advanced horses don't have all the answers to the best way to manage super athletes like this. I can remember Bruce Davidson left a horse at home with his help to be galloped (I don't remember the whole story) and it apparently ran off with the rider and bowed tendons. These horses are hard to manage because of their abilities. My favorite statement when I see some of these horses is "I couldn't ride one side of that one."

Alot of people are bringing up that Townend's horse was tired and pulled rails on the stadium day. Well, horses that don't compete every weekend sometimes pull rails and are tired. Who knows, maybe the horse didn't sleep well that night.

I don't know if any of this makes sense. I need to go do something constructive now.

EventerAJ
Dec. 5, 2009, 10:02 AM
but is the amount less or more than, say, for example, an unfit pasture horse being dragged out to a horse show where they are ridden all day long? I am just sayin'....micro damage is micro damage. Why complain about the big horse ... and not the pasture puff? Because it's just publicised more? Or is there a bigger difference, Reed, I am not educated enough to know about. I mean, unfit+hard work=danger of injury no matter what level, am I right?
Would like your analysis. :)

I'm not Reed, but I felt compelled to reply.

You're right, micro-damage is micro-damage. It's gonna happen to some degree in the situations you described.

BUT, the difference is do you allow recovery time for the micro-damage to heal? I'm guessing the pasture puff probably goes back to the field to be a pasture puff for another couple weeks... during which time, his body will try to heal the damage suffered from his unfit excursion.

The upper level horse is no different: give his body a break and allow it to heal the micro-damage, before micro turns into macro. Now, the pasture puff is probably just kicked out to the back 40 and ignored... the UL horse will probably have carefully managed therapy (ice, poultice, wraps, laser, magnetic, etc) if needed. As mentioned earlier, these therapies will increase the quality of healing, but probably not reduce the healing time. The UL horse needs the same 2 weeks (or whatever time frame) to recover... staying in consistent training to maintain a safe, competitive level of fitness is not the best healing environment.

In other words, no matter how the micro-fracture occurred, ceasement of the offending activity is advisable to permit healing.

With no chance to heal, those micro-stresses become major problems. Surely you would agree that the risk running BN or N on an unfit pasture puff is less than the risk of running Int or Adv? A "major problem" at BN is probably less hazardous than a "major problem" at 570mpm over 4' fences.

Gry2Yng
Dec. 5, 2009, 10:27 AM
Just wanted to point out, if we are talking about "micro-tear" as in muscle tissue, they are a necessary requirement for building muscle. In order to increase strength and muscle mass you work to create micro-tears and then you rest to allow them to repair and become stronger. This is the same principle that builds bone in a young horse.

As far as the pasture puff, what happens to them is not "micro-tearing" it is usually a major injury because they are worked beyond their capacity (either heart/lungs or bone/tendon/ligament) and something gives, strains or tears.

Yes, a competition schedule can be used as part of training as long as the appropriate "rest" is given, which can be a day of walking or a day off or even some suppling dressage work. IMHO, a situation like CQ might be an example of overtraining to the point of mental fatigue and physical fatigue such that the heart rate and blood chem starts to act funny (some one else can come up with the scientific term).

Horses are individuals, but we do know that when they are over trained the immune system becomes affected and we can see that in white and red blood cell counts, packed cell volume, etc. It is also true that a lot of travel will start to affect the immune system. Most of the evidence for this is provided by testing race horses as they are trained for peak races.

Just my thoughts.

Carol Ames
Dec. 5, 2009, 01:03 PM
Weren't these SF XC courses supposed to slow down horses and riders:confused: and thus, prevent the recurrence of fatalities :o:cry:, in the LF , due to excessive speed?

lizajane09
Dec. 5, 2009, 01:22 PM
Over the years, this has morphed for myself to mean, I can use a horse trial to keep my horse in shape and tuned up. If I'm at home, I must do some galloping to keep the horse sane and relaxed if I've got him fit for prelim/intermediate. And why "waste" the gallop at home when I can go to a competition and I have the funds. So...if I have a horse that's fit, I don't necessarily think he needs a whole month between events. And sometimes it works to do two back to back weekends. However, for me, funds are the deciding factor in how I plan my schedule.



Galloping at home isn't the same as galloping at a competition, though. Even if you go the same speed over the same number/size/kind of fences, it isn't the same. Researchers have done studies that show that horses can and will (some of them) develop gastric ulcers in just one weekend away from home (could probably find the study if anyone really wants it, although I don't have it off the top of my head). So while the wear and tear on his legs may be equivalent, the wear and tear on his brain and other parts of his body is not, because being in an unfamiliar situation and out of his normal pasture/herd is stressful for a horse. So there's an entirely different aspect that you need to factor in when you decide what is going to help your horse. I'm not saying that it's never okay to run back-to-back weekends, or use a competition as a schooling opportunity, but you need to look at the whole picture when deciding to do so, not just the horse's cardiovascular system and legs.

tuppysmom
Dec. 5, 2009, 09:15 PM
If one has a horse that is fit up to the 4 star level, I mean fit for an 11 minute XC run, you cannot just "turn them out" for a rest. They will be OK for a day or two and then the mayhem begins.

A horse this fit will need to decompress for a week or maybe a month to keep the edge off. Otherwise you are just asking for a problem. Fit horses just don't have an off switch. Then run into fences, or they jump out, or they slam into corners and fall down. Not good.

It sounds great that a horse should have time off after a huge effort, but reality doesn't always allow for that to happen.

We do back them off and decrease the work load, and their feed, but the yoyo effect of that has to be managed too. Our working students can hack the *** and **** horse for about a week after a big run and then the horses are ready to split their seams, so they have to have some sort of pressure release.

We do use HTs as part of our conditioning program. We plan for time penalties based on how fit they are and how long it has been since they ran. Also, how many minutes is the OT, terrain, altitude, etc. We plan differently for a 6 minute xc than for an 8 min xc. An 11 minute xc demands real fitness, a 6 minute, not so much.

We even factor in travel days. We don't count them as days off or work days, but as something in between. A typical travel for our horses is 12 hours for an advanced HT and 20 hours for a CCI**, and as much as 4 days for a *** or ****.

We also do more speed sprints with one horse because he is slow getting away from the jumps. He also does more gallops. The other 2 upper level horses are naturally better at getting back to speed, so they do less speed sprinting. One does a lot of trotting on the hard road another never sees the hard road. One we can put a novice rider on for a lesson, and another needs an anchor hooked to his tail to just lead him around at home.

Every horse is different. Every horse needs something a little different. you cannot cookie cutter train.

I just don't think that you can arm chair train for anyone. It just isn't that cut and dried.

gardenie
Dec. 6, 2009, 07:24 AM
"Every horse is different. Every horse needs something a little different. you
cannot cookie cutter train.

I just don't think that you can arm chair train for anyone. It just isn't that
cut and dried." Tuppysmom

Agreed.

Lizajane09 I hear what you have to say, and agree for the average horse. Upper level beasts I think as a group have shown so much that most of them are either being treated regularly for ulcers or are cast iron and of a different mental makeup and tolerate travel and competition stress better than average. Don't have any proof.

Competition gallops are harder for the average beast. However, these advanced beasts need help to stay focused...in competition "gallops" the horse has a "job" and mental stimulation, so again, note Tuppysmoms post.

Gry2Yng
Dec. 6, 2009, 09:51 AM
We do back them off and decrease the work load, and their feed, but the yoyo effect of that has to be managed too. Our working students can hack the *** and **** horse for about a week after a big run and then the horses are ready to split their seams, so they have to have some sort of pressure release.



I don't think anyone is trying to armchair train, we are just discussing the concept of running horses more often.

While I have not had horses ***/**** fit I have had one ** fit. For mine, the beginning of the mayhem was the sign that it was time to go back to work. I did three long formats with that horse and he started pawing down the stall door during his rest at a different point each time. For me, that was the indication that he was ready to go back to some sort of program. In other words, his health both mental and physical, required a break and then his health, mostly mental because he had physically recovered, required putting him back to work.

But I don't think the fact that a horse is being difficult precludes the possibility of overtraining. I happen to be a person that is easily overtrained. Back when I used to run long distances I had to be careful not to push to hard because I would catch the current bug very easily if I didn't allow enough down time. I watch for that in my horses.

FlightCheck
Dec. 6, 2009, 10:19 AM
During one of the sessions at the USEA convention, Peter Gray and Jon Holling gave a great talk on conditioning.

One of the highlights was Giving the Horse Time Out to Be a Horse.

I believe highlights will be on the USEA website soon.

It was one of the best sessions, if not THE best session, that I attended.

tuppysmom
Dec. 6, 2009, 11:03 AM
Wish I could have been there this year. It is the first meeting I have missed in about 10 years.

Anyway. Were Jon and Peter talking about "horse time" while the horses are actively training and conditioning and competing, or were they talking about time out to rest after a big effort as in a ****?

Our horses live out 24/7 year around. We have a good climate for that. They have the faded coats and scared up faces to show for it too. LOL

They do fine maintaining their composure if they are in work. Trouble only starts if they are vacation for more than about a week.

Horses are such funny creatures!

RunForIt
Dec. 6, 2009, 11:44 AM
During one of the sessions at the USEA convention, Peter Gray and Jon Holling gave a great talk on conditioning.

One of the highlights was Giving the Horse Time Out to Be a Horse.

I believe highlights will be on the USEA website soon.

It was one of the best sessions, if not THE best session, that I attended.

surely SOMEONE from USEA either videoed or audio recorded this session! :cool:

subk
Dec. 6, 2009, 05:22 PM
We aren't the ones training the horses. I think we SHOULD ask the questions and do studies. However, training horses is an art, not a science. Each horse is an individual, and most horses cannot take the pounding to get to advanced. So us chickens who haven't got advanced horses don't have all the answers to the best way to manage super athletes like this.
I'd like to clarify for anyone who may not "know" those making comments on this thread that to date they include at least 2 current riders at advanced, 2 former riders at advanced and at least one (not sure about another) owner/manager of multiple advanced horses and a good handful that have done at least a one star if not a two star. This is not an uninformed or inexperienced group opining on that which they do not know.

bornfreenowexpensive
Dec. 6, 2009, 08:00 PM
They do fine maintaining their composure if they are in work. Trouble only starts if they are vacation for more than about a week.

Horses are such funny creatures!


The ones I know/knew are/were usually given a week of walking after the big event then 2-3 weeks out in the field and then another week of walking before starting back to work. (for most...out in the field wasn't 24/7...they still came in, got the mud knocked off and in a stall for a period of time but they were not in work. Some I know give a longer time off and pull shoes at least once a year... a few give less.)

But it does really depend a bit on the horse (mental and physical)....and also your turnout situation.

The hard part I think is when you have the younger horses and you are trying to sort out what works best for them....and sometimes the only way to figure that out is to try it (i.e. give them the time off and see how they do or feel when they come back). Hopefully by the time they get to the *** and **** level you have figured out what works best for them.

fooler
Dec. 6, 2009, 08:33 PM
Gry2YngJust wanted to point out, if we are talking about "micro-tear" as in muscle tissue, they are a necessary requirement for building muscle. In order to increase strength and muscle mass you work to create micro-tears and then you rest to allow them to repair and become stronger. This is the same principle that builds bone in a young horse.

As far as the pasture puff, what happens to them is not "micro-tearing" it is usually a major injury because they are worked beyond their capacity (either heart/lungs or bone/tendon/ligament) and something gives, strains or tears.



Apples to Oranges comparison - Good Horsemen know they should pull a horse out of the field and take a long ride (even a long trail ride may be damaging).

fooler
Dec. 6, 2009, 08:39 PM
Wish I could have been there this year. It is the first meeting I have missed in about 10 years.

Anyway. Were Jon and Peter talking about "horse time" while the horses are actively training and conditioning and competing, or were they talking about time out to rest after a big effort as in a ****?

Our horses live out 24/7 year around. We have a good climate for that. They have the faded coats and scared up faces to show for it too. LOL

They do fine maintaining their composure if they are in work. Trouble only starts if they are vacation for more than about a week.

Horses are such funny creatures!

I missed the 1st part of the discussion, but they were emphasizing the need for each competition horse to have time to 'be a horse' during their down time. They did not define this as each horse and each owner/rider situation is different.
In other words - being a horse for mine is to live out during the day and be in at night - for yours it is out 24/7. What ever works best for you and your horse.
Who knows? With a future horse I may find he/she is happier living outside 24/7 or inside 20/4. :lol:
The main thing is to know your horse and include that info to provide the best possible horse management.

tuppysmom
Dec. 6, 2009, 09:27 PM
Yes each horse is different. Our **** horse can not have much time off. One year after Rolex we gave him a 3 week rest and he had a pasture injury that nearly cost him his life. He was within hours of having the plug pulled. He was just too fit for time off. He will run fences, jump out, chase dogs, slam into fences, tear down stall walls. That one has to do something worklike every day.

The younger advanced horse is better. He can be in a stall and be turned out without wrecking himself, so far. He just begs at the gate for work. His pasture is the infield of our track and he will gallop around the fence whenever anyone is on the track.

The intermediate mare is smart, she isn't going to do anything to hurt herself, but she is a B**** to handle when she isn't working. Being the sister of the **** horse might be a factor, LOL.

The horses at the lower levels are normal. The can come into stalls, be turned out, have days off, days on, etc and stay about the same.

It is just the upper level ones who are difficult to stay ahead of.

These are all OTTBs. I am looking forward to the new batch who are a mixed group of TBs, WBs and Irish horses. They may tell us a different tale.

SevenDogs
Dec. 6, 2009, 09:59 PM
Good Horsemanship is basically a demonstration of good character within the framework of horses. The adage that character is defined by what you do when no one is looking is also applicable to good horsemanship.

Good horsemen/women are constantly striving to do what is best for their horse. Their eyes are always open trying to learn the specifics of the individual horse and how best to manage them. They recognize two things: 1) They owe their horse the best care they can offer; and 2) good horse management is necessary for their long term success. They are often very quiet about their programs because (like those with good character) it is just "part of them". They do things because it is the right thing to do and don't make a lot of hoopla about it.

The problem is that good horsemanship doesn't always look *that* different from bad. Yes, bad horsemanship is sometimes obvious, but in the case of over-competing/over working a horse, it is not always easy to spot. Unless you are privy to everything about that horse and are knowledgeable to evaluate that information, it can be difficult to discern.

This leads to a problem for less experienced riders (and parents, owners, etc.) UNLESS they have someone to teach them exactly what good horsemanship is. They simply emulate what they regularly see: "Riders X and Y competes back to back to back weekends, so it must be the right thing to do".

It could easily be that Rider X is a good horseman with a carefully planned program (like Tuppysmom was describing) and Rider Y is just running the horse off its' feet. To the untrained eye, this "snap shot in time" looks like two identical programs. Without someone to interpret the difference, wrong conclusions can be reached.

Coming back to OT, that's why I get so angry by Mark Phillips. Frankly, he has NOT shown himself to be a good horseman. He has consistently demonstrated that he does not put horse welfare first and, moreover, he seems VERY comfortable sacrificing horses, if he thinks it will further his goals. He is also not shy about trying to convert others to "his" way of thinking (remember the "toughen up cupcake" remark to the owner of a horse that just died on course?).

When we hire this type of person as our team coach, we negatively affect our entire sport and risk damaging the "pipeline" of upcoming riders who look toward team leaders as role models and a source of education. Our team leaders should be the top horsemen/women our country has to offer but right now, they aren't. Further, many of our riders that *do* demonstrate good horsemanship are dismissed or ignored by team selectors because they aren't willing to get on Mark Phillips program, which makes them less visible to the masses and less likely to be able influence others.

I hope this is a situation where good wins, but it is a tough fight.

Gry2Yng
Dec. 6, 2009, 09:59 PM
Gry2YngJust wanted to point out, if we are talking about "micro-tear" as in muscle tissue, they are a necessary requirement for building muscle. In order to increase strength and muscle mass you work to create micro-tears and then you rest to allow them to repair and become stronger. This is the same principle that builds bone in a young horse.

As far as the pasture puff, what happens to them is not "micro-tearing" it is usually a major injury because they are worked beyond their capacity (either heart/lungs or bone/tendon/ligament) and something gives, strains or tears.



Apples to Oranges comparison - Good Horsemen know they should pull a horse out of the field and take a long ride (even a long trail ride may be damaging).

Sorry, not sure what you are getting at. I am not comparing the two, I am contrasting them.

tuppysmom
Dec. 6, 2009, 10:13 PM
I am always interested to see and hear what others are doing with their horses be it training, conditioning, feeding, or whatever.

I can glean what may work for us and give it try. Life is a learning experience and I'm still here learning.

I don't mess with the one horse, though, he is now happy with what we provide for him. He has been an up and down adventure.

gardenie
Dec. 6, 2009, 11:42 PM
"This is not an uninformed or inexperienced group opining on that which they do not know."

If you felt I implied this, Subk, I am sorry. However, I still think its not an easy thing to do to decide for each horse what is appropriate. I can only say that the more I think I know about horses the more I don't really know. My biggest point is and still is that horses are such individuals. Walk into a tack store and look at all the bits!

I do know I've been around a long time, and I come from a racing background. I've seen this sport from all sides, have left and come back, seen a ton of inappropriate behavior that has broke my heart, as well as acts of extraordinary kindness and sportsmanship. Its still my greatest love to go cross country. Its an adrenaline rush like no other. That rush often clouds judgement. Only through humility can one perhaps find the correct ground to walk with our horses on.

I think we can armchair it, I think we can wrestle with it, but the elephant in the room hasn't moved. How do we make our sport which is so athletically challenging more palatable when it does have aspects of human desires that we are not sure are in the best interests of our horses? How do we judge how often a horse should compete? Do we really want to have more legislation in the sport?

All I can say is I hope we at some level trust that most of us do care about the animals we ride and try to do our best. Do I think Mark Phillips is the greatest thing since sliced bread...well of course not. I don't think ANYONE has all the answers, and yes, especially he does not.

I don't like that we are legislating how horses look going over fences and using dangerous riding as an excuse to pull someone off a course. I don't like that there is an apparent under the table list that people are on and folks are being harrassed because someone thinks they are a dangerous rider.

There have been some really horrendous mistakes of late in our top riders decision making processes. Guess what. There have ALWAYS been horrendous mistakes made by riders. We hope they don't make really awful mistakes. We hope we learn from each other. The only way I see it completely going away is to do away with the sport at the upper end. We all gather at the water jumps to watch because its exciting. Hmmm. Why is it exciting?

Do I think better horsemanship can be demonstrated? We can ALWAYS do better by our horses.

Do I think upper level riders should be required to take tests of horsemanship and "proper" thought process before being allowed to compete? Should they have to listen to someone remind them as endurance riders get reminded that the horse comes first? Maybe.

I still say one can catch more flies with honey that vinegar, so I still say the best way to encourage good horsemanship is to REWARD it. Perhaps pick out the folks that consistently put their horses first and create an award that makes them shine.

Start a topic opining who does right by their horses at the advanced level. Give more info and discussion on that.

I wish I'd gone to the meeting...I need to get off my butt next year.

gardenie
Dec. 6, 2009, 11:52 PM
"Further, many of our riders that *do* demonstrate good horsemanship are dismissed or ignored by team selectors because they aren't willing to get on Mark Phillips program, which makes them less visible to the masses and less likely to be able influence others."

Seven Dogs...I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one as usual.

Shrapnel
Dec. 7, 2009, 12:06 AM
Fire Mark Phillips.

Thats all I have to stay.

LexInVA
Dec. 7, 2009, 12:52 AM
Pour gasoline on Mark Phillips and light him on fire.

Thats all I have to stay.

Don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel. :winkgrin:

retreadeventer
Dec. 7, 2009, 07:00 AM
"This is not an uninformed or inexperienced group opining on that which they do not know."

If you felt I implied this, Subk, I am sorry. However, I still think its not an easy thing to do to decide for each horse what is appropriate. I can only say that the more I think I know about horses the more I don't really know. My biggest point is and still is that horses are such individuals. Walk into a tack store and look at all the bits!

I do know I've been around a long time, and I come from a racing background. I've seen this sport from all sides, have left and come back, seen a ton of inappropriate behavior that has broke my heart, as well as acts of extraordinary kindness and sportsmanship. Its still my greatest love to go cross country. Its an adrenaline rush like no other. That rush often clouds judgement. Only through humility can one perhaps find the correct ground to walk with our horses on.

I think we can armchair it, I think we can wrestle with it, but the elephant in the room hasn't moved. How do we make our sport which is so athletically challenging more palatable when it does have aspects of human desires that we are not sure are in the best interests of our horses? How do we judge how often a horse should compete? Do we really want to have more legislation in the sport?

All I can say is I hope we at some level trust that most of us do care about the animals we ride and try to do our best. Do I think Mark Phillips is the greatest thing since sliced bread...well of course not. I don't think ANYONE has all the answers, and yes, especially he does not.

I don't like that we are legislating how horses look going over fences and using dangerous riding as an excuse to pull someone off a course. I don't like that there is an apparent under the table list that people are on and folks are being harrassed because someone thinks they are a dangerous rider.

There have been some really horrendous mistakes of late in our top riders decision making processes. Guess what. There have ALWAYS been horrendous mistakes made by riders. We hope they don't make really awful mistakes. We hope we learn from each other. The only way I see it completely going away is to do away with the sport at the upper end. We all gather at the water jumps to watch because its exciting. Hmmm. Why is it exciting?

Do I think better horsemanship can be demonstrated? We can ALWAYS do better by our horses.

Do I think upper level riders should be required to take tests of horsemanship and "proper" thought process before being allowed to compete? Should they have to listen to someone remind them as endurance riders get reminded that the horse comes first? Maybe.

I still say one can catch more flies with honey that vinegar, so I still say the best way to encourage good horsemanship is to REWARD it. Perhaps pick out the folks that consistently put their horses first and create an award that makes them shine.

Start a topic opining who does right by their horses at the advanced level. Give more info and discussion on that.

I wish I'd gone to the meeting...I need to get off my butt next year.

Gardenie, this is a classic - fabulous!
But we do have such an award - Best Conditoned

gardenie
Dec. 7, 2009, 07:25 AM
Yes, only at events and not a over the year HORSEMAN award...something like Rider of the Year with points...and at endurance rides the best conditioned is the coveted award. Not so much at events (and I think only at three days...are we doing it at the short format CCI now...haven't kept up)

I didn't sleep well last night so if the above sentences suck, so be it :-)

CookiePony
Dec. 7, 2009, 08:40 AM
There is always the option to establish a year-end award through USEA. I have no idea how much that costs...

Thames Pirate
Dec. 7, 2009, 09:29 AM
The problem with year-end awards is that they are dependent on running the horse frequently, which is a bit counter-productive to the problem at hand . . . .

It could be done by nomination (riders nominated by grooms or students of theirs with specific reasoning given for nomination). After a certain point nominations close, candidates are made public, and input is solicited. A panel could use the input to decide the winner.

CookiePony
Dec. 7, 2009, 11:17 AM
The problem with year-end awards is that they are dependent on running the horse frequently, which is a bit counter-productive to the problem at hand . . . .


No, this isn't what I had in mind at all. It would not be based on points or numbers of competitions. Your second scenario is more like what I was thinking-- it would be subjective, like the existing appreciation awards (Ironmaster Trophy, Reeves Trophy, etc). Perhaps there could be one for LLRs and one for ULRs.

ETA: here are the current awards and nomination process:


AS YOU LIKE IT ABOVE AND BEYOND AWARD: In recognition of an owner who has supported their horses and by extension, the riders of their horses, and have enabled them to have not only the best of care, but have also provided competitive opportunities that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. Additionally, the winner must have offered support “above and beyond” that described above which has benefited the sport of Eventing. The winner must have a horse or horses competing at the preliminary level or above.

COURTNEY C. REEVES MEMORIAL TROPHY: Awarded to the young individual who exemplifies sportsmanship, the spirit of the sport, and who gives back to the sport.

GOVERNORS CUPS: In recognition of the volunteers whose services have contributed significantly to the sport. Approximately six awards per year may be awarded.

GROOMS AWARD: The Grooms Award is divided into two categories, Amateur and Professional. The purpose of the award is to recognize the vital role played by the groom who works countless hours behind the scenes to make sure their charges are healthy, happy, and poised for success.

IRONMASTER TROPHY: Awarded to the individual that exemplifies fortitude and courage. Open to anyone associated with the sport: Volunteer spectator, official, trainer, competitor, groom or groundskeeper.

NEIL AYER COURSE DESIGNER AWARD: Awarded to a cross-country course designer in recognition of their innovation and vision. The recipient demonstrates their ability through the use of obstacles and their placement in conjunction with a terrain’s natural features; whose goal is to further the education of the horse and rider through the cross-country test.

POSTHOLE DIGGER AWARD: Awarded to a cross-country course builder who has exhibited exceptional ability and dedication to the sport through their work. The recipient not only excels in construction, they strive by way of research and education, to inspire others in the craft toward the betterment of the sport of Eventing.

VINTAGE CUP: Awarded to members 60 years of age and over who are competing at any level in recognized USEA competitions and who show good sportsmanship.

Every year at the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention, an Awards Luncheon is held. This is an opportunity for the sport to recognize those horses and riders who have excelled in Eventing throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to recognize those very important people who have served the sport tirelessly in a non-riding capacity. While it is a simple matter of tabulating points earned in competition to arrive at the horse and rider awards, it is a very different proposition when it comes to the non-rider awards; these awards require nominations from our members. The Appreciation Awards Committee is currently accepting nominations for the awards listed here. If you know someone who is deserving of one of these awards, please submit your nominations for the 2009 USEA Annual Appreciation Awards Program to:

Sheila Strickler, Chairman or the USEA Appreciation Awards Committee, at eventjudge@earthlink.net or by fax (520) 742-9336, no later than October 30, 2009.

Please provide the following information for each nomination:
Name of Award;
Name of Nominee;
Age (if applicable);
Address and USEA Area of NomineeReason for nomination: A short biography of your nominee. If you nominee is selected, a photo will also be required. To make this experience exciting both the nominee and attendees of the Luncheon, the names selected will be kept a secret until the award is presented. Although it may not be an easy task, we ask those making the nomination to ensure that the candidate is able to attend the Awards Luncheon.

millerra
Dec. 7, 2009, 12:07 PM
what about an award not for the most points but somehow have it based on final score or placing divided by the number of competitions (to normalize the data) w/ a minimum number of competitions required (e.g. 3) at a specific level?

just a thought...

Gry2Yng
Dec. 7, 2009, 03:31 PM
"Further, many of our riders that *do* demonstrate good horsemanship are dismissed or ignored by team selectors because they aren't willing to get on Mark Phillips program, which makes them less visible to the masses and less likely to be able influence others."

Seven Dogs...I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one as usual.

Would like to agree whole heartedly as well.

Thames Pirate
Dec. 7, 2009, 03:39 PM
what about an award not for the most points but somehow have it based on final score or placing divided by the number of competitions (to normalize the data) w/ a minimum number of competitions required (e.g. 3) at a specific level?

just a thought...

But here you're basing it on riding, not on horsemanship. Not only that, but a minimum of three still excludes the many of us who can only afford a few a year at best or whose seasons were cut short for whatever reason (veterinary, for example). It's hardly a horsemanship award if it's based on show results.

I am one of those riders who can't get the show miles to get over my nerves. I'm usually in the bottom third after dressage because I tense up so badly, and I almost always have rails. I compete for fun and to practice, not to win. I've never placed higher than third at a recognized HT. I'm comfortable and safe at Training (where I've placed). That is not even close to an indicator of my horsemanship. Anyone at my barn will tell you that I'm the girl who drives 20 minutes to the barn at 5 am to give meds/hand walk my horse (who had a disasterous year from a health perspective). I'm the girl who helps teach those around me to clip or braid, who shows up at the schooling shows our farm attends to cheer on the girls and who volunteers at our own farm. I'm the most deliberate and slow in getting my horse fit after layup, and as a result I hardly jumped at all this year--I could probably count the number of days I jumped for all of 2009. Show records will never reflect the time and effort I've put in or the meticulous way I brought my horse back from the brink of death (no exaggeration) to compete again. There are tons of people out there who do all of that and more, and no show result or even attendance at an event will demonstrate that level of horsemanship.
In fact, it would penalize those who withdrew for safety or soundness reasons or retired on course. That is, perhaps, the toughest call of all to make, and those who withdraw because the horse doesn't feel right deserve applause. Any award would have to be done with a nominating process.

fooler
Dec. 7, 2009, 03:51 PM
As a starter - look at these 3, mix & match to come up with an award for the best horsemanship - that can be justified either as an active or non-active competitor.
You can chose to do one award or chose to award both a junior or an adult rider

COURTNEY C. REEVES MEMORIAL TROPHY: Awarded to the young individual who exemplifies sportsmanship, the spirit of the sport, and who gives back to the sport.
GROOMS AWARD: The Grooms Award is divided into two categories, Amateur and Professional. The purpose of the award is to recognize the vital role played by the groom who works countless hours behind the scenes to make sure their charges are healthy, happy, and poised for success.
IRONMASTER TROPHY: Awarded to the individual that exemplifies fortitude and courage. Open to anyone associated with the sport: Volunteer spectator, official, trainer, competitor, groom or groundskeeper.

wookie
Dec. 7, 2009, 05:39 PM
about these upper level horses who are doing badminton, rolex, pau etc. let us not forget the wear and tear it takes on a horse to be shipped abroad let alone from local venue to local venue. i certainly think about it when i ship two hrs each way. that is 4 hrs standing in a confined space balancing oneself on turns and what not. i won't do alot of shows based on the distance. it stresses them out. now, imagine loading them in a plane in a crate,, then quarantine,, then a box stall....hmmm. makes one pause.

JER
Dec. 7, 2009, 06:09 PM
about these upper level horses who are doing badminton, rolex, pau etc. let us not forget the wear and tear it takes on a horse to be shipped abroad...

There was an interesting comment on this in Hilda Hick Donahue's reports from Pau (http://www.ashmoreequestriancenter.com/internationalnews.html) (scroll down):


The US horses in the grooms words are "falling apart" and our vet, Scott Langton, has stepped in. Let's hope they recover by next Wednesday.

The real upshot of all this is that CMP has stated, for the record, that top horses will be asked to, and perhaps expected to, run at top level more often.

And while CMP and his ilk can always ask and/or expect, the riders and owners can always say 'no.'

frugalannie
Dec. 7, 2009, 06:38 PM
I've been thinking about this, and I really appreciate all of the learned comments expressed. I haven't competed big time (only Prelim) and I'm thinking about pointing my OTTB at the T3Day this summer, so the following comments aren't meant to argue with or contradict folks who know lots more than I do. They are only made to give a different perspective.

The fitness issues I am most familiar with are those of high goal polo ponies. Generally they are of TB breeding, and they work intensively for 7 1/2 minute segments. It's not easy work: accelerate to max, hard stop, turn, accelerate again and then there's "riding off" and jumping the side boards. They will play high goal games 2-3 times a week, sometimes more than one chukker per game. Often they get no or very limited turnout during the polo season depending on the facilities available.

But polo had (in my day, anyway) two distinct seasons: winter and summer. And at the end of either season, the ponies were turned out for at least a month, then shipped to their next destination for a month (+/-) of acclimatization and legging up before going back to work. The intensity of the season increased gradually because everyone's horses were in about the same condition. This schedule might be adjusted to suit the horse, but with the 60 or so horses per year that came through the farm I worked for, almost all handled this schedule well and for many years.

I never knew a pony to freak on turnout: they might run and roll and play (especially after the long north/south drive), but I don't recall any of them losing their minds or doing themselves great damage and they were quite fit.

Many of these ponies had long careers. After their high goal years were over, they would move back down the ranks. I knew many that played happily into their 20s, although I will admit that many didn't.

Eventers have taken knowledge from endurance. Maybe we can learn from polo, too, as the requirements of our sport change.

Just some thoughts from someone who stood in checkout lines waaaaay too much today.

SevenDogs
Dec. 7, 2009, 06:46 PM
And while CMP and his ilk can always ask and/or expect, the riders and owners can always say 'no.'

.....And be blackballed from his little selectors club. What is so infuriating is that, overall, his tenure has not been successful. He can't even lay claim to Gina Miles. He tried hard to ignore her, basically cost her the Pan Am individual Gold medal with bad coaching and then just got out of her way at the Olympics. He has been trying to ride that David O'Connor Olympic Gold Medal in Atlanta for a loooooooooooooooooong time (and that medal, to David's credit, was in the works well before Mr. Phillips came into the picture).

His "program" is NOT performing well (no matter where else he tries to lay the blame). It is seriously jepardizing horses (and riders), encouraging poor horsemanship, and is a failure to boot. I always come back to the same place on this -- why is he still here?

Gry2Yng
Dec. 7, 2009, 09:55 PM
Really great post frugalannie. Lots to think about in there.

Shrapnel
Dec. 10, 2009, 11:31 AM
Don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel. :winkgrin:

Thanks for twisting my words LexInVA! :lol:

millerra
Dec. 10, 2009, 11:48 AM
But here you're basing it on riding, not on horsemanship. Not only that, but a minimum of three still excludes the many of us who can only afford a few a year at best or whose seasons were cut short for whatever reason (veterinary, for example). It's hardly a horsemanship award if it's based on show results.


You will get no argument from me on this. My suggestion was merely to minimize point chasing. And I was thinking primarily upper levels where one could argue that it takes (or should take?) significant horsemanship to keep horses going at those levels...

canterlope
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:27 PM
He has been trying to ride that David O'Connor Olympic Gold Medal in Atlanta for a loooooooooooooooooong time (and that medal, to David's credit, was in the works well before Mr. Phillips came into the picture).Ummm...., shouldn't that be Sydney, not Atlanta?

SevenDogs
Dec. 10, 2009, 01:30 PM
Ummm...., shouldn't that be Sydney, not Atlanta?

Fair enough, although I think it just supports the point that it was pretty far back there in the history books (or I just have no memory left)! ;)

gardenie
Dec. 12, 2009, 08:42 PM
So I've had some rest, and I'm thinking on the topic again. I just think we are getting so focused on how things shouldn't be done versus emphasizing how they should be done. Anybody want to discuss this further? What should the topic be?

EventerAJ
Dec. 14, 2009, 09:17 PM
Interesting thoughts from Dr Bramlage (one of THE VERY BEST vets in the world) about resting Rachel Alexandra:



From The Bloodhorse.com (http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/54423/bramlage-resting-rachel-right-thing-to-do) Monday, Dec. 14, 2009

While many racing fans were hoping Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta would square off in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, prominent equine surgeon Larry Bramlage said recently that Rachel Alexandra’s connections did the right thing when they ended her 2009 campaign following the 3-year-old filly’s Sept. 5 victory by a head over Macho Again in the Woodford Stakes (gr. I).
“After 11 races (in less than a year), I’m glad they gave her a break,” said Dr. Bramlage during the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ 55th annual convention Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas. “After the race she ran in the Woodward, when she basically ran her guts out, she needed time to recuperate and there was only a limited amount of time before the Breeders’ Cup.

"When horses campaign for more than a year and try to stay at the top level, their skeletons begin to fatigue; the same thing happens in the human athlete. It’s very tough to stay peaked for longer than a year, so I like to see horses after a year’s heavy campaigning getting a break of a couple of months because their skeleton has to catch up. They accumulate a lot of little damage that can then become something major, so I think it was good management of her career (to give Rachel Alexandra time off) even though I would have loved to have seen her running head-and-head with Zenyatta.”


Emphasis mine.

mugsgame
Dec. 18, 2009, 05:40 PM
Personally having read the comments by CMP I feel they were slightly rash and actually its well known that Carousel Quest is not a very sound horse (he only ran half a season last year) and thus at 14 I guess there are only so many competitions he is going to do before he becomes crocked again. I had heard a rumour that Flint Curtis had overeached prior to Euros and was not going so was not surprised to see him run like a dog on xc. OT running CQ at Pau was a gamble and probably did not have the horses best interests at heart and I think had the horse been more of an up and coming prospect he would not have gone.

Anyway so after all my rambling my answer is that CMP should have said that it was not best practice and was a rare thing in eventing and that is did not clearly pay off rather than actually agreeing that is was acceptable.