PDA

View Full Version : US Eventing---two sports?



denny
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:31 AM
This from a report on Pine Top--"12 rider falls, 4 horse falls, 3 trips to the hospital--"

Upper level eventing, preliminary and up, sometimes seems like a war zone.

Lower level eventing, maiden through training, is usually not nearly so dangerous, and these are the levels where the majority of eventers compete.

It seems to me that in many ways, US eventing is actually two quite separate sports, a challenging but fun weekend recreational sport for perhaps as many as twnty thousand riders, and a very serious, technical sport for maybe about one thousand riders.

There`s a fair bit of crossover, obviously, between the two segments of the same sport, but I don`t really feel that it`s accurate to think of "eventing" as a seamless entity.

Thoughts?

snoopy
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:53 AM
Seamless...hmmm

Was it ever? I consider the prelim level to be part of the "training" levels and it does not take a super horse to do this level. Many horses can but it is a "rider hump"....the prelim level weeds out riders more then horses.

But getting back, with the old format, there were many horses that could reach advanced horse trials level but did not have the "puff" for 3 and 4 star CCI's.

We have currently on the training lists, horses that are quite capable of ADV horse trials and fairly successful at 3* but cannot hold it together at 4*.

I think there are a lot of variables from INT-ADV 4*

denny
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:04 AM
Snoopy, I think prelim.USED to be a training level, but maybe not so much these days. But I can`t tell if that`s because the XC is harder, or because the riders are less well prepared.

I have always in the past considered preliminary to be the "swing" level, the hardest of the easier levels, the easiest of the hard levels.

Now I`m not sure where to put it. Maybe it depends upon the individual course.

snoopy
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:08 AM
Snoopy, I think prelim.USED to be a training level, but maybe not so much these days. But I can`t tell if that`s because the XC is harder, or because the riders are less well prepared.

I have always in the past considered preliminary to be the "swing" level, the hardest of the easier levels, the easiest of the hard levels.

Now I`m not sure where to put it. Maybe it depends upon the individual course.


I absolutely get your point.

So then, are we getting it wrong at what I would consider to be the most important level in the sport? Is it this level that is the weakest link in the chain? It would make sense going by your statement.

edited to add:

If we keep refering to the Prelim level as an upper level, then could it be that course designers are building for an upper level course within the dementions of the prelim specs. This level should be where horses meet all the questions for the upper levels but in a softer fashion...more time on approach, placement, slight modifications to the elements/jumps/questions, and time to recover from a whoopsie. I think the prelim "questions" should be very straight forward even though the "jumps" at this level can be of upper level nature.
The prelim course should not be a mini-me of rolex.

retreadeventer
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:38 AM
I'm sort of in Denny's great unwashed 20,000. I also have some time warp perspective. Gosh, about 20 years ago when I evented I moved a horse up to prelim from training and he was a good jumper, and I just don't remember the difficulty factor being so hard. Back then the big jump was novice to training. (There was no BN).
Now, today, I am in the same boat but gosh I feel so very unprepared for taking on Prelim level, and that on what I think could be termed quite a confirmed Training level horse. But the stadium, the XC questions are REALLY hard. I've walked these courses next to my training level courses for the past two years and lots of times, I've just stood in front of a complex shaking my head, thinking, wow. How do I ride Rug to get thru THAT? Nothing on my training level courses have prepared me and my horse for it.
I have to train somewhere else to get ready for Prelim, because the training level competitions I've done don't seem to be prepping us for that level. So, more money on lessons THIS year obviously. (And I have done maybe some pretty highly thought of trainings in Area II, the largest and most prolific area in the US). So if I am feeling that way surely others in other less fortunate eventing regions are, too -- and Denny, how do we address this?

mugsgame
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:39 AM
Interesting British Eventing has just admitted that the sport is a two tier sport. Grassroots and below (Training and below) and Novice + (Prelim +).

Eventing Magazine is writing a report on it and where it leaves people.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:42 AM
This from a report on Pine Top--"12 rider falls, 4 horse falls, 3 trips to the hospital--"

Upper level eventing, preliminary and up, sometimes seems like a war zone.

Lower level eventing, maiden through training, is usually not nearly so dangerous, and these are the levels where the majority of eventers compete.

It seems to me that in many ways, US eventing is actually two quite separate sports, a challenging but fun weekend recreational sport for perhaps as many as twnty thousand riders, and a very serious, technical sport for maybe about one thousand riders.

There`s a fair bit of crossover, obviously, between the two segments of the same sport, but I don`t really feel that it`s accurate to think of "eventing" as a seamless entity.

Thoughts?


I don't think it is two different sports...but I do understand your point.

Is it really any different than Skiing/snow boarding, skateboarding, surfing, or many other sports. When you get to the higher levels....they are more dangerous and tougher. Not everyone who participates in the sport will have the talent or drive or guts to go to the higher levels...doesn't mean they are not participating in the same sport or enjoying the same sport. Or are supportive of those that DO take it too that higher level.

The lower levels are challenging for many....but as lower levels SHOULD be easier and safer. The majority of the people should be participating at the lower levels.....but many of us START in this sport because of having watched the higher levels. If we start having what looks like a war zone at novice....well then that is when I think something is really really wrong.

CookiePony
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:43 AM
Snoopy, I think prelim.USED to be a training level, but maybe not so much these days. But I can`t tell if that`s because the XC is harder, or because the riders are less well prepared.

I have always in the past considered preliminary to be the "swing" level, the hardest of the easier levels, the easiest of the hard levels.

Now I`m not sure where to put it. Maybe it depends upon the individual course.

Very interesting food for thought for this rider who has begun to contemplate whether to try to move up to Prelim. It would not happen this year, but possibly in 2011. For now I am "deciding not to decide" but after yesterday Prelim is not looking so attractive to me.

purplnurpl
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:46 AM
I think that the current format (no long format) really created a wall.

There are so many of us that aspire to run a long format but due to it's demise we are left with no right turn.

Now that the Prelim Long Format is developing separate from FEI we really do have two sports.

There really is NO USE for FEI except for those that are on the team and need to qualify either horse or rider at a given UL.

For those non 'teamers' the prelim long format is perfect. It's tough enough for a challenge and easy/safe enough in theory to send us home sound, with sound horses, and a smile.

Ruperman
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:57 AM
I ran preliminary 5 years ago. I am looking to move my current horse up to preliminary, but like others have said. It's going to require LOTS of additional lessons.

My experience:
5 years ago Area IV HT had BN-I. The I course was completely separate from the P course. Starting about 2 years ago, the courses shared about 1/2 of the same fences and combinations. It's not from lack of course building or designing from what I can tell because the courses change all the time. But the stationary fences like the sunken road, ditch and wall, and steps that used to be only Int questions are now prelim questions. So in my current situation I feel like on my current horse I could easily jump the prelim fences from 5 years ago, but not the prelim track they are currently running. Just my observation.

sunhawk
Mar. 1, 2010, 12:15 PM
I have observed many changes in the sport over the years. I have never competed above training, and never will, but I have been eventing the lower levels to training since '89.
Back then we used to see much more open fences, like stadium fences only solid with huge gaps in between wide oxers, they don't exist any more. All the spread fences are filled, and usually rampy, hardly any flat tables, and they don't usually have a vertical face any more. The skinnies on prelim used to be an arrowhead after a drop, with an option. Skinnies now are often large stumps with the sharp edges taken off, sometimes two skinnies, I have seen corner one stride to skinny coming out of water, I have seen drop into water bending line to skinny. As far as skinnies go, it used to be an important factor that jumps be built in such a way that you could aim for a different part of the jump if the footing was all chewed up. Now you have to take off at the same spot as everybody else regardless of the state of the footing. If the track is soft or muddy, it can get pretty deep at the take-off spot, and the horse can be landing into a deep hole or badly uneven ground lending to serious wear and tear issues. There used to be a skinny on the training course in Osoyoos, very soft sandy ground. By the time all the training horses finished running the take-off spot was at least 6 inches deeper than it was for the first few. It doesn't make for a
level playing field.
I think there have always been riders moving up to prelim or higher on horses that pulled like a train, and would gallop to big fences somewhat out of control. The course changes have done a fairly good job of taking those off the courses.
I think that getting greener horses and riders out over tiny courses may be paying for the bigger jumps, but I don't think it's doing the sport any big favors. Back when the smallest jumps were 3 feet, most of the horse and rider combinations tackling eventing were better schooled and prepared. Maybe not all, but for the most part. I have seen people going cross-country that were totally unprepared -- one year there was a lady at Chase Creek on the lowest level, can't remember what it was called that year, her horse ran off with her when she was on a line back towards the stabling, she locked onto the right rein to turn the horse, and they fell, and she was flown out in a helicopter in a coma. I think a situation like that is the coaches responsability to send a rider out over prepared if possible.

cindywilson
Mar. 1, 2010, 01:21 PM
OK, so I'm from even earlier - no 'PreTraining' (Novice) - Training was the lowest level. (Thank God there was Training because we H/J crossovers would have entered at Prelim at our first event because it was 'only' 3'6" if someone hadn't told us better.) I've taken a couple horses to * level and now have a couple OTTBs starting out. Also, organized a horse trials for about 15 years. Here's what I see re the jumping phases: Speeds are higher and courses are more complex and demanding.

I'm only a random amateur but it's clear to me that, for example, 400 mpm isn't an appropriate speed from which to jump a 2'11" fence. H/J riders know this: they're competing over 4' courses at what we used to call 12 mph (about 325mpm). That's why their horses jump in such good form (well, that and they're generally chosen for that talent) - they've learned how to jump correctly. Instead, what's happening now is that young/green riders/horses are pressed to jump even small fences without correct balance and basics. And the PTB are surprised to see falls and other mishaps. Go figure. And this problem becomes compounded by increasing the technical difficulty of the courses. Both riders and horses need to learn to compete and this only happens at a competition. What the 'lower levels' used to be was an opportunity to compete and, at the same time, train the riders and horses to compete. Now, as a spectator and former organizer, what I see is riders with too much speed and insufficient skills in the jumping phases.

In the old days, when I used to attend USEA conventions, the Rules Committee meetings often ended up with lengthy discussions about why we had to change various rules to...conform with FEI rules. At BN-T. Say what? So speeds, penalty infringements, etc. were altered, basically with very little regard for the actual effect on the competitors and horses at those levels. I think this was wrong. And I believe it had a direct effect on the problems in the sport today.

I think that BN-T should be basically a separate sport from the 'upper' levels and should have their own specifications and rules. The problems come with Preliminary as it is truly in the middle. It serves as a goal for many recreational riders, but as a preparation for upper level aspirants. Perhaps there should be two 'Preliminary' levels. One would include the P3DE and would be the apex of one competition track and the other would have only the short format (thanks a lot, FEI) and serve as the introduction to international competition.

denny
Mar. 1, 2010, 01:36 PM
I`m personally beginning to think that, as the British seem to have concluded, it`s a two tier sport. That`s a better way to phrase it.

And I don`t believe that the upper tier has got it right in terms of safety, for all the yabber about it. In just one event, 12 rider falls, 3 to the hospital, 4 horse falls, that`s safe?

And nothing will happen. Nothing substantive. Speeds that were devised over 50 years ago will continue to be used. Riders whose horses have rotational falls will have zero penalties from the organization. Nothing will change.

So which tier deserves support? It`s a pretty black and white question at this point.

asterix
Mar. 1, 2010, 02:02 PM
The problems come with Preliminary as it is truly in the middle. It serves as a goal for many recreational riders, but as a preparation for upper level aspirants. Perhaps there should be two 'Preliminary' levels. One would include the P3DE and would be the apex of one competition track and the other would have only the short format (thanks a lot, FEI) and serve as the introduction to international competition.

I feel as though we had a debate here about the two track idea before, at preliminary, except that it was framed as an "ammie" vs "pro" issue and many of us didn't like that.

Having now gotten my feet (just) barely wet at preliminary (being firmly in the camp you describe of "goal for recreational riders" -- it's as far as I want to go), this is now starting to make some real sense to me, especially as you've framed it.

I don't want to do a "watered down" preliminary, but it is fair to ask whether the course that is designed as the first step towards a *** is the same course that is designed to really challenge a competent pair who has mastered Training level.

We need to get a better handle on the range of variation truly out there at Preliminary, in terms of questions and courses.

I've now ridden or schooled a handful of courses near me in Area II -- most of these questions have seemed appropriate and doable. But I have seen a few that were not (and if you looked at the record for the day, you'd see many stops and falls at those questions), and, perhaps more worrisome, I've seen some that had a straightforward course with one real lollapalooza thrown in there.

Do course designers ever have some kind of "design to the levels" seminar where they all look at, say, 10 Prelim tracks around the country, fence by fence, to see what the variation is???

millerra
Mar. 1, 2010, 02:14 PM
I evented prelim back in the mid nineties. I am an adult ammie (smurf). I did a one star and also ran one intermediate horse trial. I think back on those courses and compare them to now (I have a novice/training horse now) and think - boy, those seem SO straightforward (easy!) as compared to now. A corner was a big deal. A coffin was a big deal. Now a corner to a corner... errm...

I've always had prelim/1 star as my goal. Now I'm not so sure. Training and 1/2 star seems like a really good goal. I'm not sure prelim questions -all the skinnies, turning questions, etc are all that much fun... I'd love it if there was a spin off division for those of us w/ 1 star goals and straightforward courses.

Also, I have bred a couple of event horses. I have no aspirations to ride UL any more (aside from prelim (big maybe)). I used to think it'd be really cool to produce an UL horse ridden by someone else. Now I'm pretty sure NOT. it's too hard on them...

I personally think in the name of "competition" things have moved too hard in the direction of technicality and therefore speed requirements between fences at the expense of the horse and its development at all levels.

(Just my two cents as a smurf)

mellsmom
Mar. 1, 2010, 03:13 PM
It has pretty much looked like that to me for the last 10 years that I have been involved in the sport. What I find challenging is that lots of people have been saying this for years, but the message just wasn't being "heard".

The upper levels are unattainable for a lot of people. It's a fact. But then most people who ski aren't olympic caliber skiiers either. Prelim and above is populated by the better horses and riders. The further up the levels you go, the more elite it becomes, with better horses and riders. To get to the top you have to have talent, a good mount, luck, time, money and wicked dedication. How is that different than any other sport these days?

pokesaladannie
Mar. 1, 2010, 03:14 PM
I'm thinking that what we need is to offer two levels of P at most events.

P1 - a course using much of the original Prelim. course but using some of the T fences as a letup. This would let amateurs and greener horses get a feeling for the needed speed and height.

P2 - a course using the originally planned P course.

This might shore up that "wobbly bridge" between the two tiers and be safer for amateurs than having to always be faced with courses designed for ULR's getting prepped for I.

Yup, that's my big idea - What do you think?

snoopy
Mar. 1, 2010, 03:43 PM
I'm thinking that what we need is to offer two levels of P at most events.

P1 - a course using much of the original Prelim. course but using some of the T fences as a letup. This would let amateurs and greener horses get a feeling for the needed speed and height.

P2 - a course using the originally planned P course.

This might shore up that "wobbly bridge" between the two tiers and be safer for amateurs than having to always be faced with courses designed for ULR's getting prepped for I.

Yup, that's my big idea - What do you think?

I like this idea...a lot!!!

There would not be any extra expense as the "destination" events that offered PRELIM-ADV could offer prelim 2 and other events that ran NOV-PRELIM could have prelim 1.

There would be no real need to offer prelim 1 "AND" 2, if the organizers felt that they could not justify the expense.

Those horses that are being produced to move to the INT-ADV levels could then move on to prelim 2 and those "destination" events that support that standard of course.

I really like this idea.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 1, 2010, 03:44 PM
I think making different Preliminary tracks doesn't make sense. It isn't economical for organizers and I think you would be hard pressed to get enough events running to make it worthwhile. What can be done to ease the transition is simple. Create more options on courses. Let riders use good horsemanship to choose the options most suited for their horse on that day.

I personally haven't seen THAT much of a change in prelim since the mid 90s. Some courses are tougher and some are not....sort of how it always has been. You walk the course and make sure you think you are prepared enough to compete.

But if on a course at the more technical combinations you could have harder direct options that could be used by riders whose horses and selves are solid for the level and preparing to move up.....and longer options that allow riders/horse who are new to the level to educate their horses and have a good go.

This isn't as expensive to do or as complicated from and organizing standpoint as having different courses. And honestly...it sort of already exists with the CIC* being more available to run as a harder Prelim for those riders getting ready to move up to Intermediate.

Only real issue with it is using the competitions as qualifiers for the next level. That is where this approach had its problems in the past. Riders would take all the easier longer options, get qualified for a CCI or the next level up...and move up before they were ready. Or go too fast in between the fences trying to stay competitive since they took the time eating longer options. Not showing responsible riding.....


On a slightly different not, I personally don't like trying to classify eventing has having different tiers or being different sports.....we are all one sport with a diverse membership. I personally think that is a good thing.....and don't see one part of the membership as being any more or any less important to the sport as a whole as any other part of the membership.

cindywilson
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:13 PM
Bornfreenowexpensive--

I'd like to comment on a couple of your points:
1. Maybe I should move to PA where Prelim courses haven't gotten any more difficult in the last 10-15 years.
2. As a former organizer, I think it would be significantly less expensive to produce P1 and P2 courses if P1 excluded the more difficult P2 fences and included T fences that it would be to design/build option fences.
3. Having 2 P levels doesn't have the added problem of qualification for upper levels. P1 wouldn't qualify you for anything higher. You'd have to compete at P2 successfully to move up or compete at FEI levels.
4. Let's face it: They ARE two different sports and there ARE two different sets of competitors. That doesn't mean they can't coexist happily. And, if a person wished, they'd move on up to the P2 and up levels.

Beam Me Up
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:15 PM
Don't know the answer.
I do think that prelim is more technical than it was in the mid-90s.
And as advertised, that reduced the fast/out-of-control types (now we do more backward scary, less forward scary).

My sense is that many of us have concerns about the direction the sport is taking at the highest levels. To me, it almost feels like "giving up" to separate the two instead of strive to influence the top and unify on down.

2 things I worry about:
- Lower level courses not preparing riders for upper levels. I understand that not all (or even most) riders aspire to the upper levels, but if we split the sport will that prevent young hopefuls from working their way up?
- All this pro/ammy, upper/lower level rider segmentation being pushed by several prominent folks in eventing (some trainers, some officials). It seems a bit self-serving in a h/j sort of way (esp. when it comes to finances, or qualifications). It used to seem like more of an ammy sport in general.

I don't know, maybe I just haven't given up on my upper level dreams enough to go sit on the lower level ammy bench quite yet. Plus, I really hate sweeping generalizations.

deltawave
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:16 PM
There are lots of sports where there are tiers, sometimes more than two. This is nothing to freak out over. :)

We just have to compete where we belong, and competitions, if the demand is there, have to adapt to the needs of the competitors.

I wonder if there is a method where organizers look at numbers of entries at each level, division sizes, number of successful completions, etc. when they decide what divisions to offer the following year or later in the season? Is this a casual, common sense thing or somewhat more scientific?

If a big, popular show gets 100 entries for Training level but can only accept 70 because of "space", does that put pressure on to include "space" for more Training entries next time? Or do the lower levels get sacrificed for getting more "prestigious" divisions in? Does the number of riders at each level reflect how many entries are received at each level?

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:39 PM
Bornfreenowexpensive--

I'd like to comment on a couple of your points:
1. Maybe I should move to PA where Prelim courses haven't gotten any more difficult in the last 10-15 years.
.


I didn't say they haven't gotten more difficult....just not THAT much more difficult. I can remember my third Prelim HT at Gladstone in the 1996.....it had a bounce with HUGE logs as the 4th combination, water was a large hanging log in, accross the water to a bank out bending two/three strides to a max corner.....bank combination with skinny, coffin etc. I've seen a few more accuracy questions now....but saw them then as well. What I have seen is that the courses are more consistent. It used to be you could find a "softer" prelim course.....now, they all seem about the same level of difficulty.

What I have seen is more training level courses that have gotten more techincal.

I do see the changes in the courses...but by and large, most of them have been good. We seem to have more consistency in course design and building. Most events seem well built and designed with attention to footing and other details. I've seen a lot of very good changes. But things can always be improved and made better....I just don't quite see the need to completely tear apart the sport everytime there is a rough xc day.....

The big change from the mid-90s to me was the loss of the long format. That changed the sport more than anything. And I've seen the sport change the most in that is is now much more competitive in the sense that you need more than just a good xc horse.

Badger
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:39 PM
The CIC* and CCI* already exist as a "prelim 2" difficulty courses. I really don't see a need to dummy down or soften prelim horse trials with a different track.

There has been talk many times of a rating system for courses, to help riders determine which serve as "new to the level" courses and which ones are "final preps before moving up another level" courses. Word of mouth from coaches and other riders fills in the gap as there isn't a comprehensive rating system.

Badger
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:46 PM
The big change from the mid-90s to me was the loss of the long format. That changed the sport more than anything...It now makes it much more competitive in the sense that you need more than just a good xc horse.

I think one of the big repercussions of the loss of the long format is that the weekend horse trials are not seen as a part of the training and prep process to the primary goal of a three-day. They have become an ends to themselves, and a lot more emphasis in the culture is given to placings and rider rankings as such. My perception is that a greater percentage of riders were focusing on getting qualifying rides and not on top placings weekend-in and weekend-out. But without the beacon of the long format on the horizon, more riders are trying to be competitive at horse trials rather than using them as the training grounds they once were.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:54 PM
I think one of the big repercussions of the loss of the long format is that the weekend horse trials are not seen as a part of the training and prep process to the primary goal of a three-day. They have become an ends to themselves, and a lot more emphasis in the culture is given to placings and rider rankings as such. My perception is that a greater percentage of riders were focusing on getting qualifying rides and not on top placings weekend-in and weekend-out. But without the beacon of the long format on the horizon, more riders are trying to be competitive at horse trials rather than using them as the training grounds they once were.


I agree.

millerra
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:54 PM
I think one of the big repercussions of the loss of the long format is that the weekend horse trials are not seen as a part of the training and prep process to the primary goal of a three-day. They have become an ends to themselves, and a lot more emphasis in the culture is given to placings and rider rankings as such. My perception is that a greater percentage of riders were focusing on getting qualifying rides and not on top placings weekend-in and weekend-out. But without the beacon of the long format on the horizon, more riders are trying to be competitive at horse trials rather than using them as the training grounds they once were.

I agree w/ this... And I hear the sentiment that it (the event) should be more than a dressage competition - even at novice, from both organizers and competitors. So - make time count and add combinations at novice (ditch to coop, etc). Whereas "back in the day" - I ran novice to train my horse to do training. I ran training to train my horse to do prelim. I ran prelim to prep my horse for the ultimate event - the "real" three day 1*. That sentiment seems to have faded. So, now when I'm running my green bean at novice and trotting through the water and into the ditch combination, I have to chose to "gallop" during the open stretches so I can make the 400 mpm time at novice or eat my time penalties and treat it as a learning experience. My choice, I know and I get that. But the overall environment/sentiment of what each competition "means" seems to have changed..

NMK
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:55 PM
Personally, I just pick the P courses carefully. Which brings me to another thought--it used to be, in the old days, that the spring courses were good move ups and the fall courses a bit tougher. Now since some people are eventing all year round, that has changed. I think there is a definitely a need for further explanation and/or a deliberate move on the course designer to decide whether it's one or the other. Do we now have a little of both because of the year round schedule? Does this go back to the loss of the long format? Just a thought.

HER
Mar. 1, 2010, 04:57 PM
I'm an adult ammie who has only been in the eventing world for 4 years, so I never saw any of the courses of old. This is my experience:
Jumpwise (as in the questions, size, technicality) I found the move up from N to T much harder. Especially in the way of water, coffin and bank combos. At N everything (almost) was a single effort, and straightforward, as it should be at N. But move up to training and now you have ABC combos surrounding the water etc. My horse and I did learn a ton at training level. And when we moved up to prelim we handled the jumps well.
Speedwise I found the move to prelim the hardest. I could run my T courses at prelim speed with no problem but not the prelim courses. I took so much time getting set up and being accurate that I haven't come close to time yet in a year at prelim. Some of that is due to my horse being strong though. What I have felt at prelim is that pretty much all the courses were on par when it came to difficulty. Maybe one or two were a notch easier but the questions were pretty equal across the board.
I think that it would be wonderful to have more options at all the levels. Give N competitors a more difficult water option at N height, etc. But it still falls to the competitor to ensure that they are truly ready for the next level by choosing the harder options. One of the only options I had this year was either a single skinny in a brushline, or the harder option of two skinnies on an angled two stride. The harder option was also on the * course. I went for the harder one and glanced off the second. No biggee, turn around, jump and go home and do homework. But as I was standing by the scores talking to my friends about my glanceoff, another girl chimed in and said that she took the easier option because she just needed another qualifying score for a *. What??? You took the easier option as a prep for a *. That's when I truly grasped the problems we face now. Because she didn't think there was anything wrong with that. Since I eventually do want to do a * or I, I immediately felt better about my decision. It showed me a hole in our education that we needed to fix, without getting hurt at a higher level and higher speed. I just wonder what will happen to that girl and people like her?
Helen

RunForIt
Mar. 1, 2010, 05:08 PM
And I don`t believe that the upper tier has got it right in terms of safety, for all the yabber about it. In just one event, 12 rider falls, 3 to the hospital, 4 horse falls, that`s safe?

And nothing will happen. Nothing substantive. Speeds that were devised over 50 years ago will continue to be used. Riders whose horses have rotational falls will have zero penalties from the organization. Nothing will change.

So which tier deserves support? It`s a pretty black and white question at this point.

the bolded print was done by me...

This says so much...and begs so many questions. There's no better crew, no better venue than what is assembled at PTF...but, the volunteers who left the course shaken and disturbed are still questioning... Denny, I believe you're right - nothing will change - for some.

Peggy
Mar. 1, 2010, 05:21 PM
Would the P1/P2 (or P and modified P, to use HJ terminology) and alternate track P's need to be mutually exclusive? An event could opt for one or the other (or neither), depending on their course and resources. I'm not up on the rules, but is there anything about needing to complete your qualifying runs within a time allowed? If the easier options were also significantly more time consuming (think Olympics and the need to get people around without major carnage) that might help. Unless everyone tore around like maniacs between the long options.

You can make some of the arguments about different sports or tiers in other horse disciplines. Is the person doing their 2' hunter round doing the same sport as the people in the hunter derbies, let alone someone doing the GP jumpers? Some say yes and some say no. There is an interesting potential rift in the HJ ranks b/w the H's and the J's as the former is not an FEI discipline and thus not subject to its rules and whims.

This is coming from the perspective of someone who evented N and T from 1988-1996, with HJ before and dressage and then HJ after. Switch from eventing was horse-driven not discipline driven--said horse had such good dressage that he placed at one event after a x-c stop (and I have the chair to prove it).

NMK
Mar. 1, 2010, 05:26 PM
Badger, I agree completely. And that does take into account that most ch or * courses were in the fall, and events in the spring a little easier. Now we go year round.

Liebe-ist-Krieg
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:04 PM
as a young rider (19) who moved up to Prelim in 2008 and Intermediate in 2009, I can't comment on how much courses have changed in the past 10-15 years. Having come through the levels riding the current courses I really feel that an important (but unfortunately nearly impossible to police) factor is rider responsibility. I will never forget riding my first Prelim, it was incredible, until I fell off in the water 2 jumps from the finish! Should I have moved up when I did? Possibly not. Did I learn from my mistake? definitely. Did I keep that in mind when I moved up to Intermediate? yes.

My first Intermediate event was a relatively successful event, lots of time penalties, but safe. My second Intermediate event, I withdrew after a truly horrible stadium jumping round. My third, fourth, and fifth Intermediates have progressively gotten better and better. If I had continued at my 2nd Intermediate onto cross country, there is a very good chance that I or my horse would have fallen, so I made the very difficult choice to step out. My point is, I think that the system is workable if you know your own limitations and you know your horse. Also, for me, the move up from Prelim to Intermediate was more significant than the move from Training to Prelim.

I rode around the Intermediate course at Rocking Horse a week ago and had the time of my life. There was a great mix of galloping fences and technical questions- on average 3-4 tableish fences then a question such as the sunken road, or the water (rolltop one stride to a drop, 4 strides on a bending line to a jump out, 4 strides to a corner) I wasn't running for time, I didn't even look at my watch until after fence 22 or so, and was pleasantly surprised to see that i could make optimum easily. My horse and I both finished full of energy.

So for me, the current system has not really been an issue(however, I have also not been competing at the upper levels of the sport for very long, so thats not to say there never will be!). I'm not saying that there isn't a problem, but if there is I think that we need to look at all of the variables before we make changes.

fooler
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:13 PM
I think one of the big repercussions of the loss of the long format is that the weekend horse trials are not seen as a part of the training and prep process to the primary goal of a three-day. They have become an ends to themselves, and a lot more emphasis in the culture is given to placings and rider rankings as such. My perception is that a greater percentage of riders were focusing on getting qualifying rides and not on top placings weekend-in and weekend-out. But without the beacon of the long format on the horizon, more riders are trying to be competitive at horse trials rather than using them as the training grounds they once were.

Totally Agree

fooler
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:33 PM
There are several things that brought us to today:
*Loss of the Long Format and it's inherent long term training

*Recognizing BN - I started Eventing when Training was the lowest recognized level. The rule book indicated the average Training horse should have a season of hunting or equilvalent before their 1st season of CT. Most XC courses reflected what one would see hunting
Novice, at max height of 2'11'', provided a good non-recognized entry level - which is where I started.
BN, at max height of 2'7", can allow one to have a false sense of baseline knowledge/experience.
Notice I said CAN ALLOW.

*Protective vests - Great invention & we should all be happy to wear them.
However I wonder how many folks when trying to decide whether to take Ol' Thunder to an event or move up - decide it is ok to skip the extra schooling because they are 'safe' in their "approved helmets & vests".

*Pros earning a living at Eventing -
They must compete to keep their name out there. And they must have students, who must progress
After all - that is what WE as a society expect and I as a student expect to progress. I can be my own worst enemy and often need a coach to tell me to wait!
Pro's are also enncouraged by owners and/or coaches to push Ol' Thunder to the next level - especially with the new 'inflatable' vest - why should anyone worry? If you fall - the vest will protect you, if you are hurt - I find another rider. . .

*Course design - already well discussed
*Qualifications - changing every year

More to say - but have to focus on work for now.

denny
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:37 PM
What precipitated this post by me?

The first thing I saw on line this morning was that there was an event yesterday, ONE event, with SIXTEEN FALLS.

And now it`s just back to business as usual?

Are we collectively stupid?

And among the fallers, several international riders.

Doesn`t this raise any sort of flag?

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:45 PM
What precipitated this post by me?

The first thing I saw on line this morning was that there was an event yesterday, ONE event, with SIXTEEN FALLS.

And now it`s just back to business as usual?

Are we collectively stupid?

And among the fallers, several international riders.

Doesn`t this raise any sort of flag?


Of course it raises flags.....but the first flag it raises for me is with respect to this particular event. Not the sport as a whole. I would want THIS event looked at closely to see if factors specific to this course and conditions might be the cause of this....because 16 falls at one event IS unusual. I guess I have more faith that this event will look at things closely to make sure there isn't a repeat at their next event.

denny
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:51 PM
16 falls at one event is UNUSUAL?

snoopy
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:52 PM
What precipitated this post by me?

The first thing I saw on line this morning was that there was an event yesterday, ONE event, with SIXTEEN FALLS.

And now it`s just back to business as usual?

Are we collectively stupid?

And among the fallers, several international riders.

Doesn`t this raise any sort of flag?



I believe this to be a generational thing....

Those taking part in the sport from the past 10-12 years onward know no different. I dare say, what we see today is accepted as part of the sport as it is. There is no reference point to compare it to...so no flag to raise.

Those international riders that were part of the sport previous to the years I mention accept it because what choice do they have...they are so far "in" and they must continue to earn a living.

I can never ever remember that many falls at a horse trials back when I first started....regardless of the level.

Sad really. My parents would never have allowed me to "sign up" for a sport with the stats we see today.

LISailing
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:56 PM
Eventing through the creation of levels in itself ia a tiered system. In the present form it is essentially a seven tiered system (BN, N, T, P, I, A and FEI). Locally, we are seeing even lower jumping level efforts introduced for real beginner riders and horses. Most of whom should have more instruction and/or training, instead of competing for prize. The prize should be good safe riding.

When I started eventing the lowest level was Novice, and let me tell you those fences looked huge on a 12.2 hand pony. Training was a challenge, not because of the cross-country, but because of the dressage. The cross-country was a logical progression from the novice courses, however Preliminary was considered the big move in all three phases. I have never competed at I or A, but I can say that Intermediate would have been easy for my horse that was euthanized last year (non-eventing related). She was well prepared for the level in skill, scope, balance, and drive. I would have felt comfortable and safe riding any course on her. I wonder sometimes if you asked that question of riders competing at any level what their response would be? Would they feel like I did on a 12.2 hand pony jumping Novice in the 1970's?

I'm sadden to see so many crashes. Please remember that these are not accidents because they were all most likely preventable. In order to improve the sport and the safety of the sport every incident should undergo a root cause analysis. This is the only way that USEA will be able to move the sport forward for the next generation. I hope that everyone recognizes that safety should always be a forethought and not an afterthought.

JER
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:57 PM
Accountability.

What is the relationship of that word to this competition?

Who is accountable? Who will be held accountable? Or do we just go back to talking about 'rider responsibility'?

Beam Me Up
Mar. 1, 2010, 06:57 PM
What precipitated this post by me?

The first thing I saw on line this morning was that there was an event yesterday, ONE event, with SIXTEEN FALLS.

And now it`s just back to business as usual?

Are we collectively stupid?

And among the fallers, several international riders.

Doesn`t this raise any sort of flag?

Put this way, I think it's interesting that we (including me!) yet again reacted to a topic about carnage at the very highest levels by arguing about prelim. That seems to happen every time.

Pine Top wasn't on evententries and so we don't have the x-c score sheets to look at. Some folks have posted some accounts of some of the falls. Do we know which fences caused the most issues and specifically why?

I'm not suggesting that nobody cares, but it always seems that the riders in that elite group are the ones that so stridently defend the current system, and the other riders that are horrified. It's an awkward dynamic, and I think leads to a lot of the upper/lower level venom (lower levels riders wanting to change the upper levels). Probably the best way to effect change would be for the elite riders to demand it, rather than lower level riders who in this case are more like spectators.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 1, 2010, 07:07 PM
Put this way, I think it's interesting that we (including me!) yet again reacted to a topic about carnage at the very highest levels by arguing about prelim. That seems to happen every time.

Pine Top wasn't on evententries and so we don't have the x-c score sheets to look at. Some folks have posted some accounts of some of the falls. Do we know which fences caused the most issues and specifically why?

I'm not suggesting that nobody cares, but it always seems that the riders in that elite group are the ones that so stridently defend the current system, and the other riders that are horrified. It's an awkward dynamic, and I think leads to a lot of the upper/lower level venom (lower levels riders wanting to change the upper levels). Probably the best way to effect change would be for the elite riders to demand it, rather than lower level riders who in this case are more like spectators.

If you go here...it had the break down for each under each division. http://eventingscores.com/eventsr/pinetop/sht0210/



ETA: Based on the score sheets...looks like 11 RFs out of 207 combinations to head out on xc. About 5%. Not sure where the 16 falls came from...but there were other Rs on the score sheets. Looks like 8 more retired on course, 3 were eliminated and one TE. So around 11% didn't get around and 91% got a score. That said...some of the falls were bad and with very good riders...and statistics do not tell you how well people completed the course...good or bad. My understanding is that Pine Top is a fantastic venue...and many riders there this weekend and in the past had good rounds.

RunForIt
Mar. 1, 2010, 07:11 PM
Here's another issue: is KOC going to ride at Red Hills this weekend? Is she going to ride at a CIC*** on several horses less than one week after a concussion? Is she, in her concussed state, fit to make this decision for herself or should the sport make the decision for her?

this quote is from another thread...but will the questions be answered, have a positive "all is fine" spin put on them, or ignored?

snoopy
Mar. 1, 2010, 07:24 PM
What precipitated this post by me?

The first thing I saw on line this morning was that there was an event yesterday, ONE event, with SIXTEEN FALLS.

And now it`s just back to business as usual?

Are we collectively stupid?

And among the fallers, several international riders.

Doesn`t this raise any sort of flag?


From another thread....Is this business as usual?





From Sinead Halpin's blog:


"Yesterday at 4:15 Rebecca endured what most event riders fear most, a rotational fall. The fence was a nasty upright at the end of the course. The fence was set at a funny angle and blended into the surrounding boards. Rocky is a horse that Rebecca was 3 on at the Fairhill CCI** in the fall so is quite experienced. Rocky didnt see the jump until it was too late.


Rebecca suffered multiple broken ribs,both clavicles are fractured in several places and she has a mild punctured lung. We airlifted her from McDuffy Hospital in Thomson to Charlotte,NC. She is currently in ICU but will hopefully be moved soon.


She is classic Rebec and worrying about students,horses and upset about worring people! As usual she is putting on a strong face and cracking jokes but this will be a long painful recovery. My mom and Jim are with her in Charlotte and her mother Mary is on a plane now and will be here tonight. Rocky got up quickly and has not a scratch on him..." Read more


I haven't heard anything definitive on Jan Byyny, but the vague reports/rumors suggest that she was unconscious for some short time after her fall and the head trauma might be more of a concern than the broken wrist/ribs.


As mentioned in our Pine Top report, both Jan and Rebecca received the best possible medical care from the first moments of their falls, and all of Eventing Nation wishes them a speedy recovery. Please keep Jan and Rebecca in your prayers and send your well-wishes to Jan's FB and Rebecca's FB.

Beam Me Up
Mar. 1, 2010, 07:36 PM
If you go here...it had the break down for each under each division. http://eventingscores.com/eventsr/pinetop/sht0210/



That's really helpful.

So for adv that's
1 @ fence 5
1 @ fence 16
1 @ fence 23

At int:
1 @ fence 2
1 @ fence 6
2 @ fence 20
1 @ fence 23

At prelim:
1 @ fence 8
1 @ fence 10
1 @ fence 20

Not sure what to conclude when it's that spread out though.

LISailing
Mar. 1, 2010, 07:40 PM
Beam Me Up - Not that we could really make any relative comments from this data, but it might be interesting if you could cross reference division fence numbers to see if some may be the same fence. For instance, in P fence 8 is the same as I fence 6 or in the same location.

Beam Me Up
Mar. 1, 2010, 07:52 PM
Beam Me Up - Not that we could really make any relative comments from this data, but it might be interesting if you could cross reference division fence numbers to see if some may be the same fence. For instance, in P fence 8 is the same as I fence 6 or in the same location.

I agree--for example if A23/I20/P20 were all the same fence (or versions of) that would make it look a lot less spread out. I guess we would have to defer to folks who were there though? The link didn't otherwise define the fences.

slp2
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:30 PM
Originally Posted by pokesaladannie http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4717917#post4717917)
I'm thinking that what we need is to offer two levels of P at most events.

P1 - a course using much of the original Prelim. course but using some of the T fences as a letup. This would let amateurs and greener horses get a feeling for the needed speed and height.

P2 - a course using the originally planned P course.

This might shore up that "wobbly bridge" between the two tiers and be safer for amateurs than having to always be faced with courses designed for ULR's getting prepped for I.

Let's see--what changes as you move up a level? 1) jump size, both height and width 2) technicality of the course and 3) speed. It seems like it would be a bit fairer on the horses if you were able to have 1 or 2 of these factors increase in difficulty, rather than all 3 at each move up a level.

Instead of changing the course too radically, change the speed required for the different "tiers" at a level. And instead of P1 and P2, just make the Open division for riders and horses that are headed for the next level, or experienced at the current level. For riders that are just starting at that level, they could compete in the "rider" or "horse" division (which would have a bit softer course with slower speeds). After a pair has been successful at the "rider" or "horse" division for a while, you will be required to move up to Open. Just another idea that might make move ups a little safer for our loyal pals who cart our asses around the x-c course.

riderboy
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:32 PM
Wow, after walking the courses at Pine Top I have absolutely no desire to go prelim, at least there. That is (was?) one of my goals.

riderboy
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:43 PM
That's really helpful.

So for adv that's
1 @ fence 5
1 @ fence 16
1 @ fence 23

At int:
1 @ fence 2
1 @ fence 6
2 @ fence 20
1 @ fence 23

At prelim:
1 @ fence 8
1 @ fence 10
1 @ fence 20

Not sure what to conclude when it's that spread out though.
Unless my math skills have failed me, that's only 11 falls. I thought the OP said 16.

gooddirt
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:54 PM
I agree--for example if A23/I20/P20 were all the same fence (or versions of) that would make it look a lot less spread out. I guess we would have to defer to folks who were there though? The link didn't otherwise define the fences.

Negative. None were shared. P20ab was a nice round log to an angled palisade out of the corral (jumped by 90+ horses with 1 fall and 2 refusals).

I20ab was at the second water.

A23 was an angled half gate out of the corral (jumped by 40 horses with one fall and 3 refusals).

Perhaps you meant to refer to I23 which was a different angled gate near the corral (jumped by 60+ horses with 1 fall).

Keep in mind that the TD report must identify any jumps with 20% problems. These jumps and all others didn't even come close to 20% problems.

None of the jumps with falls had more than 3 refusals.
Glenn

denny
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:55 PM
Eventing Nation said 12 rider falls plus 4 horse falls.

deltawave
Mar. 1, 2010, 08:56 PM
I don't necessarily think that doing a Prelim course (or any course) at a speed that's too slow makes it safer or easier. Some jumps, especially bigger ones, really NEED to be jumped from a good stiff pace. And there's nothing whatsoever that says one MUST make time, anyway, at any level. I think I made time TWICE at Prelim, total, ever. (not that my foray into the level was very long, only 2 seasons) My horse was slow and I had no desire to put the pedal to the metal unless EVERYTHING was going great. But still I had no wish to crawl around those courses and jump everything from a sedate canter. The loss of time on my part was adjusting and options, NOT that I was taking big jumps at 350mpm.

gooddirt
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:08 PM
Wow, after walking the courses at Pine Top I have absolutely no desire to go prelim, at least there. That is (was?) one of my goals.

Out of 96 P horses that started XC, 10.4% (or 10 horses) had problems including 2 RF's. Both RF's were in the open divisions. We also ran Horse, Rider, Junior and Young Rider divisions. 89.6% of the Prelims did not have problems.
Glenn

Equa
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:29 PM
I don;t know if it is relevant to US eventing, but I just had a re-read of the TD's reports from two events I was at a week ago. Sydney Eventing runs a Midweek (Weds/Thurs) followed by a Weekend (Sat/Sun) event at the fabulous Sydney Olympic site. Many people run their horses midweek and then upgrade for the weekend. These are pretty much the first events of the season.

Interestingly, there were 222 riders competing in classes from PreNovice (about your Prelim) 1*, 2** and 3***(weekend only) - out of these, there were NO horse falls, and only 3 rider falls. None required medical attention.

I don't have the TD's reports for the lower levels (about 500 riders doing Newcomers, Introductory and Preliminary - 95cm). As a xc jump judge on the Sunday, I was kept busy picking up inexperienced riders coming off following silly run-outs at my innocuous little log towards the end of the course, and then writing fall reports.

LISailing
Mar. 1, 2010, 09:49 PM
Equa - Your weekend observation about picking up inexperienced riders is a direct reflection of our pre-elementary and elementary competitions. While I appreciate the fact that people are trying to get out of the ring, many should begin with a trail ride and continue with more ring experience. X-country is scarey to watch at these levels, but rider's are often going slower than a snail. Not necessarily bad, but at the lower and lowest levels, stadium is often a train wreck.

I wonder how Denny might relate this observation up the levels?

Equa
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:04 PM
There seemed to be all the same sorts of stops/falls. Every time, the rider was ahead of the horse, keenly looking towards the next obstacle (the water) and failing to actually address the little log. Hopefully they won;t do this again! Th eupper level falls were all different - one was a stop, two were a stumble on landing.

Jazzy Lady
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:11 PM
I don't necessarily think that doing a Prelim course (or any course) at a speed that's too slow makes it safer or easier. Some jumps, especially bigger ones, really NEED to be jumped from a good stiff pace. And there's nothing whatsoever that says one MUST make time, anyway, at any level. I think I made time TWICE at Prelim, total, ever. (not that my foray into the level was very long, only 2 seasons) My horse was slow and I had no desire to put the pedal to the metal unless EVERYTHING was going great. But still I had no wish to crawl around those courses and jump everything from a sedate canter. The loss of time on my part was adjusting and options, NOT that I was taking big jumps at 350mpm.

You don't have to make the time. I won my long format CCI* with 7 time faults. I won an intermediate with over 20 time faults. Sure, you are more competitive if you are fast, but it's not the be all end all. Not at these levels. Comfortable and safe comes first.

First you get good, then you get fast. Some people just never get fast. Some people never take a check. I think I'd rather be in the former than the latter category.

I'm sorry so many problems surround such a lovely show. I've been twice and neither times managed to do x-c, but 2 years ago the course was my I upgrade and it looked completely do-able. Last year it looked like a good confidence builder for prelim but it got snowed out.

John Williams courses are usually lovely and flowing.

Carol Ames
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:18 PM
It seems to me that the biggest gap :eek:is between prelim :lol:and intermediate:winkgrin:

purplnurpl
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:19 PM
Wow, after walking the courses at Pine Top I have absolutely no desire to go prelim, at least there. That is (was?) one of my goals.

It's amazing how much the courses can change from one year to another at the same venue.

I loved the Pine Top Prelim when I ran it on Boom. It was really open and a gallopy type of course.

purplnurpl
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:24 PM
Instead of changing the course too radically, change the speed required for the different "tiers" at a level. And instead of P1 and P2, just make the Open division for riders and horses that are headed for the next level, or experienced at the current level. For riders that are just starting at that level, they could compete in the "rider" or "horse" division (which would have a bit softer course with slower speeds). After a pair has been successful at the "rider" or "horse" division for a while, you will be required to move up to Open. Just another idea that might make move ups a little safer for our loyal pals who cart our asses around the x-c course.

This sounds all great. BUT, is the suggested speed not just that? Suggested. This is the speed to go in order to avoid time faults...but you don't actually have to GO the suggested speed.

Rider responsibility comes to mind.
A rider that is running Prelim should be mature enough to hold themselves accountable for their horse's well being. The rider should know how fast is too fast for their level of expertise.

Goes along the same subject I chimed in on a few years back. I needed a flame suit big time because I suggested that if you can't warm yourself up for dressage, show jumping, and XC at the Prelim and up levels then you should probably NOT be running UL.

retreadeventer
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:26 PM
Bornfreenowexpensive--

I'd like to comment on a couple of your points:
1. Maybe I should move to PA where Prelim courses haven't gotten any more difficult in the last 10-15 years.
2. As a former organizer, I think it would be significantly less expensive to produce P1 and P2 courses if P1 excluded the more difficult P2 fences and included T fences that it would be to design/build option fences.
3. Having 2 P levels doesn't have the added problem of qualification for upper levels. P1 wouldn't qualify you for anything higher. You'd have to compete at P2 successfully to move up or compete at FEI levels.
4. Let's face it: They ARE two different sports and there ARE two different sets of competitors. That doesn't mean they can't coexist happily. And, if a person wished, they'd move on up to the P2 and up levels.


I rarely disagree with Bornfree, but on Cindy's first point, I do agree with her. The prelim courses are nothing if not changed in the last ten years in this area. Why I jump judged the Weldin's Wall at Plantation five years ago when it first built for the Intermediate course. Then the next season it was on Prelim courses. Then last June I jumped it for Training level.

And is this Cindy Wilson from California? If so, y'all better LISSEN UP. Cause she knows whereof she speaks....

And I like the P1 and P2 thing. Doesn't matter how you label it. It's the idea that one is a bridge to the other rather than the current P level. My point is I think training level currently doesn't prepare you for prelim and it's supposed to, isn't it? Is it a case of be careful what you wish for...since now with this complaint, will they techno-up training level?

Mary in Area 1
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:02 PM
The P1 and P2 idea was already done when Groton House ran it's two weekends. At the beginning, there was prelim on both weekends, and the second weekend was much harder. In later years, there were two training levels (because they had fewer and fewer upper levels). Even these were significantly different.

It was well done. The whole first weekend had a much more Ammy and relaxed feel to it. I wish we had more events like that.

OverandOnward
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:43 PM
This from a report on Pine Top--"12 rider falls, 4 horse falls, 3 trips to the hospital--"

Upper level eventing, preliminary and up, sometimes seems like a war zone.

Lower level eventing, maiden through training, is usually not nearly so dangerous, and these are the levels where the majority of eventers compete.

It seems to me that in many ways, US eventing is actually two quite separate sports, a challenging but fun weekend recreational sport for perhaps as many as twnty thousand riders, and a very serious, technical sport for maybe about one thousand riders.

There`s a fair bit of crossover, obviously, between the two segments of the same sport, but I don`t really feel that it`s accurate to think of "eventing" as a seamless entity.

Thoughts?
The sooner this is officially and organizationally acknowledged the more sensible the sport will become.



...
My sense is that many of us have concerns about the direction the sport is taking at the highest levels. To me, it almost feels like "giving up" to separate the two instead of strive to influence the top and unify on down.

2 things I worry about:
- Lower level courses not preparing riders for upper levels. I understand that not all (or even most) riders aspire to the upper levels, but if we split the sport will that prevent young hopefuls from working their way up?
- All this pro/ammy, upper/lower level rider segmentation being pushed by several prominent folks in eventing (some trainers, some officials)
....

The vast majority of USEA competitors will never compete at the upper levels. So why would the focus be on preparing them for something they have no desire to do?

Enjoying oneself at the level most appropriate to one's skills and ambitions is the key to a happy life in any sport. Pretending one's skills and ambitions are otherwise than what they are not only makes no sense, it leads to bad decisions.

Those who want to ride at the upper levels need something different than the vast majority. Vast. Majority. That's reality.

I don't want to prepare for the upper levels. I want to excel at the lower levels. I also don't want people who don't care about my best interests, only about what they want to do, telling me what I should want. They should pursue their goals and I'll pursue mine. That's what I want out of my time with my horse. :yes:

One size does not fit all. Those who want something more ambitious need to pursue a very different track from the one I am on. It makes no sense to fantasize that somehow we need the same course, the same everything, requiring the same rigor and preparation. And indulging in such a fantasy doesn't mean we are both actually going to give it the same level of rigor and preparation. So, one of us will show up at the event needing either less or more than the event is offering us, and no one is really satisfied ... hey that sounds familiar ... :)

RAyers
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:47 PM
The P1 and P2 idea was already done when Groton House ran it's two weekends. At the beginning, there was prelim on both weekends, and the second weekend was much harder. In later years, there were two training levels (because they had fewer and fewer upper levels). Even these were significantly different.

It was well done. The whole first weekend had a much more Ammy and relaxed feel to it. I wish we had more events like that.


The same was done at Trojan Horse and Goosedowns out west. The first weekend was somewhat simplified, the riders could school the course on Monday and then the following Saturday, a new course but more difficult.

Reed

hb
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:39 AM
Is it a case of be careful what you wish for...since now with this complaint, will they techno-up training level?

Will techno-upping training level really prepare better for a move up? Or will it get horses and riders thinking less forward and picking before/between fences? How to learn to gallop on any more?

RunForIt
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:55 AM
Many compelling thoughts here. Mine is this: do the powers that be, that mighty group that designs the courses, sanctions the courses, makes the rules have this same conversation? If not, eventing will likely die and take a lot of victims as it goes.

denny
Mar. 2, 2010, 06:39 AM
Two tiers is already a reality, so I think the USEA needs to address that fact so that what`s fun for the majority doesn`t spill over into a sort of mini war zone mentality for levels below preliminary.

Face it, millions of people ski, few will become Lindsay Vonn. Thousands event, few will become Phillip Dutton. The elite in any fundamentally risk sport are willing to accept those risks and pressures, but those same risks and pressures should not permeate the preparatory levels.

Does this mean that beginner novice riders won`t be so nervous they lie awake half the night before an event? Absolutely not. But the cross country jumps at that level should be very doable for horses and riders AT THAT LEVEL.

Same for novice and training.

Intermediate and advanced are like the double black diamond ski runs. If you and your horse aren`t elite, you don`t belong there, and you shouldn`t go there.

This leaves the preliminary level as the great big question mark.

I think there absolutely needs either an honest rating system in place for preliminary XC courses, or some sort of two tier preliminary levels, one for those aiming for intermediate, and one for those for whom preliminary is a destination in itself.

When those two tiers "intermingle", that. to my mind, is a major danger zone.

magnolia73
Mar. 2, 2010, 07:27 AM
Are people getting up the levels these days without skills best learned in other disciplines like hunting, steeplechasing, random lifelong galloping across the countryside? I spent many years in a ring, then took eventing lessons in a field...and those skills didn't click until I went hunting.

I imagine at some point is critical for horse and rider to deal with issues at speed with an intuition that you can't get by competition or even XC schooling. For example, I imagine a fairly average horse and rider who had say, evented in Ireland for 5 years might be better prepared to run prelim than someone who had trained in controlled settings with the best trainers for 5 years.

The speed and size of jumps at the lower levels seem safe for those without these skills, but it seems like once you reach a certain level, you need to be cross training.

LISailing
Mar. 2, 2010, 07:28 AM
Well, I haven't been on skis for twenty years and it won't be fun, but I could make it down a black diamond. Hmm, interesting phrase - Won't be fun!! That's the real difference - is it fun or are you working to make it happen, or Amatuer vs. Professional. I bet that all the rider's that had bad falls might say that they didn't have fun.

There are mis-steps that can occur within a brillant run, but I say that it suc*s to fall. I wonder if there is anyway to rate the fun factor? That would be interesting don't you think?

Also, I was never in agreement to place speed faults at Training Level. The ability to run a faster prelim. time at training is part of the prepping for preliminary. I never thought that one should be penalized for having a slightly quicker pace.

Badger
Mar. 2, 2010, 07:37 AM
This leaves the preliminary level as the great big question mark....When those two tiers "intermingle", that. to my mind, is a major danger zone.

But...

It is often the elite riders that are having issues at the prelim level. Darren, Jan, Karen, all crashed at prelim despite four-star experience.

I can see what you are saying though: have the national governing body take back governing prelim and below, quit chasing the FEI rulings and do our own thing in the best interests of keeping eventing fun and safe for the majority of American riders. From one-star and above, things are governed by FEI rules and regs and decisions.

And I'll add to this: put the emphasis back on horsemanship and training and completion and qualifying for the long format at training and prelim. The classic three-day should get the hoopla that is now going to AECs....

GotSpots
Mar. 2, 2010, 09:43 AM
And I'll add to this: put the emphasis back on horsemanship and training and completion and qualifying for the long format at training and prelim. The classic three-day should get the hoopla that is now going to AECs....
But the AECs are primarily targeted at (and were designed in response to requests from) the amateur/junior/lower level riders. They are intended to make a big deal for those folks in particular: people who may not have a three day or other big end of season whoop-te-do. Taking that fuss away would, I think, have the opposite effect that you're seeking.

I love the classic format, and I love the fact that folks are trying to keep it alive. But when people aren't entering (and ask Rebecca Farm and Galway how many people actually entered the long format one star they held last year), it's hard to sustain. Regardless of how much grassroots enthusiasm there may be out there, the truth is that folks aren't entering these at the Preliminary level (and I hope that the last word in that sentence will be "yet" but I'm not convinced it will be).

As for a two-tier Preliminary, I agree with BFNE across the boards. I wouldn't support such an idea, because I don't believe the sport is fundamentally different at the different levels and because we're too small to fracture and survive. At all levels of the sport, we are asking our horses and riders to do three different things and to do them well. And we don't limit it to one type of horse or one type of rider: the sport is designed to be open to lots of different folks. Each one of them -at every level - has the same three challenges: trying to find obedience, suppleness in the dressage ring; looking for bravery, fun, and boldness XC; trying to be careful and jump well in the stadium. I think that's pretty cool.

Because we are all eventers. Whether it's a kid on his pony going to his first BN to the short-listed pro trying to make a team - we are all eventers, and we are part of an amazing community of athletes, horsemen, teachers, volunteers. I would hate to segregate ourselves based on the size of the fences.

LLDM
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:17 PM
But...

It is often the elite riders that are having issues at the prelim level. Darren, Jan, Karen, all crashed at prelim despite four-star experience.

This is my biggest fear/issue. If I were riding consistently and successfully at Training and Prelim, but was falling (me, the horse or both) at BN and Novice, people would be having a cow. Red flags would be going up everywhere.

Doesn't this argue that *something* is NQR? Are people riding too many different horses, or doing too many other things (clinics, lessons, sales, management, PR, whatever?) to maintain concentration? Pushing horses up the levels too fast? Doing too many competitions back to back? Not getting any down time, like ever?

I am in no position to judge, but feel like I am in a position to notice. I don't want our upper level riders, horses or our sport to suffer unnecessarily. And it seems they all are. Really, what is up with this and how might we fix it? If we've made being a Pro on track for a red coat untenable, shouldn't we look at fixing that? Have we made being a Pro at all too hard? Are expectations out of control? I honestly don't know. But am thinking it might be time at ask.

SCFarm

millerra
Mar. 2, 2010, 01:24 PM
Prelim crashes w/ 4* riders....

I am probably going to get into "trouble" w/ this... But before Darren had his crash, he had a 2 article sequence on training horses to do coffins in practical horseman...

And in the 2nd article, he was riding over solid/xcountry fences. His young horse (5) lost his front end a bit over the jumps. And Darren said it was nice of the course designer to make nice round jumps for this very reason - for green horses at prelim...

My thought was - damn - taking a green horse prelim, over coffins, etc - is a really good way to die...

Perhaps... just perhaps... the 4 star riders are having problems at prelim because they have lost a clear focus of what they are asking green horses to do... pushing too fast up the levels? Not giving horses enough time to learn their jobs? Just because it's "easy" for the rider and they can get it "done" by being accurate - does this mean it's good for the horse?

No, I don't know the mileage on any of the horses involved in the crashes... it's just a thought...

Jazzy Lady
Mar. 2, 2010, 01:34 PM
Prelim crashes w/ 4* riders....

I am probably going to get into "trouble" w/ this... But before Darren had his crash, he had a 2 article sequence on training horses to do coffins in practical horseman...

And in the 2nd article, he was riding over solid/xcountry fences. His young horse (5) lost his front end a bit over the jumps. And Darren said it was nice of the course designer to make nice round jumps for this very reason - for green horses at prelim...

My thought was - damn - taking a green horse prelim, over coffins, etc - is a really good way to die...

Perhaps... just perhaps... the 4 star riders are having problems at prelim because they have lost a clear focus of what they are asking green horses to do... pushing too fast up the levels? Not giving horses enough time to learn their jobs? Just because it's "easy" for the rider and they can get it "done" by being accurate - does this mean it's good for the horse?

No, I don't know the mileage on any of the horses involved in the crashes... it's just a thought...

I agree with you, which is one of the reasons the 2 tracks doesn't work.

The big crashes at prelim have happened to experienced riders on what may be very green horses. Not to the amateurs.

It comes back to rider responsibility and we've discussed this at length. Riders such as Karen who have a 99% perfect eye rely on that ability to get green horses around prelim and higher courses. And when they are that accurate all the way through prelim at training questions the horse don't learn how to pick up their front end from a deep spot or how to add if they are too far away. Often the horses that ammies are on KNOW how to do these things and it can translate into a much safer horse because of it.

We all say we want a horse that can think for itself, well maybe these horses don't get a chance too until the fences are too big for them to learn at. Maybe this is where the problem is. Are our riders getting TOO accurate and not teaching their horses how to think for themselves and learn how to leave the ground from crummy distances safely?

Having two tracks will not make a difference because the 4* riders on their green horses will be at the big tracks.

tarheelmd07
Mar. 2, 2010, 01:43 PM
I agree with you, which is one of the reasons the 2 tracks doesn't work.

The big crashes at prelim have happened to experienced riders on what may be very green horses. Not to the amateurs.

It comes back to rider responsibility and we've discussed this at length. Riders such as Karen who have a 99% perfect eye rely on that ability to get green horses around prelim and higher courses. And when they are that accurate all the way through prelim at training questions the horse don't learn how to pick up their front end from a deep spot or how to add if they are too far away. Often the horses that ammies are on KNOW how to do these things and it can translate into a much safer horse because of it.

We all say we want a horse that can think for itself, well maybe these horses don't get a chance too until the fences are too big for them to learn at. Maybe this is where the problem is. Are our riders getting TOO accurate and not teaching their horses how to think for themselves and learn how to leave the ground from crummy distances safely?

Having two tracks will not make a difference because the 4* riders on their green horses will be at the big tracks.

Jazzy Lady, you took the words right out of my mouth. Well said!

HER
Mar. 2, 2010, 01:57 PM
My non-eventer husband and I were just talking about this exact point. Do the UL riders spend the same time coming up through the levels as the ammies do? And did my horse learn to think for himself more at BN-T because I don't have a prefect eye? My horse and I did our first P when he was 8. And I couldn't even imagine how we could have done it any sooner, even if we had unlimited lessons, resources etc. But I do know that my horse has saved my butt many times through the levels. And I know that I would love to be able to ride like the UL riders. My horse and I spent a year at BN-N, a year at N-T, and another year at T before moving up to P. How many lower level competitions does the average professionally ridden horse go to before their first P, I or A? Is there any correlation there?
I don't know the answer or the solution but it just seems like alot of falls for one weekend.
My other musing was what percentage of each individual's rides result in a fall? In my four years eventing I have fallen off twice in competition. Both were minor, luckily, landing on my feet both times. Is that the same percentage as the UL riders considering how many rides they have? We all know that falling off is bound to happen sometime. Does it seem like the UL riders are falling more when it's actually the same or a lower percentage than the rest of us?

lizajane09
Mar. 2, 2010, 02:17 PM
I'm young enough that I wasn't really around for the long format, but thinking about this today I had a thought - in the past, was it normal to see riders riding SO many horses in each horse trials, the way they do today? It would seem that, at least in a long-format three-day situation, there simply wouldn't be enough time. Not to criticize anyone in particular, but I know that at a recent horse trials around here, one UL rider rode 12 horses, most at Prelim and Intermediate. I'm certainly not saying that riding lots of horses precludes you from riding them all well, but how much can you really adjust from one to the other when you're jumping off of one straight on to the next?

As an amateur riding at Intermediate, I have had my mare and worked with her every day for the last 6 years. I know her well enough to know when she's feeling 99.5% of her best instead of 100%, and I have made the decision to withdraw her based on that in the past. I also know, based on her strengths/weaknesses/style relative to mine, when to ride her strongly through something and when to let her get us out of trouble. I don't know that I could ride her as specifically to the combination of our collective abilities if she were one of many. More than once I have thought that it is the fact that we know each other inside and out, and have a lot of mutual trust established, that is one of our greatest strengths in being successful out cross-country.

Just a thought. I'd like to hear from anyone who was around during the long format days and could speak to whether this (riding of so many horses) was something that was common then too, or if it's a more recent development.

purplnurpl
Mar. 2, 2010, 02:47 PM
And I like the P1 and P2 thing. Doesn't matter how you label it. It's the idea that one is a bridge to the other rather than the current P level. My point is I think training level currently doesn't prepare you for prelim and it's supposed to, isn't it? Is it a case of be careful what you wish for...since now with this complaint, will they techno-up training level?

but as mentioned...a CCI* is a bridge and is already up and running.

Equa
Mar. 2, 2010, 03:50 PM
Calling a class "preliminary" or "Novice" also doesn't help - in my opinion. Here, we don;t use Novice, Intermediate or Advanced as class names any more - it is 1*, 2** and 3** etc as per the FEI distinctions - with a prefix of CNC, or CIC or CCI depending on the event.

I reckon that 1* sounds harder than "Novice" or Preliminary" (Our Prelim, btw, is our second level - third if you count newcomers, and is capped at 95cm so pretty do-able by anyone's standards).

cindywilson
Mar. 2, 2010, 03:58 PM
1. Retread, yes, it it me from California.

2. Denny, I think I love you.

3. GotSpots:

No problem w/ AEC's; offer P1 AND P2. But, riders in P2 aren't eligible to compete at P1.

I disagree with your statement that the sport is not fundamentally different at different levels. That's the point: IT IS DIFFERENT. Sure the sport is "open to lots of different folks," but they DON'T "all have the same challenges." Those 4* riders aren't challenged in the same way that I am to conquer any of the issues that you mentioned. They're better than I am. And they should be. Challenges that I can't meet shouldn't be a problem for them. AND they should be perceptive enough to recognize that. So that...

4. JazzyLady and Millerra:

I hope this doesn't degenerate into a discussion re decisions made by URLs re riding green horses. I know Denny used the statistics from last weekend to make his point, but my feeling it that those folks have to look out for their own issues. And that they (should) have the expertise to do so. I'm not saying I don't care about them, but they ought to be able to figure out solutions to THEIR problems. Clearly, no one is looking out for the 'vast majority'. That's the problem I think we should be addressing. At this point, the USEA, I believe, has failed the vast majority of its members.

Beam Me Up
Mar. 2, 2010, 04:10 PM
So, do we collectively agree that prelim is where the issue is?

That a lot of falls at advanced is ok because those folks embrace the war zone?

Do we think the 4* riders on greenies, if offered the chance, would have been in P1 and not P2?

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 2, 2010, 04:11 PM
At this point, the USEA, I believe, has failed the vast majority of its members.


Could you expand on why you think that? Because maybe I don't get it...

I've seen the creation of events like the AECs...aimed at the lower level riders. I'm seeing creation, and support of creation, of such thinks like the T3D and divisions like PT and NT. Rec. of levels like BN...None of these are aimed at the UL riders.... I'm seeing access to great clinics....backing for research on various safety issues. A great improvement on the web site and publications.

I don't disagree more can be done....more can always be done...of course more does cost more and most of us don't want to spend more $$$$$. But please explain how this is now the USEA's fault and they are failing most of us....because I don't think they are failing me so it is hard for me to understand your view (which I'd like to understand)....I think by specifically outlining your disatisfaction, it is more likely that an improvement can be made or suggested.

Jazzy Lady
Mar. 2, 2010, 04:29 PM
But the falls that are sending people in an ambulance are generally not happening to the amateurs at these levels, so why are we going to change all the tracks to be amateur friendly?

If you enter an event, get there and don't think you are prepared, you scratch. Simple as that. Does it cost a lot of money? Of course. Does it suck? Of course. Is it rider responsibility? Heck yes.

Not all fences that are good for some horses are good for all horse. My horse happens to be awesome with the skinny's and the combinations. It's the big huge gallop fences I have to really ride too. So a course full of gymnastics is an easier course for us than a course full of all tables. I don't see the problem with coffins at prelim or even training. Up here 90% of the courses at training have coffins. They get harder as the levels go up. It's a progression. But you also have to train for the progression.

I found the biggest gap was from preliminary to intermediate, but the step from training to prelim, aside from the spead, seemed fairly straight forward. If you look at results from shows, the prelim rider and JYOP divisions seem to all have great goes for the majority. Prelim horse and OP seem to average more problems... so is the green horse at the high level under the pro the problem, or is the ammy on their schooled by them every day and carefully brought up the levels the problem?

denny
Mar. 2, 2010, 04:51 PM
I think that the upper level riders will have to decide when or if they need to adjust the sport at the intermediate and advanced levels. Clearly, they don`t want changes to be dictated to them by riders who they feel don`t understand what they need.

And I also feel that they accept the risks at those top two levels. They are the equivalent of double black diamond ski racers, or whatever you`d call it in that sport.

Personally, I`d like a rating system put in place for just one division, Preliminary.
One star, a move up XC, 2 stars, a fairly difficult XC, 3 stars, do this well, and you`re ready to move up to Intermediate.

I think this is something that the USEA can do and should do.

cindywilson
Mar. 2, 2010, 04:58 PM
OK, last post & I'm done with this.

BFNE- I'm glad you think the USEA is doing a great job. Really. However...

AECs may be great for the LLRs in the east/mid portions of the country. Not very many N/T riders are going to make a 6,000 round trip haul for a competition so it's not a big deal (or any deal at all) or the vast majority of LLRs out here.

I agree - the T3DE has been successful. In response from tremendous pressure from riders and the Long Format Club - not particularly from the PTB at the helm.

Yep, they offer BN. They had to; they'd made N so much more technical and increased the speed so that green riders/horses (once again) needed an easier place to start out. Now we've got an event out here offering (unrecognized) Intro BN as there are now combinations, downhill jumps, stretched out coffins, etc at BN. Remember, you didn't used to be able to have ditches revetted on both sides or combinations closer than a certain distance at N? Now they've got coffins.

Also, I agree that clinics are offered, safety issues are addressed and websites & publications are improved. Those just don't address this serious issue.


Jazzy Lady:

I didn't suggest changing "all tracks" to be amateur friendly. I only suggested a P1/P2 dichotomy. Your solution - scratch if you don't like it - I find to be absolutely dismissive of a serious, underlying problem. And completely typical of the general attitude regarding this large segment of the membership.

OK, off the computer and done with this line of thought.

riderboy
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:12 PM
[QUOTE=retreadeventer;4718732. The prelim courses are nothing if not changed in the last ten years in this area. Why I jump judged the Weldin's Wall at Plantation five years ago when it first built for the Intermediate course. Then the next season it was on Prelim courses. Then last June I jumped it for Training level
That's pretty incredible, given the very short time frame you describe. For me, this is all about fun and while fear is a normal part of the fun and excitement , pushing the envelope as descrbed above is a bit daunting for an amateur like me.

denny
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:12 PM
To amplify how I think the USEA could/should accomplish this:

It would most logically be done USEA Area by Area, probably by 2-4 respected trainers from the area, chosen by the Area Chairman, or by a group designated to pick the grading committee.

The graders would consider complexity of the questions, the size and design of the actual jumps, the difficulty of the terrain, all the ingredients which contribute to increased difficulty. Then they`d assign the course a 1, 2, or 3, with an explanation of the factors which led to the decision.

JER
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:16 PM
AECs may be great for the LLRs in the east/mid portions of the country. Not very many N/T riders are going to make a 6,000 round trip haul for a competition so it's not a big deal (or any deal at all) or the vast majority of LLRs out here.

Agreed. The AECs are not even on the radar for those of us who live in CA or the PNW. Moreover, the amount of time, $, resources and ink/pixels/bytes that appear to be spent on this endeavour by the USEA is, at times, irritating to those of us who will never participate.


Yep, they offer BN. They had to; they'd made N so much more technical and increased the speed so that green riders/horses (once again) needed an easier place to start out. Now we've got an event out here offering (unrecognized) Intro BN as there are now combinations, downhill jumps, stretched out coffins, etc at BN. Remember, you didn't used to be able to have ditches revetted on both sides or combinations closer than a certain distance at N? Now they've got coffins.

Agreed again. The last BN I took a pony to in CA had 2 waters -- one with a log-into-water entry, a false ground line, a 3-stride combination consisting of two square mini-tables, and a TD who threatened to make the fences bigger if you questioned anything. There was nothing whatsoever about this course that could be called 'inviting' -- except for its rather inaccurate description in the omnibus.


Your solution - scratch if you don't like it - I find to be absolutely dismissive of a serious, underlying problem. And completely typical of the general attitude regarding this large segment of the membership.

Agreed again. And again, this has to do, IME, with geography. In CA or out west, we travel great distances to shows. It's one thing to drive an hour or two then decide to scratch. Usually, you can go to an event next week or next month. But in some parts of the country, you drive 6-12 hours to the closest venues and HTs are few and far between.

Isn't this one of the reasons for having 'recognized' HTs -- that you can rest assured the course specs will be kept in check by the standards set by the governing body and its licensed officials?

Beam Me Up
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:20 PM
I like the idea of rating the courses.
That can only help everyone make educated decisions.
I think there have been some grassroots attempts along those lines (this site has been down for a while though http://www.crosscountryreview.com/).
There are always the practical issues of courses changing from year to year, or even between opening date and the event itself, but the more info available the better.
For any level.

I'm not sure, however, how those ratings would have changed the carnage seen last weekend, if that is the underlying concern. Presumably these riders saw the courses and felt safe enough to attempt them after walking them.

But I think they're a good idea.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:24 PM
Cindy....you still didn't say why you think the USEA has failed most LLR. So it is hard to know what you want them to change.

Perhaps the issue is also a difference in geography....I know when I lived out in CA, it was a different world and eventing more difficult to accomplish. Lack of good trainers (there are a few), lack of varied facilities, lack of number of events. While talking to those who still live back in CA, it has improved substantially since I lived there......the difficulties faced living in CA and trying to do the horses was one of the reasons I moved back east even though my roots and family are all out west and in the PNW. I moved to be able to event more (not a choice everyone can or wants to make). But that is an issue with a our country's size...

If you are upset with Prelim....I have seen the USEA and event organizers trying to address the gap issues. At several events, at least here in Area II and III...they are offering PT divisions. Prelim dressage and stadium, training specs for xc but usually with one or two harder options. It seems like that is good direction to me. But when you look at the numbers....that division rarely has even 10 participants. So I find it doubtful that a P1/P2 concept will have much more success.

Denny...I do agree with you on that...rankings would be great...but at least better descriptions of xc courses would be fantastic compared to now. Right now, that is something that the Organizers do. Many courses are not set even at 6 weeks out.....so it may be harder for that description/ranking to be done by anyone other than the Organizer and CD in enough time to make the Omnibus. So what can be done to give them incentive to do it well? Also, conditions can of course change dramatically depending on the weather....making even an easy course really tough. Rider responsibility has to play a role then.

denny
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:26 PM
Again, most upper level riders tend to feel very comfortable going preliminary, so I don`t envision this rating system to be primarily for them.

But preliminary may well be a destination level for many riders, and if these riders are currently running at the Training level, they probably would rather make the move up to prelim at a 1, rather than at a 2, and certainly not at a 3.

These rankings that I envision will help them decide where to go. The big guns will usually take what they get, and usually not worry about it very much.

GotSpots
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:27 PM
AECs may be great for the LLRs in the east/mid portions of the country. Not very many N/T riders are going to make a 6,000 round trip haul for a competition so it's not a big deal (or any deal at all) or the vast majority of LLRs out here.

I agree - the T3DE has been successful. In response from tremendous pressure from riders and the Long Format Club - not particularly from the PTB at the helm.

...

I didn't suggest changing "all tracks" to be amateur friendly. I only suggested a P1/P2 dichotomy. Your solution - scratch if you don't like it - I find to be absolutely dismissive of a serious, underlying problem. And completely typical of the general attitude regarding this large segment of the membership.

Cindy, I think you might want to revisit some of what USEA has done recently before heaping blame at their door. You may not be crazy about where the sport is right now, but let's at least try to take aim at the right folks.

First, the AECs have only been around for six years, and in that time, have been in two far apart locations: mid-atlantic Area II (NC), and mid-west Area IV (IL). This year, they are moving to GA in the south (Area III). I wouldn't be surprised if next time around they move west, particularly if a facility out ther steps up and presents a package to host them. There's been serious consideration as to trying to make them accessible to folks, and trying to make them a destination event for members at all levels, but particularly for amateurs and LL riders. It's a big country; but I see a strong good faith effort to move the championships around.

Second, on the long format. USEA has put an enormous amount of resources: both monetary and staff time and effort toward the classic three day at both the training and the preliminary levels. Current USEA president Kevin Baumgardner is a huge supporter and has worked to keep them going - including speaking aobut them, encouraging development of rules and guidelines for them, and using his bully pulpit to rave about them (including featuring current USEA staff members and Board members who have competed at them ;) ). I don't see an issue with lack of support from USEA; if anything, it's that folks aren't entering them, particularly at Preliminary level.

And third, just because some of us don't agree with you that a P1/P2 solution is the right one, doesn't mean that we're dismissive of the issue you raise. I don't like the idea because I fundamentally don't agree with your conception that they are two different sports between the upper/lower levels because different questions are raised: I can't do anything like what Vonn does on skies on a slalom course, but that doesn't mean that I'm not a skier. Similarly, I don't think the sport itself is different just because the heights are different and the challenges distinct at the different levels.

enjoytheride
Mar. 2, 2010, 05:42 PM
How many people today actually have the opportunity to fox hunt or gallop race horses?

pcwertb
Mar. 2, 2010, 06:40 PM
I get to hunt with a local hunt......helps me immensely.

Jazzy Lady
Mar. 2, 2010, 06:59 PM
I have travelled 12 hours and scratched after dressage. Unfortunately I did dressage before I course walked and didn't have the opportunity to drop to the Intermediate when I felt the CIC** was just too much for us at that moment in time. It was also ridiculously hot and my horse was in a lather standing in his stall, so I scratched. It happens. It's being responsible.

I have travelled further and been sent home after dressage because jumping is cancelled because of weather. It happens. It's being responsible. It is ALWAYS an option. If you are prepared for prelim, then you should need an "easy" course that is different than what the pros ride. I just don't agree with it.

Do I believe in rating the courses like Denny suggested? Absolutely. There are courses that are move up friendly compared to others that are good preps for three days. A rating system would help establish the differences and would be a great thing to see, but having two tracks is not as necessary as learning how to be responsible over the current tracks.

Little Valkyrie
Mar. 2, 2010, 08:39 PM
How many people today actually have the opportunity to fox hunt or gallop race horses?

I think you would be surprised at how many hunts there are in N. America. And as far as the $ is concerned you are certainly getting "more bang for your buck" in the hunt field than you are eventing.

If I didn't get out of the ring 3-4 times a week to do trot sets or gallops or hacking, on top of hunting and conditioning my hunt horse I'm not sure how I could be an effective event rider. Its all fine and dandy to lay down a great dressage test, but no one gets killed in dressage.

Carol Ames
Mar. 2, 2010, 11:25 PM
Now that the Prelim Long Format is developing separate from FEI we really do have two sports.

There really is NO USE for FEI except for those that are on the team and need to qualify either horse or rider at a given UL.

For those non 'teamers' the prelim long format is perfect. It's tough enough for a challenge and easy/safe enough in theory to send us home sound, with sound horses, and a smile. __________________

Carol Ames
Mar. 2, 2010, 11:29 PM
WE got in this mess, by applying the FEIs' stipulations to our domestic sport, didn't we:confused:?

OverandOnward
Mar. 3, 2010, 12:44 AM
Everything Denny has posted resonates with my observations. Of course it's two sports. The USEA should count itself lucky that the loyal membership hasn't started another organization for at least one of the two.

I've read that eventing statistics show one of the best educated demographics in horse sport. And certainly an eventer at any level is someone not afraid of little things such as challenges. So why is it that so many smart, brave people spend years having the same discussion, but aren't really breaking through the old hoary attitudes and habits?

(I also am newer to active participation. Have followed eventing from a distance on and off for a very long time. I'm not yet indoctrinated into the old attitudes. :D)


...
Perhaps... just perhaps... the 4 star riders are having problems at prelim because they have lost a clear focus of what they are asking green horses to do... pushing too fast up the levels? Not giving horses enough time to learn their jobs? Just because it's "easy" for the rider and they can get it "done" by being accurate - does this mean it's good for the horse?
...I follow the ULR's and horses like any other fan. I like to think I can read what a horse is clearly expressing. I see some veteran 4* riders who don't have a truly ready 4* horse pushing wonderful, wonderful horses that nonetheless lack the necessary background through 4* courses. Not just prelim. I think it's clear to many observers they are seeing a horse trying its heart out while saying "I'm not ready, I'm not ready ... " And sometimes pushing horses they know are sick, sore or unfit - horses that nonetheless try harder than their riders do.

In addition to the heartbreak of the horses (which some 4* riders seem to care little about,) what kind of example is that setting for the sport, for the young riders who want to follow in their path?

It's clear to me that some very B current BNR's, influential in the sport as role models, trainers, writers, commentators and direction-setters, are less concerned about the best interests of their horse than they are about getting out of the start box at the big-name events. If these people are making influential decisions about how events are structured, it's not a surprise that, nationally, course goals and standards are inconsistent, courses are trying to accomplish too much for too many constituencies. Just as are some of the riders.



...
Agreed again. The last BN I took a pony to in CA had 2 waters -- one with a log-into-water entry, a false ground line, a 3-stride combination consisting of two square mini-tables, and a TD who threatened to make the fences bigger if you questioned anything. There was nothing whatsoever about this course that could be called 'inviting' -- except for its rather inaccurate description in the omnibus.
...
While in other areas BN and even N are frequently soft, 3 inches below max, short rides and few challenges. Great for first-timers at the level, boring as h* for everyone else in the division. But many of the bored know & have been told they aren't really at a mastery level for a move-up. In some areas one can qualify for AEC's without doing a course anywhere close to 'max.'

This confuses me as to what the purpose of the USEA is re the LL's, and what actions they pursue, from a national standards pov. Have they simply punted national standards at the LLs? While angst'ing over courses not always offering adequate preparation for the next level up? I'm often bemused about what my annual fees are actually doing, other than record-keeping.



The ideas behind the AEC's are a stroke of genius. To close the deal the AECs need to held be in 3 locations at the same time, spread geographically. Equivalent in difficulty in all locations. The greatly increased LL entries will help areas sending qualified riders think in terms of unified standards. The riders themselves will start pushing the events to shape up.

I'd give a great deal to qualify and go to the AEC's. I'd sacrifice. But I will not put my horse through a round-trip 6 day trailer ride. I really don't care what people trying to rack up UL points would do about this. I am a LL rider, and my job and other life commitments (that btw pay for lessons and clinics that help support UL riders) won't change the limitations.

Carol Ames
Mar. 3, 2010, 10:57 AM
Would this increase :eek:liability?
There are mis-steps that can occur within a brillant run, but I say that it suc*s to fall. I wonder if there is anyway to rate the fun factor? That would be interesting don't you think?

Brandy76
Mar. 3, 2010, 11:06 AM
It is two sports. The sport it was, and the sport it is now.

Now, technical XC is the norm, it just varies by degree. And some of the questions now are VERY technical, everyone agrees. And in some cases, technical questions in quick succession.

And the people who have entered the sport in the last fifteen years or so, the only thing they know are technical courses. And with the explosive growth of the sport, the proportion of people joining the sport in the last fifteen years or so is high.

Technical questions + speed + lots of people + solid (in most cases) fences = "eventing" today.

Is it an improvement over the sport that existed when Torrance, Denny, Dennis, Mike, etc. were the current stars?

Again, why must the courses be so technical? Were there many 10 way ties after XC? No.
Has making the courses more technical improved the sport? The horses' abilities? The rider's? At what point does one say "enough!" We are pushing the horse/rider past the point where there exists a reasonable margin for error.

Today's courses don't look like cross country, they look like theme parks. Maybe not all, but clearly becoming the majority.

LLDM
Mar. 3, 2010, 11:39 AM
Maybe we should - like WAY back in the day - put dressage last. Think about it. It would really cause a huge rethink in the way we use our horses.

SCFarm

Robin@DHH
Mar. 3, 2010, 12:06 PM
Bravo Brandy76! I came into eventing in the mid 80s
and decided on this sport because I liked what I saw then.
Today, well, it mostly seems to be gone. I guess the
newer riders want the "theme park" sort of experience.
I keep hoping somebody will have the resources and
energy to start the North American Horse Trial Association
so those who want a low level fun day experience can
have some sort of affordable places to play.

rivenoak
Mar. 3, 2010, 04:38 PM
I agree - the T3DE has been successful. In response from tremendous pressure from riders and the Long Format Club - not particularly from the PTB at the helm.

Cindy, thank you for name-dropping us.

Sadly, I don't think the Long Format Club has had much of an impact. We had hoped to, but it too is in danger from lack of support.

We wish we had more folks donating so that we could pass that money along to the organizers, and show them that even if the entries aren't always there, that eventers DO want to see the classic format continue.

Unfortunately, we have received no donations for the 2010 season. With the first Classic coming up shortly, we have nothing to offer that organizer.

The LFC is at a crossroads. LFC's future? Unknown.

While the directors firmly believe in the idea, we have not been able to garner the financial support necessary for our mission.

If any of you out there believe in what the LFC is trying to accomplish, please, please, please: make a donation, purchase merchandise, or ask how you can volunteer to help LFC help the organizers.

We would like to be the LFC to be a force in supporting Classic eventing. You can help us make it happen.

Thanks, Amy

slp2
Mar. 3, 2010, 11:26 PM
Perhaps... just perhaps... the 4 star riders are having problems at prelim because they have lost a clear focus of what they are asking green horses to do... pushing too fast up the levels? Not giving horses enough time to learn their jobs?

OK--here's what I think no one has mentioned. Everyone talks about "Rider Responsibility". And that the rider needs to make sure horse is ready for the level, scratch if the course is too difficult, too muddy, etc. All fine and dandy if the rider is also the OWNER of that horse. Unfortunately, the pros are usually riding horses that are owned by someone else. Someone that pays the bills. And sometimes, that someone wants the horse to WIN. Or to have a great show record. Then the pro is stuck between "doing the right thing" and losing a client. I know of at least one pro who lost a client because they refused to move the horse up to the level the owner wanted (said the horse wasn't ready). How many pros can afford to do that? Those that are self funded. Not others. Another example. I was at an event where it rained buckets before x-c. The pro scratched her own horse. She called the owner of the other horses she was riding. Told her that she thought she should scratch them--too muddy and slippery out there. Owner said, "NO! you're riding and I want you to make time". The pro played it safe and went a little slow, but was probably ripped a new one by the owner when she returned. Not all owners are like this, but I know there are some.

asterix
Mar. 4, 2010, 09:39 AM
Couple more observations...

1. Is there any downside to rating prelim courses? We all know courses can and do change, but the INTENT of the design should be established. Obviously, if you get there, and it's pouring rain, the course is "harder" -- then you have to decide what to do. But of COURSE they can design to an intention (such as moveup course, or solid on the level) -- that's not much different from designing Training vs. Novice vs. Prelim on the same piece of land.

2. Re: the PT divisions mentioned earlier. I love this idea, and we run them at Waredaca. I hope to do one this June with my horse who has been off for 2 years -- last seen taking me around my second full prelim, so we "can" but need to get back to the level slowly.
But.
They tend to be tiny, and as someone who works SJ at our HTs, I can tell you nearly ALL the SJ rounds in this division are downright terrifying.
I don't know why, but they are.

3. The pressures on pros are very tough as SLP describes. But they are pros. I think it reasonable to expect that USEA helps everyone make informed and responsible decisions -- by, say, instituting a course rating system, offering different divisions, and perhaps reconsidering OT (didn't the recent speed study find that people are going WAY faster than OT in between complexes at Prelim, just to "make time"?) -- and we should push for these ideas if they are sound.
And then people DO have to make responsible decisions. There is no getting around that.

bornfreenowexpensive
Mar. 4, 2010, 10:30 AM
How many pros can afford to do that? Those that are self funded. Not others. Another example. I was at an event where it rained buckets before x-c. The pro scratched her own horse. She called the owner of the other horses she was riding. Told her that she thought she should scratch them--too muddy and slippery out there. Owner said, "NO! you're riding and I want you to make time". The pro played it safe and went a little slow, but was probably ripped a new one by the owner when she returned. Not all owners are like this, but I know there are some.


It isn't any different than any other professional....actually I think it would be easier since the risk to physical harm is greater. When it is my life on the line (not just my pocket book...it is easier to stand your ground IMO). Do I, as a lawyer, have pain in the a$$ clients....who try to pressure me into doing things I don't agree with....YOU BET. But my career, my law degree...the finanical health of my firm....isn't worth risking for any one client...no matter how big that client is. What makes me good at what I do is having skills to manage people and communicate well. When you have a crazy unreasonable client...or owner....those skills are critical. And there comes a point when you might have to fire a client......and if that is a big client upon whom most of your income comes from....it is damn hard. But that is part of being a professional.


I think this is where pros...especially young pros....need a good mentor system. People skills can be as important as riding skills in the horse business.....and that is something you can learn and improve on. Don't put this on the owners....it is the Pros that have to learn how to manage their owners to run their business well if they want to make a living in this business.