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Meredith Clark
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:18 PM
I just got done reading through the Pine Top Advance thread and all the detailed reports of what happened at the show.

It's great to know what happened, what went wrong and why the results came out as they did.

However, I was an out-rider (sans horse...) this past year and we were told not to discuss what happened at the event, esp if it was about a fall or hurt horse/rider. They even went as far as addressing internet chat rooms and bulletin boards.

Do many events do this... should we abide by these ethical guidelines?

edited to add: when I say "not discuss the event" I don't mean we couldn't say "omg it rained so much!" or stuff like that, but more if there was a bad occurrence or something tragic we weren't supposed to talk about what we may have heard or seen around the grounds.

LexInVA
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:45 PM
Fascinating.

Meredith Clark
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:45 PM
Fascinating.

are you patronizing me???

LexInVA
Mar. 1, 2010, 10:57 PM
No. You'll know when I patronize you. You'll be laughing and throwing furniture at me at the same time. I simply find it fascinating that events actually have such policies, since it was completely unknown to me, given how openly people talk of such things.

Meredith Clark
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:02 PM
oh ok *puts down the ottoman*

LexInVA
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:21 PM
You can go ahead and throw furniture at me if you want. Everyone else does. As for Fair Hill, I can't say for sure but perhaps the fact that it is Fair Hill has something to do with it. Kinda like "Hey, we need to be classy!". Ya know? Not that they are covering anything up by telling people not to talk but it's just a matter of appearing respectable to the competitors and such.

RAyers
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:26 PM
How could any event or horse show legally prevent any person from discussing the activities during the competition? We sign no confidentiality agreement, there is no waiver or any law similar to medical practice.

What are they going to do? Fire you as a volunteer next year?

It sounds like a REALLY bad PR/media person gave out foolish advice for the disclosure of information of incidents. The only way to forbid folks from talking is to have federal laws against it. I worked when I was on a black program for the Air Force.

Reed

Kairoshorses
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:27 PM
I have been a fence judge at Rolex for the past five years, and I don't remember them saying anything along those lines. We weren't supposed to say anything to anyone but officials until the protest time was over....but that's about it.

Meredith Clark
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:28 PM
How could any event or horse show legally prevent any person from discussing the activities during the competition? We sign no confidentiality agreement, there is no waiver or any law similar to medical practice.

What are they going to do? Fire you as a volunteer next year?

Reed

It's not a legal issue it's an ethics issue and I have no idea how or if they would enforce it.

RAyers
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:30 PM
But what is unethical about discussing an incident?

Reed

Meredith Clark
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:33 PM
But what is unethical about discussing an incident?

Reed

I just edited my OP to try to make a bit more sense.

I think it was more along the lines of if something tragic happened. They didn't want us gossiping or telling people what we may have heard while on the grounds. Like what came over the walkie talkies or stuff like that.

Lets say a rider fell and died, they wouldn't want us whipping out our phones and posting it all over twitter... stuff like that I guess.

I'm not defending or condemning the idea, it was just something I was thinking about.

RAyers
Mar. 1, 2010, 11:41 PM
I know you are not "for" or "against" so please do not take this personally. I definitely agree about the gossip thing.

But again, even by "ethical" standards they broadcast over open radio channels so anybody on the same frequencies can hear. We used to always get cross-talk with construction sites.

Maybe the question is to ask, "What is unethical?"

Reed

Meredith Clark
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:04 AM
I know you are not "for" or "against" so please do not take this personally. I definitely agree about the gossip thing.

But again, even by "ethical" standards they broadcast over open radio channels so anybody on the same frequencies can hear. We used to always get cross-talk with construction sites.

Maybe the question is to ask, "What is unethical?"

Reed

Yea, that's a good point. Also what privacy rights do we have as riders when we compete in such events.

Kairoshorses
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:08 AM
Ok, we DO get a peptalk about how we, as fence judges, are ambassadors of the sport, and we can (and should) answer questions, etc.... but it's not appropriate for us, in a position of fence judge, to make pronouncements for spectators or to be negative about horses or riders. The emphasis was all about how we are, for many folks, the only window into the sport other than what they see--so we should be helpful, informative, positive, and as objective as possible.

I really don't recall any info on not discussing it/posting on BBs, etc. after the fact.

LexInVA
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:12 AM
What, as a rider, do you feel you have a right to keep private? For that matter, is there really anything about you that is sensitive enough that pertains solely to the competition that should be kept private?

Meredith Clark
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:15 AM
What, as a rider, do you feel you have a right to keep private? For that matter, is there really anything about you that is sensitive enough that pertains solely to the competition that should be kept private?

umm.. nothing for me personally but maybe any health information that may be on your arm band, or specific injuries that you may have after a fall or maybe reasons or suspected reasons for a fall or withdraw.

not really sure.

LexInVA
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:22 AM
I can see keeping reasons for a withdrawal under your hat since you don't really have to give anyone justification for that (Right?) and there are reasons which are sensitive points of discussion but anything relating to a fall is a matter of public record, impossible to keep private anyway, and is always open to interpretation. Unless you're alone in a forest and nobody is around to see it. Then it's just anyone's guess.

JER
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:22 AM
Does eventing allow pseudonyms? (Or is it noms de guerre?)

How does this have to square with the name on your armband?

LexInVA
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:26 AM
Well, Snoopy competes under the name "Cletus Van Damme" so I guess nobody is really looking too closely when everyone in the modern world can easily recognize who he really is (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hasselhoff). Do they even check armbands? Other than looking to see if you're actually wearing one?

Where'sMyWhite
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:29 AM
Maybe the question is to ask, "What is unethical?"

Reed, I'm thinking for me personally "unethical" might be along the lines of sitting at my jump and having event "management" having a discussion behind me about things they probably would prefer not become public (and yet I am sitting there 10-15' away and overhear the conversation.)

Maybe up-close photos taken with your cell phone of a horse in dire straits up-close because you are part of show "management" (jump judge for example...)

Sharing publicly things that were disclosed in confidence.

On the radio... yup probably fair game as it is open air broadcast.

No confidentiality agreement signed for sure but again, for me, can I sleep at night with what I chose to talk about that may not have been intended for public consumption?? (And yes, that will be different for different people.)

JER
Mar. 2, 2010, 12:39 AM
Photos of accidents can be invaluable to reconstructing/understanding what happened.

Take, for example, the assassination of JFK.

So does the ethical argument apply to taking photos or to distributing them?

yventer
Mar. 2, 2010, 01:28 AM
I know you are not "for" or "against" so please do not take this personally. I definitely agree about the gossip thing.

But again, even by "ethical" standards they broadcast over open radio channels so anybody on the same frequencies can hear. We used to always get cross-talk with construction sites.

Maybe the question is to ask, "What is unethical?"

Reed

That's a tough question. If a person acting as a jump judge happens to change the frequency on their radio and overhears the event management saying negative things about a competitor, are they "unethical" if they share that with others? It wasn't a secure frequency, after all!

On the other hand, if while acting as a jump judge, a person overhears medical details about a rider while that rider is being helped by EMS, is that info *public* or *private* info? Personally, I think it's private, but in this age of Twitter, I imagine it would likely be on the web before EMS even before the rider was loaded into the ambulance.

What should be done about that, if anything? We want people to be honest and complete in their disclosure on their medical armbands, and to EMS, for their own safety. But then there are so many other people who have access to that sensitive info who aren't bound by any kind of privacy agreement....

blackwly
Mar. 2, 2010, 01:48 AM
Honestly, these days I think you just have to assume anything you say or do in a public forum (including at an event) may be held up to scrutiny. While is it unsavory to discuss the details of a tragic accident or someone's injuries, there is really no ethical or legal prohibition against it in my mind (unless you are the person's doctor, priest, lawyer etc.) If I go out to compete and people want to talk about my missed distance, fall at the X in warmup, or the toilet paper trailing from my boot as I leave the porta-potty, well, that's part of competing in public! And if I wreck, I assume it will be discussed.

Unfortunately, a lot of high-risk sports (see the luge for another example!) have a reputation of cover-up. Some of that may be necessary but some of it is spin. In our sport, I think transparency would help people understand the risks AND help us come up with more viable safety solutions.

And sure, people gossip. But you can always ignore it.

His Greyness
Mar. 2, 2010, 02:54 AM
On this very CoTH eventing forum a small number of people have posted very inaccurate and highly misleading reports of serious accidents at events where I was a volunteer. It as though these people who posted were trying out for the National Enquirer. Some of them were also volunteers but not witnesses nor first responders to the accidents.

So, in the situation at an event where a horse dies or a rider is seriously injured, it's important for the organizer to have spokesperson, designated ahead of time, to put out a statement as quickly as possible as to what happened and handle any inquiries.

It does nobody any good to have random people shooting (or typing) off at the mouth about what they think happened after hearing at third hand partial conversations. That's why at some events' fence judge briefings there's a request to the volunteers not to comment when there is a serious accident and refer the curious to the spokesperson until an official statement is issued.

yventer
Mar. 2, 2010, 03:18 AM
I agree that while having everyone who was anywhere near an "incident" NOT report their view is ideal, HOW can it be stopped, realistically?

We can ask the jump judges to be discreet, but what about the spectators?

RAyers
Mar. 2, 2010, 09:12 AM
Quite true, however, let's consider this:

Say a person witnesses a crime in a private office and is there, helping the injured. We see this person on the news within minutes describing their experiences - which, by human nature, will include some form of judgement, "Why he was a quite man, always helpful. I have no idea why he suddenly showed up with a live northern pike duct taped to his head dancing to Billy Joel tunes and started assaulting people with a Swingline B45 stapler."

How (other than the fish on the head) is this any different than a person working at an event? This person is relating their version of the facts even if incorrectly (it was a Swingline P56 stapler).

Yes, many events now try to have specific people for public statements, but there is still no ethical or lawful reason to forbid a person from presenting their story.

As for being part of EMS or witnessing EMS or even medical arm bands, that is not part of HIPAA. No patient records are presented. I have been in incidents where I was helping the EMS, overheard everything etc. but I am not held to HIPAA. Is my stating my perceived facts and my role in them unethical?

Kairo, you mention comments form fence judges but go back to the fence judge who posted her COMMENTS on the Pine Top thread. She shares a few negative comments stating explicitly that she wrote them down about a rider being scary or such. Should she be punished? As a rider, I always have to assume that fence judges are noting negative comments concerning my ride. Should I care if they are public? No. They can say all they want, my record and my trainer are all that I need to hold myself up to.

RAyers
Mar. 2, 2010, 09:14 AM
... Unless you're alone in a forest and nobody is around to see it...

Which begs the question: "If a rider falls in the forests, does anybody hear the 'come back here you bloody nag' as the horse gallops off?"

GotSpots
Mar. 2, 2010, 09:27 AM
So, in the situation at an event where a horse dies or a rider is seriously injured, it's important for the organizer to have spokesperson, designated ahead of time, to put out a statement as quickly as possible as to what happened and handle any inquiries.
Or to try to shift any blame to the rider/horse and make sure that everyone knows, as loudly and as quickly as possible, that the fence in question was "not the cause" (regardless of what the underlying facts may be, or even when the facts haven't yet been determined).

Oh wait. That's just what Fair Hill does. Apparently still. Lovely.

People talk. Back in the barns, on the phone, online. An awful lot of it is prompted by worry and care for the people involved. This is a very small community, particularly at the upper levels, and folks are rightfully concerned for their friends and colleagues. You can't stop folks from talking about what they've seen, and in some ways, having a number of perspectives out there helps sort the wheat from the chaff.

Badger
Mar. 2, 2010, 09:50 AM
I think there is a difference between volunteering as a scribe, for example, and as a fence judge. If you are scribing, and are privy to private comments from the judge, etc., it would not be right to repeat those outside the judge's booth. It's a privileged position with privileged information and things spoken in confidence like that should not be aired on public forums.

Now, fence judges are there observing in an official capacity, yes, but they could just as easily be on that course observing on their own. For a fence judge or a casual bystander to share their own eye-witness observations is fine.

Now, if they start sharing "privileged information" that the casual observer would not be privy to, then there may be some ethical issue.

LisaB
Mar. 2, 2010, 10:05 AM
You see, I would take it like if a rider/horse were injured, I would shut my trap on the internet because what if the owner of the horse or the rider's parents are reading my interpretations and I worry the crap out them. I would wait until officials gathered facts and presented them. It would be unfair to those people who love the horse/rider.
But as far as posting people's opinions on jumps, events, etc, most of us are smart enough to see a drama queen. And most of us are at these events to refute false claims.
But I'm sure it's a pita to be cat herding the rumors and such for the event organizers and officials. That's all they need on top of their regular duties.

annikak
Mar. 2, 2010, 10:14 AM
On this very CoTH eventing forum a small number of people have posted very inaccurate and highly misleading reports of serious accidents at events where I was a volunteer. It as though these people who posted were trying out for the National Enquirer. Some of them were also volunteers but not witnesses nor first responders to the accidents.

So, in the situation at an event where a horse dies or a rider is seriously injured, it's important for the organizer to have spokesperson, designated ahead of time, to put out a statement as quickly as possible as to what happened and handle any inquiries.

It does nobody any good to have random people shooting (or typing) off at the mouth about what they think happened after hearing at third hand partial conversations. That's why at some events' fence judge briefings there's a request to the volunteers not to comment when there is a serious accident and refer the curious to the spokesperson until an official statement is issued.

This is important, I think. Correct information, good. Speculation that boarders on blame is NOT good- at least until facts are out. We have seen our fair share of train wrecks here....

Discussing is okay, but at times, it needs to calm down a bit so the dust can settle. On another thread, a poster who was at an event that had issues said something to the effect of " I am shaken and should not post now." I think that's pretty good reasoning. Emotions are often louder then facts.

Kementari
Mar. 2, 2010, 07:05 PM
I read elsewhere about the falls at Pine Top, and figured I could stop by here to get thoughtful discussion on the subject - and I was right. :yes:

I find this thread particularly interesting because the thoughts here touch on areas I've encountered many times as someone who has often been called upon to perform first aid (as a volunteer not associated with the activity or venue, that is - also in a professional setting, but that is a different set of rules).

First, personally, as a competitor, I would not expect anything on my medical armband to remain private, either as legal matter or just practically. While I don't know any law on the subject, I would think that the act of wearing it where anyone can see it (especially the info on the front of it) negates any expectation of privacy - though I'd find it a bit creepy if someone came along and for not reason started squinting at it to try and see my info. ;) And any mistakes I might make on course or accidents I might have (or moments of sheer brilliance, of course, though those are probably less likely :lol:) are essentially matters of public record, and if I didn't want them discussed or analyzed - perhaps unintelligently - I should have stayed home and schooled there in private.

But on the other hand, from the standpoint of my own personal ethics, I would never disclose (other than to my superiors - even volunteers have bosses ;) - or medical/legal personnel) any medical or other personal info I learned about someone in the course of caring for them or observing others doing so.

As far as accident descriptions or thoughts on others' riding, well, back to the bit about if you don't want people to talk about it, do it in private. I do think that we should be careful to label opinions as opinions and facts as facts: it is (hypothetically) an opinion that Rider should have retired after fence 11, but a fact that Horse and Rider suffered a rotational fall at fence 12. That some opinions are more popular than others doesn't change the fact that they are opinions. :yes:

That is not to say that opinions shouldn't be expressed - opinions can be very educational and in most cases a consensus of opinion is our only way of learning from an accident - but just that it is (ethically) wrong to present them as fact.

As far as legal matters are concerned, there is always the possibility of defamation, but in most cases the publicness of the act/persons concerned negates that so long as the opinions presented are at least somewhat reasonable - which in most cases, they are. :yes:

Old War Horse
Mar. 3, 2010, 04:04 PM
The original post was about Pine Top's results.
How did Fair Hill get in the responses?


Each event has to develop and keep on record, a Crisis Plan. It is cut and dried as to what is said, and who says it.

It is only fair to the public that comments are made that are not alarming to the spectators. How would you like it if your loved one was competing, and you heard from some blog or tweet that there had been a fatal accident, only to find out that the statement was exaggerated or false or premature??? Or your horse had had a fatal accident?
C'mon people, in this day and age, nothing is sacred, but let's at least TRY and be somewhat civilized and respectful of the repercussions of speaking too soon.

deltawave
Mar. 3, 2010, 04:11 PM
There's nothing wrong with making a request for people to exercise discretion and their own personal good judgment when it comes to discussing things that are very personal, and that includes severe injury, illness or tragedy. Doesn't sound to me like anyone was trying to mandate behavior, but a plea for restraint or asking for discretion--nothing wrong with that, IMO.

Meredith Clark
Mar. 3, 2010, 06:46 PM
The original post was about Pine Top's results.
How did Fair Hill get in the responses?




Pine Top inspired me to post but I haven't volunteered there, the only big event I've worked at is Fair Hill, that's why I previously referenced FH but I wanted it to be a general topic not specific to a single event.

frugalannie
Mar. 4, 2010, 08:03 AM
Quite true, however, let's consider this:

Say a person witnesses a crime in a private office and is there, helping the injured. We see this person on the news within minutes describing their experiences - which, by human nature, will include some form of judgement, "Why he was a quite man, always helpful. I have no idea why he suddenly showed up with a live northern pike duct taped to his head dancing to Billy Joel tunes and started assaulting people with a Swingline B45 stapler."

How (other than the fish on the head) is this any different than a person working at an event? This person is relating their version of the facts even if incorrectly (it was a Swingline P56 stapler).

This is a thoughtful discussion, but I have to interject... Reed, someday someone needs to do some serious research on just what goes on in your mind. It's AMAZING! What a visual!