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DizzyMagic
Jan. 5, 2005, 07:36 PM
I love the groundswell of support for the traditional three-day. I'm committed to it - I really am - primarily because I believe that the sudden shift without preparation or forethought is risky for the horses and riders and potentially damaging for the sport as a whole.

But I've got this darned devil's advocate in my head that won't shut up.

What if we're wrong? What if this grassroots commitment to a format that has no support from the top levels, and that seems to be phased out internationally, is not the salvation of the sport, but rather the death-knell? I mean, the FEI was wrong to shove this down our throats as they did, and they obviously don't care whether Eventing lives or dies. But what if we're making the whole situation worse by fighting it?

We seem to be the only country where the masses have dug in their collective heels and said NO. Other big Eventing countries don't like the change either, but they seem to be rolling with it. Here, we're fighting it and I'm proud of that, but…

I've been reading all these threads and thinking about it a good bit lately. It worries me, the direction that this could all take. It seems like there is a growing disconnect between the international riders and the rest of us, and the organizers, caught in the crossfire, will suffer unduly in our stand. The international riders and the hopefuls are forced to go forward with the new international standard, while we enthusiasts are steadfastly opposed to it, and the result seems to be nothing but ill will between the two groups.

We are angry with the leadership and the ULR's for letting our sport go without a fight; we lack respect for this new format, and for the riders for seeming to capitulate to this whole debacle. We are frustrated at having no voice whatsoever. We think the short format is absolutely the wrong direction for the sport, and we have articulated some really good reasons for our beliefs.

But there is another side to the coin. There are the riders, organizers, officials and others for whom this sport is not a game but a livelihood. They are convinced, perhaps rightly, that the traditional three-day is lost. They are scrambling to find footing in this new world, and they are bound to be resentful that the base has deserted them. The organizers, too, seem likely to be resentful about the squeeze put on them, from the riders who refuse to ride long formats if offered, and from the supporters who refuse to support the short format in any way.

And so what becomes of the sport? Fractured at a time when it needs desperately to be united, what farm or group will be brave enough to start a new event? How will the sport grow, how will it promote itself, how will it capitalize on the publicity of last year's Rolex? Or, being fractured, will it become ever more fragile, unable to withstand the inevitable upheavals of the future?

And while we make this stand, other countries, rolling with the punches, focus on preparing their riders and horses for international competition.

Somebody, please tell this devil's advocate in my head to shut up! Tell me that we're right, that we're doing something good, not something that is futile and ultimately harmful!!

Emily

DizzyMagic
Jan. 5, 2005, 07:36 PM
I love the groundswell of support for the traditional three-day. I'm committed to it - I really am - primarily because I believe that the sudden shift without preparation or forethought is risky for the horses and riders and potentially damaging for the sport as a whole.

But I've got this darned devil's advocate in my head that won't shut up.

What if we're wrong? What if this grassroots commitment to a format that has no support from the top levels, and that seems to be phased out internationally, is not the salvation of the sport, but rather the death-knell? I mean, the FEI was wrong to shove this down our throats as they did, and they obviously don't care whether Eventing lives or dies. But what if we're making the whole situation worse by fighting it?

We seem to be the only country where the masses have dug in their collective heels and said NO. Other big Eventing countries don't like the change either, but they seem to be rolling with it. Here, we're fighting it and I'm proud of that, but…

I've been reading all these threads and thinking about it a good bit lately. It worries me, the direction that this could all take. It seems like there is a growing disconnect between the international riders and the rest of us, and the organizers, caught in the crossfire, will suffer unduly in our stand. The international riders and the hopefuls are forced to go forward with the new international standard, while we enthusiasts are steadfastly opposed to it, and the result seems to be nothing but ill will between the two groups.

We are angry with the leadership and the ULR's for letting our sport go without a fight; we lack respect for this new format, and for the riders for seeming to capitulate to this whole debacle. We are frustrated at having no voice whatsoever. We think the short format is absolutely the wrong direction for the sport, and we have articulated some really good reasons for our beliefs.

But there is another side to the coin. There are the riders, organizers, officials and others for whom this sport is not a game but a livelihood. They are convinced, perhaps rightly, that the traditional three-day is lost. They are scrambling to find footing in this new world, and they are bound to be resentful that the base has deserted them. The organizers, too, seem likely to be resentful about the squeeze put on them, from the riders who refuse to ride long formats if offered, and from the supporters who refuse to support the short format in any way.

And so what becomes of the sport? Fractured at a time when it needs desperately to be united, what farm or group will be brave enough to start a new event? How will the sport grow, how will it promote itself, how will it capitalize on the publicity of last year's Rolex? Or, being fractured, will it become ever more fragile, unable to withstand the inevitable upheavals of the future?

And while we make this stand, other countries, rolling with the punches, focus on preparing their riders and horses for international competition.

Somebody, please tell this devil's advocate in my head to shut up! Tell me that we're right, that we're doing something good, not something that is futile and ultimately harmful!!

Emily

*In Your Dreams*
Jan. 5, 2005, 07:47 PM
Good point, but I would rather eventing die out then be turned into something it never was.

JER
Jan. 5, 2005, 07:59 PM
I think it's about establishing the facts -- what's the best format in terms of the health and safety of the horse?

It's imperative to remember that NO SCIENCE has gone into making the changes in the sport. The 'short-format' was adopted ostensibly and TEMPORARILY due of difficulties with the eventing venues in Athens. Then the next WEG (Aachen) decides it's not going to bother with steeplechase despite the promise to acquire the needed land in their winning bid for the WEG. Then the FEI decides that future championships will be without steeplechase. And so on.

Where are the studies that would tell us whether this is the best thing for our sport?

Why should we have to 'roll with the punches' when our sport is being changed by political forces? Why should we take any punches at all? We pay all sorts of membership fees, we participate, we volunteer, we train and breed horses suitable for the sport. But I didn't sign up for punches.

If good, solid research shows that Phases A, B and C are not to our horses' benefit (especially as it impacts them on Phase D), then I'll happily support the short format. Until this work is done, I'll continue to criticize this sort of political decision-making.

deltawave
Jan. 5, 2005, 07:59 PM
I think it's a very thoughtful question, and I've also wondered what the view is from "the top" of this still-small "movement" to save the traditional 3-day.

When one sticks their neck out and stands against the majority, one is exposed to this kind of "risk". "What if I'm wrong?" "What if everyone thinks I'm a troublemaker?" "What if I'm offending somebody whose opinion I value?" "What if people whom I admire greatly disagree with me?"

For one thing, I think each individual has to decide for themselves how much this kind of thing is "for them". No doubt a lot of people support the "Save the 3 Day" in spirit, but don't feel comfortable making a huge scene about it. That's got to be OK--you can't force someone to be single-minded about something, just like you can't force someone to donate money--it just isn't right.

Those who ARE single minded, on the other hand, do need to be careful that the "cause" doesn't become something with a life of its own, to be clung to no matter what even when good sense and experience start saying it's time to let go. I'm not by ANY means saying that there might come a time to slink off and give up, BUT (this is really important) since one of the main points of the "Save the 3 Day" movement is to FIND OUT if the long or the short format is better, then we all have to be prepared to accept (graciously, I hope) things if, in fact, the short format IS proven to be more beneficial and less risky to the horses. It won't do any good to then cling to the defense of the long format on those grounds--anyone who does so will be labeled a fool.

Defending the long format as a *tradition* is quite another thing, and it's probably a lot more nebulous--in today's "disposable culture" traditions don't always mean a whole lot, until they're long gone and are then brought back as "nostalgia". I dearly hope this isn't what will happen to the classic three day format!

If this movement gets "no support" from the top levels, I would hope that it ISN'T because we haven't done our homework and become a legitimate, thoughtful (as opposed to histrionic and strident) "lobbying" group, if you will. A bunch of loud yelling and threats is a great way to rally folks to a cause, but it MUST be followed up with action. Case in point, supporting RESEARCH (the key to the entire issue, IMO) with the dollars we've raised. T-shirts are great, and I will wear mine proudly, but it takes DOLLARS and TIME and POLITICAL MOVING AND SHAKING, too.

If all that is done, and the battle is lost, I don't think anyone will need to slink off and be ashamed of supporting this thing in the first place. Not every good cause is a winner. I, of course, hope that this good cause DOES effect some change, but I, too, am not 100% hopeful. It doesn't mean I won't do what I can, because if I DON'T, then who am I to complain?

One thing I would VERY MUCH like to hear is a consensus among ULRs as to WHY they are so passive about the disappearance of the short format. Sure, one rider says one thing, and other riders say other things, and maybe there IS no consensus. Also, I wish like hell that we could raise enough of a stink that it would force the FEI to address SPECIFICALLY and HONESTLY the reasons for the change, the likelihood of a reversal (pending research) and for them to acknowledge at least the DEBATE.

I don't know what I "expect" from the USEA on this, and I agree that blaming organizers is a really quick way for us all to wind up with large, bleeding bullet holes in our feet. I'd hope that with an OLYMPIAN EVENTING GOLD MEDALIST as the leader of the USEF we'd have a really strong voice as Americans on the FEI level. I respect David O'Connor enormously, but everything that he says lately is SO carefully parsed and political that it's hard to really know WHAT he thinks. I know he's a good communicator, so I hope he'll find it important enough to include us in his thinking honestly and without a lot of B.S.

And the riders? Well, I've vowed not to clinic with anyone this year if they're outspokenly against preserving the long format. How to treat someone, though, whose OWN hands are tied between wanting to do Rolex and wanting to be on the Olympic team? I certainly can't blame them, but can I blame "the system" or "the Captain" whose goals are DIFFERENT FROM mine?

Oy, this is way too long...don't expect anyone will read it, but you are not alone in wondering deep inside if this protest will be successful and if it will wind up being a divisive, negative thing. I really hope it isn't, and for my part the potential cost of not doing ANYTHING for fear of offending someone or "making waves" is too dear...I haven't ever even done a three day, but I've come to believe (and I freely admit I didn't think the short format was that bad of an idea originally) that the sport is better off with at least SOME ATTEMPT to keep the classic format. Somebody's gotta do it, and if the Olympians won't step up, then hell, why not me? I've got an education, a brain, a USEA member number, a checkbook and a horse...I guess I'm as qualified as anyone! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

fargonefarm
Jan. 5, 2005, 08:27 PM
I am very happy that we do have someone playing Devil's Advocate, as I think that is how facts and reasoning get fleshed out in debates. I also have to say that I see some reasoning to change to the modified format, primarily: money. Many could argue that if we would like to see our sport continue on and fourish, we need to provide a format for organizer/hosts that is less demanding financially so that we can have more of them. Hosting a 3-Day is very taxing economically. Have we not seen a drop in the number of quality events? Perhaps in order for our sport to survive, we may need to adjust it.
That being said, I am a strong advocate of retaining the classic 3-Day. I have always hoped to compete in one and it would break my heart not to. I also think that steeplechase and R&T's are important in ascertaining the fitness level of a horse and keeping it from causing itself harm during the rigorous XC phase. If we lose those phases, we lose an important litmus test in determining the fitness of our horses. This is the main I reason I support maintaining the 3-day--- not nostalgia, because I feel that has nothing to do and should have nothing to do with determining the future of our sport. We have to think about what's best for our horses, not about preserving tradition. Although, in this case I think what's best for our horses IS maintaining tradition http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif
In Your Dreams...
I don't think an all or nothing approach is at all an answer. Just because we may not like a switch to a modified format does not mean we should let the sport die. Let's all be rational.

Jazzy Lady
Jan. 5, 2005, 08:31 PM
Well said Deltawave. I completely agree. Not much is being done in Canada because we don't host any major 3 days like Fairhill and Rolex and what not. The only bigger 3 day that we host was cancelled this year due to lack of entries. I hope that wasn't a foreshadow of things to come.

I have mixed feelings about the shorter format. It will be a different kind of sport than we traditionally see at the higher levels, but I would be very interested to see what information major testing and research would show as to whether or not the short format is more beneficial and safe. I'd hate to see the 3 day die. Most of us strive to be at that level one day, and to think that if we make it all the way up there and it no longer exists?

The thought of the sport itself dying is very sad, and I hope there are a lot of people who hold stronger political clout that are out there supporting the cause to keep our sport alive!

Live on and gallop strong!

denny
Jan. 6, 2005, 07:08 AM
To blindly support a sport which doesn`t prove anything doesn`t make sense, that is true.
So, what does the full 3-day prove ("prove", in its old sense, also means "test")
1.It tests the intrinsic stamina and endurance and soundness of the horse. If eventing is lost, WHAT OTHER SPORT (except endurance, which is almost entirely little Arabs)tests those qualities? For all the thousands of years of man`s relationship with the horse, until 20th century mechanization, that WAS THE PRIMARY TEST.Lose the one "mainstream" sport which still needs those qualities, and how long will those qualities stay in the gene pool?
Kim Severson`s letter says she`s had more horses hurt in steeplechase than in x-c, so get rid of steeplechase. A better conclusion, from the equine genetics perspective, is "choose inately sounder horses."
2. It tests the horsemanship skills of the elite x-c rider. It`s not as if for the past 50 years all event horses were failing to cope with steeplechase. The great riders KNEW HOW to train those horses so they stayed sound. READ YOUR HISTORY. Hundreds of elite 3-day horses had LONG CAREERS, because their riders were great trainers.Do we want to lose these skills?
3.What about the physical toughness of the RIDER? We know that the classic 3-day horse has to be tough, but SO DOES THE RIDER. It`s very interesting to me that Mike Plumb and Bruce Davidson, our 2 mainstays for so many years, also were Maryland Hunt Cup riders. Do we see any of these current riders exhibiting that kind of ultimate athletic toughness???? I don`t think there`s a single one anymore who raced over fences.
So,are technicians going to replace athletes as the litmus test for this formerly cavalry officer sport? We already have 2 sports for technicians, pure dressage and pure show jumping.
4. And finally, what about the ultimate test of any sport, the pure CHALLENGE of it all , the meaning that is only there BECAUSE IT IS HARD?
Can you begin to imagine these headlines?
Norkay and Hillory get to within 300 meters of summit of Everest!
Roger Bannister comes within 2 seconds of the 4 minute mile!
WE ARE NOT ON THE WRONG TRACK. The FEI is on the wrong track, and the upper level riders who go along are abdicating their leadership responsibilities to future generations of riders.
They will come up with 101 "reasons" why short format is better, but classic 3-day events, as excelled in by the great riders of our recent past, is a more meaningful sport than some insipid cross between 4th level dressage, preliminary level show jumping and 11 minutes of cross country, where NO ONE of the 3 pieces is an elite piece, not the low level dressage piece, not the low level jumping piece, and not the much lower than in years past cross country piece.
Winston Churchill said "Never, never, never never surrender." There are powerful forces trying to cut out the very heart of a great sport, and we can let it happen, watch it happen, or fight. Those are the only choices, aren`t they?

canterlope
Jan. 6, 2005, 07:28 AM
Wow! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Great topic and great posts.

I think it is very important that, no matter how strongly we believe that the classic three day needs to be preserved, we must also remain open to the possibility that we may be wrong. At this point in time, we just don't have enough information to support either side of this issue and the only way we will find out for sure is to continue to ask questions. If we just blindly continue to argue our case without looking for answers to the questions that are raised about the two formats, we would be incredibly irresponsible and no better than the persons who made the unilateral decisions to change our sport without the data that proves these changes were needed or best for our sport.

It is no secret that I whole-heartedly support preserving the classic three day. I just don't buy the current reasons that are being touted to justify the need to deep six R&T and Steeplechase, especially the ones concerning the health and safety of the horses. If the classic three day has such a negative impact on the horses, then why weren't we hearing about this prior to the changes that were made? Surely our upper level riders are not so heartless that they would remain silent about the fact that the classic format was so detrimental to the horses. But prior to this situation, there was no universal ground swell among these riders supporting this position. To be sure, there were horses that did sustain injuries on steeplechase, but not at the level that the current argument suggests.

It wasn't until there was a great deal of opposition against the changes in format that this argument surfaced. Initially, the changes were justified by citing the expense of creating the R&T and Steeplechase tracks and the lack of open land. When we didn't buy into this, that's when the health and safety of the horses argument came to the forefront.

Maybe I'm a bigger cynic than I believe myself to be, but I don't see this as a legitimate argument because there is no proof at this time that supports it. Instead, I see it as an attempt to use emotion, rather than data and facts, to justify the changes.

It is well known that event riders as a group are incredibly devoted to their horses. We will go to great lengths to keep them safe and sound. Because of this, one of the easiest ways to motivate us to accept unpopular change is to pull at our heartstrings and convince us that we are putting our horses in harms way by running them in Three Days with Steeplechase.

As a result, once it became apparent that we weren't going to roll over and accept the changes in format based on the money and lack of land issues, I don't think it was mere coincidence that the "powers-that-be" shifted their gears and threw our horse's welfare into the mix. It's actually a pretty smart move on their part.

However, the one thing these "powers-that-be" didn't take into consideration is that, again as a group, eventers are not a bunch of lemmings. We aren't going to blindly follow the arse in front of us off of a cliff without a legitimate and convincing argument supporting the need to make that leap. To be sure, our upper level riders may be justified in their apparent acceptance of the changes because they aspire to represent the US in international team competition and are being told that they will not make the team if they run their horses in Events that offer the "with Steeplechase" format. But this isn't an appropriate justification for the remaining 99.999% of our member who don't fall into this category.

The rest of us have not been given a well-founded reason along with supporting data that has convinced us to jump on the "without Steeplechase" bandwagon. Until this happens, we need to continue to fight for one of the main components of our sport that makes it so unique while remaining open to the possibility that we may need to accept its demise if it is shown that this is what's best for Eventing as a whole.

Will a continued fight cause upheaval between the various factions involved? I don't see how it couldn't. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. By our very nature, we humans are prone to resisting change, especially when it comes to altering our core beliefs related to what we feel is right and wrong. Given this, we normally don't change until the upheaval surrounding an issue rises to the point where we have no other alternative than to look for resolution, either by accepting one of the propositions currently on the table or by coming up with a resolution that hasn't previously been contemplated.

Often times, it is a resolution that hasn't previously been considered that clears the path and allows us to find agreement. And, in most cases, we end up in a far better position than when we started the whole process. It's as if this "critical mass point" removes our blinkers, opens our minds, and allows us to "think outside of the box."

In this situation, we haven't yet reached this point. Until we do, I have no doubt that the growing divide among our members is going to grow. However, we can't allow this to distract us from the main issue or cause us to alter our beliefs just to placate feelings of ill will. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be concerned that we are a house divided on this issue, but we can't use this as the main motivation behind settling on an outcome that only addresses emotions and not the true root of the problem.

cyberbay
Jan. 6, 2005, 07:28 AM
Everything I've seen about David O'C as head of the US federation has lead me to conclude that he is first and foremost politically expedient. His association with the previous administration puts him in a dubious light to begin with, and, so far, with his politically loaded statements, with not very much factual substantiation, only reinforces my skepticism. It's not the best for maintaining the 3de to have someone with this approach at the helm. It would be better to have someone who genuinely cared and believed and could marshall the large body of facts to show that the full 3de is valid as is, instead of putting his efforts into looking good to the FEI in order perhaps to ensure a future role in it. Just MHO

LisaB
Jan. 6, 2005, 07:44 AM
Okay, let's take the statement of we are one of the very few countries really taking a stand. Okay, when have we NOT taken a serious stand when something is blantantly wrong? Let's go all the way back to the Boston Tea Party folks.
So, that being said, it is very tempting to not have the phases for me and my horsie. He's bigger and doesn't have the stamina of a tb. But boy can he jump a beautiful round. But that's not an event horse. Like Denny said, if your horse can't make it around steeplechase, then it's not a world class event horse. period. so sorry, too bad. Kim's way way off if she said that.
Possibly because the x-c is getting so much more techie and there's not a lot of galloping fly fences anymore, even at the lower levels, we kinda freak out at it. Maybe if we went back to the traditional x-c courses(with some modern advances in safety of course) then folks wouldn't argue about this change. They would friggin' get it.

bounce
Jan. 6, 2005, 07:57 AM
I have so many thoughts on this subject, that I haven't been able to contain them enough to post... but I do want to say this

There has never been a "fight" in history, where the participants at one point or the other didn't say "What if we are wrong?" But ANYTHING worth keeping, is worth fighting for.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We seem to be the only country where the masses have dug in their collective heels and said NO. Other big Eventing countries don't like the change either, but they seem to be rolling with it. Here, we're fighting it and I'm proud of that, but…
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Our country is standing up and fighting for what we believe in... because that is what Americans do. We have faith and loyalty for a system of justice that the majority can and should make the decisions... not an elite few. I believe that the quest for the supreme equine athlete is worth keeping... and I will fight for it in anyway that I can.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> And so what becomes of the sport? Fractured at a time when it needs desperately to be united <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Why? Why is it so important that everyone agree and get along? Without differences of opinions, our country would never have been formed. Society is sadly all about "feeling good" and "getting along"... what about doing what is right, even if it is harder... even if you might fail?

There is nothing more sad than the trend in society to make everything easy enough so that everyone can accomplish it. If you want fewer equine injuries... then stop trying to compete every horse with 4 legs at the highest levels of competition. There are some that will reach that level... and some that won't.

Also- to this comment

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I also have to say that I see some reasoning to change to the modified format, primarily: money. Many could argue that if we would like to see our sport continue on and fourish, we need to provide a format for organizer/hosts that is less demanding financially so that we can have more of them. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

We have this format in place already... it is called a HORSE TRIAL. Why should the sport change so that every organizer can offer a 3-day- when it really isn't a 3-day that they are going to be offering? They already have the horse trials...

Anyway... I better stop there.. before my ramblings get more disconnected...

eventerc
Jan. 6, 2005, 07:59 AM
Some think that the 3-day is inhumane to horses. What is really inhumane is expecting a horse that has not been prepared properly to compete in this type of event. But then the horse will not pass vet exams anyways...

Does anyone recall at the Olympics this year the article writte by a reporter named Barbara (cant remember last name)?? She was more bashing the Canadian team but also the eventing sport claiming that it was horse abuse, that eventing should be taken completely away ect..

My thoughts; If there is proper research done and it is proven that 3-day events are in some way damaging to a horse than I am for the short format... Our horses welfare is more important than that.

But until then I am for the traditional 3-day because that is the sport.

"Rather than doing away with our sport, we should be proud of it, defend it and continue to improve it." Jim Wofford

*** I love Jim Wofford... hes awesome, I hope one day I can go to a clinic of his.

tle
Jan. 6, 2005, 08:11 AM
"What if we're wrong?"

Believe me, I've often asked myself that... and always came back to the same conclusion. It's happened before and it very well may happen again. In 35 years, I've gotten used to it. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

However, in this instance, until solid, scientific proof can be given, I don't care who thinks I'm crazy, who thinks I'm pushy, or who blackballs me politically in this sport. I agree that this world has become way to PC for my taste and if it means fighting for something I believe in, so be it!

there are way too many options that we little smurfs have come up with that may have solved the FEI/IOC problem with eventing without bastardizing it. Why were none of those solutions enacted? Were they even considered (if we can come up with them, you'd THINK someone "up there" could think of them too)? Why was this decision made and not another one? and don't give me some fairy tale about the well-being of the horse. Denny and DC covered that one (thanks guys for being so articulate!)

I've been accused of being a bit of a Pitbull when it comes to certain things... and this is one of them. But if we're wrong ... we'll get behind the new sport. but honestly... I don't think we are -- at the VERY least in the idea that we as the participants in this sport deserve to not be dictated/lied to.

rebeginner
Jan. 6, 2005, 08:23 AM
Where are the riders in the UK on this issue? I subscribe to the Eventing magazine put out by British Eventing, and it seems to be silent on this topic that's so volatile here. BE has such a huge calendar (in England, Scotland and Ireland), and I think larger number of riders, both amateurs and a lot of professionals who may not get to compete at Badminton or Burghley. I sure would like to hear their take on this topic, which surely affects them as well as it does us here in the U.S.

bambam
Jan. 6, 2005, 08:33 AM
Could we be wrong about about whether the short format is better for the horses? yes.
Are we wrong to ask questions and protest when we are dictated to by a distant governing body whose leader declared long before these changes were made that she thought the endurance phase was cruel and has, in my understanding, never been a supporter of our discipline? Nope.
Not asking these questions when we have these doubts about what it will do to the welfare of the horses and spirit of the sport and insisting that these changes not be made without finding out some crucial answers first would be wrong IMHO.
Is there a risk to the sport? Possibly. Could it be divisive? Yes, if we and those who we disagree with us let it be. But even if we have some repair work to do after all is said and done, I think we can do it.
Also- in asnwer to your question about why other countries are not protesting- I think the other big 3 are not facing what we are. I think it was tle who posted on another thread that the other eventing biggies (UK, AUS, NZ) still have long format 3 stars being held next year. Our country's eventing leadership seems to be the first one declaring that the the long format ship is sinking and ordering the riders to abandon ship.

DizzyMagic
Jan. 6, 2005, 02:42 PM
Wow, so many well-thought out and inspiring replies!!

I only have a sec here at work, but I wanted to toss something out there really quick:

I don't actually think we're wrong to suggest that a dramatic shift without research or study is potentially VERY harmful to the horses (and riders as well!) That just seems like common sense to me. I do still feel like fighting the good fight. I guess I'm a little worried that we're fighting the wrong people.

I count many of these ULR's and hopefuls as friends. I'm frustrated with their viewpoints, but still these are folks I care about. The FEI on the other hand - to them I would give no quarter and no aid!!

What I wish is that we could take this fight where it belongs: directly to the doorstep of the FEI, the gnomes in Switzerland, the oligarchs who appear to be trying to destroy our sport. And we can't get to them, can't have an impact on them, can't even be heard!

What I worry about is that as a house divided against ourselves, we will not be able to overcome this challenge, or whatever the FEI has in store for us next. I worry that by fighting among ourselves, we are handing the FEI exactly what they want, the seeds of the demise of our sport.

(Sorry this is so scattered, I'll come back and try to be more coherent later.)

Emily

BarnBrat
Jan. 6, 2005, 08:43 PM
I have just a quick observation regarding this discussion. We should be careful about placing all of our weight behind the results of research regarding which format is better for the welfare of the horses.

Take Rolex for example. At Rolex last year a short format CCI**** was run for the first time ever. The long format ran as well. To many it was obvious that the short format horses were a lot worse off than those running the long format. The obstacles and questions asked on both courses were true and challenging to the four star level. Jump ahead to the Olympics. The majority saw this supposedly four star level course as a joke. Many compared the course to an easy three star.

So why was the Olympic course so much easier than the short format Rolex course? Perhaps, as it appeared, the short format Rolex course really was too hard on the horses. The Olympic format had already been changed, the only option would have been to lower the standards, make the course easier.

My point? A study comparing the long format Rolex course to the short format Olympic course is like comparing apples and oranges and would do little to determine the effects of removing steeplechase. If you make the course short enough, the speed slow enough, the jumps low enough, and the questions asked easy enough, of course it will be less stressful on the horses!

I suppose we will have to wait and see if other short formats also dumb down the difficulty of their courses. If they do then studies comparing true four star long format events and ‘dumb downed’ short format events will serve no purpose. Anyone have an opinion about how the short format Fair Hill course compared in difficulty to the ‘normal’ long format courses of years past?

sian
Jan. 6, 2005, 09:03 PM
I think we need a dose of reality on the international scene. The international scene includes countries that have been eventing much longer than the US. I'm sorry if this is going to sound controversial, and I have to admit that I didn't read all of the above posts because they were so long....but:

1) The rest of the world doesn't really care much abbout what we think. we are just another country in the horse world and have to live with te consensus.I don't think you can understand this unless you have lived outside the US.

2. Personally, I think (donning flame suit) that American eventers have got used to picking up OTTBs for almost no money and turning them into Eventers. In other countries they breed for eventers not the track and it seems the current preferred mix is about 7/8TB.

But most of the eventing community is actually not in the US.....so maybe we should listen to them?

NOTE: I made major edits to this, this morning - I was having a bad hair day last night and vented too much, methinks.........

DizzyMagic
Jan. 6, 2005, 11:35 PM
sian - Your post does sound controversial, and notwithstanding the condescending comment about how Americans think, I'm not sure I understand what you meant. Are you saying other countries are happy with the short format? Are you saying that we shouldn't give track horses a second career? Are you saying they're poorly bred and not suitable for eventing? My horse (http://www.teamwindchase.com/Half_Magic.htm) is an ottb (unraced), not extraordinarly bred and clearly he had a very nice eventing career. He is certainly not the only successful event horse from the track, and why should that be a bad thing?

I'd love to know why other countries are not so shaken by this change to the short format. But perhaps, bambam, you struck the nail on the head - they still have the option to do the long format at the 3 star level. In this country, that option is absolutely gone, leaving the 4 star in question and casting long shadows on the 2 star.

Denny - I hadn't at all considered the potential impact over the long term, both in terms of the horses and the horsemen. One thing that drew me to eventing, fresh from years of volunteering in equine rescue, was the amazing horsemanship of eventers. I knew very little about sporthorse care, (still a drop in the bucket compared to real horsemen), but I looked at the eventing world and saw so much there that I wanted to learn. I came to this sport specifically because I wanted to be a good horseperson and this is where I found so many willing and able teachers. Will that horsemanship be another casualty of the change? I hadn't considered it, but what an awful thought.

I'm so glad so many of you guys took the time to respond to my darned devil's advocate... I read and found food for thought in every single post! It's late, and I didn't come back with any coherent thoughts, mind still swirling with information. I am glad, however, to have so much to chew on...

Emily

DizzyMagic
Jan. 6, 2005, 11:41 PM
But wasn't it Wayne Roycroft that declared the three-star dead, long live the short format?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bambam:
Our country's eventing leadership seems to be the first one declaring that the the long format ship is sinking and ordering the riders to abandon ship. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

canterlope
Jan. 7, 2005, 04:27 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sian:
1) The rest of the world doesn't really care much abbout what we think. Unlike on the military front, where we can dominate on firepower, we are just another country in the horse world. As a Brit, I am, unfortunately often amazed how Americans think everything should be "their way or the highway". This is not how the rest of the world thinks, and I don't think you can understand this unless you have lived outside the US. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
sian, I really don't think that this is a case of Americans saying our way or the highway. We are not trying to take Eventing and change it into some other form that better suits our horses, riders, etc. What we are trying to do is preserve Eventing in a format that was developed over several decades and with input from many countries throughout the world. If the US was the driving force behind the recent changes in format, than I would agree with your assertion. However, this is not the case and I'm a little confused as to how wanting to preserve a format that was universally developed throughout the world may be seen as Americans thinking it should be our way or the highway.<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>2. Personally, I think (donning flame suit) that American eventers have got used to picking up OTTBs for almost no money and turning them into Eventers way too quickly. In other countries they breed for eventers - in the UK, they breed for eventing, not the track and it seems the current preferred mix is about 7/8TB. They also start them later. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>So basically what you're saying is that, instead of allowing the sport of Eventing to dictate the horses we breed or buy for use in competition, we should allow breeding programs or the types of horses we have available for purchase to dictate the sport instead. This seems a bit like the tail wagging the dog to me.

The first question that this raises in my mind is which breeding program should we use? The Germany model that favors the Warmblood, the British model that favors the Thoroughbred cross, the US model that favors any horse that has the heart to go out and bravely tackle the cross country course, or some other model? Which ever we pick, it will create an unfair playing field because the country that uses that model will always come to the table with an advantage.<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Sooooo - based on my limited experience, I think there's a lot of whining going on because things don't quite suit Americans. But most of the eventing community is actually not in the US.....so maybe we should listen to them? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I think it is important to go back a few years and look at why this whole issue started in the first place. It wasn't because the Americans were "whining" that the sport didn't suit our style. It was because the Europeans were "whining" that it didn't suit theirs. Fast forward to present day and the Americans still aren't "whining" because the sport doesn't suit. We're "whining" because we don't think it is an acceptable situation to allow any one constituency within our sport to dictate the format we use. I'm not quite sure I would classify this as whining, but rather an attempt to keep the sport fair for all instead of favoring squeeky wheels.<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Otherwise - you know what - deal with it! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Your definition of dealing with it must be vastly different than mine because I think we are dealing with it in an incredibly appropriate manner. We don't feel that what has happened is fair and we aren't going to just roll over and let others bastardize our sport to the point where it is no longer unique, it is a mere shadow of its former self, or it favors one participant over another. We are taking a stand for what is right, not who is right, and I certainly believe that this is a much better path to follow than allowing others to run rough-shod over the entire sport.

Gry2Yng
Jan. 7, 2005, 08:04 AM
I agree that we should be careful about placing all of our weight behind the results of research regarding which format is better for the welfare of the horses.

We are saying don't change the sport without science because it is a logical thread to hang onto.

I am not sure I am going to be able to put this well, but here goes. For the sake of discussion, please recognize that I understand the dangers of the sport and am speaking in relative terms.

Horse trials are not more dangerous to our horses than three days.

If a study confirms that the number of efforts for the distance makes a CCI without, more harmful/strenuous than a CCI with, the powers that be will make an adjustment to the speed or the number of efforts. Their first choice will not be to bring back Steeplechase and R&T. They will just keep moving the CCI closer and closer to a CIC/HT. Because we are all comfortable with the "safety" of horse trials, there is no question that this is the direction the FEI will go.

Show them a study that the short format is too demanding and they will make a short format that is less demanding, not go back to the long format.

We have to protect the long format for the long format itself - because we believe it is the ultimate test. When we fall back on the lack of science we are missing Denny's point. It is not necessarily about tradition (though that is a good argument as well) it is about the TEST. What if they took the mountains out of the Tour de France because Lance Armstrong said he thinks the hills are too hard and he might get injured climbing them?

I am never going to make an Olympic team. But each time I complete a three day I am proud of my horse and myself. Winning horse trials is nice, but it doesn't make me feel the way JUST COMPLETING a three day does. (I actually don’t even care about the stadium that much, I would go home right after the jog on Sunday morning.) These are my proudest moments as a horseman.

The goal of a three day drives me to do something better, to work harder, to learn more. It drives the teenagers to learn horsemanship and it makes me want to give my time to teach them.

I am an adult amateur with my fair share of responsibilities, but every other year I make the commitment to the three day. I have a two star horse. I am proud to say that. He is a special horse because he has completed three, three days. He has speed and heart and scope. He loves the conditioning that comes every other year.

Consider what the FEI will do if the short format is proved to be detrimental. Will they add back Phases A, B and C or will they just make the short format easier? By saying that it is about the welfare of the horse (which of course it is) we are only going down the FEI’s path. Yes, we are concerned about the welfare of the horse, but no one (except maybe PETA) will argue that we don't respect the horse’s welfare at a horse trail.

We have to fight for the three day because we believe in the test, because we believe in who it makes us as human beings and horseman, because we believe it teaches kids how to be successful adults. I am fighting for the three day because I want the challenge and I want other horseman to have it as well.

slp2
Jan. 7, 2005, 08:25 AM
All of these are good, thought-provoking posts. And I certainly agree with the premise that the ultimate test is what makes this sport the best (ugh tacky--sorry that rhymes!) I used to do long-distance riding. The "motto" in that sport is: "to complete is to win". I always liked that because it was about the conditioning and preparation of the horse--and the competion CONFIRMED that you had done your homework correctly. It wasn't as much about ribbons or points.

However, this point we have to be careful about:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> It is not necessarily about tradition (though that is a good argument as well) it is about the TEST. What if they took the mountains out of the Tour de France because Lance Armstrong said he thinks the hills are too hard and he might get injured climbing them?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
If the "horse welfare" card is pulled out regarding the ultimate test, I think this argument would not hold water. Because Lance Armstrong is choosing himself to compete in the Tour de France. Animal welfare folks would argue that the horses do not CHOOSE to compete. We are making them. Even though *I* know the feeling of a horse thoroughly enjoying themselves on x-c--it still doesn't make for as good of an argument. Probably the other reason why research is needed to be able to refute the theory that the 3-day full format is "cruel" (or if it is in fact--less stressful).

Robby Johnson
Jan. 7, 2005, 08:34 AM
Gry2, that was the most compelling Reality Slap I have ever read. I bow down. Excellent post and excellent reasoning.

If we want to support international competitions, it does seem that the research is the only thing that will help us meet in the middle. Otherwise we've been handed an inferior product and told "just like the old one, only better." If they cannot substantiate the change, then I don't care to participate or support it.

I wonder if this is all part of a big master plan by the IOC to choke eventing out of the Olympics anyway? They set the ball rolling and must know the instability of equestrian sport, and very well could've fed us enough line to hang ourselves.

In those post-apocolypse types of movies, there's always a tried and true contingent left behind to pick up the pieces and put it back together. That is where I see the long format support system. I'd much rather be part of that group.

Robby

tecumsea
Jan. 7, 2005, 08:54 AM
Okay running with the posts here and especially denny's, the end may be insite. But why do we need to support the end. What does the FEI and the IOC offer, us, the ground of the sport. Other than the production of the top level events and what were the three days, what? Rules? Any group can put rules and enforce them. So idea, They want to dummy down the eventing and change the sport, fine, we can take back our old sport," THE MILITARY TEST"!

Look at the petition, getting members should not be a problem. And the traditional horsemanship and soundess of the horses would be tested and hopefully supported by these members.

To get this going now sort of as a new group to spring up because of the changes would be dificult. I do not know what will be needed to be seen as a new group under the USEF. But this may be away to keep the traditional format.

I hope this comes across as what I want to say. Sort of typing and leaving for work at same time.

Robby Johnson
Jan. 7, 2005, 08:59 AM
We don't need a new group. The USEA is behind the traditional format. Give it some time to develop from the committee perspective before forming an official offshoot group.

Robby

DianeM
Jan. 7, 2005, 02:07 PM
Very well said, Gry2Yng and I agree totally. As one who rode in my first event back in the dark ages when Training was the lowest level, the 3 Day was the ultimate goal and the ultimate test. My personal opinion is that we are losing the horsemenaship skills and that the horses are now being asked to do too much. Long format or short, the sport wasn't designed for horses to compete at numerous events, including multiple 3 Days, all year long. Much to my despair I see it going more towards what the showing has become - it's about awards, points and money. To wax nostalgic, I had a 15.1 mare (7/8 TB) that I competed through Intermediate (she was a DeBroke trophy winner) including the 1973 Ledyard 3 Day requiring the 165 lbs (I carried about 55 lbs) and she had 1 lameness issue (a strained flexor tendon) in about 7 years - never wrapped or poulticed and she was my show hunter, equitation horse and foxhunter too. Why??? I have to think because at that time there were only a handful of 3 Days in the country and if we did 2 a year that was a lot. Care of your own horse was paramount and we studied conditioning methods and horsmanship skills. Not to mention the xc courses weren't as technical, another trend I don't agree with. It appalls me to go through the barns at the bigger events and see horses standing in ice and hooked up to IVs - if they need that they shouldn't be there.

Sorry for the rant, but all these years later, I still remember the thrill of the Ledyard xc and know that, at one point in time, if I could jump around that clean I could actually ride pretty well and had the horse of a lifetime. Everyone deserves to have that opportunity and our best and bravest horses deserve the chance to do what they love and excell at.

So save the 3 Day because it's the ultimate/complete test of both horse and rider and because it's NOT EASY.

denny
Jan. 7, 2005, 04:34 PM
The Duke of Beaufort established Badminton in 1949. Since then, and over the past 55 years, thousands of horses have competed in the long format. Some failed, some excelled, and the majority were, like most of life, somewhere in between.
But the point has been made over and over, and it is true, that event riders, for the most part, love and care for their horses passionately. If the long format routinely destroyed horses, it would have raised an outcry YEARS AGO. There was no such outcry, because it has been proved over and over that the RIGHT HORSES, PROPERLY CONDITIONED, TRAINED, AND RIDDEN, could cope quite well.
And over much longer courses than we have today, as those old programs I cited in the Jersey Fresh thread reveal.
So the problem cannot be with the long format, per se, but with horse selection, training, and riding.
Richard Meade, Lucinda Green, James Wofford, Bruce Davidson, Mike Plumb, Ginny Leng, Mark Phillips, Mark Todd, Torrence Watkins, David O`Connor, Ian Stark, Blyth Tait------- This list could be pages long-----they all coped perfectly well when they had the right horses.
So we KNOW the long format IS NOT THE PROBLEM.
So STOP ALREADY picking at that like at a hangnail. Start thinking about the REAL PROBLEMS, namely horse selection, conditioning, training, SANE competing, basic good horsemanship.
What is wrong, suddenly, after 50 years, is that riders want to compete too frequently, they don`t want to put in the endless hours of conditioning, they try to ride too many horses to do justice to them, they are trying to please too many unknowledgeable owners, etc., etc.,etc.YOU GUYS KNOW THE SCORE PERFECTLY WELL, if you just think it through.
All the rest is a big smoke screen.
Don`t be bamboozled by the smokescreen. All these current riders, if they would focus on one or two really well chosen horses, if they would put in the requisite time and energy, could cope just fine with steeplechase and roads and tracks, just as the hundreds and hundreds of other riders who preceded them have so amply proven since that initial Badminton in 1949.
Yoo know this quote, I`m sure.
"WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND HE IS US"
Us, guys, not the steeplechase.

Gry2Yng
Jan. 7, 2005, 05:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>So we KNOW the long format IS NOT THE PROBLEM.
So STOP ALREADY picking at that like at a hangnail. Start thinking about the REAL PROBLEMS, namely horse selection, conditioning, training, SANE competing, basic good horsemanship.
What is wrong, suddenly, after 50 years, is that riders want to compete too frequently, they don`t want to put in the endless hours of conditioning, they try to ride too many horses to do justice to them, they are trying to please too many unknowledgeable owners, etc., etc.,etc.YOU GUYS KNOW THE SCORE PERFECTLY WELL, if you just think it through.
All the rest is a big smoke screen.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Amen.

Thank you for saying this Denny. After listening to several ULR tell me that I just don't understand, I wondered if maybe I was missing something. I wondered if perhaps when I got my horse to a three star I would change my mind and want to do the short format. There is plenty of PR at work trying to create doubt in the minds of those who are fighting for the long format.

I think they are sitting back in their chairs at the FEI laughing. "Those Americans want scientific studies. Fine. And when the studies show the short format is too hard, we'll just make it shorter and we'll make the xc jumps smaller. They will protest themselves right into the Athens format where xc was not a factor at all in the final results."

tle
Jan. 7, 2005, 05:53 PM
Thank you denny! I'm so glad you're around to whack us upside our collective heads when we start straying from the path we are on, but occassionally misstep from. You're exactly right. The problem is us. The problem is money. The problem is greed. In no way is it the format. Boy, as much as I hate the way they've been doing business, you got to hand it to the FEI. They must have the best bunch of bullsh#tters known to man over there!

Sannois
Jan. 7, 2005, 06:45 PM
Amen Denny! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

denny
Jan. 7, 2005, 08:19 PM
When Jack Le Goff was getting us ready for that 18 mile, one hour and 30 minute 2nd day at Burghley in 1974, we rode our asses off on those 6 horses. Miles and hours of deadly WALKING---one world famous rider, who shall remain nameles, had blisters on his butt so bad that he was --I swear this is the truth--wearing pampers!
Because we only had 2 horses each, and all day to devote to them, and because Jack was such a master trainer, those horses were so fit that EVERY ONE OF THEM completed that speed and endurance day, 3 of the 6 going clean. And every one of them went on for more years of high level competing. My horse, Victor Dakin, was still going preliminary with Anna Johannsen at age 24, 20 full years of eventing.
So you see, I KNOW that done right, with the right horses, it`s perfectly reasonable.
BUT!!! How many horses does Philip Dutton compete? Or Kim, or the O`Connors, or any of those riders these days? How many lessons/ clinics do they teach?
They have every right to make a living at this sport, don`t get me wrong, but answer me this:
How can someone with a string of 4, 5, 6, or more---sometimes many more, possibly put in the hours that Le Goff`s "slaves" put in to get it right? How can they not send out working students to do some or much of thr road work, how can that totally intimate relationship with that special horse get developed, if that horse is part of a goodly sized string?
So doesn`t it follow, rather reasonably, based on those realities, that a shorter format serves the ends of those riders better than the system which worked so splendidly for Le Goff?
I`ll say it one more time: The long format, in and of itself, works just fine. The thing that doesn`t work so fine are the modern day realities for many of the modern day riders.
So when you listen to their reasons for getting rid of the long format, do so filtering what they say through your understanding of why they may be saying it.

BarnBrat
Jan. 8, 2005, 01:16 AM
Gry2yng- your post is what I was thinking only a lot clearer. (I’m not skilled in the eloquent/organizing my thoughts department, lol http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif). And you took the whole thing one step further!

I have always thought of three day eventing as the sport of true horsemen and great horses. The test is so complete and the challenge so great that only the very best horsemen and horses can be successful. And by successful I mean capable of performing at the high levels of this sport, not winning. Those who actually win? They are the best of the best, truly phenomenal horsemen. This sport demands that the horses welfare be put above all else, doing otherwise will result in failure.

One of our major concerns is the effect of the short format on the horses, namely that the effects may be negative. We have demanded research studying the effects of this change. If the results of these studies find that the short format is less stressful and less dangerous for the horses (And I am now convinced that the FEI and others will degrade the difficulty until that result is achieved, look at the so called Olympic level course!) will we all go quietly into the night? I fear that we are digging ourselves into a hole, blindly sealing the fate of our sport. We eventers are so concerned for the welfare of our horses (as this sport demands) that this fact is being used against us to destroy the sport that we love!

The upper levels of true three day eventing will always be more challenging than the lower levels. If something is challenging it must also in nature be stressful and to some extent dangerous. The extremely challenging nature, ie high levels of stress, high levels of risk, of this sport is what forces riders and trainers to put the welfare of the horse first. It is what makes true horsemanship paramount in this sport. Lower the stress and the risk involved and you lower the need to put the horses first.

Is it better for the welfare of our horses to lower the challenge to the point that it allows horses to be under trained and over ridden and still be successful? (And again, by successful I mean able to perform in this sport.) Perhaps those who continue to put the welfare of their horse first will actually win. Or maybe, as is common in other horse sports, we will lower the bar so far that even that will cease to be a clear advantage. How much are we willing to give up to reduce the stress on our horses? Are we willing to lower the bar to the point where the horses welfare is not the number one key to success? Or even to the point where putting the horse first ceases to be an advantage?

There are ways to reduce the risk and stress levels involved in this sport without endangering the very heart of this sport. We have seen it time and time again. Frangible pins, the 10 min rest before phase D, more technical courses, are all examples. These are steps in the right direction. Improving the safety of the sport, and reducing the stress that it puts on our horses are good things, as long as doing so does not jeopardize the demand to put the welfare of our horses above all else.

I fear that we are heading in a dangerous direction by demanding that the short format be proven safer than the full three day. This movement has placed a lot of weight behind the safety issue, I think we were correct in thinking that at the true four star level phases ABC are beneficial to the horse, serving as a crucial warm up for D. And correct in thinking that removing these phases would be detrimental to the horses, which is supported by the apparent poor physical condition of horses that ran the short format at Rolex. However if the degree of difficulty is lowered enough (ie the Olympic course) the absence of phases ABC will cease to be detrimental. So originally we were right to demand scientific information on the results of removing phases ABC at the CCI**** level. Now that the degree of difficultly has apparently been lowered we know what the results will be! Make it easer and it will be, well, easier!

This seems to complicate things quite a bit. This is about conserving the ultimate challenge (and thus the ultimate level of stress and risk to horses and riders) and with it the ultimate regard for the welfare of the horses. The concept that reducing the level of stress and risk involved is actually a bad thing because it will reduce the need to put the horses welfare first, and in the end it will actually increase the levels of risk and stress faced by the horses!!??!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif That is an abstract concept that is hard grasp and will be even harder to protect. When the question of safety was our main concern, with all of the other things like, preserving the spirit of the sport, the ultimate challenge, and the horsemanship that comes with it, following behind that main point, it was easy and logical to defend and protect.

If my line of thinking is right, we need to look very closely at the direction in which this movement is going. We need to come up with something that can withstand the fact that the short format will be proven less stressful on our horses. Some way to save the three day because it isn't easier on the horses, something that will protect the heart of this sport, which is a test so complete and a challenge so great that it demands that the welfare of the horse be put above all else. How do you stop something that is not being driven by logic, and is instead fueled by the greed and politics of the very people who comprise the upper levels that we are trying to protect?

Wow that was pretty long! I know it’s a little repetitive, and a lot of rambling. Like I said I’m not that great at putting what I want to say together coherently! Just thought I would share my two cents. I’ve been following this whole thing from the very beginning. I want to say thanks to all of you who put your time and money into this and made it all come together! I wish I could do more, but the last semester of my senior year is getting ready to start so I will probably be disappearing back into the shadows! But I will at least be at Rolex sporting my Save the Three Day gear along with all my friends! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Zig
Jan. 8, 2005, 02:04 AM
I admit I have not read through the entire thread.. and I am a Hunter/Jumper type on the verge of conversion.. so please forgive my ignorance..

I know three day eventing to be cross country, dressage, and stadium..

What is traditional? What is the conflict?

denny
Jan. 8, 2005, 06:06 AM
I want to clarify one thing. I don`t think the word "greed" is all that appropriate in describing the motives of this current group of upper level riders. I think that, rather, they are products of this particular era in eventing.
Let me explain what I mean by that. When I rode in my very first event, which was at GMHA in 1962, there was no "business" component whatsoever to the sport. Heck, there were only 3 or 4 events in all of Area One. No professionals, the way there were already back then in the hunter/jumper world, no lesson barns, no infrastructure, no expensive horses, no clinics, none of that. Ask Dennis Glaccum, Mary Alice Brown, any of the others still around who were riding then, I`m sure they`ll tell you the same thing.
The sport was very amateur, very low key, except for the few like Mike Plumb, Kevin Freeman, who trained with Stephan von Visy at the USET headquarters at Gladstone.
The season ran from May through October, and nobody went south for the winter. Hardly anyone had multiple horses, and especially multiple upper level horses. In fact, advanced level eventing was (and remained for many years) under the aegis of the USET.
Under that system, the few riders who were what we know call "upper level" didn`t have a "horse business" to deflect their focus from their primary goal which was to try to make "the team", on their one good horse. It was considered a big deal, I remember, when before the 1976 Olympics, Mike Plumb had TWO!!! advanced horses in his string, Good Mixture and Better and Better.
But now the sport was growing. The "little Le Goffs"---Me, Mike, Bruce, Tad Coffin, Jimmy, Torrance, later, David, etc., we all started to teach, coach, do clinics, buy/sell/import horses, and so on.
Then our students became professionals, in turn, and so once again.
Which leads to this current group which thinks of eventing and business as synonymous entities, and WE HAVE TAUGHT THEM TO THINK THAT.
So I can`t BLAME THEM for thinking of the bottom line instead of their blistered bottoms!!!
But!!! Blistered bottoms, intensive commitment to one, two, or at the most, three good horses, FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS, is what made the old fashioned long second days so essentially doable.
I get annoyed at people like Kim for pooh-poohing the classic 3-day, but then I have to remind myself, she`s only thirty yars old, and has little historical perspective. She, Darren, those guys were never Le Goff slaves. They never have had the total immersion intensity of the old USET system. In many ways, they are "better" riders than many of us, in that instead of growing up seat of the pants, like some of us did, (until Le Goff tried to fix us,) they`ve had good instruction from the outset.
They are refined, technically brilliant riders. I think some of them are great horsemen/women, but not all of them.
I don`t think they are "greedy', and I don`t think it`s their "fault" for being products of their age. But their age is killing the old fashioned 3-day event, with so many of the old fashioned horsemanship skills that made it possible, and that is what I think we are all fighting against. Not against these riders, against the system that makes them think as they do.

flyingchange
Jan. 8, 2005, 09:22 AM
Denny -

Your last post hits on what has been in my head for quite some time now - which is the current culture of eventing, characterized primarily by a dichotomy between "pros" and "amateurs." I have been wondering if it has always been this way?

I have a copy of the book "USCTA Book of Eventing: The Official Handbook of the United States Eventing Association," edited by Sally O'Connor and published in 1982. This book is what made me want to event (on top of grooming for a friend at a horse trial in Birmingham AL when I was a youngster). It is all about the horse, about attaining goals, conditioning, preparing, for the three-day - the way it used to be. In the book, the featured USET riders seemed to do ALL of the work on/with the horses, and they only had a couple of horses, and they were dedicated to them. When I read this book, I was under the impression that eventing still was/is the way it is described in this book, but I think I was wrong about that as it seems to have changed a good bit in the bast 20 years or so. Now it seems that a huge amount of emphasis is placed on the number of eventers that can be made in a given amount of time. It is overwhelming when you think about it - it must be an incredible amount of pressure that these professionals have hanging over them - not only to keep themselves going - getting to three-days hopefully every year, but getting as many horses to them as possible as well. I can't help but think it must take a lot of the joy out of it - one becomes an eventing manager managing a machine (the barn) that is in the business of manufacturing event horses.

Anyway, the introduction to this book, as you know (since you wrote the preface!!) was written by Neil Ayer, and what he wrote epitomized (at least to me) what the sport was about back in the 70s and 80s, and what I thought it was about when I fell into it in the mid-90s. I have some time on my hands this morning, so I will just type in part what he wrote in the intro:


"Introduction" by Neil Ayer, The USCTA Book of Eventing: The Official Handbook of the United States Combined Training Association Edited by Sally O'Connor, 1982, pp 10-11.

"What is it about the sport that holds such an attraction? The clear-cut challenges at all levels have great appeal, as do the goals which are as attainable for the weekend rider as they are for the serious three-day eventer. Youngsters and adults alike can compete in divisions at at levels geared both to their skills and their experience. Whole families can and do become involved, and the ladies ride under the same rules and conditions as do the men. The judging is very straightforward: You either pass between the flags or you don't. You either perform a given dressage movement or you don't - and how well you perform it is scored from 1-10 against an objective standard of excellence. How fast you ride the course is accurately recorded by the clock, and in stadium jumping, style matters not - so long as neither disobediences nor knockdowns occur. In fact, there are few other sports where so little is left to "politics" or to the subjective interpretation of the judge.

"Combined training does much to develop the participant's character, patience, courage, and sense of responsibility. It stimulates the best in sound and humane training methods and develops among all of us a profound respect for the horse. It is unique as a sport in that a competitor can measure his success not just by where he finishes in the ribbons, but, more importantly, by how well he has performed in terms of what he rightfully expected to be able to do. Many a rider has headed homeward at the end of the day well down in the standings but triumphant all the same, because his dressage ride showed greater accuracy, or because he finally jumped his horse through water, or because after weeks of gymanstics, he completed his stadium round without a rail down.

"Eventing not only offers these challenges, but also holds for all the elements of danger and uncertainty. The apprehensions that accompany the cross-country rider, in particular, bring both excitement while they are being endured and a sense of achievement when they have been overcome.

"Cross-country is what the sport is all about. It's what sets both the event horse and the event rider apart - perhaps even beyond - most others. It's the phase a competitor remembers best about an horse trial. It's what gains a reputation for an event. It's what the rider most wants to know about as he trains and schools his horse. And it is for these reasons that this book gives such extensive coverage to preparign both horse and rider for the challenge of the speed and endurance test. So little has been compiled about this phase; so many books are already dealing with dressage and show jumping.

"Why do so many of us become involved? The competitor we've already talked about, but there are thousands of others who devote hours and days in the wind and the heat and the cold and the rain, judging fences and keeping score, setting up dressage rings, punching stopwatches from dawn 'til dusk, manning radios on distant hilltops. Basically, I think we become involved because we all enjoy being associated with and working for an activity that has structure and purpose and dignity; for something that makes it possible to participate with others in a project that fosters camaraderie and good sportsmanship; that places a positive value on a sense of being needed, and rewards participants with the satisfaction of a job well done; that centers around the strength, grace, and nobility of the equine athlete; and continues to feature so many of the old-fashioned virtues that our amateur-turned professional sports have long since lost."

I think he sums it up very well for all of us here - why all of us are involved, including professional and amateur riders; organizers; volunteers; parents of young riders.

Hope I haven't strayed off topic too much. Apologies for such a long post!

DizzyMagic
Jan. 8, 2005, 05:13 PM
Denny, I think you have solidly articulated and put history to what for so many of us has been a gut reaction of "this is not right." And you have definitely silenced that darned devil's advocate in my head!

So, I'll say it, since I started this post: We are not wrong!!

The short format fundamentally changes so much of what drew me to the sport. I won't be supporting it; if it gets dumbed down to make it easier on the horses, so they can do 5 or 6 a year, I still won't support it. Not to be contrary or even to make a stand, but because it lacks the essence that made me want to be a part of it in the first place. The short format is not Three-Day Eventing!

Emily

Sannois
Jan. 8, 2005, 06:42 PM
Flyingchange~! That is the book that got me started as well. Way back then. I bought it at Rolex, My first time ever there in 82. I still have it, its dog eared and old. I taught my 3 yr old appendix I had then to jump using Dennys whole Chapter on Gymnastics! To me all those statements in that book were so impressive. That was the heart of the sport back then! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Bliss
Jan. 8, 2005, 06:47 PM
Hear, hear, Denny!

I've been following this pretty closely for one who is not an eventer.

All I can say is that if the FEI told us that they were going to make 4th level the Olympic test because Grand Prix was too hard on the horses, you can bet there would be riots.

I, and *many* of the other DQs are behind the traditional format. A LOT of us grew up eventing, we believe in the horse, we believe in cross country and horses with cool,sound legs after galloping and jumping all day. (Hey, we hunted,too, a lot of us)

Welfare of the horse my ass. If the FEI doesn't want to spend the money on eventing, they should have the guts to say so.

denny
Jan. 8, 2005, 07:02 PM
Abe Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Speaking, of course, about the USA.
But I think we better begin thinking about how a two track system in this country`s eventing population CAN survive, because I doubt very much that all the reasoning and cajolery we can muster will change these rider`s minds.
So instead of banging our heads against that particular wall, how can we make sure that the one and two star levels survive?
1.Help the organizers who will put on real 3-days. Money (we need that fund raising vehicle we keep talking about). Volunteers. That`s US. Publicity and promotion, like the initiatives we have going. What else?
2.Magazine articles to explain and advance the "movement"
3.Activism on the USEA Board and on USEA committees. Us, again.
4.We REALLY HAVE TO BE CAREFUL that our intensity of feeling doesn`t create a civil war. The ulr`s aren`t "bad people" because they don`t agree with us. Let them go their way, and we`ll go ours. Where the conflict could become open is when we start competing in fund raising for essentially the same dollars. Too bad, but inevitable.
5."Letters from the war zone"---These threads have been assionate, articulate and persuasive.
Some smart person should do a collation of these to use in rallying support. Who can do that?
6. There is no doubt a 6, 7, 8, etc. What are they?

RunForIt
Jan. 8, 2005, 07:02 PM
I have one small thought to add to all of this... where were Kim's and Darren's and Phillip's and all the other - quiet - ULRs' hue and cry about the terrible consequences of Phases A B & C BEFORE the FEI's decision to go to the short format? I don't remember any.

EventerAJ
Jan. 8, 2005, 08:09 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by denny:
Abe Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Speaking, of course, about the USA.
But I think we better begin thinking about how a two track system in this country`s eventing population CAN survive, because I doubt very much that all the reasoning and cajolery we can muster will change these rider`s minds.
So instead of banging our heads against that particular wall, how can we make sure that the one and two star levels survive?
1.Help the organizers who will put on real 3-days. Money (we need that fund raising vehicle we keep talking about). Volunteers. That`s US. Publicity and promotion, like the initiatives we have going. What else?
2.Magazine articles to explain and advance the "movement"
3.Activism on the USEA Board and on USEA committees. Us, again.
4.We REALLY HAVE TO BE CAREFUL that our intensity of feeling doesn`t create a civil war. The ulr`s aren`t "bad people" because they don`t agree with us. Let them go their way, and we`ll go ours. Where the conflict could become open is when we start competing in fund raising for essentially the same dollars. Too bad, but inevitable.
5."Letters from the war zone"---These threads have been assionate, articulate and persuasive.
Some smart person should do a collation of these to use in rallying support. Who can do that?
6. There is no doubt a 6, 7, 8, etc. What are they? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

First off, Denny all your posts on this topic are so amazing and inspiring. I can't imagine how ANYONE cannot support this cause after you express it so eloquently. Thank you ever so much for being the voice of so many. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

As far as 6, 7, 8...

6. Support riders who DO compete in the real 3-days. With no riders, we still have no 3-day. Keeping horses sound and fit at that level is definitely possible, but certainly expensive. Money should not be a sole factor to drive competitors away from the real sport. The Rolex winner needs to stand out from, say, the Fair Hill short/modified winner. More hype, more attention, maybe more money, more prestige... it needs to be clear that true CCI competitors are in some way better than their modified counterparts.

7. Education. Newcomers don't know the difference between a horse trial, CIC, or CCI. Why is it worth saving, anyway? And, if it's so important, who is going to teach all these horsemanship skills? We cannot let this fall by the wayside.

sian
Jan. 8, 2005, 11:59 PM
Canterlope - sorry, I did have second thoughts about my post the next day and tried to delete some, thinking it was a bit too abrasive but you got to it before I had a chance to change it..... However, your response is just a perfect example of what I was referencing - and completely misses the point of what I was saying.

This is not the "American QH World Championships" in which only countries in the Americas compete. Eventing is a global sport and the USA is only a small part of it....the "squeaky wheels" you reference are probably the majority of the international eventing world and those countries are the people who invented the sport... We have to consider the development of the sport as a global, rather than American, question. PT me if you'd like to discuss more without clogging up the BB.

Sannois
Jan. 9, 2005, 05:44 AM
Sian, With all do respect And I may be totally wrong, but Are you sure the sport was invented by europeans??? I am sure Denny can set me straight on this one. For one thing it is steeped in tradition of the US Military as it was used as a test for the US cavalary. I am not near as eloquent as others on this board, so I will step back and let someone else respond to your comments! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

weezie
Jan. 9, 2005, 08:11 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
I have one small thought to add to all of this... where were Kim's and Darren's and Phillip's and all the other - quiet - ULRs' hue and cry about the terrible consequences of Phases A B & C BEFORE the FEI's decision to go to the short format? I don't remember any. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I just read Kim Severson's COTH letter, and it got me thinking about the other recent change in eventing - addressing the weight rule, which was initiated BY THE RIDERS FOR THE WELFARE OF THE HORSE.

Not so the creation of the Short format. The FEI made the changes, and the "ulrs" said, "cool, works for me".

Albion
Jan. 9, 2005, 09:19 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>For one thing it is steeped in tradition of the US Military as it was used as a test for the US cavalary. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Um, it's steeped in cavalry tradition, period. The US doesn't have a lock on that.

Frankly, I'd be a little surprised if it was truly "invented" in America, since for most of the 19th century, *our* cavalry was galloping around the Plains & southwest in McClellan saddles (the idea of having to jump in one of those puppies makes me go http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif, even the early 20th century varieties).

Janet
Jan. 9, 2005, 09:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> 6. Support riders who DO compete in the real 3-days. With no riders, we still have no 3-day. Keeping horses sound and fit at that level is definitely possible, but certainly expensive. Money should not be a sole factor to drive competitors away from the real sport. The Rolex winner needs to stand out from, say, the Fair Hill short/modified winner. More hype, more attention, maybe more money, more prestige... it needs to be clear that true CCI competitors are in some way better than their modified counterparts. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> I've got to agree with AJ on this one. Don't forget that Fair Hill DID offer a full format CCI*** as well as the short format. And the number of entries (16 was the number I heard) was not enough to justify running a sperate division.

It isn't enough for the organizers to offer it, the riders hve to enter it.

Janet
Jan. 9, 2005, 09:40 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> For one thing it is steeped in tradition of the US Military as it was used as a test for the US cavalary. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> No, NOT US military. Military in general, European and British in particular, as well as US.

But the non-military version DEFINITELY started in Britain in 1949, with Badminton (after the 1948 Olympics), The US was about a decade behind that it getting really going. But I think the other European countries were later than that in getting organized.

tecumsea
Jan. 9, 2005, 09:43 AM
Then is this battle now to be fought(relatively speaking) with the organizers. I remember that when I became involved with eventing, there were only 16-25 riders at the *** and ****. It was the true horsemanship. Who are the organizers who say that we are not allowed to compete because not enough of us will do a traditional format. How do we encourage the organizers to keep the long format for those willing to do the homework.

Also, a short format was run at team challenge this fall. They said it was footing. Wrong. The footing was fine, I went and looked at it. So the traditional is not safe at the * and **. I think I am beginning to see the organizers as a crushial part of this battle.

pwynnnorman
Jan. 9, 2005, 10:37 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> When one sticks their neck out and stands against the majority, one is exposed to this kind of "risk". "What if I'm wrong?" "What if everyone thinks I'm a troublemaker?" "What if I'm offending somebody whose opinion I value?" "What if people whom I admire greatly disagree with me?" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Gotta chuckle out of that one, but I'm intrigued to follow the "evolution" of this issue. Friend of mine, a psychologist, writes about "the collective mind" and when I mentioned this to her, she just nodded sagely.

I think the whole issue is a healthy one for the sport for the way it is forcing a deep re-examination and increasing awareness. Surely such things can only result in something that is healthier and more stable than what came before ("before" being that time when no one was paying much attention to what was happening, that is).

Cospi
Jan. 9, 2005, 12:18 PM
The 3-day was first introduced at the Olympics at the Stockholm Games in 1912 because of the efforts of Count von Rosen, Master of the Horse to the King of Sweden. The tests were created to test the cavalry officers' mounts for fitness and suitability. These mounts were suppose to be able to deliver dispatches across difficult terrain and obstacles, over long distances at top speeds. A committee of 12 cavalry officers from various European countries designed the original tests. The tests at the first Olympics were:
1. long distance ride of 55km (34 miles)
2. cross country ride of 5 km (3 miles) this was included as part of the long distance ride.
3. steeplechase 3.5 km (3 miles)
4. prize jumping
5. prize riding (dressage)
Minimum weight requirement was 80kg (176 lbs.)Double bridles required for all phases except steeplechase.
This is from Gen. Jonathan R. Burton's excerpt in The U.S. Equestrian Team Book of Riding.

deltawave
Jan. 9, 2005, 12:22 PM
God, I wish we could do dressage last... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sannois
Jan. 9, 2005, 12:29 PM
Ok So I stand corrected, I was not certain when I wrote that as I stated. But that being the case, Why are the Brits not more upset by this! They have always been so gung ho in the eventing world. Also What do the Kiwi's and the Aussies think? Even though Mark Todd is retired I have a strong feeling he is of the Old school and would love to hear his take on the whole thing. Maybe I am just too much of sentimental. Once the traditional format is gone, I doubt there will be any bringing it back. It will be something the youngsters of today will read about in books but never have the change to achieve. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Gry2Yng
Jan. 9, 2005, 04:42 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> This is not the "American QH World Championships" in which only countries in the Americas compete. Eventing is a global sport and the USA is only a small part of it....the "squeaky wheels" you reference are probably the majority of the international eventing world and those countries are the people who invented the sport... We have to consider the development of the sport as a global, rather than American, question. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Where you stand depends on where you sit. Many of us are Americans and we come at the topic from an American perspective. I don't think the Europeans are too worried about the "global perspective". They care about what is good for them. I am waiting to read the first German news article advocating that they change the sport of dressage so that Americans and American horses are given more consideration.

I think one of the reasons we are so upset about the change is that Eventing parallels the American spirit.

You can take a cheep horse, from the track or a field, and if it has talent, given time and training it can be a great horse in this sport. Even a horse with average talent can complete a one star and make his owner proud - if they work a little bit harder. THAT is the American way.

Currently, there are a small number of six figure horses and syndicated horses in this sport. No where near the number in dressage and show jumping.

Eventing is accessible to everyone. What happens when you need a big moving, big jumping, well bred animal with a big name trainer in order to compete? What happens when in order to ride advanced you have to put together a syndicate to buy a horse?

We all know where this road leads. Get out your road maps because that is where we are going. KS is suddenly worried about the safety of her expensive horses. These are the same horses that were purchased before there was any hint of a short format. Why was the risk acceptable in 2002 but unacceptable today. Same horses, same owners.

Any Olympic show jumpers or dressage horses out there that are former pack horses? How many were European stallions? How many were born and breed in the USA? Did you see any riders in those disciplines that are full time firefighters? There are still a fair number of riders at the upper levels of eventing that both own and ride their horses. There are even a handful that bred, own and ride their own horses.

When it all becomes about money, watch out.

sian
Jan. 9, 2005, 10:23 PM
Sannios

I think you will find that other countries are not so upset because they have been breeding event horses for decades, as a mainstream sport. That's why they win so often and so many horses and trainers here are "imports" from outside the USA. Their horses are just more versatile/ sound than the OTTBs that are often converted to eventing here. Because their horses are more likely to be bred for the sport, they can adjust their focus more easily. IMHO you just can't do that so easily with a horse that was bred for generations to run really fast in a big circle. And Cavalry horses were never TBs except when they had to ship them over to Europe to help in the various wars.

sian
Jan. 9, 2005, 10:44 PM
PS - Of Course everyone can name a lot of OTTBs that have done spectacularly, but that's just not where the sport is going and that's why I think at a minimum a future eventer should be 7/8 TB or less and the less bred for the track, the better. I just bought a TBx yearling prospect, and I'll be happy to beat myself up publicly if he never goes above BN http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif

tecumsea
Jan. 11, 2005, 04:56 PM
The ribbons may be what is changing the sport for the ottb's. But I have had nothing but thoroughbreds and all have excelled at eventing. So the sport will always be there for the training of the horse. The ribbons will be what changes and what people consider true riding.

canterlope
Jan. 12, 2005, 04:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sian:
... but that's just not where the sport is going ... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Just because the sport is going down a certain path doesn't mean that it's the correct path to take. You will never be able to convince me that it acceptable to change a sport to the point where it doesn't even resemble its former self just because it doesn't suit the breeding programs of certain countries. The point of the exercise is to find and/or breed horses that are up to the challenge, not lower the bar just because the horses aren't capable of meeting a challenge that horses have been mastering for decades.<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Their horses are just more versatile/ sound than the OTTBs that are often converted to eventing here. Because their horses are more likely to be bred for the sport, they can adjust their focus more easily. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>If their horses are so versatile and can adjust their focus more easily, then why is the sport being changed to suit them? Doesn't it stand to reason that, if these horses are so wonderful and superior to the TB, then the sport wouldn't have to be changed and these uber horses would already be excelling?

Sannois
Jan. 12, 2005, 05:45 PM
Precisley Canterlope!!!!! And another thing not ALL Eventers, are Off track Tbs Many are being bred for eventing. What about the New Zealand TBs? And WHY does one organization get to change a sport because it suits them?? Or suits there Chronies?? You know, I still want to know why no one in our organizations, US based is not up against this Dona Whats her name?? We have given the FEI such Carte Blanche that we now have to bow down to whatever they mandate??? This just seems so incredibly wrong. Where is the outcry from OUR governing bodies?? Or is it just make peace go along and shut up? The more of this I read the more annoyed I become. I just think we need more weight behind our words and by the right persons! I dont know who that is, Again, I look to someone like Denny, who has held a high office of our organization.

RunForIt
Jan. 12, 2005, 05:45 PM
The incredible fact about writing, is that it "freezes" thinking...CANTERLOPE, your thoughtful argument in your last post was just so dead on the nail - "the point of the exercise is to find or breed horses that are up to the challenge..."; perhaps that also applies to those people who want to participate in the challenge. Thank you for your wisdom and passion.

denny
Jan. 13, 2005, 06:06 AM
On the Jersey Fresh thread, I posted some speeds and distances from 25-30 years ago. Really study them, because they answer these questions.
What we`ve seen, over the last quarter of a century, is the "shrinking 3-day event"
"LOOK, HONEY, I SHRUNK THE EVENT!!"
We`ve hardly noticed it, because it has been so gradual.When was the last 5 min. steeplechase anyone can remember? Yet they were once normal. Or roads and tracks at 240 meters/minute? Again, once normal. Or a 35-45 minute phase C? And so on.
Diminish something very gradually, and it`s almost imperceptible.
As the 2nd day shrank, the kinds of horses could change, and did. This latest shrinkage, the total abolishment of the 1st 3 phases, is just the final blow.
The people who are so timidly (or, let`s face it, happily) accepting it have had the "stage set " for this development so gradually, that nobody even noticed.
Two days ago I went really hard with my 2 Arabs, with a gps, so I knew the exact distance, and it took me nearly 3 hours to go 20 miles.We did 17,7 miles at Burghley in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Which, looking back, seems incredible, over all those huge fences, so many jumping efforts.You just ask any of these ulr`s to get a horse ready to do that, and see what happens. Except for Jimmy Wofford and a handful of other old codgers, it`s a lost art.
No wonder they don`t want to do it. It`s a bit like asking a bunch of teenagers not to watch videos, or use computers. The point is, we all get used to whatever happens to be the present reality, and can`t truly comprehend anything very different.
We are all whimpier than our grandparents. Sorry, but we are. It`s the age we live in, not an intrinsic fault within us. These current ulr`s ARE whimpier than Bruce Davidson, Mike Plumb, those guys, but if they had lived back under the same challenges, some of them--certainly Philip, for one--would have excelled in that era as well.

Fence2Fence
Jan. 13, 2005, 07:35 AM
The thing is... not all of us want to be wimps!

RunForIt
Jan. 13, 2005, 10:05 AM
You're right Denny - the ULRs of today ARE different, but I still do not understand why the sport has to change. As Fence2Fence said "not all of us want to be wimps". That's what I like about long-distance running...everyone doesn't have the physical ability, nor the mental toughness to run and/or race marathons - its long and it hurts (in fact, all races, no matter the distance, hurt if you're racing). But the distance is going to STAY 26.2 miles for the marathon, even if some really talented, very, very fast 10k runners can't run but 18 miles at an elite time for the marathon distance. Those folks can just run shorter races, and be absolutely wonderful doing so. My body happened to have the makeup to run fairly "fast" for long periods of time - I HATED running 5Ks and 10Ks - all out from the time the gun went off. The reasoning for all this change escapes me.

cinnabar
Jan. 13, 2005, 11:22 AM
Horse and Hound is reporting that new research shows no "welfare" benefits for the short vs. long formats at the ** level.

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/competitionnews/391/60625.html

We have a good first step. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The natural
Jan. 13, 2005, 01:25 PM
I have found it impossible to follow all the different threads on this topic, so forgive me if I repeat something already pointed out (highly likely, I suppose). But it seems to me the problem with R&T is that for practical purposes it doesn't enter into the scoring--it's just supposed to make the XC harder. And even though you can't really change your placing, you can still lose your horse to injury. No wonder it's vulnerable. To have any reason to exist at all, it should make the XC riskier by tiring the horses. If it doesn't do that, why have it? It either should be run so that it can have an effect on the outcome on its own, or it should be admitted that it is a form of handicap that could increase risks during subsequent jumping. It shouldn't do nothing. If it never discriminates between horses, then it should either be made harder or it should be done away with. This is where Denny's arguments come in. One would suppose that the more demanding R&T of days gone by actually amounted to something tangible. At this point, from what some have said, R&T is essentially a warmup for XC. Why is that an argument for leaving it in the competition? Perhaps there is a logic for keeping the longer format at lower levels, where there might be a better chance of R&T being meaningful. At the highest levels, it's possible that in order to make it tough enough to affect the outcome it may increase the rate of XC accidents to unacceptable levels. The demands on the horse need to be kept balanced, and there have been other changes in the sport. Can all of these be revisited? The other approach is to make it mean something on its own. So here's a wild suggestion: put the steeplechase at the end and make it a time trial, like in bike racing. Now there's a reason to get an OTTB! I have no particular position on this matter, as it cannot ever affect me in this life. I just thought this was an angle I hadn't yet seen.

tle
Jan. 13, 2005, 01:35 PM
R&T is a warmup/recovery for steeplechase, so I'm not sure I follow your logic of it "does nothing". It may not influence the scoring, but it certainly HELPS horses run XC (rather than hurting them). It has been shown that in sports where the athlete is doing XC type work (not LONG distance but not a sprint either), there IS something to the idea of getting the heart rate up and breathing going ahead of time... with ample time to cool down and recover before actually doing the work. Thus warm-up properly, followed by getting the rates up, followed by a good recovery period with a vet check... hmmm... sounds like Phases A, B, C and the vet box to me... all of which are being eliminated.

I guess I just don't follow how you can say it "does nothing." I'm not trying to be pig-headed... I really don't get it.

Oh, and try telling someone who misses a flag on R&T or has a horse wig out at the start line and they can't cross it in time not to be elminated that it does nothing. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Oilburner
Jan. 13, 2005, 02:07 PM
Denny is totally correct. Eventing today has become a "washable marker kid's paint by number picture" when just ten years ago it was a "messy oil-based original". What has happened? Has the sport gotten too big? Have people lost sight of what Eventing is? The last time I checked, I thought Eventing was the ULTIMATE TEST of horse and rider. Eventing is cross country. Doing away with the long format has reduced eventing to just dressage on a cross country course. What is next, cross country in a show jumping arena because footing needs to be perfect and we now cannot have any undulating ground because it may cause horses to lose their balance. No, maybe all riders need to wear airbags that deploy when both feet leave the stirrups, we cannot have anyone fall off their horses. People, Eventing is dangerous, riders are going to get hurt, horses are going to get hurt, maybe die. Neutering this once awesome sport is what all the goody, goody, "Alphabet Organizations" have done. I assume they have done this for the public good, we can't have riders or horses dying in the public specticle, blah,blah. I also have have to assume they have done this "like everything else" for the almighty dollar. Bad publicity means Event's lose their sponsors, you get the picture. Obviously this has also had repercussions at the Olympic level, Beijing 2008?, the IOC has been trying to drop Three-Day for awhile, money, money, blah, money. Would Eventing exist if it were not in the Olympics, certainly, but I do understand sponsorship would be more difficult to procure. There are plenty of sports that make it without being in the Olympics. If you as an Eventer want to reclaim the Sport that once was, you need to organize, make noise, be heard, and do something about it. Rant off http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif

The natural
Jan. 13, 2005, 02:18 PM
I keep putting R&T when I guess I mean steeplechase, too. Hopefully that doesn't change what I was trying to get at. What I meant pretty specifically was "influence the scoring". I can see that these phases provide a good warm up for XC. But following a particular warm up is not a basis for a competition. It doesn't decide anything. I agree that sometimes spooky horses will not complete it and be eliminated, but I doubt that the overall purpose of R&T is to weed them out. That could be accomplished any number of ways. I really thought it had to do with some aspect of endurance. And if endurance is being tested, it should show up somewhere in the contest. That's also what I meant by doing nothing. If horses get around an XC course just the same whether or not they did R&T and steeplechase, then it didn't do anything, and didn't enter into the competition. Anyway, it's just an attempt to stand some of the opinions on their heads.

tle
Jan. 13, 2005, 02:25 PM
the steeplechase portion is where the "speed" in the old "Speed and Endurance Day" came from. Obviously if you're in the saddle for 90 minutes, the endurance is built in. Now it's called the less confusing "Cross Country Day" but it still should test speed AND endurance.

And if you don't think being slow on steeplechase (aka failing the speed test) isn't costly... 1 second = 1 point and with events being hotly contested nowadays with the point spread being very small, that 1 second can cost A LOT! Just look at how people oogled the change to 1 point/second in SJ.

denny
Jan. 13, 2005, 02:26 PM
Ask this simple question. Is three day eventing at the highest levels a skill sport, an endurance sport, or a combination of both?
I think that different eras have had different answers to this question. Certainly, 30-40 years ago, it was both. But remember, it wasn`t until AFTER the 2nd World War that cavalries were disbanded. Jimmy Wofford`s father was a cavalryman. So were most of the coaches and judges when I started eventing in 1962.
The whole MENTALITY back then was more "tough".
Is that the right word? More of a Teddy Roosevelt`s Roughriders kind of sport, not so technical. There was a distinct difference between the personality types who gravitated toward eventing, instead of, say, hunters, dressage or even show jumping. Maybe more like steeplechase jockeys (which many of us did), or rodeo cowboys.
Frankly, more emphasis on athleticism, less on technical expertise. There`s still a lot of that left in modern eventers. Would you take your mother to an event party????
But this is a looong time away from cavalrymen in this sport, and perhaps that`s one big reason why the "marathon" aspects of eventing are being lost, and why so many people, unlike all the petition signers, are letting them get lost.
I`m exceedingly glad to see that so many people are still "cowboys" at heart. Too bad the Europeans control the FEI. Otherwise, we could just shoot them!

Oilburner
Jan. 13, 2005, 02:38 PM
Sorry to say it but I think the best thing that could happen to the sport of Eventing is to be booted from the Olympic schedule. If this happened the FEI would probably not care how Eventing would govern itself, ie. Eventing decide it's own destiny, Long or Short. The only downside would be Eventers would have a harder time finding owners because without the whole Olympic specticle there would less goods to sell them on. Heck, the Olympics are usually only a watered down *** anyways, even though it is advertised as a ****. Badminton, Burghley, and Rolex will hopefully be there as their "Long" format selves...

Gry2Yng
Jan. 13, 2005, 10:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I`m exceedingly glad to see that so many people are still "cowboys" at heart. Too bad the Europeans control the FEI. Otherwise, we could just shoot them! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Perhaps a bit of arsenic in their congnac would be stylish on the continent. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Pol
Jan. 14, 2005, 06:37 AM
Denny, thanks, again. This morning you gave me a good chuckle. In answer to your question, yes, I WOULD (and did) take my mother to an event party. She's the one who got me started playing this game, after all.
Gry-arsenic in the noon sherry would be better. That way the mess could be cleaned up by tea time.

annikak
Jan. 14, 2005, 09:28 AM
would prefer the tough and solid, rather then the technical. And Ralph Hill, The Illinois Cowboy- http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif loved looking upto him! glad that there are some here, and I love thinking that I might be associated with them.
Its got to be all about the $$- if there is no roads and tracks, thats about 45 min less in the saddle, therefore they can ride one more horse. Anyone think that might be on track?

LisaB
Jan. 14, 2005, 10:32 AM
Ack! No Oilburner.
I think we need to go the route of the Olympics being a spotlight in eventing. I completely understand why the Olympics needs to be shorter. Ever hear of an event in China? Ummm, no. So give each venue the option. Sydney I'm sure would have kept the long option just because they have everything already.
What I'm pissed about is all these already established 3 days jumping the bandwagon. Now, we have respected ULR's jumping the bandwagon as well.
I gave this example awhile ago.
We have the Tour De France. It's the pinnacle of cycling and tough as nails. We also have it in the Olympics but on a much smaller scale to be inclusive. Lance didn't go to Athens.
We have the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. Then we have it also in the Olympics but on a smaller scale.
See what I'm getting at? When we have to rely on terrain and also be inclusive, we can't make a Burghley/Badminton/Lexington at each place.
As Sally O'Conner pointed out, it was about the lone Croatian just happy to finish in good form. He was so excited that we were all excited for him. That's what it's about.
Now, on the other hand, I think we need to concentrate on the established events. And pushing the pressure back on the FEI and lowering their power a bit. It's nice that they re-vamped the organization. But now, they need to scale back and let it ride a bit. Typical business stuff here. I'm in the midst of it now. I was the uber-test-witch because these people had no idea how to test. Now, they get it and I'm retracting my cat claws.

Janet
Jan. 14, 2005, 01:51 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> But it seems to me the problem with R&T is that for practical purposes it doesn't enter into the scoring--it's just supposed to make the XC harder. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>The first 20 miles of a marathon don't "enter the scoring". But without those first 20 miles, it ISN'T a marathon.

Gry2Yng
Jan. 14, 2005, 02:52 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Janet:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> But it seems to me the problem with R&T is that for practical purposes it doesn't enter into the scoring--it's just supposed to make the XC harder. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>The first 20 miles of a marathon don't "enter the scoring". But without those first 20 miles, it ISN'T a marathon. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well said Janet. I am completely stunned at how simple the answer is.

Pol
Jan. 14, 2005, 03:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>(by the natural) But it seems to me the problem with R&T is that for practical purposes it doesn't enter into the scoring--it's just supposed to make the XC harder.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
The Natural, phases A, B and C are NOT supposed to make the XC *HARDER* http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif Those phases are designed to PREPARE the horses for XC. Haven't you been LISTENING? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

RunForIt
Jan. 14, 2005, 03:13 PM
And Janet, having raced several marathons, its amazing how you "accept" those first 20 miles - you're so fit its usually easy until about 18 miles, and then the real test begins...the race is 26.2 miles, every damned step that you take - or else it isn't a marathon.

Sannois
Jan. 14, 2005, 03:21 PM
Ahh I'm afraid I have to agree with oil burner as well. I have felt we should ditch the Olympics for some time! Especially since we get next to Zero Coverage! Heck Roman Wrestling gets more!
And Annika I agree about Ralph! I knew right away when he came to my area I would clinic with him as often as possible. He and Denny are from the " Old School" And I loved Ralphs no Nonsense approach!

The natural
Jan. 14, 2005, 10:00 PM
I will remind you that I don't have a particular position and am willing to discuss whatever responses people have to what I posted. In fact, I tend to be a traditionalist and would prefer that the long format remain intact. That being said:

"The Natural, phases A, B and C are NOT supposed to make the XC *HARDER* Those phases are designed to PREPARE the horses for XC. Haven't you been LISTENING? "

I have been listening--I think (I am always willing to debate that point also). I think they DO prepare the horses for XC. But if that is ALL they do, then I can also see why someone might say they are expendable as part of the formal competition. The RIDERS should be preparing their horses for XC whether or not the A, B, and C phases exist. The rules of a competition usually are concerned with discriminating between competitors--the way that competitors choose to prepare for the competition are normally left up to them. Phases A, B, and C are unsupportable as regimented warmups, but could be supported if they are bone fide competitive elements. It would be like telling baseball players that a relief pitcher has to throw a particular number of warmup pitches. It might help him get ready, but the only pitches that matter are the ones he throws at the opposing team.


"The first 20 miles of a marathon don't "enter the scoring". But without those first 20 miles, it ISN'T a marathon. "

I believe that this is exactly the intended purpose of phases A, B, and C. But the first 20 miles of a marathon are not classified as a separate phase of the competition. This is a real problem for eventers, because of the notion that tired horses are more likely to incur injuries during the XC phase. The first 20 miles of a marathon make the last 6-odd miles harder (see above). I think if it was all on the flat, we wouldn't be having a problem. The big bugaboo is wearing horses down and then making them jump. The whole idea of the three day event is to find the horse who can do it. But this might mean that a competitor with a less-prepared horse might end up failing in a spectacular fashion that makes outsiders brand eventers as barbarians. As long as the emphasis is both on endurance and jumping this will remain an issue, and the participants need to know how to address it.

tle
Jan. 15, 2005, 07:12 AM
I like Janet's description, but if you need "more" of a reason for A B and C, please go back and read my post again. it's called Speed and Endurance for a reason.

As for...
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>As long as the emphasis is both on endurance and jumping this will remain an issue, and the participants need to know how to address it. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
If I read this correctly, the answer would be Duh... and they's been "addressing" the question for 55 years now. And even then the question has been slowly getting easier.

Natural... it's not like ABC has just suddenly appeared and no one is prepared. There are plenty of books with written descriptions of how to "address" the question of endurance, jumping AND speed. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif There are plenty of coaches and trainers who have competed in tons of events where they had to address these questions (at least there are currently... who knows what will happen in the future).

I'm not sure I see your point now if you remember that all 4 phases 1) DO count towards a score and 2) HAVE been "addressed" for decades now.

asterix
Jan. 15, 2005, 07:47 AM
Had an interesting conversation with my trainer, a 4* rider, and another student of hers, who did the T3D at Waredaca this fall...my trainer asked (rhetorically, of course) "What did steeplechase do for your horse?" Her student said "It was amazing -- we went on to do the best, easiest xc ride of our lives. It completely changed how she ran and jumped."

My trainer has said several times that one of the critical aspects of the * and **s for up and coming riders is to teach horse and rider both how to really run and jump in a way that they will need to move up the levels. Now, it's possible that we could keep the * and **s for this "educational" purpose, and lose the long-format above that.

But among the many absurdities of having a sport with a difficulty "bulge" in the middle and not the top of competitive levels, this will lead in 10 years to a complete LACK of knowledge on preparing and riding long formats at any level...yet the "run and jump" skill set will remain critical -- you don't have to be an FEI official to see how this will lead to safety and performance problems.

And to the argument that you can "prepare" or practice or warmup in an equivalent way to the current formal A, B, C...
um, sorry, this makes no sense to me. Even at Training it's apparent that practicing NEVER reproduces, for either horse or rider, the conditions of a formal competition -- some things are easier, and some are harder. And where will you go to practice or "warmup" using R&T and steeplechase if no one is offering these phases?

And last, but not least, the argument that those phases don't change standings will be news to my trainer, who just missed a top 20 finish at Rolex this year (long format) because she forgot about a last-minute change in the steeplechase finish -- it cost her time penalties. One of the most amazing things about this sport is the incredible degree of precision, calculation, and mental acuity you have to display during the most "hell bent" adrenaline portion of the competition. To lose that WOULD be to dumb it down, quite literally.

Gry2Yng
Jan. 15, 2005, 05:15 PM
Let's start out with the fact that I had a nice little dressage school (totally on the muscle after two days off due to temps below 10 degrees) and several glasses of wine.

There is NOTHING and I repeat NOTHING like riding a full three day. For those who have not ridden one, training level or advanced, there is NOTHING like it. Whether Phase C counts in the scoring or not, it ROCKS. Having all your friends there to prep your horse in the 10 minute box ROCKS. There is so much mediocrity in this world and so little that is truly inspirational.

(Please forgive my typos. It is Saturday Night and my Husband and I are cooking and drinking and dancing in the kitchen.)

Every human being should have the experience of the three day. Being completely in sync with another species. Running and jumping. I will take it at the two star level, just let me keep it. Let me teach my children what it means to work the 10 minute box. Heck, I enjoy teaching other peoples's children, but I would really like to do what our friend Patte Clement did. I would like to ride out at a three day, with my daughters (or sons) and pass them on Phases A and C.
I have paid for plane tickets and hotel rooms to have my best friends in the 10 minute box at a three day. If you haven't ridden one, you can't know what you are giving up. Can we PLEASE stop arguing about whether it is cruel. Can we just please try to save it, at any level.

As I was driving home from the barn today I was thinking about those who don't care if the full format disappears and I thought about freedom of speech (how do you spell that word, it looks wrong both ways). If you never want to read Clockwork Orange or Animal Farm or Catcher in the Rye then don't. But do you want burn books? I doubt it.

If you haven't done the full format, be careful before you throw it out with the bath water. This country is in grave danger of losing what makes it great and so is this sport.

If you can't ride at the preliminary level, groom at a three day. Groom at the training level educational three days. I guarantee you will never be the same. It isn't about penalty points. It is about things I cannot even put into words. It is about the open space that disappears every day. It is about rising to the occasion, against impossible odds.

Before you criticize the "pounding", hold the reins of a three day horse at the end of Phase D. Feel the power and the pride of the animal. Hug the rider. Just try to talk to the rider. He/she is often incomprehensible. Push harder, be stronger, love and own the horses that can do the same. It is about heart. Anything less is "all hat and no cattle". Good god, just desire greatness. The three day, at any level, is greatness, in both horse and rider.

Emstah
Jan. 15, 2005, 05:41 PM
Gry2Yng

You have reinspired me. I was starting to lose faith through all of this. You also allowed me to have a good cry and to think back on my first three-day which was exactly how you described. Thank you.

Pol
Jan. 16, 2005, 09:17 AM
Gry. Emstah called me this morning. (I am her mother and I do take some credit for her 3-day passion http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif) She was on her way to ride her 5 year old TB. Her goal with this baby horse is to one day compete him at Badminton. Will it still be a full format in 5 years?
Anyhow, Em said I had to read your latest post and she was right. Your love-music-wine-inspired prose are enlightening and heart-rending. Thank you for my Sunday morning sob. You hit the nail right on the head. The 'power and pride' in the face of a 3-day horse are proof positive that we must keep this thing going. It IS all about heart, in horse and rider.

Sannois
Jan. 16, 2005, 10:21 AM
Grey you are awesome!!! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif I just printed what you wrote. They are wonderful words to always remember about this great sport!
And although the closest I have ever been to a 4 star horse is at the ropes in Kentucky while it is thundering past. And the way those horses look thru those bridles... No one could ever doubt those animals LOVE it! Thank you for the goosebumps and happy tears! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sadsmile.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Gnep
Jan. 16, 2005, 12:12 PM
I don't understand the question : does not make steepelchase X-C tougher.
A 3Day is supposed to be tough, Endurance Day should be a selection proces that tests the horse and the rider, gets rid of the weak and bad prepared.
It should take that special horse, who are able to dig in real deep and keep on going when the others quit. Iron hard SOBs.

But sadly those times are over now we win them in Dressage and loose them in Stadium.

EventerAJ
Jan. 16, 2005, 02:00 PM
Gry-- wow. You just put into words what EVERY three-day competitor feels. It's so hard to convey, but you did it. I can't count how many people just "don't know" what it's like, can't understand the important difference between 3-day and horse trial. Heck, I didn't know much difference either, until I completed my first one-star.

I have had many great, clean cross-country runs at prelim horse trials. I had a stop at both one-stars. But even less than perfect, those were BY FAR the best rides I've ever had. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Gry2Yng
Jan. 16, 2005, 03:31 PM
You guys are so sweet. I am glad my words meant something to you. I woke up at 2am and thought "Good G**, what a drunken sob story. I must delete that post in the morning."

In addition to riding, I have also groomed/10 minute boxed at Rolex, Radnor, and VA CCI and two NAYRC's. This spring I hope to groom at VA and Jersey Fresh. I love grooming as much as I love riding, especially for those first time horses and riders. What a thrill, both the horses and the riders are puffed up with so much pride. The love and mutual respect that is exchanged between a 19 year old kid and his/her first three day horse is incredible.

GotSpots
Jan. 16, 2005, 03:57 PM
Gry, as one who has been honored to have you standing in the box and back in stabling for us, I can say only this: you said it right.

DizzyMagic
Jan. 16, 2005, 07:08 PM
Gry2Yng - Oh, yes!!! Well said!

Emily

annikak
Jan. 17, 2005, 11:47 AM
Gry2yng- here here! Well said, and drink away!  He**, I had that same feeling at the TR level 3-day!! And how great is that?? I know the horses were proud- much like me, they did not care it was not Rolex- they felt good ‘cuz they had done it! It is by far the best feeling I have ever had riding. (Watch out for me at the end of the “*”- I may need medical attention!)

I did not have a family that was horsey, and was in a single parent family, so needless to say, I did not get to ride as a kid very much. The Park district classes in IL were my start. But I read and read and read, I always knew that if I got to ever ride for real, I would event. SO- my poor dog- she did it all, R and T, Steeplechase, and finally did XC- I am sure that everyone passed our house and wondered….When I ran track in school, I was on R and T, and hurdles were either steeplechase or XC. And the USCTA book of Eventing- my dreams were born there!

So, now, as an..ahem… an almost 43 yo, I finally have a horse that might make it to the “*”. So, I am firmly on the side of the long format. But I wonder…since the reigning princess of eventing (this is not said in a derogatory manner at all) has publicly come out in favor of the short format, maybe we need to concentrate on keeping the long format for the “*” and “**”. Since I started riding “for real” 8 years ago, as much as I dream about doing Rolex, it really is just that. A dream- reality sets in- I am 43, we are just finally at prelim level, I have kids, a lovely husband that I enjoy, 10 horses that need mucking and numerous other animals…. (the houseplants do NOT live for a long time…..) and therefore, do the absolute best I can, and have a lot of support from the aforementioned family members, but time is pretty tough. The goal, long range… http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif for me is the “**”. I truly hope its there for me to do.

There are a lot of rumblings out there about this issue. The main one is money. We all want our personal land to appreciate in value, however, with the rising land costs- the land has become so expensive that having enough land to use for a full “***” is tough. Running a full 3-day is expensive. The land has to be prepared – then footing has to be maintained (otherwise people B*&^% about the footing) That is some persons effort and time, therefore some bodies money. Then running the actual events- jump judges have to have those lunches and perks- if you can get enough JJ’s given the already depleted volunteer base. Have we even touched on insurance? If Denis G is here, can you comment???

The obvious answer is a large area already “horsey” that own the land, and already have their ducks in order. I only know the venues on this side of the US… but …The KHP is one great place. The VaHP is having its monetary issues, but should the fairy godmother come along, its also a great place for a full format. . Fairhill? Terrific- but money has to come into play, there, too. Interesting there, too, that they did not have enough entries for the full format. Now, that has to speak volumes- I know not all of those that entered the short format think that they might make the team and are under the watchful eye of CMP….and I know others that were crushed that they only ran short format. But the fact remains; there were not enough “***” riders to warrant holding the full format. I have not seen any other sites, but you know that they must be wondering about the bottom line, too.

Already, there are folks that have commented on the rising costs of entries- face it, costs are going to go up. No way out of that- it’s like a lot of things these days- you want something, but at the sacrifice of other things.
I agree with Denny- we cannot create a civil war here- too much destruction in place of progress. So, if we really look at it, given that the times they are a changin’, perhaps we had really support those events and organizers that are willing to put forth the effort, and money to hold the full format events. And maybe (I do hate saying this, really I do) realize that we don’t currently have ULR'ers that are willing to put in whatever it takes to ridee the full format at the “***” level. Not that they can't- I believe that they are all amazing riders-

Here is a thought- what about working on keeping the “****” level? Seems as if “****” organizers are willing and want to preserve the sport at that level. Since the Olympics are essentially a “***”, is this viable? So the “****” remains the pinnacle of this sport we all obviously love so much. I am not sure if this is possible, but since the “****” are few and far between, maybe supporting those events fully is the way to go? Then, the ULR can run their horses, continue to make the money they need to make-it is their job and livelihood, for goodness sakes. But that being said- I don’t know- I am a bit worried about the future, the Fairhill event, Kim, Darren and Amy coming out in favor of the short format (I was kind of surprised at Amy- I bet Nina F wants the long format with Beans!) – do we have any ULR that are vying for a place on the team that want the full format at the “***”?
http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

deltawave
Jan. 17, 2005, 12:06 PM
I just wonder what place the CCI**** will have in the future--say in 10 years--when nobody is left who's ever done a CCI***, and the CCI**** is a "freak show" for only the super elite? Who will ride in the CCI****s of the future if the only "proving grounds" are the CCI**s? That is one BIG leap up. If the sport is going to keep the CCI**** only as a "novelty", and there are no horses or riders coming down the pipeline that are prepared for it by DOING tough, long-format events, that "novelty" is going to turn into a bloodbath eventually.

I would think that a long format event at the highest levels ought to be a natural progression for a horse/rider who have proven themselves at not only Advanced Horse Trials, but also at a CCI*** or two. Say you have an Advanced horse and want to run Badminton. Without any CCI*** events, how does one prepare and find out if the horse "has what it takes"? Drop back to the CCI**? Short format CII****? Lots of Advanced HT?

It would seem the loss of any CCI would leave a huge gap in the progression. Sadly, the only one that makes sense to "drop" would be the 4-star, not the 3-star, and I hope to God that never, ever happens. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif

annikak
Jan. 17, 2005, 12:34 PM
I understand what you are saying, Lynn. But since we are here, what can we do about it? I think that a combination of all that you mentioned will be needed to prepare for the ****. Since they (the riders and horses)have already run a **, the steeplechase is not that different between the**, *** and the ****. The courses at the HT level are going to get more complex, so preparing for the **** seems like it would be in place for the training of the XC in an Advanced HT. The rest, stadium and dressage are harder, again, the prep would be there, pretty much the same as the training now.
The real difference is the conditioning, as I see it. It would be the absolute top- best of the best. Like the really “destination” endurance races- you will know if you can do it by doing it. How can you know if you can do it by any thing other then doing it?? No other way as I see it. Back to the marathon issue- I can train, I can do everything possible to assure that I am in the best shape possible, but I will never REALLY know until I hit 26 m 383 yards. I know I can make those last 6 feet- even if I fall! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif
I know safety issues will arise, and I will leave that issue up to those “that know”. I don’t because I have never done it. I hate the thought of a bloodbath (no one wants that and the suggestion is frightning)
I think that we have somewhat limited resources, concentrating in an area we might make an impression (Everyone- go to Rolex!) might help. Just an idea…. Not eliminate the possibility of a ***, but the focus being on the ****. Take this amazing amount of energy and focus in an area that we truly can help. Like Denny has said, a civil war will not help the cause- too much distruction in place of progress. And since we have a great deal of our ULR'ers in favor of the short format, somehow we have to get to some common ground.

Robby Johnson
Jan. 17, 2005, 01:04 PM
Gry,

I have paid my own way to go to several three-days to groom for a friend. There is something to be said about the process that is so addictive!

Robby

frugalannie
Jan. 17, 2005, 03:58 PM
Although my brain is half frozen, I was wondering if a slightly edited version of Gry2Yng's wonderful post could/should be featured on the ST3D website. I gather from the Rolex thread that the idea is to send people to the website. I think Gry2Yng's post would be a fabulous, personal view of what the full format offers.

And I was just thinking to edit the drinking and dancing part, although I believe it just adds to the charm!

wanderlust
Jan. 17, 2005, 06:31 PM
Had some thoughts about this the other day that nicely piggyback off annikak and Lynn's posts.

First, regarding the land issue that annikak cited... it is, IMHO, a cop-out. If an event has the land to run a full * and **, it has the land to run a full ***. In fact, there is a new facility in CA, of all places, that was built with the intention of running full three-day events through *** (or so I've been told). The problem is that there is already a 3-day in CA, and there probably aren't enough riders to fill spots and justify running 3-days at both venues.

On to Lynn's comment about what happens to the CCI**** if there isn't a CCI***. It struck me yesterday that if things continue how they are, at this time next year, the Modified *** may well be the pinnacle of the sport. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif I don't think there is any way to keep the full **** alive if there isn't a full *** to prep for it, and it doesn't appear that there will be. Without that preparation, how many folks will actually enter a full-format Rolex? Not many. Which means that there won't be a Rolex, either full-format OR modified. I think this may well follow suit at many of the other **** sites as well. They may run a couple disastrous years of modified ****, but I can't see it continuing on. And now that the Olympics are ***, and WEG is a modified and run by the FEI/Infanta, I give it 2 or 3 years until IT is a modified *** as well.

The worst possible outcome I see for all this is the elimination of the 3-day at the 1 and 2 star level. And the reasoning they'll use will be sooooo simple: "Well, there's no full 3-day at the *** and **** level, so why on earth would we bother to run them at the * and ** levels? It isn't like anyone will does steeplechase and R/T at WEG or the Olympics, so why on earth would we do it at levels below those?"

I don't think the ULRs who jumped ship on the traditional 3-day at the *** and **** levels have any idea what a slippery slope it is to no 3-days AT ALL. AT ANY LEVEL. Don't believe me? Read the transcript from the 2002 post-Rolex meeting regarding how to keep eventing in the Olympics... the big talk was reducing steeplechase speed/time. In less than 2 years, they went from that to completely eliminating R/T AND steeplechase. I don't think it is a stretch to think they could do away with the full 3-day at all levels.

annikak
Jan. 17, 2005, 07:18 PM
Wanderlust-
the olympics are already a modified format- hence the prep that CMP has said is the prep needed. Rolex ran the mod format because of the olympics. So, thats a foregone conclusion. Its happened. So, my point is...what from here???

You said...
The worst possible outcome I see for all this is the elimination of the 3-day at the 1 and 2 star level. And the reasoning they'll use will be sooooo simple: "Well, there's no full 3-day at the *** and **** level, so why on earth would we bother to run them at the * and ** levels? It isn't like anyone will does steeplechase and R/T at WEG or the Olympics, so why on earth would we do it at levels below those?"

This voices what I fear too.

But, I do NOT think that the land issue is a cop-out. Land is getting very expensive, built up and not available for riders. It is a very real issue that riders are facing. The ring is fine, I suppose, but...land. But thats another post. And I agree that the *** and **** take as much land- no argument there.
However, maybe we need to concentrate on saving the ****'s that we have- maybe Rolex can go back to having the full format ***? Because we already have such support from the organizers of these events, and they already have the venue, we need to fully support them. They already have the land, they have the history, and they need/deserve our support. Hopefully then the events do not enter into the situation that Rolex found itself in- in 2 years, changing that much. ( I do believe you! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif) But to credit them, where the credit it due- they did run the full format too...in spite of what I can assume is a great deal of politics.

I really do not think that we will lose the * and **'s. There are too many of us riding at that level who want it- and we can/are vocal. Its the *** and the **** that do not have the support of those that are riding at that level...again, as shown by Fairhill. I do not think that the entries at the * and ** have slowed down- iirc, entries at these levels were up last year.

Please know, I wear my support the 3 day sweats, I am fully in support, but since this thread started as "what if we are wrong, I think it all deserves thought and consideration.

RunForIt
Jan. 17, 2005, 07:35 PM
And to piggyback a bit more - what happens to those folks - amateurs and pros alike - who get to run 1*s and 2**s long format, do they then just say, oh great, now I "get" to "save my horse" and do short format 3-day eventing?...the whole scenario seems bizarre.

wanderlust
Jan. 17, 2005, 07:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by annikak:
Wanderlust-
the olympics are already a modified format- hence the prep that CMP has said is the prep needed. Rolex ran the mod format because of the olympics. So, thats a foregone conclusion. Its happened. So, my point is...what from here?? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> I know the Olympics are modified- my point is that WEG are now modified, and IMHO likely to follow the lead of the Olympics and become a *** so the FEI can be "inclusive". As far as Rolex, Janie Atkinson has said she will not run it modified again- it will be full or nothing. Not sure what you meant by "foregone conclusion"...

yes, teacher2nd, it is bizarre. Again, why make it more difficult at the * and ** level, and remove that speed/endurance difficulty at the top of the sport? Just odd.

annikak
Jan. 17, 2005, 08:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by wanderlust:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by annikak:
Wanderlust-
the olympics are already a modified format- hence the prep that CMP has said is the prep needed. Rolex ran the mod format because of the olympics. So, thats a foregone conclusion. Its happened. So, my point is...what from here?? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> I know the Olympics are modified- my point is that WEG are now modified, and IMHO likely to follow the lead of the Olympics and become a *** so the FEI can be "inclusive". As far as Rolex, Janie Atkinson has said she will not run it modified again- it will be full or nothing. Not sure what you meant by "foregone conclusion"...

OOPS Sorry!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_redface.gif I mistyped- the Olympics are a foregone concluision- Not Rolex- I mean that we need to support her and her crew, because they are so in favor of the full format. I am so glad that they have stated their position. I believe that Badminton has, also. But the *** organizers are the ones that are not as "in favor" because they do not have the entries. (back to $$) I so very badly hope/pray that the WEG's do not become a ***, its bad enough that they are modified. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

And teacher2nd, I am sorry yo think my scenario seems bizarre- however, I think losing the full format seemed bizarre. and yet, here we are. imho, it sucks.

How many of us are there who get to the ** and then will make the *** our next realistic goal? Aren't there a great deal more riders that are apt to make the * and ** their goal rather then the ***? And if that is so, lets not lose the * and ** because we are not seeing the forest for the trees.

Again, I will add...I want the full format in all levels. Maybe having teenagers makes me aware that we have to look at all sides, because this is a multi-facited issue. I do not want to argue about any of this, but do want to find something that works well enough that it can actually happen. I think we need to come up with a solution that we can (mostly) agree upon, and then state our solid, financial case. We need to come up with something concrete that we want, and then, united, come to the forefront and make our case. Whining gets ignored in the long run. People will get tired of listening to the same old story- we must come up with solutions.

RunForIt
Jan. 17, 2005, 08:37 PM
Annikak, its not YOUR scenario that I find bizarre, its the reality of amateurs and others developing themselves and a horse up through the levels into legitimate 1* and 2** horses and riders, only then to face having nowhere to go but the short format. To me, that's not exactly the next step UP on the ladder - and to think that someone could work that hard, and have the short format 4**** as the next goal - yep, to me, that's bizarre.

annikak
Jan. 17, 2005, 08:41 PM
I agree- at least we noticed before it all vanished. Hopefully that will help us fight this "trend".

Gry2Yng
Jan. 19, 2005, 06:45 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by teacher2nd:
Annikak, its not YOUR scenario that I find bizarre, its the reality of amateurs and others developing themselves and a horse up through the levels into legitimate 1* and 2** horses and riders, only then to face having nowhere to go but the short format. To me, that's not exactly the next step UP on the ladder - and to think that someone could work that hard, and have the short format 4**** as the next goal - yep, to me, that's bizarre. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think you hit on one of the interesting questions. I would love to hear what other riders who have completed a two star think. Are you going to enter a modified three star?

Last year I walked the Rolex course with Jim Graham and asked him how you *know* your horse is ready to move up to the four star - as there are no "extra special advanced horse trials" to use to make that determination. Jim said that you have to judge your horse's readiness for a four star based on his three star performances. I don't know if this answer continues to apply if the formats are different.

Janet
Jan. 19, 2005, 07:45 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> As far as Rolex, Janie Atkinson has said she will not run it modified again <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> IIRC(If I remember correctly), she said something SLIGHTLY different at the USEA meeting. She said that there MIGHT be circumstances when it would make sense for Rolex to run a second division under modified format- for instance in an Olympic year- but that SHE would not be running it.

Lionheart
Jan. 21, 2005, 03:41 PM
The Natural - R&T and Steeplechase do have an impact on scoring. I remember maybe 2 years ago at Rolex David O'Connor getting eliminated on Phase C with Tigger Too because he did not pass thru the flags. THAT certainly had an impact on him. I do think that R&T & Steeplechase do have an impact... If your horse isnt on the top of his game, he's going to be spent before the end of the competition. You're not going to make your times, you may incur penalties for refusals, might have to take the long options...

Remember, this was about Endurance.

Ok, back to reading... 2 more pages to go.