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View Full Version : What Happened at Inavale? (XC)



ens0613
Jun. 26, 2010, 01:47 AM
I was just looking at StartBox (http://eventingscores.com/eventsr/inavale/ht0610/) and saw an inordinate number of refusals, eliminations, and rider falls in the Novice and Beginner Novice divisions, especially around Fences 10/11 and 15.

Does anyone know what happened up there? I think it's so unusual and unsafe to have FOURTEEN rider falls and NINETEEN eliminations (not including TEs) over two levels :eek: Anyone have the inside scoop?

cwill
Jun. 27, 2010, 12:49 AM
I'm probably not the best person to answer because I wasn't riding but I was there and had friends riding. On Novice, fence 11 was a trakenhor that caused a ton of refusals and fence 15 was a ditch. I don't really know what happened for BN ( I was warmup steward for dressage while it was going). I only watched a few training rides go (I was mostly back at parking) but kept hearing about the carnage. The few rides I did watch the water complex, trakenhor, and ditch all caused a few problems.

On a somewhat related note, I heard through the rumor mill while at the event that the one fall rule might not apply to the lower levels anymore and that there is data analysis that supports this. I can't find it online- can anyone tell me where I might find the data analysis. I'd be curious to see it.

JER
Jun. 27, 2010, 02:11 AM
On a somewhat related note, I heard through the rumor mill while at the event that the one fall rule might not apply to the lower levels anymore and that there is data analysis that supports this. I can't find it online- can anyone tell me where I might find the data analysis. I'd be curious to see it.

British Eventing rejected the one-fall rule (http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/264714.html) on the basis of data they'd collected.

This previous thread (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=215418) has a rather spirited discussion of the rule and the data behind it.

cwill
Jun. 27, 2010, 03:10 AM
Thanks, I searched earlier today and read through the thread you have linked. I was just wondering if any more detailed stats about falls had been made available.:)

retreadeventer
Jun. 27, 2010, 09:16 AM
Course designer listed for this event is Tremaine Cooper.

I took a look at the results. The open divisions seemed to fare better. This would stand to reason since it looks as if open competitors may have mostly been more experienced riders, i.e., trainers, or possibly more experienced horses.

With regard to the obstacles....not there, no idea what the problem was -- but here's my general take: (bear in mind I am on a course design warpath, as many of you well know and are quite sick of, I am sure...)

Ditches, trakehners are acceptable fence designs for these divisions. However, we all know (or should know) that in creating courses and course design, the clever designer can make a jump of seemingly small size tremendously difficult just based on placement and circumstances. (Downhill, uphill, on a turn, into or out of a dark to light approach, etc.)

Course design; course design; course design. Know how horses see jumps, even at the very lowest levels, false ground lines and weird approaches make things very difficult. ALL riders need education in course design! (OMG, she's sounding like a broken record...)

BN, N are INTRODUCTORY IN NATURE and need to leave riders and horses with a positive experience, guiding them in the right direction as they compete, so that the end result is confidence building and educational; "what did I learn over that jump, and what did I find out about my horse today on that course?" Not a survival of the fittest or extreme riding test. Just sayin'.

(One thing that bothers me -- sometimes what is listed in the omnibus is not what actually ends up being the personnel at the event, and they aren't required to post that in a public way. You end up going to the event and finding out the judges listed weren't the ones who actually judged you, or whatever. I wish that when they hire officials they must update the USEA omnibus page online with their names.)

asterix
Jun. 27, 2010, 10:25 AM
I haven't seen the course in question but I have ridden novice, training, and prelim courses by Tremaine Cooper here in Area II.

They have always been among the MOST horse-friendly courses I have seen. They begin with open, inviting fences building in size, then introduce more technical questions gradually. They are not tricky or deceptive for the horses. They can, however, be on the big side.

Speaking as someone who hates trakheners and has a ditchy horse, those can be very intimidating to the rider without being technically difficult. A pro rider can ride down to a novice trak on a green horse with a confident, forward ride. If you are riding down thinking "yikes".....

Atigirl
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:02 AM
This is why I wish that the omnibus would not just put in the phrase "average of horses with some experience at this level". I have competed at Inavale before, and this trakhener must be new. I do believe that at the novice level, if you are going to put in a fence like that it should be VERY inviting to both horse and rider and/or you should have an option. What if you have never introduced that type of fence to your horse? I don't think at a competition especially at the BN/N level should be the first time you and your horse see a specific type of fence. I saw a mini one at Happs one year, and the TD had them put in an extra log as a bigger ground line. It was still a trakhener, but not as airy and rode really well and gave both horse and rider positive experiences with this type of fence.
JMO

retreadeventer
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:59 AM
I haven't seen the course in question but I have ridden novice, training, and prelim courses by Tremaine Cooper here in Area II.

They have always been among the MOST horse-friendly courses I have seen. They begin with open, inviting fences building in size, then introduce more technical questions gradually. They are not tricky or deceptive for the horses. They can, however, be on the big side.

Speaking as someone who hates trakheners and has a ditchy horse, those can be very intimidating to the rider without being technically difficult. A pro rider can ride down to a novice trak on a green horse with a confident, forward ride. If you are riding down thinking "yikes".....

Similar sentiment, Asterix. That is why I wonder what happened. There must have been a disconnect somewhere between what was designed or envisioned and what ended up being the actual question? Something.

And you know, sometimes, there is no real answer, just a series of horses and riders unprepared or making mistakes. I'm one of those, so I know how it goes! (And the reason I feel a responsibility as an eventer to educate myself on course design so that I don't unfairly ask my horse to do something he can't figure out or understand.)

ens0613
Jun. 27, 2010, 12:27 PM
I just heard from a friend at Inavale that the trakehner on the Novice XC course *used* to be on the Training course, but was moved down to the Novice because it was just small enough.

I also heard that the ditch at 15 was a "big-a$$" ditch in the middle of nowhere, so caught a lot of horses by surprise.

On the Training course, anyone know what jumps #6-8 were? Those had a TON of stops/rider falls/eliminations...

cwill
Jun. 27, 2010, 01:16 PM
On training, fence 7 was the water complex and fence 8 was the trakehner. There were some ugly rides through there. I've schooled fence 15 (ditch) before and if I'm remembering correctly it a down hill, ditch, up hill to go out, if that makes sense.

JER
Jun. 27, 2010, 01:34 PM
Never mind the jumps -- what's with all the time faults at BN?

Time faults, in horses who jump clean, at BN? :eek:

This is not a way to encourage safe riding. It is never safe to go at speed over small fences.

cwill
Jun. 27, 2010, 01:40 PM
This is just a guess regarding time faults at BN, but there was a mandatory water crossing on course that a few horses took their time deciding to go in.

WishIWereRiding
Jun. 27, 2010, 06:07 PM
Never mind the jumps -- what's with all the time faults at BN?

Time faults, in horses who jump clean, at BN? :eek:

This is not a way to encourage safe riding. It is never safe to go at speed over small fences.

I think they are time faults, as in over optimum time, not speed faults.

myLittleArabPony
Jun. 28, 2010, 11:33 AM
I just heard from a friend at Inavale that the trakehner on the Novice XC course *used* to be on the Training course, but was moved down to the Novice because it was just small enough.

I also heard that the ditch at 15 was a "big-a$$" ditch in the middle of nowhere, so caught a lot of horses by surprise.

On the Training course, anyone know what jumps #6-8 were? Those had a TON of stops/rider falls/eliminations...

Nope, the trakehner was a new fence. It was smaller than the training trakehner and had a "ground line" log in front of it - pretty inviting, but a trakehner none the less.

Here's a pic. Novice trak on left, training on right. Looking down at it slightly since there's a small slope down to it.

InavaleTrak (http://i427.photobucket.com/albums/pp358/MyLittleArabPony/Inavale%20HT%202010/trak.jpg)

catmchorse
Jun. 28, 2010, 11:59 AM
Nope, the trakehner was a new fence. It was smaller than the training trakehner and had a "ground line" log in front of it - pretty inviting, but a trakehner none the less.

The N trakehner was indeed a new fence, Novice-height, and with a log ground line. You had a long approach to the trakehner and a slight uphill landing. It looked very inviting to me, but trakehners have always looked inviting to me, and I know I heard a lot of N riders worrying about it.

The N ditch was at the end of a long downhill - I let my mare trot down that hill because her canter needs work and I didn't want to have to worry about making her 'sit' down the hill. We've schooled at Inavale before, so maybe it was easier because my mare knew the ditch was there. I wouldn't call the ditch huge, though. Maybe three feet across, with the landing side just a bit lower than the takeoff side. I think it's revetted on the takeoff side, or at least it has a small log sort of set into the ground, and the landing side is natural.

I was surprised at how forward I had to ride to make the time, given that the speed was supposed to be 375. I wasn't chasing or anything, but I got a little gallop going on some of the longer stretches between fences. I had two moments of trotting (through the water and down one hill) and some moments of pretty forward, and ended up hitting OT.

I think overall it was definitely a tough course. There was also a big brushed fence in the woods off a turn, inviting in that you had room to approach and it was ramped, but it looked a bit intimidating. In my division, almost half were eliminated on XC, but the other half tended to have only time penalties (I think there was one stop). It was a pretty sharp contrast.

I decided to be contrary and went double-clear on a very tough XC but got 3 refusals in Stadium :D At least SJ is easier to work on at home...

Outyougo
Jun. 28, 2010, 02:16 PM
The course at Inavale was good and challenging especially at the lower levels. there a lot of terrain changes at Inavale

The course designer took good advantage of those changes. the issues at the Novice Trak were preceded by the bank and water complex. If riders looked down into the water (counting frogs?) they tended to have issues at the trak (frog hunting again). The "open ditch" has been on the BN course for years and always gets a fair number of stops.

With a record year for rain the footing on Friday was soft and sticky riders who picked and lost position has issues.

The whole crew at the event did a great job!

JER
Jun. 28, 2010, 02:29 PM
I think they are time faults, as in over optimum time, not speed faults.

I didn't think they were speed faults.

A BN course should be measured and timed generously enough for a green horse/rider to get around steadily and safely. This might include walking or trotting through the water and trotting a fence or two.

What you don't want is green riders too focused on making the time, thinking they have to gallop or rush along or try to make up time. BN is not, in terms of the sport of eventing, an end in itself; it's an introductory level.

leilatigress
Jun. 28, 2010, 02:40 PM
This is just a guess regarding time faults at BN, but there was a mandatory water crossing on course that a few horses took their time deciding to go in.
Read through this thinking about a gelding at the barn that tried XC this weekend. Rider got the boy to the water and he leaped in like it was Christmas. However he was not keen on coming OUT of the water. He's the one standing in the water trough out in the pasture and making mud holes out of puddles.

secretariat
Jun. 28, 2010, 03:53 PM
Tremaine is one of our most experienced course designers. My experience with his courses teaches that they are usually fully up to level (not gimmes) but very fair, and that they build as they go around the course. He's emphatic about not "trapping" horses, rather making the jumps flow together.

Reading between the lines, I suspect the new course and designer caught a few horses a ditch school or two away from being competitive.

caevent
Jun. 29, 2010, 12:02 AM
Just got back from Inavale and I absolutely LOVED the courses!!! :yes: It was the most forward, old-fashioned, simple, and BIG course I've seen in awhile. Nothing overly technical, but absolutely demanded that riders came out of the box kicking and riding defensively. So anyone who tipped forward, picked, looked down, rode backwards, etc. was definitely going to have problems. I think that the majority of the problems at training and below exposed the fact that most people out there are not truly learning to ride cross country. This was not a gallop-then-showjump course. Very horse-friendly, but the riders who got psyched out by looking down at a ditch or scared by some brush were penalized.

The only thing that I do think should be amended is the way xc courses are described in the omnibus. I think competitors would be helped by knowing that the max heights and widths WOULD be used, although with technically simple design.

Can't wait to go back! :D

PhoenixFarm
Jun. 29, 2010, 12:16 AM
We were at Inavale this weekend, and my students fell victim to the cross country difficulties, though my BN horse went great and finished 3rd.

First let me say that we had a lovely time, and it's a lovely facility and group of people who organize it. We had a fun time, despite disappointments.

I had a BN horse I was riding, a N junior, and two T juniors. My BN horse was doing his second event, the N junior it's her third Novice on my old Prelim horse, and the two T junors, one is new to the level, and one is more experienced, but both pairs have near perfect cross country records to this point.

When I look at why the three of them ended with a letter instead of a number, I can see mistakes they made that contributed to it. They are kids, and they are all working to rectify bad habits. One training kid pretty much talked herself out of making it over the trakehner on wednesday, the other girl, who I pretty much only see at shows, has a hand issue we are trying to fix, that can interfere with the horse, and the Novice kid has a tendency to lean and take her leg off. All typical bad habits we work on daily, with slow progress being made.

However, what made this weekend different is that there was SOMETHING, or several somethings, a perfect storm of somethings, which prevented the horses, in this case three experienced, well trained horses, from helping their riders when they made a mistake--something they've done willingly and easily in the past. And that was the part that left us scratching our heads.

In the training, something was dreadfully wrong at the water, and heck if I know what it was. I watched most of the divisions go through, and it was stop, runout, fall, elimination city. You jumped up a slightly rounded top bank, then dropped off the other side in to the pond. Something was causing the horses to have a terrible time reading it, and the even the majority of people who made it in, had an ugly, ugly ride there. They then went straight the the trakehner, which was shared with prelim, so there was no fence to kind of get them back together before attempting another hard question. They all seemed terribly spooked by something at the water's edge, and they all wanted to leap WAY out and to the right, even though the easy obvious out of the water was directly in front of them. We schooled after the event, and eventually got them all jumping well, but they were all seriously freaked out by something in the landing of the water, and they all (not just mine) wanted to drift right away from the opening in the air.

How hairy was it out there? One of my kids had her day end at the water, and as I was jogging across the field to meet her, I heard a horrible crash, and looked up to see someone crashing through the last fence and horse and rider on the ground, I heard gasping and looked up the hill and saw a horse being pulled up on three legs, and more gasping to see someone being eliminated at the keyhole fence in the trees. So in a four rider block, no one made it around. In my student's JR Training division, only six of the 15 starters finished cross country.

I will say it seemed to ride somewhat better, later, after the sun came out, but that coincided with the open divisions starting so it may or may not have been a light issue. I will also say, and this is not a criticism, jut an observation, that I saw a lot of what I would have penalized as a stop getting through penalty free during the later divisions. I imagine after watching person after person walk away in tears, the fence judges may have felt just a tad more generous as the day went on. Totally understandable, but the improving numbers don't really tell just how tough it rode, even for the pros. (In fact the only really nice rides I saw there, were put in by really good riders, on former advanced horses).

I thought the courses walked big and challenging but not trappy, but they rode TOUGH. You had to work for every fence but I was stunned by the number of problems they had.

So what was the problem? Talking to lots of other trainers, and officials, I think there were a lot of factors that came together on one unfortunate weekend. The 85-year record rains meant the ground was very different than it is normally, and I think it was a lot more holding to the horses than you would have thought. I think there is merit to the light issue. I think a big factor is that it is my understanding that Tremaine has never seen the courses ride, so while the questions were legitimate, their placement on the terrain there and they way they were arranged may not be ideal for that facility. One trainer who has an event at his farm said his CD insists on seeing he and his students test ride the course before he does his final design, because he thinks it's that important to see how the ground rides. There was also a lot of conversation about the width of the N and T fences, that given the spooky nature of the wooded environment, that some of the jump faces might have been a bit narrow for those levels in those conditions. Having ridden his courses in the east, I'm not sure you would peg this course as one of his typicals (of which I tend to be fond).

I will also say, that a lot of Californians attend this event, but it is a very different type of place than most of our CA venues. The woods, the light to dark questions, the terrain, the grass footing. It is a big change for a lot of riders and horses. I will also say that the woods made it VERY easy to get lost, so I suspect a lot of the time penalties you see are folks who got lost. I walked my BN course 3 times, to make sure I knew which paths in to the trees were mine.

Long story short, there was nothing obviously "wrong" it just. didn't. work. That being said, we plan to go back next year, we'll just do quite a bit more homework between now and then, and hope they re-do the Training water, because that was just weird.

Coeur*de*Cheval
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:15 PM
I rode in junior training at inavale this weekend and I agree with most of the above. I had a great ride into the water but I knew that my horse HAS problems with water (I fell off in the water at Aspen) so I cantered into the other water first and I had schooled drops into water the 3 days before Inavale. We made the inside turn in the water instead of going all the way around the mound so I think that it didn't allow my horse to get too strung out before the trakehner which we jumped with no problems. But we did have problems going into the coffin but that was all my fault- I didn't start preparing him in time and we were all over the place going into it. There were a lot of problems all the lower levels this weekend and I think that the height combined with the techincal questions really scared a lot of riders. One girl going preliminary in our barn was scared of fence 6 (ditch and wall I think) and was talking all weekend about how she thought her horse wouldn't jump it and well guess what? He didn't jump it but we have schooled huge ones at homeand it was all in her head!

Centerfield Farm
Jun. 30, 2010, 03:29 PM
The course rode great but was pretty max for every level. I can't agree more with JER about the time issue at the lower levels, *especially* BN. As it was, I felt I had to really kick around my green BN horse (who is 3/4TB) to make sure I didn't get time. I found showjumping to be even worse-- must have been wheeled really tightly. The toughest was a tight corner turn (coming toward the judges tent and crowd) with only a few strides to an in and out (two stride, three if you have a little looker like I do ;) which was a slightly downhill oxer to a vertical, followed by a bending line to an oxer. Really paid to be prepared for this show but even so, it was a LOT for any green horse to look at and figure out.

Our group did really well but everyone was very well prepared for the level that they rode and ready to move up. It's my understanding that this course is much harder than it used to be, years ago. Have to say that I think it's definitely the toughest BN course in our area.

TallyhoFarms
Jun. 30, 2010, 08:01 PM
A few fun inavale facts....
There were 391 riders at the start of the show.
99 riders were Eliminated (retired, withdrew, or fell off)
21 of those Eliminated fell off

I was there this weekend and I too fell victim to the Training drop into water, but I saved my drama until after the show :) I competed at Novice with my 4yr old and went clean xc (though had some time faults). The jumps were big (especially the trakhner for novice...the ditch was BIG underneath which psyched a lot of riders out).

Training water reminded me of the Woodside sj. No one is total sure what was getting the horses/riders there. I'm thinking loch ness monster?
My horse jumper it while schooling but rather than trying to jump into the water, she tries to go over it. The big jump unseated me and I now have 15 stitches in my hand. Got stepped on with the studded shoe :(

I agree the courses there were the toughest they've had but I feel ready for Montana!

BTW... I <3 Phoenix Farm

retreadeventer
Jun. 30, 2010, 11:12 PM
Does anyone know where pictures of the water obstacles are? Would like to see them to envision the descriptions. Thanks.

TallyhoFarms
Jun. 30, 2010, 11:37 PM
photos are at www.actiontaken.com

horseyfrk145
Jul. 1, 2010, 01:36 PM
What you don't want is green riders too focused on making the time, thinking they have to gallop or rush along or try to make up time. BN is not, in terms of the sport of eventing, an end in itself; it's an introductory level.

I totally agree with this. I haven't been to Invale, but where I am, almost everyone makes the time up through Training level.

In Britain, you are immediately eliminated if you run XC with a watch below Prelim. I think that rule may be a bit extreme, but I like the idea. At the introductory levels (BN/N), making time shouldn't be the big idea - the main focus should be having a safe, forward, positive ride. I've been to a few events where there weren't any OTs. It's a bit less organized, but I like the idea there. JMO.

Risk-Averse Rider
Jul. 1, 2010, 06:30 PM
In Britain, you are immediately eliminated if you run XC with a watch below Prelim.
Then how do you learn how to use your watch?

I agree that focusing on time at the lower levels is not a good thing, but I recall taking several schooling shows at BN before I actually remembered to start my watch!

CdnRider
Jul. 1, 2010, 08:03 PM
Last year wearing a watch became prohibited below training level in Canada. The idea is that you become comfortable with your ride and not worry about the time. It has made ppl more aware of their speed and actually start to school pacing. I don't think this is a bad idea. Yah, you don't get to practice wearing your watch but really I think having an idea of your speed will lesson the dependence on a watch anyways.

Fancy That
Jul. 1, 2010, 08:34 PM
I have nothing to add about what happened at Inavale, but I was avidly reading the thread about the "bad course" at BN/N at Woodside.

As someone who Hunter Paces regularly and has done unrecognized/schooling HTs, I do hope that my first recognized BN will not have "bogie" fences, etc :)

I mention Hunter Paces because the notion of watches being banned in the UK and Canada at the LLs came up. In Hunter Paces, you are NOT allowed to wear a watch. What you do is you PRACTICE YOUR PACE at home. You school for it. You understand your horses' pace and you get to know it, internally.

I actually think it IS safer to not worry about "making time" at the LLs, and perhaps people will practice "pace" exercises more. It's actually quite fun.

Maybe more eventers will go to their local Hunt Clubs' HPs, too :)

JumpingBug
Jul. 1, 2010, 10:47 PM
SIGH regarding the watch issue

I saw a kid barreling around training (she should have had a talking to from a official) and then way slowed for end. I asked what the heck and parent said that was the trainers plan as she was in contention for ribbon and this way she could trot or slow in the end. WHAT type of trainer tells a student to book ass so you can stay in ribbons????

SIGH on wrong use of a watch in this CASE...

horseyfrk145
Jul. 1, 2010, 11:05 PM
SIGH regarding the watch issue

I saw a kid barreling around training (she should have had a talking to from a official) and then way slowed for end. I asked what the heck and parent said that was the trainers plan as she was in contention for ribbon and this way she could trot or slow in the end. WHAT type of trainer tells a student to book ass so you can stay in ribbons????

SIGH on wrong use of a watch in this CASE...

And this is exactly the reason that I am all for less focus on time at the lower levels.

I think it is extremely valuable to be able to feel your pace while you're riding. A previous trainer of mine would take me for a hack and ask me at different times what our speed was. I think this is a wonderful thing and I wish that it was more common. This ability is far more important than making time. If more competitors knew what a true 325, 375, etc felt like, they wouldn't have to either rush or slow way down to make up time.

Fancy That
Jul. 2, 2010, 06:11 PM
This is exactly what you have to do to train for Hunter Paces. It's easy to set up a 100 meter "section" and practice by using a stop watch. Helps to have a friend/trainer time you as you go through.

You just need to do simple math to calculate the meters/minute. If it takes 20 seconds to go through the 100 meter section - you are going at a rate of 300m/m

Easier if you can set up a stretch of 325 or 375 etc. No math needed :)

We go through and do a variety of gaits and speeds within gaits, and as you get to know the pace, you can really judge yourself/horse so much better.


And this is exactly the reason that I am all for less focus on time at the lower levels.

I think it is extremely valuable to be able to feel your pace while you're riding. A previous trainer of mine would take me for a hack and ask me at different times what our speed was. I think this is a wonderful thing and I wish that it was more common. This ability is far more important than making time. If more competitors knew what a true 325, 375, etc felt like, they wouldn't have to either rush or slow way down to make up time.

PuraVidaEventing
Jul. 6, 2010, 01:39 AM
I was at Inavale in the Jr Training 2 Division. It was my first event with my new horse after only owning him for 3 weeks. I absolutely LOVED the course! My friends running Novice and Training were really worried about a lot of the jumps but they looked like fun to me...maybe I'm crazy but the brush? FUN!
The water caused insane carnage, that's for sure. Three horses came running back loose after falls just while I was warming up. I heard people all around me discussing the water and how people looked down, got a stop, got in, then had issues at the trakehner. I was prepared for that and still my horse-who has run Prelim and has never had an issue with water-started weaving and almost stopped. I got him in and we jumped the trakehner fine but it was bizarre! He did the same thing at the ditch, neither of them were refusals though. We got 5.6 time but that's a lot better than some of the people I heard about who were booking it through out of control. It's actually funny, in the background of video my mom took you can hear people discussing how in control we look and how surprising that is after other riders.
In my division only 6 people didn't have jump faults and only ONE finished double clear. I have NEVER seen anything like it. I heard people in my barn talking about how they've never seen carnage like there was on the Training course at any lower level besides BN. It was insane.
I went clear cross country and moved up SIX places from 12th to 6th! then up to 4th. That has NEVER happened to me!