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Mac123
Nov. 10, 2010, 10:10 PM
So practically every other post here on our beloved COTH forums references the equitation divisions of the 70s and 80s, heralding them as being hallmarked by "true" equitation...the days of the automatic release and forwardness and brilliance and elegance.

In light of the other thread showing the top 18 riders of the 2010 ASPCA Maclay Finals, I thought it apropos to post links to these videos: the 1982 and 1984 ASPCA Maclay Finals, for discussion and comparison.

We're always speaking so highly of the style exhibited by the riders of the Good Old Days...so after actually watching them and not just looking at stills, let's discuss the differences.

I was surprised to find that while their style, solidity and elegance of position and classic effectiveness is what I thought it was, I found myself preferring the more thoroughly flatted and prepared modern equitation horses. Things like a swap or crookedness or lack of suppleness which may contribute to a fault in the modern equitation division were not penalized back in the day. Was this a good thing? Perhaps not.

And while these riders were brilliantly forward, I found myself missing some of the sophistication of the quiet control of the modern riders. What I DID love was the consistent, long, elegant positions that in many ways were much quieter and softer than a lot of the modern riders.

So...hopefully we can have an interesting discussion (which no doubt within a couple pages will derail into a typical COTH trainwreck). But I thought it was interesting that while I far prefer many aspects of the older style, I also prefer some of the modern attributes.

1982 ASPCA Maclay Finals
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zjlZie0UDM&feature=related

1984 ASPCA Maclay Finals
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbX16dX8880&feature=related

MHM
Nov. 10, 2010, 10:17 PM
I had similar thoughts.

People can gripe all they want about "kids today" (and I'm sure I've done that myself), but the top trips today look much smoother than many of the past winners, even if the riders' positions may not be as text book perfect all the time.

It's almost an apples and oranges situation, since the divisions and especially the horses have become so much more specialized. Many of the horses on the old tapes probably did double duty as junior hunters, while that would be pretty unusual for the top horses these days.

jetsmom
Nov. 10, 2010, 10:31 PM
I think you have to get back to the 50's,60's and early 70's to get to "the good ole days". By the 80's GM had started teaching the crest release, and outdoor courses were rare.

But it was nice to still see a lot of TB's in those videos.

Quack
Nov. 10, 2010, 10:34 PM
This one from 1985 is less crazy and more like what you see today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-NobN63ZPM&feature=related

cabinessence
Nov. 10, 2010, 10:47 PM
It's almost an apples and oranges situation, since the divisions and especially the horses have become so much more specialized. Many of the horses on the old tapes probably did double duty as junior hunters, while that would be pretty unusual for the top horses these days.

Actually, I looked up some the horses I especially enjoyed from this year's top 18, and many of them were also competitive in the hunters & jumpers. Off the top of my head, the horse Hayley won on is owned by a lady who shows him in the a/o's, and the horse who Michael finished second also does the large juniors and jumpers.

Wizard of Oz's
Nov. 10, 2010, 10:52 PM
Definitely not trying to criticize, but did they not emphasize lead changes then? I noticed that in all of those videos (I think) a few lead changes were missed in the hind and then caught up a couple strides later. I would think that changes would have to be pretty solid by finals level, but I wasn't alive then so I wouldn't know. :cool: With that said, I love the different style of riding and especially the TBs!

MHM
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:00 PM
Actually, I looked up some the horses I especially enjoyed from this year's top 18, and many of them were also competitive in the hunters & jumpers. Off the top of my head, the horse Hayley won on is owned by a lady who shows him in the a/o's, and the horse who Michael finished second also does the large juniors and jumpers.

They may "also" do other things, but it's not too common to see one that is equally successful at both jobs these days.

IIRC, Charge-a-Count was considered a top junior hunter in the early 80s, and he was in the work off for the Maclay finals in one of those videos. Ditto for Emmett Kelly, who was 6th or 8th in the Maclay finals in the early 80s.

I sat and watched all 150 or so Maclay trips on Sunday at Syracuse, and I'd be surprised if there were 10 horses in that class who also showed in the junior hunters at any of the Indoor shows this year.

Big_Grey_hunter
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:09 PM
This is my extremely amateur opionion so I could be totally off base. Does anyone else think many of the riders seemed to two point too fast? Many of them were already back in the saddle before the horse had landed with the front or cleared with the back.

And, there was certainly alot of unbalanced turns, missed/partial changes and IMO, not nearly the lovely, collected, balanced courses I saw in the 2010 videos. Regardless of the riders position, they were not getting the same flowing courses.

Allie Pal
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:10 PM
It is wonderful to see the Garden again, it was always so exciting to be there in Manhattan and to hear Victor's voice announcing. The Garden was a relatively small ring. There were alot of people in the audience, unlike horse shows nowadays.

horsemom17
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:10 PM
My first thought (before reading any of the other comments) were, Peter Wylde's horse (while beautiful) seemed "hot" more like a jumper. The oxers seemed wider (and higher too), course seemed more difficult.

Comparing with today's riders, I thought the 2010 riders were "quiet" and like you say a more flattened jump.

Now, on the other hand, I just read an article by Missy Clark saying that judges are not pinning the more round, athletic horses like they should be. And says shame on them for pinning the more "flat" jumping. I need to find that article and post it here.

I think your right, the style has just evolved like everything else. I did hunters and jumpers my whole junior career, never did the eq's or maclay's. I kind of wish now that I did. But I guess I can have fun on my new greenie in the mini's! :)

AliCat
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:16 PM
I like the overall position of the older riders. It is not easy to stay so tall and still on a hotter, less balanced horse. I do like the more polished horses of today, but would like to see them working over courses that seemed to be more challenging like what we saw. Perhaps it was the size of the ring, but everything seemed bigger, and turns seemed tighter.

MHM
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:21 PM
Now, on the other hand, I just read an article by Missy Clark saying that judges are not pinning the more round, athletic horses like they should be.

Funny, I thought the judges were supposed to be pinning the riders in the equitation, not the horses.

I'd be interested to see that article. Where was it?

horsemom17
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:25 PM
Funny, I thought the judges were supposed to be pinning the riders in the equitation, not the horses.

I'd be interested to see that article. Where was it?


My thoughts exactly.... I think she was talking about them being a "team". Let me try and find it and I'll post it!

horsemom17
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:27 PM
Here is the one I read...

http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/hunter_jumper/eqmissyjud1979/


And another one I read after it....

http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/hunter_jumper/eqmissyeq872/

MHM
Nov. 10, 2010, 11:58 PM
Here is the one I read...

http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/hunter_jumper/eqmissyjud1979/


And another one I read after it....

http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/hunter_jumper/eqmissyeq872/

Thanks for posting those! :)

I was at the 2001 judges' clinic she mentioned in the first article. I remember it plain as day. :yes:

Peggy
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:09 AM
They may "also" do other things, but it's not too common to see one that is equally successful at both jobs these days.

IIRC, Charge-a-Count was considered a top junior hunter in the early 80s, and he was in the work off for the Maclay finals in one of those videos. Ditto for Emmett Kelly, who was 6th or 8th in the Maclay finals in the early 80s.

I sat and watched all 150 or so Maclay trips on Sunday at Syracuse, and I'd be surprised if there were 10 horses in that class who also showed in the junior hunters at any of the Indoor shows this year.I know of two, if anyone else knows of eight more. Gabby Langston's Horse, Azlan, and Morgan Geller's horse, Fabricio.

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:13 AM
I know of two, if anyone else knows of eight more. Gabby Langston's Horse, Azlan, and Morgan Geller's horse, Fabricio.

I will await the other eight with great interest. :winkgrin:

And how about any that showed at Indoors in a hunter division and got a ribbon in the equitation finals this year, as Charge-a-Count and Emmett Kelly and others did in their day?

SnicklefritzG
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:32 AM
Funny, I thought the judges were supposed to be pinning the riders in the equitation, not the horses.

I'd be interested to see that article. Where was it?

Yeah, one would think...although I do recall reading yet another article (not those posted below) that was written by someone who had judged one of the BigEq finals in recent years. I wish I could recall who it was or where I saw the article. What I do remember though is the person saying very clearly that they preferred to see horses with a rounder rather than flat jump and did take that into account somewhat when scoring the riders.

Peggy
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:35 AM
I was impressed that I came up with two, quite honestly. And neither of them got a ribbon in a national eq final. Morgan won the CPHA finals on the same horse, but that's basically a California deal, not national. And, to be fair, she rode a different horse in the USET finals.

Things are definitely more specialized now. Both my current and former trainers showed the same horse in hunters and eq and both took said horses back east for medal finals. But we're all old.

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:45 AM
I was impressed that I came up with two, quite honestly.

Me, too! :lol:

I also think when you watch the old tapes, you see the TB types who were much more inclined to go forward, so the riders could spend more time thinking about their position.

"Kids today" on the warmbloods often have to create the impulsion in the first place, then maintain it every step of the way around the course, so maybe that explains the deeper seat and not-as-flat back.

Probably an oversimplification, but the contrast in horse styles really struck me.

49th_parallel
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:47 AM
my my, horses sure did have thin tails back in the 80's ;)

Mac123
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:59 AM
Dammit, the computer just ate my entire post!!! Here's the second version.

I think there very well may be a [big? small?] chasm between the idealistic notions of our minds and the reality of both thirty years ago and the modern age.

I cannot count how many times we complain, digress or otherwise discuss how the modern equitation division is lacking in forwardness, brilliance, elegance and solid position. Ah, we all want to see the forwardness of the old days. The leave it out ride and the bold gallop to the diagonal single and all.

And back in the day, they clearly galloped, didn't obsess over stride counting and perfectly controlled rounds. They rode the course rather than the distance or the strides or the over-thought plan orchestrated by 4 trainers and an assistant. Thus, there was a boldness and a confidence present that we only see glimpses of in our modern era. Additionally, positionally the riders were much more consistent and elegant; longer lines and waiting bodies and proper angles that don't find their way as consistently in the current BigEq.

In the modern era, we seek to perfect everything to the nth degree, tolerating few technical mistakes. Horses must not swap, lean, have a late change, a moment of crookedness, a swish of a tail, a buck after an exuberant jump, a peek at a scary fence, even though the horse is not to be judged (exemplified at the reaction to Missy's statement above). The Equitation currently seems to be less about how a rider effectively handles what a horse or course throws them and is more about the perfectly controlled, consistent ride without any blemish or mistake. Interestingly enough, with all the drilling and preparation, in most cases the modern position is less consistent, less elegant and more contrived.

So here appears a bit of a dichotomy which was exemplified at this year's Medal Finals where there was controversy (at least here on COTH, the source of endless scrutiny) over the final two placings. On the one hand: Hayley's bold, more brilliant ride with some technical errors that was criticized for having too many mistakes, such as a swap, to be a winning ride. On the other hand was Sam's more conservative, controlled round that was seen as being technically freer of mistakes but more stagnant and not free enough according to the judges.

Does anyone else see this dichotomy?? We all desire the forwardness and brilliance of yesteryear but never mention the crooked horses with swaps and imprecise changes or lack of suppleness and flatwork or lack of precision. Yet while we critique the modern equitation division for not having brilliance and forwardness we are completely unforgiving of any sort of technical mistake.

We want a real gallop to the long single oxer but won't tolerate the swap or the expression of the horse on the backside. We pontificate about how the equitation division is about effective riding and yet if a horse takes a misstep or God forbid peeks or spooks, there is no ribbon, regardless of how beautifully the rider handles the situation. We want bolder, bigger, more forward yet are unforgiving of anything but the most perfect 6 foot takeoff spot.

If we are looking for technically correct, effective rides with beautifully suppled, prepared and controlled horses; consistent, controlled rounds with flowing pace and fluid adjustments; a brilliant ability to have true gameness and forwardness as well as the controllability to deal with quieter and more technical questions;consistently beautiful and effective equitation that both prepares and enhances the horse while not interfering........I would maintain and propose that we have perhaps not yet seen this demonstrated. Not in good old days of the automatic release and not in the modern era.

What do we want? Brilliance? Or perfection? Are we willing to sacrifice a bit of one for a bit of the other?

These videos show the difference between the two. I'm not saying one is better than the other because I'm criticizing my own past viewpoints as much as anyone else's here. What I am saying is that perhaps we have been a bit inconsistent in what we are looking for...perhaps less than honest in our rememberings of the past...perhaps a bit too unforgiving of what we expect right now...yet I would maintain that if we are truly honest, we have not yet seen the correct balance between these two ideals.

Peggy
Nov. 11, 2010, 01:08 AM
Me, too! :lol:


Probably an oversimplification, but the contrast in horse styles really struck me.
The horse styles seem more different to me than the rider styles, at least in the 80's videos. Maybe if you went further back to what I might consider the truly old days, you'd see more of a rider difference.

The warmbloods are a lot of meat to move around, both WRT getting them going and sometimes turning and slowing down and a lot of these girls just don't have the strength to do it without compromising something. I suspect that one of the reasons that Theo Boris has been so successful with WC Swing, a former jumper who had done (and won) the USET west but not done many other medals, is simply that he's bigger and likely stronger than many of the other riders.

We have a hotter WB in the barn and I got a chance to jump her a bit one day. Trainer's instructions were that both the brakes and the gas were via her mouth. Ah, just like the old days, was my response. But it does make it easier and give you less to think about so you can concentrate on position. That's if you don't ride her like you might a colder horse. That is definitely not pretty.

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 01:21 AM
Mac123, you had to type that twice?!? :eek:

I think as the sport has grown, and more kids have shown in the equitation, the standards have gotten higher across the board.

I was there for the 1982 Maclay at the Garden, and there were very few good trips in the first round. I didn't see every single trip that day, but I saw many with major errors. The winner was excellent, the ribbon winners were very good, but a big percentage of the class- not so good. But it's harder to find those trips on Youtube. ;)

It's also hard to compare with the earlier era of the Maclay, since now some of the lesser (or just less lucky) riders don't get past Regionals, which was a system that started in 1983.

IIRC, until 1982, everybody who qualified got to ride at the Garden. That was the year they made everybody travel to New York, then go through an elimination round in New Jersey on Friday. That proved to be an unpopular approach! And thus, the concept of Regionals was invented for the following year.

horsemom17
Nov. 11, 2010, 01:37 AM
I also think when you watch the old tapes, you see the TB types who were much more inclined to go forward, so the riders could spend more time thinking about their position.

"Kids today" on the warmbloods often have to create the impulsion in the first place, then maintain it every step of the way around the course, so maybe that explains the deeper seat and not-as-flat back.

Probably an oversimplification, but the contrast in horse styles really struck me.[/QUOTE]


BINGO, I think this is really it! I have always owned TB's, some hot and some not. I am now riding a green WB and I am SHOCKED at the tremendous amount of leg I need to keep the pace! I'm actually happy she is getting a little frisky in the cold weather. However, I think I might be needing spurs this summer!!!

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 01:50 AM
BINGO, I think this is really it! I have always owned TB's, some hot and some not. I am now riding a green WB and I am SHOCKED at the tremendous amount of leg I need to keep the pace! I'm actually happy she is getting a little frisky in the cold weather.

Funny you should say this- I was on a TB today thinking how much I missed his much quieter "summer" personality! :lol:

Flashy Gray VA
Nov. 11, 2010, 01:59 AM
Chiming in: more specialization today has led to a more stylized big eq look, and the prevalence of heavier warmbloods has made an obvious difference in the rides, too.

But the bottom line is that I'll never ever get tired of seeing the always breathtaking Charge Account, who indeed was tops (no pun intended) in the jr. hunters at the time. What a lovely lovely horse he was.

Janet
Nov. 11, 2010, 04:24 AM
I was surprised to find that while their style, solidity and elegance of position and classic effectiveness is what I thought it was, I found myself preferring the more thoroughly flatted and prepared modern equitation horses. Things like a swap or crookedness or lack of suppleness which may contribute to a fault in the modern equitation division were not penalized back in the day. Was this a good thing? Perhaps not.

And while these riders were brilliantly forward, I found myself missing some of the sophistication of the quiet control of the modern riders. What I DID love was the consistent, long, elegant positions that in many ways were much quieter and softer than a lot of the modern riders.
I think there is probably a correlation (and possibly even causation) between these two statements.

Less emphasis on the horse being "foot perfect" allowed/encouraged the 'long, elegant positions that in many ways were much quieter and softer ..."

findeight
Nov. 11, 2010, 07:09 AM
I think you have to get back to the 50's,60's and early 70's to get to "the good ole days". By the 80's GM had started teaching the crest release, and outdoor courses were rare.
...


Having shown in other divisions and arenas since the late 60's sharing the grounds with the H/J set...for a variety of reasons, the good old days weren't so good.

The H/J division itself was no where near as accessible, fact not even exsistant in many areas where it thrives today. And we are talking BDT as well as ignoring the fact horse folk used to "wink" at alot more stuff then is considered acceptable by most today.

Looking at a picture doesn't really capture the " big picture".

Mayaty02
Nov. 11, 2010, 08:06 AM
This one from 1985 is less crazy and more like what you see today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-NobN63ZPM&feature=related

Kristin was always a very elegant rider...thanks for posting that.

For me, and I showed big eq in the 80s, the biggest thing that stands out is the horses as well. They are clearly hotter, more active, more work to ride - as was my personal experience. That said, there were some absolutely awesome eq horses back then too, such as Free Union, who could compete with any of todays horses.

Mayaty02
Nov. 11, 2010, 08:17 AM
Dammit, the computer just ate my entire post!!! Here's the second version.

I think there very well may be a [big? small?] chasm between the idealistic notions of our minds and the reality of both thirty years ago and the modern age.

I cannot count how many times we complain, digress or otherwise discuss how the modern equitation division is lacking in forwardness, brilliance, elegance and solid position. Ah, we all want to see the forwardness of the old days. The leave it out ride and the bold gallop to the diagonal single and all.

And back in the day, they clearly galloped, didn't obsess over stride counting and perfectly controlled rounds. They rode the course rather than the distance or the strides or the over-thought plan orchestrated by 4 trainers and an assistant. Thus, there was a boldness and a confidence present that we only see glimpses of in our modern era. Additionally, positionally the riders were much more consistent and elegant; longer lines and waiting bodies and proper angles that don't find their way as consistently in the current BigEq.

In the modern era, we seek to perfect everything to the nth degree, tolerating few technical mistakes. Horses must not swap, lean, have a late change, a moment of crookedness, a swish of a tail, a buck after an exuberant jump, a peek at a scary fence, even though the horse is not to be judged (exemplified at the reaction to Missy's statement above). The Equitation currently seems to be less about how a rider effectively handles what a horse or course throws them and is more about the perfectly controlled, consistent ride without any blemish or mistake. Interestingly enough, with all the drilling and preparation, in most cases the modern position is less consistent, less elegant and more contrived.

So here appears a bit of a dichotomy which was exemplified at this year's Medal Finals where there was controversy (at least here on COTH, the source of endless scrutiny) over the final two placings. On the one hand: Hayley's bold, more brilliant ride with some technical errors that was criticized for having too many mistakes, such as a swap, to be a winning ride. On the other hand was Sam's more conservative, controlled round that was seen as being technically freer of mistakes but more stagnant and not free enough according to the judges.

Does anyone else see this dichotomy?? We all desire the forwardness and brilliance of yesteryear but never mention the crooked horses with swaps and imprecise changes or lack of suppleness and flatwork or lack of precision. Yet while we critique the modern equitation division for not having brilliance and forwardness we are completely unforgiving of any sort of technical mistake.

We want a real gallop to the long single oxer but won't tolerate the swap or the expression of the horse on the backside. We pontificate about how the equitation division is about effective riding and yet if a horse takes a misstep or God forbid peeks or spooks, there is no ribbon, regardless of how beautifully the rider handles the situation. We want bolder, bigger, more forward yet are unforgiving of anything but the most perfect 6 foot takeoff spot.

If we are looking for technically correct, effective rides with beautifully suppled, prepared and controlled horses; consistent, controlled rounds with flowing pace and fluid adjustments; a brilliant ability to have true gameness and forwardness as well as the controllability to deal with quieter and more technical questions;consistently beautiful and effective equitation that both prepares and enhances the horse while not interfering........I would maintain and propose that we have perhaps not yet seen this demonstrated. Not in good old days of the automatic release and not in the modern era.

What do we want? Brilliance? Or perfection? Are we willing to sacrifice a bit of one for a bit of the other?

These videos show the difference between the two. I'm not saying one is better than the other because I'm criticizing my own past viewpoints as much as anyone else's here. What I am saying is that perhaps we have been a bit inconsistent in what we are looking for...perhaps less than honest in our rememberings of the past...perhaps a bit too unforgiving of what we expect right now...yet I would maintain that if we are truly honest, we have not yet seen the correct balance between these two ideals.


Great post, it absolutely IS about perfection today and that's not a bad thing, however if you're looking at the big eq as a stepping stone to Grand Prix, it shouldn't be about slow, controlled perfection, should it? But it is what it is...and its not going to change.

M. O'Connor
Nov. 11, 2010, 09:19 AM
They may "also" do other things, but it's not too common to see one that is equally successful at both jobs these days.

IIRC, Charge-a-Count was considered a top junior hunter in the early 80s, and he was in the work off for the Maclay finals in one of those videos. Ditto for Emmett Kelly, who was 6th or 8th in the Maclay finals in the early 80s.

I sat and watched all 150 or so Maclay trips on Sunday at Syracuse, and I'd be surprised if there were 10 horses in that class who also showed in the junior hunters at any of the Indoor shows this year.

Back then, the workload of an equitation horse was much lighter. They had three classses (Medal, Maclay, and the PHA was new--USET wasn't something that was typically held that often), not five (PHA/M/McL/WIHS/USEF TS) at each show, and once qualified, fewer...so they were free to branch out and do other things (actually, if they wanted to keep on riding, they had to). Fewer riders had strings of multiple horses then.

Multiply the number of classes today by the number of required jumps in the courses, add in the practice jumps in the schooling area, and then add in the jumps practiced at home....and you begin to see why the horses that are successful today are altogether lacking in spirit, compared to the ones that got to the ring with some 'edge' to them in the olden days.

As for those horses, H/J does not have access to the nicest TB's anymore (and wouldn't bother to use them if we did), while the WB invasion is so complete that it's unthinkable to arrive at the Eq ring with a TB at all. So the kind of riding that prevailed those years ago is no longer the most effective for the types of horses being used in the division.

The most sought after horses are virtual slaves, with very flat jumping arcs, enough size for a "can't miss" step, who aren't sensitive enough to mind that they can't extend their heads over the jumps, and will jump with their chins on their chests from start to finish.

And what would have passed for exemplary management techniques in the old days would draw blank looks from those who freely use NSAID's, steroids, joint injections to ensure they meet the bare minimum requirement that Eq horses must be merely of "serviceable" soundness.

Now...this all may or may not tie in with GM's contention that we have gotten soft....but it's a fact that even with the easing of restrictions recently put in place, FEI rules are much more restrictive than USEF's re medications.

There is a MUCH wider variety of horse prevalent in the top levels of international competition than there is in our equitation divisions.

I think it's time for a "TB equitation class" to make an appearance. Would do a lot of good for the thousands of "disposable" TB's, and make for a more well rounded American rider again.

magnolia73
Nov. 11, 2010, 09:35 AM
It's too bad you can't change the way scoring works to be more like dressage. It seems like if you have a tiny lead error, or a slight miss you can't dig your way out even if every other step of your round is brilliant. Dressage is great because if you say, blow your halt with a giant spook and get scored a "2" , you can make it up by pulling off a "10" canter transition and beat the horse that had basically a bunch of "5" and "6" scores and was rather mediocre. So in equitation, it seems like it is about riding to prevent mistakes, not riding to have a brilliant trip. Maybe you hand gallop really conservatively to prevent the swap that you know will cost you the class vs having a big booming gallop because you know if you pull it off, you will win.

M. O'Connor
Nov. 11, 2010, 09:39 AM
I disagree...the little things ARE balanced out by the overall picture. It's no different than needing to decide between being conservative if you are first in in a big jump-off, versus going for broke if you know there are some speed demons coming up behind you.

Honestly, judges are not being given enough credit here. They can only decide between the riders that are in front of them; they can't decide between YESTERDAY'S good riders and TODAY'S.

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 09:44 AM
Honestly, judges are not being given enough credit here. They can only decide between the riders that are in front of them; they can't decide between YESTERDAY'S good riders and TODAY'S.

You can only judge what you see. :yes:

Mac123
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:02 AM
I disagree...the little things ARE balanced out by the overall picture. It's no different than needing to decide between being conservative if you are first in in a big jump-off, versus going for broke if you know there are some speed demons coming up behind you.

Honestly, judges are not being given enough credit here. They can only decide between the riders that are in front of them; they can't decide between YESTERDAY'S good riders and TODAY'S.

I'm not critiquing current judging at all; my point is that there's a discrepancy between what we seem to want and what actually is. The judging is a completely separate issue (at least to me).

We seem to want the brilliance and forwardness of years past but technical mistakes seem to accompany that, which we are unwilling to overlook. Does this mean that we just haven't seen the equitation division done well enough - ie. brilliance and technical perfection - or is it not really possible to have both?

I think people here on COTH (myself included) as well as elsewhere who debate the equitation divisions need to be consistent and honest. If they want technical perfection, then don't complain about a lack of true forwardness and brilliance. Or we need to work on being able to produce both.

I think the different type of horses, warmblood vs. TB, has some part to play here, but I don't think you can blame the warmblood for a lack of forwardness. After all, it's not like the majority of GP jumpers are TBs. They're Warmbloods and are still quite fast.


MHM - yeah...I think the first one was better, though. I'm rather long winded....it's really just the thoughts going through my mind that I decided may make for interesting discussion.

Alterrain
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:15 AM
I know of two, if anyone else knows of eight more. Gabby Langston's Horse, Azlan, and Morgan Geller's horse, Fabricio.

Maggie Boylan's Poetic.

Roo
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:16 AM
Mac123, very insightful post. I showed in equitation in the 70's and am now (after so many years) showing in the adult eq division in CA - funny how life can go full circle. One of the biggest differences that I notice and appreciate today is the emphasis on more advanced flat work. The influence of dressage and the resulting quest for impulsion and suppleness contribute to the perfected (and controlled) rides of today. Yes, there are days when I miss the bold forward thoroughbred ride, but overall, I appreciate today's more enlightened approach. If my horse has a late lead change, I now understand the mechanics of exactly why it happened.

Beam Me Up
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:17 AM
As for those horses, H/J does not have access to the nicest TB's anymore (and wouldn't bother to use them if we did), while the WB invasion is so complete that it's unthinkable to arrive at the Eq ring with a TB at all.

I am curious about this statement--who does have access to the nicest TBs?
Where are they?

Thanks!

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:18 AM
I think the different type of horses, warmblood vs. TB, has some part to play here, but I don't think you can blame the warmblood for a lack of forwardness. After all, it's not like the majority of GP jumpers are TBs. They're Warmbloods and are still quite fast.

It's not that you can't get a warmblood to go forward. It's that the process might require a little more effort from the rider, which may result in a deeper seat, rounder back, and more active leg. Immaterial to a jumper rider, but not to an equitation rider judged on position as well as effectiveness.

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:22 AM
Maggie Boylan's Poetic.

That was one I noticed, but I didn't recall the name.

And again, it went in the class, but did not make the standby, much less get a ribbon.

ponymom64
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:26 AM
That was one I noticed, but I didn't recall the name.

And again, it went in the class, but did not make the standby, much less get a ribbon.

Maggie rode her equitation horse, Barcelona in the final

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:29 AM
Maggie rode her equitation horse, Barcelona in the final

Now that you say that, I heard people saying maybe she would use Poetic. But I guess she didn't.

Janet
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:45 AM
I am curious about this statement--who does have access to the nicest TBs?
Where are they?

Thanks!
The bottom-end race tracks.

Used-to-be that there were not so many low-value claiming and allowance races. So more good horses "washed out" of racing early, and were available for other sports.

Nowadays, there is a lower rung to racing, where those horses can still "earn their keep" on the track, so they stay on the track.

Thoroughbred1201
Nov. 11, 2010, 11:00 AM
It's an interesting topic. I had just started a thread about the same thing because I watched the WEB Final Four then immediatly watched my old video of the 1988 Olympics (Gem Twist, Mill Pearl & Star Man).

the conclusion? The same thing as here on this thread. The good old days were great, but the improvements to our sport and breeding have been amazing. The riders, courses, footing, etc have all improved.

Now, if we could just get the pro hunter riders to stop ducking and draping themselves over their horses necks . . . That ISN'T an improvement, LOL.

danceronice
Nov. 11, 2010, 11:44 AM
? There have always been lower-end tracks. My old OTTB thirty years ago wasn't sold because he ran out of condidions--he was running for tags below what my new OTTB was running for at Finger Lakes at a long-defunct lower-level track and he finaly washed out with an injury, not because there was a dearth of lower spots to put him in. My old trainer mostly picked up horses like him--too short, injured, very unwilling to run or steeplechase. They were the ones who COULDN'T perform. If anything, except for the trainers who can afford to haul, there are fewer options as more and more tracks close. You're not going to sell a $5k claimer from Finger Lakes all the way to Los Al unless you're REALLY well-connection, and if you don't haul to Florida or the southwest for the winter, you can end up with a lot of mouths to feed if your'e stuck with a lot of $4k claimers to winter over.

The difference is they keep horses going longer now because they can't afford to keep animals that aren't earning their keep (and at some tracks MUST enter them or lose the stall), and no one wants to buy an OTTB (too hot, too young, too old, too skinny, not tall enough, not pretty enough, been worked too much already, too hyper, too drugged, etc.) When they ARE listed while still reasonably young and sound, their prices ($2k-$5k) are ripped apart as being more than they're worth, their conformation and topline are slagged for, essentially, not looking like a horse who's been trotting around in a frame instead of one who's been training to run, and trainers are accused of overpricing them and trying to make a buck when they should apparently be giving nice horses away.

M. O'Connor
Nov. 11, 2010, 02:42 PM
I am curious about this statement--who does have access to the nicest TBs?
Where are they?

Thanks!

The Arab sheiks, and other buyers of that caliber.

Years ago, H/J people used to GO to Keenland, etc, and bid on the cheaper, yet still attractive horses, raise them up in the show world. Or you could go to the track and get a pretty reasonably priced horse that had been lightly used and found to be too slow.

The way it was explained by GM during a training clinic I attended (and this was quite some time ago), the horses instead of moving on to other disciplines would get dropped back to smaller and smaller tracks, and just keep racing...and racing...till they were of very questionable soundness by the time they were offered for sale...if they were fit for any use at all.

So though there are a good number available, the TB's that are worthwhile developing in terms of the top levels of sport are not that numerous--they are fewer and further between than they used to be. That there is not much demand for them doesn't help the situation, either. It's evolving, again though as more race trainers decide it's not worth keeping horses over the winters, or hauling elsewhere and the economy keeps slumping. They aren't being retired to breed so much either, so the situation now is that many of these horses are actually free, the level of demand is so low.

sptraining
Nov. 11, 2010, 03:02 PM
I actually kind of like to see the less-than-perfect ride of the 80's than those of today. It seems more like the people were having to ride and that's what equitation is about! The horses today are so schooled and specialized - it doesn't leave room for any error. Anyone can find a distance, but to navigate a spooky horse from an oxer to a narrow in three strides takes talent. The riders of the 80's look like they're preparing for a career as a jumper rider, whereas the riders of today look like they're preparing for a career as a hunter rider.

I don't think one is necessarily better than the other - just very different. Equitation has become more of an event (as I understand it) instead of a stepping stone into the jumper arena as it used to be.

Peggy
Nov. 11, 2010, 03:07 PM
A few random thoughts inspired by this thread.

Landing on the lead. Watch a few of the rounds of this year's second round linked on one of the other threads, especially the cloverleaf and the approach to it and leaving it. I think that pretty much every horse lands on the lead for the next direction. Now look at Kristen's 1985 round linked above. Lovely round, but didn't land on the lead at least one place where it would be more fluid to do so. I never learned the art of landing on the desired lead back in the Good Old Days because my horses would change easily. Now it seems de rigueur to land on the lead for the next direction. One more dang thing to think about while on course.

TB's being bumped down to lower tracks. We have a filly in the barn who was bred by her owner and destined for the track, but she wasn't fast enough. The trainer told the owner he could send her to a lower circuit, but she elected to bring her to the barn where her other horse lives and she's now being retrained in a HJ barn. Lovely filly with a wonderful brain.

WBs vs TBs and dressage/flatwork. I've had this conversation with my trainer and we agree that WBs need more flatwork (more consistently, more times a week, probably at a higher level) than TBs do. Not just eq horses and jumpers, but hunters as well. We joke that German horses are often trained to be ridden by strong young German men, but perhaps that's in part because the WB often need a different ride.

DCN
Nov. 11, 2010, 04:04 PM
One thing you have to remember about the "old days" at the Garden is that most of the horses got there at about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday and sat on the van all blessed day + there was NO WHERE to even hand walk them, let alone flat or longe them. Plus, in November it can be pretty nippy in NYC. So you take an unprepped horse on a cold day into that impressive ring with a possibly nervous rider and a crowd of people, and you have one very, very fresh horse - and a TB at that. When you watch the flat phase from the 1982 Maclay you see a ring full of fresh, snarky horses. Native Surf was a quick horse, but during the regular season I don't recall him being as wild as he was at those Finals. Old Salt usually didn't look fresh at all and was just lovely to ride, but he was fairly wild at those Finals! And yes -- we practiced changes back then. The top horses/kids all were very well schooled on the flat. But the ring at the Garden was narrow, and at least for the 1982 Finals I can vouch that some of the lines were set very forward, so factoring that in with fresh horses, there were more late changes and swaps than you'd typically see. But I'll just note that Hailey did have a swap in the first round of the Maclay this year, as well as in the ride-off at the Medal Finals. So it does still happen.

Thoroughbred1201
Nov. 11, 2010, 04:11 PM
One thing you have to remember about the "old days" at the Garden is that most of the horses got there at about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday and sat on the van all blessed day + there was NO WHERE to even hand walk them, let alone flat or longe them. Plus, in November it can be pretty nippy in NYC. So you take an unprepped horse on a cold day into that impressive ring with a possibly nervous rider and a crowd of people, and you have one very, very fresh horse - and a TB at that. When you watch the flat phase from the 1982 Maclay you see a ring full of fresh, snarky horses.


LOL. That's one way to test horsemanship and who can REALLY ride!

Beam Me Up
Nov. 11, 2010, 05:16 PM
The Arab sheiks, and other buyers of that caliber.

Years ago, H/J people used to GO to Keenland, etc, and bid on the cheaper, yet still attractive horses, raise them up in the show world. Or you could go to the track and get a pretty reasonably priced horse that had been lightly used and found to be too slow.

The way it was explained by GM during a training clinic I attended (and this was quite some time ago), the horses instead of moving on to other disciplines would get dropped back to smaller and smaller tracks, and just keep racing...and racing...till they were of very questionable soundness by the time they were offered for sale...if they were fit for any use at all.

So though there are a good number available, the TB's that are worthwhile developing in terms of the top levels of sport are not that numerous--they are fewer and further between than they used to be. That there is not much demand for them doesn't help the situation, either. It's evolving, again though as more race trainers decide it's not worth keeping horses over the winters, or hauling elsewhere and the economy keeps slumping. They aren't being retired to breed so much either, so the situation now is that many of these horses are actually free, the level of demand is so low.

Thanks for the explanation.

My sense, as an eventer, is that the competition for OTTBs from the h/j world is largely gone. No longer is every tall fancy gelding snagged for 5K--now they're all next to nothing.

I have also read that TB durability is decreasing--the number of starts per horse continues to drop, and fewer retire sound.

danceronice
Nov. 11, 2010, 06:04 PM
I really think the big thing is there is no market for them. If TBs don't win and people are convinced they're 'too much horse' for the average rider, no one 's going to buy them (Not to mention the expectation for 'sound' has gotten to be ridiculously finicky, from "no major injuries or blemishes" to 'the x-rays of an unstarted yearling warmblood.")

I can point to at least half a dozen lovely horses on the FL listings with lots of starts, advertized as sound, and in at least a couple cases drop-dead GORGEOUS. But now people WANT almost no starts (the only reason to retire a racehorse on that few is he's an utter disaster on the track) and for the horse to basically have been bred and handled like a show horse or they think $1500, never mind $5000, is too much. If they get bought, they go to people like me, who don't care about showing hunters, they go to eventers, who want a sportier, 'hotter' horse, or they go to people who simply cannot afford a top-of-the-line horse.

And they aren't going to have the way of going that the top horses do. Because the top horses are purpose-bred warmbloods. TBs are purpose-bred to race, by and large (and the ones purpose-bred for sport, which exist, are priced accordingly.) People buy horses who look like the horses who win. Probably the best-selling OTTBs are the ones who 'look like a warmblood.'

cabinessence
Nov. 11, 2010, 07:47 PM
In any event, I think the good old days are a pretty darn subjective thing. Everyone wants to look back fondly at "their" era as the halcyon days of great riding. My junior/eq years were in the early to mid-90's, so naturally I'm inclined to think the style of riding was a little better/nicer/more "correct"/whatever "back then" (a whopping 15 years ago) than it is now. I'm sure the same holds true if you were a junior in the 80s, 70s, 60s, etc.

I didn't follow things at all for 10 years after I aged out. The first time I watched some of the "top" modern eq riders I was just like "Ugh! You've got to be kidding me! They look awful! The horse is absolutely crawling and the kid's heels are bouncing up and down with every stride!" and so on. And, to be honest, there are a couple of the "nation's best" who (while great riders) are head-scratchers in my book as far as their "beautiful equitation" is concerned. And I will never get the thing you see a lot of these days where kids just plant their hands, don't release at all, but dip their shoulders forward over every fence. It's like, jumping position=lean forward at the waist. Uh, what's the point of pitching your shoulders forward if your hands aren't moving an inch?

Anyway, I've been rewatching some of the Maclay rounds on youtube and I really liked this one. Reminded me of great eq from my "good old days". I believe she placed 26th overall. Nice open pace, the horse definitely has some oomph to his jump, and I love that she actually releases over every fence (imagine that!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFUwdwAoqNw

Mayaty02
Nov. 11, 2010, 08:46 PM
I didn't follow things at all for 10 years after I aged out. The first time I watched some of the "top" modern eq riders I was just like "Ugh! You've got to be kidding me! They look awful! The horse is absolutely crawling and the kid's heels are bouncing up and down with every stride!" and so on. And, to be honest, there are a couple of the "nation's best" who (while great riders) are head-scratchers in my book as far as their "beautiful equitation" is concerned. And I will never get the thing you see a lot of these days where kids just plant their hands, don't release at all, but dip their shoulders forward over every fence. It's like, jumping position=lean forward at the waist. Uh, what's the point of pitching your shoulders forward if your hands aren't moving an inch?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFUwdwAoqNw


This is sooo what happened to me too, although I was a mid to late 80s junior. I was out of horses for 16 yrs and when I started watching some shows on the online feeds, I was shocked with how slow the 3'6"+ hunters and eq were. And the lack of release in the eq and the way over exaggerated release in hunters, what is that all about? It really is a whole new look/feel today than it was 20+ years ago.

MHM
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:14 PM
Anyway, I've been rewatching some of the Maclay rounds on youtube and I really liked this one. Reminded me of great eq from my "good old days". I believe she placed 26th overall. Nice open pace, the horse definitely has some oomph to his jump, and I love that she actually releases over every fence (imagine that!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFUwdwAoqNw

I believe that rider posts here, if I'm thinking of the right person. I agree, excellent trip. :)

Where did you find results through 26th place??

JAMO
Nov. 11, 2010, 10:19 PM
This is sooo what happened to me too, although I was a mid to late 80s junior. I was out of horses for 16 yrs and when I started watching some shows on the online feeds, I was shocked with how slow the 3'6"+ hunters and eq were. And the lack of release in the eq and the way over exaggerated release in hunters, what is that all about? It really is a whole new look/feel today than it was 20+ years ago.

Same, here! I was totally shocked by the crazy release in the hunters especially. And all of this makes me so sad to think that my lovely TBs wouldn't stand a chance today. The warmblood craze was just beginning to set in as my junior career was ending, but my TB and I were still able to consistently take top ribbons in hunters and eq at A shows. (And yes, I rode the same horse for both!) The disparity today makes me sad! Is it just about money? Is it crazy to think that something that didn't cost mid five figs would be able to even show today?

toomanyponies
Nov. 11, 2010, 11:01 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL6IAhtA03k&feature=related

This is Brianne Goutal winnng the WIHS in 2004 (?). She is on Logan, a warmblood, and I think you will find it quite beautiful - half seat, galloping, light and forward - with the classic eq look of the 70s. To me, so much more stylish than anyone I saw yet this year at finals.

RugBug
Nov. 11, 2010, 11:55 PM
This one from 1985 is less crazy and more like what you see today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-NobN63ZPM&feature=related


Kristin was always a very elegant rider...thanks for posting that.


She's amazing. So good, in fact, that while she has a sales business around here, I won't go look at her horses because she can make the difficult ones look incredibly easy. I'd get something home and be like "WTH did I buy?" :lol:


Dammit, the computer just ate my entire post!!! Here's the second version. .

Not going to requote the whole thing, but nice post!



Same, here! I was totally shocked by the crazy release in the hunters especially. And all of this makes me so sad to think that my lovely TBs wouldn't stand a chance today.

The judges still like a good TB. I've taken my TB to just two wee little shows and the second one had the judge giving me amazing compliments on him. Before purchasing him , when I asked the owner one good thing, one bad about showing him, she said the judges always liked him because he's a TB.

As for my general impressions, WOW...it's nice to see a true gallop. I always feel like my mantra is "slower, slower, slower" even though you hear that "we jump from a hand-gallop." It's incredibly difficult to be so smooth when jumping from that slower canter.

(and did anyone notice how homogenous the riders in the flat phase on the first video were? They all had the same body type. Elegance and long lines are easier when you're built that way naturally. ;))

doublesstable
Nov. 12, 2010, 12:39 AM
As time evolves so do the courses!

They are much more technical now... more twists and turns than in the 70's and 80's. So the horses "and" riders have adapted to this change in courses. The desire is to find that "horse" that can sit and turn etc.. (WB) not the more forward gallop of lets say the TB. Not that a great TB can't do it and they do, some are the best jumpers around.....

The Big Eq is designed to create and build future "jumper" riders - - so I do miss the bit of forward as in the 70's / 80's; however riding today's courses makes it much more difficult to ride that open stride.

I like the softness of today's riders but one thing that drives me nuts on most of the Big Eq riders is the "releases".... pause the horse/rider over the jump you see the elbows sticking out and the hands buried in the neck three inches from the pommel.

They need to fix that. :-)

As far as lead changes etc - - IMHO they didn't have the great hock injectables, Adiquan, Legend etc that we have today!

fair judy
Nov. 12, 2010, 08:33 AM
I think you have to get back to the 50's,60's and early 70's to get to "the good ole days". By the 80's GM had started teaching the crest release, and outdoor courses were rare.

But it was nice to still see a lot of TB's in those videos.

hah! i rode at OMF with george in the late 60's and he was teaching the crest release then. its not GM's fault that later trainers corrupted its legitimate purpose.

my 15.2 TB mare was very competitive in hunters back to back res. ch at harrisburg, and never missed the cut in the medal final. its true that today there are so many classes you have to specialize or kill your horse.....

as far as going to the TB sales to buy the ones that were not going to run, we still do this with WB just buying those that won't make it in the GP ring.....

to me one of the most brilliant and classic courses ridden at any final i personally watched was hilary schlusmeyer in her medal win. soft, precise, elegant and classic. i wonder if i watched a video of that ride today if i would tend to nit pick it to death.

lauriep
Nov. 12, 2010, 09:02 AM
And GM learned the crest release from Gordon Wright. I am looking at his "Learning to Ride, Hunt and Show," GM's "bible" and there it is in intermediate jumping. Can we put this to rest? Somewhere along the line, SOMEONE decided that the crest release was all that was necessary, judges began rewarding it and here we are.

JAMO
Nov. 12, 2010, 11:37 AM
While I know we've mostly been talking about eq, another thing that does make giggle about the hunters of today is that in theory, horses that show hunters would be suitable mounts in the hunt field. Ha! As someone who grew up showing and fox hunting, let me just say that my show horses never hunted.

Tha Ridge
Nov. 12, 2010, 11:52 AM
This one from 1985 is less crazy and more like what you see today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-NobN63ZPM&feature=related

Perhaps I'm too young to appreciate a round like that, but that round would not have received a callback at this year's Medal Finals. No way, no how. The rider is lovely, yes, but that course seemed very rough to me.

There are lots of things wrong with today's system, but you cannot debate that the rounds are smoother and more accurate than they were then.

Janet
Nov. 12, 2010, 12:47 PM
And GM learned the crest release from Gordon Wright. I am looking at his "Learning to Ride, Hunt and Show," GM's "bible" and there it is in intermediate jumping. SLightly OT, but I have a signed copy of that- it is actually my sister's, she won it as a sportsmanship prize at Armonk in the late 60's

Linny
Nov. 12, 2010, 01:35 PM
I have not read all the replies but as for the TB's and where they go, I will chime in.

There are still some folks who go to sales like Timonium etc looking for TB prospects but if they want a re-sale project they are not looking for the TB's at all. When I was learning most of the horses in my barn were TB's, maybe a few with QH blood. Any H/J trainer could take a TB from the track, if they couldn't they couldn't survive. Today's younger trainers in many cases grew up on WB's and just figure than TB's are nutty and not worth the effort.

In the "old days" there was a closer link between the track and the H/J world. Most hunter trainers knew a few race trainers well enough an had trust enough in them to do frequent business. Many race owners were also riders of show and field hunters. Today, more track owners are "investors" not horsemen and a huge percentage of racehorses are owned by partnerships.
Lower level racing was ever thus. The difference is that now many of the lower rung tracks offer huge purses boosted by on-track slot machine revenue. Your horse that cannot cut it at Laurel may have a better chance to win at Charles Town or Mountaineer and when he gets there, you find he's running for purses higher than what he ran for in MD.

findeight
Nov. 12, 2010, 01:54 PM
While I know we've mostly been talking about eq, another thing that does make giggle about the hunters of today is that in theory, horses that show hunters would be suitable mounts in the hunt field. Ha! As someone who grew up showing and fox hunting, let me just say that my show horses never hunted.

No...but your old field Hunters would never be able to fit their gallop into a 150x250 sand ring with a fence around it and a bunch of 4 and 5 stride lines.

RugBug
Nov. 12, 2010, 02:09 PM
Perhaps I'm too young to appreciate a round like that, but that round would not have received a callback at this year's Medal Finals. No way, no how. The rider is lovely, yes, but that course seemed very rough to me.

There are lots of things wrong with today's system, but you cannot debate that the rounds are smoother and more accurate than they were then.

No, it wouldn't get a call back, but I think that's what's being dicussed. There are good and bad things about the old rounds and the same can be said about the new rounds.

I, for one, love the smoothness of the RIDER in the old rounds. They were galloping and they were still, fluid and beautiful. They didn't leap at their horses, they stayed out of the saddle over the fence, etc.

The horses were certainly not as broke, but had life to them. They actually galloped. It's nice to see something other than a snail's pace. I was watching some of the rounds from this year and while they were very lovely rounds, they were dull. I wanted to cluck and get some pace going. The rounds were over-controlled, IMO...almost the opposite of teh 80s rounds. Perfect world for me would be a mash of the two...be forward, but controlled. HAve some life, some pace, some brilliance, but be able to do it without going overboard.

Maya01
Nov. 12, 2010, 02:09 PM
Does this mean that a classic jumper type TB is acceptable in a more hunter-style equitation class such as the Maclay now?

sarcam02
Nov. 12, 2010, 02:44 PM
Having shown in the Maclay finals in the (relatively tiny) Madison Square Garden ring in 1979 and 1980 the recent Peter Wylde video from 1982 really brought back some great memories. Charlie O's, the Statler Hilton, the ramp up to that warm up "ring" (more like a strip). Parking the horses on 33rd street. I was struck by the fast pace of our TB's and of course those skinny tails - they sure do make them full today.

The air in the Garden was ELECTRIC. I can appreciate both styles of riding and find that they are not that far off. Recently one of the younger eq kids at our barn remarked to my daughter "your mom rides just like Hayley Barnhill" which I took as a great compliment.

Mayaty02
Nov. 12, 2010, 02:47 PM
Having shown in the Maclay finals in the (relatively tiny) Madison Square Garden ring in 1979 and 1980 the recent Peter Wylde video from 1982 really brought back some great memories. Charlie O's, the Statler Hilton, the ramp up to that warm up "ring" (more like a strip). Parking the horses on 33rd street. I was struck by the fast pace of our TB's and of course those skinny tails - they sure do make them full today.

The air in the Garden was ELECTRIC. I can appreciate both styles of riding and find that they are not that far off. Recently one of the younger eq kids at our barn remarked to my daughter "your mom rides just like Hayley Barnhill" which I took as a great compliment.


very true all...and how great a compliment for you!

Funny about the tails. I don't remember anyone using fake tails unless you had an appy with a non-existent one.

sarcam02
Nov. 12, 2010, 03:09 PM
very true all...and how great a compliment for you!

Funny about the tails. I don't remember anyone using fake tails unless you had an appy with a non-existent one.

No one used the faux tails to my knowledge and many of us braided ourselves for most of the shows and it was a real treat to get a pro braider for the finals.

Also fewer horses "specialized" - I rode my guy in both the Junior Hunters and the Big Eq.

It was indeed a special time.

Flashy Gray VA
Nov. 12, 2010, 03:37 PM
I'm sorry but those giant fake Paris Hilton extension Quarter Horse tails swinging away look downright goofy. Enough, people!

EMWalker
Nov. 12, 2010, 03:53 PM
For better or worse the sport has evolved.

I think it's also the different courses that play a part in pace these days. Especially at Finals -- the rings are small (ESP Washington!) and the course designers are out to create complex questions and trap a lot of riders. Tricky is "in" so riders aren't able to carry the same pace as they used to.

The old videos ate great bur the courses look like pretty standard jumper style courses without trying to be trap-y or spooky. Less jumps in that small of space and you can carry more pace.

Same as the hunter derbies these days -- smaller rings don't allow for brilliant pace.

fordtraktor
Nov. 12, 2010, 04:00 PM
Peter Wylde's ride might not have been as smooth as modern ones, but his equitation is so superior to anything I saw in 2010 that the difference is breathtaking. Moreover, Surf, while not foot-perfect, flows freely forward, much like Hayley's final round acclaimed by GM. I find it hard to believe he would not be rewarded today.

What a beautiful rider and definitely a ride that is serving its purpose, which is producing an effective position to allow the horse to jump well. The proof is in the pudding -- Peter's career since 1982.

JAMO
Nov. 12, 2010, 04:23 PM
No...but your old field Hunters would never be able to fit their gallop into a 150x250 sand ring with a fence around it and a bunch of 4 and 5 stride lines.

I Politely disagree, but that wasn't even the point I was making. I was thinking about how in theory a show hunter would make an excellent mount for the hunt field, but show hunters are in reality super fancy horses that cost a fortune! Real field hunters don't have to be pricey: they just need heart and gumption. They needn't be warmbloods, either. So I guess it seems like an artificial standard in some respects. Just me two cents...

JAMO
Nov. 12, 2010, 04:28 PM
Since I've been out of the show world for so long, I'd also love to hear what more of you think about TBs; does anyone show the A circ on them in hunters or eq anymore?

Tha Ridge
Nov. 12, 2010, 05:52 PM
Since I've been out of the show world for so long, I'd also love to hear what more of you think about TBs; does anyone show the A circ on them in hunters or eq anymore?

There are a few out there, but they're few and far between. Probably still some hanging in there at more local "A" shows, but I can't think of a TB that's big on the national scene right now. Maggie Jayne's Prix horse Thomas Edison is a TB, but that's not hunters or eq.

I do agree with the poster who mentioned judges quite liking a nice TB. I found that the case when I had a TB Small Junior Hunter, 4-5 years ago.

ponymom64
Nov. 12, 2010, 06:35 PM
There are a few out there, but they're few and far between. Probably still some hanging in there at more local "A" shows, but I can't think of a TB that's big on the national scene right now. Maggie Jayne's Prix horse Thomas Edison is a TB, but that's not hunters or eq.

I do agree with the poster who mentioned judges quite liking a nice TB. I found that the case when I had a TB Small Junior Hunter, 4-5 years ago.

Don Stewart has a couple of lovely TB Jr Hunters showing and winning on the AA.

Tha Ridge
Nov. 12, 2010, 08:11 PM
Don Stewart has a couple of lovely TB Jr Hunters showing and winning on the AA.

Who? I wasn't sure that any of his current ones were TBs, although that's lovely if that's the case! :yes:

ETA: Totally forgot about Fernwalk. Lovely horse. Any others?

ponymom64
Nov. 12, 2010, 08:22 PM
Walk Away, I think is the other one. Epic, who Hayley Barnhill rode is another. My DD's young horse will be out there, too - he's not winning anything just yet (just started the Jrs) but hopefully will find some success soon *fingers crossed*

bumknees
Nov. 12, 2010, 08:29 PM
I sure miss the old eq rides. Compaired to todays Eq and hunter horse they had the 'brilliance' but then perhaps the galloping not counting strides to me is more brilliant than the almost robot movements of both horse and rider. Yeah todays eq an hunters can be 'pretty' butthey just miss something... Perhaps it is the hotness of the OTTB vs WB.
We old farte's have to remember something else.. We who rode those hot horses had to have secure seat and legs after all if we didnt our pancake saddle would not 'cover up' for us and we would most likely find ourselves on the ground if we even attempted to ride Eq of today on our Tb's and pancakes of yesterday... And I have enough jumps imprinted on my forehead thankyouverymuch from the early 80's... :)
TOdays riders are very pretty but I often wonder if they had to ride one of our horses in our saddles how pretty they would be...

MHM
Nov. 12, 2010, 09:12 PM
Lifetime Guarantee is another TB (OTTB, in fact) who is a very successful junior hunter. He's won over jumps at Indoors, and is the hack winner or close to it in any company.

fair judy
Nov. 12, 2010, 09:54 PM
Perhaps I'm too young to appreciate a round like that, but that round would not have received a callback at this year's Medal Finals. No way, no how. The rider is lovely, yes, but that course seemed very rough to me.

There are lots of things wrong with today's system, but you cannot debate that the rounds are smoother and more accurate than they were then.

just don't forget young one that ALL that this sport is was Built on the foundation of those who came before you. furthermore, melanie and scott would indeed appreciate any of the rounds mentioned here. do you think they grew to be who they are in a vacuum?

Tha Ridge
Nov. 12, 2010, 09:56 PM
just don't forget young one that ALL that this sport is was Built on the foundation of those who came before you. furthermore, melanie and scott would indeed appreciate any of the rounds mentioned here. do you think they grew to be who they are in a vacuum?

Absolutely they would appreciate them—but not in today's setting. I appreciate those rounds. In fact, I quite like them, but that doesn't make them appropriate for today's equitation ring.

Mac123
Nov. 12, 2010, 10:31 PM
I, for one, love the smoothness of the RIDER in the old rounds. They were galloping and they were still, fluid and beautiful. They didn't leap at their horses, they stayed out of the saddle over the fence, etc.

The horses were certainly not as broke, but had life to them. They actually galloped. It's nice to see something other than a snail's pace. I was watching some of the rounds from this year and while they were very lovely rounds, they were dull. I wanted to cluck and get some pace going. The rounds were over-controlled, IMO...almost the opposite of teh 80s rounds. Perfect world for me would be a mash of the two...be forward, but controlled. HAve some life, some pace, some brilliance, but be able to do it without going overboard.

I agree completely and this is what I think I'm coming to in my mind. There's certainly a ton of advances since the old days which I a bit humbled to appreciate considering I have always been a bit anti-modern and pro-old days. The sophistication of the flatwork, the preparation, etc. is commendable, not to mention how the advent of veterinary and supplement technologies have vastly improved the soundness and abilities of our horses.

All the same, I think that we aren't seeing anywhere near the equitation and effectiveness and fluidity (and that "go-for-broke" mentality) of the 70s and 80s. While those riders were very much of the same body type which surely contributes to the overall image, damn, they were just gorgeous to watch. Every one of them! It looked effortless. The modern riders look like they are always thinking about heels here and shoulders there and hands here while the riders of old just looked very natural.


I sure miss the old eq rides. Compaired to todays Eq and hunter horse they had the 'brilliance' but then perhaps the galloping not counting strides to me is more brilliant than the almost robot movements of both horse and rider. Yeah todays eq an hunters can be 'pretty' butthey just miss something... Perhaps it is the hotness of the OTTB vs WB.
We old farte's have to remember something else.. We who rode those hot horses had to have secure seat and legs after all if we didnt our pancake saddle would not 'cover up' for us and we would most likely find ourselves on the ground if we even attempted to ride Eq of today on our Tb's and pancakes of yesterday... And I have enough jumps imprinted on my forehead thankyouverymuch from the early 80's... :)
TOdays riders are very pretty but I often wonder if they had to ride one of our horses in our saddles how pretty they would be...

Yup. Where's the "like" button?

I love taking a kid that looks very secure and thinks a lot of herself in her comfy sticky Antares with her broke to death trainer sat on warmblood and have her get on a schoolie or a young TB in my hermes steinkraus and see where they are. It very much shows how contrived the modern position can be.

ETA...To be fair, I think we'd have a similar scenario taking a rider of the 80s and putting her in a deep saddle on a heavy warmblood with a trappy course. She may not have been able to figure out that ride any better than a modern rider riding in a style of the 80s. Just sayin'.

doublesstable
Nov. 12, 2010, 11:18 PM
I agree completely and this is what I think I'm coming to in my mind. There's certainly a ton of advances since the old days which I a bit humbled to appreciate considering I have always been a bit anti-modern and pro-old days. The sophistication of the flatwork, the preparation, etc. is commendable, not to mention how the advent of veterinary and supplement technologies have vastly improved the soundness and abilities of our horses.

All the same, I think that we aren't seeing anywhere near the equitation and effectiveness and fluidity (and that "go-for-broke" mentality) of the 70s and 80s. While those riders were very much of the same body type which surely contributes to the overall image, damn, they were just gorgeous to watch. Every one of them! It looked effortless. The modern riders look like they are always thinking about heels here and shoulders there and hands here while the riders of old just looked very natural.



Yup. Where's the "like" button?

I love taking a kid that looks very secure and thinks a lot of herself in her comfy sticky Antares with her broke to death trainer sat on warmblood and have her get on a schoolie or a young TB in my hermes steinkraus and see where they are. It very much shows how contrived the modern position can be.

ETA...To be fair, I think we'd have a similar scenario taking a rider of the 80s and putting her in a deep saddle on a heavy warmblood with a trappy course. She may not have been able to figure out that ride any better than a modern rider riding in a style of the 80s. Just sayin'.

I think this is a big part of the debate of the styles.... I rode in the 80's on a OTTB "hot" with a flat as a pancake saddle and NO knee rolls... hung up the riding for many years and now doing it again - - Riding a BIG WB and a sticky well padded saddle. It's fun but I am much more comfortable on my smaller, quicker TB type horse. It's what I am used to I guess.

JAMO
Nov. 13, 2010, 12:39 AM
I think this is a big part of the debate of the styles.... I rode in the 80's on a OTTB "hot" with a flat as a pancake saddle and NO knee rolls... hung up the riding for many years and now doing it again - - Riding a BIG WB and a sticky well padded saddle. It's fun but I am much more comfortable on my smaller, quicker TB type horse. It's what I am used to I guess.

I hear you! I am actually going to bust out my *gasp* phase IV
this week. It's currently being reconditioned. Despite it being totally out of style, I learned to balance in it fine all of those years ago. I guess we'll see how it goes...

MHM
Nov. 13, 2010, 12:45 AM
I think this is a big part of the debate of the styles.... I rode in the 80's on a OTTB "hot" with a flat as a pancake saddle and NO knee rolls... hung up the riding for many years and now doing it again - - Riding a BIG WB and a sticky well padded saddle. It's fun but I am much more comfortable on my smaller, quicker TB type horse. It's what I am used to I guess.

To oversimplify a little again, if you grew up riding or watching hot TBs, you're used to a very still rider staying quiet on the forward horse. If you're familiar with the modern warmblood approach, you're used to a more active rider who has to create the energy in the horse.

It doesn't mean one style is necessarily better or worse, they're just different.

And obviously, the riders who won or placed decades ago were able to adapt, since some of them (Peter Wylde, Leslie Burr Howard, Chris Kappler, Richard Spooner, Meredith Michaels Beerbaum, Aaron Vale, Candice Schlom King, etc., etc.) are still successful today on the horses we see at shows now.

Could the "kids today" adapt to the earlier horses? Probably, but we may never see them have to prove it.

doublesstable
Nov. 13, 2010, 01:48 AM
To oversimplify a little again, if you grew up riding or watching hot TBs, you're used to a very still rider staying quiet on the forward horse. If you're familiar with the modern warmblood approach, you're used to a more active rider who has to create the energy in the horse.

It doesn't mean one style is necessarily better or worse, they're just different.

And obviously, the riders who won or placed decades ago were able to adapt, since some of them (Peter Wylde, Leslie Burr Howard, Chris Kappler, Richard Spooner, Meredith Michaels Beerbaum, Aaron Vale, Candice Schlom King, etc., etc.) are still successful today on the horses we see at shows now.

Could the "kids today" adapt to the earlier horses? Probably, but we may never see them have to prove it.

This is true...

I find myself now, actually riding with lower leg. What a concept! :lol:

M. Owen
Nov. 13, 2010, 12:17 PM
I grew up riding in the '80s/ early '90s and coming back to riding as an adult, I think the horses are much nicer and there is a lot more depth shows. I also think the veterinary advances make a huge difference to the smoothness of the rounds. It is a lot easier to get a clean lead change on a horse whose hocks/ back etc feel good than one that may be a bit sore.

On to the riders, I think the riders in the old videos are beautiful, and the best have clearly adapted to today's horses, since many of those people are riding today and making their big GP jumper rounds look like equitation classes. That being said, I think today's best riders are also lovely to watch, although I was surprised that some of the riders weren't tighter and the wobbly lower backs.

That being said, I think a lot of kids today have many other activities than just riding and maybe they're only riding 4-5 days a week. From what I recall, I remember everyone riding at least 6 days a week, frequently 7 if they had multiple horses, and swinging a leg over anything available. I being dropped off at the barn in the am and staying until evening every weekend and all summer long pretty much, and having the opportunity to ride 4-6 horses a day (only 1 being my own). I don't think kids do that as much any more, and I don't think barns encourage that either.

Today's horses are much more well broke and prepared for the job at hand, and IMO just nicer overall. I also think the comfier saddles are a step in the right direction- they fit the horse and rider better. It was not uncommon to see many horses with white hair on the withers from having a poorly fitting saddle. I also think the courses today are more technical and call for a more technical type of ride.

Brooke
Nov. 13, 2010, 12:51 PM
I miss the good ol' days. Back then, my legs were strong, I could find my way to a fence, and I didn't hurt when I get off at the end of a ride! And my butt was really cute. :)

JAMO
Nov. 13, 2010, 04:21 PM
I think a good rider can adapt to any horse or course. In my opinion there's no reason why "oldies" can't learn what's in fashion today, and similarly the kids today could learn to ride the old school eq if they were taught. I grew up riding all kinds of different horses for the experience. I just find it dispiriting that only a certain type of horse and thus ride style dominates to such a great extent.

SimonandGus
Nov. 14, 2010, 10:34 PM
I had similar thoughts.

but the top trips today look much smoother than many of the past winners, even if the riders' positions may not be as text book perfect all the time.



This.
Please don't flame me but, watching Peter Wylde's win, I was thinking "Oh god, If I did that today in my 12-14 eq course I wouldn't place."
Things are very different, thank you for putting these videos up! They helped me recognize how much evolution the eq world has gone through.

MichiganHunter91
Nov. 15, 2010, 01:38 AM
I am one of those young adults not old enough to experience the 70s and 80s but rather the later 90s/00s decade of riding. I strive to learn and come to appreciate how far we have evolved as riders and am anticipating what is to come in this decade for BigEq.

TB vs WB wise... a good horse that can get the job done and has heart is a good horse to my eyes.

neigh.neigh
Nov. 25, 2010, 04:42 PM
Anyway, I've been rewatching some of the Maclay rounds on youtube and I really liked this one. Reminded me of great eq from my "good old days". I believe she placed 26th overall. Nice open pace, the horse definitely has some oomph to his jump, and I love that she actually releases over every fence (imagine that!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFUwdwAoqNw

I just saw this, thank you so much for the compliment! (The video is of me) Although this is different from showing a hunter like some of you were saying, I showed this same horse in the Medium Junior Jumpers. He is a superstar and does both jobs very well. Sometimes there are benefits to showing on a budget with one horse, the Maclay course certainly seemed easy by the last day :D

This is one of my jumper courses from Syracuse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64BDZVMvC-4

and a picture, probably my favorite picture of him ever :)
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31722396&l=d62ff86b44&id=1464134830

lucyeq
Nov. 25, 2010, 09:30 PM
I haven't read all the posts so I'm not sure if I'm just reiterating something. I like that the horses of today aren't allowed to be crooked or swap; points should be deducted for this because it could indicate a position flaw. This helps improve effectiveness. The whole point of Equitation as a discipline is to create effective, safe riders. I think that this should always be taken into consideration when talking about Equitaiton. It isn't all about being pretty and textbook-perfect. I love many aspects of the classic eq riders, but I do prefer the slow, precise feel of the modern eq riders. The two combined would be ideal to me.

hellerkm
Nov. 26, 2010, 09:24 AM
Just a few thoughts:

My sister was riding at the Garden in the years of the videos linked in the first post. My mom is a small trainer and managed to get my sister to that level with the help of one other trainer who was also on the small side. Her style of teaching was straight out of the GM bible. My sister did well but never ribboned. IMO my sister was a very very good rider ( still is).
I happen to LOVE the old style presented in the videos, maybe its because that is all I have ever been taught, and its really what i still teach with a few adjustments to my kids.
My daughters have both been riding for several years now, they started in VERY VERY flat saddles ( no padding, no knee rolls, no extra help) my 14 yr old is STILL in my old flat EQ saddle her leg is strong and solid because it has no other option LOL!
I teach the crest and auto release from the start, I HATE the look in the more recent videos where the riders hands are firmly on the horses withers and don't seem to move much. It bugs the heck out of me!!! My 7 yr old even has an auto release, its not that hard to teach.
I do think that the EQ riders today are more versatile,years ago the riders were mainly doing the big EQ, today they ride the jumpers at the same time. I think that fact and the change in the horses and their adjust-ability account for most of the style differences.
I do know that years ago, we did the EQ because it was the less expensive way to go and show on the higher level. You did not need the most expensive horse out there to win, you needed to be a fluid, technical rider, your horses movement became secondary. My sisters horse was not the prettiest horse out there, but he was a solid 3'6" horse who knew his job and went around, the rest was up to HER. It gave kids without huge pocketbooks the chance to prove their riding ability and not depend as much on their ability to purchase a very expensive horse. Please don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that no matter WHAT your horse costs you still need to know how to ride, I just think that kids who have more money to spend today do have a slight advantage. I am sure the same advantage existed years ago, but maybe at a lesser level? I could just be delusional.
My point comes down to this, I love the old look, its how I was taught, its how I am teaching my girls to ride ( for the most part) to me its "correct" I do know that times change, and styles change, I just don't think its always for the better !

hellerkm
Nov. 26, 2010, 09:29 AM
I just saw this, thank you so much for the compliment! (The video is of me) Although this is different from showing a hunter like some of you were saying, I showed this same horse in the Medium Junior Jumpers. He is a superstar and does both jobs very well. Sometimes there are benefits to showing on a budget with one horse, the Maclay course certainly seemed easy by the last day :D

This is one of my jumper courses from Syracuse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64BDZVMvC-4

and a picture, probably my favorite picture of him ever :)
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31722396&l=d62ff86b44&id=1464134830
Neigh Neigh, this might be the perfect combo of classic and new!! Love the release and the fact that you are working with your horse! He does not look like a super easy ride and you did a beautiful job with your consistency , to me this is the goal, again fluid, forward and technically correct, without looking stiff and posed!! CUDOS to you for getting it right!!!

findeight
Nov. 26, 2010, 09:48 AM
:(

Anybody else squirming along with me at the references to the 80s (and some 90s) as "The Good OLD Days"?:confused:

Midge
Nov. 26, 2010, 03:15 PM
Now, on the other hand, I just read an article by Missy Clark saying that judges are not pinning the more round, athletic horses like they should be. And says shame on them for pinning the more "flat" jumping. I need to find that article and post it here.
:)

Yet judges have a specific limit on the deduction allowed for a rail. If a rail is bad in the hunter and the jumpers, it should be bad in the Eq. too. If the horse caused it, too bad. Everyone has a 'cheap' rail. It should count off everywhere.



The horse styles seem more different to me than the rider styles, at least in the 80's videos.

This is the case. I think the truly good riders from any era could be successful, no matter what questions were asked or standards set.



It's not that you can't get a warmblood to go forward. It's that the process might require a little more effort from the rider, which may result in a deeper seat, rounder back, and more active leg. Immaterial to a jumper rider, but not to an equitation rider judged on position as well as effectiveness.

Yes.


This.
Please don't flame me but, watching Peter Wylde's win, I was thinking "Oh god, If I did that today in my 12-14 eq course I wouldn't place."
Things are very different, thank you for putting these videos up! They helped me recognize how much evolution the eq world has gone through.

It's hard not to flame you. :rolleyes: Watch with a critical eye. If you had those trips today, you would win all the time in 12-14, even if your horse was being that naughty. Go look at the tapes again and watch Peter, not his too fresh (by today's standards) horse. Ignore the horse and watch him and tell me you can ride like that on a 'prepared' horse.


:(

Anybody else squirming along with me at the references to the 80s (and some 90s) as "The Good OLD Days"?:confused:

As a matter of fact...