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JWB
Jan. 10, 2011, 09:28 AM
So I rode my firs BN in over a decade this past weekend and had a fantastic time. I would have had an even better time if 9.6 time penalties hadn't dropped me from 2nd to 5th.

I was using my $7 Wal Mart watch and the screen is so tiny that I couldn't tell that I had completely fat fingered the buttons until I became suspicious waiting for that first alarm to go off at me..... Long story short, I dinked around way to slow for the first half of the course and tried to make it up at the end but it was too little, too late.

So my perfect watch - big, easy to read screen, simple to use, and buttons spaced out such that you'll most likely hit the correct one, even with gloves on.

It would also be nice to have some sort of programmable interval alarm.

What do you recommend?

Auto Be A Storm
Jan. 10, 2011, 09:44 AM
I use the big yellow optimum watch, I hate that it is yellow, doesn't match anything I wear, but it is realiable and when I am not using it bewteen horse trials I take the battery out and store it all in a plastic bag!

Carolinadreamin'
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:23 AM
Bought our big yellow watch from an online store in the UK, as recommended here on COTH. It was cheaper than any price here in the states, even with shipping. Do a search, it should turn up.

pcwertb
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:52 AM
I think I was one of those who moved up when you had time penalties! I used a friend's big yellow, but I need to dig up the older thread, as I need to order one and saving the $ to get from England would be great.

We are going to let mine run Novice the end of the month, still undecided if it will be me or the trainer!

JWB
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:04 AM
What do you think about something like this? My husband uses one for cycling although I think he'd be grumpy if I stole his to ride in....

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=348

Just did a quick glance at the rules and couldn't find anything that prohibits a GPS pace tracker - but that doesn't mean I didn't overlook it.

Highflyer
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:16 AM
Are you asking about using the Garmin as a watch or as a GPS for pace? If you're using it as a watch, it's quite a bit pricier than the Optimum Time one (which now comes in colors other than yellow). If you're thinking of using it to determine your pace as opposed to keep track of your time, I think everyone should learn to ride pace by feel rather than depending on a gadget, especially at the BN level where you really shouldn't have to change pace much. This is a pretty central part of being an event rider and is worth learning (besides which, my experience as a runner is that the Garmins are only as accurate as the person using them, which means if you don't follow exactly the same tangents as the course designer, your numbers can vary hugely!)

JWB
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:23 AM
Agreed that I need to learn to feel the pace. Obviously I have not got that part figured out, and will be spending quite a bit of time hanging out at BN till I get it figured out. Step one is knowing what the problem is that needs work.

The Garmin seems like it might be a good tool to help me learn that. It can be found for $115 on Amazon so it's not that much more expensive than the yellow watches, does all the same things, and then some.

Noctis
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:27 PM
I just have the cheap one that was on TOTD a while ago, around $30. It is made by Tempi. While it doesn't count DOWN, I can remember my optimum time just fine and keep an eye on it. And its pretty colored. And comfortable on my very sensitive wrist. Great for starting out because its cheap and BIG and easy to read.

Janet
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:35 PM
What do you think about something like this? My husband uses one for cycling although I think he'd be grumpy if I stole his to ride in....

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=348

Just did a quick glance at the rules and couldn't find anything that prohibits a GPS pace tracker - but that doesn't mean I didn't overlook it.

No rules against GPS pace tracking- in fact they are being used in some USEA-sponsored experiments/analysis. But they are to look at after. I would NOT recommend looking at a "Pace" readout while on course.

Personally, I lilke my Timex Ironman watch. Nice big buttons. I do not need to read the display on course, but the numbers are moderatley big. I set it so I am in stopwatch mode and interval timeing mode at the same time. It beeps every minute, and that is my primary feedback- I don't bother to look at the actual time until I am approaching the finish line.

Highflyer
Jan. 10, 2011, 04:17 PM
Borrow a meter wheel and mark off the distances-- 350, 375, 400 meters, etc... Then wear your watch when you do your canter sets, and set it to beep every minute.

RAyers
Jan. 10, 2011, 04:47 PM
Here is an honest question, so what if you have time penalties? Sure, at the lower levels they can affect the placing but at the upper levels time is so hard that almost everyone gets them. Maybe I am so used to time penalties that they don't really bother me. When I read the OP I think, OK so go a bit faster next time but do you need a watch to do that?

The big reason I don't use a watch on XC is that I feel it takes my attention off the task, getting around cleanly and safely (almost like texting and driving). I learn my pace at home (like what highflyer describes) and through trial and error during competitions over the years.

The most accurate time I ever recorded of me on course (outside of the GPS watches for our study) was 47 minutes at a 2-star when I remembered to hit the watch in the D vet box.

purplnurpl
Jan. 10, 2011, 04:48 PM
I like the yellow watch too.
It's simple. For me with simple brain...

purplnurpl
Jan. 10, 2011, 04:50 PM
Here is an honest question, so what if you have time penalties? Sure, at the lower levels they can affect the placing but at the upper levels time is so hard that almost everyone gets them. Maybe I am so used to time penalties that they don't really bother me. When I read the OP I think, OK so go a bit faster next time but do you need a watch to do that?



hmmm..
I would be TO'd if my BN-T time penalties dropped me from 2nd to 5th.

Plus, duh, the big yellow watch looks super cool. I don't feel right without it.
:cool:

Janet
Jan. 10, 2011, 04:55 PM
Borrow a meter wheel and mark off the distances-- 350, 375, 400 meters, etc... Then wear your watch when you do your canter sets, and set it to beep every minute.

That is fine for learning a consistent, even pace.

But just about every XC xourse I have ridden has places where you have to go slower, and places where you can go faster.

THAT is the sense of pace you need to develop for COMPETITION, and you won't figure that out on straight canter sets.

JWB
Jan. 10, 2011, 05:46 PM
Yup - I slowed way up through the "scary" dunes, realized afterwards that my $7 watch was not running, and hauled it back home as fast as I could.....

I do need to develop a sense of timing and that will come with experience (last rode training level in 1996, and one BN in 1997) so I'm a bit rusty. Also my old horse was a very forward TB. Current horse is an extremely balanced WB/TBx - If I sit up, she slows up - Very nice for me, since I've apparently turned into a weenie as an adult! Unfortunately, she doesn't feel the need to go anywhere in a hurry unless I explicitly ASK her to.

And yes, I was ticked about the time penalties. It's a stupid way to get knocked down when you've had a fantastic dressage test, good show jumping..... So I want to fix it! My horse was a rock star. Those 9.6 time faults are all on me.

RAyers
Jan. 10, 2011, 06:02 PM
Yup - I slowed way up through the "scary" dunes, realized afterwards that my $7 watch was not running, and hauled it back home as fast as I could...


See, right there I can tell you where your time faults were and how to fix it. Accelerate or gallop (within the confines of your level) hard up hills. The horse is already on their haunches and there is less likely a trip or stumble from being on the forehand. Let them cruise down the hill (up fast; down slow). You may go 350-400 mpm up the hill and 250-300 mpm down the hill and average 325-350 mpm overall. Even with a watch you need to understand this pacing.

I will say, this is why I also think watches are bad. The fact you ran to get home means you lost sight of the ride and were more focused on time than jumping well and clear. Speed comes from smoothness and cleanliness of the jumping. What looks like a slow ride can be very fast if the horse meets and jumps each fence consistently and smoothly. You see some of the worst wrecks at lower levels when riders are hauling to get to the finish line.

I apologize for the critique as you were not asking for one, however this is a good learning point about the necessity of a watch and keeping pace as well.

GotSpots
Jan. 10, 2011, 06:18 PM
I'll partially disagree with Reed here: There's a difference between using the watch to educate yourself and using the watch to win. I think a watch is very helpful while you're on course to help teach your brain what competition pace feels like. For example, I have one with a rock hard jaw - he "feels" like he's going much faster than he is though he is still jumping out of stride, and adrenaline/competition nerves don't help. During canter sets, he doesn't set his jaw quite so much and of course, much less adrenaline. So I found it very helpful the first few times I competed him to have my watch beeping every minute: gave me a very real "you're not as far along in the course as you really ought to be" check on pace. Didn't change my ride much, just opened up his stride a bit and realized that him pulling did not equal him running.

I agree that the watch shouldn't be used to make-up time when you're way behind (and agree completely about bad falls by folks going stupid-fast over small jumps that the horse trips over), but don't think watches are inherently the problem in those situations - that's when the rider should count it up as education and continue to be safe. That being said, I was fairly ticked off when a pro riding one of my sale horses was 7 seconds slow on an easy course and dropped from 1st to 6th because she wasn't wearing a watch. 7 seconds isn't about going too fast - it's about being smart and competitive - and on a horse who is being shown solely as a sale horse, it wasn't helpful.

wildlifer
Jan. 10, 2011, 08:07 PM
Agreed, gotspots. People who have good judgement will always realize safety is important. People who have bad judgement...well, it's not because they wear a watch. Also realize that not everyone has access to a place where they can set up pre-measured galloping areas.

mg
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:36 PM
I've just been using a cheapo digital watch with a stopwatch from Target (my everyday watch). I finally got the big yellow watch for Christmas this year! :) I've only been competing novice, but I like using my watch to help pace myself. My pony and I get really excited going xc and although we are completely in control, our "comfortable" pace is faster than what a novice course is set for. I use my watch to remember to slowwwww downnnnn :lol: it's hard having those really nice long gallop areas and not being able to really use them! :no:

I am looking into getting one of those gps watches. I do not have a meter wheel, so I like the idea that I can use them to accurately walk courses and I think it would also be a handy tool for trot/canter/gallop sets. I cannot set up premeasured spaces, so I would really enjoy the educational factor of a GPS watch. I will be moving up to training next season and while some people may find it silly to wheel courses, I would like to practice measuring my course and setting check points before I get to a level when I *need* it (if I ever get there!). While the lower level courses aren't as difficult to navigate without doing those things, I think they are a good spot to practice those skills. I plan to!

EventMo
Jan. 12, 2011, 03:46 PM
Reading this thread made me think of the time I showed up to play a soccer match, and the referee was wearing a yellow Optimum Time watch to time the game! LOL, I had to introduce myself after the game and we had a good laugh. I also remember a lot of my grandmother's friends asking me about where to get one of those big yellow watches, they wanted them for everyday use, no magnifying glasses required!

jackalini
Jan. 12, 2011, 04:35 PM
Congratulations on your first BN back after 10 years. I just did the same thing this past fall! Great to be back, isn't it?? :yes:

Speaking from my experience, redeveloping your sense of pace on a presumably different horse than the one you rode 10 years ago can be tough. And if you are starting at BN, then there are perhaps moments you trot - like to a down bank or to the scary white coop. Then there's terrain. Different every event, so going faster next time isn't always the answer. Those are a LOT of factors that affect why its different from what it feels like to go 350 meters in a minute in your field at home. If you ride at that "home" pace and trot or take a long approach off of a turn, bang, time penalties. Things I'm sure you know. :)

Watches are not about looking at them, realizing you're running behind, and going all out to make up the time. Not safe, and not something most of us would ever do. And I am not implying that anyone who's posted has done so.

Watches are to monitor your pace in an ongoing way so that you can make small adjustments safely and still meet the optimum time.

It is, after all, called the Optimum Time watch, not the "Ick, My Lord, Already Time Expired!" (IMLATE) watch. :winkgrin: