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View Full Version : Why was Southern Pines such a train wreck this weekend ??



Groro
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:14 PM
I was looking at the results on event entries and was shocked at the scores.

What happened?

Not only were cross country scores a disaster, but show jumping looked pretty bad, too.

Any opinions?

EqTrainer
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:17 PM
Was the weather a factor? It was absolutely foul here this weekend. Horses were nutso everywhere.

denny
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:23 PM
Friday was a spectacular day, bright sun, mid 60s. Then it got wet and cold for Sat and Sun. There were so many horses, maybe just an "odds game"?

I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.

SevenDogs
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:28 PM
I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.

I absolutely agree that this needs some major discussing.

JAM
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:43 PM
Yes, yes, yes.



I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.

Itsabeautifullife
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:50 PM
The inclement weather during cross country did not really start until late in the intermediate, so I would not say it could be counted as a huge determining factor in the difficulties.

At all levels (notably preliminary through advanced) there were some legitimately difficult questions, and the distances left room for some interpretation and decision making on the part of the rider, eg. ride forward for the two or conservatively for the three in the preliminary sunken road, the long one stride into the intermediate water that required a hard ride in, the long two strides or short three from the bank to the corner at advanced. It is also early in the season, and the accuracy required at some combinations may have caught a few people by surprise. The winter rust may not be knocked off quite yet.

pegasusmom
Mar. 28, 2011, 06:44 AM
What Itsabeautifullife said. There were some legitimitly tough questions on the courses at all levels. I watched some of the preliminary rides on Friday through the sunken road and saw only a handful of riders who correctly balanced horses through a left handed downhill approach to the first element.

The show jumping course was lovely, deceptive in it's difficulty and quite frankly there was some bad riding.

However. . . there were lots of folks who did have a good weekend. Personally we are extraordinarily pleased with our weekend results.

LookmaNohands
Mar. 28, 2011, 06:57 AM
I decided after two bad years there that I think the place is built on an indian burial ground. :eek:

The second time I was there my horse was completely un-nerved and I pulled up on prelim xc. Later that day two horses were put down.

I always had good goes at the old location. Loved that place much more than the current one.

I also think it is a very stiff course for this early in the year and not everyone understands that and many are NOT prepared!!

I would only go back if I really, really needed it or for the AECs.

kerilli
Mar. 28, 2011, 07:29 AM
I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.

In the U.K. the absolute limit for 1 rider per day is 5 horses. I think someone snuck 6 in once but afaik BE are hot on it now.

Napoles
Mar. 28, 2011, 07:50 AM
Same in Ireland. :yes:

ACMEeventing
Mar. 28, 2011, 08:30 AM
What Itsabeautifullife said. There were some legitimitly tough questions on the courses at all levels. I watched some of the preliminary rides on Friday through the sunken road and saw only a handful of riders who correctly balanced horses through a left handed downhill approach to the first element.

The show jumping course was lovely, deceptive in it's difficulty and quite frankly there was some bad riding.

However. . . there were lots of folks who did have a good weekend. Personally we are extraordinarily pleased with our weekend results.

Congratulations on an awesome 1st place! Your boy looked super and it was one of the very few clean stadium rounds. Next time we'll force your lids open so you have to watch ;)

wildlifer
Mar. 28, 2011, 08:33 AM
I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.

Agree!! :yes: The weather was quite weird all weekend, we had horses at home who were nutso for no apparent reason all day, so maybe a big pressure change in the air led to some difficulties for sensitive horses as well?

retreadeventer
Mar. 28, 2011, 09:13 AM
Number of rides per rider is something I have been concerned about for well over six years but everytime I brought it up, smarter and supposedly more vested people than I shot it down. So I stopped mentioning it. There are a lot of people that are going to rise up and beat THAT proposal down if you actually end up getting it in writing somehow. Be prepared. They are vehement, they have money behind them, the professionals as a class against it, organizers as a class against it, officials as a class against it because the organizers are against it and that is where their paychecks come from. Good luck. Our system is categorically set up for pro riders, and any influence to change that will be met with stiff resistance.
In my own personal experience, riders at the three star level with more than one ride, by the end of the day, actually lay down and take a NAP in the warmup area if there is a hold. I'm no doctor but I'm a human being and I know a little something about fatigue, and there is no question they are exhausted. I don't care how fit they are or how much they ride at home. Competition is DIFFERENT.
Kudos to those organizers who do already limit rides per rider on their own without a rule!

JAM
Mar. 28, 2011, 09:24 AM
Agree with this too. I also brought up number of rides per rider on these boards several years and was hooted down by those who said (a) these are trained professionals who know their limits and (b) this is how these professionals make their living, so it's unfair to put limits on the number of horses they can ride. Never mind that there are studies showing that even highly trained professionals fatigue after a certain time and do not know that they are fatigued, and never mind that the number 1 goal of our associations is supposed to be the welfare of the horse, not the financial welfare of the riders.


Number of rides per rider is something I have been concerned about for well over six years but everytime I brought it up, smarter and supposedly more vested people than I shot it down. So I stopped mentioning it. There are a lot of people that are going to rise up and beat THAT proposal down if you actually end up getting it in writing somehow. Be prepared. They are vehement, they have money behind them, the professionals as a class against it, organizers as a class against it, officials as a class against it because the organizers are against it and that is where their paychecks come from. Good luck. Our system is categorically set up for pro riders, and any influence to change that will be met with stiff resistance.
In my own personal experience, riders at the three star level with more than one ride, by the end of the day, actually lay down and take a NAP in the warmup area if there is a hold. I'm no doctor but I'm a human being and I know a little something about fatigue, and there is no question they are exhausted. I don't care how fit they are or how much they ride at home. Competition is DIFFERENT.
Kudos to those organizers who do already limit rides per rider on their own without a rule!

fooler
Mar. 28, 2011, 10:55 AM
Friday was a spectacular day, bright sun, mid 60s. Then it got wet and cold for Sat and Sun. There were so many horses, maybe just an "odds game"?

I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.

Totally agree Denny - I know the pro's are fit and all, however it is alot of horses to ride in a competition environment.

Plus another thought: Over the past several years I have noticed that some events are heavily populated by a few pros and their students/clients. So let's say 5 pros come in with 7-8+ horses each = 35-40+ slots taken. Plus 3-5 students/clients each, some with 1-2 horses = 15+-25+ slots. On a conservative scale - 5 pros can take up to 65 slots. Some events are 1/2 to 3/4 pros and their students. This limits the number of slots for the amateur and YR riders. Limiting the opportunities for the next competitive generation. Unless of course they ride for one of those pros.

Also many of those organizers whose Spring events filled by the pros find their Fall events are under subscribed or are forced to cancel.
It is a bad business model to depend on 20% of your clients for 80+% of your 'profits' or in the case of organizers, competitors. Consider the events full today thanks to the pros and who had to turn away the 'local' competitors. Now if the pros retire or are lured to another competiton, would "you" (who were previously turned away) return to that competiton?

eventer_mi
Mar. 28, 2011, 11:16 AM
Dana, you should be proud! Congrats to you, Manny, Boyd, and Bo with your well-deserved 1st place! Yay yay yay!

kerilli
Mar. 28, 2011, 04:23 PM
Agree with this too. I also brought up number of rides per rider on these boards several years and was hooted down by those who said (a) these are trained professionals who know their limits and (b) this is how these professionals make their living, so it's unfair to put limits on the number of horses they can ride. Never mind that there are studies showing that even highly trained professionals fatigue after a certain time and do not know that they are fatigued, and never mind that the number 1 goal of our associations is supposed to be the welfare of the horse, not the financial welfare of the riders.

Hmmm, well, if riders over here of the indisputably exceptional calibre of William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicholson, Mark Todd, Pippa Funnell - should I go on, or does everyone get the picture ;) ;) ;) - happily accept the limit, unless U.S. eventers are superhuman, perhaps they should accept a similar rule... do many events run on multiple days? that's 1 way around it obv, 2 or 3 diff levels on consecutive days.

wabadou
Mar. 28, 2011, 05:58 PM
I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.
YES
Common sense dictates that there is a limit to how hard any one person can exert themselves and stay alert and effective. I've never understood how an owner can think their horse that's the 8th ride of of the day for one rider is getting any sort of ride like the first couple - and that's a hell of an expensive chance to take with a nice horse.

ACMEeventing
Mar. 28, 2011, 06:08 PM
Time for a spin-off thread? Denny got another ball rolling.

wabadou
Mar. 28, 2011, 06:09 PM
Time for a spin-off thread? Denny got another ball rolling.
YES!

canterlope
Mar. 28, 2011, 06:45 PM
... officials as a class against it because the organizers are against it and that is where their paychecks come from... Retread, I have to say this comment is pretty darn offensive to me and, I suspect, most of my fellow officials. If you truly believe that, as a class, we are against limiting the number of horses a rider may compete only because of a paycheck, you are sadly mistaken and/or terribly misguided.

Frankly, I will fully admit that I am against such a limit. Why? Because I believe organizers and riders alike should have the right to choose. It is their lives and their events. However, I also firmly believe that with this right comes personal responsibility. They have to be willing to know their own limits, make smart choices, and accept the consequences of their decisions and actions.

At some point, we have to stop believing that all of our problems can be fixed with a "nanny state" type solution. People will only act in a responsible way if you expect and allow them to do so. Trying to fix this issue with a bunch of rules and restrictions will only create a group of people who have no idea how to function as responsible human beings or accept that they must be accountable for their own actions.

BaroquePony
Mar. 28, 2011, 07:31 PM
Posted by canterlope:

....................

Frankly, I will fully admit that I am against such a limit. Why? Because I believe organizers and riders alike should have the right to choose. It is their lives and their events. However, I also firmly believe that with this right comes personal responsibility. They have to be willing to know their own limits, make smart choices, and accept the consequences of their decisions and actions.

At some point, we have to stop believing that all of our problems can be fixed with a "nanny state" type solution. People will only act in a responsible way if you expect and allow them to do so. Trying to fix this issue with a bunch of rules and restrictions will only create a group of people who have no idea how to function as responsible human beings or accept that they must be accountable for their own actions.

I think this is a very naive outlook.

All one has to do is look at how responsible Enron and Wall Street have behaved when allowed to take responsibilty for their own actions.

Eventing is just a subculture of the U.S. larger culture.

ThirdCharm
Mar. 28, 2011, 07:39 PM
Well, I would be all for the banishment of the 'nanny state' mentality IF we could ensure that the RIDERS were the ones who got killed, not the horses. If that were the case, the problem would be gone within a few years.

Alas, that is not the case. Maybe if we made safety vests optional?

Fact is you're dealing with a bunch of idiots PRODUCED by a 'nanny state' culture and expecting them to behave intelligently and responsibly after grooming them all their lives to be taken care of by/blame consequences on others, is a bit naive.

Jennifer

BaroquePony
Mar. 28, 2011, 07:42 PM
Jennifer, you said it much better than I did :yes:.

atheventer85
Mar. 28, 2011, 08:02 PM
I agree with Denny, I don't see how a trainer can be extremely successful, much less energized riding more than about 5 horses. I've done 4 at per show, and that alone is A TON. Also, something to note, Tremaine Cooper designed the courses at Poplar also where there were a lot of problems.... Congrats to those who had successful weekends though!

canterlope
Mar. 28, 2011, 08:07 PM
Fact is you're dealing with a bunch of idiots PRODUCED by a 'nanny state' culture and expecting them to behave intelligently and responsibly after grooming them all their lives to be taken care of by/blame consequences on others, is a bit naive.

JenniferSo, are you advocating that we just keep on going down the same road until no one has the balls to do what is right? If you think that will fix the problem, then I'm not sure who is the naive one here.

Horsegal984
Mar. 28, 2011, 08:24 PM
How about we make helmets optional? and vests? If you were competing on a horse that had to show for 5 other riders that day would you want to be the first one of it or the last?

To me it's like helmet laws for motorcycles, if you think it's safe to ride without a helmet just because there is no law that says you HAVE to wear one then I don't think you have much worth protecting anyways!

BaroquePony
Mar. 28, 2011, 08:43 PM
Posted by canterlope:

So, are you advocating that we just keep on going down the same road until no one has the balls to do what is right? If you think that will fix the problem, then I'm not sure who is the naive one here.

I'm the one who stated that I thought your previous post was naive. I still think that :yes:.

fooler
Mar. 28, 2011, 11:30 PM
Naive is believing that anytime in the history humans have we ever shown long term restraint or common sense.

That said, "WE", the US Eventing community, are responsible for our collective selves and our sport. We set our own rules based on our intimate knowledge of the sport. Otherwise we run the risk of non-eventers controlling the sport.
That IMO is the ultimate nanny-state.

wookie
Mar. 28, 2011, 11:36 PM
i do think there should be a limit for the safety of horse and rider but then again i think of how my skinny old butt is tired after one course. BUT.... if i were an owner i would not be putting my horse under someone else's arse if they were the 6th, 7th, or 8th ride of the day for that said pro.

with that being said it think you have to wonder about those who are comfortable doing so.

and factor in that those riding numerous horses are being handed them tacked and ready to go. they aren't up early or late braiding, driving the rig, putting in the studs-boots etc,. it's like a factory for those riding numerous rides. does anyone want to volunteer to do that for this low level rider just so i can see what it feels like?

BaroquePony
Mar. 28, 2011, 11:39 PM
Queensbury Rules :winkgrin:.

wookie
Mar. 28, 2011, 11:49 PM
ahhhh...baroque pony. i was trying to be fair.:lol:

fooler
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:09 AM
i do think there should be a limit for the safety of horse and rider but then again i think of how my skinny old butt is tired after one course. BUT.... if i were an owner i would not be putting my horse under someone else's arse if they were the 6th, 7th, or 8th ride of the day for that said pro.



Yeah - that thought has crossed my mind as well. . .

columbus
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:59 AM
If it is true that the big name riders had decreasing quality of rides through the weekend(and it may not be how it breaks down) then you all had better be nanny's and stop it. I just relaxed about the state of eventing from all the losses before and was satisfied with their willingness to be NANNYs. Whether I would participate by breeding and using event world trainers to start my horses and sell my horses would change if they will not take care of the horses first of their own accord. I can accept the danger but not if the people are seen to seem cavalier about it. People like me start looking for exits...and take the money elsewhere.

I sold a lovely young gelding into the eventing world. He is marvelous and is a big young duffus relying on his people to take care of him. I gave him the best start I could afford and found wonderful people who take their responsibility of his future very seriously. The powers that be need to be just as certain they have done the best by him as well. I think the intent is there but taking all suggestions seriously and analyzing them and even trying them is important. We can't have horses dying for trying.

I can look at this weekend as bad luck but where else did three top horses die in competition. Is it a level of fitness that can't be achieved when training for shortened events but yet during extreme need on course a higher level of fitness IS required and not there. It does seem that one of the consequences for the short courses is riders who can prepare and ride more horses...so they can "make more money" but perhaps the fitness level of the horses needs to be more than they can make with more horses. I am not saying close the door I am saying look at practices critically.

These horses who died need to be looked at with a microscope. Were they always conditioned on optimum footing but the old way was on the shoulder of a dirt road and more concussion made more bone. Where else in horse sport do these vascular accidents happen? Are there any studies being done to simulate the stressors of the eventing world?

I would think that limiting the number of horses a rider can ride would serve to encourage a BNR to develop a support staff that includes riders showing under their supervision from their facility...that would be a good thing for developing human infrastructure for the future of eventing and maybe even more profit for the BNT. PatO

BaroquePony
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:21 AM
Posted by columbus:

These horses who died need to be looked at with a microscope.

:yes:

Dollars to donuts these horses don't have the LSD (long, slow distance) conditioning they should have no matter what they are doing.

Blugal
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:46 AM
Really? The horses have been gone less than 3 days and you're already crucifying their riders/trainers without any supporting facts?

SevenDogs
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:50 AM
Really? The horses have been gone less than 3 days and you're already crucifying their riders/trainers without any supporting facts?

Agreed. :no: :no: :no:

JER
Mar. 29, 2011, 02:56 AM
These horses who died need to be looked at with a microscope. Were they always conditioned on optimum footing but the old way was on the shoulder of a dirt road and more concussion made more bone.


Dollars to donuts these horses don't have the LSD (long, slow distance) conditioning they should have no matter what they are doing.

Bring on those microscopes and dollars and donuts.

Dekorum was my mare. She was bred, raised and trained to be an eventer. The emphasis was always on fun, fitness, soundness and longevity. We managed to achieve most of those goals.

As a weanling and yearling, she lived outside, on hills, with no man-made shelter, with a group of same-age racing TBs. I wanted her to develop good balance on varied terrain, footing and conditions. I also wanted her to develop social skills and confidence with other young horses as I believe that leads to a more confident horse overall.

As a long yearling, she moved out to the desert, again to live on very mixed, often unfriendly terrain. She liked to climb on the rock faces, and she loved to race along the fenceline, ending with a sliding stop and spin. We ponied her out on my old gelding, showing her all kinds of new things and small ditches, logs, water, whatever. The idea was to teach forward thinking and let her look after herself.

As a long two-year-old, she went to a cowgirl's for starting more formal work. This was a real cowgirl, who has cattle for roping and penning on the property. My filly did basic groundwork, progressed to under saddle, all the while playing in the pens during roping and learning to work cattle. She loved it. Under saddle work consisted of very short arena sessions, sorting cattle, and trail riding. This continued off and on through her three year-old year with breaks as necessary.

At 4, she went up to my farm in southern BC. Blugal rode her on the local trails, which are quite rugged, as well as on the road, because the trails are often impassable. She also did basic flatwork and jumping. Again, the emphasis was fun over formality and lots of very varied footing.

At 5, I brought her to my house in SoCal. Her molars were erupting, so I rode her in a halter or bitless bridle and we spent a lot of time on the rocky, steep, no-mistake trails. When her teeth permitted, we did basic dressage and jumping. I keep my horses very fit (I foxhunt when possible and have dabbled in endurance) and she was no exception.

At 6, she went to the Pollards. The Pollards are nothing like the BNRs you're talking about. They ride their own horses, they have outside business ventures, a mutual friend recommended them to me and vice versa. They took care of Dekorum as if she was their own (which is how they're mourning her now). Michael and Nathalie were among the only UL riders who stood up for the long-format and are fastidious in how they prepare their horses.

At age 6.5, Dekorum got her first set of shoes (she was barefoot through all of the above) and did her first Novice HT. Throughout her short but successful career, she competed only as necessary for her progression. She took long breaks from competition and had plenty of vacation time in the pasture. This spring, she was being aimed at Jersey Fresh CCI*** and had done an Intermediate and two Advanced, both without incident. She excelled at XC and was a very fast and efficient horse over the ground. She was always, always, always very fit. Part of this was (lifelong) training, part of it was genetics. Both parents were tough, sound horses (her dam is in fantastic shape at 22, sire did GP dressage to age 20).

Please keep in mind that when I bred Dekorum, there was no such thing as the short format CCI. The long format would have been far more suitable to her strengths than the short format.

I don't believe there is anything I could have or would have done differently with my mare. Galloping on a groomed XC track was not exactly one of the riskier things she ever did. That it ended like this is just plain tragic.

Dekorum has two younger half-sisters (5 and 6) who have been raised the same way -- living out, bushwacking on trails, foxhunting, working cattle, learning to deal with all kinds of conditions and situations -- and they'll start eventing this year. They're beautiful, sound, intelligent mares who know how to look after themselves.

I plan to continue raising and training my horses according to these same principles, but if anyone out there knows how I can do a better job at it, I'd be happy to hear from you.

While I don't know the other horses who died this weekend or their riders, I don't think they fit your 'lazy-ass short-format BNR' model. Arden Wildasin's horse was imported from Ireland having competed to CCI**. Horses in Ireland are not exactly coddled and the horse was competing well within his capabilities. By all accounts his young rider is a very thorough horsewoman.

The horse in the UK, Spring Along, was a very decorated 18 year-old who'd had his very best year as a 17 year-old. He was owned by his rider and her mother. They bought him as a 5 year-old and he'd completed a number of long-format CCIs, including both Burghley and Badminton. If you read Daisy Dick's wonderful diaries in the UK magazine Eventing for the last two years, you'd know that she does not ride a million horses for a million owners and does not skimp on her horses' fitness or fill their schedules with unnecessary runs. She must have been doing something right to keep him going strong -- improving, even -- for 13 years in the sport.

Blugal
Mar. 29, 2011, 03:30 AM
In addition to all of the above (which I support 100%, and a horse could not ask for a better life than to be one of JER's), one should never bet with donuts when JER's around. That's serious business ;)

Badger
Mar. 29, 2011, 05:42 AM
That sounds like a pretty ideal recipe for a happy, well-adjusted, and durable event horse, JER. I hope EN will repost your comments so even more people can appreciate the thoughtful program your mare enjoyed.

kt-rose
Mar. 29, 2011, 07:13 AM
JER, that's how you do it. I have two young mares I bred to event and that's pretty much the life I have planned out for them. Time, life as a horse, judicious work in the early years. Endless hacking. Hunting. At 4 and 5 we have reached the hunting years. They are cheerful, sound and brave. But sometimes, even when you do everything right in a moment it all goes tragically wrong. It's almost scarier when you have worked so hard to do it perfectly because you can't point to something you could do better next time and think it can't happen again.

I am so very sorry for your loss of your lovely baby and wish you the best of luck as you bring your other youngsters through your excellent program!

BaroquePony
Mar. 29, 2011, 07:40 AM
First off, I am not trying to crucify anyone here :no:.

Getting the details under a microscope is more what I am aiming at. Really. This is absolutely not a criticism. I believe that all aspects need to be taken into consideration: breeding, nutrition, training, style of training, and lifestyle.

Analyzing every single aspect and keeping accurate records is paramount to understanding how we can improve the sport.

One thing I have noticed is the number of times a horse is moved from one location to another.

I grew up during a time period where a horse was often bred, foaled and trained on one farm. The most tramatic move was at weaning time when they were moved into the main barn and aquired their own stall. They still were out 24/7 in the summer and 12/7 in the winter. These were basically field hunters, which received a very similar background in training to eventers.

The local (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio region) accepted training practices were based on BHS practices or US Cavalry pratices, and there were quite a few US Cavalry officers teaching and training in the area (1920s - 1960s).

All riding students were expected to understand the feeding, nutrition and care of their horses, as well as learning to ride correctly (considered a major factor in keeping a horse sound long term) and the basics of conditioning.

The more serious students were expected to study theory and military riding.

Brig. Gen. Harry D. Chamberlain's book on *Horse Care and Stable Management* (I may not have the title exactly right, but something similar) discusses how horse's fair best when they have their own stall, and that they should not even be moved around from one stall to another in the same barn. His premise was that it ads to their stress, and minimzing stress through management is of utmost importance BECAUSE you are going to be maximizing stress in other areas if you want to reach higher levels and/or compete. That is only one factor.

Some of the top competing jumpers from that area were often given a mascot so that when they were on the road, they had something that was always consistent relative to whatever stabling moves they had to entail.

Today, I see horses moved all over the place beginning at a much younger age.

These things all ad up.

LSD ... all horses should have 50% of their schooling time done at the *working walk* and regular walk breaks. This is not just hacking.

Another factor.

And the horses should only be ridden by one rider, with the exception of the instructor.

Another factor.

Changes of footing and climate, from one region to another, and the timing.

Another factor.

BaroquePony
Mar. 29, 2011, 07:49 AM
My comment referring to the lack of LSD was aimed at eventing as it has evolved in the US over the past several decades. It was NOT specifically aimed at the three horses that were lost recently, although there still should be no qualms about anayzing the situation.

Lisa Cook
Mar. 29, 2011, 07:58 AM
JER, you are my hero.

LesleyGrant
Mar. 29, 2011, 08:07 AM
just to clear up confusion.. in england you can ride 5 a day.. so actually you could ride 15 in a fri-sun weekend.. as most are done in one day.. and actually as they often have week day events.. if you really wanted to be busy you could do even more..

someone last week won 6 point to points in ONE day.. which i would think would be very physically daunting.. so i would think it depends much more on the specific Rider than a general rule.

eventr4life
Mar. 29, 2011, 11:01 AM
I was XC Jump Judging and this is what i saw:
The jump i was at the rider AND horse fell INTO THE DITCH (jump 6 for int.)...i could tell something bad was going to happen as she was galloping up to the fence. I honestly think that some riders come into this not prepared which makes them nervous and then causes huge problems. The people who did well were obviously CONFIDENT and SECURE... it was scary to see the amount of riders who constantly kicked themselves in the butt over fences....
The one horse put down i think was just a mark of bad luck.
And i totally agree with Denny about people riding too many horses, i was looking through the entry status and was stunned...
Also a factor is that some people think they are better than they really are...

Southern Pines 2 has a rep. for being hard...people shouldn't be surprised.

Lisa Cook
Mar. 29, 2011, 11:10 AM
I'm curious, and I don't have time to look at the stats from these events. But for everyone who is saying the problem is multiple horses per rider....how many of the xc penalties were accrued by those with 4+ rides vs. those with only 1 or 2 rides? Anyone done the math on that one, yet?

JER
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:01 PM
One thing I have noticed is the number of times a horse is moved from one location to another.

I grew up during a time period where a horse was often bred, foaled and trained on one farm.

Aha! So that's it, isn't it? I moved my mare too many times. That's why her fetlock broke on Saturday.

What I want to say is How. Dare. You. But I'll take you at face value about 'analysis.'


Brig. Gen. Harry D. Chamberlain's book on *Horse Care and Stable Management* (I may not have the title exactly right, but something similar) discusses how horse's fair best when they have their own stall, and that they should not even be moved around from one stall to another in the same barn.

He died in 1944. A lot of things have changed since then to make it easier on horses moving around. Transport, for instance. Consistency of hay is another. And veterinary care, too.


Today, I see horses moved all over the place beginning at a much younger age.

It happened back then, too, in much rougher settings. Those cattle cars on trains were really cushy.


These things all ad up.

To a shattered ankle? Do you find that thought satisfying somehow?


LSD ... all horses should have 50% of their schooling time done at the *working walk* and regular walk breaks. This is not just hacking.

And the horses should only be ridden by one rider, with the exception of the instructor.

Changes of footing and climate, from one region to another, and the timing.

My mare had been with the Pollards in Georgia for 3 years. She had zero soundness issues. She was worked -- and rested -- consistently. Until Saturday, the Pollards had never experienced anything like this, despite all the horses they've trained and ridden in the sport.

So what exactly is your point?

If it doesn't seem reasonable to you that a healthy, talented young mare had a terrible, unpreventable accident -- well, let me tell you: it's not reasonable. It's unfair. It sucks. It rips my heart out.

As it should.

SevenDogs
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:15 PM
JER: I am sorry that some people think it is appropriate to post things about that which they know nothing about. We all know how carefully you brought Dekorum along and, frankly, you deserve better than this.

I happened to be at a close friend's house when the news of Dekorum came. My face must have dropped a mile, because she asked what was wrong. I explained that although I don't know you personally, I had the utmost respect for the way in which you bring your horses up. I guess I couldn't shake the feeling because she asked again if I was ok.

I think we just all (well most) realize that sometimes bad things happen to good people and it could just as easily be any of us.

millerra
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:17 PM
JER - most of us are very very saddened for your loss. This was just horrifically bad luck and no one's fault. Please ignore the hurtful comments if you can.

A good thing to remember for everyone: there but for the grace of god, go I.:(

Napoles
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:26 PM
JER, I am new to this forum, but I just wanted to give my heartfelt sympathies and hugs on the loss of your beautiful mare. You should not have to come on here and defend either yourself or your producers to people who do not know you or anything about you. I can only imagine how much that is adding to your distress. :(

RIP Dekorum

katarine
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:33 PM
JER, my heartfelt sympathies for your terrible loss. You have handled yourself with incredible grace under pressure, and I am so, so sorry for your loss.

BaroquePony, JER lost an amazing and much loved horse, and you just can't STOP and THINK for one second, one measly second, to offer a kind word and condolences to this individual?? Either say SOMETHING kind or say nothing else on this thread, please. How a body can go on and on about we must care for the horses better, and in the same breath utterly fail to express any sympathy for a grand life actually lost, gone, is entirely beyond my meager comprehension.

BaroquePony
Mar. 29, 2011, 12:56 PM
Posted by katarine:

BaroquePony, JER lost an amazing and much loved horse, and you just can't STOP and THINK for one second, one measly second, to offer a kind word and condolences to this individual??

Well, I did post my condolences on the thread about the loss of JER's horse, Dekorum.

This thread was supposed to be about what went wrong in Southern Pines in general.

And I do not appreciate making me about to be heartless about the overall issue, but this thread wasn't about Dekorum per se.

SevenDogs
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:06 PM
Columbus posted specific comments about the three horses that were lost this past weekend and you quoted her:
These horses who died need to be looked at with a microscope.

Your response to the above quote was:
Dollars to donuts these horses don't have the LSD (long, slow distance) conditioning they should have no matter what they are doing.

It certainly looked like you were making direct comments about the three horses that died this past weekend, including Dekorum.

katarine
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:13 PM
Well, I did post my condolences on the thread about the loss of JER's horse, Dekorum.

This thread was supposed to be about what went wrong in Southern Pines in general.

And I do not appreciate making me about to be heartless about the overall issue, but this thread wasn't about Dekorum per se.


Unbelievable. It would appear you have the heart and soul of a block of wood.

pixietrix
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:13 PM
:yes:

Dollars to donuts these horses don't have the LSD (long, slow distance) conditioning they should have no matter what they are doing.

Are you kidding me???

You need to familiarize yourself with the conditioning program that these professionals use with their horses. A LOT of long, slow work.

Yeesh.

BaroquePony
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:24 PM
Seven Dogs, I did post that last night when I was tired, and I should have taken the time to be more explicit. My faux pas.

However, it is difficult even for those of us whose horse was not lost to see more chaos with this sport.

If we want to fix it, we have to really look at it. With brutal honesty.

Trust me, I have been involved with my share of accidents and heartbreak when it comes to horses. I do not enjoy, in any manner, knowing the pain that goes with this stuff.

I would like to see more horses and riders succeed, no matter the level.

RAyers
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:29 PM
LSD ... all horses should have 50%...

Every time I see the part of the sentence, regardless of the rest, I think, "Horses need LSD!? Sure maybe some of the riders and trainers, but the horses?!" Ah, the 70s and 80s were good to me.

I for one support JER's program top to bottom. She be old school. ;) I highly doubt there was any deficiency in the training and conditioning. Back to your regularly scheduled fight. I may go try some LSD on my horse.

Reed

FlightCheck
Mar. 29, 2011, 01:49 PM
Sometimes, accidents are just that - random occurances.

JER - thank you for such an articulate, well thought out post about your mare's training from a young age. You have suffered a great loss, and I am heartily sorry for everyone involved.

Some other posters should learn the difference between thoughtful discussion and jumping to conclusions.

BaroquePony
Mar. 29, 2011, 02:04 PM
Ya know, when Michael Matz lost Barbaro (shortly after the injury, but I believe prior to actually euthanazing him), he came out and stated that he was thinking about what he could have done to prevent the tradgedy ... he shook his head and said, "Maybe he was too fresh". He didn't just sit there and say "accidents happen".

I liked Matz's program. I think he is a great horseman.

But when Barbaro broke from the gate too soon, and they put him back in, I knew in my heart that it was going to put Barabro at a great disadvantage. That is a huge amount of torque.

I NEVER targeted JER's horse in my comments, not was it my intention.

Wee Dee Trrr
Mar. 29, 2011, 02:08 PM
But accidents DO happen.

Coming from someone who has lost a horse for NO CLEAR REASON WHATSOEVER.... believe me the "what ifs" are FLYING (and gut-wrenching). But in the end, ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN.

SevenDogs
Mar. 29, 2011, 02:15 PM
Baroque, you just can't stop can you?

To think that any of those associated with the three horse deaths this past weekend aren't racking their brains for anything they could have done differently is insane. If there is one person that I am sure has looked at every possible angle and is more willing to ask hard questions of herself and the system at large, IT IS JER. That's what makes her a good horsewoman.

You are being shortsighted and rude in your posts and your backhanded apologies and "oh, I wasn't talking about a specific person" are not doing anything to mitigate that. Just because these owners/riders/trainers aren't knocking on your door with their analysis does not give you free rein to assume it isn't happening (no pun intended).

The fact of the matter is that sometimes accidents do just happen... and that hasn't changed from the "olden days of yore". Should we continue to take a hard look at every accident and horse death or injury .... yes. But sometimes, the answer is no answer at all.

There are appropriate ways to express concern and a need to look at things in depth to try to learn ... but you aren't even close. Just stop.

bambam
Mar. 29, 2011, 02:16 PM
I NEVER targeted JER's horse in my comments, not was it my intention.
You did target her horse- just look at the quotes of what you said above- I believe it may not have been your intention, but you did
And if your statement about Michael Matz is meant to be some kind of oblique criticism of JER's response that it was an accident- well, then you clearly are targeting her. Frankly, I am impressed by her response and her training plan/program. If it was directed at other people saying the incident with her horse was just a random, tragic accident, well, I must say I disagree with you. It was a mis-step on good footing, in between fences- sure sounds like a tragic accident to me.
My advice, Baroque Pony, is to stop digging.

magnolia73
Mar. 29, 2011, 02:39 PM
I think you can have preventable accidents. Eventing has had a few where you could say coulda, shoulda, woulda. It does not sound like this is the case. She sounds like a fit, well conditioned horse with a team that did everything right. Trying to find fault seems pointless. What change shall we make? Disallow a fit, balanced horse to gallop?

Retropony
Mar. 29, 2011, 03:26 PM
I'm curious about the demographic of the people on this thread who can't accept that accidents just happen to horses that are fit and brought along properly? Just from what I can glean from the posts in general; the people that are more accepting of these tragic accidents, including myself, are those that have years of experience with numerous horses, not just one or two. Horses are fragile they break our hearts, but they give us immeasurable joy as well. The more horses you own and experience the more you will see and understand. I do agree with Denny that it is time to take a hard look at how many horses per event the pros are riding. Along with the fatigue factor, organizers should be aware that they are limiting their entries to some extent. I have friends that are not attending those events for the simple reason they are upper level AA's with good horses and skills, but they cannot enter with even a hope of placing when the majority of the division is filled with the same pros on multiple horses. Here on the West Coast it is not so saturated, at least in my experience. Yet.

Kementari
Mar. 29, 2011, 04:25 PM
JER, at the risk of repeating what others have already said, you are a class act. Our horses should all be so lucky as to be raised and cared for the way yours are.

People don't want to believe that accidents happen, because if a tragedy can be completely accidental, there's no way you can keep it from happening to you. It's comforting to us to think, "But I/my horse do/does XYZ, so I am/he is safe." But the cold, hard truth - not of eventing, specifically, but of horses (heck, LIFE), in general - is that you and he are NOT safe. You might be as safe as you or as all the science in the world knows how to achieve, but accidents DO happen. It's a risk we take every time we enter the start box, every time we swing a leg over a horse, every time we turn out and bring in, every time we get in the car to go to the barn.

I am absolutely in favor of studying every one of these accidents, to learn as much as we can about preventing the next one, if that turns out to be possible. And I am completely aware that what looks like an accident at first might turn out to be part of a bigger pattern once we have enough data to SEE a pattern. So, by all means, let's collect the data. But let's not fool ourselves that poking people on a message board with virtual sticks is going to solve ANYone's problems. And let's not pretend that it couldn't be any one of us right now, at any level, in any discipline, just wishing there was something we could have done to prevent our own tragedy.

RAyers
Mar. 29, 2011, 04:36 PM
... Is it a level of fitness that can't be achieved when training for shortened events but yet during extreme need on course a higher level of fitness IS required and not there...

I think this is a point that has gotten over looked. Has the short format changed training/conditioning requirements such that there are aspect of equine physiology that are now showing up as weaknesses during the intensity of competition? And vice-versa, has the course/fence design to accommodate short format changed that now can result in exacerbation of a physiologic/biologic weakness in horses?

The analogy is a horse could be ridden for hours a day in a groomed area but will go lame when ridden for a short time on hard ground. Sure the horse can be in great condition with requisite ability. Is there an aspect of training that was once an unacknowledged part of training/conditioning for a long format that is no longer present? Was there an aspect of course design that changes the rules?

scubed
Mar. 29, 2011, 05:53 PM
it is also a point that there may be things one could do, but that in reality are cost-prohibitive and don't make sense. In the human world, for example, because of a couple of teens who have died during sports due to congenital heart defects, there is talk of screening every teen who tries out for sports using a very expensive technology.

These things could be a total accident or there could be things that no one could realistically be expected to know. For example, a horse in a perfect program, perfectly conditioned, could have an early development of a bone cyst or some weird avascular necrosis. This would not be picked up unless you were doing x-rays/bone scans of your horse every 6 months, which I don't think we would say people should do. At some point, accident happen and factors exist that can contribute to accidents/outcomes, but that it does not make any sense to attempt to mitigate. I have know several horses that have had to be euthanized after an fracture in the pasture, but no one says that horses shouldn't be in pastures. Yes, we need to examine the causes and do what we can that is reasonable to mitigate bad outcomes, but perfect safety isn't an actual option.

S A McKee
Mar. 29, 2011, 06:13 PM
it is also a point that there may be things one could do, but that in reality are cost-prohibitive and don't make sense. In the human world, for example, because of a couple of teens who have died during sports due to congenital heart defects, there is talk of screening every teen who tries out for sports using a very expensive technology.

These things could be a total accident or there could be things that no one could realistically be expected to know. For example, a horse in a perfect program, perfectly conditioned, could have an early development of a bone cyst or some weird avascular necrosis. This would not be picked up unless you were doing x-rays/bone scans of your horse every 6 months, which I don't think we would say people should do. At some point, accident happen and factors exist that can contribute to accidents/outcomes, but that it does not make any sense to attempt to mitigate. I have know several horses that have had to be euthanized after an fracture in the pasture, but no one says that horses shouldn't be in pastures. Yes, we need to examine the causes and do what we can that is reasonable to mitigate bad outcomes, but perfect safety isn't an actual option.

EKG's are inexpensive as are the portable echo test's. $25 and $35
Of course horses die from pasture accidents but that's not relevant. What is relevant is the number of horses that die in Eventing competition. Compare it to show jumping, hunters and dressage.
I really hope you aren't saying 'so what we can accept that we kill horses each week'.
Of course perfect safety isn't obtainable but it appears nobody really cares about any safety levels other than the usual lip service that happens after a bad week.
Racing has similar problems but at least they are testing surfaces.
We are still reading about the sad deaths. What was it? Three this week?

Kementari
Mar. 29, 2011, 06:19 PM
EKG's are inexpensive as are the portable echo test's. $25 and $35
Of course horses die from pasture accidents but that's not relevant. What is relevant is the number of horses that die in Eventing competition. Compare it to show jumping, hunters and dressage.
I really hope you aren't saying 'so what we can accept that we kill horses each week'.
Of course perfect safety isn't obtainable but it appears nobody really cares about any safety levels other than the usual lip service that happens after a bad week.
Racing has similar problems but at least they are testing surfaces.
We are still reading about the sad deaths. What was it? Three this week?

It's quite clear that you have not actually bothered to read a single safety-related thread (including this one) on this forum for comprehension.

Go be a troll someplace else.

riderboy
Mar. 29, 2011, 09:19 PM
It's quite clear that you have not actually bothered to read a single safety-related thread (including this one) on this forum for comprehension.

Go be a troll someplace else.

Bingo! And why should I compare eventing to dressage, hunter jumpers or anything else? It's its own sport with an acknowledged greater risk of death and injury for horse and rider than anything else except perhaps steeplechase. I'm not oblivious to it, I'm not immune to it, and I'm just as saddened and sickened by it as you are. So, you can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Since I love this sport for really unexplainable reasons, I choose to be part of the solution and so can you. Finger pointing doesn't count. Money comes in pretty handy if nothing else. No equine sport has done more to improve safety, I am proud to say, then eventing has.
This sport is my passion, Obviously, it makes no sense to you at all. So then, why should I live by your rules and standards? Setting your own standards and judging other people by them is a very tricky business indeed. You have your opinions, fine, but so do I.
These horses bring indescribable joy and endless heartbreak into our lives and fill and nourish our souls. We care for them and love them and yes, we engage them in a demanding and dangerous sport. That's just the way we're built, it's hard wired. It's dangerous. So is life itself.
Perhaps you might be better off concerning yourself with the thousands of abused, neglected and starving horses that endure a living death every day at the hands of cruel and incompetent owners.

pixietrix
Mar. 29, 2011, 09:58 PM
Bingo! And why should I compare eventing to dressage, hunter jumpers or anything else? It's its own sport with an acknowledged greater risk of death and injury for horse and rider than anything else except perhaps steeplechase. I'm not oblivious to it, I'm not immune to it, and I'm just as saddened and sickened by it as you are. So, you can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. Since I love this sport for really unexplainable reasons, I choose to be part of the solution and so can you. Finger pointing doesn't count. Money comes in pretty handy if nothing else. No equine sport has done more to improve safety, I am proud to say, then eventing has.
This sport is my passion, Obviously, it makes no sense to you at all. So then, why should I live by your rules and standards? Setting your own standards and judging other people by them is a very tricky business indeed. You have your opinions, fine, but so do I.
These horses bring indescribable joy and endless heartbreak into our lives and fill and nourish our souls. We care for them and love them and yes, we engage them in a demanding and dangerous sport. That's just the way we're built, it's hard wired. It's dangerous. So is life itself.
Perhaps you might be better off concerning yourself with the thousands of abused, neglected and starving horses that endure a living death every day at the hands of cruel and incompetent owners.

Thank you SO much for saying what I was too annoyed to coherently write in defense of our sport and the people who embrace it for the dangers and the thrills....really, to insinuate that nobody cares about the safety of our horses ( & our riders) is beyond uninformed and truly stupid.

vineyridge
Mar. 29, 2011, 10:00 PM
JER, what a marvelous life your horses live. Would you adopt me and treat me as one of your horses?

One thing I'd be interested to know is whether or not Dekorum had radiographs or has radiographs of the joint that broke. I'm wondering about a latent OCD lesion, but would assume that radiographs would have negated that possibility. With the care you give your horses, I'd almost bet she had such studies done before she went into heavy work.

SevenDogs
Mar. 29, 2011, 11:28 PM
With the care you give your horses, I'd almost bet she had such studies done before she went into heavy work.

I don't know of any upper level horses that have radiographs done just because of the work they are doing, without any sign that they are needed. Perhaps some do, but I've never heard of it and I come from an exceedingly conservative barn environment.

JER
Mar. 29, 2011, 11:59 PM
One thing I'd be interested to know is whether or not Dekorum had radiographs or has radiographs of the joint that broke. I'm wondering about a latent OCD lesion, but would assume that radiographs would have negated that possibility. With the care you give your horses, I'd almost bet she had such studies done before she went into heavy work.

She never had any issues in that leg. She had some soreness in a front ankle when she was 6/7 (at the end of the season), x-rays showed minor changes but we figured this was nothing to worry about and it was fine when she came back into regular work. Aside from that, nothing.

I don't radiograph without a good reason for it. What matters with horses is function. If it works, it doesn't so much matter what it looks like.

There was a good article in Racing Post a couple of years ago that discussed an Australian study about leg issues in young (1-2, IIRC) TBs. The issues were things that popped up on x-rays at the sales; the majority of them either went away or were non-issues. (Growing humans are much the same.)

Like Reed says, I'm quite old-school with vet treatment. I've never injected a joint on any of my horses; I don't bother with oral joint supplements. I do like a good chiropractor or osteopath and have had very good results with acupuncture and herbals for specific problems. I tend to do a lot of walking with my horses as well as long (45 min) trots, across country if possible.

I have a house and barn full of old animals. My oldest horse is at least 33 and he's in fantastic shape. My 26 year-old still jumps for fun. My dog died in December, he was probably 17 or 18. And I have a 12 year-old pet rabbit who hops around vigorously. So I figure I must be doing something right, although it's hard to believe it right now.

fooler
Mar. 30, 2011, 12:14 AM
I think this is a point that has gotten over looked. Has the short format changed training/conditioning requirements such that there are aspect of equine physiology that are now showing up as weaknesses during the intensity of competition? And vice-versa, has the course/fence design to accommodate short format changed that now can result in exacerbation of a physiologic/biologic weakness in horses?

The analogy is a horse could be ridden for hours a day in a groomed area but will go lame when ridden for a short time on hard ground. Sure the horse can be in great condition with requisite ability. Is there an aspect of training that was once an unacknowledged part of training/conditioning for a long format that is no longer present? Was there an aspect of course design that changes the rules?

Excellent point Reed, something that many seem to want to overlook. I have often wondered how conditioning on groomed footing prepared horse and rider for competing "across-country". I understand the desire to maintain leg and hoof health, but there must be a balance somewhere.

Keep in mind though, Bermuda Gold shattered a leg during the last LF Olympics. Everything I heard indicated it was a freak accident as the mare landed well on good footing.

fooler
Mar. 30, 2011, 12:19 AM
JER - Sending you and the Pollards my condolences for the loss of your mare, Dekorum.

You and everyone connected to your mare took all of the right steps to prepare her for any sport.

SevenDogs
Mar. 30, 2011, 12:24 AM
So I figure I must be doing something right, although it's hard to believe it right now.

You are doing A LOT of things right.... :yes: :yes: :yes:

DangerousDevo
Mar. 30, 2011, 01:07 AM
I'm curious about the demographic of the people on this thread who can't accept that accidents just happen to horses that are fit and brought along properly? Just from what I can glean from the posts in general; the people that are more accepting of these tragic accidents, including myself, are those that have years of experience with numerous horses, not just one or two. Horses are fragile they break our hearts, but they give us immeasurable joy as well. The more horses you own and experience the more you will see and understand. I do agree with Denny that it is time to take a hard look at how many horses per event the pros are riding. Along with the fatigue factor, organizers should be aware that they are limiting their entries to some extent. I have friends that are not attending those events for the simple reason they are upper level AA's with good horses and skills, but they cannot enter with even a hope of placing when the majority of the division is filled with the same pros on multiple horses. Here on the West Coast it is not so saturated, at least in my experience. Yet.

What a tragedy-and especially for a horse that was evidently so well brought along. I'm terribly sorry for your loss.

I lost a delightful mare who broke her leg in her pasture. I watched in horror as a friend's horse literally dropped dead underneath her in the hunt field. One of my retired hunt horses just broke his leg at his retirement home and had to be put down. I helped pull a tarp over a show jumper that shattered its pasture at an A show. This stuff happens, and it happens all the time.

I have no problem with the number of horses that pros ride - perhaps the solution is to have an open division and an amateur division, rather than lumping every one together in the same pot.

RAyers
Mar. 30, 2011, 08:41 AM
...
I have no problem with the number of horses that pros ride - perhaps the solution is to have an open division and an amateur division, rather than lumping every one together in the same pot.


Already have that. And at the upper levels amateurs are such a small portion of the competitors that it is pointless to try to have separate division.

At the same time, how would separating the riders affect safety and health of the horses as addressed in this thread?

Reed

OTTB FTW
Mar. 30, 2011, 09:46 AM
JER, at the risk of repeating what others have already said, you are a class act. Our horses should all be so lucky as to be raised and cared for the way yours are.

My condolences to all for the loss of a beautiful mare. JER - I am incredibly impressed that even during such a difficult time, you are able to respond in a clear, concise and reasonable manner despite the many emotions I imagine you are feeling. I hope all of us can learn from your post, how to bring a young horse along, care for it properly etc, while also learning how to respond to others who respond to you, or a situation on public forums. I sure did !

OTTB FTW
Mar. 30, 2011, 09:55 AM
People don't want to believe that accidents happen, because if a tragedy can be completely accidental, there's no way you can keep it from happening to you. It's comforting to us to think, "But I/my horse do/does XYZ, so I am/he is safe." But the cold, hard truth - not of eventing, specifically, but of horses (heck, LIFE), in general - is that you and he are NOT safe. You might be as safe as you or as all the science in the world knows how to achieve, but accidents DO happen. It's a risk we take every time we enter the start box, every time we swing a leg over a horse, every time we turn out and bring in, every time we get in the car to go to the barn.

I was preparing to write this myself, and then read it written by Kementari. People have a very hard time accepting the parts of life that "just happen for no explainable reason". Its scary as hell if you really allow yourself to think about it. I am a Psychotherapist, and spend countless hours every day helping people deal with the unexplainable and accidental parts of life. Personally, my own brother died in an accident that no one could have prevented at age 9. There were many people who blamed my mother, others involved, and she blamed herself as well, for all kind of varied irrational reasons.



I am absolutely in favor of studying every one of these accidents, to learn as much as we can about preventing the next one, if that turns out to be possible. And I am completely aware that what looks like an accident at first might turn out to be part of a bigger pattern once we have enough data to SEE a pattern. So, by all means, let's collect the data. But let's not fool ourselves that poking people on a message board with virtual sticks is going to solve ANYone's problems. And let's not pretend that it couldn't be any one of us right now, at any level, in any discipline, just wishing there was something we could have done to prevent our own tragedy.

The fact is, we can try to be the best we can in regards to safety in all aspects of our lives, but sometimes things just happen, that are not within our control or expectations.

eventr4life
Mar. 30, 2011, 11:43 AM
I just want to say to JER - Dekorum is probably up in heaven looking down smiling and remembering her wonderful happy life with you! Be happy with the life you gave her, and remember the wonderful times you had with her! You sound like a wonderful rider, trainer, and horsewomen! stay strong!

BBowen
Mar. 30, 2011, 12:16 PM
JER, thank you for sharing your program for young horses. It doesn't get much better than that and I am trying very hard to raise my young mare in the same manner. Although she has not had the opportunity to work cattle :-) she has been raised to be a horse and started very carefully. What iimpresses me is the fact that you gave the horse time to grow and mature and make adjustments as you go along based on her needs.

Again, I am so very sorry for the loss of your wonderful mare.

Catie79
Mar. 30, 2011, 01:14 PM
JER, my condolences on your loss, and as others have said, you're a class act.

In regards to the 'microscope', we can't home in too tightly on three accidents. They need to be looked at as part of the larger pattern. It's easy to go 'this happened, so we have to do that!' without considering that sometimes it's just nasty bad luck. These could very well be outliers and mean very little in terms of policy changes. Reactive changes to policy often do more harm than good. Yes, these are tragedies, but are they part of a larger trend that we can actually address, or are they simply cases of unavoidable bad luck all coming on the same weekend?

I'd be more interested in seeing the analysis of success for riders on multiple horses. I think people would be surprised. Anyone have the data, or will I have to spend a lot of time surfing results sites?

D_BaldStockings
Mar. 30, 2011, 03:30 PM
Condolences to you on the loss of your young horse.

She had a great life, with plenty to interest her and challenge her; to involve her whole being.

You gave her that.

I am sorry for you both that it could not have been longer; may her memory continue to shine for you as the grief ebbs.

columbus
Mar. 30, 2011, 08:20 PM
JER is doing what has to be done. Looking critically at everything that brought the team to that point and trying to see if there were any practices that might have been changed to have a different conclusion. It has to be done but that doesn't mean that you will find something...anything...to change. Technology doesn't mean it is better. A bone scan is limited by our understanding of what the results are telling us. I am clear from JER's post that the team uses constant self criticism to present the horse for the best chance to succeed as possible. And there is no question...accidents happen...but we have all seen situations where you saw an accident or even a disaster coming...it was just a matter of time.

It is important to see here the whole process of JER going over what happened critically and to obviously see them willing to consider what they didn't think of and be open for self criticism if it gives more insight into a problem. It does not mean that there will be a clear answer all the time. The sport does know more now than 5 years ago. I personally want to see people tear themselves apart trying to understand what happened. It is important that we do that when we look at critical incidents. You have to be willing to look at your own practices. In lab we have had critical incidents and in the past we all stepped forward with the assumption that perhaps one person made THE mistake but it could have been me in another circumstance. How can we change practices so the mistake can't happen again.

In this case there will be no one thing for any of these horses and that makes it much more complicated. We don't now, and may never, understand exactly WHAT happened to cause these tragedies but we still need to gather and offer each situation up for inspection so we can get all there is to understand for this moment in time at this level of our understanding and technology so hopefully we can go forward with more knowledge than we had before or then it would be a total waste. PatO

hopashore1
Mar. 30, 2011, 11:23 PM
JER- first off, HUGE condolences to you. I know you did everything right by your mare, and from the sounds of it your entire farm!

And I know grief is never easy. Personal tangent here, it will become relevant..

My mom died during a scuba diving trip. It hit the media pretty big, and within the day of it happening there were posts on scuba diving bulletin boards criticizing aspects of her, her health, and our family, that may, or probably not, as the autopsy report eventually showed, have been an influence in her death.

My initial reaction was to be defensive. (She was my MOM). Reporters get things wrong...way wrong. People don't understand the story, the history, they just get the pieces of this one event and construe it however they want and ask questions or make accusations that are so off base...but they have no context.

But the thing is, what happened to my mom could happen to other divers. And maybe, just maybe, knowledge of her could help keep someone else from dying. What happened to Dekorum could happen to other horses.

Was it accidental? Of course. In the sense that nobody intended for anything bad to happen. Nobody suspected maybe she was NQR and sent her out anyway. No one saw a hole on the course, or a change in the footing that could have caused this. Can accidents be prevented? You know, if a million things had happened differently, my mom, and your mare would still be alive. Does that make it preventable? I don't know. Dekorum could have pulled a shoe early in the course and been retired. Michael could have taken a slightly different line, put a slightly different amount of stress on that leg at that given instant, and maybe she'd still be here. But that's not worth anything. You can't go through life thinking that way.

So we do what we can. We learn. We analyze EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of Dekorum's life for any parallels with others. For any hints as to maybe, not what went wrong, but maybe there are factors that we don't know yet, but factors we could understand. Maybe there's something in the bloodlines, in the training program, in the conformation, in the water. Maybe if we can identify all those factors, then maybe events will be more predictable. And as cruel as it is to those of us still heartbroken, to have to lay everything out in the open for criticism, it's the only way TO learn.

It's human nature to want to understand. I don't think anyone here is being overly critical. If you weren't a member of this board, if you weren't a part of the COTH community, I don't think there would be this division in how to approach the topic. And that's not fair, either. I don't even know you and I like you. I respect you. And obviously problems at Southern Pines went beyond the tragedy of Dekorum. So thank you for being so candid about her life and training program.

I don't think anyone is saying you did anything wrong. The question is, is there anything that could have been done more right. And without information about a lot of horses, we can't answer that. But Dekorum is a piece of the puzzle, we just have to find where she fits in.

Martina
Mar. 31, 2011, 01:39 PM
From LisaCook: "I'm curious, and I don't have time to look at the stats from these events. But for everyone who is saying the problem is multiple horses per rider....how many of the xc penalties were accrued by those with 4+ rides vs. those with only 1 or 2 rides? Anyone done the math on that one, yet?"


I used the Final Results on the Southern Pines website to come up with the following:

Total Rides: 255
Total Rides by Riders on 5+ horses: 39 (6 different riders)
Total Rides by Riders on 5+ horses, with scores 90+, W, R, MR, E, TE, RF: 7 (18% of above) (3 riders)

Grand Total Rides with a score of 90+, W, R, MR, E, TE, RF: 82
Total Rides in this category by riders on less than 5 horses: 75 (91% of above)
Total Rides in this category by riders on 5 or more horses: 7 (9% of above)

I used a score of 90 because that might mean a 50 dressage score and 2 refusals XC--I really didn't know what to put so just went with 90.

If the math doesn't add up, please don't banish me! Its just a glance. :)

Eye in the Sky
Apr. 1, 2011, 09:12 PM
JER, I am so sorry to hear about your mare. :cry:

I am sorry this thread caused you to have to defend yourself. It never should have happened. :no:

JER
Apr. 2, 2011, 12:30 AM
I am sorry this thread caused you to have to defend yourself. It never should have happened.

Thanks. But...

I didn't see it as defending myself. I saw it as my responsibility to be open and honest about what happened.

Comments like Baroque Pony's are very understandable. We like to think we can insulate ourselves from randomness, that we can find the reason why something happened to help ourselves sleep easier at night. So we poke around the ruins and tsk-tsk at others to assure ourselves that it will never happen to us.

We all want to keep our horses safe, and we all struggle with the knowledge that we can't protect them from everything.

:)

not again
Apr. 2, 2011, 07:30 AM
Big condolences to JER and anyone who has lost a horse in competition, including myself. We had a horse jump a ditch and have a foreleg sink into a hidden hole. The rider continued on until they were traversing a slope to the finish when he heard a loud crack, and jumped off. The horse had broken his humerus. We had a horse playing in the pasture rear up and come down turning on one foreleg, and shatter his pastern into 60 pieces. Accidents happen. Love your horse and your family, as you never know when an accident could take them away. And remember to live fully; don't live in fear of the potential accident. Analysis will not protect you, that is why it is called an accident.

faybe
Apr. 2, 2011, 07:35 AM
Thanks. But...

I didn't see it as defending myself. I saw it as my responsibility to be open and honest about what happened.

Comments like Baroque Pony's are very understandable. We like to think we can insulate ourselves from randomness, that we can find the reason why something happened to help ourselves sleep easier at night. So we poke around the ruins and tsk-tsk at others to assure ourselves that it will never happen to us.

We all want to keep our horses safe, and we all struggle with the knowledge that we can't protect them from everything.

:)

So very well said. Very sorry for your loss and grateful to you for sharing your beautiful mare's story so openly.

shea'smom
Apr. 2, 2011, 02:44 PM
Martina, thank you for taking time to do that. It helps educate us all.

Noctis
Apr. 2, 2011, 03:27 PM
JER, sending HUGE condolences to you for your loss of Dekorum. She was a joy to watch Friday in dressage. *hugs*

ltmac
Apr. 2, 2011, 09:33 PM
I also wonder if it`s time to set some kind of limit on the number of horses one rider can ride. I know that our top guns are fit and strong, but it`s almost impossible to have the same focus when you`re riding 8 or 10. Worth discussing, perhaps. Not sure, but it should be looked at.

Absolutely agreed.