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View Full Version : Rated show changes arena/footing last minute, should they offer refunds?



TinyBubbles
Jun. 5, 2011, 03:40 AM
I wasn't quite sure how to word the title of this thread so it would make sense.

The scenario is the show is tomorrow and we are having unseasonal rain for this time of year. Due to the amount of rainfall, the dressage court cannot be used because it is soaked and has puddles and won't drain in time.

So the show management decided to make a dressage court in a grass polo field that has slightly uneven footing. More rain is expected tonight. The footing changes were not announced to the competitors, but there was a post made on their Facebook page saying competition would be on the polo field.

Word is getting out and people are scratching because they don't want to risk riding on uneven footing that could potentially be wet as well. Registration was already low due to the EHV 1 scare.

Many people were hoping the show would be cancelled due to the odd circumstances but apparently "the show must go on".

Should the show offer refunds to people who don't want to take a chance on riding in an arena they weren't expecting to ride in? Should the show managers have sent an email out to the competitors letting them know of the last minute footing change?

The classes range from Intro A to Prix St. George.

jcotton
Jun. 5, 2011, 08:59 AM
If you scratch after the closing date then the show does not have to refund your money (in full or partial)--whether it be a health issue or weather related (act of God).

If you are concerned about the footing and do not trust the footing, then do not go and do not expect a refund of any amount. You have to look out for the best interest of your horse.

enjoytheride
Jun. 5, 2011, 09:15 AM
If the show moved the arena from sand to grass then I would assume the grass is safer to ride on then the sand. Dressage people seem to have a complex about riding on grass for some reason.

BaroquePony
Jun. 5, 2011, 09:19 AM
If your horse is pretty much only used to training and schooling on manicured footing and is a *stall bunny*, then yes, I would scratch.

However, the dressage arena technically is a *testing* arena, and horses that aren't schooled over varied terrain at home are really at a much higher risk of injury over the course of their lifetime than horses that school on/over a variety of footing every day.

You should be able to ride a test on any reasonable footing, even wet clay IF that type of footing is indiginous to your horse's environment. Normally the horses won't carry themselves as *openly* as they would on dry ground, and the extensions won't be as good (self preservation on the horses part), but a *weather savvy horse* will be just fine and if you are serious about riding every day and developing a well rounded horse that can handle himself without risk of injury then it should not be a problem.

A polo field should be fine.

Spectrum
Jun. 5, 2011, 09:49 AM
One show I manage has a statement each year in the prize list stating "an additional ring on grass footing may be used if necessary" for exactly this reason. If you switch to grass footing and it isn't listed as a possibility in the prize list, you can run into issues as you are *required* to state the type of footing in the prize list. I would think there would be some kind of compliance issue with switching to grass if it isn't listed as a possibility in the prize list.

On the other hand, you *can* make changes to the prize list if you attempt to make these changes known to potential competitors, and in this case if they typically communicate regularly to competitors about the show on their Facebook, that would be one venue for them to announce the change. I would think they would also email competitors or something, however, particularly this close to the show.

Also, another consideration is that the prize list for the show is considered a binding legal document with respect to the shows, so if it was changed in a material respect after the closing date there could be an issue. Maybe check with USEF on this one?

Spectrum.

BaroquePony
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:01 AM
If you switch to grass footing and it isn't listed as a possibility in the prize list, you can run into issues as you are *required* to state the type of footing in the prize list. I would think there would be some kind of compliance issue with switching to grass if it isn't listed as a possibility in the prize list.


Not everyone uses Facebook, so I would not think that is a great way to comunicate changes. E-mail or phone, maybe, but shouldn't it be something that can be employed by/to every competitor in order to be fair?

Agree that the option for rain changes should have been listed in the original prize list.

Isabeau Z Solace
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:55 AM
Unfortunately, dressage shows cannot afford to offer refunds. They still have to pay to rent the grounds, for tents, porta potties, etc regardless of the rain. I have heard of some kind show managers refunding $ from time to time, but I am not sure that that is not horse show myth. It has never happened in my personal experience.

You should see some of the footing that has to be dealt with at upper level competitions. Riders at Devon and Gladstone have to contend with absolute slop at the FEI levels when the rain kicks in. And the grass GP field for Athens was (rumored to be) so bad they wrecked a couple of horses on it. (My understanding is the turf was 'new' thus not mature with well developed roots thus kind of sucky:()

So yeah, you will have to deal with pretty tricky footing conditions at horse shows. Best advice is to get plenty of practice over varied terrain at home. Someone is going to show up and get the Championship. In the case of this show, the 'hardy' survivor types have the odds in their favor !

kookicat
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:59 AM
I would show. Riding on grass doesn't bother me. :)

Pocket Pony
Jun. 5, 2011, 11:08 AM
I guess I would want more information about the grass. Well, I guess if it is a polo field then it is used to handling horse traffic. Unless it is a polo field that is only used in the summer and you're in California where it doesn't rain in the summer so the grass can be very well-managed (thinking Menlo here) for moisture content. Some grasses may be ok in the wet, some may not. What is the underlying dirt like? If it is clay then it could be quite slippery. If it is sandy, then it could have nice cush and be lovely footing.

While I condition my horses in different arenas and out on the trails so they are accustomed to working in different footing, if I were worried about the footing I wouldn't go. I also wouldn't expect my money back.

TinyBubbles
Jun. 5, 2011, 01:16 PM
If you are concerned about the footing and do not trust the footing, then do not go and do not expect a refund of any amount. You have to look out for the best interest of your horse.


If the show moved the arena from sand to grass then I would assume the grass is safer to ride on then the sand. Dressage people seem to have a complex about riding on grass for some reason.


If your horse is pretty much only used to training and schooling on manicured footing and is a *stall bunny*, then yes, I would scratch.

However, the dressage arena technically is a *testing* arena, and horses that aren't schooled over varied terrain at home are really at a much higher risk of injury over the course of their lifetime than horses that school on/over a variety of footing every day.
.


I guess I would want more information about the grass. Well, I guess if it is a polo field then it is used to handling horse traffic. Unless it is a polo field that is only used in the summer and you're in California where it doesn't rain in the summer so the grass can be very well-managed (thinking Menlo here) for moisture content. Some grasses may be ok in the wet, some may not. What is the underlying dirt like? If it is clay then it could be quite slippery.


I scratched from the show before the closing date for other reasons, so I'm not worried about the refund. However, many of the riders board at the facility where the show is to be held and felt the polo field was unsafe not only because the footing would be slippery if wet, but also because there were holes in the field that had not been filled.

There were really no "stall bunnies" in this show, the facility is quite rustic and has access to trails, so people are used to riding their horses on varied terrain. It wasn't the fact it was moved to a polo field that had people concerned, it was just THAT particular field since people are familiar with it and don't feel it's safe. I'm not sure it's still used for polo and it's no where near the condition the well manicured polo fields of the Menlo Circus Club.

The riders that had the most issues are the ones that board at this facility since they are so familiar with the footing.

It's highly unusual to have a lot of rain here in June, so there really would be no reason for the prize list to state there may be an arena change, although I bet they will change it for future shows!

Give and Take
Jun. 5, 2011, 01:20 PM
does the dressage court just have puddles or is the footing deep?

while the grass might be better overall, i board at a dressage barn in the NW (i'm one of the few non-dressage riders there) and i don't think any of them have stud holes.

over the last couple weeks, shows have canceled due to EHV-1, but none because of footing.

if the show is smaller now, can they use an indoor?

Pocket Pony
Jun. 5, 2011, 02:19 PM
Are you at Webb? Isn't the indoor big enough? (It's been a long time since I've been there but I thought they re-did the footing in the indoor and that it was a large arena, but I could be mistaken). Although I guess that wouldn't account for a warm-up area.

Sigh. We've had a horrible "spring" in NorCal. I'm guessing it is summer somewhere, but not here! I'm sick of the rain!:mad:

EqTrainer
Jun. 5, 2011, 04:28 PM
So they are saying you will be riding on wet grass?

pluvinel
Jun. 5, 2011, 09:24 PM
So they are saying you will be riding on wet grass?
Egads....wet grass!!!!! What were they thinking.......

BaroquePony
Jun. 5, 2011, 09:30 PM
Egads....wet grass!!!!! What were they thinking.......

Slip ... boom ... splat :lol: Stall Bunny, Stall Bunny ... :lol:

EqTrainer
Jun. 5, 2011, 09:37 PM
:lol: actually I ride on grass, wet grass, dry grass, lush grass, sparse slick grass, all the time.

But I am aware that when I ride on wet grass (or any other potentially slippery surface) that my horses will be more careful about their footing. A really good extension could result in an event resembling a slip-n-slide instead of dressage.

So I would not expect the best from my horses on wet grass, no. I would not want to show on it, since the point is to show... Show off :D

BaroquePony
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:15 PM
If there is a show scheduled, you ride the elements. Everyone is on equal footing.

That doesn't mean you won't fall if your horse doesn't know how to keep his legs under him, but if he/she is well schooled then everyone sees how to ride correctly on tricky footing. It should be part of everyone's long term every day regime.

Show that.

EqTrainer
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:18 PM
Interesting thought, I would have never looked at it that way... Thanks :)

BaroquePony
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:25 PM
Your extensions won't and shouldn't be very extended on bad footing, and depending on the horse, maybe just a *medium* trot. But I think the way a horse rebalances on bad footing actually looks kind of cool in it's own right and it will teach them to engage and focus.

The rider actually has to *listen* to the horse through their seat. No *overriding*.

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:25 PM
I would not go. If the footing is not good, (holes, bumps, or ride on wet grass)
You should not risk sliding and having your horse twist their leg and get injured.

BaroquePony
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:42 PM
I just spent two years retraining a 1200 pound *stall bunny* :yes:. When I got him all of the ligaments in his back legs were not working smoothly and he tripped with his size three front feet and he slipped with his extreme overstepping back feet. His SI was slighly out. He was frightening to watch galloping in the pasture/paddock.

His SI is now strong, the ligaments in his hind legs work beautifully and he can gallop on wet clay (riderless) and his turns on wet clay show an immediate (without rider) self carriage with his hind quarters using more elevated hock action with a very well engaged rear end.

His gain in confidence in himself has been amazing.

The ligaments in his legs are very tight and clean with smooth action.

Kyzteke
Jun. 6, 2011, 10:22 AM
Surely if they can play polo on the field (in which case how uneven can it be?), one could manage some simple trotting/cantering & collected work on same surface?

Geeze....

piaffeprincess98
Jun. 6, 2011, 11:38 AM
If it was me, being an eventer, I'd go. We have to ride on grass all the time! In fact, at our first event of the season on grass a couple of weekends ago, my horse had his best score ever. My trainer thinks it was because of the slightly undulated terrain in the warmup. I was able to push him up the slopes and balance down them and it actually improved his way of going and the freedom of his shoulders. But without studs, I'd be weary, especially if it's wet and you're not used to riding in those conditions.

As far as refunds, I never expect one at any show after the closing date except maybe a schooling show (and for that I'm grateful!)

BaroquePony
Jun. 6, 2011, 11:56 AM
Posted by piaffeprincess98:

I was able to push him up the slopes and balance down them and it actually improved his way of going and the freedom of his shoulders.

Bingo :yes:!

TinyBubbles
Jun. 6, 2011, 03:15 PM
Surely if they can play polo on the field (in which case how uneven can it be?), one could manage some simple trotting/cantering & collected work on same surface?

Geeze....

It actually didn't look too bad at all. I went to watch some rides and all the first level tests I saw were fine. I know there were about a dozen scratches and it seems like it was anyone riding above second. However, most of the upper level tests only had one rider in them to begin with.

Picture of the field:

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/arena.jpg

I'm guessing that most people thought the field would be sloppier than it was, hence the decision not to ride. I also think the fact no announcement was made other than a post on FB the evening before may have been part of the problem as well.

Pocket Pony
Jun. 6, 2011, 04:53 PM
Well that doesn't look bad at all, I was expecting a muddy, sloppy mess halfway under water! :lol:

enjoytheride
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:11 PM
LOL that footing looks pretty solid

TinyBubbles
Jun. 6, 2011, 05:48 PM
LOL that footing looks pretty solid

I know! Apparently some people thought the UL horses would have problems getting good extensions?

Kyzteke
Jun. 6, 2011, 09:30 PM
I know! Apparently some people thought the UL horses would have problems getting good extensions?
Honestly -- any horse that can't get going on that sort of footing I would not want to ride....

I mean, as long as every one plays on the same field, it evens it all out.

naturalequus
Jun. 6, 2011, 10:07 PM
I've been quietly following this thread and especially appreciated this:


They still have to pay to rent the grounds, for tents, porta potties, etc regardless of the rain.

And this:


If there is a show scheduled, you ride the elements. Everyone is on equal footing.

That doesn't mean you won't fall if your horse doesn't know how to keep his legs under him, but if he/she is well schooled then everyone sees how to ride correctly on tricky footing. It should be part of everyone's long term every day regime.

Show that.

I wouldn't expect a refund after the entry closing date. Rain happens. No one has any advantage over another - the footing affects everyone universally. If you (being general) don't feel comfortable on that type of footing with your horse, scratch. Your fears might be entirely valid, considering that specific horse and your training regimen with that horse. But that is your problem, not the show committee's. They still have all the same overhead, rain or shine - they don't get refunds for all their rentals and other associated expenses, to my knowledge. That said, the info should have been made available in some other way than Fb, but really, it shouldn't be a big deal - people are lucky they got any notice at all. i mean, it rained. The weather didn't call up the show committee and provide them notice of when it thought it might dish out some rain. People know it rained, they should understand provisions might have to be made due to the rain, regardless of whether notice was given, how it was given, or when it was given. It's just common sense.

Really, it's a polo field, even if it is not in current use - it's got to be halfway decent at least. A little unevenness and a few holes? Your horse should be watching where it is going. Prepare for such events by working your horse over different terrain - problem solved.

I'd like to see a few of these riders on a working ranch. Work doesn't stop just because it rained or the footing is uneven or there might be some holes (hint: there WILL be all of the above). Your horse is expected to gallop and work over uneven ground which might include holes, branches, logs, rocks, or what. Try galloping and twisting and turning in dense bush!!! At least in a dressage test,there are no sharp turns and all your work is (supposed to be) cool, quiet, and collected. Your horse has a lot of room to play with, a lot of compromise it can make. Of course though, your horse needs to be prepared for such work - knowing how to balance under a rider on wet grass, watch for holes and uneven footing, etc, and adjust appropriately. If your horse is used to such though, it should not be an issue... just be careful and allow your horse to be careful and responsible, too. If he's not ready, scratch and prepare for the next time you might encounter like circumstances, so next time you don't have to scratch.

Footing looked good from the photo, though I understand people might have been expecting worse (though aren't many of these riders boarded close by??). Still, if they were worried about extensions, they needn't have been - their horses wouldn't have extended (without being forced to) to the point of endangering themselves, it's just natural self-preservation. All the horses would have been on equal footing in that respect. Again, if a person just doesn't feel comfortable, no worries. But they should not expect others to cater to their discomfort (ie, with a refund).

rizzodm
Jun. 6, 2011, 10:24 PM
They don't call us DQ's for nothing:lol: