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denny
Jul. 24, 2011, 07:57 PM
I`ve seen horses come unglued at Doornhof Farm over a cross country fence that looked like a horse, I`ve seen horses totally spooked by huge plastic pigs and cows at an event in Georgia, and now Alision Springer`s horse, and I gather some others, came undone over a big horse sculpture at the big event in Montana.

Why won`t they learn not to do this to riders and horses. It`s STUPID.

JER
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:04 PM
Agreed.

Put the public art projects up by the portaloos or by the food stands. Don't let it become a factor in the actual competition.

denny
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:08 PM
Horses are creatures of flight. The spooky horse didn`t get killed by the lion at the water hole, that`s why HIS genes got passed down the line.

You can bet no RIDER would have put that thing there. It was some official or someone who doesn`t know how horses tick. So stupid.

ezmissg
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:10 PM
I couldn't agree more! I have no association with Allison and Arthur, but I am so sorry for the impact this had on their competition.

Honestly, I feel that way about a lot of the "accessories" I see in so many photos of XC as well.

Would it be wrong to wish that decorating committees' budgets were significantly scaled back? ;)

cyberbay
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:11 PM
Totally agree. We are going too far in what we ask of our horses.

I mean, by definiition, those sculpted fences are to cause spectators to stop and look and point and discuss them. Yet, we expect horses to have none of these thoughts -- even though we don't even begin to expect the same of humans -- and just gallop down to them and jump them as if they're plain hay bales. It's unfair and it's no test of horsemanship.

A part of horsemanship is knowing when enough is enough.

I feel the same way about Jumbotrons at dressage shows. Let's make the horse paramount and stop indulging the whiny human. Yeesh.

Isabeau Z Solace
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:15 PM
anybody got a photo link ?

FoxChaser
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:21 PM
It's on www.eventingnation.com Can't miss it!

JER
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:22 PM
Here it is. (http://eventingnation.com/home/2011/07/renecca-farm-show-jumping-results.html) (via Eventing Nation)

So thoughtful how the damn thing caused spooks out on XC yesterday -- and then they moved it into the SJ arena today.

Ibex
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:36 PM
Crap - anyone know what happened to Blugal?? She's showing as MR in the CCI*...

Isabeau Z Solace
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:07 PM
Made of horseshoes ?! Damn thing must be heavy too. I hate the 'jumbo-trons' by the dressage arenas also. Better title for thread might be this

REBECCA FARM THUMBS DOWN

Hit 'em where it hurts if you want to get the attention on the issue.

pixietrix
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:12 PM
We had to deal with a plastic horse next to the Beginner Novice ring at Paradise Farm HT a few years back......I couldn't get my little guy within 50 feet of it. These types of "decorations" are not a good idea, and no horseman would put something that ridiculous in the middle of any jumping course, XC or SJ. :no:

Xctrygirl
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:12 PM
You know while I see the point Denny is trying to make, the stadium arena's at the last few Olympics are very spooky places. Ditto the Aachen WEG arena. Flowers, decorations and high capacity crowds.

This event, though out in Montana, is a qualifier for horses aiming for the high octane events like Rolex, Burghley, the Olympics and Wegs.

So I don't see the issue with filtering through the all around professional horse and rider who can handle what comes at them and get the job done.

That said, I am sorry the sculpture unraveled Arthur. I have long been a fan.

But kudos to those horses and riders who still got the job done.

~Emily

BabyRacehorse
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:16 PM
Crap - anyone know what happened to Blugal?? She's showing as MR in the CCI*...

Please excuse my lack of knowledge, but what does MR stand for?

vanraf
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:24 PM
Please excuse my lack of knowledge, but what does MR stand for?

Mandatory Retirement... usually (or always? I haven't read the rulebook in a while) means the horse had a fall on course...

yellowbritches
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:31 PM
Grand prixs have had Shamu as wings, among other ridiculous things for YEARS. It was a sculpture...it wasn't a jump, just decoration. Horses ARE flight creatures...a hazard we all agree to deal with when we bring them into our lives, and especially when we decide to make a livelihood off of them.

It is NO secret that Arthur is VERY spooky. It is frequently discussed in interviews and articles. I believe his spookiness has been his undoing before. It's the risk you take when you ride extremely talented yet extremely quirky horses.

ctab
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:49 PM
. I hate the 'jumbo-trons' by the dressage arenas also. Better title for thread might be this

REBECCA FARM THUMBS DOWN

Hit 'em where it hurts if you want to get the attention on the issue.


Really? REALLY?? :mad: :no:

This is one of the premiere events in the country.
The event went off smoothly. No one went home in an ambulance, horse or rider.
This is the farm that is offering a sponsorship for a couple of riders to go to Europe right? This farms namesake recently passed away!
Talk about being ridiculous and over dramatic!

Was the horse shoe horse statue a bad idea to include in showjumping after the spooks it caused on CC? Probably.

I guess the riders felt it would not be a problem otherwise they should have gone to the officials as a group and ask it to me removed and relocated. I feel so sorry for those whose rides were disrupted by such a thing, I really do. But I don't think telling people NOT to go (where else would it hurt the most besides the wallet?) to such an event is nice at all! Here we are moaning about events and land going bye bye forever and one bad decision in decorating is a call to boycott an event like Rebecca Farm!

For shame!

As for jumbotrons, again it comes with the territory. You want spectators and the revenue they bring, they want to see because not everyone has front row seats a E. If the riders feel it is an issue then they need to go as a group to the officials and ask for a change. If only one or 2 horses spook and the rest get the job done, well hell we can all relate to such a story.

Personally, it would be a dream come true to have a run at Rebecca Farm or Fitch Corner or any other top event. Read my location and you can see I am in eventing wasteland.

ACMEeventing
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:55 PM
Grand prixs have had Shamu as wings, among other ridiculous things for YEARS. It was a sculpture...it wasn't a jump, just decoration. Horses ARE flight creatures...a hazard we all agree to deal with when we bring them into our lives, and especially when we decide to make a livelihood off of them.

It is NO secret that Arthur is VERY spooky. It is frequently discussed in interviews and articles. I believe his spookiness has been his undoing before. It's the risk you take when you ride extremely talented yet extremely quirky horses.

I agree with your basic point. However . . . it seems that spectator grandeur is outweighing horse safety and that is a very sad thing. We can make jumps exciting and historical and fancy without creating such distractions that we undermine the hard work that these teams have invested in.

We ask our horses to trust us and then we place that trust in designers who have no concept of the fine thread that distinguishes a horse / rider relationship. :no:

CANTEREOIN
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:57 PM
Well put...


Really? REALLY?? :mad: :no:

This is one of the premiere events in the country.
The event went off smoothly. No one went home in an ambulance, horse or rider.
This is the farm that is offering a sponsorship for a couple of riders to go to Europe right? This farms namesake recently passed away!
Talk about being ridiculous and over dramatic!

Was the horse shoe horse statue a bad idea to include in showjumping after the spooks it caused on CC? Probably.

I guess the riders felt it would not be a problem otherwise they should have gone to the officials as a group and ask it to me removed and relocated. I feel so sorry for those whose rides were disrupted by such a thing, I really do. But I don't think telling people NOT to go (where else would it hurt the most besides the wallet?) to such an event is nice at all! Here we are moaning about events and land going bye bye forever and one bad decision in decorating is a call to boycott an event like Rebecca Farm!

For shame!

As for jumbotrons, again it comes with the territory. You want spectators and the revenue they bring, they want to see because not everyone has front row seats a E. If the riders feel it is an issue then they need to go as a group to the officials and ask for a change. If only one or 2 horses spook and the rest get the job done, well hell we can all relate to such a story.

Personally, it would be a dream come true to have a run at Rebecca Farm or Fitch Corner or any other top event. Read my location and you can see I am in eventing wasteland.

Snaffle81
Jul. 24, 2011, 10:18 PM
I may get flamed for this... I hope not because I'm really just thinking through the issue. Please educate me for any misconceptions...

For eventing we want our horses to be brave and trust our riders. I remember a great rider once told me: "My horses have tremendous trust in me. They would jump a 6 foot drop into 8 feet of water if I asked. Though they may just do it the one time...."

So do we want them to be brave when we're in the saddle or keep their flight instincts in tact?

I understand some horses are just spooky, but what makes them so? Genes Fitness? Lack of trust and/or respect for their rider/handler to keep them safe? Lack of focus on the job at hand?

Then this goes to a horse's anatomy - I guess is the right way to say it... These decorations are inanimate so they're reacting to the shape, correct? It's not like the horses are smelling a predator. So if they're reacting to the shape then what's the harm of using a horse sculpture? Competition horses should be used to riding with other horses, no? It's not like they're asked to jump the thing.

Again, I'm just trying to "logically" think this through... please correct me.

gold2012
Jul. 24, 2011, 10:27 PM
I almost always agree with Denny, but sorry. I feel REALLY REALLY bad for them, We have been in first and crashed 6 jumps...IT was MAJOR embarrassing...BUT

Eventing isn't fair. It just isn't. I wish my daughters horse had Arthurs movement. I wish we could have flown out to Montanna. I wish she could get the help she needs...I REALLY wish the dressage co-efficient would go away. Her horse is pretty Down to earth...having a six-year old jumping on a trampoline next to your arena does amazing things....we can jump all day, ain't ever going have movement.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what each horse had that weekend. Plain and simple. if your horse spooked, go home and have a kid play around your horse or go work some cattle....it is prolly easier to get rid of spook then get movement....

As for boycotting Rebecca...plz....you ever been there? It's gorgeous, well planned, beautiful, all about the horses. I would go there from here, and hope to next year.

GingerJumper
Jul. 24, 2011, 10:30 PM
I expect my horses to respect me enough to get the flip over whatever is freaking them out. What's going on over yonder isn't their business, what I'm asking them to do is their business. However, crap happens, and sometimes stuff like that just cannot be helped.

I think it's the event organizers' responsibility to give the horses and riders as much of a chance of success as possible. I'm not saying they should "dumb down" the courses or make the questions less intricate and technical, but I think extra, absolutely unnecessary decor like that horse thing is dumb. I get flowers, and even random trees or whatever, but not horse statues, etc... and ESPECIALLY if it was spooking horses they day before!

Lori T
Jul. 24, 2011, 10:31 PM
I agree.
We are just putting our horses and ourselves at great risk of injury or worse, in a sport that is already dangerous enough.
Funny thing, when Jen was competing at the USPC Champs in 2004, everytime she walked Imp through the Kentucky Horse Park, Imp wanted to attack every horse statute! I can only imagine what goes through there minds. When I school at Longwood Farms in Ocala, I make sure to give wide berth to the life size horse that is jumping into one of the water complexes...I am not sure I want to be on my 17.1 draftx if he decides to spook at that one!

fordtraktor
Jul. 24, 2011, 10:49 PM
Heartbreaking for Allison. Very unfortunate. But these things happen and honestly I don't think it is unfair to expect an international-caliber horse with years and years of experience at the top levels to canter by that thing.

yellowbritches
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:03 PM
Did Arthur get hurt? Did he run into the damn thing? From the EN posting it sounds like he jumped poorly because he was spooky and distracted, but that was it.

Seriously. This is silly. My dearly departed Ralph had a total meltdown in show jumping once because some spectators in the stands stood up to leave as we made a turn. It blew his mind and I got a stop. Should we outlaw spectators??? I've ridden a fair share of babies who've been fearless at the jumps but were terrified of the jump judges. Maybe they should go. I know someone who's horse got spooked by the TD in a golf cart...see where i'm going with this?

Xtrygirl's point is the best here. This event is trying to be world class so our horses and riders can be competitive on the world stage. With that comes some goofy sculptures, etc. Suck it up, buttercup. Horses spook. Sometimes they spook to the point of losing the event.

BigRuss1996
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:11 PM
I feel bad for those who had an issue and I am sure they are disappointed but I am going to have to join the "Suck it up buttercup" opinion.
Things like this are an exercise is discipline, trust and being able to keep your horse focused on you and the job at hand.
I have had spooky horses in the past and one in paritcular that didn't like fence judges, etc and you had to always be on your game and always paying attention and refocusing his attention.

Mary in Area 1
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:11 PM
Interesting that the banner ad here on the COTH for Rebecca Farm reads "The Course Creates the Champion." I think in this case, it is really questionnable if this statement is true.

NCRider
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:31 PM
What I think is interesting, is given that everyone knows that Arthur is spooky in general and everyone at RF knew that he and other division leaders spooked at it on x-c, by deciding to move it into the stadium arena, they were basically accepting that they were going to affect the outcomes of the various divisions by moving that decoration into the ring. I'm not sure I like the idea of multiple divisions being decided based on the presence or absence of a decoration unattached to a jump. Yes there are often lots of strange things used as standards in regular grand prix show jumping, but this thing wasn't part of a jump. It was kind of just hanging out, like a loose horse. Which horses wouldn't expect to see in the middle of their stadium course. It kind of reminds me of the random fake people that Sue had on a table no x-c at one of the British (European?) events a couple of years ago that caused a lot of problems.

RAyers
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:35 PM
Hmmmm, didn't Maui Jim have palm trees and nobody bitched (or did they , Flutie?)? And how many decades has there been jump crew sites sculptures and other distractions in the jumpers? Decades ago I had to do GP jumpers with small kids right up next to the standards, the ring was so small.

The sculpture is as much the part of the course as a fence as it allows the course designer to make riders choose conservative or aggressive lines. I say the sculpture did its job and the riders, no matter how good they are didn't. At that level a small explosive under a fence should not distract horse or rider. Richard Jeffery is an absolute horseman's course designer. His courses are designed to work with the horse. If a rider tries to RIDE his courses they will get nailed. If they stay focused and quiet, the courses are "easy."

I guess we should make sure no XC course goes near the schooling area or if a horse gets loose on course then the riders get re-rides. I guess Rebecca Farms should move the horse jumping into a water fence sculpture away from the arena too. While it is not in the ring, it is close enough to be a distraction. It was the last time I showed there in the OIs. My pony was absolutely enthralled with it. Should I have asked for a re-ride since it may have caused a rail?

This time I very much disagree with your sentiment, Denny.

Reed

JWB
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:49 PM
Sorry - eventing evolved from a military test. Who knew all it took to undo the cavalry was some life sized horse statures?

Unfortunately looky decorations are part of the game. This was not a starter or BN trial where the course was supposed to be friendly and inviting. At this level, the horse should be able to deal with it.

That's the way horse showing goes some times. Years ago I had a weekend at a rated hunter show where my VERY PLAIN appy cleaned up.... Tons of more talented horses around but my horse didn't care about the 50+ hot air balloons landing in an adjacent field. That day the conditions at the show worked out for me. Years later I reminded myself of that day as I was showing at the same place on a different horse who came unglued by the elephants and camels grazing at the end of the arena....

Yes, my horse would have done better without circus animals walking around, but part of showing is dealing with the various things that happen away from the safety of your own farm.

archieflies
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:50 PM
Interesting that the banner ad here on the COTH for Rebecca Farm reads "The Course Creates the Champion." I think in this case, it is really questionnable if this statement is true.

Yeah, the horse that everybody wanted to win didn't, so let's all completely discount the all horses that DID go around perfectly fine without causing a fuss.

Yes, some horses spooked and had a bad time with it. But a lot of horses didn't. Those would be the champions, no?

Seriously, I doubt somebody with an evil, cackling laugh sitting behind a big black curtain watched the specific horses that spooked on XC and decided to move it just because they wanted those particular horses to lose. I'm sure they also planted a high-pitched whistle inside the statue that was only turned on when particular horses went by...

Come on, it's just stupid to blast a wonderful event because a horse with well-documented spooking problems spooked. Nobody was hurt. Weaknesses were simply revealed... better now than at the Olympics... because you know they have ridiculous crap like this at the Olympics every time.

Fillabeana
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:05 AM
Did Arthur get hurt? Did he run into the damn thing? From the EN posting it sounds like he jumped poorly because he was spooky and distracted, but that was it.

Seriously. This is silly. My dearly departed Ralph had a total meltdown in show jumping once because some spectators in the stands stood up to leave as we made a turn. It blew his mind and I got a stop. Should we outlaw spectators??? I've ridden a fair share of babies who've been fearless at the jumps but were terrified of the jump judges. Maybe they should go. I know someone who's horse got spooked by the TD in a golf cart...see where i'm going with this?

and



The sculpture is as much the part of the course as a fence as it allows the course designer to make riders choose conservative or aggressive lines. I say the sculpture did its job and the riders, no matter how good they are didn't.

I hear of plenty of event horses that quite simply are NOT BROKE. If you're a world class rider, go get some world class help...Ray Hunt isn't around anymore but there are several who are. I would put a lot of $$ on the line that Buck Brannaman could have had Arthur walk, trot, and cantering quietly past the sculpture in very little time. And very probably, he could have had Allison doing the same.
I realize that some of these are very hot, very fit horses, but to me they are just not broke. I heard of another person's horse that would not allow them to warm up jacket-less in the heat, and then have someone hand the rider the jacket. Oy.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:05 AM
I can see both sides of the argument.

Event horses should be bold enough to handle a variety of things out in the field, but at the end of the day, I don't really want winners in our sport being determined by decor.

Given that the sculpture had already caused many issues on the XC course the day before, I do question the decision to move it into the arena. It really did not enhance the course questions or serve any real purpose other that to create a spooking contest.

I agree that the origin of the sport is the testing and training of military horses. But the origin of the sport also dictates that stadium should be the LEAST important phase in determining a winner. It was merely designed to test the fitness and soundness of the horse after the endurance phase. If we are going to look to the history of the sport, having stadium decor determine the winner doesn't exactly fit.

Who's decision do you think it was to place it in the arena? .... The course designer (Richard Jeffery)? .... Organizers? It wasn't really an obstacle, but I would think the Course Designer has ultimate control over the arena? Just curious on who controls something like that.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:07 AM
Some things just don't make sense to horses. It sounds like this might have been one of them. If I were to speculate, the pattern made by the horse shoes, coupled with the horse-like morphology, can be disruptive in some way to a horse's vision. They don't see like we do, and if you want to read more about that, check out the work of Australian scientist Alison Harman.

Arthur wasn't the only horse who spooked at it. The statue also affected the outcome of the T3DE. Do we really want our competitions to be determined by a sculpture?

If the organizers, TD, GJ, curators, whoever, saw that this objet d'art was causing spooks on XC yesterday, why would they think it was a good idea to move it to a more confined riding arena where it might dominate the landscape?

Oh -- and this is my mare at age 3 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/28168510@N07/4347439051) trying to make friends with the dreaded plastic horse at the Rolex trade fair. She called out to it all weekend. Although I spend a lot of time exposing my youngsters to new things, I didn't take this to mean she was especially brave. The episode made me question her intelligence as she simply would not accept that it wasn't real. :)

Gry2Yng
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:08 AM
I am voting with "suck it up buttercup". If you want to play on the international stage you best learn to deal with goofy stuff in the ring. Not to mention 7 RAILS! What happened to the long format training leader is sad. 7 rails boarders on ubsurd.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:12 AM
JER: That is a pretty sweet picture. :)

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:23 AM
And what WERE the" problems" on xc regarding the sculpture? Did horses stop or riders fall because of it? Or did it just spook some of them? Good grief.

whicker
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:27 AM
JER,
Nina looks so enthralled and enraptured. She is just dear...:)

OverandOnward
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:33 AM
Yesterday after the xc scores were up I was thinking "If she wins this, that might lock her place on the team. If nothing adverse happens between then & now ... " Of course it's a year too early to think that way, but ...

Having now been informed that the 28 jumping faults were due to an unnecessary course decoration, I feel Arthur has shown he has to be a big ? for London. I fully expect there will be an even more distracting and smellier decoration at the Olympic show jumping. Badly placed, of course.

I agree that big spooky decorations are unnecessary and not about the horses. I agree that the bigger this sport gets, the less it becomes about the horses, the more about the show biz end. I don't see that changing. If medaling is what matters, we'll need to send bomb-proof horses to London. It's just a fact of life. Yep, it's hard to get that and a confirmed 3*-4* horse in the same package.

I wonder to what degree one could argue that Cool Mountain won Rolex because he was bomb-proof when the camera looked like a giant white ghost with one huge round black mouth. A dementor would scare anybody - but not him. A pair has to nail all 3 phases to be competitive, regardless of the conditions. I am sure that the riders of the horses that spooked in the Rolex dressage that year would say they had schooled for a camera, they just didn't anticipate that spectral vision. Nonetheless, some horses did fine.

From a horsemanship standpoint I'd agree that large showy decorations are not a good thing to have. I hope at least they can be toned down on cross-country.

From a competitive standpoint, I regretfully say that Arthur told us something about himself that The Team needs to know. I love seeing Allison and Arthur go. But ... there's no place for this on a medal-seeking team.

RAyers
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:45 AM
Where does this sculpture come off as "dangerous" or "unhorseman like?" Does anybody watch the big jumpers? I agree the horses see such a things differently. But those are what are seen in show rings around the world.

In 1987 I did a night A/O jumper class at the Colorado State Fair. The warm-up was right next to the start chute of a race track and was basically a basketball court covered in dirt with a 12' high ivy covered fence. The horses could hear everything going on behind that fence but could not see it due to the dark. Oh, did I mention there was a Ted Nugent concert going on the racetrack?

My horse pulled a few rails. Should I have asked Ted and the 15,000 or so spectators to turn it down and not move so much behind the fences?

Obviously the statue did not prevent horses from getting in the ring or getting around. Knowing Richard Jeffery's style maybe Allison chose a bad line for her horse? Were all of the rails near that sculpture or did they happen randomly on course?

I say Eventing Nation is creating conspiracy where there is none.

Wango Tango Baby.

akor
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:48 AM
I'm torn on this.

I also don't see the point of moving the horse into the showjumping ring when it had been causing issues on XC. My gut is that someone promised someone that the artwork would appear x place and that promise or personal relationship took precedence. That is why I'm lean pretty far over into the it should have not been there camp. The sj ring is not an art gallery nor for the purpose of supporting budding artists, at least IMO.

However, I end up leaning back the other way and finally falling over on to the "suck it up" side. I am new to eventing, more of dressage/h/j and so feel a bit odd posting this, but from what I have seen, in person, and through the wonderful internet, is that eventers in general really struggle with show jumping. I leave it to professionals to theorize why, but I am shocked at the number of rails that go flying. Maybe the horses are tired, maybe there are only a few that can excel at both. Maybe there just isn't as much time to correct coming undone.

I didn't understand when I was preparing to event and I'd come here and everyone would be freaking about show jumping and I was like, what??? These teams jump fences that make me pee my pants but they worry about some combination that will fall over if you hit it? In a ring? Now I understand. They are worried because you can beat the dressage monster, you can defy gravity and do the impossible and make my mouth gape open on xc, and then, get off rythm in show jumping and it all goes to he&&. If not a statue, a spectator, another horse, the speakers, something blowing around somewhere, and odd shadow pattern, etc. There is always something a horse, especially a spooky one, can spook at. That's the problem with spookers. You can be on top of the world, and then, they are undone. I also get that what makes me "good" at show jumping makes me not so good at XC much of the time.

I rode one (jumpers) that was on a quest to spook. He could have found something to spook at in a padded empty room. But, like the appy example, we cleaned up at one show because they were drag racing RIGHT NEXT to the ring. (A scheduling mix up:eek:). They would fire up those engines and even the hardened 30 year old QH who could get 9 strides in a 4 stride line was undone. My spooker? For some reason, he liked the drag racing. Best rides ever. Were we the best horse and rider team there? No. Just on that day. Sometimes, sports are like that. It's how you do on that day, in those minutes or seconds, under those circumstances. And, even moreso, how (and if) you come back from coming undone.

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:01 AM
Okay, for those against, where are you going to draw the line? At FHP in April we had an uncharacteristic rail, and line because a jump crew member moved into her path, and he stuttered into it...whatcha to do? A few months before, at PP she was the only horse to make time out of the group. it balanced out.

There are so many things that cause a horse to spook...Mr. Jeffries is a great designer. This sport is all about finishing well in all 3 phases. Some can do it, some can't. Tons of horses went around that course and didn't have any problem, obviously they were more prepared.

We, as a nation can either suck it up, and drive to do better, and quit bellyaching, or keep up with the complaining and dummying down, and give up on medals. It can't be both ways. The selectors needed to know about Arthur now...not next year in London...Rebecca Farm tries to put on a quality international event...Hooray for them!

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:16 AM
I say Eventing Nation is creating conspiracy where there is none.

Not if you read John's post. He said this:


Arthur and many other horses spooked at the same statue yesterday when it was on the cross-country course and it caused several problems today after being moved into the main show jumping arena, including costing Therese Russell the Training 3-Day win by spooking her horse Dante through the triple. It is frustrating that the show jumping would be so heavily influenced by something that has nothing to do with the jumps

I doubt the cheval de fer will be invited back to SJ next year. It's just one of those ideas that had unintended consequences.

rhymeswithfizz
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:21 AM
Well, I'm not sure if I have much sympathy - even my little novice course yesterday including a jump with a giant yellow inflatable Tweety bird roped to it, and another with a fake (but very very real looking) pheasant sitting on top, looking like it might take flight right into you as you jump the fence. It definitely makes a good question. This sculpture was just another question, and I'm a little disappointed that people are complaining about it. That seems so.... un-eventerish.

Calvincrowe
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:35 AM
Wah. Really? They can jump all sorts of wildly decorated jumps and crazy "natural" obstacles (a fruit stand..with fruit?) but a ringside decoration leads a known spooky horse and rider combination to defeat so we'll ban everything from the ring that 'might' spook a horse.

And you people call hunters princesses!;)

How about the poor hunter pro who had a loose dog chase her and her horse around the course at Devon? She didn't get a do-over and they sure as heck haven't banned dogs from shows.

There were plenty of other combos who had no problems with the Killer Statue either on CC or SJ in the T3D and other divisions.

I've had lawn chairs blown on course while going around, umbrellas flapping open, signs in the corner and "dead people" that my horse imagined might be there. There were llamas in a field next door to a major A show---that was fun! But..we didn't complain, we kept on going and hoped our horses were able to cope.

That's horse showing people! Crap happens, deal.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:38 AM
Well, I'm not sure if I have much sympathy - even my little novice course yesterday including a jump with a giant yellow inflatable Tweety bird roped to it, and another with a fake (but very very real looking) pheasant sitting on top, looking like it might take flight right into you as you jump the fence. It definitely makes a good question.

No, it doesn't.

Are we training and riding circus animals or eventers?

In eventing, we teach our horses to look after themselves and continue going forward while jumping a series of unfamiliar obstacles. This is asking a lot of any horse.

A horse who learns to do this safely is not going to simply jump whatever the eff you put in front of him. He's going to make decisions that will hopefully keep both of you ambulatory and breathing.

Putting lifelike creatures on fences is not a good idea if you ever plan to take your horse out in the actual natural world. This was taken to an unfortunate extreme at Belton Horse Trials a couple of years ago, when life-size human figures were put on top of a fence. The fence caused a number of problems, including a human fatality.

poltroon
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:58 AM
I would often be in the 'suck it up, life happens' camp, but from the picture at Eventing Nation, this thing is really lacey and very hard to parse visually. If it were a plain bronze, I would say no big deal, but I can see why a horse would be so fixated on trying to understand what this particular piece was that he would break focus from the rider.

Given that it was causing problems the day before, it would have been wise to skip it. No one was hurt, but if you have horses making unexpected and wild moves in a triple combination, someone could have been.

As for 'where to draw the line', I think we all know that there is one. The big Shamus do not spook horses. I would not expect giant beer bottles or even a life size bronze on the side to be a problem either. But, if you had a life size bronze horse decorated with mylar streamers that fluttered in the wind, I think we'd all agree that was over the line. :)

Most likely there was some agreement to give it exposure there before the event.

chizzle
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:05 AM
I'm not sure why course decorating has become "Martha Stewart Goes Equestrian" but as YB said there were Shamus, Budweiser bottles, Tiffany boxes standards at many GPs none of which seemed to bother the horses.Doesn't the lake at Rolex have giant ducks as jumps? Shoot have you been to the Devon Show Grounds? How about that ferris wheel in the background - ever show there at nighttime? That's enough to send some horses over the edge but riders deal with it. Geez one year at Upperville I was showing my horse on the line, they were tearing down the tents ,all this chaos, noise basic madness & I thought was my horse would go ballistic. Didn't phase him in the least... what got him was a 3 year old boy in a red shirt! He totally lost it..LOl

Justa Bob
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:15 AM
The usual XC course fare of big, garish, ornaments and biggie-sized Disney animals may not appear to a horse as always dangerous.

A creature close in size, four legs, neck, head, ears -- is a whole different matter. If it quacks like a duck, it's a duck. If it looks like a crazy horse-eating horse, it's a horse-eating horse. My dog sees yard art squirrels and rabbits and goes for them. He would probably wonder if this statue was some weird horse.

Apparently, horses have problems with horse statues according to other posters' comments.

So now eventers can add desensitizing to weird semi-life-like horse statues to the training to-do list. Hope everyone can get a handy example to use! City parks anyone? Local zoo?

Calvincrowe
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:21 AM
I'd like to know how many horses actually had an issue with it? 1? 3? out of how many? You just can't tell what will bother some horses and not others. Was it a bad call to move it from one area where it bothered a few horses, to another area, where it apparently bothered a horse in the lead of a division? Perhaps.

Was it an "over the top" decoration? Maybe.

From the original post and a few others, it sounds a bit like sour grapes. Every horse had to deal with it, not just a few. Obviously, some did fine others, not so much.

I do think that you can go to the other extreme--dressage arenas and audiences sound a bit like a funeral. God help you if you cough, your phone rings or you move during a test. Oy.

poltroon
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:33 AM
BTW, in another example of horses having to quickly parse something strange, many years back there was an aqueduct jump at the American Invitational grand prix that caused huge spooks. I think something like two horses got over it without a knockdown or fault of any kind.

Within months, every GP rider on the circuit had a jump like it at home, and it never caused a big problem in a class again.

I'm not trying to make any particular point, I suppose, just dredging a bit of stale trivia out of my brain and brushing the dust off it. :D

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:41 AM
Poltroon I hear you but types of fences seem quite a bit different than random art that has nothing to do with the sport, obstacles, or questions being asked.

For those comparing XC carved animals, etc., at least those are solid. The lacy "made of horse shoes" construction definitely pulls your eye. I can see where it would be difficult for a horse to discern what the hell is going on there. A huge airy horse thing made of horseshoes is just plain weird.

poltroon
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:01 AM
Poltroon I hear you but types of fences seem quite a bit different than random art that has nothing to do with the sport, obstacles, or questions being asked.

For those comparing XC carved animals, etc., at least those are solid. The lacy "made of horse shoes" construction definitely pulls your eye. I can see where it would be difficult for a horse to discern what the hell is going on there. A huge airy horse thing made of horseshoes is just plain weird.

I agree completely. There's no line you can focus on for it to see what it is, and I'm a human.

rhymeswithfizz
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:06 AM
No, it doesn't.

Are we training and riding circus animals or eventers?

In eventing, we teach our horses to look after themselves and continue going forward while jumping a series of unfamiliar obstacles. This is asking a lot of any horse.

A horse who learns to do this safely is not going to simply jump whatever the eff you put in front of him. He's going to make decisions that will hopefully keep both of you ambulatory and breathing.

Putting lifelike creatures on fences is not a good idea if you ever plan to take your horse out in the actual natural world. This was taken to an unfortunate extreme at Belton Horse Trials a couple of years ago, when life-size human figures were put on top of a fence. The fence caused a number of problems, including a human fatality.

Actually the pheasant jump had a lovely long open approach, with plenty of time for good conversation about it: Time for horse to say, holy smokes, do you see that? Rider: yes, I see that, do you see the jump? Horse: well yeah, but are you sure we should jump that? And rider to assure horse that yes, trust me, this is an OK thing, and horse to respond, well, okay then. The jump itself was fairly small. I thought it was a great way to pose that trust question in a different way.

Isn't that partnership and trust what we want to teach our horses? How is it any different from asking a horse to trust us when we ask them to leap into a water obstacle, not knowing how deep it is, or how the footing might be, or what might be lurking in there? A wiser horse would dip toes in cautiously, slowly, while we ask the event horses to jump right in, no hesitation, gallop on, and focus on the next fence. While my horse will jump quite willingly into unfamiliar waters on course, he does not make a habit of it on his own, in the actual natural world. ;) So no, I'm not too worried about him leaping over live pheasants in his spare time just because we did it on XC.

Back to the question at hand - this sculpture was just a distraction. There were plenty of horses who didn't get distracted, and they were the successful ones. I do believe that this is a quality that should be rewarded.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:16 AM
Back to the question at hand - this sculpture was just a distraction. There were plenty of horses who didn't get distracted, and they were the successful ones. I do believe that this is a quality that should be rewarded.

Is distraction really the question we should be asking in a stadium round?.... Maybe to a point, but what is an acceptable "distraction"? Should we next have people hide behind jump standards and jump out just as the horse approaches to see if they get distracted?

Distraction really doesn't seem in line with what Stadium Jumping is supposed to accomplish in the sport. Again, it is traditionally to show that the horse is sound and fit enough to jump a course after the rigors of cross country -- not that it can jump a course with weird art strewn about and not be "distracted".

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:32 AM
Actually the pheasant jump had a lovely long open approach, with plenty of time for good conversation about it: Time for horse to say, holy smokes, do you see that? Rider: yes, I see that, do you see the jump? Horse: well yeah, but are you sure we should jump that? And rider to assure horse that yes, trust me, this is an OK thing, and horse to respond, well, okay then. The jump itself was fairly small. I thought it was a great way to pose that trust question in a different way.

I disagree. I wouldn't choose to have this 'conversation' over lifelike stuffed animals or taxidermy. There is no good reason for those objects to be there.


Isn't that partnership and trust what we want to teach our horses?

Not me. I want them to make sense of what's in front of them and use their brains. I don't expect them to determine whether something is real or a simulacra.


How is it any different from asking a horse to trust us when we ask them to leap into a water obstacle, not knowing how deep it is, or how the footing might be, or what might be lurking in there?

A false equivalency. Water is not a lifelike stuffed animal. It's a natural obstacle.


A wiser horse would dip toes in cautiously, slowly, while we ask the event horses to jump right in, no hesitation, gallop on, and focus on the next fence.

While my horse will jump quite willingly into unfamiliar waters on course, he does not make a habit of it on his own, in the actual natural world.

Really? It depends on their experience and how much they like water. The idea is to school them so they'll all go in willingly but plenty of 'wise' horses are quite enthusiastic about water, even out in the pasture.


So no, I'm not too worried about him leaping over live pheasants in his spare time just because we did it on XC.

This is hardly the worry. But it's not really the essence of eventing, is it?

englishcowgirl
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:35 AM
I thought at first that this was a jump, think it's just a decoration though? I think that i want to sit on it and have a picture taken.

smokygirl
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:17 AM
I would find that totally distracting and spook at it. My horse probably wouldnt, but i would...

enjoytheride
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:23 AM
I think that horses have problems with things that look like horses but aren't so I think those things should be excluded from showrings. Check out these amusing videos as an example, these horses can't tell the difference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZECUgDPUlI&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmTRNO2QBWI

denny
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:06 AM
If you have spent many years riding and training horses on an all day, every day basis, you will have discovered that a certain percentage of horses get spooked by inanimate things that resemble animals. Not all, but many. They will walk by a roaring brush hog or bulldozer, then spin at a log in the woods that looks like it could be a crouching beast. We know this, right?

So what is eventing meant to test? If it`s meant to test spookiness at fake animals, then we should have fake animals at all levels, at most events, so horses get desensitized. But we know this isn`t the case. And we also know that if you asked real riders and trainers whether fake animals spook some horses, they would say that they do.

So---Is this the wave of the future for eventing, less about horsemanship, and more about show biz? If that`s what you people want, then by all means, bring on the plastic pigs and the giant animals, and turn what used to be a sport into a freak show. I don`t remember Neil Ayer or Bill Thompson or Frank Weldon having fake life-sized animals at Ledyard or Burghley, or Badminton, but those were real horsemen, in a very different time and place. A time and place that I`m realizing really is a thing of the past.

mbj
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:58 AM
The horse shoe sculpture is a terrific sculpture. But for a horse the fact that it is a see-through life-size horse might be quite terrifying.

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:11 AM
Denny, all that IS true, but this isn't that sport anymore, is it. I, personally, would LOVE to see it go back to the sport I did as a child. Where the rider was fit as the horse, where if you show two horses in one event, you had to be a darn marathon runner. Where you had to be a true horseman, and money wasn't likely to buy you success.

I would love to see it go back to the xc weighs heavier than dressage, and stadium is about fitness, cause in them days, it really was.

The problems today is we have to make money, shows are constantly about sponsors, about bringing in spectators. It's not about the sport I grew up loving, it's about pro's living off the sport, babies fetching 30k, about the almighty dollar. Today you can go buy success. How often did you see grooms at the show? You had your friends, a person help you out, nowadays, I see rider after rider hop off and hand the reins to a groom and said rider mount their tenth horse of the day, school 15 minutes and do their dressage, rinse and repeat.

Course designers have to come up with tests that try and even it all out. Do I agree with this design, not really, but I also don't want stadium looking like a hunter round. Nor do I want my horse not listening. They really do have a job to do in there, and I expect them to do so.

Allison had a bad day, interestingly enough, I don't think she is
saying much about it. Thing is, you guys talk about there being a line....not really. While the statue was major different,
it is certainly NOT the oddest decoration I have seen. As for
dangerous....

Do you know how many rails I have seen pulled in stadium
because someone brought some yappy dog to stadium with
them, and proceed to ignore said dog, as it causes major havoc
in a ring? Or how many LOOSE dogs are out on xc? Unless the FEI is going to step in and stop all decorations, because who knows what will spook a horse right, then we need to be training our horses to do the job at hand.

As a side note, at chatt hills in may they had a bronze horse in the arena, and it was solid, and a few horses coming into that fence did a double take....so they are out there, and they do cause probes, but the horses who listened to thier riders got the job done.

If everyone had issues, I could understand this. If the riders were so upset, they had gotten together and asked it be moved, if Allison had a single rail....but seven? Sorry, perhaps he isn't cut out for this, or maybe he needs some ole fashion, "deal with this", sacking out.

Eventers are starting to sound less and less eventerish, and more and more.....eventer queens....YACK....

magnolia73
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:13 AM
I think frustrating is a different word than unfair or wrong. We have all lost a class or had a ride impacted by an outside factor that frightened a horse. I don't think XC is a place for strange sculpture, but stadium- the jumps are colorful and often designed to be spooky or looky.

And terrifying to one horse is nothing to another. My friends horse is horrified of round bales. Mine sees a round bale and says "snack". And show horses are exposed to all sorts of odd sights. A funny sculpture? I dunno, not a big deal. But yes, frustrating to be on the horse that melts down!

Part of a good eventer is bravery. So, while I think XC should be straightforward, natural.... a question in the safer venue of stadium that tests bravery does not seem unfair to me. This is not a bunch of short stirrupers crying about the pointsettia in the corner spooking ponies... It's a group of people who jump ginormous solid jumps at speed.

fordtraktor
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:14 AM
So no more logs cut into the shape of alligators/ducks/squirrels/God knows what else?

The T3DE spook doesn't sound like much of a tragedy, the horse had one rail out of the triple from the report earlier that day on EN? Can't have been that bad.

I get that some horses have particular fears. My childhood pony was terrified of dogs, had been mauled as a foal by idiots who would sic dogs on horses as a training technique. He got over it by being exposed to kind, unthreatening dogs ad nauseum, and praised, until he lost the fear. It took a lot of work since I didn't have a dog, but it DID work.

When you have an animal with a particular spook, you have a few options: address the issue, find it a new job without its trigger, or deal with the meltdown when the trigger is around.

Heartbreaking for Allison. I obviously don't ride at her level but I've had stuff happen in the jumpers and at some point you just have to laugh. Once I was in a Coliseum and someone accidentally rolled a trashcan down the stairs and it bounced over the rail and 10 feet down into the ring in front of us. Surprisingly the rest of the class did not go so well since the horse believed himself under artillery siege. THAT's true to the roots of eventing!

Hilary
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:49 AM
Being the rider of an extremely spooky horse (by the same sire as Arthur) my heart breaks for Alison - if he is anything like my mare, when the spook hits there is nothing you can do until they unwind their own brain.

I have been riding another horse this spring who is not spooky and I am constantly amazed at what she will walk past without flipping an ear. She's got her own quirks, but she doesn't give a damn about 'stuff'. I can't wait to ride her cross country.

While eventing my spooky horse for 7 years I hated overly decorated fences and things on course, but some horses really don't care - if it's got flags. let me at it. I feel for Alison, but she has chosen to keep riding Arthur, presumably because when he's on, he's unbeatable, but he does have this issue.

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:49 AM
Heartbreaking for Allison. I obviously don't ride at her level but I've had stuff happen in the jumpers and at some point you just have to laugh. Once I was in a Coliseum and someone accidentally rolled a trashcan down the stairs and it bounced over the rail and 10 feet down into the ring in front of us. Surprisingly the rest of the class did not go so well since the horse believed himself under artillery siege. THAT's true to the roots of eventing!

:lol: oh goodness, it is awesome to know it happens to others besides selves!!!

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:12 AM
I had a loose horse run THROUGH the arena during my dressage test once. :lol: Judge wrote "too bad" on my score sheet, which indeed it was.

Allison and Arthur seem to have the worst sort of luck, but them's the breaks. I do think decorations are beyond silly, sometimes, but what wigs out one horse will completely be ignored by so many others, so who's to know just what will or won't make the individual critter come unglued?

jn4jenny
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:13 AM
IMO, denny is right. The issue here is NOT the existence of spooky or trappy obstacles, which are an appropriate and expected part of eventing. The issue is spooky obstacles *that look like freaky versions of horses.* Asking a horse to ignore that is tantamount to asking it to ignore every natural instinct it has. That goes MUCH deeper than the general "spook at something that looks unusual" impulse.

The cavalry analogy is a broken one. First of all, a spooky horse would have been kicked out of the cavalry in training before it ever saw action. Compare this to eventing, where the horse could be notoriously spooky but as long as it gets over the fences without stopping MOST of the time, it will be allowed to progress up the levels. Second, cavalry horses were *specifically trained* not to spook at horse-like obstacles. In certain parts of the world, they used camels for that training--aka, a freaky looking version of a horse. And since when is THAT part of event training? Let's face it, this is no longer the sport of cavalry anymore than modern archery is still the sport of Robin Hood and Little John.

I am all for funny-looking obstacles of virtually all kinds on course, but IMHO using horse statues and horse-shaped obstacles is ill advised. Not criminal, not a total injustice, but a less-than-brilliant idea.

That said, Rebecca Farm is well known for putting on a wonderful show. If this was the biggest beef that people had with their event this year, then kudos to them for hosting a fabulous event. And nix the weird horse statue next year.

Xctrygirl
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:15 AM
Really Denny??? Plastic animals and such are a product of the "modern day" take on Eventing???

Hmm...


Got to 1:09 on this clip..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k42oW6RhEfY

That seems like a lot of things for my horse and I to look at. And true that damn 2 tone pig caused some issues that weekend...

But this was from 16 years ago!!! :eek:

So not exactly sure how we are attributing things like this as a new problem.

Eventers, hell all domesticated competition horses, are meant to be challenged and to show a mastery of the challenge when put in a competition arena.

If I got 3's on shoulder in's... then I didn't prepare both of us well enough.

If I had a refusal, chances are I didn't prepare or work with my horse enough to have him understand the question.

And if he spooked and lost his mind at some extraneous object in a ring, and couldn't regain it.....(See where I am going here?) Then clearly I haven't worked enough on his handling of "scary" situations and how to deal with it and re-focus back on me.

All in all.... riders prep and train horses. Not the reverse. Sometimes as others have said, there is a genetic predisposition to unfortunate parts of their personalities. But as I said earlier, and others have mentioned since, the Olympic arena will not be less spooky. So let's try to grasp that in this sport, at this time, we need horses that will be unfazed. We need riders that stay focused and can get the job done. Hell, let us not forget even DOC (Future Chef) lost his cool, and nearly his gold medal, in the Olympic stadium arena.

It's a pressure cooker of enormous preportions. So we saw a nice horse and rider have a bad weekend. Come on... look hard at the ones who didn't spook. Because it's those horses that need to be given credit and watched to see how they progress.

~Emily

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:20 AM
horse could be notoriously spooky but as long as it gets over the fences without stopping MOST of the time, it will be allowed to progress up the levels

Does this mean that a horse who does all of the same but WITHOUT the spook doesn't deserve the win "on the day"? It's not like Arthur didn't finish or was disqualified for his spookiness. It impacted his SCORE, not his soundness or his jumping ability.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:23 AM
Grand prixs have had Shamu as wings, among other ridiculous things for YEARS. It was a sculpture...it wasn't a jump, just decoration. Horses ARE flight creatures...a hazard we all agree to deal with when we bring them into our lives, and especially when we decide to make a livelihood off of them.

It is NO secret that Arthur is VERY spooky. It is frequently discussed in interviews and articles. I believe his spookiness has been his undoing before. It's the risk you take when you ride extremely talented yet extremely quirky horses.

I haven't read all the responses but I have to agree with this. Horses at this level have to deal with cameras, statutes, strange jumps. I don't think it is unfair to expect them to deal with a spooky statute (even in the shape of a horse, cow or big cat)....and most of them dealt with it just fine.

Now had the statute been on fire....then my opinion would be a bit different.

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:26 AM
I think for a horse to be at the top of the sport, they have to be completely rideable in all 3 phases. Arthur can't cut it when the pressure is on. A horse that is proven to be that spooky should never be a team horse because nobody can ever predict what is going to go on. Games bring huge fanfare and excitement. It's not rolex, it's not Montana, it's the Olympics. You need a horse with a lot of brain for that.

I own an arthur. He's exceptionally talented, but he's too much chicken and it keeps him from the top. If you can ride him through the chicken, he's phenominal, but if the chicken gets the better of him, well you just have to live with it. You can't always predict the horse you're going to have, and that's just not good enough.

A team horse needs all the pieces. Arthur doesn't seem to have them. Blaming a statue for 7 rails is absurd. Crap happens. Sometimes it's bad timing, but if it was someone else and not everyone's beloved Alison and Arthur, we'd not be hearing this. Alison does an exceptional job on a spooky horse. Arthur is beyond talented, but talent isn't the only part of a team horse. A horse that ignores the rider to that degree is not broke enough.

Hawley's Ginny is far less experienced and far younger, and she held it together for the win. It would be really sad to see that so heavily discounted because there was a statue in the ring that some horses can't handle, when the reality is, that Hawley and Ginny brought their A game. They rode it right. They have all the pieces.

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:29 AM
Well put, Jazzy. :yes:

secretariat
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:48 AM
It's eventing - get over it.

Unless it's unsafe (and spooky stuff doesn't count as unsafe unless other aspects contribute), it's fair game. Otherwise we're a bunch of hunters.

midnightride
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:56 AM
Personally dont see much difference then the "Loch Ness Monster" at Loch Moy recently.... did it get some horses- sure but most horses including my ultra spooky guy just did as they were told. Nothing dangerous it just tested the horse's trust of the rider. I think having things like (I do think an iron statue is a bit dangerous because it wont give if a horse hits it) that are WAY safer than making the jumps bigger and wider to keep testing horses. Just test their trust in the rider in a safe way.

AND spooky horses should get beat....if they cant get a grip.

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:58 AM
Food for thought: would we even be having this discussion if it had been, say, the horse in 15th after xc who had a meltdown because of the statue and pulled 7 rails? If Arthur had kept it together to win, and some other horse lost his marbles, would it have even been mentioned?

It SUCKS for Allison. It seems she can't catch a break with this horse, but I bet had he been as good as he's capable of, we wouldn't be having this discussion...even if the statue had undone someone else.

As for the T3DE horse...seriously? One rail? The rail may have been caused by the statue, but it could have just as easily been a missed distance, the rider dropping the horse, the horse dropping his hinds too soon jumping into the crowd...any number of reasons people have rails. This time, it was a silly spook at a decoration. Good lord.

Brandy76
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:09 AM
Was walking a lower level course the other day with a non event/horsey friend:


Her comment?

"Wow, your course looks like a miniature golf course! Do any of the jumps move? Like windmills?"

Says it all.

teddygirl
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:14 AM
I think that we have to understand that horses don't always see things exactly the way we do, and that a see-through horseshoe horse may not look like a real horse to some. I think that if the sculpture caused so many problems on xc, it didn't belong in stadium. That said, I also think that Arthur may be showing us a hole that could prevent him from being a team horse, which is pretty sad. If he spooked and had a rail or two, that's one thing, but 7 rails is a sign of him becoming completely unglued, and that's not a good thing for a team horse. Not sure of the answer, but I feel for Allison

wcporter
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:17 AM
Food for thought: would we even be having this discussion if it had been, say, the horse in 15th after xc who had a meltdown because of the statue and pulled 7 rails? If Arthur had kept it together to win, and some other horse lost his marbles, would it have even been mentioned?

THIS. I was thinking the EXACT same thing...yellow britches just beat me to it :)

And I think its an important question to consider.

NCRider
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:18 AM
I think we'd be having this discussion no matter who the two division leaders who lost because of the presence of the statue and their horse's inability to deal with it. It's news because they were in the lead. It sucks just as much for the horse lower down who dropped from 8-15 or whatever because of the statue but it's news because it dropped the leaders.
And for the person who keeps implying that somehow it's Allison's fault that Arthur is not completely "broke", and that Hawley was more deserving of the win because she was able to completely "break" her herse. Come on. What are we testing here? Suitability for being a police horse? Or eventing? I agree that there's a reasonable range of distractions that a horse aught to be able to deal with to be a successful eventer, but I agree with Denny that some things go too far. And I think this statue went too far.

There's a spectrum of spookiness and some horses are never going to be completely bomb proof no matter how much Natural horsemanship flag waving you do with them. I think I read somewhere where Allison even did tons of natural horsemanship stuff with a NH trainer to try to get Arthur over it.

It must have been such a high to come off of x-c knowing that she was able to keep him together after he spooked at the statue and it must have been such a disappointment to see it on the the stadium course knowing that they weren't going to be able to pass it once and leave it behind.
Just because I feel bad for them, that I feel that a weird life-sized horse mirage-like statue shouldn't determine the outcome of major US events (and I feel just as bad for the T3D lady) doesn't make me a hunter princess.

Lori B
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:34 AM
When an obstacle on course rides so badly that several riders fall, or there is an inexplicably large number of stops, those obstacles are from time to time changed or omitted from a course, sometimes even in the middle of an HT that's in progress. Right?

It seems to me that the statue doesn't accomplish anything valuable to anyone, except for pleasing whoever created it and decorating the area. There is nothing integral to the activity of eventing accomplished by that specific giant pile of repurposed horse shoes. Is there? So why is so much hand-wringing merited by the reasonable suggestion that it probably should have been left either away from competition areas, or kept away from the show jumping ring.

I think getting around a decorated jumper course, a big-a$$ XC, and doing dressage with noisy stands all around is asking plenty of your horse, and while Arthur is spooky, he was obviously having a good go this past weekend. I don't think it's whiny at all to say that this statue was just more than he could handle, and that assessment doesn't cast any aspersions on his owner, trainer, handling, or riding.

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:43 AM
I think we'd be having this discussion no matter who the two division leaders who lost because of the presence of the statue and their horse's inability to deal with it. It's news because they were in the lead. It sucks just as much for the horse lower down who dropped from 8-15 or whatever because of the statue but it's news because it dropped the leaders.
And for the person who keeps implying that somehow it's Allison's fault that Arthur is not completely "broke", and that Hawley was more deserving of the win because she was able to completely "break" her herse. Come on. What are we testing here? Suitability for being a police horse? Or eventing? I agree that there's a reasonable range of distractions that a horse aught to be able to deal with to be a successful eventer, but I agree with Denny that some things go too far. And I think this statue went too far. There's a spectrum of spookiness and some horses are never going to be completely bomb proof no matter how much Natural horsemanship flag waving you do with them. I think I read somewhere where Allison even did tons of natural horsemanship stuff with a NH trainer to try to get Arthur over it.

It must have been such a high to come off of x-c knowing that she was able to keep him together after he spooked at the statue and it must have been such a disappointment to see it on the the stadium course knowing that they weren't going to be able to pass it once and leave it behind.
Just because I feel bad for them, that I feel that a weird life-sized horse mirage-like statue shouldn't determine the outcome of major US events (and I feel just as bad for the T3D lady) doesn't make me a hunter princess.

If you were referring to my post, please go and re-read it. You have it completely wrong. I never said that it's Allison's fault because Arthur isn't broke enough.

Arthur doesn't have the pieces. He failed. He broke down at a spooky object. He is a spooky horse. He's missing an integral part of what it takes to be a team horse. He's not trustworthy. It seems to me that there are tonnes of threads on this board about Arthur and why he wasn't selected and how this went wrong and this went wrong and woe is them, he should be on the team. Clearly, he isn't there. The selectors obviously know something about it. This type of statue is something that could very easily be seen at a team competition. A horse needs to be able to handle ALL distractions and get the job done. He didn't. He's missing that part of him.

Ginny got it done. Hell yes Hawley deserved that win. She put ALL THREE phases together. Ginny concentrated and deserved that win. I will say she was more deserving of the win than Arthur and Allison, because they put all the pieces together that weekend. That is what it takes to win.

A team horse needs it all. I said it before and I'll say it again. Arthur and Allison are a fantastic team. She does a great job on a terrifically talented but very spooky animal. But it's not good enough for the team. There needs to be a balance of Lion and Chicken to be a team horse. Too much chicken is too unpredictable.

grayarabpony
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:46 AM
I can't believe they hauled that dumb thing into the jumping arena. There are better ways to create alternate routes.

fooler
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:54 AM
Short response:

Most folks take their horses to events as quickly as possible and only to events. Many do not go to other types of shows or fox hunting or anything else. Due to the short format many competitors spend more time on dressage and sj instead of the hours outside conditioning and training for xc.

Horses should be introduced to as much as possible all through their lives so they can better handle the weird stuff, like the RF statue. You never know what you will run into when you attend any competition. Such as a friend of mine who traveled from GA to TN and was stabled at a zoo. Or at an event where the manure wagons were stationed in between the rows of temp stabling. When the tractor came in to unload the wagons most of the horses around us when nuts. However our horses hung their heads out to see if the tractor is coming to clean stalls or to drop off hay.:D

I am sorry for Allison and the T3D rider, but am with the suck it up cupcake crowd.

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:00 PM
I think we'd be having this discussion no matter who the two division leaders who lost because of the presence of the statue and their horse's inability to deal with it. It's news because they were in the lead. It sucks just as much for the horse lower down who dropped from 8-15 or whatever because of the statue but it's news because it dropped the leaders.
And for the person who keeps implying that somehow it's Allison's fault that Arthur is not completely "broke", and that Hawley was more deserving of the win because she was able to completely "break" her herse. Come on. What are we testing here? Suitability for being a police horse? Or eventing? I agree that there's a reasonable range of distractions that a horse aught to be able to deal with to be a successful eventer, but I agree with Denny that some things go too far. And I think this statue went too far.

There's a spectrum of spookiness and some horses are never going to be completely bomb proof no matter how much Natural horsemanship flag waving you do with them. I think I read somewhere where Allison even did tons of natural horsemanship stuff with a NH trainer to try to get Arthur over it.

It must have been such a high to come off of x-c knowing that she was able to keep him together after he spooked at the statue and it must have been such a disappointment to see it on the the stadium course knowing that they weren't going to be able to pass it once and leave it behind.
Just because I feel bad for them, that I feel that a weird life-sized horse mirage-like statue shouldn't determine the outcome of major US events (and I feel just as bad for the T3D lady) doesn't make me a hunter princess.
To be clear, my point wasn't that it wouldn't have been news if someone else in the lead had had an issue, but if another horse way down the placings had had an issue it wouldn't have been news.

I also want to be clear that I am not calling Allison or anyone related to her and Arthur whiny. As of yet, I don't think she's said anything, and I bet, while disappointed, she's probably also realistic. I am AMAZED that people unrelated are so up in arms! IT. SUCKS. But it is SILLY to strike up a palace revolt over a FREAKING STATUE!! No one was hurt (other than some people's prides and egos maybe). No stops (as far as I am aware) were caused. It seems that the majority of the horses were unbothered or got over it quickly. This isn't a safety thing. It is just a sucky turn of events for a rider that many people like (including me). No more. No less.

And I will never understand why it is so wrong for events to want to look good, bring in spectators, and bag a few sponsors?? This is not a money making venture...sponsors and revenue are good for all of us, not just pros.

Seriously, people. If you don't want to deal with spooky stuff, stick to dressage...although the big shows will have flowers at the letters and other scary decorations...better off sticking to local schooling dressage. Oy vey!!:rolleyes:

Ps- can some one please fill me in on what" issues" the damn thing caused on xc? As far as I know, there was very little trouble on xc day.

GotSpots
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:03 PM
To be clear, the majority of horses in the CIC*** did not have an issue with the SJ or the statue. In fact, 9 of the top 10 horses had either a clean round or just one rail: clean rounds (Ali Slusher, Jolie, Sara, and Jessica) or 1 rail (Hawley, Buck, Barbara Crabo, Carl, Joe Meyer). Most of these horses were in the top 10 before show-jumping - ie, with the exception of Allison, there weren't big moves of 5 plus placings based on show jumping. Further, 11 out of the 16 horses that finished the three star had one rail or less. That seems to me to be a pretty good show jumping course, not one riddled with problems or dramatically unfair.

I'm sure Allison is incredibly disappointed and probably really frustrated too. Anyone would be - that's human nature, and it has got to be so devastating to have it happen at a big event like this. But I'm not sure the results show that this was an issue for all the horses/riders vs. an issue for her horse.

archieflies
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:04 PM
No more comment on right or wrong, just about the idea of horses being scared of "horse-shaped objects." Many have given examples of other horse statues at other events that have caused issues...... but seriously, when a horse looks at this particular statue, do you think their minjd automatically jumps to "horse?" The thing is ugly and hardly looks realistic to humans, who know what it's supposed to be. I highly doubt that a horse's tiny brain is going to quickly go, "Oh, there's a horse in the ring," and consequently be scared any more than they're going to say, "Horse shoes? Oh no, must run from the farrier!!" Those who spooked were more than likely from the complete confusion of not knowing that the heck is was supposed to be, similar to the way my horses sometimes respond to overturned water troughs or large rolls of tangled wire. I knwo that doesn't make a difference in what happened in this case, but for whoever suggested that the line needed to be drawn at decorations that resembled horses... what resembles a horse to YOUR eye is likely very different from what resembles a horse to an animal with a tiny brain and low IQ. So what's going to be the determining factor? Do we elect an equine representative and an animal communicator to check out decorations? No, I don't think the "line" is that simple to draw.

denny
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:08 PM
Don`t start blaming Alison for something I said, she has nothing to do with it.

I said it was stupid to take a statue that had horses spooking on cross country, and then drag that same statue into the confines of a show jumping arena. Real riders would not have done that. Real riders know how horses tick. It had to be some official who did.

And I stand by what I said, that it was a really bad decision. And stupid. And a clear indication of the direction eventing is going, from sport to crowd pleasing circus. And a clear indication that many of you think that`s just fine.

Lori B
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:12 PM
I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me what important facet of eventing was related to having that statue in the ring. All I hear is crickets.

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:18 PM
Really, Denny? You think because one known highly spooky horse flipped his lid, that the whole sport is going to hell in a handbasket?? According to what GS is saying, it was, for all intents and purposes, a non issue for most of the horses.

And sports in general are supposed to be crowd pleasing!! Sport IS entertainment. If we still want venues, organizers have to do something to draw in some cash. Hence, "Disneyland."

monstrpony
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:20 PM
I agree with Denny, but eventing has been headed in that direction for a long time. What about all of those Jurassic Park jumps on XC? There've been squirrels at Rolex for years, and I'm not talking about the people or the wildlife. What about the wedge of cheese with the mice sitting on it in FL last year? Which war is that going to occur in?

OTOH, remember what Wofford said in his Rolex predictions. Allison's been trying to have that one perfect weekend to convince the selectors for ages now, and *something* keeps happening. As much as I'm sure it breaks her heart, just as it does those of all of their fans, there's something in it that the selectors need to know. He's an immensely talented animal and Allison seems to be a really great gal, but ...

Reality sucks.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:20 PM
Food for thought: would we even be having this discussion if it had been, say, the horse in 15th after xc who had a meltdown because of the statue and pulled 7 rails? If Arthur had kept it together to win, and some other horse lost his marbles, would it have even been mentioned?

The statue was first mentioned in an earlier post on EN -- Samantha Clark wrote about it during the T3DE coverage.

John's post was from the POV of someone who'd watched a lot of rounds and seen the Horseshoe Horse be more of a factor than it should have been.

Perhaps someone who was there could share their views?

snoopy
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:21 PM
If you have spent many years riding and training horses on an all day, every day basis, you will have discovered that a certain percentage of horses get spooked by inanimate things that resemble animals. Not all, but many. They will walk by a roaring brush hog or bulldozer, then spin at a log in the woods that looks like it could be a crouching beast. We know this, right?

So what is eventing meant to test? If it`s meant to test spookiness at fake animals, then we should have fake animals at all levels, at most events, so horses get desensitized. But we know this isn`t the case. And we also know that if you asked real riders and trainers whether fake animals spook some horses, they would say that they do.

So---Is this the wave of the future for eventing, less about horsemanship, and more about show biz? If that`s what you people want, then by all means, bring on the plastic pigs and the giant animals, and turn what used to be a sport into a freak show. I don`t remember Neil Ayer or Bill Thompson or Frank Weldon having fake life-sized animals at Ledyard or Burghley, or Badminton, but those were real horsemen, in a very different time and place. A time and place that I`m realizing really is a thing of the past.


Thank you, Sir.

Xctrygirl
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:37 PM
And a clear indication that many of you think that`s just fine.

Hmmmm lets see... "Us" Modern eventers have let down Mr. Emerson once again.


Lately 'we' didn't get an "appropriate" 4* quality horse for Kim S. (Shame on us... even though you BREED 4* horses.... but whatever)

Before we didn't see the short format as the demise of our true sport. (But as a former member of the inner circle you came here and complained to us "smurfs" but are not largely on record as doing things to fix this change, like maybe hosting a T3Day)

And now it's best to again come to this well of riders and bemoan the course designer and management at the event for a decision that was made 1000's of miles away from the majority of this readership.


Hmmmmm.

I know this will seem like an odd and "old fashioned" idea, but maybe just maybe you should send an email or a letter to the folks who actually brought the statue into the ring, if it upsets you so. And then maybe you'd get an answer or reason why it happened, so you'd know the thought process behind it.

Right now what it seems like is that you come to us to stir the pot and we all get down each other's throats because a "role model" of our sport chose to incite the situation amongst the base of the sport.

And we wonder why the sport has become soooo divided.

I wonder how many folks here really respect someone who ignites controversy but adds little in terms of his own time and effort to working to try to navigate the sport back to it's (better?) roots?

Oh and btw.... did you happen to submit your name into the pot of potential Chef's? Were you a "non disclosed" candidate?

Some have wondered...... I do too. But hey.... it's all about what you've done lately?

So step up and show us where you have done something....besides complaining to us.

~Emily

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:40 PM
So something that only looks VERY vaguely horse-shaped in the abstract is not OK because A COUPLE of horses spooked at it.

And yet legitimate, actual living canine "beasts" are allowed to stand at ringside, so long as they are attached to a leash? And (to be bluntly honest) wander the stables and courses freely because nobody enforces the leash laws?

Hypocrisy.

Kryswyn
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:41 PM
Someone brought up Shamu as wings in Grand Prix jumping. I think it's different if the unusual objects are wings. The horse shoe horse was just.standing.there. Any reasonable horse would've looked at it suspiciously and I can't fault Arthur for spooking.

As to Denny's well thought out response, yes sir, you've got it in one in the last paragraph. Eventing, like dog agility, has become impossible to judge just on horses and horsemanship alone without putting in mind trap jumps for the riders, AND the horses because the horses have gotten better and the majority of the riders on the lower rungs on the eventing ladder...um not so much.

In Dog Agilility every obstacle or contact piece began as something a dog could expect to see in real life, a raised log or swinging bridge. Now it's so structured that those real obstacles are PROHIBITED. Weave poles were added because they are absolutely UNNATURAL and they make or break a dog's round. There would be hundreds of ties in time and faults without weave poles.

Like eventing which used to be about you and your horse competing against yourselves, agility used to be about bonding with your dog. Now both are about winning and beating others. Denny is right about a time and place that is thing of the past, for both sports.

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:44 PM
Any reasonable horse would've looked at it suspiciously and I can't fault Arthur for spooking.


Nobody can or is faulting Arthur for spooking. He did, however, incur faults for knocking down fences. Just like any other horse who doesn't leave them up. It's ENTIRELY POSSIBLE for a horse to lose its mind spooking and get it back together and jump clean. Just didn't happen this one time, and poor Allison and Arthur are perpetually under the microscope because there's a perception that they are just missing One Piece. I really feel for her, because they just can't seem to prove everyone wrong. But the fact remains--he didn't jump clean when he needed to.


Denny is right about a time and place that is thing of the past, for both sports

Nostalgia is nice and history should never be forgotten, but not all progress is bad. :) Without it, we'd still be busy avoiding getting eaten instead of bitching about the finer points of tacky course decorations. :D

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:47 PM
Maybe grassroots eventing is about competing against yourself. It should be.

But when you are at an international competition and trying to be a part of a team going to a world championship, then it's different. It's not about competing against yourself.

It takes a certain horse to be a team horse. A team situation is different than a regular competition. These horses need to be prepared and able to handle anything that comes their way. Distractions are a part of the game at that level and on the international stage. This isn't new to Arthur or Allison. It's not new to anyone that was riding at that level. It's not new to eventing.

Platinum Equestrian
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:49 PM
Made of horseshoes ?! Damn thing must be heavy too. I hate the 'jumbo-trons' by the dressage arenas also. Better title for thread might be this

REBECCA FARM THUMBS DOWN

Hit 'em where it hurts if you want to get the attention on the issue.


It must be difficult living with such a hateful attitude over such minor things that have no affect toward you...

The only thing negative is you. Grow up.



Really? REALLY?? :mad: :no:

This is one of the premiere events in the country.
The event went off smoothly. No one went home in an ambulance, horse or rider.
This is the farm that is offering a sponsorship for a couple of riders to go to Europe right? This farms namesake recently passed away!
Talk about being ridiculous and over dramatic!

But I don't think telling people NOT to go (where else would it hurt the most besides the wallet?) to such an event is nice at all! Here we are moaning about events and land going bye bye forever and one bad decision in decorating is a call to boycott an event like Rebecca Farm!

For shame!

As for jumbotrons, again it comes with the territory. You want spectators and the revenue they bring, they want to see because not everyone has front row seats a E. If the riders feel it is an issue then they need to go as a group to the officials and ask for a change. If only one or 2 horses spook and the rest get the job done, well hell we can all relate to such a story.

Personally, it would be a dream come true to have a run at Rebecca Farm or Fitch Corner or any other top event. Read my location and you can see I am in eventing wasteland.

Very well said! Let's focus on the truly important things... ie, how the event was run, safety, etc... and this is coming from a HUGE fan of Allison and Arthur. I'm very sorry to hear they had a rough go because of the horse statue, but I know Allison has her head held high and is focused on the next event... it comes with the territory...

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:54 PM
And I stand by what I said, that it was a really bad decision. And stupid. And a clear indication of the direction eventing is going, from sport to crowd pleasing circus. And a clear indication that many of you think that`s just fine.


You really think this is new? I've been to many events in the past 20 years with spooky things on xc that were also in stadium. One LL event had cut outs of hounds, cows, and foxes. They would be out on xc and always a few horses would spook--some bad enough to dump their riders....and there was often one or two decorating stadium.

To me it is a statue. If my horse spooked at it in xc and I saw in the stadium ring. I'd be really making sure he was on my aids (and maybe a little tired). I'd make sure to ride by it when I went in the ring...and if I couldn't get him on the aids...well, I'd not think twice about the decision to put it in the ring but would be thinking about what I needed to do with my horse to get him over his spook and back focused on his job. Allison has worked very hard on her horse....she knows this is his issue.

I had a horse who was very spooky at flags. Farm I was at had one in the ring and he would have a melt down. I spent weeks getting him to ride by the fluttering flag ...stepping over/on the fluttering flag shadow etc. (and nearly came off mulitple times during his melt downs) Why...because I knew that some day, we would be at a show or event that had a flag near the ring and he needed to get over it--and trust me that I wasn't asking him to do something terrible or that would hurt him. And that was the exact reason the farm owner had put the flag near the ring....to school horses to deal with those sorts of issues...for some it was a non issue and other horses you would have thought it was going to kill them.


To me...this was a statue. It wasn't an unfair decoration as proven by the majority of horses who didn't have an issue with it. Am I surprised that a limited few spooked at it?...nope. But those are horses who spook at a lot of things. Again...if it had been on FIRE or had moving parts swinging in the wind....I might think differently. But otherwise, I would expect most horses to be able to be ridden past it without it being significantly distracting.

I ride past a statue of a horse jumping set out along a drive way of a neighboring farm...some horses spook at it and others do not. The ones that do spook...get ridden by it more often. The same issue if they spook are real horses (I've had a few that would loose their marbles when other horses were jumping....we did a lot of work next to fences being jumped....)


Eventing is a test of a partnership. My horse may be spooking at something...but the test is that they will jump off that bank or run past that object that scares them because I asked....and they will focus on their job of jumping over the fence even with distractions because of the partnership that we have developed.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:56 PM
So something that only looks VERY vaguely horse-shaped in the abstract is not OK because A COUPLE of horses spooked at it.

And yet legitimate, actual living canine "beasts" are allowed to stand at ringside, so long as they are attached to a leash?

Hypocrisy.

Huh?

Living dogs respond like living dogs. They're a known quantity to most horses.

I'm starting to wonder if there's a big divide here in terms of basic training experience. What denny is saying, IME, is a truth about horses:


If you have spent many years riding and training horses on an all day, every day basis, you will have discovered that a certain percentage of horses get spooked by inanimate things that resemble animals. Not all, but many. They will walk by a roaring brush hog or bulldozer, then spin at a log in the woods that looks like it could be a crouching beast. We know this, right?

And we also know that if you asked real riders and trainers whether fake animals spook some horses, they would say that they do.

You can go to desensitizing clinics and mounted police training and take your horses hunting. And if you do, you will learn that what denny is saying is 100% true.

In a sport like eventing, where a horse must learn to look out for himself on XC, you have to recognize the range of responses a horse can have and then find a balance where you're not throwing up too many surprises. Every horse has a point where you've asked too much or where they can't figure it out. If that point is something within the sport, like water or ditches, then you find another job for them.

But we need to temper our insatiable human desire for cutesiness with recognizing what our sport is supposed to test. The idea that you need to go home and strap inflatable Tweeties and Eeyores and Spongebobs to your fences is as ridiculous as it sounds. Those have a place, and it's not in the show ring.

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:07 PM
And inanimate objects are a known quantity to most horses, too, even if they're horse shaped. Absolutely SOME horses take offense to horse-shaped things, but not a majority IME. Some horses take offense to flowers, or flags, or signs, or umbrellas, or shadows, or pinwheels. But a majority of them don't.

You can't legislate against every possible thing a horse might spook at. But you can reward one that does NOT spook. Or they reward themselves, by rising to the occasion and getting a better score than the one who does. Another day, another situation, the outcome will surely be different.

In the end, it is a horse show. :)

hey101
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:09 PM
It SUCKS for Allison. It seems she can't catch a break with this horse, but I bet had he been as good as he's capable of, we wouldn't be having this discussion...even if the statue had undone someone else.



See, that's the thing. He WAS as good as he's capable of. It IS always SOMETHING with him. He just can't put it all together on three consecutive days.

I was tracking the results this weekend on-line, and after D, I thought "of course, Arthur's in first. But will he hold it together for XC?". Then I saw he was in 1st after XC and I thought "fabulous, she's finally going to get a big win with him." And then the horse loses his marbles on SJ.

I've seen him go in person; he's a magnificent animal. But if he gets sent to London, I think he will break a lot of hearts and then the fingers will start pointing and saying "see, I told you so".

westcoasteventer
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:20 PM
I love Arthur. I mean, I LOVE him. I root for him (and Alison) every time. But let's be honest, he spooks at the crowds watching XC pretty reliably, so sadly I'm not surprised the statue got him. So all of this uproar because Arthur came unglued by a statue, but no other horse in his division appeared to have an issue, is specious at best. Especially when this is backed up by GotSpots, one of Alison's long-time clients and owners.

Having a spooky horse is a double-edged sword. I've long since crossed over to the h/j world, where we WANT a horse that has a bit of a peek or spook, because that is what makes them careful, back themselves up a little off the fence so they jump up and around, and don't want to touch the rails. But too much of that peek/spook and you get either a stopper, or what Alison apparently had yesterday- distracted and unglued.

Lisa Preston
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:31 PM
"...there with 8 or 10 horses, mostly green or with kids (ages 10-14) and older ammie riders doing Novice-Prelim. Not one of them had an issue with the statue,"

--I'm impressed.

Dawnd
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:31 PM
Bear with me as this is coming from memory and I may have some facts misconstrued...

I remember reading about an issue in the UK where a very prominent course designer (I believe she is designing the 2012 games, though could be wrong) used human mannikins in a XC fence which resulted in death. The coroner's inquest was to advise that statues too closely associated with real life items should not be used in fence design.

I believe the designer had to promise to never use human looking life forms again in her designs.

If someone were to compile all of the data, even anecdotal, it points to "things that look like real living things" should not be used within the confines of course design or decoration.

Watermark Farm
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:33 PM
Horses are creatures of flight. The spooky horse didn`t get killed by the lion at the water hole, that`s why HIS genes got passed down the line.


Yeah, but, horse sports are already so far away from what is 'natural.' This is nothing new. Event horses are asked to suspend instinct to a degree. We make these creatures of flight gallop over a 'cliff,' into said water hole and out over a giant duck, compete them in stadiums full of jumbotrons, circusey jumps and enough ferns to landscape a forest, put them on planes & in trailers, inject their failing joints. Nothing natural about any of it.

Sandman
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:42 PM
I see neither a saftey issue in this (though that is everyone's favorite card to play, isn't it?) nor a legitimate reason not to put spooky decoration in the ring.
If a horse was super-spooky or unhinged by this decoration, then it's the rider's responsibility to determine whether s/he still has enough control to go ahead and attempt a show-jumping round. If the rider makes the wrong call, it's their fault, not a jump safety issue. (It wasn't even a jump!)

As others have said, the vast majority of horses jumped without problem. For those horses, like Arthur, who might potentially be headed for the next Olympics, they'd better be ready to deal with some freaky looking stuff. Beijing had enormous dragon-shaped topiaries in the arena!
Arthur stopped out at Burghley a few years ago at a Weldon's Wall with a waterfall flowing down over it. Probably not a "natural" fence, but what is? And, more importantly, what's to stop the course decorators and designers in London from putting more animal-shaped topiaries or flowing-water fences on course? Might as well learn now which horses will deal with over-decorated arenas and which won't, because when it comes right down to it, whining that we didn't win a medal because one of our American horses got spooked by a decoration that the rest cantered right by won't matter.

Regarding the OP's statement that some of the things we ask horses to jump these days -- or just deal with these days -- go against what we know as horsemen about them. Agreed, BUT ... in the history of our relationship with horses, we've done LOTS of things that go against their instincts, like demand the submit to us sitting atop their backs, demand they allow us to pull their hair out or dock their tails, demand that they race forward into arrows and bullets in battle... the list really goes on and on, and it makes asking them to approach an inanimate object seem like the least of insults.

(BTW:

I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me what important facet of eventing was related to having that statue in the ring. All I hear is crickets.
Would having them jump while heavy artillery is set off in the background suited you better? That would relate much more closely to an important facet of eventing.)

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:45 PM
"...there with 8 or 10 horses, mostly green or with kids (ages 10-14) and older ammie riders doing Novice-Prelim. Not one of them had an issue with the statue,"


There were multiple stadium arenas running. Are you sure those classes were in same arena as the statue?

gottagrey
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:45 PM
I can recall plenty of competitions where it seemed like there was "that jump" that caused all sorts of issues.. Most often there was nothing special or scary about that jump... Just that maybe it got one rider off guard so it pysched the next few riders out..It becomes almost a self-fulfilling proficy - you watch or hear about people have problems at a particular jump & it's like people just stop riding to it because they figure the horse is going to quit, run out or whatever - and they do because we stop riding them... and so it goes.

In looking at the photo I could see where visually it might give a horse the whillies. And agree w/ the theory that horses should be tasked by the job at hand not necessarily by course decor..

Dawnd
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:48 PM
Here's the link to the Horse & Hound article regarding the mannequins.

Coroner found that BE had control over what was used in fence design.

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/competitionnews/391/297548.html

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:50 PM
nor a legitimate reason not to put spooky decoration in the ring.


Is there a "legitimate reason" to put spooky decorations in the ring?

I think the people who ask the question "What are we testing?" hit the nail on the head.

If we now want winners to be determined by decor, perhaps it would be more expedient to put spooky things at the trot up. Horses would need to show soundness and ability to ignore random, weird art prior to being accepted by the ground jury.

EventingJ
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:50 PM
IMHO, when my horse is going cross country (or jumping in a ring, or performing a dressage test) I don't want her thinking about the butterflies on the flowers, the people sitting in the sidelines, or some statue that we don't have to jump. Her focus needs to be on her job, and if shes looking for an excuse to fall apart and spook, then maybe shes just not that into it and may need a new job.

Now, I do have problems with fences with weird crap on them. I don't appreciate the cutesy fences, where a horse should question the sanity of jumping a lifelike bird, or some such nonsense.

I am very thankful I have great events in my area with wonderful people working behind the scenes.

westcoasteventer
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:52 PM
There were multiple stadium arenas running. Are you sure those classes were in same arena as the statue? I assumed they were because the Training 3-day had it in their ring, but after looking at the schedule, appears not. However, I'd still be it was somewhere central for all divisions XC.

DLee
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:53 PM
In a way it's one of the 'fairest' unfortunate incidences as it was absolutely the same for everyone. It wasn't like the car alarm that went off once during my stadium round, parked right next to the arena, or any one of the hundreds of freak things that have happened to a competitor.

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:56 PM
"things that look like real living things" should not be used within the confines of course design or decoration.

Have you looked at this sculpture? It no more resembles a living thing than my Volkswagen Beetle resembles an insect. :)


Is there a "legitimate reason" to put spooky decorations in the ring?


Perhaps not, but is there a LEGITIMATE reason NOT to, when the vast majority of horses, in fact, did not find this thing spooky? How does one define "a spooky decoration", after all? One that our own horse spooks at? ;)

TB or not TB?
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:56 PM
First, the caveats: I LOVE Allison and Arthur. One of my favorite pairs to watch. I was so excited that they came to RF so I could see them live.

I thought the statue was silly to have there. Not needed, but also not a huge obstruction. That ring was actually "under-decorated" compared to MOST of the GP and international competition rings. Seriously - the statue and the jumps were it, nothing else wiggy. Even my local grand prix competition 20 years ago (very small & regional) had more and scarier decor than RF yesterday.

I watched all of the 2* divisions and up. Many horses gave it a look, but tactful riders simply took a short tour near the statue and then went to work. Maybe 6(?) horses went as far as to give it a snort and a few sideways steps. Again, short tour and they went to work. I saw maybe 3-4 horses that took a rail from issues with the statue - and some of it was a poor choice by the riders (given the statue's placement) for their line.

Arthur came half a dozen strides into the arena, reared, and had an absolute melt down. Hissy fit that lasted a couple minutes as the announcer read his bio. Allison forced the issue with the statue a bit by making him approach, perhaps? Hard to say what any of us would do. Again, rearing/nappy behavior - he never got within 6 strides of the thing. Finally the bell rang and she had to start, but she never had his attention. She turned and had to go back past the statue to start, and instead of taking a tour around the outside to avoid statue issues and maybe get his attention back on her, she tried to confront it again. I will give her every credit and say that maybe he is normally able to pull himself together with that tactic and if he gets a good look, can continue. However, it just backfired in this situation and he simply didn't go to work, ever.

So, so disappointing. I nearly wept for her. Again, one of my favorite pairs, but I didn't see "OMG SO MEAN OF THEM TO PUT THE STATUE THERE!!!" I saw a nappy horse refusing to do his job. No other horse had *that* kind of problem with it. I don't know that the statue was the issue as much as the excuse. And as a person who seems to find exclusively spooky horses, I know exactly what that looks and feels like. :no:

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:57 PM
In a way it's one of the 'fairest' unfortunate incidences as it was absolutely the same for everyone. It wasn't like the car alarm that went off once during my stadium round, parked right next to the arena, or any one of the hundreds of freak things that have happened to a competitor.

Yes, but the this was intentional. The "freak" things you mention are accidental incidents.

Obviously, it was apparent that some horses were spooked by the statue on XC (which is a much bigger area). Who decided that it was a good idea to move it into the confined area of stadium jumping, just to see what would happen?

I am curious as to the rationale and exactly who made the final decision.

Lori B
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:00 PM
I see ...
(BTW:

Would having them jump while heavy artillery is set off in the background suited you better? That would relate much more closely to an important facet of eventing.)

Hyperbole isn't an answer to the direct and clearly posed question: what important part of testing any horse's skill at eventing as a discipline was served or advanced by the horse statue?

Please try again.

I also don't get why asking the question of whether there was any good reason to have the statue in the ring is being answered as if it were a referendum on whether one considers this particular rider/horse pair 'deserving' of greater success than they have had heretofore. Again, NOT THE QUESTION being asked. Their bad experience raised the question about the statue to greater visibility, but I don't think that Denny was asking y'all if Arthur and Allison should be able to catch a break. He asked, why have this danged thing in the ring at all? And no one is answering that question.

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:01 PM
Arthur came half a dozen strides into the arena, reared, and had an absolute melt down. Hissy fit that lasted a couple minutes as the announcer read his bio.

Perhaps the meltdown was not about the statue after all, then? Kind of like a Sir Donovan moment, maybe? Any other eyewitnesses? Was the statue close to where he wigged out?

nextyear
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:02 PM
I agree.
We are just putting our horses and ourselves at great risk of injury or worse, in a sport that is already dangerous enough.
Funny thing, when Jen was competing at the USPC Champs in 2004, everytime she walked Imp through the Kentucky Horse Park, Imp wanted to attack every horse statute! I can only imagine what goes through there minds. When I school at Longwood Farms in Ocala, I make sure to give wide berth to the life size horse that is jumping into one of the water complexes...I am not sure I want to be on my 17.1 draftx if he decides to spook at that one!

The horse at Longwood is not really life size (maybe pony) and since you don't ride into that pond I don't really see it as a danger...now the moose in the show jump area has given some of my horses a reason to bolt!! Betsy does a fantastic job keeping things safe and updated at her farm!
To Denny: I don't think the "decorations" are anything new or the wave of the future, how about the cows and other farm animal cutouts that King Oak farm in Ma. used in SJ for so many years?? I know I was not the only one having a hard time getting to the first fence with those d*** things!!

LisaB
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:13 PM
I commend Allison every time I see her out there on such a magnificent job she's done with him. I was walking Surefire training and they were out. I think it might have been his first or second tr. outing. The x-c course started in a huge open field and Arthur took such a flying spook from one end of the field to other. It was so athletic and so out of the blue that those of us on course just were agog. Allison handled it so incredibly well, it made me keep an eye on her as a pro from that moment on. And when they finished the course, the horse was forward and relaxed and confident.
Now, this is his 'thing'. We all know it. And it's a gamble when you're out there whether a horse like this is going to see dead people or not.
Having a big metal object in tight quarters isn't very safe, imho. I do agree that it would be better suited to having a sculpture like that elsewhere.

LookmaNohands
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:18 PM
First, the caveats: I LOVE Allison and Arthur. One of my favorite pairs to watch. I was so excited that they came to RF so I could see them live.

I thought the statue was silly to have there. Not needed, but also not a huge obstruction. That ring was actually "under-decorated" compared to MOST of the GP and international competition rings. Seriously - the statue and the jumps were it, nothing else wiggy. Even my local grand prix competition 20 years ago (very small & regional) had more and scarier decor than RF yesterday.

I watched all of the 2* divisions and up. Many horses gave it a look, but tactful riders simply took a short tour near the statue and then went to work. Maybe 6(?) horses went as far as to give it a snort and a few sideways steps. Again, short tour and they went to work. I saw maybe 3-4 horses that took a rail from issues with the statue - and some of it was a poor choice by the riders (given the statue's placement) for their line.

Arthur came half a dozen strides into the arena, reared, and had an absolute melt down. Hissy fit that lasted a couple minutes as the announcer read his bio. Allison forced the issue with the statue a bit by making him approach, perhaps? Hard to say what any of us would do. Again, rearing/nappy behavior - he never got within 6 strides of the thing. Finally the bell rang and she had to start, but she never had his attention. She turned and had to go back past the statue to start, and instead of taking a tour around the outside to avoid statue issues and maybe get his attention back on her, she tried to confront it again. I will give her every credit and say that maybe he is normally able to pull himself together with that tactic and if he gets a good look, can continue. However, it just backfired in this situation and he simply didn't go to work, ever.

So, so disappointing. I nearly wept for her. Again, one of my favorite pairs, but I didn't see "OMG SO MEAN OF THEM TO PUT THE STATUE THERE!!!" I saw a nappy horse refusing to do his job. No other horse had *that* kind of problem with it. I don't know that the statue was the issue as much as the excuse. And as a person who seems to find exclusively spooky horses, I know exactly what that looks and feels like. :no:

When a horse and rider have as many problems like this as she and Arthur have had I think it is a symptom of her lack of connection with this horse. I don't know where the missing link is except that it has created tension. Were this a lower level horse and rider with similar problems there would be much more talk about what the rider was or was not doing that would cause this problem.

She, obviously, "loses" this horse in some situations and cannot get him back. The statue is not to blame.

My thoughts on all this over decoration is that they must also be OVERLY EXPENSIVE so who needs them?

Would our entry fees be lower without the ducks and squirrels and other such nonsense?

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:19 PM
Have you looked at this sculpture? It no more resembles a living thing than my Volkswagen Beetle resembles an insect.

To you, perhaps. But other species see things differently. And it doesn't necessarily make sense to a horse to fashion a equine skeuomorph out of horseshoes.

We know that certain patterns -- predator patterns like whorls/spots or tiger stripes -- can disrupt equine vision. Not all horses will find this equally disturbing but some will react quite strongly by choosing to keep themselves safe from the unknown and unseeable.

We don't put human optical illusions in the ring or out on XC. We don't camouflage fences to surprise us at the last second. We'd call that dangerous, although it's really up to the horse to see the fence.

archieflies
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:29 PM
Any reasonable horse would've looked at it suspiciously and I can't fault Arthur for spooking.

Absolutely true. No horse could be faulted for spooking there. But spooking TO THAT EXTENT is absurd, and Arthur can most definitely be faulted for that. Going in with a ten-point lead, the average spooker could have reacted to the statue and still won, or at least finished in the top three (4 rails and a bit of time would have landed them in 3rd). But 7 rails is NOT a reasonable response to the statue, and therefore the statue alone cannot be blamed. If it wasn't the statue, it could have just as easily been a spectator, a dog, the wind, a funny smell... Maybe Arthur's problem can't be fixed, and maybe it's not Allison's fault at all, but riding a horse that is so inherently flawed is a gamble on her part... one I haven't noticed HER complaining about.

As for the T3D... I wasn't there, but looking at the results it looks like the rider that "toppled" from the top of the ranks had ONE rail and finished in second, correct? One rail can come from anywhere. Finishing second is hardly worth my pity. Of course, competing at training myself, I wouldn't think that odd/ugly decorations to that extent are appropriate at that level... but at international levels, it's absolutely necessary to know which horses can perform under strange pressures and which can't... because I don't anticipate London being a peaceful, spook-free environment next year.

denny
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:32 PM
When I started this discussion, it had NOTHING to do with any referendum about any particular horse.

So let me see if I can make this REALLY SIMPLE:

You are in charge of an event. On cross country there is an object that causes a number of horses to spook, and you are aware of that.

So for show jumping do you haul that object into the show jumping arena?

Or not?

Is that simple enough? Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:35 PM
... and who makes that decision? Organizers? Course Designer?

wcporter
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:41 PM
When a horse and rider have as many problems like this as she and Arthur have had I think it is a symptom of her lack of connection with this horse. I don't know where the missing link is except that it has created tension. Were this a lower level horse and rider with similar problems there would be much more talk about what the rider was or was not doing that would cause this problem.



Wow. Just wow. Really? That takes a lot of gall. Do you really have any business flinging around such statements on the internet?

It never ceases to amaze me when I read such brash comments on this BB. :eek:

JWB
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:43 PM
Sorry - better to have this blow up happen here than in London.

We whined and moaned about the teams poor performance last time out. Why were we sending horses that were not truly ready? There is a big hole in this horse's reliability. It stinks for her. If horse after horse had come completely unglued over it, okay, it's a problem. Others took a little look but only one actually lost his mind. If this had happened at a big team competition and cost the US a shot at a medal, would we still be blaming the course designers? The team selectors?

I don't know if this was a donated piece of artwork, something a sponsor provided, or what - but I've seen jumper classes run with trucks, cars, tractors, gazebos, you name it... in the ring for decoration. IIRC there was a bridge/koi pond in the ring at Hong Kong, gigantic olympic rings in Athens.... If a sponsor wants it there, most horse trial organizers need their $$$s though and will make it happen, within reason.

I don't expect my event horse to be mindless. If she's worried about something she lets me know, but if I put my legs on and say have a good look and get back to work, she's expected to do just that - be it a cow, a camel (yes, our neighbors had a camel), a flapping banner, a new pile of dirt, a moved trailer, or any of the other 1,000 things she can find to look at on a daily basis.

Someone made the agility comparison.... I compete in agility and have a dog that I am very successful with on some days, and on other days she comes unglued too. We blew up at an agility trial not too long ago because the judge was wearing a flapping trench coat. My dog ran up on top of the a-frame and refused to come down - she was barking and the judge said she bordered on "menacing". I had to carry her from the ring. I don't fault the judges wardrobe... I just know I need to train with more people standing around in trench coats. That little stunt cost me a spot in our regional "team" agility competition. My dog can win on many days, but I can't count on her not to lose her marbles either.... I'm never going to be able to ensure that there is not something that freaks her out. It's a calculated risk I take every time I send in an entry.

RAyers
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:44 PM
When I started this discussion, it had NOTHING to do with any referendum about any particular horse.

So let me see if I can make this REALLY SIMPLE:

You are in charge of an event. On cross country there is an object that causes a number of horses to spook, and you are aware of that.

So for show jumping do you haul that object into the show jumping arena?

Or not?

Is that simple enough? Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?


Denny, step back and consider the FACTS presented. Oh, there are none. There is only observation and perception appropriately posted on a blog. How many horses spooked? One, 5, 20, 505? Where and when were the rails pulled? Was it consistent around the course or in a batch near the sculpture? What was the fence? Did it have flat cups where a slight rub could drop the rail? Where was the sculpture on course? What else was around it? Where was it facing?

Based on what I KNOW, I say that the decision was appropriate and had no real bearing in the jumping phase or XC. Outside observers may claim otherwise but, like Casey Anthony, only one animal (Authur) knows the facts.

Sonoma City
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:44 PM
Bear with me as this is coming from memory and I may have some facts misconstrued...

I remember reading about an issue in the UK where a very prominent course designer (I believe she is designing the 2012 games, though could be wrong) used human mannikins in a XC fence which resulted in death. The coroner's inquest was to advise that statues too closely associated with real life items should not be used in fence design.

I believe the designer had to promise to never use human looking life forms again in her designs.

If someone were to compile all of the data, even anecdotal, it points to "things that look like real living things" should not be used within the confines of course design or decoration.

I would be shocked if a horse could make the association with that sculpture being in the shape of a horse. It's abstract to the human eye, and horses brains don't work the same as ours. To the horse, it's a large object which looked funny because it wasn't solid.

I don't think it HAD to be in the ring, but I don't see a huge problem with it. I'll put out a (probably bad) analogy. At a recent event, for the BN division they took out the brick walls that were under the rails for novice, and put them by the fence line of the ring. A lot of the horses looked at them when coming around the corner and spooked, had rails/refuslas, but everyone chalked it up to having young horses that need to get over that sort of thing, etc. Point being, that it's going to be one thing or another in the ring that might not be associated with a jumping effort, but there will always be something, whether as blatent as a statue or as seemingly harmless as a wall that's been moved aside. It's unfortunate that it happened to her, but, I bet every person on this board has a story about how their horse spooked at something silly that didn't need to be on the course because it wasn't part of a jumping effort. It's not uncommon, just unfortunate in this case that he became so unglued to lose her the lead.

llevent
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:48 PM
When I started this discussion, it had NOTHING to do with any referendum about any particular horse.

So let me see if I can make this REALLY SIMPLE:

You are in charge of an event. On cross country there is an object that causes a number of horses to spook, and you are aware of that.

So for show jumping do you haul that object into the show jumping arena?

Or not?

Is that simple enough? Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?


Well, no, if it caused horses to spook the day before, then you proabably shouldn't put it in the arena the next day.

BUT, maybe the owner/creator of the sculpture was a huge sponsor and either paid a lot of money to help run the event or sponsored prizes, and wanted it on display in return of their generosity?

Maybe it is not as simple as people think? I'm not saying this is what happened or is justifiable, but maybe something like that was going on behind the scenes. Surely they wouldn't just put that statue there for the hell of it, especially if it did cause problems..?

Ghazzu
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:50 PM
I can see both sides of the argument.

Event horses should be bold enough to handle a variety of things out in the field, but at the end of the day, I don't really want winners in our sport being determined by decor.

Given that the sculpture had already caused many issues on the XC course the day before, I do question the decision to move it into the arena. It really did not enhance the course questions or serve any real purpose other that to create a spooking contest.



I think this sums up the issue rather nicely.

JWB
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:54 PM
You are in charge of an event. On cross country there is an object that causes a number of horses to spook, and you are aware of that.

So for show jumping do you haul that object into the show jumping arena?

Or not?

Is that simple enough? Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?

How many horses were unable to do their job on XC because of the statue? How many falls, run outs or refusals did the statue cause?

Oberon13
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:54 PM
Slippery slope arguments are nearly impossible to defend. So the statue spooked a few (or many, or several...again, slippery words) horses...what if horses were spooking at ferns, a liverpool, a planter full of bright roses? Where is the line drawn?

Just because horses spook at an object does not automatically take that object off the list of "things to move into the show jumping arena." That would be a very hard definition to sell.

archieflies
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:55 PM
The coroner's inquest was to advise that statues too closely associated with real life items should not be used in fence design.


Sure, but can you HONESTLY look at the statue in question and think that a HORSE (not a human... we're conditioned to deciphering abstract art) is going to really, truly believe it's a horse???? Come on, people. The statue had lots of issues, but it's oh-so-close resemblance to a living horse (:lol:) is NOT the problem here.

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:06 PM
Please... the results were determined by decor? Hell no. They were determined by the pairs that were able to get the job done.

By saying that the decor of the ring determined the winner, you are heavily discounting Hawley's (and everyone else who had a great round's) ability to have a horse that pays attention to the job at task and do what is required of them. You are discounting Hawley's job well done. She is the rightful winner, statue or not.

Are you 100% positive that Arthur would have jumped with less than 3 rails had the statue not been there? This isn't a horse with a perfect record we're talking about here, so to say that the 7 rails and lack of win is because of decor is being a bit blind.

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:06 PM
Is there a "legitimate reason" to put spooky decorations in the ring?

I think the people who ask the question "What are we testing?" hit the nail on the head.

If we now want winners to be determined by decor, perhaps it would be more expedient to put spooky things at the trot up. Horses would need to show soundness and ability to ignore random, weird art prior to being accepted by the ground jury.

YUP THERE IS....If we are to represent the USA well, WE DARN well better be replicating the atmosphere of these type events. WE are SO behind the eight ball now....you want to make it worse?

Denny, you going to go to the FEI and ask them to prohibit spooky objects? Of course not....people, we need to be competitive, not big whiners!!!

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:06 PM
Ok, to answer your question, denny. With the (limited) evidence presented, I think the decision was REASONABLE, especially if the CD had in his mind that it would force a decision on the rider's parts (turn inside or outside the statue).

It would be UNREASONABLE had the statue, the day before, caused stops, falls and other major issues (which judging by results, it did not). If all it did was cause a few to skitter sideways or give it the stink eye (and I have SEASONED campaigners in my barn that are very capable of far worse than that because of (drum roll) xc jumps they have to go PAST on course), then I see no reason for it not to go in the ring.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:25 PM
Please... the results were determined by decor? Hell no. They were determined by the pairs that were able to get the job done.



In order to get WHAT job done? What exactly was being asked? How is it relevant to the sport of eventing? Stadium jumping is supposed to determine if a horse is sound enough after endurance day (NOT if they are spooked by random, weird art).

For those that believe the statue tested a horses boldness or obedience (which I don't believe crazy art is the way to do that), wasn't that already accomplished by having it out on XC (the phase that is *supposed* to test such things)? Isn't that where it belonged in your argument? Bringing it into stadium (particularly after it was shown to elicit spooking) created the *wrong* test for stadium jumping.

No disrespect to Hawley's victory. She rode three very effective rounds and her horse is outstanding. But at the end of the day, I *DO* believe decor determined the winner of *THIS* competition, rather than skill and horsemanship.

Sonoma City
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:37 PM
In order to get WHAT job done? What exactly was being asked? How is it relevant to the sport of eventing? Stadium jumping is supposed to determine if a horse is sound enough after endurance day (NOT if they are spooked by random, weird art).

For those that believe the statue tested a horses boldness or obedience (which I don't believe crazy art is the way to do that), wasn't that already accomplished by having it out on XC (the phase that is *supposed* to test such things)? Isn't that where it belonged in your argument? Bringing it into stadium (particularly after it was shown to elicit spooking) created the *wrong* test for stadium jumping.

No disrespect to Hawley's victory. She rode three very effective rounds and her horse is outstanding. But at the end of the day, I *DO* believe decor determined the winner of *THIS* competition, rather than skill and horsemanship.

Decor in the stadium ring is part of the sport now at the highest levels. As another poster pointed out, if we are prepping our US horses to compete on the world stage, they need to be able to handle the decor that is used in those arenas. No one can argue that eventing has changed over the years, and perhaps decor in the stadium arena is another one of those changes that we all will all have to get used to.

llevent
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:39 PM
Are you 100% positive that Arthur would have jumped with less than 3 rails had the statue not been there? This isn't a horse with a perfect record we're talking about here, so to say that the 7 rails and lack of win is because of decor is being a bit blind.

exactly. who's to say they would have gone clean? what if the statue had not been there, and they still pulled several rails? no one would be arguing over a statue, instead this thread would be about arthur's unpredictability, despite his athleticism.

GingerJumper
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:39 PM
I can see both sides of the argument.

Event horses should be bold enough to handle a variety of things out in the field, but at the end of the day, I don't really want winners in our sport being determined by decor.

Given that the sculpture had already caused many issues on the XC course the day before, I do question the decision to move it into the arena. It really did not enhance the course questions or serve any real purpose other that to create a spooking contest.


I agree with this. There are two sides to be considered here, both of which are very valid.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:41 PM
Decor in the stadium ring is part of the sport now at the highest levels. As another poster pointed out, if we are prepping our US horses to compete on the world stage, they need to be able to handle the decor that is used in those arenas. No one can argue that eventing has changed over the years, and perhaps decor in the stadium arena is another one of those changes that we all will all have to get used to.

Why? Why do we have to accept things as they become? Why can't we be capable of change, even on the World Stage, if we think it is needed. We are participants in this sport -- not bystanders.

By this line of thinking, we should have just accepted the overly technical, trappy, kick and pull course design that became so prevalent in the last ten years. Instead, people started pushing back and, because of the uproar, it is finally starting to swing back to center a bit (still a ways to go).

I am not one to sit on my hands and just accept what other present.

Does anyone have any instances where stadium arena "decor" played a major role in deciding who won a major international event on the "World Stage" and it was accepted as "part of the game"?

fordtraktor
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:48 PM
I'm sorry, SevenDogs, but skill and horsemanship are not the only things that rightfully determine winners. Like Napoleon choosing officers -- "yes, I know he's brilliant, but is he lucky?" Gotta have all 3 on any given day, that's what keeps it interesting.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:49 PM
How does "all three" relate to decor? Show me in the history of the sport or the rule book where arena "decor" should play a major role in stadium questions.

Stadium is designed to test fitness and soundness after endurance day - not decor tolerance.

Have we come to a place where testing the things that eventing was designed to test is not enough? I, for one, don't think so. We should keep our eye on the ball and admit when things (like decor) go wrong.

Sonoma City
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:49 PM
Why? Why do we have to accept things as they become? Why can't we be capable of change, even on the World Stage, if we think it is needed. We are participants in this sport -- not bystanders.

By this line of thinking, we should have just accepted the overly technical, trappy, kick and pull course design that became so prevalent in the last ten years. Instead, people started pushing back and, because of the uproar, it is finally starting to swing back to center a bit (still a ways to go).

I am not one to sit on my hands and just accept what other present.

I haven't seen enough evidence that shows that excessive decor in stadium rings is overly changing the results of top competitions. This is the first time I have seen the issue raised. (although a lot happens in eventing that I don't know about so maybe it is a big issue that I'm just not aware of.) If it were an issue that many top riders saw, then there may be a need for change. I haven't seen that so I don't personally feel the need to advocate for change in this way, but if it does become a recurring issue then I agree that it should be changed. I don't think one incident on a known to be spooky horse warrants an uproar though.

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:53 PM
You know, really, here is the deal.

Arthur had a bad day, Arthur is prone to having a bad day. Last I had heard, cross-country had NO refusals in the CIC3*, so....that statue couldn't have caused that big a problem on xc. So yes, having it in the stadium seems reasonable, ESPECIALLY if in fact, it was from a sponsor paying big bucks.

For those who don't know, Rebecca Farm offers prize money, down to EVERY SINGLE division, not many say that. Not in it for the ribbons, did you know, they give free ice....yup, all over the facility are free ice machines...help yourself, with really cute signs...."not for maragarita's"....probably a few have gone for that very thing. The facility is beautiful, and groomed, and aerorated..the jumps are gorgeous, well planned. Guess what, it costs a LOT of money. Yet, they charge about what everyone else does. The ribbons are gorgeous, like 7 streamers and muliple rossettes...That sponsor, who paid to have that put out there....he was helping keep our costs down to enter...not that we went.

Seven Dogs, NO, I am pretty sure most know, I am not a follower. I am the person, when I feel something is not right, who gets up and shouts about it. I absolutely agree, we should take a stand when something is wrong...

Denny, why don't you do something about some of this, instead of starting riots on the BB. There is a LOT wrong right now with eventing....

Start on the dressage co-effiecient. I personally am sick of that. We take someone's OPINION of our dressage, and then multiply it....Isn't that a bit ridiculous to you? The stadium and XC scores are based on fact, however, they carry less weight then someone's opinion, and a person can argue that it's an unbiased opinion...hogwash....Watched too many times dressage judges have stars in thier eyes.

My only problem with that horse being in that arena? It was made of steel, and could have caused injury....but I have that same opinion of fixed x/c stadiums being in the stadium area too....Jennie Brannigan comes to mind. So that is the only safety issue I see here.

There are a lot of great ideas on here, from us low smurfs on how to de-sensitize a horse. My husband, NOT a HORSE person, was like, send him here, between the trampoline, kids screaming, and chickens under foot always, he will lose some of that right quick.....and while that isn't a real suggestion, the fact is, maybe, just maybe this horse has a problem, or hole in his training that needs addressed, and maybe she has tried, and maybe he can't be fixed...but, I don't think dummying down things is the answer either.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:54 PM
I haven't seen enough evidence that shows that excessive decor in stadium rings is overly changing the results of top competitions. This is the first time I have seen the issue raised.

Then, the argument of us needing over the top decor at U.S. events in order to "prepare for the World Stage" isn't really valid.

mbarrett
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:54 PM
I'm with you Denny.

I think eventing needs to test the horses and riders in a cross-country setting with appropriate fences. Cross country courses are supposed to test horses over an outdoor, natural setting - terrain, appropriate fences, ditches, etc. There isn't a place for this particular horse sculpture IMHO. There are plenty of ways for the course designers to test horses with natural (x-c) fences and traditional jumps (poles, planks, walls, etc.) in stadium. The placement of the fences in relation to the terrain and the other fences should test the horse. That's what good course designers do. Putting in decorations for the sake of decorations, shouldn't be part of a cross country or stadium course.

While the horse sculpture was nice, I don't think it should have been put on the xc or stadium course. I'm sure there were plenty of places to display the sculpture so people could admire it, not on the jumping courses.

Of course, I am old fashioned and I hate the over-the-top decorations and fence details that adorn current xc and stadium fences.

Yes, Rolex has squirrels and fish and ducks on course, but they are carved from wood, a natural material. They are solid, tasteful and don't trick the horse. These "animal" elements are solid and aren't optical illusions.

So, Denny, I guess you and I (and a few others) are in the same camp on this issue. I guess I just don't "get" modern decorations on eventing courses. Good thing I am just a beginner eventer who rides in the tadpole divisions. What do I know?

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:56 PM
Rebecca Farms is a great venue -- does that mean they are incapable of making a mistake that needs rectifying?

RAyers
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:57 PM
I am posting this again because not one person has established the facts of the sculpture.

At the moment there is only observation and perception appropriately posted on a blog.

From a failure analysis process:

How many horses spooked? One, 5, 20, 505? How many on XC? How many in stadium? Where and when were the rails pulled on course? Was it consistent around the course or in a batch near the sculpture? What was/were the fence types? Did they have flat cups where a slight rub could drop the rail? Where was the sculpture on course? What else was around it? Where was it facing? Where was the audience? Where was the judges stand (My horse spooked at that one year)?

Until we answer these there is ABSOLUTELY NO way to establish the sculpture had any bearing on the outcome other than what a person wrote based on external observation that may not be accurate. I know the riders claim it was the statue but I have seen USEF "S" judges claim one thing and I (on the horse) know it was something else. Observation without quantification is specious regardless of who you are.

Think about it. What does this REALLY mean, "spooked at a life-sized horse shoe statue that has been spooking horses all weekend."? There is no indication that a LARGE number of horses were spooked. My dog spooks horses all weekend.

omare
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:59 PM
With respect to the backing away from the very techincal courses--I thought that change was dirven by safety concerns which at this point is not at issue with the wire horse.

And unless it is legislated at the FEI/Olympic level it will be detrimental to the USA to do it here.

But after seeing pictures of the test x courty course at London I do not think you will need wire horses to make the Olympic grounds and course spooky and scary-it just is!

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:59 PM
When I started this discussion, it had NOTHING to do with any referendum about any particular horse.

So let me see if I can make this REALLY SIMPLE:

You are in charge of an event. On cross country there is an object that causes a number of horses to spook, and you are aware of that.

So for show jumping do you haul that object into the show jumping arena?

Or not?

Is that simple enough? Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?

I think given the statue...which looks to be an important creation for the event...I have NO issue whatsoever in bringing it in as a DECORATION. It isn't a jump....the horses just have to go by it. I find it no different than moving a sponsor's vehicle into the ring or putting a banner along the rail....or having a flag post near the ring. My horse may spook at such a thing but they darn well should still be able to jump a relatively small jump and focus on my riding.

The test for stadium is one of ridability....and this to me is a pretty basic ridability question.

Yes...it will cause some people's horses to spook. But no, I don't think it was a BAD decision....or one that riders couldn't deal with easily. And as long as all the riders could swing by it in their ride into the ring (if they so choose)--I see no issues. All the horses had seen it once on xc...and now (unlike xc) could ride slowly by it when they entered the ring...... this shouldn't have been much of a distraction at all to the typical horse. So YES...I'm fine with decor having an impact on the results since I do think it is a very very VERY basic ridability question. Deal with crap going on around...crowds, weather, footing, decor...and jump the jumps. That's the job/test.

Divine Comedy
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:01 PM
How is it relevant to the sport of eventing?

It is relevant to the sport of eventing because it is HIGHLY likely that there will be distracting statues and topiaries in the show jumping ring at London, at WEG, and possibly even the Pan Ams. That is something that is not going to change in all likelihood, and is something that is definitely not within the powers of the organizers/TDs/CDs at Rebecca to change. Since Rebecca Farm was putting on an INTERNATIONAL competition (FEI), I see no problem with them attempting to emulate an international caliber show ring, in an effort to expose horses to conditions they may need to face during a team competition.

As others have said, the presence of the statue either conditions possible team horses to expect such things in the future, or reveals which horses have huge cracks in their mental capability to handle pressure. I do not blame the rider in any way, I believe Allison is well aware that Arthur can come undone at very little and is willing to take a gamble that his immense talent will overcome this character flaw. But at the same time, I am glad to weed out horses that just might not be capable of handling the high pressure competition (whether it's crowds or statues). Would we really be happier if the statue hadn't been there, Arthur was sent to London, and the unraveling occurred there when she was poised to take a gold medal? No. Better to discover these things now rather than in a team situation.

And as to the situation of it spooking horses out XC first and the organizers/TDs/CDs being aware of it and blithely moving it into the SJ ring anyways? How are we even sure that they were aware it was spooking horses XC? First of all, it seemed that XC ran very smoothly, so it apparently caused no problems in regards to stops or falls. Second, I heard NO mention of this particular horse statue spooking horses XC until AFTER it caused issues in SJ. Whatever spooks it caused XC were minor enough that it went unremarked upon. Third, even if it was causing spooks, how likely is it that whoever was responsible for the statue's presence was watching that statue all day long, or even long enough to see a pattern of spooks? The spooks may not have even been noticeable to an observer. I know many times my horse spooks but only I can feel it because that's just the way he spooks - internally. In that case, I might comment to a friend that the statue had spooked my horse, but probably not to an official. The officials likely had no way of knowing that the statue had caused spooks the day before unless a number of riders came forward and mentioned it. As a rider, I would be unlikely to mention something small like that, any more than if my horse had spooked at a jump judge.

I do think that it is highly likely that it was the pattern that was particularly spooky rather than the shape. Hopefully, course designers everywhere can learn and course decorations can be solid rather than disjointed. But I in no way think that it was an unfair course decoration, at least in theory. Arthur came unglued at something that NO OTHER HORSE came unglued at. That is the fault of his personality, and not a training fault I bet. I'm sure Allison has done all she can to try and overcome this character flaw, but to me it is as large a problem as Mandiba's character flaw (which is to not really want to play at the top levels). Not the rider's fault, not the horse's fault. Still shouldn't represent the team.

Better to weed out the candidates now instead of finding out in London.

I hope Allison has a better go of it at her next big event. She's had enough heartbreak with this horse for a lifetime. He's utterly, ridiculously talented, but just has one character flaw. (IMO)

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:02 PM
Then, the argument of us needing over the top decor at U.S. events in order to "prepare for the World Stage" isn't really valid.

So....because it hasn't been proven to cause problems, we should ignore the fact that other large shows have over the top decor...? That doesn't make sense.

So, because my horse goes through water the first few times, I should not worry about schooling it again? Our horses are creatures of habit....expose them, they get use to it...no suprises at the end.

TB or not TB?
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:03 PM
No disrespect to Hawley's victory. She rode three very effective rounds and her horse is outstanding. But at the end of the day, I *DO* believe decor determined the winner of *THIS* competition, rather than skill and horsemanship.

I think it's easy to make a case for this and don't disagree one bit that the decor impacted the rounds. However, Hawley's horse balked and gave snorty-dragon-face to the statue as well, but pulled it together for a lovely, 1-rail round. To me, she was the clear and obvious winner of the weekend - Allison didn't "hand her" the victory.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:03 PM
At least it wasn't Ten Cent Beer Night (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Cent_Beer_Night).

:)

Sonoma City
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:04 PM
Then, the argument of us needing over the top decor at U.S. events in order to "prepare for the World Stage" isn't really valid.

In my opinion it is. The "excessive decor" is still present in the world arenas no matter if we put it in the US arenas or not. If the US horses can't handle it at home, they won't make it to the point where they will become unraveled over a statue when it really counts. If they're not tested at home with what they will encounter elsewhere, we'll never know how they will handle it until they get there. But again, I don't think it is NEEDED, I just don't think that one horse blowing his top over something warrants a campaign to get rid of all non-jump related ring decor.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:06 PM
Reed: In all due respect -- sometimes it isn't just a matter of interpreting stats. Yes, it would be very interesting to have figures, but it isn't available. As much as we would like it to be (and should continue to strive towards it), decisions are rarely able to be made on perfect information.

The facts are that the "art" did indeed spook at least some horses on XC the day before (as observed by many on the grounds). With that information in hand, "Someone" (would still like to know who) decided to move it into the stadium arena. Given the information available, it is reasonable to assume that whoever made the decision knew it could affect the outcome and decided to do so anyway. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that person was ok with the decor possibly affecting outcome.

CANTEREOIN
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:07 PM
Hmmmm lets see... "Us" Modern eventers have let down Mr. Emerson once again.


Lately 'we' didn't get an "appropriate" 4* quality horse for Kim S. (Shame on us... even though you BREED 4* horses.... but whatever)

Before we didn't see the short format as the demise of our true sport. (But as a former member of the inner circle you came here and complained to us "smurfs" but are not largely on record as doing things to fix this change, like maybe hosting a T3Day)

And now it's best to again come to this well of riders and bemoan the course designer and management at the event for a decision that was made 1000's of miles away from the majority of this readership.


Hmmmmm.

I know this will seem like an odd and "old fashioned" idea, but maybe just maybe you should send an email or a letter to the folks who actually brought the statue into the ring, if it upsets you so. And then maybe you'd get an answer or reason why it happened, so you'd know the thought process behind it.

Right now what it seems like is that you come to us to stir the pot and we all get down each other's throats because a "role model" of our sport chose to incite the situation amongst the base of the sport.

And we wonder why the sport has become soooo divided.

I wonder how many folks here really respect someone who ignites controversy but adds little in terms of his own time and effort to working to try to navigate the sport back to it's (better?) roots?

Oh and btw.... did you happen to submit your name into the pot of potential Chef's? Were you a "non disclosed" candidate?

Some have wondered...... I do too. But hey.... it's all about what you've done lately?

So step up and show us where you have done something....besides complaining to us.

~Emily

Emily,

I love you! I really do! Touche' for actually saying it!

pegasusmom
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:09 PM
At least it wasn't Ten Cent Beer Night (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Cent_Beer_Night).

:)

along with armadillo beauty contests and Lone Star beer. . . no place but Texas.

:lol::lol::lol:

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:10 PM
Some are ok with decor determining the outcome of a competition -- I am not. Carry on.

Jazzy Lady
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:13 PM
No disrespect to Hawley's victory. She rode three very effective rounds and her horse is outstanding. But at the end of the day, I *DO* believe decor determined the winner of *THIS* competition, rather than skill and horsemanship.

You're being blind. A horse spooking at an object and having one rail might be one thing, but becoming so unglued that he never once focused on his job is not the fault of the object. Not when he was the only horse that that happened to and he has a history of having that spook in him. It doesn't fly. You also have absolutely no way of knowing how Arthur would have handled that course had the statue not been there. None. So you can't say that statement.

Excuses don't make the story different. A horse at that level needs to be prepared to handle ANYTHING in the ring and still do the job at hand. Ginny spooked at it apparently, and thought it had a million horse eating heads, but she did her job well and won. Rightfully so. I would say that her ability to ride Ginny through the spook and win WOULD say that she won this on skill and horsemanship.

Decorations in the ring are a part of the game, and I'm sure Allison would agree. She's been in the game long enough and has attended enough big competitions that she has seen it all. Hell, if you can jump a pick up truck bed (which is as far from natural as it gets, I'm pretty sure you should be able to handle going past an object in the ring.

mbarrett
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:13 PM
Some have wondered...... I do too. But hey.... it's all about what you've done lately?

So step up and show us where you have done something....besides complaining to us.

~Emily

Same goes for you, Emily, what have YOU done for eventing at the highest levels lately? Denny's record speaks for himself.

(An no, I have never met, trained or spoken to Denny. I have no connection to him whatsoever.)

Divine Comedy
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:15 PM
The facts are that the "art" did indeed spook at least some horses on XC the day before (as observed by many on the grounds). With that information in hand, "Someone" (would still like to know who) decided to move it into the stadium arena. Given the information available, it is reasonable to assume that whoever made the decision knew it could affect the outcome and decided to do so anyway. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that person was ok with the decor possibly affecting outcome.

What is not reasonable to assume is that "Someone" was even aware that it was spooking horses on the XC. Unless riders or observers came forward, it is likely that "Someone" was unaware it caused spooking.

Even if "Someone" watched the course around the statue, even if they saw one horse spook, it is unlikely that they stayed in place all day long in order to see 'many' horses spooking. They probably went to monitor another portion of the course.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:16 PM
along with armadillo beauty contests and Lone Star beer. . . no place but Texas.

Ten Cent Beer Night happened in Cleveland.

:lol:

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:16 PM
I am so not understanding something here....

Out of 16 horses, ONE blew his lid. The others spooked a bit, and then went and did their job. Because the ONE horse that blew his lid, HAPPENED to be the number one horse, that day, and knocked SEVEN rails, and moved down to 11th, that statue decided who the winner was?

I think, personally, that is a bit rude to the riders who went in, and the horses who did thier job. To the riders who pulled it together, and went in and did thier job.

I don't know, REALLY I DON'T know, how you can say this isn't about skills, or horsemanship. Alison, I love you, we have told you at events you are one of our favorites, and Arthur is gorgeous!!!

However, on this day, Arthur and Allison didn't bring it. The rest did. I think those of you who are dismissing that one single fact....are being rude to these riders...

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:20 PM
I have yet to hear who decides on arena decor. Does anyone know? Is it the responsibility of the Course Designer or Organizer?

Since most everyone on site seems to have noticed that the statue did indeed spook quite a few horses on XC day, I do hold officials responsible to know what happened at the show, prior to moving it into the stadium arena. One of the nice things about eventing is that we aren't so big that things get segmented to a point of not knowing what is happening on XC day. SOMEBODY somewhere (in a position to affect the decision) knew that statue had caused problems.

I'm not trying to vilify anyone, but part of my job in the real world is to analyze decision that I make on a daily basis and say "yup.... that one wasn't a good decision" and make changes for the future. I am curious if the person that decided to move the statue into the arena was aware that it could affect the outcome (my opinion is that they were aware) and are the ok with decor affecting the final outcome (I am not).

fordtraktor
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:23 PM
Also, on XC day the statue did not cause a single alleged jump issue that I've heard of. "Someone" would have no reason to think it would be excessively problematic on SJ day, given that the riders would have an opportunity to walk up/by it and get an eyeful before their rounds, and they had the added benefit of having seen it before the previous day without being eaten. From the field report earlier, it does not seem to have caused any serious issues beyond the one horse. Hindsight is 20/20.

Maybe I'm just not a horseman. Having been bombed by trashcans, enjoyed train whistles right beside the ring, been chased by dogs, and having the lights go out while I was on course, I consider myself a relative expert in ill luck, however, and this looks to me like a case of it.

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:24 PM
You're being blind. A horse spooking at an object and having one rail might be one thing, but becoming so unglued that he never once focused on his job is not the fault of the object. Not when he was the only horse that that happened to and he has a history of having that spook in him. It doesn't fly. You also have absolutely no way of knowing how Arthur would have handled that course had the statue not been there. None. So you can't say that statement.

Excuses don't make the story different. A horse at that level needs to be prepared to handle ANYTHING in the ring and still do the job at hand. Ginny spooked at it apparently, and thought it had a million horse eating heads, but she did her job well and won. Rightfully so. I would say that her ability to ride Ginny through the spook and win WOULD say that she won this on skill and horsemanship.

Decorations in the ring are a part of the game, and I'm sure Allison would agree. She's been in the game long enough and has attended enough big competitions that she has seen it all. Hell, if you can jump a pick up truck bed (which is as far from natural as it gets, I'm pretty sure you should be able to handle going past an object in the ring.
Here, here!!

And what gold2012 said.

SevenDogs, I would assume (dangerous word, I know) that it may be organizer UNLESS it was placed there for a specify purpose to the course (like a strategically place bush, rock, flower pot, gazebo, etc). Then I would assume it was the CD.

TB or not TB?
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:28 PM
I did not watch the lower levels go XC, so I can't say how affected or not they were by the statue. It was placed next to a jump that I *THINK* was part of the Training level course. The jump was a wagon and the statue was the horse "pulling" it. This was in the "western town" combination. The UL horses had to make a right hand turn after the water and gallop past western town before a big table heading in the opposite direction around the field. The sculpture was the end of the "line" of jumps closest to the galloping path for the ULs (still at LEAST 50' away from their path). About half a dozen horses saw it in the distance and it's fair to say they lost their concentration when they got a look and at least one jiggled out of stride. The rest of the field flew by without problems, and I think only one person had issues with the table (can't remember if that horse had spooked or not). They still had 20+ strides to get back in rhythm before the next jumping effort. I will try to post a picture if I have one.

As mentioned, I didn't see the lower levels go, but to say that "everyone was having stops and spooks on XC because of the statue" is hyperbole, at least for the ULs.

LLDM
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:36 PM
Well, I am a little surprised no one's brought it up yet...

Color me confused, but I thought we wanted eventing horses to retain *some* of their own opinions. Hence, why Dressage is not supposed to be so influential. I am having trouble understanding the difference here.

Either the horse gets to have an opinion (and retains his ability to think on his own and to be a real partner in the relationship) - OR - he must completely subjugate himself to the rider 100% of the time. Since we have straight dressage and showjumping for that - I thought eventing was supposed to emphasize a horse's thinking participation.

I really don't care what GP jumpers and dressage horses have to put up with in the ring. They don't have to step up on XC and *think*.

There is a fine line between obedience and blind obedience. It seems something crossed the line with this particular item. I don't really blame the organizers, because hey, you don't always get to know how a horse will react to something like that. But it doesn't mean we need to do it again either.

As for the whole, well, that's how it's going to be in 2012 - really? Do we really want to send a bunch of completely desensitized horses to represent the USA? I hear the Parelli's are available as coaches for a price. :rolleyes:

For those of you who want completely subjugated horses, just be careful what you ask for. I've ridden my share of opinionated horses, and even at my low level, I trust them much more for eventing, for XC, than any totally submissive horse. The opinionated one is going to save both are a$$es in a pinch. Which is more important to me than winning medals.

And honestly, I have no idea how the Europeans would have handled this situation. They may well have moved the statue to the parking lot if they felt horses were having a particularly odd reaction to it. In any case, I seriously doubt it was the intention of anyone to cause an unnecessary distraction, even if it was a consistent one.

PS - I thought dressage was about "obedience" and SJ was about the ability to stay sound and perform after endurance day.

SCFarm

Divine Comedy
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:40 PM
=
Since most everyone on site seems to have noticed that the statue did indeed spook quite a few horses on XC day, I do hold officials responsible to know what happened at the show, prior to moving it into the stadium arena. One of the nice things about eventing is that we aren't so big that things get segmented to a point of not knowing what is happening on XC day. SOMEBODY somewhere (in a position to affect the decision) knew that statue had caused problems.

I'm not trying to vilify anyone, but part of my job in the real world is to analyze decision that I make on a daily basis and say "yup.... that one wasn't a good decision" and make changes for the future. I am curious if the person that decided to move the statue into the arena was aware that it could affect the outcome (my opinion is that they were aware) and are the ok with decor affecting the final outcome (I am not).

Something I've learned working in an office where the departments SHOULD communicate but do NOT is that while communication SHOULD occur, it often does NOT. It may be that the one person who knew that the statue was causing spookiness was a jump judge volunteer who had no idea that by not radioing in that the statue was causing spooks, she would be basically be determining the winner of the 3 star (assuming Arthur didn't find something else to come unhinged at).

I am okay with the decor affecting the final outcome here for the precise reason that I do not want the decor affecting the final outcome in London. I am sure that it was not done intentionally to specifically cause Arthur, a well known spooky horse, to come unhinged.

Can you imagine the officials/TD/organizers sitting around saying "Hmmm, we'd like to see a West Coaster win this time...Since Arthur is super spooky, let's throw that horse statue in the ring and see if we can't cause him to have a few rails!"

No.

I bet you wont see that statue at Rebecca again

Brandy76
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:41 PM
LLDM-

well said

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:46 PM
There's a difference between" subjugated", having an opinion, and totally flipping out (as the one eye witness described). I own two highly opinionated and quirky horses, one of which is also quite the spook (though no where near Arthur standards). I cherish and adore who they are and respect their personalities, and like you, I WANT that opinion and brain. However, a reaction of that proportion is NOT the same as thinking the thing is an ugly, odd mess and not liking it.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:46 PM
Can you imagine the officials/TD/organizers sitting around saying "Hmmm, we'd like to see a West Coaster win this time...Since Arthur is super spooky, let's throw that horse statue in the ring and see if we can't cause him to have a few rails!"



To be clear, I have no conspiracy theories on this. More, I am curious as to the thinking of the Decision Maker and how he/she feels now that it is over.

I suspect (along with YB) that the Organizers are in charge of "decor" decisions. If we accept that decor can affect outcome, shouldn't it be factored into Course Design and fall under the responsibility of the CD (who has training and expertise in determining what questions are being asked)? There seems to be a disconnect if the Organizers are acting independently of the CD.

fordtraktor
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:47 PM
IMO, there is a difference between a horse completely subjugating himself and totally blowing off the rider. Neither extreme is desirable. Retaining some of their opinions is fine, retaining all of their opinions not so fine.

gold2012
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:49 PM
Either the horse gets to have an opinion (and retains his ability to think on his own and to be a real partner in the relationship) - OR - he must completely subjugate himself to the rider 100% of the time. Since we have straight dressage and showjumping for that - I thought eventing was supposed to emphasize a horse's thinking participation.

As for the whole, well, that's how it's going to be in 2012 - really? Do we really want to send a bunch of completely desensitized horses to represent the USA?

PS - I thought dressage was about "obedience" and SJ was about the ability to stay sound and perform after endurance day.
SCFarm

Two things....can dressage PLEASE be about obedience, and not movement....we would do so much better, mr. Floppy ears and his can do attitude!!!!

Now the other...there is a far different question here...I want my horse to think for himself, but if I put my leg on, Especially at a non-jump situation, he better have faith in me. Cause I have the brain.....

Sometimes at jumps, okay he might have a better spot, but in this case, a rearing horse is very dangerous, there is a whole other discussion about this. But again, I so would love to see dressage be truly about obedience!!!!

denny
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:50 PM
Over the 50 years that I`ve been eventing, I`ve seen horses spook at all kinds of things. The wooden horse at Doornhof that had horses as far away as the dressage ring snorting and spinning, the big plastic animals at the event in Thompson, GA, that stopped horses, and, the worst, the ditch at one long ago Hitching Post that was boxed at each end by a crate of terrified, squawking geese, which eliminated the entire division.

After each one of these debacles, I always wonder what it is that makes people create situations for horses that aren`t part of the tests or "questions" that eventing is meant to ask.

In my original post, the actual question I asked was: "Why won`t they learn not to do this to riders and horses?"

Now, from reading so many of these responses, I have my answer:

"They won`t learn, because they don`t see these things as problems."

And maybe they aren`t in the minds of those who create these situations, but most riders/trainers would know better, but riders/trainers don`t run things, they ride and train and have to take what they are handed.

flea
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:52 PM
Possibly this wasn't a "decision" to move the sculpture to the show jumping arena. If it was advertising a sponsor it could have been in the contract. Such as it will be displayed on xc and stadium course. This would leave little choice but would serve as a lesson learned when future sponsor contracts are written.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:52 PM
PS - I thought dressage was about "obedience" and SJ was about the ability to stay sound and perform after endurance day.

SCFarm


My point wasn't to have a mindless horse....or even all that obediant. They could still voice their opinion about the statue. Snort...give it the hairy eyeball...keep one eye on it while jumping--hell kick at it if they want. But bottom line....if I asked them to go by it...they should go by it. That is the ridability question. It is a partnership....just as when I tell them that jumping into the water is the question...and it isn't a bottomless pit with an alligator.....If I ride into the ring with a "scary" statue....I want a horse to voice their opinion about that statue but then ALSO listen to me when I say, I know...someone has a different taste in Art than you but it isn't going to get you--let's go jump this simple jump near it. And they trust me...and go and jump their jumps.


A horse having an opinion ....is different than a horse shutting down because of a statute, flag, banner, dog...crowd. I'm not doing the Show Hunters....I expect an event horse to be able to perform in stadium even with a few distractions and even while voicing a bit of an opinion about those distractions.

flutie1
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:56 PM
You're being blind. A horse spooking at an object and having one rail might be one thing, but becoming so unglued that he never once focused on his job is not the fault of the object. Not when he was the only horse that that happened to and he has a history of having that spook in him. It doesn't fly. You also have absolutely no way of knowing how Arthur would have handled that course had the statue not been there. None. So you can't say that statement.

Excuses don't make the story different. A horse at that level needs to be prepared to handle ANYTHING in the ring and still do the job at hand. Ginny spooked at it apparently, and thought it had a million horse eating heads, but she did her job well and won. Rightfully so. I would say that her ability to ride Ginny through the spook and win WOULD say that she won this on skill and horsemanship.

Decorations in the ring are a part of the game, and I'm sure Allison would agree. She's been in the game long enough and has attended enough big competitions that she has seen it all. Hell, if you can jump a pick up truck bed (which is as far from natural as it gets, I'm pretty sure you should be able to handle going past an object in the ring.

I would be a bit more willing to climb on the horse sculpture bandwagon if this were the first time Arthur had ever made mincemeat of a show jumping course. It however is not the first time. The fact remains that many more horses jumped around in spite of the sculpture than didn't. I know Alison feels that victory was wrenched away from her and believes it is pretty unfair. However, it's the name of the game and excuses don't make the outcome any different.

retreadeventer
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:57 PM
You know while I see the point Denny is trying to make, the stadium arena's at the last few Olympics are very spooky places. Ditto the Aachen WEG arena. Flowers, decorations and high capacity crowds.

This event, though out in Montana, is a qualifier for horses aiming for the high octane events like Rolex, Burghley, the Olympics and Wegs.

So I don't see the issue with filtering through the all around professional horse and rider who can handle what comes at them and get the job done.

That said, I am sorry the sculpture unraveled Arthur. I have long been a fan.

But kudos to those horses and riders who still got the job done.

~Emily


This is sort of the way I feel, too. I have a little plastic ride-on horsie at home I rescued from the side of the road, about to be rubbished. I brought him home and named him Champion. He is by the far the best horse on the farm, (easy keeper, well trained, ground ties perfectly, makes no poop, eats nothing, does not need grooming, the perfect yard ornament, etc.) but he has in turn terrified almost every single horse on the place the first time they lay eyes on him in the front yard.

What I wonder is why they jump the ducks and turtles in the water, but look at the things that resemble horses?

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:00 PM
Now, from reading so many of these responses, I have my answer:

"They won`t learn, because they don`t see these things as problems."



Some don't see these questions as a problem, but many do.

I couldn't design a course to save my life but I know good course designers know how to ask the right questions with absolute understanding of the horse. It is every bit as much an art as a science. Appropriate challenges tempered with an understanding and sympathy of the horse creates questions that weed out the best without damaging the rest.

I have the ultimate respect for good course designers. Even trainers and clinicians that know how to challenge a horse while keeping him/her moving forward in a positive fashion. I even have a joke with a well known event legend where I say at the beginning of every clinic "use your power for good and not evil". The fact is, I know that he has the skill (with a small tweek) to completely change the challenge and I wouldn't be any the wiser.

Those that don't have the gift, fill in with crap.

flutie1
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:00 PM
The Jumbotron in the Rolex arena is about as spooky as they come!

JWB
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:02 PM
I love that my dressage coach used to be an eventer before he turned straight dressage. When my mare decides that something in the ring (usually a dent in the wall or something stupid like that) is going to eat her, he has me ride her FORWARD past it, letting her flex towards it and take a good look. She can stare, she can snort - but she's still got to keep moving. Giving it the hairy eye is an acceptable response. Napping, rearing and generally refusing to move is not.

She is expressing her concerns about it. I am saying, "objections noted, now get back to work." She is allowed to have her opinion but this isn't a democracy where we each get an equal vote.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:04 PM
I would be a bit more willing to climb on the horse sculpture bandwagon if this were the first time Arthur had ever made mincemeat of a show jumping course. It however is not the first time. The fact remains that many more horses jumped around in spite of the sculpture than didn't. I know Alison feels that victory was wrenched away from her and believes it is pretty unfair. However, it's the name of the game and excuses don't make the outcome any different.

Allegedly, the sculpture also affected the TR3Day outcome and other horses had penalties that many felt were attributable to spooking at "Flicka". Curious as to the opinion of those in attendance at that arena (I believe there were at total of three stadium arenas in use -- not sure which divisions rode in the arena in question).

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:04 PM
"They won`t learn, because they don`t see these things as problems."

And maybe they aren`t in the minds of those who create these situations, but most riders/trainers would know better, but riders/trainers don`t run things, they ride and train and have to take what they are handed.


That is more than a bit insulting Denny.

I ride...I train....as do many on this board. I prefer young horses and chose to make my living outside of horses but that doesn't make me any less of a horseman or others who disagree with you on this point.


A box of geese...yeah. That one makes no sense. Put this statue in the middle of the dressage ring....I'd also agree with you on that one.

But as part of "decoration" on xc or stadium (that ISN't jumped and isn't in the line) that I just have to get my horse to go by....and I will not be severely penalized like in the show hunters with a horse showing a bit of a spook. No ... that is not a HUGE problem. It is a NON moving statue. My horse should trust me enough to walk up to that when I enter the ring...and hopefully have the brains enough and trust me enough to sense that *I* am not afraid of it so maybe they shouldn't be. And as a rider...I LIKE to have the chance to see if my partnership has develop to that level of trust and ability to get my horse to focus on his job at hand. I would, as a rider and trainer, expect my horse to take a look at such a statue BUT would also expect to get them to get over it and focus on the job. If they didn't take a look at it...I'd give them a pat and be happy they didn't think it was an issue.

fordtraktor
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:07 PM
No need to go bandying Richard Jeffries about, he is one of the most gifted and respected course designers in show jumping.

I noted in the video on Eventing Nation that the second and third-placed horses in the *** both had the same rail as the T3de horse that lost supposedly due to the sculpture (middle of the triple). Neither of them claimed to have any issue with the sculpture, just too strong coming in because the line in rode longer than anticipated. It sounded like that rail could just as easily been from a light vertical on shallow jumps as the decor changing the results there. Possible, anyway, the video did not show the T3de rail in question.

PilchuckView
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:15 PM
I just got back from Rebecca Farm and am amazed at this thread. My daughter and I watched most of the XC rounds on Friday and ALL of the XC rounds on Saturday. We were sitting with a direct view of the "spooky horse statue" on both days. It's true, there were a few pretty good spooks at the statue, but a majority of the horses passed by with merely a glance (or not even that) at the statue.

If my memory serves correct, there was only one rider we saw on XC that was seriously impacted by the statue. (Can't remember rider's name, though.) His horse would not jump the wagon that was "attached" to the spooky statue, and he was eliminated.

I am by no means an eventing expert - though I can say that there were plenty other "scary" obstacles on the course that the horses didn't even blink at. How about jumping over a moose with huge antlers? Or over a triceratops? Or, over a T-Rex that had a rider in its mouth - complete with his boots sticking out of the teeth?

We were surprised to see the statue moved to the jump ring on Sunday. We didn't watch all of the divisions, but did see a few. Once again, there were horses that were very looky at the statue, and others who didn't even notice it. We didn't see Allison's jump round, so I can't speak to that.

I would hope that folks don't condemn this event based on this one statue. All in all, it was an incredible experience and a wonderfully run event. My 12-year old Pony Clubber was practicing the spiel the announcer would use when she gets to compete at Rebecca Farm some day. She said she's sure of her horse and that she could get him to gallop past the statue without a second thought. I hope that this event continues to grow and is still around when she's ready for it.

Thank you, Rebecca Farm, for putting on such a spectacular event and for giving my DD something to dream about!

Divine Comedy
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:18 PM
There is a fine line between obedience and blind obedience. It seems something crossed the line with this particular item. I don't really blame the organizers, because hey, you don't always get to know how a horse will react to something like that. But it doesn't mean we need to do it again either.

As for the whole, well, that's how it's going to be in 2012 - really? Do we really want to send a bunch of completely desensitized horses to represent the USA? I hear the Parelli's are available as coaches for a price. :rolleyes:


I don't think anyone said anything about sending completely desensitized and subjugated horses to London. We are discussing sending horses who remain obedient (Ginny) vs horses who lose their minds i.e. non-obedient (Arthur) when both confronted with the same decoration.

westcoasteventer
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:19 PM
Allegedly, the sculpture also affected the TR3Day outcome and other horses had penalties that many felt were attributable to spooking at "Flicka". Curious as to the opinion of those in attendance at that arena (I believe there were at total of three stadium arenas in use -- not sure which divisions rode in the arena in question). The TR3D issue involved a single rail, not 7, and it is pure speculation as to whether the sculpture horse caused it.

The ring schedule is on Rebecca Farm's site, the TR3D and all the FEI divisions used the same ring.

I can't believe this thread is still going on. I could imagine hunter riders or DQs having a meltdown over a spooky statue, but y'all are EVENTERS. Arthur is a horse with significant international miles, not a Training level horse (all of whom, by most accounts, had little issue with it). Rebecca Farm is a wonderful event organized and run by people who really care. I'm with Emily on this one... Denny, I really used to admire you, but now it seems you just come on here to pot-stir. The organizers and officials of Rebecca Farm are not idiots, they run a world class event, and comparing a statue not even anywhere near a fence to putting live chicken on/under an obstacle is just ridiculous.

retreadeventer
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:20 PM
By the way, folks, the definition of why we include show jumping in the sport was changed several years ago. Richard Jefferies has clearly noted in all of the seminars he's taught that show jumping has changed from being just the thing that proved soundness and ability to go on, to more of a test of an ordinary show jumper, i.e., not to prove soundness, but to mimic a test of a horse's show jumping skills. I think this is quite different from just a soundness test in its intention and practice, and thus changed the game to one of a test of pure show jumping skill on the final day. This is true throughout all levels. When I attended his seminar at Virginia in 2009, he noted this in his opening lecture, and explained this focus and change had been undertaken for several years prior, according to my notes. So those of you still thinking this is a merely soundness check...gotta get that update....

From page 46 of the rule book:
"EV143 Jumping Test.
1. The “F.E.I. Rules for Jumping Events” apply for Eventing Jumping except where otherwise provided in these rules.
2. This test is similar to an ordinary show jumping competition, but without any attempt to find a ‘winner’ of this test on its own. Its main objective is to prove that, the horse and rider are well trained in the specialist discipline of show jumping.
3. The nature of the course, its length, the speed demanded and the dimensions of the obstacles depend on the degree of difficulty of the whole competition.

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:22 PM
Maybe the decision to move the horse into the arena was because there had been many compliments on it.

Maybe it had been planned all along, and nobody actually complained to the PGJ that numerous horses were spooked by it.

Maybe those whose horses WERE spooked by it kicked on, finished their courses and never even thought to complain, because horses spook sometimes and it's part of the game. :)

Everyone had a chance to walk the course, yes? Did anyone think to complain about the statue before SJ began? If not, TOO BAD. The course is set, the bell rings, off you go.

Now if a handful of riders had made a legitimate complaint based on ACTUAL EVENTS about the statue and this was ignored, that would be worth getting lathered up about, maybe.

Alex2
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:23 PM
The horse was on course for 2 days of cross-country with over 450 horses galloping past. I saw one horse shut down and refuse at the fence closest to the horse, at least 20 feet distance from the jump to the horse. You couldn't tell if the horse was spooking at the statue, the purple flowers or was just being nappy. It could very well have been the horse.

The arena that the horse was placed in is not small or cramped. The horse was not so close to any jump that it would have been a danger to a horse or rider. The riders that I saw entered the arena and cantered around, pretty much ignoring the horse. Some horses (including Hawley's 2*) took a second look and a snort but carried on. I saw an amateur rider in the T3D do a fantastic job riding her horse that was very spooked by the statue, he kept trying to spook away from that area but each time she presented him to a fence, he focused on the job of jumping and upon landing went back to spooking. They jumped clean, within time and looked safe doing it.

My point of view when watching Allison, she cantered Arthur directly at the statue when she entered the arena. Would she have had a different result with a less confrontational approach, who knows? It certainly took his mind off the job of jumping and I wasn't certain she was going to be able to get him through the start timers before running out of time.

It was painful to watch and Allison had the sympathy of all who were watching.

In hindsight, I think the horse did belong in the arena. There were 101 horses that show jumped in that arena on Sunday, a lot of them spooked and one had a total melt down. But of the 100 horse that learned to deal with the distraction, they are going to be better prepared next time. It's unrealistic to think there are not going to be ring distractions at international competitions and we now have a number of young, up and coming upper level horses getting exposed that are going to be the better for the experience. Hopefully, Arthur will be one of those horses even though he didn't jump clean, she got him around when he didn't want to go.

seeuatx
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:32 PM
So, on the one hand I think the statue was a little unnecessary to actually be in the ring. I get where people are coming from on that side of the argument. And my retired one, while not spooky in the traditional sense, was one who would become unglued and down right erratic if something was not just to his liking. Been there done that, and wasted quite a few shows because of it.

On the other hand, I think an internationally capable horse should be able to handle a sculpture, a jumbo-tron, or even one of the TeleTubby wanna-be mascots of the Olympics being in the ring. It's not that they cannot spook at it, or look, or give it the fire breathing snorty-prancy dance on their way past... but they need to then lock in enough on the rider to do their job. If we are talking about the roots of our sport, I cannot imagine the cavalry looking kindly on a horse that can't make it across the battlefield with the important message to Gen. Imsoawesome because there was a scary statue along the way.

pegasusmom
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:36 PM
Ten Cent Beer Night happened in Cleveland.

:lol:

Yes but it DID involved the Texas Rangers. . . :lol::lol::lol::lol:

JP60
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:40 PM
But the fact remains--he didn't jump clean when he needed to.

Poor Author, he had to do a jumping round by himself. Was Allison missing or is there a division where horses jump on their own?

I've read a lot of comments on this event, and not till now did I see something to draw me out. *he* didn't jump clean when *he* needed to? You mean *they* didn't jump clean when *they* needed to. At least I hope that's what you mean, otherwise what my trainer's been telling me for the last 5 years is goofy, that its not the horse that makes the mistake, it is us.

Let's suppose that A&A are rolling along XC and wham, there is strange object and perhaps Author shies (it is strange looking), but Allison get that image in her head and his reaction. She remembers that statue. The next day, she discovers that the same statue that caused a reaction is now back in play? Perhaps Author was reacting to what his rider was feeling!

Have we forgotten Donovan at Rolex? yet the next week he was a dream. Who the hell knows what was in the mind of Author other then in that moment he reacted. I don't know Allison, I bet she is a great lady, an amazing rider. That does not preclude that she can have a bad moment, lose her cool, and send that right down to her horse. We'll never know since there are no do overs in this event. A&A can't go back and school that round to see if there is a pattern. We can only conjecture about his training, and if he has the chops for the big leagues, time will tell. If there is a question, my advice from below the salt, take the boy out trail riding for a year. Take him away from the pressure to perform and just have fun. Maybe he comes back as the same, maybe different, but rinse and repeat wont continue to work.

So Delta, I normally get what you say, but this time, Author did not ride alone, he had a teammate. The only thing he *needs* to do in his mind is eat, drink, hang with the herd and poop. Everything else is a gift to us.

Xctrygirl
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:49 PM
Please allow me a quick hark back to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Individual Dressage Competition:

Great article here:

http://www.orangecountydressageassociation.com/art1.html


In Beijing , Anky won the 2008 Olympic title because Salinero handled the stressful competitive environment better than the rest. Isabel's Satchmo, along with several other horses, had major training issues because of the presence of an intimidating, massive HD screen close to the competition arena. The screen was placed there for the audience to get a better view of the competition, but FEI management did not factor in the horse's natural instinctive reactions.

Many Olympic competitor's training sessions were spent " de stressing " their mounts, as these horses were scared of their own massive image moving across this large HD screen. Prior to the first day of competition, Isabel and several other riders lodged a protest, trying to get the screen turned off. Their request was dismissed ,and the rest is history, and the 2008 Olympic results speak for themselves. Satchmo, as well as USA rider Debbie McDonald on Brentina, and many others, unfortunately succumbed to the stress

Video of one of Satchmo's "problem moments"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3FcOaMElBg&feature=related

OK so here's why I am bringing this in....

Denny is saying that "horsemen" aren't thinking about what was in this arena last weekend. However Horsemen may have some involvement at the Games, but the almighty Peacock network will be handling a LOT of extraneous equipment and such in the arena at the London Games.

So we not only have to get our horses prepared for a "horsemen" friendly event grounds, but also a worldwide television audience equipped grounds with all the hoopla and grandeur that accompanies it.

It's just not enough to assume that the horses can handle a "big time atmosphere"... the real ones absolutely should be exposed to it in the form of big events, big crowds and yes... a statue of a horse here and there.

~Emily

BestHorses
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:57 PM
Was walking a lower level course the other day with a non event/horsey friend:


Her comment?

"Wow, your course looks like a miniature golf course! Do any of the jumps move? Like windmills?"

Says it all.

Funny that you mention this story. At Fitch's last weekend there was a moving water wheel on a stadium jump wing. Water flowing around and dumping out, the whole nine yards. Along with their other fanciful jumps it did look like a miniature golf course! Park a Mercedes in the ring and surround it all with spectator and vendor tents and you have Fitch's stadium.

In regards to the statue at RF, I have never been a fan of overly decorated stadium or xc courses. I pick my events based on my old school sensibilities. I vote with my dollars since I don't really know what other recourse I have when I don't agree with a certain event's choices. If I am the only one mentioning a course's decoration/style in an event evaluation form I seriously doubt they will be changing things for little old me.

Then again I am not aiming at anything other than events in my area. If you're aiming for international competition it sounds like your horse has to get used to whatever gets put in the ring no matter how much you may not like it.

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 05:58 PM
I've read a lot of comments on this event, and not till now did I see something to draw me out. *he* didn't jump clean when *he* needed to? You mean *they* didn't jump clean when *they* needed to. At least I hope that's what you mean, otherwise what my trainer's been telling me for the last 5 years is goofy, that its not the horse that makes the mistake, it is us.


Point taken, but please don't read too much into it. It is fairly rare where the rider is the one ACTUALLY clobbering the rails with parts of their body. :) My statement was much more general than the above would indicate. I am as aware of the next person that horses need a pilot or they are highly unlikely to do these silly things we ask them to do. ;)

And it's ARTHUR, not AUTHOR. And I was the one who speculated a few pages back if this was perhaps a "Sir Donovan" moment moreso than a reaction to the weird sculpture. :)

Toadie's mom
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:03 PM
Yes but it DID involved the Texas Rangers. . . :lol::lol::lol::lol:
Had I known about the promotion, I'd have been on a plane to Cleveland in a heart beat. You know, because no one takes anything seriously in TX. That's why we're so friendly down here:yes:

At least this thread has taught me one thing. I now know what to do with all those old horse shoes.

petit fromage
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:04 PM
I appreciate it that someone of your stature will speak up. I see very few posts here, understanding the particularly frightening aspect of "see-through" horses. And, how does this relate to the questions asked during a competition?

Very nice sculpture. Maybe you could park it someplace else?

purplnurpl
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:06 PM
That's too bad.

I had an issue with a fake cow at Pine Top.
Luckily it wasn't during the event but while I was just hacking around.

Arthur is spooky. That's just a fault of his. And Allison know that and deals.

My horse hates cows....I don't complain to the organizers at Holly Hill because the farmer next door lets his herd of 200 cows stand RIGHT NEXT to the first 4 XC fences. I just deal with jumping them all sideways.

It comes with the territory.

This horse shoe horse was scary NOT because it was a horse but because you could see through it.

I think it's lovely.

And Rebecca Farms rocks my world. I would give anything to have the money to train, have a stable, and be able to make it to Rebecca Farms just to have my horse spook at that marvelous statue.

TXnGA
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:13 PM
What happened to Alison is heartbreaking but seems to be the name of the game with this horse. She is either going to win it or lose it... i've been there.

I had a very very nice horse, imported, great blood lines, the whole shebang... and every event we did we would be in the top 3 after dressage. and then we would either finish in the top 3 or be eliminated (or dump me) or dead last for some unfortunate spook. He could pass something 100 times and on the 101 time it would get to him. It was ridiculus. and i got tired of it. this horse had 4* potential. rode him to intermediate, got tired of knowing that he wasn't 100% eventer in his heart so sold him to something he enjoyed more. I still go back and say "what if" but it doesn't change all the could have beens...

On another note, I remember Alison had another spook with Arthur last year at Luhmulen when he spoked and ran into the ropes on xc and ended up not presenting on sunday.

I think like a lot of people have voiced that if it had been a lower placed horse (not the rider/ horse in the lead) that had been spooking/ had a meltdown we wouldn't be debating/ arguing to this extent. And didn't Alison say herself that he has been full of himself all weekend in her interview having to do extra gallops and what not to keep him in line...

TXnGA
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:16 PM
perhaps i should have my farrier go out and with all my old horse shoes go and build me a life size statue to prepare my horse for anything like that... :) :) :) :) haha

the statue was beautiful but i don't know if i'd like to be in the arena with it on my horse, at least not my spooky one...

TXnGA
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:19 PM
is there a video available of alison's round?

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:20 PM
Maybe we need to tell all the Amish people who live near South Farm that they can't go to worship on Sunday morning because their buggies freak out some of the horses that are warming up for stadium near the road.

Where do we draw the line at potentially spooky things? Someone give us an answer to that one, please. :)

flutie1
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:25 PM
Arthur doesn't spook in the Dressage ring does he - and he usually wins that phase. Food for thought?

denny
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:32 PM
I just got an email from a friend I rode with years ago, commenting on this thread.
It reads: "Denny, you need to acknowledge that the sport we grew up with is dead and buried, and you will never bring it back. Let these people run their sport the way they want. It`s their sport now, not yours and mine. Leave it alone."

He`s probably right. Most of my old riding friends have either written off this new version, or they just don`t care any more, and ignore it. I`m not quite there yet, but I can see that he`s probably right.

yellowbritches
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:33 PM
Arthur doesn't spook in the Dressage ring does he - and he usually wins that phase. Food for thought?

I've seen spooks in the dressage ring. Not to this magnitude, but, yes, he does spook. I there's something to be said for the focus of the dressage. She may be better able to handle to spooksand turn it into what is often a spectacular horse because they are both more focused. I liken it me trying hack Toby on the buckle (ridiculously silly) and hacking him on the bit (spooks and shenanigans are lessened greatly). That focus helps...Toby is also far more likely to act like a goon when jumping than on the flat. Dressage focuses them.

My theory, at least.

SEPowell
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:38 PM
Oh -- and this is my mare at age 3 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/28168510@N07/4347439051) trying to make friends with the dreaded plastic horse at the Rolex trade fair. She called out to it all weekend. Although I spend a lot of time exposing my youngsters to new things, I didn't take this to mean she was especially brave. The episode made me question her intelligence as she simply would not accept that it wasn't real. :)
That picture made me laugh out loud :lol: "Are YOU my mother?" she asks.

Duckz
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:41 PM
I just got an email from a friend I rode with years ago, commenting on this thread.
It reads: "Denny, you need to acknowledge that the sport we grew up with is dead and buried, and you will never bring it back. Let these people run their sport the way they want. It`s their sport now, not yours and mine. Leave it alone."

He`s probably right. Most of my old riding friends have either written off this new version, or they just don`t care any more, and ignore it. I`m not quite there yet, but I can see that he`s probably right.

I think you could substitute pretty much anything in place of "this sport" and still have an accurate statement. Everything changes, and those who stamp their feet and lament the passing of the good old days get left behind. This is our sport now, and if we want Olympic medals I guess we'll need horses that don't mind working past the equivalent of a horse shoe statue.

TXnGA
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:44 PM
Arthur does spook in the dressage ring. I was at one of the training sessions this winter in aiken and he was spooking in the white ring and Capt Mark said to keep riding him through it and there was the one particular spot (maybe that is where EN john was sitting) that he continuelly spooked at and she would move past that spot whereas the capt made her go back to it until he stopped spooking or she could mask it well enough.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:57 PM
Nice post, LLDM.

Gry2Yng
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:58 PM
Hawley's Ginny is far less experienced and far younger, and she held it together for the win. It would be really sad to see that so heavily discounted because there was a statue in the ring that some horses can't handle, when the reality is, that Hawley and Ginny brought their A game. They rode it right. They have all the pieces.

Applause! God forbid we start writing rules about the decorations that are allowed in the warm up.

Xctrygirl
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:59 PM
I just got an email from a friend I rode with years ago, commenting on this thread.
It reads: "Denny, you need to acknowledge that the sport we grew up with is dead and buried, and you will never bring it back. Let these people run their sport the way they want. It`s their sport now, not yours and mine. Leave it alone."

He`s probably right. Most of my old riding friends have either written off this new version, or they just don`t care any more, and ignore it. I`m not quite there yet, but I can see that he`s probably right.

See here's where the rubber meets the road...

SHOW us a way back to the sport you miss and find a way to get the current powers that be to listen!! Come on Denny.... you've been a past president of the USCTA, you're an Olympic medallist.... so if you're saying nothing can be changed why on Earth should the rest of us believe that we can do any better? You've been a leader for over 50 years, so why are you still sitting at the back of the bus bemoaning the status quo?

You make it sound like you're the only one out there that remembers fondly the endurance days gone by.

Know your audience.... there are many of us who would LOVE to have those days back.

And yet we're still being towed along into the current version because as yet no one has managed to find a way back. BUT those who support and encourage the Training (and below) level three days are closest. And this division of the modern day eventer is THRIVING.

You should absolutely fight for what you believe in, but know your audience.

Listen to those around you who love the sport exactly as it is and find out what it is that draws the newer eventers to love this crazy sport.

You can only be the "been there done that stuck in the past old goat" for so long. There are innumerable quotes about the difference being the person who complains about the situation, and those who are willing to do something to change it.

Denny I would never question your love for the game, but look around you.. Is the current populous competing out there evil spawns of short format satan incarnate>? NO. They're eventers. And they love the thrill of xc, they feel the agony of learning dressage, and they pray those cups aren't too flat on Sunday. "YOUR" sport isn't dead. But it nearly died. Those among us out here are slaving and trying to find new and creative ways to foster the horsemanship, volunteerism and spirit of Tad, You, Karen, Bruce, Jimmy and soooo many others that you think has been lost. It's not gone... it got remodeled.

And though you may disapprove of it's current appearence, it has been a sport that's been in constant flux since the days of Major Chamberlin and beyond. Hell look at what Eventing was like in 1912... then compare it to 1924, then it transformed again in 1967. Hell compared to 1912, we've been running "short format" for eons.

There has to come a time when we try to see all levels of eventers stop bemoaning what isn't and rejoice in what is! For all the caterwailling over the silly statue a huge competition with a TON of eventers just ran very very safely! Why the heck are we not howling at the moon with glee??? No dead horses, no injuries, no injured riders. This hasn't been a common enough thing. And yet we're all stuck bitching about if a spooky statue should be in the ring???

COME ON FOLKS> It's time for a bit of unity.

I can disagree with Denny, but I know he loves the sport and only wants the best things for it, and the people competing in it. And this is a constant for many eventers. Whether you gallop in classic xc position, or new straight legged position. Whether you ride a tb or a wb or an equine mutt. Whether you come from Phillip's camp, OCET's barn or a small trainer working their butt off to make it. WE ALL care about the sport. And if this is true, then we should all care about each other.

So Denny.... the gauntlet is thrown... and from so many people across the countries. Can you learn to see the sparks that glimmer in the eyes of eventers now that were put there by Ben Arthur, Victor Dakin, JJ Babu, Grassshopper, Murphy Himself, Charisma The Optimist and so many other amazing horses that you and your peers got to inspire us with??? Or are we just a 3rd generation gone mess of what USET lost when Gladstone became a golf course?

So look again at the faces at your event, who bred to your stallions, who learn from you... Look again and tell me that "YOUR" sport is gone......



~Emily

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:01 PM
I just got an email from a friend I rode with years ago, commenting on this thread.
It reads: "Denny, you need to acknowledge that the sport we grew up with is dead and buried, and you will never bring it back. Let these people run their sport the way they want. It`s their sport now, not yours and mine. Leave it alone."

He`s probably right. Most of my old riding friends have either written off this new version, or they just don`t care any more, and ignore it. I`m not quite there yet, but I can see that he`s probably right.

Please don't listen to your friend (at least in this regard).

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:01 PM
That picture made me laugh out loud :lol: "Are YOU my mother?" she asks.

Nina is a very, very sweet-natured mare. It's embarrassing at times.

GotSpots
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:07 PM
There has to come a time when we try to see all levels of eventers stop bemoaning what isn't and rejoice in what is! For all the caterwailling over the silly statue a huge competition with a TON of eventers just ran very very safely! Why the heck are we not howling at the moon with glee??? No dead horses, no injuries, no injured riders. This hasn't been a common enough thing. And yet we're all stuck bitching about if a spooky statue should be in the ring???

COME ON FOLKS> It's time for a bit of unity.

I can disagree with Denny, but I know he loves the sport and only wants the best things for it, and the people competing in it. And this is a constant for many eventers. Whether you gallop in classic xc position, or new straight legged position. Whether you ride a tb or a wb or an equine mutt. Whether you come from Phillip's camp, OCET's barn or a small trainer working their butt off to make it. WE ALL care about the sport. And if this is true, then we should all care about each other.
Applause.

TXnGA
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:13 PM
See here's where the rubber meets the road...

SHOW us a way back to the sport you miss and find a way to get the current powers that be to listen!! Come on Denny.... you've been a past president of the USCTA, you're an Olympic medallist.... so if you're saying nothing can be changed why on Earth should the rest of us believe that we can do any better? You've been a leader for over 50 years, so why are you still sitting at the back of the bus bemoaning the status quo?

You make it sound like you're the only one out there that remembers fondly the endurance days gone by.

Know your audience.... there are many of us who would LOVE to have those days back.

And yet we're still being towed along into the current version because as yet no one has managed to find a way back. BUT those who support and encourage the Training (and below) level three days are closest. And this division of the modern day eventer is THRIVING.

You should absolutely fight for what you believe in, but know your audience.

Listen to those around you who love the sport exactly as it is and find out what it is that draws the newer eventers to love this crazy sport.

You can only be the "been there done that stuck in the past old goat" for so long. There are innumerable quotes about the difference being the person who complains about the situation, and those who are willing to do something to change it.

Denny I would never question your love for the game, but look around you.. Is the current populous competing out there evil spawns of short format satan incarnate>? NO. They're eventers. And they love the thrill of xc, they feel the agony of learning dressage, and they pray those cups aren't too flat on Sunday. "YOUR" sport isn't dead. But it nearly died. Those among us out here are slaving and trying to find new and creative ways to foster the horsemanship, volunteerism and spirit of Tad, You, Karen, Bruce, Jimmy and soooo many others that you think has been lost. It's not gone... it got remodeled.

And though you may disapprove of it's current appearence, it has been a sport that's been in constant flux since the days of Major Chamberlin and beyond. Hell look at what Eventing was like in 1912... then compare it to 1924, then it transformed again in 1967. Hell compared to 1912, we've been running "short format" for eons.

There has to come a time when we try to see all levels of eventers stop bemoaning what isn't and rejoice in what is! For all the caterwailling over the silly statue a huge competition with a TON of eventers just ran very very safely! Why the heck are we not howling at the moon with glee??? No dead horses, no injuries, no injured riders. This hasn't been a common enough thing. And yet we're all stuck bitching about if a spooky statue should be in the ring???

COME ON FOLKS> It's time for a bit of unity.

I can disagree with Denny, but I know he loves the sport and only wants the best things for it, and the people competing in it. And this is a constant for many eventers. Whether you gallop in classic xc position, or new straight legged position. Whether you ride a tb or a wb or an equine mutt. Whether you come from Phillip's camp, OCET's barn or a small trainer working their butt off to make it. WE ALL care about the sport. And if this is true, then we should all care about each other.

So Denny.... the gauntlet is thrown... and from so many people across the countries. Can you learn to see the sparks that glimmer in the eyes of eventers now that were put there by Ben Arthur, Victor Dakin, JJ Babu, Grassshopper, Murphy Himself, Charisma The Optimist and so many other amazing horses that you and your peers got to inspire us with??? Or are we just a 3rd generation gone mess of what USET lost when Gladstone became a golf course?

So look again at the faces at your event, who bred to your stallions, who learn from you... Look again and tell me that "YOUR" sport is gone......



~Emily

well said posts emily

Gry2Yng
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:21 PM
what important part of testing any horse's skill at eventing as a discipline was served or advanced by the horse statue?

Do we Really think anyone was testing a skill? They were decorating an arena! Perhaps a valued sponsor or volunteer donated/created the sculpture or someone liked it enough to use it in two places. The fact that it was used both on xc and sj indicates to me that it held an important place for someone. It wasn't out there to "test" anything.

It happened to unglue Arthur. As someone else mentioned, could have been about the statue. Could have been the excuse the horse needed. I recall a thread where may members jumped all over Sir Donovan for his antics in the dressage ring at Rolex. Compare and contrast? Two horses having a meltdown.

Ranger
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:37 PM
Wow. Just wow. Really? That takes a lot of gall. Do you really have any business flinging around such statements on the internet?

It never ceases to amaze me when I read such brash comments on this BB. :eek:

Well said - thank you!!!!

And then there are the posters complimenting Emily's posts - which were so stridently directed at Denny.... Why on earth? And why does she feel that she has the "standing" (legal term) to so vehemently (come on folks, it goes WAY beyond passion) post on these and so many other topics.... ? As always, her message is lost in the delivery...

RAyers
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:39 PM
I appreciate it that someone of your stature will speak up. I see very few posts here, understanding the particularly frightening aspect of "see-through" horses. And, how does this relate to the questions asked during a competition?

Very nice sculpture. Maybe you could park it someplace else?



Most fences are "see through" in stadium.

RAyers
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:44 PM
Reed: In all due respect -- sometimes it isn't just a matter of interpreting stats. Yes, it would be very interesting to have figures, but it isn't available. As much as we would like it to be (and should continue to strive towards it), decisions are rarely able to be made on perfect information.

The facts are that the "art" did indeed spook at least some horses on XC the day before (as observed by many on the grounds). With that information in hand, "Someone" (would still like to know who) decided to move it into the stadium arena. Given the information available, it is reasonable to assume that whoever made the decision knew it could affect the outcome and decided to do so anyway. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that person was ok with the decor possibly affecting outcome.


But the audience can spook "some" of the horses! Cars can spook some of the horses! Fences on course can spook some of the horses! HOW many horse MUST be answered. Otherwise if this was only 1 or 2 horses (or in English terms, "a FRIGHTFUL amount!") then this is a non player.

HOW MANY HORSES WERE SPOOKED? If it was only Arthur in that division as the results indicate then it was NOT the sculpture's "fault." If every horse on that course spooked I would say differently.

GP and FEI jumpers for DECADES had sponsor cars on course. They seem to survive.

Lisa Preston
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:47 PM
Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?

Bad decision.
Oops.

archieflies
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:49 PM
Then, the argument of us needing over the top decor at U.S. events in order to "prepare for the World Stage" isn't really valid.

I fail to see your reasoning.

Decor rarely (I won't say 'never,' not having lived forever and witnessed every moment of the sport's history) poses a major issue at major international competitions such as the Olympics because horses with serious character flaws such as Arthur's don't make it to those stages. They don't make it there because they have been identified and weeded out... partially thanks to events like Rebecca Farm that go out of their way to provide international-caliber competitions. If we did send a horse with Arthur's problem to the Olympics or WEG or wherever-gaudy-design-happens-to-be-in-style, and they had a similarly unreasonable response to the decor, it STILL would not be a an issue of decor playing a role in the standings; it would be a case of poor judgement by selection committees in choosing to send a horse with a known character flaw. Even if we gathered international support to get the FEI to ban any possibly-offensive object from the show ring, and SJ was consequently run in a giant rubber box in an undisclosed location, some horses would still find something to be distracted by... because, no matter how much you try to make it fair and friendly, there are those horses and riders that don't have the mysterious "what it takes" to handle the pressure of the international stage. So yes, we need to prepare for the world stage, not because decor is not an issue, but so that it will not become an issue. Polio isn't much of an issue around here these days, but we still all get ourselves vaccinated, don't we?

Gry2Yng
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:50 PM
The facts are that the "art" did indeed spook at least some horses on XC the day before (as observed by many on the grounds). With that information in hand, "Someone" (would still like to know who) decided to move it into the stadium arena. Given the information available, it is reasonable to assume that whoever made the decision knew it could affect the outcome and decided to do so anyway. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that person was ok with the decor possibly affecting outcome.

Sorry. Facts not in evidence. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the person assigned to move the statue from the xc to the stadium had ANY information about what went on on xc the day before. It is also quite possible that the people who had that information had no idea the statue was to be moved. Events of the scope and caliber of RF have MANY people helping them. They don't all talk to each other. In fact, the people who move stuff just keep their heads down and move stuff. If RJ was told that a horse statue needed to be in the main ring - he made damn sure it got there. Does Richard pay attention to xc, sure in a casual way - but he has his own job to do. The people setting up the show jumping are not always aware of what goes on in xc. Their plate is full trying to do their job, which is doubly difficult at an FEI event.

Sorry Denny, but this course wasn't designed by the first guy they drug out of "the last best hiding place".

RAyers
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:54 PM
Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?

Bad decision.
Oops.


I have seen lots of horses spook on XC because they went by the schooling area. Does this mean it is a bad decision to have the schooling area next to the jump ring?

Again, NOBODY seems to know HOW MANY horses spooked on XC. 1? 100? Was it a "frightful amount" or a "bit of a kerfuffle" for you English under/overstaters?

Gry2Yng
Jul. 25, 2011, 07:59 PM
Since most everyone on site seems to have noticed that the statue did indeed spook quite a few horses on XC day


"Most everyone" You took a poll? EN is not "most everyone". You need to get a grip on how big and tough and event like this is to run and how many people are involved in changing over from xc day to sj day and how segmented some of the work is and how many hours the officials put in. If the topic of a spooky piece of sculpture comes up over a quick meal on Saturday night...

riderboy
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:24 PM
Yikes! More popcorn please! :)

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:29 PM
Yikes! More popcorn please! :)

What this thread really needs is Ten Cent Beer Night.

ltmac
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:29 PM
Agreed!

ACMEeventing
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:36 PM
What this thread really needs is Ten Cent Beer Night.

No. What it really needs is more cowbell.

Isabeau Z Solace
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:43 PM
Was walking a lower level course the other day with a non event/horsey friend:


Her comment?

"Wow, your course looks like a miniature golf course! Do any of the jumps move? Like windmills?"

Says it all.

Yes indeedy.... Is that what we want for this sport ? For some folks, apparently it is.

JER
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:43 PM
No. What it really needs is more cowbell.

But that would spook Arthur.

subk
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:44 PM
Where do we draw the line at potentially spooky things? Someone give us an answer to that one, please. :)
I think we draw the line on intent. I don't think decorations should be placed on or around a course with the specific intent on spooking horses. I think we should be aware of what type of things those may be. I would bet we would all agree that placing a live mountain lion in a cage in the middle of stadium would be a problem for some horses. That is of course, an extreme end of the continuum.

I have to agree with Denny that any good horseman with a long experience with horses should know that one thing that is guaranteed to elicit an unreasonable reaction from some horses is any object animate or inanimate that looks like a horse but is not a horse. Like a mountain lion, a strange horse that does not read like any horse they have ever seen is certainly viewed by many horses as a threat. We shouldn't be threatening our horses.

There is a specific reason why mules are not allowed to event. Any of you that know your eventing history know that mules were outlawed after someone had one they evented up to prelim, but invariably there was also one or more horses sharing the warm up with it that completely lost its marbles. The biggest problem with "horse-like" items is that it is such a visceral thing I'm not sure you can train beyond it to a point where one horsey sculpture/shape will transfer to one they haven't seen before.

In addition to its "horseness" the statue also has a lace like pattern which may have very well created an optical illusion for many horses making that much harder for horse to discern whether it was a threat on not. More importantly officials should have already been aware that multiple horses were spooking at it on Saturday and it's presence in the stadium was sure to cause problems.

So the question for me is did someone take into consideration that this particular item was causing multiple issues then STILL put it in the stadium ring with the intent that the horses should deal with it as a part of the course, or was it just one of those things that happened because someone didn't think through the process? I expect that with the running of 500 horses in a weekend some things just "happen."

Unlike Denny, I don't think it is either warranted or appropriate to publicly eviscerate Rebecca Farm. Hindsight is 20/20. At worst, some volunteer made a mistake and/or an official who is not a representative of Rebecca Farm didn't catch it. (That would be a volunteer--as in someone who is giving up their time and donating they're effort!) Sometime unfortunate things happen, but we don't have to discredit people and organizations--especially one which has an incredible history of giving to this sport--to have a discussion and learn something from it.

Personally, I have a lot more sympathy for the rider in the T3D than Alison. Alison is a big girl, wears the appropriate panties, and knows what she and Arthur are about.

Gry2Yng
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:49 PM
^^^^ Bravo! Wish I could have said it that well. From top to bottom of the post.

Minis and horses pulling carts (probably why the statue attached to a train was spooky) elicit the same response as mules. I have had horses react strongly to hafflingers and pintos.

pegasusmom
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:13 PM
No. What it really needs is more cowbell.

How about Ten Cent Beer AND more cowbell. . .

deltawave
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:18 PM
So spotted horses and Haffies should be banned? Or just not allowed in SJ? ;)

Intent is fine, but do you think the INTENT of a piece of sculpture was to scare the horses.

If this phenomenon of horses being "threatened" by horse-like figures is so very prevalent, why did nobody speak up when they walked xc and saw it there? Or when they walked the SJ course?

For all I know there may have been complaints, but there is no evidence of THAT, either.

A horse that spooks and loses its mind to where it stops listening is NOT THE SPORT'S PROBLEM. It is the rider's problem. And I own one, so I feel qualified to have an opinion.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:18 PM
In addition to its "horseness" the statue also has a lace like pattern which may have very well created an optical illusion for many horses making that much harder for horse to discern whether it was a threat on not. More importantly officials should have already been aware that multiple horses were spooking at it on Saturday and it's presence in the stadium was sure to cause problems.

So the question for me is did someone take into consideration that this particular item was causing multiple issues then STILL put it in the stadium ring with the intent that the horses should deal with it as a part of the course, or was it just one of those things that happened because someone didn't think through the process? I expect that with the running of 500 horses in a weekend some things just "happen."



Excellent post Subk.

The above is the $64,000 question. Was there intent or was it an accidental consequence. If there was intent, is it appropriate?

If it was accidental, did someone miss the boat? Are the wrong people making decor decisions (e.g. should the CD be responsible for those decisions as a trained, licensed official who "should" be able to determine what is appropriate and what is not). Is there anything to be learned from this situation?

I don't think anyone is trying to eviscerate Rebecca Farms. As I said before, hundreds of decisions are made. That shouldn't mean that we don't take a hard look at those that didn't work and make changes for the future.

Long Spot
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:27 PM
See here's where the rubber meets the road...


*actual post removed to save space*



Wonderful post. Really well said.

ctab
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:31 PM
I agree with Emily in the regard that there are plenty of eventers who want to find the way back to the long format.

But that has been discussed with in many a thread and I think no one at the top really believes that format will return. :cry:

However, regarding horses handling spooky objects while doing their job no matter what, look to police horses, carriage horses, circus horses and ponies giving pony rides. Particularly the police horses who must sometimes deal with highly charged atmospheres (drunken concert goes, riots, parades) and circus horses who often work at liberty in an extremely chaotic arena. Carriage horses too have their share of distractions.

The point? If they can't cut it or be trained to deal with it they are quickly moved to a different job.

I don't know Allision & Arthur. She seems to be a competent horse woman dealing with a talented but quirky horse.

I believe that if we want the revenue to continue to flow into our sport, indeed all equestrian sports, we will need spectators. Spectators, lets face it, want to be visually stimulated. Pretty jumps, interesting design elements, shopping and maybe a little star gazing (I don't mean the ones in Hollywood). Spectators bring sponsors. Sponsors bring advertising, be it a banner, Jumbotron or statue in the ring. Is it not classical? Who is to say?

Do any of you really believe that, if 50 years ago, a sponsor came to an event organizer and said I will give you $$$$ but I want my "XYZ" in the ring, the event organizer would have said no? As long as it was not unsafe into the ring it would have gone. If I am wrong, then please explain to me how the Range Rovers, Mercedes and other cars/trucks routinely placed in rings these days came to be allowed. The sometimes flapping ad banners on the ring side rail and on the back sides of jumps. The wild wings on the standards (Bud, Sea World, butterflies) I distinctly remember going to the NHS in MSG way back and one of the jump wings, on the short side, was an huge, tall inflatable horse shoe (It was an ad for a sponsor but I don't remember who) . Every time a rider went by the waved in the breeze. Alot. All the horses went by and jumped over the fence when asked to. That had to be one of the freakiest fences to me. The rails were dark too if I remember correctly.

Anyway, yes the sport is changing. Some changes are great, frangible pins, collapsible logs, safety vests, safer fence design. Some the jury is out on, funny fences with things like people on them. Some I think are for the worse, like the loss of the long format and the trend of grouping several technically difficult jumps on course in one spot.

The reality is like anything else in life adapt or fall by the wayside.

archieflies
Jul. 25, 2011, 09:33 PM
More importantly officials should have already been aware that multiple horses were spooking at it on Saturday


Should they have? How? Should they have had a webcam set up on it with the secretary having the extra duty of watching a screen in addition to entering scores, etc.? Should they have scoured the Montana countryside for an extra volunteer to sit there and keep a watchful eye on the inanimate object and radio in any unusual circumstances? The only reason they "should have" known about anything was if affected riders approached them--'them' being the TD or ground jury-- and made them aware of the 'issue.' But did they?

Or are you saying they "should have" known that there was going to be a problem ahead of time and planned accordingly? How do you know they didn't? How do you know that the discussion wasn't had:

Decorator 1: I love this gorgeous horse statue. Wish we had two!

Decorator 2: Well, we could just move it on Sunday so the stadium spectators could also be blessed by its glory.

Decorator 1: Great idea! Let's check with the organizers to make sure that's do-able.

Organizer: Well, it's sort of silly looking, but you say Kate Middleton's very own great grandmother made it from horse shoes worn by parade horses in the royal wedding? Well, I don't know, it's still a bit scary.

Decorators 1 & 2: [together] Pleeease!

Organizer: OK, well, let's try it out on Saturday. Put it somewhere where its ugliness will blend in with the scenery. You never know how a horse may react. But if we get any complaints from riders or hear any reports of it causing major mishaps, we'll have it reshaped into a bench by morning. I expect to be told if anybody comes into the office complaining, ok?

Oberon13
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:05 PM
The decor wasn't there to "test" anyone...there is no conspiracy theory...there was no "intent" other than to make the place look pretty. The decision to put it there probably had as much weight as the decision to put ferns around the standards...or the Rolex clock out in the middle of the SJ.

My horse didn't like the mail boxes that made up standards of a jump where we showed...my horse doesn't like bright yellow flowers on the jumps on xc....my horse doesn't like (fill in whatever you want here). As I said before...slippery slope....that kind of argument DOESN'T work.

Do we REALLY want to say that decor determined the outcome of this event? Isn't that a major put-down to Allison and her ability to ride through whatever comes her way (which is what eventing was originally meant to test in military horses)? "Oh, you had problems on course? I'm sure it was the decor. Here, let me go move it for you so that the course will be easier, since you obviously can't handle it as is." Isn't that what we're saying?

Who knew that scapegoats are actually shaped like horses made out of horseshoes?

nextyear
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:16 PM
Was it a good decision or a bad decision to bring into show jumping an object that you knew caused some horses to spook on cross country?

Bad decision.
Oops.

But if you look at the results of X/C in the 3* there are no
20's and Allisons time was almost the fastest, did'nt she have to go past the same statue?

PonyGal08
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:19 PM
Over the 50 years that I`ve been eventing, I`ve seen horses spook at all kinds of things. The wooden horse at Doornhof that had horses as far away as the dressage ring snorting and spinning, the big plastic animals at the event in Thompson, GA, that stopped horses, and, the worst, the ditch at one long ago Hitching Post that was boxed at each end by a crate of terrified, squawking geese, which eliminated the entire division.

After each one of these debacles, I always wonder what it is that makes people create situations for horses that aren`t part of the tests or "questions" that eventing is meant to ask.

In my original post, the actual question I asked was: "Why won`t they learn not to do this to riders and horses?"

Now, from reading so many of these responses, I have my answer:

"They won`t learn, because they don`t see these things as problems."

And maybe they aren`t in the minds of those who create these situations, but most riders/trainers would know better, but riders/trainers don`t run things, they ride and train and have to take what they are handed.

I agree with BFNE... This is a bit insulting. Additionally, how many of the riders and trainers, at the event, complained and protested? The event had rider reps right? Normally well respected knowledgeable horsemen/women. If this is such an obvious issue that "most riders/trainers would know better", then why didn't they do anything?

I personally don't find the statue an issue. My horse can have her own mind, but should respect what I tell her and trust me to keep her safe. Again, as BFNE said, this is most definitely a rideability issue.

On another note... many of those opposed to the statue are touting that stadium is supposed to test soundness and fitness... wasn't this testing mental soundness?

Gry2Yng
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:26 PM
So spotted horses and Haffies should be banned? Or just not allowed in SJ? ;)



NOT my implication dw - in fact, the opposite.


(e.g. should the CD be responsible for those decisions as a trained, licensed official who "should" be able to determine what is appropriate and what is not). Is there anything to be learned from this situation?

SevenDogs, you do know that Richard Jeffery was the course designer, don't you?

Calvincrowe
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:33 PM
Just spoke with someone who indeed was actually AT Rebecca, and actually SAW the statue, who actually RODE CC and SJ by the statue. Guess what? No spook from her horse--yeah, he looked at it, but did his job without causing any issues. No one else in her division seemed concerned by it in either CC or SJ. No comments were made, no whispers along the barn aisles of "dear lord, what were "they" thinking, putting that insane statue out there?" No one came off, no one got hurt, no one whined and said "no fair".

Hey, spoke with the same person and her best bud was also there, and her horse gave it the wide pass on CC, but didn't mind it in the ring for SJ. So, there are at least TWO REAL PEOPLE with REAL FACTS about the situation that has taken up 12 pages on COTH--mostly from folks who were not at the event in question.

Just sayin'.

SevenDogs
Jul. 25, 2011, 10:44 PM
From the USEA website:


"Many of the horses in the SmartPak/USEA Training Three-Day division weren't thrilled with the infamous horse statue as well. As overnight leaders Therese Russell trotted into the arena with her gelding Dante, the chestnut took an immediate disdain to the sculpture. A single rail in the last line cost Russell the victory, opening the door for second placed Kathy Cain and her off-the-track Thoroughbred Sidecar to sweep in for the win after their double-clear round."

So, it sounds like decor played a role in determining the outcome in both the CCI*** and TR3Day. Is that really what we want determining the winner of a TR3Day?

If you read the entire article there is a quote from Buck Davidson:


"But I think one thing we all want to say is how bad we feel for Allison," he added. "None of us want to move up because of what happened. She's worked so hard to make that horse and he just panicked about that statue in the middle of the ring and there was nothing she could do."

So it sounds as if at least one rider (who actually benefited) didn't like the fact that the outcome was influenced (if not determined) by decor.