View Full Version : The fundamentals...not for riders, but for events

Jul. 31, 2011, 10:08 AM
Whoops! Sorry! accidental delete and computer operator malfunction!
This was about fundamentals for events but probbably not worth redoing. Never mind. Wasn't going anywhere anyhow.

Jul. 31, 2011, 10:56 AM
What I would like to expose is a list of fundamentals or minimum, base guidelines on organizing an event, and not just the cross-country course, because I am curious as to what people think is a minimal standard for events, of all types, and if you feel different levels should have different standards, why.

------ COURSES
----- Stabling, parking, grounds

Your posting has me quite torn between two views.

As a competitor, I want to know about these things ahead of time, then decide for myself (and my pocketbook) whether I want to compete. In the past, I usually drove to the 'new' event as a spectator on a familiarization trip the first year, then competed the following year. Hundreds of miles, yes, but I got to check out everything in person, no surprises. Didn't depend on someone else's opinion of 'good course' or 'good stabling'.

As a volunteer at recognized and unrecognized events, as a member of the organizing committee for a recogninized event for 4 years, I might be a bit miffed with your assessments. My jobs have included stabling steward, XC volunteer coordinator, parking nazi, secretary, and I even designed and set a Stadium Course for an unrecognized show. If our opinions differed about grounds or volunteers or courses, I might tell you to MYOB. I expect the TD and judges, certified by the USEA, to tell the organizing committee if something needs to be changed for safety reasons.

Jul. 31, 2011, 01:42 PM
I don't think there should be any "rules" regarding event fundamentals except what's in the rulebook for recognized shows. That being said, I vote with my pocketbook based on a few considerations.

I have two (well actually three requirements): Safe and Organized (third is enough porta potties).

As a competitor I want to know when I am riding far enough ahead to get a baby sitter, whether there is food available, is there a warm up ring or just a grassy space, am I going to be able to check in late at night and find my stall, where are the courses posted, distance between barns and rings, etc. All these things are necessary for me to decide whether I can go to an event. And I need to know them IN ADVANCE! I don't like to show up to a new venue and it's not clear where the office or trailer parking is. What is the check out procedure? How do I get my stall deposit back? If a building isn't marked well with signs, give me a map to the grounds ahead of time. If there is a construction detour, PLEASE notify the entrants ahead of time. All of this is info that can easily be put on a website, but a lot of people don't!
My other organizational beef is regarding posting of scores. You only have 30 minutes to protest, but I can't spend all day hanging out at the scoreboard. I would like to see some standard on this.

SAFE: footing, footing, footing (warm up and otherwise). Are the warmups big enough? Are the cross country jumps anchored if necessary, are the ditches too deep and narrow? What happens to the footing when there is a lot of rain? Is trailer parking well lit (in some areas of the country). Are the stalls safe? (someone showed up for an event and there were poisonous spiders in the stall). Unfortunately, most of these kind of things you have to show up and check for yourself, but it sure would be nice to know ahead of time!

Again, I don't think these concerns are issues at most recognized shows. But most places could be a little more user friendly for first time competitors who are not familiar with the venue.

Aug. 1, 2011, 09:16 AM
I expect the TD and judges, certified by the USEA, to tell the organizing committee if something needs to be changed for safety reasons.


This is why organizers pay these people. This is why they hire officials who have (and continue to have) specific training in the base requirements of the sport -- from judges who have continuing education requirements to course designers who not only have had to pay hundreds if not thousands to get their license but are overseen by the committee that inspects courses every few years themselves.

I can't decide if the OP was intended to gather ideas in a handbook fashion of "how to be an organizer" - things to look out for and such... or if it was intended to stir the pot and try to tell some hard working volunteers/organizers that what they're doing isn't good enough, even though they're following the rules as laid out by the organization that they pay thousands of dollars either directly to or because of the rules laid out by said organization (everything from who they can hire to what types of materials and jumps they need to have).

Aug. 1, 2011, 09:42 AM
If I'm not mistaken, the USEA publishes a "how to" manual for organizers....

And if we somehow manage to get enough people to agree that "surfaced parking areas" are better than "mudholes" (gasp! who knew?).... That more bathroom facilities are better than fewer? That competitors prefer to pay LESS for stabling? Is that really helpful information? Do competitors REALLY think that organizers don't KNOW this??


Aug. 1, 2011, 10:00 AM
Just from a competitor and a volunteer's point of view... (and not saying this is the "be all and end all" of lists, nor that organizers should have to adhere to lists, etc. Just my point of view on it).

Competitor's standpoint:
-I really, really like good footing. In fact, I won't go to places with poor footing. Just not worth it IMHO.
-Inviting courses at the lower levels, more technicality as the levels go up. That said, *I* don't mind the technicality at lower levels, but the reason I'm doing the lower levels is because I have a green upper level prospect. A lot of people are doing the lower levels for the experience for themselves, and I can definitely see why they wouldn't want a super technical course. I suppose it would be technicality as appropriate for the level, then.
-As far as course/jump decor, I honestly don't care. My horse isn't a spooker, so it's not a worry for me, and even if I was currently showing a spooker, I still don't think I'd care... It's my job to keep the horse in his right mind, and the course designer's job to see how far they can push the limits on that, JMHO.
-comprable pricing. I see a lot of poor quality events with bad facilities and bad courses charging astronomically more than nicer facilities with nice courses. From a business standpoint, that's just not a smart move, and perhaps why some of them are losing business. :(

Volunteer's standpoint:
-feed them, thank them, bow down and call them blessed... anything you can do to thank them for their time. They're helping keep our sport going and often times get no thanks and have to pay for their own food. Maybe a baggie of stuff for a volunteer would be nice... You know, like a bottle of water, a packet of trail mix, a cookie or something (or just a ticket to get free concessions food), and a thank you note. I always try to go out of my way to thank volunteers at shows and stuff, but I think everything we can do for them would be another step towards getting more people involved in the sport.