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View Full Version : Two dead in one day. How many is acceptable?



Lord Helpus
Mar. 16, 2002, 06:28 PM
Southern Pines is a gorgeous place for an event. The day was 75 degrees and sunny. The footing was great. The jumps were beautifully constructed. The course seemed to ride fair for many horses.
And yet the score is 2 horses dead and at least one more (that I saw) vanned off (I spent 1/2 the day at the Prelim stadium jumping, so several more could have ben vanned off that I did not hear about.)

What can be done to avoid killing these talented, wiling horses who give their all? I am a H/J rider. I do not consider myself a bleeding heart, but I was sickened by today. People should not be able to put horses in such a position as to cause such a high liklihood of loss of life or injury. Maybe 3 day is an anachronism whose time has passed.

Lord Helpus
Mar. 16, 2002, 06:28 PM
Southern Pines is a gorgeous place for an event. The day was 75 degrees and sunny. The footing was great. The jumps were beautifully constructed. The course seemed to ride fair for many horses.
And yet the score is 2 horses dead and at least one more (that I saw) vanned off (I spent 1/2 the day at the Prelim stadium jumping, so several more could have ben vanned off that I did not hear about.)

What can be done to avoid killing these talented, wiling horses who give their all? I am a H/J rider. I do not consider myself a bleeding heart, but I was sickened by today. People should not be able to put horses in such a position as to cause such a high liklihood of loss of life or injury. Maybe 3 day is an anachronism whose time has passed.

Bensmom
Mar. 16, 2002, 07:22 PM
Lord Helpus -- leaving aside the more philospohical question you've asked about the danger of eventing in general -- can you give us more details about what happened? What horses and riders? I can't find any breaking news online -- the USEA's was last updated 2/28 - not exactly breaking news!

My rig was the horse ambulance/removal vehicle last weekend at Red Hills and we were so pleased to not have to use it. This is so scary and sad.

Libby

pajumper
Mar. 16, 2002, 07:54 PM
What??

That's so sad /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif I have friends who event, and they all know a couple people who have lost a horse at an event---granted, I live in a very active eventing area so 3/4 of the riders are eventers---but, it's still too much for me. Accidents can happen anywhere, but there is a huge difference between risking your horse's life and falling victim to an accident. I think people tend to blur that line in the heat of the moment, but it's part of our responsibility as rider and caretaker of our horses to keep them safe and sound. I hope the horses didn't suffer /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Robby Johnson
Mar. 17, 2002, 03:58 AM
Give us more details, Lord Helpus.

I've been around the eventing scene for five years now, and I've never seen one die at an event, particularly as the result of an accident.

Robby

Sannois
Mar. 17, 2002, 04:27 AM
At southern pines /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Oh that is awful. and very unusual! Please fill us in. Tradgetys happen, but 2 in one day. Not good! and here in the US, /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

"Those who would give up
essential Liberty, to
purchase a little temporary
Safety, deserve neither
Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin
Franklin, 1755

shea'smom
Mar. 17, 2002, 05:43 AM
I was there and saw one horse. It met a fence wrong, happens all the time, but he sort of fell into the fence. It was a young rider intermediate horse. I heard after I left that an adanced horse was hurt at a weldon's wall. Also put down. As we were standing around, people were of course telling stories about horses who broke their leg being led in from the pasture and similar tales. The fences were all beautifully constructed and the horses were very experienced. It was terribly sad, but no one is to blame. These horses are not the type to be happy cantering around a hunter course or doing dressage. They love their jobs. It is terrible that this happen when so much care went into the courses, footing and preparation of the horses. It is heart breaking, but we will all be out next weekend, loving our horses and doing the same thing....

3-days
Mar. 17, 2002, 05:55 AM
...I don't really feel comfortable giving out specific details, I'm not sure I have the right to release such horrible news. However, you can visit http://www.fivepointshorsepark.com/spht02_results.html and look down the results. They are listed as mandatory retirements. There were two who had to be euthanised, of the 3 MR's.

As far as Lord Helpus's question, How many is acceptable? They way I see it one is too many, however, accidents do happen. I'm not sure that eventing is far more dangerous than jumpers or racing. I would bet that more are put down, racing than eventing. I think this is a horrendous and should be prevented when possible, but I think the care given to event horses is superior to any other sport. The stereotype of just running your horse into dangerous combinations is simply not true.

Lord Helpus
Mar. 17, 2002, 06:05 AM
The accident I saw was the advanced horse Sporting Image and Diane Roffe. I was on the far side of the jump (a sturdy log jump with a well defined ditch in front that gave no other horse any problem the entire day). The jump judge said it appeared that the rider tried for a long spot, but the horse seemed not to notice the ditch until the last minute and slammed to a stop, sending the rider over the jump and the horse chest first into the logs, which he moved back 1 foot, before falling backwards into the ditch.

He was worked on for almost an hour, before vets determined that he was permanently paralyzed behind (and not just stunned and in shock) and he was euthanized.

The other horse was an intermediate horse who snapped his leg. People said the sound was so loud it sounded like a rifle shot though the pine woods. I was at a different part of the course, so I have no details, but earlier I had seen horses jump that fence and it was a "safe" straightforward fence that did not cause a lot of other problems (I believe).

My issues with these deaths are that they happened at all. Who cares if 213 horses cleared the jump, if the 214th died jumping it? Does that make the jump safe? Does that excuse the death of those horses?

The advanced rider had already ridden the course twice. Does that mean she was competent to ride it? Does it mean she was tired and should be restricted to 2 rides per day?

I heard that the prior event had ben cancelled due to weather/footing so that these horses came into S Pines without a prep run. Should S Pines have adjusted their course/time allowed because of that? (Maybe they did, I don't know). I do know that Mark Phillips and Jack Fritz were all over that course yesterday, and I would guess that they are 2 of the wisest names in the business.

People were muttering that riders were pushing for that all important "completion" to qualify to run at Foxhall(?) and Rolex. Implying that they might be taking horses around who were not quite ready/fit because of the prior cancellation of the other event just to get a "completion" against their name. I do not know the rules in your sport, but I do understand pressure to qualify and it makes people make unwise decisions.

As someone who feels strongly about the success of the Southern Pines Horse Park, I am doubly saddened that this gorgeous event has had such a pall cast over it. Last year was its first year and, evidently many riders thought that the prelim course was too hard for horses just moving up at the beginning of the season (there were many refusals and falls, but no accidents). And now this happens at Intermediate and Advanced.

Should there be more stringent requirements before horse and rider combo's can move up? I know horses must meet a minimum criteria, but from whoat I saw in the stadium yesterday, there is an ENORMOUS discrepancy of ability in riding at prelim level. Some of those young riders should have been at training level perfecting their skills there [one out of 5 getting 1.5 strides in a tight 2 stride combination because they had no ability to get the horse back to them after the first element. Really scary.] I shudder to think what will happen today when they tackle the cross country. I won't be there watching it, that's for sure.

[This message was edited by Lord Helpus on Mar. 17, 2002 at 09:14 AM.]

KellyS
Mar. 17, 2002, 06:14 AM
Horses dying in any sport is not cool, but to point fingers at eventing is not fair...

Just reading the hunter/jumper forums and Off Course this week presented the death of What Nu in jumping, the bad crash at the Qualifier, and old history I remember - the horse with the pole through its chest a while back....

Just bringing some perspective to these posts...eventing is not the only sport where horses have died. While eventers where concerned with qualifiying for Foxhall, what about the show jumpers trying to qualify for the world cup.

Take a deep breath before saying that eventing is past its day, that just paves the way to eliminating all equestrian sports where a horse is relatively put in danger. Now, talking about safety is one thing, but condemning a sport because of freak accidents is another.

GotSpots
Mar. 17, 2002, 07:51 AM
I know that folks are upset. I am too: the thought of losing a horse that I love and care for in the middle of a ride scares me, just as I know it scares everyone who competes, events, jumps, or trailrides. We do our best: we train, school, condition, and care for our horses so that accidents don't happen. Unfortunately, accidents can and do happen in any equine endeavor. Our sympathies and condolences for the riders, owners, and others who were close to those horses. I don't think any of us can imagine what they are going through right now, and heaping blame on them or asking if they were too tired to ride the course is not going to help them or the sport.

mvoght
Mar. 17, 2002, 08:25 AM
Good questions.

I love riding cross country courses, but have not ridden in a horse trial or event in 10 years. For the first 5 or so, it was because I had a young child, no money, and no time. Then, when I started to look into it again, riders were dying, horses "chesting" fences, then flipping over seemed to be the reason in a lot of those.

There was a lot of talk about rider qualificiations, horse experience, and on and on. The fact is, eventing requires the acceptance of a higher level of risk of injury to both horse and rider than does hunters, dressage or even jumpers. Yes, accidents can happen in all of those, but it doesn't SEEM to happen as often.

I do not wish to have eventing banned, and don't get involved in the making of their rules. I also do not compete in it, haven't joined the organizations and am not yet comfortable with my skills as both a rider and a horseman (well, woman) to not allow the "heat of the moment" to override my better judgement.

When I go school XC, I can choose to jump ONLY what I feel my horse is capable of jumping. If, I want to skip fence X because of footing, visibility, trappiness, even just I chickened out, I can. If I have signed up for an event, paid my fees, I must be willing to withdraw if I see a riding combination that I don't like, giving up an entire weekend. And, I must trust that the course will be suitable to my level, be that BN, N, Training, Prelim, on up.

This means that I may not be "pushing" myself enough, not "improving" or "developing", but that's ok. I love my horses and I'm not sure that I could convince myself that it was a "freak accident" should one of mine get a fatal injury on course.

There was a horse badly injured at the last event I watched, the VHT, and it was disturbing, I do not recall if the horse was put down, I think it was. OTOH, there were a LOT of riders out there who were over-mounted, overfaced, and also, just needed a lot more hours of time before showing, much less eventing, IMO.

With that, I'm going to head over to FPP IV and watch a few minutes of our fellow members have fun schooling! I can't take horses today because I have a workshop to attend and my horse is up in Westminster, MD where I'm riding in a dressage clinic again tomorrow.

BarbB
Mar. 17, 2002, 08:42 AM
One the the qualities in humans that I find most troubling is the self proclaimed right to pass judgement on others.
I don't think the poster who pointed out that horses have died in other competitions was in any way saying that it is alright for horses to die eventing, but merely pointing out that horrible accidents can and do happen anywhere.
Eventing builds such a bond between horse and rider that the loss of a horse, especially in this way, would be devastating beyond words.
However, like most eventers, I am not happy with a life lived in perfect controlled safety.
Most eventers take every possible precaution to insure the safety of their horses and themselves, but the sport inherently contains risk. That risk is one of the elements of the bond between horse and rider. Event horses truly love their job, there is no way to force an animal to perform the way that they do. They, of course, have no concept of the risk involved. They also have no concept of the risk involved when they gallop wildly across a pasture or engage in mock fights with each other. They simply enjoy the excitement of the movement and physical challenge, yet many horses are destroyed because of injuries sustained in pasture accidents. Horses, for all their size and strength, are in may ways fragile creatures. We do our best to protect them, without actually wrapping them up in cotton and shielding them from life.
Please don't presume to judge the sport or the reactions of the participants who love the sport when a tragedy occurs.
BarbB

charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

Duffy
Mar. 17, 2002, 09:23 AM
What would be so awful about building x-country fences that were more forgiving. Something tells me the event horses would still jump them, for heaven's sake. The jump judges might be a little busier and need more training, but I don't see that as a viable deterrent to making the sport safer for our wonderful, trusting and brave horses. One can still make the jumps APPEAR to be solid, I would think.

One thing that really bothered me was Pam's observation about the Stadium Jumping phase, (which I thought was after the x-country, not before - but anyway), where 20% of the riders were not able to put the correct amount of strides in a 2-stride combination!!!!???? Hello??? If they can't do that in a controlled environment, they have NONONONONONO business going around a cross country course. Shame on them and/or their trainers, if they have any. I can see an occasional problem with controlling an excited horse in a short 2-stride, but that many tells me that there is more a problem here.

The above spoken, I DO agree that the top event horses are extemely well taken care of and I admire incredibly the top event riders. It takes a rare breed to reach that level, from both the equine and human standpoints.

I have heard that there are requirements for both horse and rider before they are able to move up the ranks. Is this true and do you eventers think they are adequate?

Please know that I am not slamming eventers. I just think that ALL of us need to be re-evaluating our sports in these days and times and be open minded about suggestions as to making them safer.

Duramax
Mar. 17, 2002, 09:25 AM
Well said BarbB.

Why can't my horse just be normal?? /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

KellyS
Mar. 17, 2002, 09:35 AM
Thanks, BarbB

Just trying to add a little perspective to the discussion...never been called "idiotic and twisted" before, though! As I always say "takes one to know one."

Oh, and Zeus, before going off and calling another poster names, make sure you read the post correctly - I never said it was OK for any horse to die - I don't care for people who try to put words in my mouth.

wanderlust
Mar. 17, 2002, 09:54 AM
Originally posted by LordHelpus:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Some of those young riders should have been at training level perfecting their skills there [one out of 5 getting 1.5 strides in a tight 2 stride combination because they had no ability to get the horse back to them after the first element. Really scary.] <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have also noticed this problem, and posted about it several months back. Riders (at all levels) are not ready to be riding the courses they are. I was disgusted by the poor riding in both x-c and stadium while watching (and fence-judging) one of the bigger horse trials in the area last fall. Unexperienced kids who were going novice on horses who were waaaayyyyyy too green to be attempting to jump 2'3", nevermind 3'. So-called "pros", whose multiple trips on clients horses were so bad that it made me cringe to watch (this particular pro couldn't find a distance to save her life, left the first two stadium fences from huge gappy spots, hitting the horse in the mouth both times. The horse then proceeds to bolt around the course and "deer jump" every single fence. This is after I had seen her on x-c the day before... completely boffed her line to a huge intermediate cordwood pile. The horse, thank god, stalled out and stopped, saving her from what would have been a complete disaster... and she proceeds to whale on him with the bat, as if *he* had done the poor riding, picked the bad line and caused the stop. I wished I could have used the bat on *her*. Moron.)

While I fully believe that the case with Dianne Roffe was a freak accident, I am surprised we don't see more bad accidents at the lower levels. The USCTA has made a huge effort to make eventing more available and less "elitist", and it seems that a major lashback has been a "dumbing down" of the sport. People are not fully aware of the risks involved, and are not prepared to ride even beginner novice courses, nevermind prelim.

What is the solution to this? I wish I knew. All equestrian sports have inherent risk for both horse and rider. But I do know that after being away from eventing and in the "A" h/j scene for several years, you will not find the h/j kids "cowboying" around and being unable to ride the course (granted, the h/j's have a whole different set of problems, but we're talking about the ability to safely ride the course you are competing over). The major difference is that there is a sense of accountability in the "A"'s- almost every rider is with a trainer, and the trainer will not allow you to compete in a class in which you will make a fool of yourself (and, by association, your trainer).

These are my observations and opinions- I know many of you feel differently. Flame away...

wanderlust
Mar. 17, 2002, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by Duffy:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>What would be so awful about building x-country fences that were more forgiving. One can still make the jumps APPEAR to be solid, I would think. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

There has been alot of research into this... and they have run into some problems. One of the major ones is how to make the fence safely break apart. There is fear that if a fence is made to collapse upon impact, the individual pieces might do damage to both horse and rider.

As it stands now, if horse and rider are travelling at any speed and hit an obstable, the rider tends to get thrown clear of the obstacle and the horse. Would the physics of a collapsing obstacle change this? And what if the horse and rider *aren't* moving at speed- could parts of the fence collapse onto them and trap them? What if the horse decides to bank an obstacle, but the obstacle is collapsible? That could be disastrous.

These are just some of the questions that eventing officials are working out in the quest to make x-c safer for both horse and rider.

Poombadesign
Mar. 17, 2002, 11:26 AM
First off...humans love to put themselves in risky situations, as you can see by horse sports, but also other non-horsey sports. Horse sports aren't the only places where death can occur. People drive cars around in a pack at high speeds and crash and blow up...people launch off snowbanks and can fall on their heads...people jump off bridges and leave their lives to the mercy of a rope tied to their feet, etc etc. Yes, there is another living being involved in horse sports, but those are just the chances we take.

Second...I had been thinking about how there could/should be some sort of system where people have to pass a certain thing before being allowed to move up. I'm not saying do a certain amout of events, just barely making it around. Some way that can prove you and the horse have the ablity to move up safely. Possibility within each area, have several experienced people in charge that oversee everyone and can step in and not allow someone to move up if their riding seems unsafe (that might be hard to understand, but I'm thinking something like the equivalent to a pony club DC or RS). But, of course, this would probably get an awful response from tons of riders because it would be viewed as a pain in the butt, unneccesary, whatever. Oh well, but something should definitally be done.

Poombadesign /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

"It's Friday afternoon...do you know where YOUR Chronicle is??????"

my page!!! www.geocities.com/countrymouse0524 (http://www.geocities.com/countrymouse0524) it's a work in progress!!

Sannois
Mar. 17, 2002, 11:33 AM
Boy did that ever need saying, I was going to get a little riled if I had replyed! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"Those who would give up
essential Liberty, to
purchase a little temporary
Safety, deserve neither
Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin
Franklin, 1755

Lord Helpus
Mar. 17, 2002, 12:17 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Poombadesign:
First off...humans love to put themselves in risky situations,... Yes, there is another living being involved in horse sports, but those are just the chances we take. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That seems to be an ingenuous remark..... The whole point of this discussion is precisely that we DO put innocent animals ar risk, not that "those are just the chances we take". The horse does not choose to tie a bungy cord around his feet and jump off a cliff, etc.

-------

I had to go back today to pick up some stuff I forgot yesterday, and I stayed to watch a friend's daughter go. While waiting for her (she rode like a pro and nailed her jumps with a beautiful eye and well timed rides) I watched some 12 - 15 others come through the water complex and jump about 6 other jumps in a large circuit in and out of the woods. Amazingly enough, I saw a number of scary spots and ill timed jumps, hung legs and hard rubs, but no stops (except in the water) and no accidents.

I guess it was because these jumps were low enough that the horses could get over them by hook or by crook, they did not have to be super athletes to do it. Many of the horses were quite good jumpers (although one jump came after a right turn and many of the young riders never re-balanced their horses, which caused an inordinate number of them to severely hang their right leg, often hitting the jump hard above the knee) and they were all brave. So that combination of traits seemed to be enough to overcome any lack of finesse or expertise at this level of competition.

Which is OK with me. That is as it should be. Horse and rider learning together. Taking controlled risks and gaining experience.

So what happens between Prelim and Intermediate? Do horses move up who aren't talented enough or not ready? Perhaps the requirements for moving up need to be made more stringent: like qualifying for indoors. It must take "X" number of points earned by placings at cetain size preliminary events. For BOTH rider and horse. If there is such a system in place, perhaps the requirements need to be made harder.

At this event there were 90 Intermediate horses. Are there really 90 sound, fit and ready to compete on this particular weekend Intermediate horses in this part of the country, this early in the season? Hard to believe.....

bucksnort
Mar. 17, 2002, 12:22 PM
I know one of the girls who had a MR by her name. Oh crap!!! This is awful /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif but as someone else said, they horses love what they do. They do it because they love it.

~~Bucksnort~~

[This message was edited by bucksnort on Mar. 19, 2002 at 10:35 PM.]

Poombadesign
Mar. 17, 2002, 12:36 PM
Fine. I guess I didn't explain myself well enough...

Humans are WELL aware that these animals are ours to take care of and protect. If you're not, you shouldn't be in this business because that's just stupidity. Yes, horses are not aware of the risks, but the riders/trainer/owners are. If you're in these sports and expect that nothing will happen, again, is stupidity. I seriously doubt that someone would blindly go into a position that they are definitly not quilified for and/or know that they will not be able to get around. But that doesn't mean that people who are over-quialified are exempt from injury/accident/death. THAT IS THE RISK!!!

"It's Friday afternoon...do you know where YOUR Chronicle is??????"

my page!!! www.geocities.com/countrymouse0524 (http://www.geocities.com/countrymouse0524) it's a work in progress!!

Duffy
Mar. 17, 2002, 12:55 PM
I still say that if 20% of the riders at not a beginner level cannot control their horse or have sufficient knowledge of how to, or talent to, negotiate a 2 stride in 2 strides in a stadium jumping arena, they have no business galloping around a x-country course over solid, unforgiving jumps.

CdnEventer
Mar. 17, 2002, 01:32 PM
I find that alot of people push there horses to move up. My horse is going to be 7 this year. He is going Training and may upgrade to prelim at the end of the season. His "niece" will also be 7, but she will be upgrading to intermediate at the beginning of the season. She has successfully complete a one star, and did go clear crosscountry, in the time at Southern Pines today.

My horse will stay at Training for most of this season because the jumps are still small enough for him to make mistakes safely.

CdnEventer
Mar. 17, 2002, 01:38 PM
If only 20% of the riders got the right number of strides, MAYBE it was something about the distance... My horse has a huge stride, and I can ride him, and I know he will get his feet out of the way, but if the distance was that short, maybe they should have rethought that before they put it on the course!

canterlope
Mar. 17, 2002, 01:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Perhaps the eventing world should take a lesson or ten from the showjumper or hunter world. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Why on earth would eventers want to take lessons from a group of people who use nose bands with tacks or chains under them to control their horses, hit their horse's legs with poles studded with nails to get them to jump better, or kill a horse by electrocuting it or breaking its leg for insurance money? Talk about hipocracy. I would suggest that, before riders of one discipline start adopting a holier-than-thou attitude towards riders of another discipline, they should make sure their own house is in order before throwing the first stone.

Now, is it unfair of me to condemn the entire hunter/jumper world for the acts of a few fools who put their own ambitions before the welfare of their horses? Absolutely. And truth be told, this is not how I look at the majority of hunter/jumper riders. I just wanted to point out that the idiotic and twisted mentality here is the blanket judgement of an entire group of riders based on either one incident of bad judgement on the part of a single rider or a freak accident.

It is true that eventing is a dangerous sport and I totally agree that there are riders participating in our sport that have no business being out on a cross country course. However, eventers are not blind to this fact. In the past several years, much has been done to make our sport safer. Studies have been done, rules have been written, better education of our horses and riders have been stressed. We are ever vigilent in trying to find ways to keep our horses and riders safe. But still they die or are injured and will continue to do so because accidents happen or there will always be a rider who, in a split second, makes an unwise choice.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying this excuses that fact that horses die. On the contrary, my heart is ripped out of my chest when I hear that a horse has gone down on course. It drives home the fact that every time I swing my leg over my horse's back and head out to compete, I know there is always a chance that we may not come back together and that there is a risk that either one of us could be injured or killed.

But, because this is true, does it mean that I should never event again or am some ogre for continuing to participate in a sport that may result in injury or death? I just don't think so. I have as much chance as taking a header while out on a hack through the woods or walking down the stairs in my house.

As horsemen, risk is something we live with every day and I refuse to wrap myself in a bubble and live a dull existence just because there is a chance that something bad may happen. And truth be told, even if my horses were aware of the risk involved in eventing, I firmly believe that they would still want to do it as much as they do now. There is no denying that they love this sport as much as I.

Please don't ask me to take this pleasure away from either my horses or myself or judge me because I continue to compete just because something unfortunate may happen. It's called life and I would rather live it to the fullest then never venture outside because of the possibility of an accident.

I would hope that riders of other disciplines would understand the pain that all of us feel when something like this occurs and not label us a bunch of ruthless, uncaring yahoos who have little regard for the lives of our horses. Not only is this a small minded attitude, but it is also extremely hurtful to those of us who go to extreme lengths in making sure our horses have the best care possible and as much love as they could ever possible want.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whoops, there goes another rubber tree plant!

Robby Johnson
Mar. 17, 2002, 01:56 PM
How hard was the s/j track? I tend to agree with Duffy that you should be able to put two in two. But there are other variables too. Was it a combination/related distance that jumped off the short turn from a big oxer? Remember, in eventing we don't have the outside/inside/outside/inside tracks that many in the hunters enjoy. At a horse trial(s), where you might be expected to ride s/j before xc, you could be on a keen horse and still have the omnipresent XC nerves freaking you out! This is why I don't like horse trials that employ the dressage/sj/xc format (though from an organizing perspective, I totally understand it). The s/j in eventing is designed to test the horse's rideability and soundness after the endurance phase.

Robby

Duffy
Mar. 17, 2002, 02:05 PM
Dummy here, Robby! I didn't know they changed the order for horse trials versus 3-phase or 3-day eventing. I have done some 3-phase competitions and stadium was after x-country. (I did these MANY moons ago, so I don't even know if 3-phase events still exist! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Janet
Mar. 17, 2002, 02:27 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>the Stadium Jumping phase, (which I thought was after the x-country, not before - but anyway), <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Duffy,
HT can be run either Dr- XC- St, or Dr- St- XC.
When you have many divisions running the same weekend, (and more rides than can do XC all in one day) it is quite common to have some of them to XC first, and others do St first.

lilblackhorse
Mar. 17, 2002, 02:33 PM
I agree with LordHelpus and Master Talley on some points here. I too have mentioned the fact that I attended an event last summer, with my non horse person spouse.

God, even HE noticed that the Prelim riders were downright scary! Hung legs, missed distances-I was appalled. Like masterTalley said, I just wonder that these horses aren't dying there because the jumps are small enough to be able to get over with a crappy approach. They have wiggle room because of the height. Unfortunately when you start moving up and hitting Prelim and above, there is little wiggle room for the rider who really is not a confident rider who really knows how to sit back and get the horse under him to put in 2 short strides say, and get out safely.

JMHO, and I know that event horses love their jobs, as do riders enjoy the thrill and risk...I just really wonder about the ability of some of these riders to be at the level they think they are at.

The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

canterlope
Mar. 17, 2002, 02:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> How hard was the s/j track? I tend to agree with Duffy that you should be able to put two in two. But there are other variables too. Was it a combination/related distance that jumped off the short turn from a big oxer? Remember, in eventing we don't have the outside/inside/outside/inside tracks that many in the hunters enjoy. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Robby, I totally agree. And another thing to remember is that event riders do not get to school the show jumping course before having to ride it. If you want to make a fair comparison between the hunters and eventers, you need to compare an eventer rider's show jumping round to a hunter rider's warm-up before the show even starts.

Remember, eventers are going into the show jumping phase cold turkey. They haven't had the advantage of schooling the course before they have to compete. And, they are on very fit horses who know that cross country is coming. These horses may be acting in a manner that you can rarely duplicate at home in a schooling setting. Again, I am not excusing bad riding, but I am saying that it is harder to put in a flawless show jumping round when you haven't ridden your horse around the course beforehand.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> At a horse trial(s), where you might be expected to ride s/j before xc, you could be on a keen horse and still have the omnipresent XC nerves freaking you out! This is why I don't like horse trials that employ the dressage/sj/xc format (though from an organizing perspective, I totally understand it). The s/j in eventing is designed to test the horse's rideability and soundness after the endurance phase. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

There is another reason other than ease of scheduling as to why organizers are running show jumping prior to cross country. It is a safety issue. Many organizers are now taking the position that riders who do not complete show jumping will not be allowed to run cross country. They are using show jumping to help weed out the riders who either do not possess the skills required to safely negotiate the cross country course or are just having a bad weekend. While the traditionalist in me still thinks that cross country should come before show jumping, I am slowly accepting the fact that, at least at the lower levels, it is a wise decision to run show jumping before cross country.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whoops, there goes another rubber tree plant!

Janet
Mar. 17, 2002, 02:38 PM
Lord Helpus

You DO have to have a certain "qualifying" rounds at Prelim before going Intermediate.

And, new this year, you have to have completed 4 Training level events before you can go Prelim.

I agree that there are some riders competing above their level of competence.

But the fact remains that most of the fatalities and serious injuries have been with well qualified and experienced horses and riders.

almosta
Mar. 17, 2002, 02:51 PM
My question is....who is the person that lets these non-qualified persons ride these courses. If they are children shouldn't the parents/trainer stop them and if they are adults shouldn't the trainer stop them, or at the very least,guide them to the division they belong in. I have the same question about the horses abilities.

Janet
Mar. 17, 2002, 03:32 PM
There are many fewer "trainers" in the h/j model in eventing. Most act more in the role of instructors or coaches.

If asked, they might tell you what level they think the rider/horse should compete at. But if you don't ask, they are unlikely to insist.

For instance, many Eventing instructors only teach at home, and are unlikely to see you in an actual competition (unless they happen to be competing at the same event, and then they are likely to be busy with their own horse). And a combination that appears competent at home may change significantly under actual competition.

For instance, many years ago, Jimmy Wofford (no lightweight) said that my horse was ready to go Prelim, based on several CC schooling sessions. However, she behaves sufficiently differently on an real CC course, that she was actually only just up to a Training for a full course.

CdnEventer
Mar. 17, 2002, 03:39 PM
It is early in the season so people might be a little rusty.... I dont think anyone who isnt a good rider CAN ride prelim... They would not be going prelim and getting around if they werent decent riders...

Janet
Mar. 17, 2002, 03:50 PM
I just spoke to my sister, who finished 3rd in one of the divisions of Prelim. She finished on her dressage score, with a clear CC and Stadium, and was one of only 2 in her division to make time.

She said that the CC course was very twisty, and she was going "close to advanced sped" on the straight bits to make time.

She was also one of the ones who put "one and a half" in the two stride in stadium. She didn't go into details, but apparently it was set up so that you had to jump in "big" and then take back. She said that if she could have come in on a short stride, she would have had no problem, but you couldn't do it that way. Needless to say, she is going to try to reproduce it at home.

DizzyMagic
Mar. 17, 2002, 04:20 PM
I was at an event this past fall as a groom. While my rider was in warmup, a horse died on course, at the bounce. I thought they should have removed it as an obstacle for everyone who followed, but it remained. I was such a basket case when my rider went out, waiting for Secret to get through that fence!

I think that if a horse or rider dies at a particular obstacle, that obstacle should be removed from the course for the remainder of the event. After the event, plenty of time should be taken to study placement, light, striding, and other factors that experts take into consideration when evaluating safety. Most likely it will have been a fluke, a tragic accident. But fatalities warrant serious study.

JMHO.

The best way to predict the future is to create it!

Lord Helpus
Mar. 17, 2002, 05:27 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
She was also one of the ones who put "one and a half" in the two stride in stadium. She didn't go into details, but apparently it was set up so that you had to jump in "big" and then take back. She said that if she could have come in on a short stride, she would have had no problem, but you couldn't do it that way. Needless to say, she is going to try to reproduce it at home.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Since I would estimate that approximately 4 out of 5 did put 2 in the two stride, obviously the vast majority were able to get their horses back onto the appropriate short stride to negotiate it the way it was meant to be ridden. Yes, most of the horses who did a "one and a half" made it through without having a rail down, and so accrued no official penalties. But, with apologies to your sister (and congratulations to her for such a high placing) they merely reinforce my feeling that the motto of a three day rider is "To survive is to succeed".

But, lest I seem to tar all three day riders with the same brush, let me say that I saw a number of riders negotiate the course absolutely beautifully. You knew that they knew where they were at all times. The horses were balanced, on the bit and in sync with the riders. It was a real pleasure to watch those rounds.

PS: Prelim did the s/j on Sat because the Intermediate and Adanced started x/c at 8 AM and finished at 5:30 PM. Riders were sent off every 2 minutes throughout the day. Prelim started x/c at 8 AM on Sun and finished about 2:30 pm, going off every 2 minutes.... Even with some rain showers on Sunday morning, the footing held up beautifully.

Bensmom
Mar. 17, 2002, 08:24 PM
Ditto to what DC said with an addendum: we need to keep in mind that as equestrians we all face some threat to our chosen sport, whether it is racing, steeplechasing, dressage, jumping, hunters, or rodeo. There are folks out there who could make a case that everything we do with horses is morally wrong -- the challenge to keep our sports in the face both of animal welfare/rights claims and in the very real possibilities of losing access to open spaces in which to ride are significant ones. The last thing we need to do is for the different phases of equestrian sport to attack each other. What I've learned through my friend that is grooming for a show jumper about the way many of the horses are treated in that sport makes my hair stand on end, however, I would not suggest that show jumping be discontinued.

As to the suggestion about safer fences, there are in fact, studies ongoing about this and committees which are developing/testing ways to make fences safer. It isn't as easy to do as one might think -- I for one do not want to jump xc fences that fall down -- a much greater chance of being injured as the fence crashes around you and the horse. One of the reasons I enjoy cross-country is the greater distances between most obstacles and the strength and sturdiness of the obstacles.

And to address other comments: I agree that we do have some riders competeing at levels where neither they nor the horses belong. That is ultimately a self-policing problem, however. We do have new qualification rules for the higher levels, but the decision of whether suzy-q rider is safe to go Novice is one for the rider, the trainer and/or the parent. I have been dwelling in the Novice ranks for much longer than most people would, but I've had some problems learning to ride stadium correctly, and so, until my seat is better, I've taken some time off to work on details. One of the hardest decisions I've ever made was to drop out of Rocking Horse last spring because I wasn't ready and didn't want to scare my horse by giving him a bad ride. I cried all the way back to the barn because I felt like a chicken or a quitter. Jim Graham appeared, stopped me and though he was in a rush to go coach a rider, took the time to tell me I made the right decision, and that knowing when you or your horse was overfaced was as much a part of this sport as galloping xc was. He then sought me out later to talk more about it and to do a great deal to make me feel, not just better, but like a real horseman, who had made a true horseman's decision, not like a coward. I'll never forget that someone of Jim's stature took the time to teach a rookie that good judgment and safety are very important. And I've never even had the pleasure of riding with Jim, but he is a friend, and I hope he will clinic near enough to me so that I can ride with him. Regardless, I will always hold him in the highest esteem.

The point of this long tale is that I believe that many of the upper level riders you would find to be the same way. I saw a number of riders decide at Red Hills that after a problem or two xc, they would retire and withdraw rather than pushing their horses. The dangerous riders that many see are not getting good instruction, or are being pushed by not-very-good instructors. I'm not sure how to solve this problem, or whether it can be institutionally solved. It may be a problem best dealt with by personal responsibility. As long as people blame the course designers, event organizers, trainers or the sport itself for accidents, the problem will probably never get solved.

And sometimes, just s*(&*( happens. Accidents will/do happen sometimes no matter what precautions are taken. I love our sport, even though I've never done more than Novice, and I truly love my horse. Going along on a xc course with him happy doing what he loves is one of the biggest thrills I've ever experienced. He's done barrel racing, straight dressage, hunter stuff, and trail riding. He's more alive going xc than at any other time. (I do know the difference -- my little cow horse learned to jump 2 foot xc stuff, but never liked it, so he trail rides instead) I have loved being involved on the safety side of things. I have helped provide materials for the safety/liability portion of the instructor certification program that USEA is developing and as mentioned in my first post, I provided my truck and trailer, which was adapted for this use, as the horse ambulance/removal vehicle for Red Hills. Safety is of paramount concern for me and so is liability, for as an attorney the possibilities of being sued is never far from my mind.

But, the best you can do is to stack the deck in terms of safety, so that one is never left saying "Well, if only we'd done x, y, or z" and then let the sport continue, knowing that you've done what you can. Eventing is the most fun I've ever had with my horse, and 99% of eventers take better care of their horses than any other discipline I've seen. I cried last night when I read about the horses that were put down at Southern Pines, though I didn't know them nor did I know the riders, but I'm still proud to be a competitor in this sport -- I just redoubled my commitment to doing what I can to make it better and safer, starting with my own riding.

Libby (or at least I would start with my own horse and my riding, *if* I could ride. He is still sick -- Day 7 of antibiotics. <sigh> )

MsRidiculous
Mar. 17, 2002, 08:43 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> But, the best you can do is to stack the deck in terms of safety, so that one is never left saying "Well, if only we'd done x, y, or z" and then let the sport continue, knowing that you've done what you can. Eventing is the most fun I've ever had with my horse, and 99% of eventers take better care of their horses than any other discipline I've seen. I cried last night when I read about the horses that were put down at Southern Pines, though I didn't know them nor did I know the riders, but I'm still proud to be a competitor in this sport -- I just redoubled my commitment to doing what I can to make it better and safer, starting with my own riding.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Amen to that, sister!

-Amanda

True Southerners grow up knowing the difference between "pert near" and "a right far piece."

TopBritYR
Mar. 17, 2002, 09:10 PM
On a lighter note!I just got back to freezing cold Virginia, literally hour ago from Southern Pines. I rode one of only two clean prelim rounds XC in my divsion today, at Southern Pines!in the rain.grrr! it rode auwsome i have no compiants! and there was founatly no seriously injured or dead horses today. There was only a couple of MR and EL but both horse and rider were all fine. And not to many falls, only two olympians fell off! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

All i have to say was that my best wishes are with Shannon and Dianne, they are great sports both of them, and both rode their other horses to great rounds today, and are example to all! after two horrible freak accidents.

Despite these two horrible accidents it was a great event, by far the best event i've ever been too, it was the most origanizered event ever, absurdly true. I think the organizers,vet-personals, officals, volenteers, and espc the TD- Brian Ross, did an exceptional job handling some unfounate situtations.

TopBritYR
/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Oh and ps I saw Montanna Native the horse that alos hurt itself this morning he seemed to be of the IV and was looking much better while the vet checked him out!

"People who say riding isn't a sport are afraid, in the game we play, the ball has a mind of its own."

[This message was edited by TopBritYR on Mar. 18, 2002 at 01:05 AM.]

Xctrygirl
Mar. 17, 2002, 09:10 PM
OK,

My 2 cents for the vast well of comments. First off, I was at the event saturday and somehow while there a.) didn't hear about the YOI horse and b.) Missed seeing Diann's fall by maybe 5 mins.

First off, Dianne's horse was sooo "on" in the warmup. He was shiny and fit looking and the two of them did not meet a fence wrong. (Also note that SPHT has x-c warm up fences that you can gallop to and get more in x-c mode than standard and rail jumps.) When asked to move up he did, when asked to wait, he did. They appeared to be very much in sync. I believe from a brief but clear conversation with the vets that her fall and the other horses' were both very much in the fluke category. Both horses have reams of experience, both had had a previous run, and for you qualification buffs, both were already qualified or nearly so. (According to who I talked to. I have not done full research but even a little research shows me a number of runs for both horses at their respective levels including Foxhall for Diann and NAYRC at the CCI* level for the other.)

Now, both fences involved a ditch. And I know that while ditches are a big element in eventing that I have heard murmurs about maybe changing the way they are actually built. Ie. making them shallower so a horse cannot be enveloped inside if it falls. But so far its just been talk.

Diann came back today and rode two great rides and was thanking everyone for their help yesterday. She is a very strong person and the penultimate in professional competitors. I know she will be ever more competitive at her next event. As for the YOI rider (whose name I am not divulging due to her age and because no one else has confirmed it before me), I have seen her ride before and also expect that she will return soon, as she is a good, and strong person.

We all die. We all strive not to do it in a manner ill fitting for the lives we live and for the people around us. But lives are lost by the minute. I am not glorifying it, nor criticizing. I think its safe to say we all wish our horses a peaceful death in a field around age 30 or so. And I know I wish a quiet slumber that just takes me, around age 90. With as many people as view these boards I hate to say, but this will not be the case for everyone.

At this point it's right and good to look at ALL our equine sports, see if there is a flaw or flaws. Look to the horses and riders, are they well trained enough? And once we have searched as much as we can, and tried even from our homes wherever, to better the equine world at large, move on again. Give your horse(s) a carrot. Thank your families for letting you follow your crazy horse world dreams. And canter forward in life. That is the only way we can truly keep living and honor these wonderful horses and riders.

"The brave may not live forever, but the cautious never truly live at all"

~Emily

Chaser
Mar. 18, 2002, 03:00 AM
There are on-going tests for safety improvements to cross country courses. I believe the frangible pin idea may well be used at Badminton this year. The powers-that-be seem to think it may actually be workable. They instigated the research because something needed to be done but I think they were pleasantly surprised to find there might be tangible benefits.

It is terrible that two horses lost their lives, but as others have said, whenever we do things with horses there are risks involved. For such large creatures, they are very delicate,...even feeding correctly is a challenge. Even when we don't do anything with our horses, accidents happen. I personally knew three horses that had to be put down because of fractures sustained when at pasture and a number of other close calls.

Perhaps what we should consider as well, is quality of life. Most horses, if brought on carefully and thoughtfully, adore going cross country. Yes, they don't realise the dangers involved but they love their job. If we've introduced them to this exhileration, instead of leaving them "safely" in the field or pounding round an indoor school for ever, doesn't this mitigate somewhat the potential risks to them?

It must be truly awful to lose a horse competing, but if you've done your best and you know you and your horse are up to the task, then that is all you can do, whatever the type of competition. We strive to do the best for our horses. We spend all our time training them, learning how they think, bonding with them,...only a fool would take on more than they know they are capable of. We are all fallible and can misjudge our capabilities, but if we constantly question what we are doing and take on board the views of more experienced people in our discipline, I don't think we can ask for more.

Horses have such brief lives. I would be devastated to lose my horse on a cross country course, but when we are on song we have so much fun together, and I wouldn't want to take that from us.

tle
Mar. 18, 2002, 06:35 AM
I'm replying as I read (the joy of being able to open 2 browser windows), so I apologize if my response seems a bit disjointed... just didnt' want to forget anything.

1) BRAVO BarbB & Canterlope!

2) <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>It must take "X" number of points earned by placings at cetain size preliminary events.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The problem with putting qualifications on placings is that a 42 may get you a 5th place one weekend and a 12th the next. Not exactly standardization.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Are there really 90 sound, fit and ready to compete on this particular weekend Intermediate horses in this part of the country, this early in the season?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, simply because SP is a "gathering" place so to speak for this time of year. I can guarantee that you saw 90 horses from all over this HALF of the US and Canada. Remember that there is a HUGE winter circuit in Florida... so many of these horses have been running events since January in prep for these March events. No, the cancellation last week didn't do anyone any favors, but the wise eventer would have been out schooling or putting in an extra gallop in place of XC. PLUS, missing 1 event will not make an Intermediate fit horse suddenly into the king of couch potatoes. (horses lose fitness a LOT slower than humans)

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I still say that if 20% of the riders at not a beginner level cannot control their horse or have sufficient knowledge of how to, or talent to, negotiate a 2 stride in 2 strides in a stadium jumping arena, they have no business galloping around a x-country course over solid, unforgiving jumps.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And you're probably right. But remember that those who were quoted to not be able to put in the distances were the Training riders doing SJ before XC... not the Intermediate & Advanced ones. At Training level, very few MAJOR changes to striding are asked for simply because at this stage of their training... well... it's not asked for. I'd be curious to know what the actual distance was in that combination (on a side, but related note, I've often seen TDs and Judges "miss" shortening a combination when they lower the heights... making the distance "off" in the process).

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Possibility within each area, have several experienced people in charge that oversee everyone and can step in and not allow someone to move up if their riding seems unsafe <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But who would this be and, heaven forbid, someone have an accident on course, who would shoulder the financial burden that would inevidibly come around when "approved" so & so sues because another person said they were "approved"? I know... financial reasons are the last thing anyone wants to think of when talking safety (ie: lawsuits, higher priced "breakable" jumps), but it's a fact of life that simply must be dealt with or we all lose.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Unfortunately when you start moving up and hitting Prelim and above, there is little wiggle room for the rider who really is not a confident rider who really knows how to sit back and get the horse under him to put in 2 short strides say, and get out safely<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Which is my MAJOR complaint with many of the "dumbing down" rules they have put in place for Novice and Training. The US system of progression (and many people have heard my diatribe on this before... my apologies) in Eventing has been called one of the best. HOWEVER, there is still a sizable jump in effort between Training and Prelim. And now that things are getting "softer" for Training (IMHO in an effort to ensure that "everyone" can event... to dull the elitist attitudes), it makes that jump to Prelim even harder! As of this year, there are new qualifications in place to ride Prelim... perhaps they will help, but IMHO if they would stop dropping the efforts needed at the lower level to the lowest common denominator, it would improve the riding at Prelim.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>After the event, plenty of time should be taken to study placement, light, striding, and other factors that experts take into consideration when evaluating safety. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Believe me, that definitely happens!

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The sport, in fact, may serve itself well to search for creative means so as to provide for this protection. Surely the sport's governing body could do a better job of this itself than an outside government agency could if brought to task.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And that is why things are ALWAYS being investigated, researched and tried out! Collaspable fences are being designed and tried. Rules and qualifications are being enforced. I'm not trying to jump down your throat, but please realize what you said (that I quoted) is exactly what is happening within the sport already.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The dangerous riders that many see are not getting good instruction, or are being pushed by not-very-good instructors. I'm not sure how to solve this problem, or whether it can be institutionally solved. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is what the new Instructor's seminars and certification program is for. It's in its infancy, but help educate instructors in order to improve the riding of the competitors is one of its top goals. BUT... you will never (IMHO) see an instance where the USEA or USAEq *requires* a certified trainer for a competitor -- too much liability to assume when you're competing in an inherently risky sport.

Ok, I guess that's it (for now). My heart goes out to those who lost their best friends this weekend.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 3 recap... OMG!! NOT HUNTER!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif And the tribal suicide continues... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Remember we're on Wednesday this week!

rileyt
Mar. 18, 2002, 06:42 AM
I get the impression, (mainly from Zeus, but from several others as well) that they may not be aware of some of the lengths eventers HAVE gone to to try to make the sport safer. From an educational standpoint:

1) Eventers have been discussing collapsable fences for some time now. They have run a few events (in the Netherlands?) with the collapsable fences, and have run into problems. I.e., at least as we're CURRENTLY designing them, we don't think they're "safer" (because of the problems with bits of the fence coming apart, etc.). We are still working on it! So PLEASE don't think that we're just being a bunch of bull-headed people who are saying "Nope, it's always been done with dangerous fences, so we're just gonna keep doing it that way!" Nothing could be further from the truth.

2) Someone suggested that if they have a death at a fence, it should immediately be removed from the course. I disagree, in part. I think if it is a NEW jump, then yes. Maybe it should be promptly pulled, so we can re-evaluate. But if it is a jump that has been there for years, and has been jumped safely 400 times, I don't think we should pull it. We can't prevent accidents. But we need to make sure there isn't a design flaw that makes it tough for a horse to "see" the fence, or the take off, or whatever.

3) There HAVE been a LOT of improvements made in X-C fence construction. Things like rounding the tops of fences (to permit horses to "slide" over better) and being careful about oxers to make sure the horse can see the back rail on the approach. Making fences more easily "deconstructed" in the event a horse becomes hung up in one. I'm not saying its "enough" ... no one is. Even the die-hard old times don't argue against these minor but important changes.

4) Qualifying. I'm glad we've decided to introduce the 4 clear rounds at Training level before moving to Prelim. The problem is, A rider and horse might do FINE at training. And really not be ready for prelim. Or, EVEN IF they squeak by around their four rounds at training... what then? Other than a 4-clear round requirement... how do we weed out the riders who got their four clears by the skin on their teeth? I don't see a good way to do it... But I'd love suggestions. As far as the 1 1/2 strides in the two stride... well, first of all, I disagree that Janet's sister "squeaked by" or "survived" (I don't know Janet's sister by the way). I think anyone who is finishing in the top three in the LARGE divisions at Southern Pines is doing well. Her dressage must've been good. Her X-C must've been good... should we have pulled her from the event because she blew a fence in stadium? I don't think so. Were there other riders who blew that fence who SHOULD HAVE been pulled? Probably.

Yes, there is more danger in eventing. As long as we have a cross country phase it will be more dangerous. But (and this is not by way of excuse), I have seen plenty of SCARY rounds in hunter jumper shows as well. ESPECIALLY the low level jumpers. And some go clear! If you can figure out a way to keep those folks from risking their horses that way, maybe its something we can apply to eventers.

It was a sad weekend. But, to me, it sounds like a freak accident. As far as the young rider goes... here's a girl (from what has been posted), who had LOTS of prelim experience, and had done several CCI*s. That doesn't necessarily mean she was "ready" to move up, but it certainly supports her case. A move up is ALWAYS hard. If you could do it perfectly the first time around it wouldn't be much of a sport. Even if this wasn't her first Intermediate, she sounds like she was still in the stage of "gaining experience" at this level. Maybe she or her horse made a costly mistake. I'm sure no one regrets it more than her... but, I think as long as people are moving up, there will be accidents. Even a rider who is well prepared might have a scary jump or two. Sometimes its just dumb luck as to whether that scary jump results in a lesson learned, or an injured horse.

Heather
Mar. 18, 2002, 06:58 AM
I too was there this weekend, and while I didn't see the exact moments of each fall, I did see the immediate aftermath of both of them. Also, I was with someone who saw the first accident, and spoke with someone who the second. My husband also spoke briefly with DIanne on Sunday, and we both spoke with the TD Brian ROss.

First, let me just say that I saw and spoke with Montana Native and his rider and they are both completely fine. She is bruised, he has a small hematoma on one knee, but expect to be back in work later in the week. She feels very lucky.

Second, after the YR horse fell, they did take the fence out.

Third, there is no question that the fatalities were freak accidents, however there may be some question as to how freak the fall were--let me explain. In the first instance, there were several factors which may have contributed to the stop/fall (based on conversations I was in among a variety of top riders who saw the accident bnut which out of defernce to the young person involved I won't delineate here), however the horse recieved its fatal injury AFTER the rider had come off and after it had come to a stop. There is no question the fact he broke his leg was a freak thing--but there should be some analysis of what caused him to stop and fall in the first place. As far as Dianne's fall, it was clearly a freak thing--she is devestated of course, but said that is felt like he just wasn't looking at the fence and missed his footing. She was very greatful for the help, love and support of the eventing community at such a terrible time--and had nothing but kind words for the vets and crew who worked so hard to help her horse.

I too would say the vet crew was phenomanal, they were there with the horse(s) within seconds, and dealt with a terrible situation with speed, professioanlism, and compassion.

Now allow me to speak in GENERAL terms--not speaking specifically about any of the people involved in the tragedy this weekend.

There are many, many people who are riding at a level they shouldn't. There are many, many people who are wonderful riders who did everything right. There are some jumps that require more expereince that immediately obvious. There are some jumps whose conditions change as the day, light, and atmosphere changes. I hope and think that there will be a lot of conversation and study of these instances to see what if anything can be learned from this and prevent it from happening again. And, after speaking with the TD, several top riders, and others, I feel comfortable saying this will happen.

On a personal note, I will say I think there is some merit in examining making ditches more shallow so horses have a better opportunity to stop themselves from sliding into a fence, and carefull examing how light changes on a given fence during the day. I also think the we should examine how people get to a certain level and give officials more leeway to eliminate people who "aren't getting it done". I think it wouldn't hurt to examine how countries who do have testing procedures for competition, like France, do it and how it works for them.

My heart breaks for Dianne and the young rider (I too won't name her publicly due to her age). I cried plenty on Saturday, and its still difficult to think about. But, now is not the time for hysteria. Now is the time for reasoned, serious and thorough scholarship and discussion about what happened.

Lord Helpus
Mar. 18, 2002, 07:25 AM
To reply to the 2 posters who were also at SP, and to refocus the thread, let me reiterate that the two deaths occurred at jumps that had no other bad problems that day. Diane's fall (the one I personally saw) was the only horse to not soar over the fence and gallop straight away. In fact, about 30 minutes earlier, the fence judges, who had judged that fence last year also, were joking that next year they were going to ask for a more interesting fence -- this one was boring, because nothing ever happened at it.

So, Diane's tragedy certainly comes under the heading of a fluke accident, not lack of training or ability. Especially since she had already ridden the course twice and jumped that fence twice without a problem.

But, that said: to me, a fluke accident should still not take the life of a horse. Her horse hit the jump so hard he move it back a whole foot before he fell backwards into the ditch. And we are talking big, solid logs, here.

Perhaps changing the time allowed might have helped. Then the horse would not have been galloping so flat out that, when he apparently did not notice the ditch until it was to late to adjust at that speed, might not have caused a fatal accident.

Obviously I do not know the answer. But when a horse galloping at that speed runs smack into a wall, something has to give.

centeur
Mar. 18, 2002, 07:28 AM
Please tell, I've been in bed with flu and have not gotten any news, waht happened?

HonorsGlory
Mar. 18, 2002, 08:08 AM
I agree with some of you that the horses do enjoy their jobs very much. But I think that some of the jumps they have at the higher levels are pretty outrageous. Nothing against all you who may be 3 dayers, and it is great if you have been able to get to that level, but everyone has a different apinion. And I also agree with many of you that things like broken legs and even death can happen anywhere, but I do think that some things that they have on higher level courses could be safer.

Just one persons apinion.

Tootsie
Mar. 18, 2002, 08:31 AM
Just to clarify what TopBritYR said, there were more than two clear jumping rounds in the prelim. Lots of horses jumped clean, but the time was very difficult to make. Most had time penalties, but jumped all the jumps saftly.

"The Assyrian program of exterminating various ethnic groups generally failed to promote cultural diversity."-- Non Campus Mentis

wendy
Mar. 18, 2002, 08:46 AM
just to add my two cents to the eventing isn't really so awful argument:
people get up in arms over deaths in eventing like this mainly because they are so spectacular and public. Deaths in other horse-sports tend to be less public and dramatic: the horses are advanced too rapidly up the ranks without paying proper attention to conditioning and training, and their bodies and minds just give out. How many racehorses, cutting horses, reiners, show-jumpers, hunters, and dressage horses end up quietly dead from too much work too fast?

The competitive show-jumpers and hunters I've know don't seem to understand the concept of slowly conditioning and training a horse at all. Their horses seem to require an awful lot of drugs to keep going, and they seem to need new horses practically every year because they destroyed the previous ones.

HonorsGlory
Mar. 18, 2002, 08:57 AM
TopBritYR or anyone else who can answer this question, How did Montana Native get hurt? He was my last riding instructors horse and I am really curious about what happend.

JAGold
Mar. 18, 2002, 09:16 AM
This is a hard reply to write, because serious injuries are both incredibly sad and distrubing. First, then, my condolences to Shannon and Dianne, and best wishes to Rainey and Montana for quick recoveries.

Second is a disclaimer. I didn't go to Southern Pines, but over the weekend I did talk to several riders who were there. My opinions are more general, about safety and risk, than about the specifics of what happened this weekend.

I do not believe that eventing, eventers, course designers, trainers, or judges and officials, as a group, either willfully or recklessly disregard the safety of either horse or rider. I do believe that the eventing community embraces achievement and athleticism, and accept the risk inherent to both. To strive for excellence is to push limits, but to achieve it is to respect and then overcome those limits. Competing in horse trials is about testing the bond and the capabilities of horse and rider. It is thrilling and fulfilling. It is not the only sport where a level of acceptable risk is embraced: consider football, which certainly has more serious and career ending injuries per professional participant than eventing, downhill skiing, which has also suffered several high-profile fatalities, or car racing.

The question, then, is the definition of "acceptable" risk. That varies for every athlete and every person. Some people opt to bungee jump, parasail, or scuba dive on vacation. Others prefer museums. Some people travel to conflict regions to provide humanitarian relief. Others help out by writing letters to politicians or checks to aid agencies from home. Some people find thrill in galloping 540 meters a minute up to a 3'9 table. Others do not. Therefore, some people choose to event and to event at the upper levels, and others do not. There are options. Every rider competing at the higher levels has assessed his or her willingness to participate at that level. When the risks become unacceptable, there are other levels or other horse sports.

To a certain degree, the same is true for upper level horses. While horses certainly don't understand risks the way people do, and while they cannot voice preferences, horses who do not enjoy eventing very rarely wind up at the upper levels. It just isn't possible to force a horse into the gallop and jump needed for a prelim, intermediate, or advanced course unless the horse is willing. There are very few true stoppers on the event circuit, because once the problem is recognized as such and become habitual, the horse is helped to a new career. I have had the privilege to work with some very top level event horses, as well as my own game mounts, and while breed, way of going, size and age vary, the common theme in event horses is enthusiasm for cross country day.

Given the premise that participants in eventing find the risks to be acceptable, then, we are left with questioning the validity of participants reasoning and the precautions they take. While I generally believe that people should be allowed their own decisions, I also believe in safety standards for workplaces, the environment, and some industries such as transportation. Combined that general acceptance of standards with the fact that horses, as well as human participants, are involved, I am willing to entertain the notion of standards and outside critique of those standards with regards to eventing as well. And I believe that the standards and safety practices are sufficient. Consider qualifications: to compete at prelim and up requires multiple clean rounds, within a time window, at the lower level. There are age requirements, because a cross country test is mental as well as physical. Young horses may not compete at certain levels. Riders who are injured in competition cannot start again until cleared by a doctor. Entries: all riders, and recently all horses, are to be members of USCTA/USAE, so records can be confirmed. For junior riders, entries are to be signed by trainers or parents. Equipment: approved helmets and safety vests are the norm, even for adults. Horses wear protective boots (and some wear studs). Cross country courses are inspected by not only the course designer, but also the TD. Riders, through each competition's designated rider representative, can voice concerns about the course before the competition begins. I will not discuss collapsible fences except to say that the issue has been researched extensively, and there is some reason to believe that a solid fence is actually safer because splintering materials could cause further injury and horses can literally climb out of trouble if the fence remains firm. Precautions: EMTs on hand, a designated Safety Officer, and fence judges at every obstacle help to ensure that help is on hand as soon as possible.

This is not an exhaustive list of precautions, and I do not agree with all of the requirements I have described. I am simply listing them to show that though and care are given to the safety of both horse and rider in eventing. My point is not to compare eventing to other disciplines or to criticize those sports.

I love my sport, and I participate knowing full well the potential risks. I do not believe that we can ask, as this thread does, "How many [dead horses] is acceptable?" There is no answer to that question; a death or accident is always tragic. I do believe that the preparation that my fellow eventers and I engage in is responsible and almost always sufficient, and I bear well in mind the tragedies that have occurred. I simply ask for respect for those of us who do choose to participate and to do so as best we can. �Jess

tle
Mar. 18, 2002, 09:18 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I do think that some things that they have on higher level courses could be safer.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Like what? what... AND WHY... would you change? yes, I'm picking on you, simply because your statement gave me that opportunity. :-) But I hear it all the time from non-eventers... "oh that's so dangerous", "something should change to make it less risky", yadda yadda yadda... but the one thing I find more often than not is that they can't give *good* suggestions because they don't understand the sport. They see the horrific accidents and start bemoaning the sport. Typical human nature I suppose (to jump to conclusions without all the facts or typically a good grasp of the problem even) and I know I've been guilty of it...

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 3 recap... OMG!! NOT HUNTER!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif And the tribal suicide continues... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Remember we're on Wednesday this week!

JAGold
Mar. 18, 2002, 09:29 AM
Yes, TLE. Exactly. The best riders -- the experts -- find the majority of current practices acceptable. In fact, the best eventers in our country were at Southern Pines and completed the courses, including the fences where accidents occured. --Jess

jr
Mar. 18, 2002, 09:53 AM
Wendy,

I don't usually post on this forum, but felt compelled due to your comment :

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Deaths in other horse-sports tend to be less public and dramatic: the horses are advanced too rapidly up the ranks without paying proper attention to conditioning and training, and their bodies and minds just give out. How many racehorses, cutting horses, reiners, show-jumpers, hunters, and dressage horses end up quietly dead from too much work too fast?
The competitive show-jumpers and hunters I've know don't seem to understand the concept of slowly conditioning and training a horse at all. Their horses seem to require an awful lot of drugs to keep going, and they seem to need new horses practically every year because they destroyed the previous ones.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

These generalizations are not helpful, fair or true. There are folks that demonstrate the issues you mention in every riding discipline. Every discipline has its own challenges, and therefore, a corresponding culture and set of strong and weak points. Your comments perpetuate a "we" v. "they" mentality.

I have taken lessons from trainers of many ilks from dressage to reining, and have found helpful perspectives and training methods from all of them. I've learned a lot about conditioning my jumpers from an event rider I know. Likewise, I know a lot of eventers training and taking clinics with well-known GP riders.

We all have a lot to learn from each other.

Pixie Dust
Mar. 18, 2002, 09:57 AM
VERY good post JaGold!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Superheroes of the universe, unite!

http://hometown.aol.com/bgoosewood/index.html

tle
Mar. 18, 2002, 10:04 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Your comments perpetuate a "we" v. "they" mentality.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No, jr... this WHOLE THREAD by and large perpetuates that...

/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 3 recap... OMG!! NOT HUNTER!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif And the tribal suicide continues... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Remember we're on Wednesday this week!

Duffy
Mar. 18, 2002, 10:11 AM
Well said, jr.

tle - I was trying to NOT do the "we" / "they" mentality in my posts. That's why I said that WE (meaning all disciplines) had better get our acts together and re-evaluate aspects of our sports from WITHIN, or others from the outside will be doing it for us.

tle
Mar. 18, 2002, 10:21 AM
No, Duffy, I wasnt' pointing a finger at you... or *really* at anyone. Just that anytime you start talking about injuries, everyone does seem to point to the eventers and go on and on about danger and risk and thus it divides the disciplines (like you said)...


... and makes us easy PETA targets. Let's not forget that age old motto...

United we stand (and ride)... divided we fall.

If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 3 recap... OMG!! NOT HUNTER!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif And the tribal suicide continues... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Remember we're on Wednesday this week!

Hopeful Hunter
Mar. 18, 2002, 11:19 AM
First, let me express my deepest sympathies to the riders, owners and indeed to the entire eventing community on these deaths. I cannot even imagine what this must be like to deal with, and I can only say that everyone shares in this kind of sorrow.

As to what this means to eventing -- I think there are several issues here. As my screenname says, I don't event. And a large part of why I don't is one of the issues -- crosscountry fences need to be approached at speed, and they're SOLID things or scary ditches or other obstacles that I just can't handle. I know that, so I don't.

Eventing is a higher risk sport -- in terms of injury potential -- than other equestrian pursuits. But no one has anything to gain, and everything to lose, by singaling this sport out for censure. I own and love OTTBs, and many of them are put down each year due to racing injuries. I don't like that any more than I like ANY horse being injured.

I think, though, that eventing may be facing a PR crisis. And THAT"s bad. The reality is, Christopher Reeve was injured eventing. That started a public awareness of the sport in a negative light. It could just as easily have been trail riding, but it wasn't. And after that, the spotlight lingers a bit on a sport that has had a horrible few years.

I don't know how to improve safety, because I DON"T ride those fences. Maybe doing stadium first could help -- if you only allow riders who finish in a certain ranking to proceed to x-country. Maybe some kind of clearer ranking system so that a Training level fence is graded as easy, medium or difficult -- and you don't move up until you've successfully negotiated a certain number of difficult fences. Maybe ditches ARE too dangerous and ought to be eliminated or modified. I don't know.

But something needs to change. For those who want to event, they need to be able to do so with confidence that they'll be successful, not just survive. NOt win, but have a positive riding experience.

Eventers, maybe more than any other equestrians, accept the phenomenal danger inherent in putting a puny human on a big horse and running and jumping. But I think ALL horsepeople need to be concerned nowadays lest our ability to ride in any discipline come under fire. My heart is broken for those who suffered at this event. I don't have answers, but I do know that blame won't help anything. A careful, considered, publicly CLEAR plan to address concerns will.

FionaJ
Mar. 18, 2002, 11:46 AM
"Something has to change"

This is interesting to me because how many events have gone on this year already at this level without anything so completely devistating happening. From what I observe, and while I have not evented in a while but still jump judge, the eventing communitiy itself continuously attempts to make competing safer. It is not an "us" vs "you" debate, but the number of people clamiming to be horrified and demanding "some sort of change" seem to mostly belong to other sports and oblivious--although that may not be the right term and I mean no offence--of what eventing has done to make itself safer. What exactly would you change? It struck me that the fence judge at the fence where the horse died, and the poster observed that the horses flew over that fence--except one, so does that make the fence dangerous? TD's, course designers, and riders are aware of the danger and work incredibly hard to make things safe. Fences can and are modified, but it does sound like a freak accident. I do agree that ditches could be more shallow. I add a disclaimer here stating that I just read the perception of the accident, but did not see it myself.

Lisa Cook
Mar. 18, 2002, 12:03 PM
Hopeful Hunter - I think we all agree with you about not wanting to see horses hurt. You make good suggestions with the following:

"I don't know how to improve safety, because I DON"T ride those fences. Maybe doing stadium first could help -- if you only allow riders who finish in a certain ranking to proceed to x-country. Maybe some kind of clearer ranking system so that a Training level fence is graded as easy, medium or difficult"

However, as you don't event, we can't expect you to know this, but your ideas are already at least somewhat in place.

First, in regards to stadium jumping before cross country...many events already run stadium before cross-country. If you are eliminated in stadium, then you can not continue and ride cross-country.

Second, in regards to a "ranking" system, members of the US Eventing Assoc. recieve an Omnibus of recognized events, and each event provides a description of their cross-country courses.

An example here, chosen at random, is for Rhine Valley Farm Horse Trials:

"Cross Country Terrain: Hills, fields, woods. Training Level: Challenging.
Novice/Beginner Novice: Moderate to challenging"

This tells me that I wouldn't choose this particular event to move my horse up from Novice to Training, or debut a greenie at their first beginner novice event ever.

So - your suggestions are good, but at least in part, already exist.

Hopeful Hunter
Mar. 18, 2002, 03:07 PM
Lisa -- thanks for the info. As you noticed, I didn't know that much of what I thought about IS being done -- that's good to hear.

When I say "something needs to change" I mean that from a PR standpoint. Right now, people outside of eventing think it's very dangerous, and it's getting more so. I'm not saying that's a correct perception, but I believe it is out there. That's what concerns me, and why I think something needs to change. Or, if the changes ARE happening, get the word out in a way that helps the sport be seen in a more positive light.

KellyS
Mar. 18, 2002, 03:56 PM
Unfortunately, I think a lot of the comments on this thread are based on lack on information.

It is becoming quite apparent that the changes that people are claiming need to be made have already been made or are currently in the process of being implemented.

Hopeful Hunter, these changes are getting publicized - However, I think riders in different disciplines tend to not keep up with the latest news and changes in others. Where as an eventer, I can pick up just about any eventing publication (even general horse publications) and find out about the newest rules and safety precautions, many hunters and other riders do not keep up with the latest happenings.

Therefore, before an outright attack is made on the sport of eventing, the people making the criticisms need to make sure they have the facts straight and up to date. The tragic deaths of these horses have certainly seemed to be deemed freak accidents as more and more posters have brought the facts to light. And this incident will only strenghten the efforts of everyone in eventing to continually increase safety for both horse and rider.

Tootsie
Mar. 18, 2002, 05:27 PM
HonorsGlory, email me at karen_bear44@yahoo.com and I will let you know what happened. It does not feel right to tell it in public.

"The Assyrian program of exterminating various ethnic groups generally failed to promote cultural diversity."-- Non Campus Mentis

Finzean
Mar. 18, 2002, 08:12 PM
My condolences to all those involved in this weekend's tragedies.

I don't know that there is a panacea, but I do know that ALL of us benefit from a well rounded education. While growing up I evented, foxhunted, and dabbled in h/j - we did just about everything with our ponies and were better in all discliplines because of it.

Eventers should be able to put in 8 good fences just as much as the Big Eq riders should be able to make it around a training level cross country course.

I have had the good fortune to work for and ride with a former 3 day team member and a nationally know H/J trainer, among others - their programs didn't differ very much at all. Good solid flatwork and no jumping until the flatwork was terribly solid. If you can't adjust your horse on the flat what makes you think that travelling at speed will make it easier? I've jumped big fences that don't fall down (ie Old Mail Rd. crossing in SP) at speed so I don't say this as a spectator. I have not competed since 1995 but I have attended many events since then, most of them lower level. Just a few thoughts (zipping flame suit)....
If your training level (or lower) horse must wear every legal piece of paraphernalia in order for you to consider going out x-ctry - go back to the ring and get the flatwork right. Tipperary's don't make anyone invicible - don't take unnecessary risks just because you think your vest might save you. Know your leads and changes - it WILL help you.

Again, let me say that good horsemanship is good horsemanship. All the equipment in the world won't even the odds - one of the best riders I've ever known (a successful international competitor) used to take a client's prelim horse to competitions with a close contact saddle and one bridle with a thin mouth D ring to use if the piece of rubber wasn't strong enough for x-ctry. The horse was so broke in the bridle and so unbelievably well schooled on the flat it was scary. It made the fences almost inconsequential.

Just to reiterate - all horsemen/women would benefit from a more well rounded education. Freak accidents do occur - wasn't there this weekend and can only comment on what I've witnessed at the lower levels - but it sounds like these tragedies were freak.

thoughts and prayers for the riders & owners....

_______________________

There is no crying in baseball!!!

ThirdCharm
Mar. 19, 2002, 05:17 AM
I wish there was a more objective ranking system, the summation in the Omnibus is provided by the organizers and in my experience is not terribly representative. Fort Bragg (an incredibly easy Training level course) and Fare Well (a much more substantial and challenging Training course) are both listed as "average". I believe Hopeland (which was even tougher than Fare Well) was listed as "Average" also. Of the Prelim courses I've run, two listed as good 'move up' Prelim courses have been more difficult than the "average" Prelim course at Tryon where the championships were last year!

JMHO, of course. :-)

JenniferS

piaffeprincess98
Mar. 21, 2002, 04:16 PM
here's what horsecity.com had to say about the accidents.

Sadly, two freak accidents did mar an otherwise excellent weekend. The first horse, Shannon Van Biert's Strictly Business, in the open intermediate young riders division fell at 11AB the Dutch's Ditch, and in his struggles to extricate himself from the ditch broke his foreleg. He was euthanized immediately, and van Biert rode her preliminary level horse the next day. In the advanced, Diann Roffe's Sporting Image made a mistake at number 11, the Weldon's Hair. At first the horse appeared to be merely winded, but when he hadn't gotten up after nearly an hour and his vitals began to crash he too was euthanized. A necropsy later revealed he had fractured his spine behind the withers. On Sunday, Roffe publicly thanked and praised the volunteers and vets who had helped her through the tragedy.

~*Lindsay*~
A proud co-owner of CorLin PRO-ductions. Watch out horseworld, here we come!

Lord Helpus
Mar. 22, 2002, 05:58 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> TD's, course designers, and riders are aware of the danger and work incredibly hard to make things safe. Fences can and are modified... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I have "ridden" the SP x/c couse twice a day for the last 3 days ("ridden" being put in very big quotes), because I have been there for a hore show and instead of just hacking my two horses in the mornings, we have been troting/cantering the Advanced track, carefully circling around the jumps as we come to each one. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif )

My first obsevation is: those suckers are BIG! Somehow they look even bigger from horseback than they do from the ground. My horses do not even know they are jumps, they think they are houses...

Second obsevation: The jump in question that the fatal accident I saw occurred at HAS been modified: the top log has been removed and brush has replaced it. The Longleaf Horse Trials is the next event to be held there and the highest level is Prelim, so I can see that they might want to make that track easier, since that event is known to have an easier couse than the SP Horse Trials. But the entire jump (for all levels) has been modified, leading me to believe that it will remain that way for future horse trials at Intermediate and Advanced levels also. I must say it makes the jump look much more inviting and the brush catches the horse's eye as you canter up to it. Also, of course, brush is more forgiving if a horse hits the top of the jump.

And, may I add what a thrill it is to just gallop the track and imagine what it might feel like to actually be out there on course. (Yeah, maybe in another life.... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif )

Pixie Dust
Mar. 22, 2002, 12:25 PM
We'd all prefer it to be zero deaths!

I think that in general, eventing is safer than it used to be. All three accidents were accidents; not poorly prepared / bad riding and not poorly designed jumps. Good rider/good horses can have accidents. It's just a terrible twist of fate that they happened all together like that.

More people than ever event these days, so there's bound to be more accidents as well. I don't know what the statistics are (I'm just throwing out hypethetical numbers), but if there is 1 death in 1000 runs, then there will most likely be 5 deaths in 5000 runs. The more runs, the more risk for accidents.

Also, in the "olden" days, it seemed like the only people who evented, were the kooky fearless foxhunters & steeplechase types, who were used galloping over 4' timber fences. Nowadays, everyone can event. That's just my perception though; not sure if it is actually true.

Superheroes of the universe, unite!

http://hometown.aol.com/bgoosewood/index.html

Pat Ness
Mar. 22, 2002, 02:21 PM
Thanks for the information on the log being changed to brush.

After the initial devastation I felt from the deaths of 2 horses, my next thought was to soften the jumps. Brush sounded good at first to me, but then, I am against the slanting faces on all the jumps since I believe many of the riders and instructors teach to a slanted face. I have been in clinics where the instructors tell you just go for it, look at the face on the jump, the horse has plenty of time to get it's legs up.

I am afraid that brushing many of the worrisome obstacles will cause this same kind of attitude.

I don't know what the answer is. I know that the deaths of the 2 show jumpers also occurred in the last 2 weeks, but, I think if we look at the cost of insuring an event horse for loss of use, in comparison with insuring a show jumper, the percent will be higher for the event horse. We are taking more chances with our horses eventing then the show jumpers are.

I might be wrong here so please, let me know if that is an inaccuracy.

My love of eventing diminishes with each horse lost. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif I cannot help what my insides are telling me and to say it is part of the sport, is unacceptable to me.

Pat Ness

FionaJ
Mar. 22, 2002, 08:10 PM
I don't like the fact that horses died--in show jumping and eventing; however, both are sports with inherent risk. It occured to me that this is very similar to the hockey incident that is making the news where a teen girl was hit by a puck. Now, on the tickets to the game it states that there is a risk of this happening and as a consequence, not to stand while the puck is in play. This was a freak accident, and terribly tragic, but it was an accident that the participants and spectators, in this case, take. Do we, because it is a horrible thing that a child has died, ban children from hockey games? How much legislation is too much when things are accidents. No course designer plans to kill horses. Perhaps I am being thick, but as tragic as this is, I feel it was a terrible accident. I do feel that things, such as the depth of ditches, should be studied and modified if need be to promote safety, but as long as people jump and ride horses, accidents will happen. I think we all need to be careful with what we find acceptable--and I am NOT saying the death of an animal is acceptable--because if proper safety precautions are made but flock to condemn the freak accidents, how long will it be before groups condemn riding all together? In an ideal world, no horse would even get hurt but the reality is that both horses and riders are capable and do make mistakes, are injured, and unfortunately killed. Do measures need to be taken to examine causes to make courses safer--yes. Is it realistic to expect eventing or any other horse sport will be 100% safe--No.

Evalee Hunter
Mar. 24, 2002, 08:53 AM
"None" is the only answer to how many is acceptable . . . & "none" is the only number to aim for . . . BUT we will probably never reach that number, because horses get injured fatally in their "safe" stalls, "safe" paddocks & "safe" pastures.

However, I do think there are TWO things that can be done to increase safety &, as far as I know, neither idea is currently being implemented.

There is one thing that riders can do which has not been mentioned . . . some riders do this already . . . & it will increase rider safety as well as horse safety.

Riders have to work to overcome the goal-oriented approach that is typical of most humans. Most of us are so focused on reaching a goal that we often loose sight of how we are getting there. I read a wonderful article about this topic in "Psychology Today" about 20 years ago & I have thought about it ever since. The article did not mention riding but it is applicable to riding anyway.

I have seen Buck Davidson (to choose 1 example) retire a horse after 2 refusals. He wasn't eliminated, he could have tried again, but I think he was able to look at the big picture--this horse is not jumping well on this day, time to quit while you are ahead, time NOT to kick on.

I was NOT at SP & (as I explained at length on another thread) I do not ride English or event--I am a volunteer & observer only. However, reports regarding one horse were that "it did not seem to see the jump." If a rider senses the horse is distracted, it is time to circle, time to forget the goal of finishing clean, & focus on this moment & making this moment safe. I know the rider may not always sense what a horse is thinking but many times you can tell where the horse's attention is. (I have spent more than 50 years around horses, rode Western for about 25 years & now am around, caring for & training from the ground, our horses every day, but I no longer ride.)

So, my first suggestion is: rider education helping riders to focus on the process of getting to their goals.

My second suggestion is in regard to horse falls. I think these need to be tracked & after a fall, even if the horse does not appear to be hurt, the owner/rider/trainer needs to be required to show (to USEA) that the horse has been carefully & extensively vetted for soundness issues that might have led to the fall. (This is similar to the required medical approval for riders wishing to return to competition after an injury on course.)

Furthermore, I think horse falls should be studied with an eye to requiring a horse after a certain # of falls be mandatorily retired from competition or mandatorily relegated to lower levels of competition.

I think everyone actively involved in eventing knows that the 3rd horse that had a Mandatory Retirement (the horse that was not seriously hurt) has taken several spectacular falls recently, including last October at Fair Hill, I believe. Maybe this horse is trying to tell everyone involved with him that it is time to give up or play at the lower levels??

The eventing community is doing a great deal with an eye to safety--I read the eventing magazines as well as the Chronicle & I am aware of much that is being done. Perhaps my suggestions are already being studied--I hope so--but not as far as I know.

Pat Ness
Mar. 24, 2002, 03:54 PM
The minute you mentioned goal setting -- a huge gong went off in my head saying "Yes--This is a big problem". How many young riders have you talked to that NEED to make it to the NAYRC. Even here in Minnesota (where eventing tries so hard to be a sport, yet we only have one recognized event) there are young riders who are devastated when they see the age of 21 approaching and they have not gotten enough prelims, intermediates or whatever they need to qualify for the team.

Then, there are the tons of adults that are going to get to Prelim no matter what. Often times they are not ready to be there, but for some reason it is a magical place.

How do we explain that the level is not magical, it's the wonderful communication you have with your horse along the way that is the magic.

Thank you also for bringing up the game pinto, whom most of us fell in love with. I was afraid to point a finger there, yet I thought of him constantly over the last few days, wondering why they are still expecting this excellent horse to perform at this level after so many spectacular falls.

I think your points are helping straighten some things out in my mind. Thanks.
Pat

Pat Ness
Mar. 25, 2002, 04:57 AM
As I was laying in bed this morning (dreading the 4 degree temps outside) I thought again of Evalee's point of goal setting and how Evalee pointed out how it is even down to the moment you are galloping toward a jump.

In one of the Badminton tapes, a rider is headed toward the parallel foot bridge. Everything looks right, from an observer's point, but all of sudden the rider simply circles away from the jump, and represents.

It was a wonderful example of when things don't feel right you are ultimately responsible for your partners safety and well being. I believe this rider had a clear round up to that point as well.

Many of the top clinicians believe a horse should try to jump the jump and not refuse. I have heard this numerous times and was always uncomfortable with it. What do you all think of that phylosophy?

Pat Ness

tle
Mar. 25, 2002, 05:58 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The minute you mentioned goal setting -- a huge gong went off in my head saying "Yes--This is a big problem". How many young riders have you talked to that NEED to make it to the NAYRC. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, and how many hunter riders NEED to go to all those shows so they can rack up enough points to qualify for indoors or win year end awards (same for DQs)? It's not fair to just point the finger at Eventing, folks.

Yes, goals are important and yes, I think there are some people who can't see anything else but the goal. But... sorry to burst your bubble... IMHO they are still a minority in eventing. In eventing, the absolute single thing being preached and taught more than anything else is that the horse comes first. All our rules... all the vet checks at 3-days... all the course design changes... all of it is geared towards helping the horse, whether that be helping him not get hurt or helping him get around or simply helping him so he may compete another day. To say otherwise is to admit ignorance of the sport. And FWIW, I too have retired after 2 refusals.

I too get miffed at Young Riders who think NAYRC is the be-all end-all of eventing. However, they have that goal in mind and it does, like it or not, have a time table. But, ALL young riders shooting for NAYRC have, at the VERY least, the Area YR coach who is typically a 4-star caliber rider who, again, preaches that everything is for the horse.

As for mandatory retirement for and research on falls of horses... first, research is done and the numbers are tracked on ANY fence that causes undue problems on course. second, if the rider and 1 if not several vets have cleared a horse as sound, then there is no legislation that can prevent the rider from running a particular course (other than qualification rules). Why is a fall in competition needing to be regulated when that same horse may have fallen in their pasture 2 days before the event? Also, if I have my horse IMHO fit and ready to compete and have my vet's blessing to do so, then i sure has h#ll don't want some regulation that tells me that isn't good enough because she took a wrong step, didn't see something, or I flat out screwed up. Don't you think I would feel bad enough anyway? While I'm sure the thought was there, the idea as a realistic suggestion isn't workable.

************
If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 4 recap... YEA!!! No more "boobie girl"... she's outta there. The rest of the lazy bunch is about to get their comeupance too... 'bout time (poor Hunter). Thanks MB for "the switch"! Back to Thursdays.

caballo_saltando
Mar. 25, 2002, 06:05 AM
"Riders have to work to overcome the goal-oriented approach that is typical of most humans. Most of us are so focused on reaching a goal that we often loose sight of how we are getting there."

Right on Evalee. Could not have said it better.

AM
Mar. 25, 2002, 06:47 AM
I'm not so sure professionals retiring after 2 refusals always have the welfare of their horse in mind. Many times they are thinking of the sale value of that horse. If a refusal or two is going to put them out of the ribbons, it's better to stop and put a retirement on the horse's record than to rack up a big score or possible elimination which will hurt the horse's sale value more.

Heather
Mar. 25, 2002, 06:58 AM
Just to briefly defend the rider picked out in one of Evalee's posts, while the horse and rider di have a spectacular fall at FHI, they have also had several clean, well-placed, advanced horse trial runs, before, since, and in between. They have hardly been falling all over the place.

The rider is a greener rider at this level, but isn't that why you have ahorse like this one? To help teach the level? I've watched the horse go--it lunges out of the start box with its ears up, its eyes bright, jumping out of its skin. Not exactly the sour picture of a horse ready for retirement.

Finally, this girl loves this horse to a ridiculous degree, and has top class help. She says he makes her feel like she never imagined possible. Every decision made about the horse's future will always be in his best interest.

I know this isn't really a personal issue, but I just felt like I had to defend someone who doesn't deserve to be put up as a poster child for poor horsemanship and bad decision making.

BarbB
Mar. 25, 2002, 07:11 AM
that's good to hear, I was beginning to wonder if something needed to be done about a horse falling repeatedly at the level it is competing.

On the other hand......
In the case of an animal that appears to be competing repeatedly at a level where it is overfaced, I would like to see officials given the power to deal with each situation on an individual basis, but not a rule dictating how many falls are allowed. There are too many variables and I don't believe you can solve all problems with more rules.

BarbB

charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

tle
Mar. 25, 2002, 07:20 AM
Heather... thanks. I wanted to address that issue specifically, but haven't seen them run. Figured it wasn't a "first time out" or "overfacing" issue though. Thank you for not only clarifying their specific circumstances, but putting appropriate light on the idea of singling someone out without knowing all the facts.

BarbB... but something like that ALREADY exists!!!!

Article 1715 Disqualification
3. The Ground Jury may disqualify a competitor if, in its opinion, the competitor constitutes a hazard to the safety or well‑being of the competitor, horse, other competitors, their horses, spectators or others.

************
If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 4 recap... YEA!!! No more "boobie girl"... she's outta there. The rest of the lazy bunch is about to get their comeupance too... 'bout time (poor Hunter). Thanks MB for "the switch"! Back to Thursdays.

BarbB
Mar. 25, 2002, 07:44 AM
I thought something must exist, I didn't bother to look in the rules.
I would think that perhaps more aggressive use of that power is coming. I would rather see that than see a bunch of knee-jerk rules trying to address every individual concern.
The eventing community as a whole would need to support this, and that is probably the sticking point.
Also, regarding that particular rule (I know, shame on me, I need to go and research this myself, but you are such a rules guru I am going to bounce this off you!)
it doesn't address the problem of a horse that appears at a HT, fit, ready to run, with a competent rider, that has a history of not being able to complete a course at that level. How many attempts is learning, how many is too many?
I know that scope, talent, ability is not definable. I am just trying to look at this as someone from outside the sport (perhaps the IOC) would see it.
(I'm also just rambling a bit - I have the flu)

BarbB

charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

[This message was edited by BarbB on Mar. 25, 2002 at 10:54 AM.]

LAZ
Mar. 25, 2002, 08:45 AM
I saw Montana warm up & go at Pine Top. I've know him since he was a green horse starting Novice so I feel confident in saying he looked great & was quite cheerful looking both before and after he ran cross country, and he showed his wonderful jumping form over the fence I was fence judging. He was still jigging and bouncing going back to the stables after x/c....

I would also like to point out that there is a R, not a MR after his name on the results from Southern Pines, leading me to believe that he did not fall...

And he IS a most game little horse, I'm glad to hear his new rider loves him.

GO-dog-GO
Mar. 25, 2002, 10:10 AM
Is their a ongoing problem in the USA with overfaced horses killing/hurting themselves at events?

If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.

* Charter member, saftey is overated clique.*

Pat Ness
Mar. 25, 2002, 10:21 AM
If my searching served me correctly, Montana is a 16 year old. He is not a big horse, which generally means you have to be much more accurate over Advanced level fences.

This horse definitely loves competition, I could tell that even at Rolex in 2000 when he retired at the fence I was sitting at. Yes, these horses are the perfect teachers, but is it fair that he still is going Advanced?

The answer could be yes, but, these are the questions, that the riders must constantly ask themselves.

I love to have the old guys competing and I love the small ones to do the big courses, so this is not about age or size, but I can't help but ponder why I have heard of 3 major falls with this horse in under 2 years.

Prelim is fun and still large enough to give him something to put his eye on.

JAGold
Mar. 25, 2002, 10:36 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pat on the back:
This horse definitely loves competition, I could tell that even at Rolex in 2000 when he retired at the fence I was sitting at. Yes, these horses are the perfect teachers, but is it fair that he still is going Advanced?

The answer could be yes, but, these are the questions, that the riders must constantly ask themselves.

I love to have the old guys competing and I love the small ones to do the big courses, so this is not about age or size, but I can't help but ponder why I have heard of 3 major falls with this horse in under 2 years.

Prelim is fun and still large enough to give him something to put his eye on.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pat, the rider in question works with one of the best trainers in the business. He has not see it fit to advise her to move the horse down. Without knowing rider or horse, I do not feel that it is fair for anyone on these boards to insinuate that she should.

It is one thing to discuss problems and potential improvements to our sport in general. Using illustrative examples is even productive. But passing judgement, or rather questioning the judgement, of individuals, is neither productive (since the sport as a whole will not be made better-off if Montana's rider changes her mind) nor fair.

Plainly, it is not our place to decide whether Montana should or should not be competing at the advanced level. The rider (who also owns the horse), her trainer, and her vets get to make that decision, within the parameters established by the USAE, USEA, and the FEI. I have participated in discussions about general trends and the consequences of current regulations, but I am offended, as Montana's rider would be if she were to see this discussion, by the specific comments about one rider.

The judgemental tone that this discussion has taken is difficult to justify. It is easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback. While many people on this board have significant experince and knowledge, and I certainly support and participate in critical discussion of our sport, I do not believe that condemnation of a particular rider is appropriate.

Furthermore, knowing the horse and the circumstances of both falls, moving down to prelim would not solve the problem. A prelim fence would NOT back off Montana (indeed, I personally know many advanced or former advanced horses who would be dangerous at prelim precisely because the fences would not back them off.)

If you would like to discuss this by e-mail, you can reach me at [edited 11/07/02 to remove e-mail address]. --Jess

[This message was edited by JAGold on Nov. 07, 2002 at 03:03 PM.]

tle
Mar. 25, 2002, 10:47 AM
Thank you Jess for posted almost exactly what I was thinking. Pat... I think your last post re: Montana and speculation based on his age/size and a couple falls in the last few years was out of line.

************
If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 5... Me thinks the "love fest" is over and we're about to see/hear our last preach re: Slavery. Buh-bye Sean! Back to Thursdays.

Pat Ness
Mar. 25, 2002, 11:06 AM
and I don't think I was bashing rider or horse.

When I compete or write on the Bulletin Board, I open myself for criticizm. In my post I felt I presented questions, not judgement.

JAGold
Mar. 25, 2002, 11:18 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pat on the back:
I don't think I was bashing rider or horse.

When I compete or write on the Bulletin Board, I open myself for criticizm. In my post I felt I presented questions, not judgement.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pat, I'm glad that no "bashing" of horse or rider was intended. In my opinion, "pondering" Montana's two falls and then suggesting that "Prelim is fun and still large enough to give him something to put his eye on" is not asking a question.

Also, I'm just not sure that we should be discussing this one combination. While you say that you open yourself for criticizm when riding or posting, I'm not sure I agree completely with that statement. When you ride in public, you invite the judges' opinions -- which, incidentally, are given to riders semi-privately. While scores are posted, tests are returned folded. Certainly others may comment, but not in a public forum with a broad audience. More importantly, while posting opens the window, Montana's rider did not post. You did, about her decisions. Had she posted, for example, about her weekend or asking for opinions on what to do with Montana, the comments would be appropriate. But she didn't. --Jess

GO-dog-GO
Mar. 25, 2002, 11:28 AM
UD-BB has a good rule..."Issues not individuals" that should be inforced on COTH.

You never know where the edge is till you step over it. The trick is to scramble back up before it's to late.

* Charter member, saftey is overated clique.*

Heather
Mar. 25, 2002, 11:28 AM
Custom Made and Giltedge are both 17, perhaps they should retire too? Or just go prelim?

Why isn't that suggested? Because you trust David to know when his horses are ready to head to the field.

Why not give this rider the same benefit of the doubt--just because she hasn't ridden in the Olympics doesn't mean she isn't a good horseman with the judgement to know when the time has come. It doesn't take a pink coat to know what your horse is telling you--heck I've known novice-level adults with a better feel for that than many folks with pink coats.

This is one of the moments I get frustrated with the internet--if you really KNEW the person involved, everyon's mind would be put at ease.

And to reiterate, she has EXCELLENT help.

Jair
Mar. 25, 2002, 12:00 PM
Originally posted by Evalee Hunter:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>My second suggestion is in regard to horse falls. I think these need to be tracked & after a fall, even if the horse does not appear to be hurt, the owner/rider/trainer needs to be required to show (to USEA) that the horse has been carefully & extensively vetted for soundness issues that might have led to the fall. (This is similar to the required medical approval for riders wishing to return to competition after an injury on course.) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Interesting that you should mentioned this Evalee, as this is a new rule this year with British Eventing. It is part of the saftey protocols that they have instigated following the studies of the tragic deaths that occurred over there. The new rule says something along the lines that if a horse has two falls, a notice is sent out to both the owner and rider requiring full vetinerary check-ups and possible mandaotry training for both before being allowed back.

That is not exact, as I can't remember exactly what it was, but I'll search to see if I can find the correct wording. Does the US have anything like this in mind?

tle
Mar. 25, 2002, 12:10 PM
God I hope not!

While in theory it sounds good and will probably work well in some place, the good ole sue-happy USA is not one of them. So you fall a couple times and get a notice requiring mandatory vet checks and/or training. You go through all of that (at your expense... isn't this sport expensive enough), nothing is really determined from the vet checks. Now, you have a couple people (trainer and/or vet) saying its ok to compete. Next thing you know for whatever reason horse falls again, hurting rider... guess what happens then? Lawsuits against 1) the vet who passed the horse, 2) the trainer who passed the rider, 3) the association for having the insight to know (and admit) something was wrong but the unfortunate disability to stop them from hurting themselves, and most probably 4) the officials and organizer for allowing such a danger on their courses. In a society where people buy hot coffee then sue the distributor for making it hot, I can see it coming now (and I **HATE** being this negative!!!!).

************
If Dressage is a Symphony... Eventing is Rock & Roll!

Survivor thoughts -- Episode 5... Me thinks the "love fest" is over and we're about to see/hear our last preach re: Slavery. Buh-bye Sean! Back to Thursdays.

Pixie Dust
Mar. 25, 2002, 12:13 PM
Aren't the vet checks at the actual events rather strict? I mean, they are sound at the event and that's what counts wouldn't you say?

Superheroes of the universe, unite!

http://hometown.aol.com/bgoosewood/index.html

Pat Ness
Mar. 25, 2002, 12:19 PM
and this is another problem with bulletin boards--I stated how much I admire the old horses and the small horses competing. These are my favorites in fact.

Heather, was I unclear on that in my post or did you not read it the way I intended to present it.

Heather
Mar. 25, 2002, 12:31 PM
What I heard loudest was "the but"

As in, "I love seeing these guys, but . . ."

The trick is Pat, there are some points you make that are valid and should be explored. But, when they seem leveled at an indivual unfairly, its hard, for me at least, to get past that.

Pat Ness
Mar. 25, 2002, 12:46 PM
Also the "him" that JAGold pointed out to me also sounds that way.

I apologize to the rider as I did not mean just that individual.

I do not feel any differently about my comments based on the entire sport.

I apologize for getting people irritated when they thought I was individual rider/horse bashing. I know I am not always clear at making my points, but since it is an open discussion, I get to attempt to make the points I feel are important and correct the wrong impressions I make along the way.

Pat

Evalee Hunter
Mar. 25, 2002, 01:51 PM
Unfortunately, it is not possible to discuss a particular event (SP) without thinking of the individuals involved because each individual that was in an "incident" brings to mind certain concerns or safety suggestions.

I don't think Pat was "bashing" nor do I think I was "bashing". We are both concerned--perhaps incorrectly concerned, perhaps concerned about nothing, but concerned.

tle, do you think the rider needing medical release to return to eventing opens up people to being sued? I can't see a medical release for the horse would open up any more problems than a medical release for a rider. If we are saying adult humans who presumably can speak are not capable of assessing their own physical condition, then I see it as a natural extension to provide the same protection to our horses which speak a language which is not always clear to we humans.

I looked again at the report of results from the event. It now does say "R" for the horse in question but originally it said "MR" (before it was updated). Also, people wrote on this thread about the horse "being hurt on course" & "under vet care but going to be OK." I am glad to hear that perhaps he did not fall, but sad to hear that he was injured, however it happened.

Regarding anyone else riding an older horse (David O'Connor or whoever). If I start seeing reports of their horse(s) falling, seeing pictures posted on the internet of them falling, perhaps even being present at an event where the horse fell, I will be saying out loud (or posting on the internet) that I think the horse should be retired. I will be expressing my opinion & my concern just as I have here. I will not be "bashing" the competitor or the horse.

I use my legal name, my full name, in my posts because I stand behind what I say. I would be glad to say my opinion & express my concern to the individuals involved. I hardly expect they would listen to me, but I am not afraid to tell them what I think BECAUSE I THINK WHEN A HORSE FALLS MORE THAN ONCE IN A PERIOD OF A YEAR OR TWO IT BECOMES EVERYONE'S BUSINESS. Obviously many of you do not agree which is your right & I respect you for disagreeing.

I do not think being fit & eager necessarily equals being able to do the task. Very few humans are able to participate at high levels of their chosen sports as they age into their thirties & forties (probably about equal to a horse in its late teens), even though these humans may have kept themselves consistently fit, even though they have participated in the sport on a regular basis over the years, & even though they may be eager to continue, they find they are no longer competitive. I think the same could happen to a horse--fit, eager to go, but not equal to the task at hand.

Evalee Hunter
Mar. 25, 2002, 01:57 PM
I would like to point out that I post with not only my name (& an unusual name it is) but also the city & state where I live & my email address posted.

I think perhaps if one posts with less than full disclosure of who one is, that opens the poster up to charges of "bashing" or whatever. As I said before, I express what I express out of sincere concern & I tell everyone who I am & I stand behind what I say & believe, although I may be mistaken.

poltroon
Mar. 25, 2002, 03:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Evalee Hunter:
BECAUSE I THINK WHEN A HORSE FALLS MORE THAN ONCE IN A PERIOD OF A YEAR OR TWO IT BECOMES EVERYONE'S BUSINESS. Obviously many of you do not agree which is your right & I respect you for disagreeing.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I respect your thoughts here, but I think it's important to realize that what appears to be an obvious pattern to us monday-morning quarterbacks is not necessarily so. For example, the first fall may have been at a water fence, where there was an inapparent hole and other horses also stumbled. Perhaps the second fall was on unexpected wet grass where the rider unfortunately chose the wrong studs. To the rider and trainer these are unrelated events, not an indication that something is seriously wrong.

Of course it might be that something is seriously wrong - but because of the different circumstances it will not appear so without further data.

Not to say that a fall is common, or that it is not serious, just that most horse falls I've seen (and not all involved eventing or even jumping) are more unlucky than a lack of skill or ability.

FionaJ
Mar. 25, 2002, 05:45 PM
Okay,

Since we are so concerned with the welfare of horses, why not mandate this concern for all events. Unfortunately, accidents do happen for a MULTITUDE of reasons. What happened was a tragedy without a doubt, but conversations legislating when and how you can ride your horse play right into the hands of those who claim riding horses at all is wrong. Sorry if I offend anyone here, and I know that some of those complaining have observed, helped, and done all the stuff--except do what it take to get a horse ready with a vet and coach to run a horse at this level, much less competed at this level. I really don't understand the thinking projected on the riders that the horses are "expendable" because I have never ever come across that in upper level eventing. I simply takes too long and the horses are too valuable to have that attitude. Truly, eventing is one sport that really promotes and encourages horsemanship.

PMJ
Mar. 25, 2002, 06:01 PM
Wow, I've missed a great deal while my husband has been in an opera and I've been chief gopher to the org. I read this thread and I have to say that I am amazed. Accidents happen in every part of life--including some recent accidents in the H/J world, but I don't find the same thread going on over there. I did event through Prelim, and there is risk. Personally, I hold my life as well as my horse's in such esteem that I would not venture to an upper level without proper preperation. I have seen much, MUCH scarier riding at lower levels. I think unless you actually know, and not knocking anyone's opinion, what it takes to prepare a horse and ride it over such obsticles then you really don't have room to talk. Not trying to be rude about it, but watching is much easier and totally different from having "hands on" experience. I would no more try and tell a hunter rider how to ride a course or fix their sport just because I haul my friend to shows and watch her--although actually having set times would be a plus /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Evalee Hunter
Mar. 25, 2002, 06:21 PM
which is why I made it clear where I was coming from & my experience.

At the same time, although I have not ridden in an event, I have been a little more closely involved than just volunteering & watching--my daughter has competed through one star & over the last ten years or so I have helped her get a number of horses ready to compete at various levels, mostly BN through training.

No, I haven't ridden in an event but I have been the eyes on the ground, the stall mucker, the feed horses before work person, the sleep in the barn when foals are coming person, the help with conditioning plans person, the groom at events person, tack the horse, help select studs person, the meet the vet for a sick/injured horse person, etc. etc. Our horses are in self care & I have a whole lot more involvement than just driving the trailer.

My daughter has been very fortunate to have had instruction from some of the top event riders in the world. I have watched clinics & lessons & talked with many of these people & learned from them. Still, we have been able to afford lessons & clinics only intermittently. So when push came to shove, the person who was beside her every day, every step was me.

I agree wholeheartedly: it is almost impossible to imagine what can happen in a classroom if you have not been a teacher. I prepare taxes for a living & it is probably not possible for most people to begin to imagine how complex taxes can be. Still & all, each of us has some experience related to these areas & we are each entitled to express our opinions about these areas & others.

Although I have not ridden in an event, I think when you combine my (Western) competition & riding experience, my day in & day out horse experience, & my observations, I do have a basis for expressing my opinions.

PMJ
Mar. 25, 2002, 07:13 PM
Everyone has a right to an opinion, and yours are quite well articulated. It is fantastic that your daughter, and yourself, have had both the experiences and opportunities to compete to a certain level. That being said, it is very different to compete level to level at the upper levels and while you state one star experience you also stated that the majority was lower level and that the coaching was not, heck, I don't know if it would be right to say regular or not since you brought up the fact that it was intermittant. That is not taking anything away from the value of your opinion; however, that being said, I would weight the opinions of say, Denny Emerson, Jim Wofford, or current advanced rider of good reputation who are running their horses over such courses as being better informed because they do this on a daily basis and tend to know more. Yes, while I recognize your experience, I do take it with a grain of salt--just like I would expect someone to do of mine based on my personal experiences. I am not an expert, don't claim the experts or infallable, or defer to them because they are, but inherent risk occurs in horse sports. It is tragic that two horses did die, the causes should be studied but I don't think the sport should be thrown out, radically revamped, or severely changed because of two freak accidents.

Pat Ness
Mar. 26, 2002, 01:57 AM
Including the top riders. I really do not want this sport dictated by only advanced riders of the present or the past.

All opinions are important when it comes to the safety of the horse. Especially important are the opinions of the new arrivals in the sport. What do you think the general feeling was of the first time eventing spectators as they left Southern Pines after Cross Country?

Eventing is the horse sport I know the most about and up until 3 years ago, was my passion. I still love the sport, but I want changes that will protect the horses more. I have spent a lot of confusing time weighing a death in a pasture to a death at a cross country jump. If Murphy Himself had been lost at a jump and not to a broken leg in the field, I would have been inconsolable. I think many of you would have felt the same.

Pat Ness

PMJ
Mar. 26, 2002, 05:00 AM
Gee,

Sorry I thought saying that I

"don't claim the experts or infallable"

would completely imply that their opinions should be taken also with a grain of salt, but they do have a great deal more HANDS ON, DAY TO DAY experience in dealing with these things.

Carol Ames
Mar. 26, 2002, 05:57 PM
Robby, if you've never seen a horse or rider killed at an event, you are lucky!I started eventing in the 1970's and saw many many horses killed or severly injured. It is not something one needs to see. Eventually we accept the risks involved, select a horse who wants to do it, you can tell, prepare corectly, and be sure we,ourselves can give 100%and go to an event ready to scratch ,if conditions warrant. Live each day to the fullest, appreciate every moment you and your horse have together and remember none of us knows for sure that we will be alive in the next minute,hour,day or second. So, whatever you are doing , love it and be sure those with you, horsse and human know that you love it.and them. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Thank the Universe for every moment we have with these wonderful beings, protect them through preparation and good horsemanship, so that they love it,too.!and we all know horses who truly love crosscountry!and we must have enough integrity, confidence and humility to scratch or withdraw when necssary.If it gives your and your horses' live s'purpose and direction, get help,prepare as thoroughly as possible. and go for it! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Janet
Mar. 26, 2002, 08:43 PM
Please see my post on Middletown.