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pwynnnorman
Nov. 3, 2002, 03:36 PM
Ok, I just got back from Virginia and had an interesting conversation with a guy I've been meeting at events throughout the fall. He's unhappy with the way Novice courses seem to be evolving. In his opinion, because of the newly recognized status of Beginnner Novice, Novice itself is becoming more and more technical, and many difficult types of jumps are being made more difficult by becoming less and less natural in how they are placed and/or presented.

The example he gave was ditches. At one event, he noted how the Novice ditch was set on the side of a hill where one would never expect to see an open ditch. At another, the ditch had just been refurbished and the retaining walls were made out of very, very contrasting logs. We also discussed the white-painted retaining walls around the water at another event and a barrel jump that had had an inordinate number of problems in a previous year that was just moved--basically unchanged in its presentation--to a new location AND had to be approached on a bending line.

We talked about how so many Novices just don't have the time to do as much schooling as more serious eventers (not to say that they aren't serious, but they are often not riding as often, not getting as many lessons, not going to school the courses beforehand, etc., etc.). His concern is that for Novices who can only get to three or four events a season and end up getting eliminated, they may get discouraged and leave the sport. Realizing that some would argue that they should drop back to BN, he contends that BN, given how few jumps there may be on x-c (12 or so), makes it hardly worth while to ship sometimes quite long distances.

What do you think? I agree with him that "naturalness" (like locating ditches where they would likely be found: at the base of hills, in swales, etc.; not setting up lines that ask advanced questions, like bending ones with related distances; and considering the lighting and contrast effects of jump building material) are important to encourage both horse and rider. So, in my mind, the quesition is: When (at what level) should courses STOP being developed for "encouragement" and start becoming more of a "test"?

BUT just remember, when you consider this, WHO you are testing and WHAT you expect them to be able to do. For example, we talked about how No. Va. eventers have tons of schooling courses to utilize in preparing for "tests" at any level, while Midwesterners, etc., hardly have ANY. So, for the health of the sport, should the Novice level "test" or "encourage"? Should there be only ONE level that "encourages" (BN)? Is THAT good for the sport? Or would it be better to reward the basics as they are "testable" via dressage and stadium (which everyone has, more or less, equal access to in preparation), and keep cross country "encouraging" at Novice?

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

pwynnnorman
Nov. 3, 2002, 03:36 PM
Ok, I just got back from Virginia and had an interesting conversation with a guy I've been meeting at events throughout the fall. He's unhappy with the way Novice courses seem to be evolving. In his opinion, because of the newly recognized status of Beginnner Novice, Novice itself is becoming more and more technical, and many difficult types of jumps are being made more difficult by becoming less and less natural in how they are placed and/or presented.

The example he gave was ditches. At one event, he noted how the Novice ditch was set on the side of a hill where one would never expect to see an open ditch. At another, the ditch had just been refurbished and the retaining walls were made out of very, very contrasting logs. We also discussed the white-painted retaining walls around the water at another event and a barrel jump that had had an inordinate number of problems in a previous year that was just moved--basically unchanged in its presentation--to a new location AND had to be approached on a bending line.

We talked about how so many Novices just don't have the time to do as much schooling as more serious eventers (not to say that they aren't serious, but they are often not riding as often, not getting as many lessons, not going to school the courses beforehand, etc., etc.). His concern is that for Novices who can only get to three or four events a season and end up getting eliminated, they may get discouraged and leave the sport. Realizing that some would argue that they should drop back to BN, he contends that BN, given how few jumps there may be on x-c (12 or so), makes it hardly worth while to ship sometimes quite long distances.

What do you think? I agree with him that "naturalness" (like locating ditches where they would likely be found: at the base of hills, in swales, etc.; not setting up lines that ask advanced questions, like bending ones with related distances; and considering the lighting and contrast effects of jump building material) are important to encourage both horse and rider. So, in my mind, the quesition is: When (at what level) should courses STOP being developed for "encouragement" and start becoming more of a "test"?

BUT just remember, when you consider this, WHO you are testing and WHAT you expect them to be able to do. For example, we talked about how No. Va. eventers have tons of schooling courses to utilize in preparing for "tests" at any level, while Midwesterners, etc., hardly have ANY. So, for the health of the sport, should the Novice level "test" or "encourage"? Should there be only ONE level that "encourages" (BN)? Is THAT good for the sport? Or would it be better to reward the basics as they are "testable" via dressage and stadium (which everyone has, more or less, equal access to in preparation), and keep cross country "encouraging" at Novice?

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

achcosuva
Nov. 3, 2002, 04:34 PM
Okay, here's my opinions. Just remember I'm basically a nobody and new to the sport. And under the voting (and drinking!) age, too! /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Well, I see BN as the introduction to the sport. First time out, green horse or green rider thing. A confidence builder and a place to just plain have fun. The obstacles should be completely unrelated, low in height and width, and unchallenging. Lots of logs and such.

Novice is the continuation of BN (notice the word NOVICE is in BN!), but beginning to ensure the riders are keeping thier horses fit for a longer go. It also adds in a bit of height and maybe some "scarier" obstacles, but the new and "scary" ones are in nice, easy places to see.

Training level is where it starts to get somewhat serious. Here your horse gets the things put in non-obvious places, like maybe a "scary" jump in the shadows, or around a sharper turn in the woods. Not so much "approach" time as the N level.

Prelim, to me, is where things are serious. It's the deciding level between having fun and competeing (not saying that you're not having fun at Prelim or not competeing at Training or below!). Once you hit Prelim, you expect questions, difficult ones! Also, those scary jumps are going to be in weird places, and they're going to be bigger. The course will be more technical and so on.

And then, of course, Intermediate and Advanced go on to be even more difficult and technical. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

That's just the way I see it. BN was created because N was too hard, or requiring too much preperation, for people who are just testing the waters, seeing if they really want to event. Why would you then bump the difficulty of Novice up? It seems to me that then they'll need a transition level between BN and N!

-Anne, the sister of a PrettyFilly and searching for the PerfectHorse-
"I'm not insane...I just compartmentalize!"

Tootsie
Nov. 3, 2002, 04:50 PM
I am sorry if this sounds a bit bad but it is almost like he is using it as a cop out. No, I did not get ahead at the ditch three times, it was placed in a bad place. It was the course designers fault I got elimiated, not mine. That was just the first impression I got.

Cross country is always designed to test the horse and rider, always. What varies with the levels is the difficulties of the tests. The novice levels should test the bravery of the horse over small obstacles. At training it gets a bit more technical with the changing of strides and then gets more and more "questions" on the tests as you move up the levels. The courses are not designed so that people should not have to ride them, nor are they designed specifically to make people have problems. Why should it make a difference to your horse if there is a ditch on the side of the hill or a ditch at the bottom of the hill. The horse should know it has to jump it anyway. If the horses doesn't know it has to jump it than there is something wrong witht he training.

Novice is the introduction to eventing for young horses started by experianced riders. I would go as far as to say that 95% of the upper level riders (advanced) would never dream of sending their horses to a BN horse trials. Some of them only do two or three Novices before moving up. And the horses are ready at the time.

Novice is supposed to test the basic bravery of horses and riders. They should be able to jump a ditch placed anywhere, they should be able to jump a scary jump off of a curve. If they cant, dont blame the courses. Take a look at the training of the horse and rider.

"They're a right sorry admission of defeat, them signs are. If my life was that compromised, I sure wouldn't advertise it. My sign would say, 'If there was something else I'd rather be doing, I'd darn well be doing it.'"- Skinny Legs and All

bigdreamer
Nov. 3, 2002, 04:58 PM
it's funny that you bring this up. I am friends w/ a TD whose wife was on my team at the kentucky team challenge. There was also a ditch there on the novice course that was kinda like a downbank into an up hill. While walking the course, there were several jumps that he saw issues with, so he went and talked w/ people and they made some changes. tho the ditch couldn't really be changed... and LOTS of people got eliminated or had issues there. This show was probably the last one of the season for many peopel... not a nice way to finish the season off, is it?

The same guy hosts 2 events on his property each year- and their novice course is very simple. He's had several peopel ask why he doesn't "beef it up" and he says "cuz i dont' want to see ANYONE walk off the course crying b/c they got eliminated, i want them all to finish".

I honestly think that there is no real answere... we need easy novice courses, and we need the pre-move up ones that prep you for training level. Which is why i have before said that a rating system would be nice, but that would mean the TD needs to come out and rate the course b4 the omnibuses go out... It would be convenient tho.

I feel if novice stays simple, and you move up to training, you are in for a RUDE AWAKENING. I guess the oraganizer should decide what type of course it should be, inviting or testing, when they send in their stuff for the omnibus, then when the TD comes out they will have to make sure the course meets that standard... have some kind of point system for each different "question" and have, forexample, an easy N be 10 points, and a testing one 15 points... or something... then the competitor will know what is to be expected of them, and then know what events to pick in respect to what their horse is prepared for.

that's my opinion... tho i find this topic very interesting and hope more peopel respond /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif It is definately something tha ti feel needs to be addressed.

~laura~

Sannois
Nov. 3, 2002, 04:59 PM
Since I am an Adult rider with only BN experience at eventing. I feel like The Novice courses that I have seen around here, MI are fair, and most likely not as technical as in the VA MA etc. states,Area2?? Anyway, I always get this underlying impression, that there are some folks that look down on BN. Not sure why, but it is often brought up in a quite a few threads of late, as not really being what eventing should be. Well I am going to give Novice a shot next spring, but if we have trouble, it will be right back to BN for us. I'm in it for the fun at my age. /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
Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

BarbB
Nov. 3, 2002, 05:16 PM
z APPENDIX 1 - LEVELS OF HORSE TRIALS BOD 1/14/01 Effective 12/1/01
1. Novice - The Novice Level is an introduction to Horse Trials, combining dressage, cross-country, and jumping tests. ...... The cross-country should include a variety of introductory obstacles, including an inviting bank, drop, ditch, water crossing, brush, and a double. It is intended to be a positive experience, involving galloping in balance and jumping out of stride. ........BOD 1/13/02 Effective 3/1/02

I do not believe that this description of novice level intends that Novice level 'test the bravery of horse and rider.'
I think the key is the statement that it is intended to be a positive experience.
It should give horse and rider the experience of riding forward to cross crountry obstacles.
Technical problems and tests of the rider's nerve and the horse's bravery are better left for more experienced competitors.

BarbB
charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

...virtue shall be bound into the hair of thy forelock... I have given thee the power of flight without wings. - The Koran

[This message was edited by BarbB on Nov. 03, 2002 at 08:35 PM.]

MsRidiculous
Nov. 3, 2002, 06:07 PM
I'm with Tootsie on this one. The horse should know by the time it gets to Novice that it is to jump whats in front of it, no matter where in the terrain it's located. And honestly I dont think the horses notice the terrain as much as the rider. Do you honestly think the horse canters up the ditch and goes "what?! UPHILL?? NOT POSSIBLE!"? That seems like a rider thing to me.

If you aren't up to competing at Novice, which IMO is very straight forward and simple 99% of the time, then drop back down to BN. As it is I think that most Novice events are actually TOO simple... Training XC was a big move up from the courses we had been doing (which were listed as above average), and it really shouldn't have been. If anything, I'd rather see Novice get a little bit MORE technical.

-Amanda

You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find.. you get what you need.

Boss Hoss
Nov. 3, 2002, 06:46 PM
A horse is going to refuse a ditch no matter where you put it, if the horse has not been sufficiently schooled for this obstacle. Even if you only go out for one event a year, you need to be prepared to answer the questions presented. I think problems with ditches, water, drops etc. are more an issue of lack of trust between horse & rider. To prove it have you instructor get on the horse and they'll get the horse over it pretty calmly. But how many Novice eventers have this confidence in their own skills?

This season, I schooled one xc course and a coffin complex at my trainers, and that was it! We did the rest of the work over stadium fences. I don't think it has as much to do with natural versus unnatural appearance as it has to do with the presentation to the fence. (what's so natural about stadium obstacles?) I know you can't simulate all novice XC obstacles in stadium, but if you can't rate the horse into the various questions you can setup in stadium, then you don't have the confidence to do it on a XC course where the fences don't fall for your protection.

You can do other things too like riding your horses over tarps, through a low spot filled with plastic jugs, over planks of plywood etc. to prepare them for variations in natural terrain and manmade obstacles.

Here's my opinion: setup any novice obstacle, anywhere on course that is legal (aka inviting), and get out of the way cause we're going over it. We're still not dealing with obstacles that the average horse can't get over even with the average jumping horse. In my 4 years of limited experience in BN & N, the problems I had with refusals had to do with rider error/confidence. Bubba was not a brave jumper, but he did it because of our work together and the confidence I had in him to do even if out of a bad spot. Manahawk now jumps anything you put in his way, but at first he stopped to test me and to see how I was going to respond.

It doesn't matter if the question is made out of fallen trees or tractor tires, or a white border for that matter. The horse sees an obstacle standing in the way of its direction of travel..only the rider sees the bells and whistles. Envision the jump with a stadium pole on the top, that's what you need to get over. Rate your horse to the fence and take the correct spot. I've seen far more terrifying rides at BN-N (including some of my own videos) because the fences are low enough the horses can get over without assistance of the rider.

Now there are always going to be starter horse trials, but when you are talking recognized novice..you should be introduced to the elements that comprise the sport placed any and everywhere that is inviting. Yes Novice should be a pleasant experience, but you still have to do the work in preparing for the experience.

jenarby
Nov. 3, 2002, 07:51 PM
Boss Hoss - You said it!
I think it's all about preparation. Practice, challenging your horse and exposure. If you are confident enough to ride the level and your horse is prepared properly there shouldn't be any other issues. I know I start my younger less experienced horses out doing hunter paces and tons of schooling. Once they have confidence in me (as long as they are physically capable) they jump anything I put them at because they trust me. Rider confidence plays a huge role when you are riding a BN (just starting out) course and stepping up to N. I think N courses absolutely should be challenging. Also though I do feel they should be inviting enough that people WANT to step up once they and their horses have mastered the BN courses. It's no fun winning every BN trial you ride in a hundred times. This means you have no competition and should move up. BUT, I've known people who have ridden some more difficult N courses and lose the confidence to continue in that level because it had a few "scarey" fences or funky approaches that they felt they were not ready for . I can see how this discussion can go many directions and I can't wait to see more responses.

Good, Better, Best.....the best don't rest until their good is better and their better is the very best!

His Greyness
Nov. 3, 2002, 11:47 PM
A long time ago far far away the lowest level of eventing was PRELIMINARY. Since eventing was a rural sport, most participants fox hunted so riding cross country was an every day (or week) part of their experience. Any horse that was worth anything already knew how to jump walls, ditches and hedges.

Then along came the Baby Boomers from the suburbs who knew not fox hunting. Their sense of entitlement demanded that they too should participate and win in this sport. So TRAINING level was created, which, when the cycle repeated, begat PRE-TRAINING, which was later renamed NOVICE by some PR flak who believed that Baby Boomers didn't want to be identified as PRE-anything. The cycle continues and we now have BEGINNER NOVICE and traditionalists deride the "dumbing down" of the sport.

This evolution and even the previous posts to this thread demonstrate the basic schism that exists in eventing. The "pragmatists" are trying to increase participation in eventing. They need the money so believe competitions should become more inviting for folk who have no experience of cross-country riding. Abetted by rising affluence and an increasing number of "professionals" wanting to make their living from eventing a lot of suburbanites have now joined the sport.

The "traditionalists" want to keep people in their place. You have to earn the right to compete. Eventing separates the men from the boys, the sheep from the goats (or whatever other symbolism you like to use). Don't come to the competition unless you have what it takes. Not even the threat of excluding eventing from the Olympics will shake some traditionalists from their beliefs.

Other factions exist within the ranks of the competitors. Some folk are highly competitve and have to win and move up, no matter what their abilities are. Others want to putter around at novice for ever.

Unfortunately any event may be run by any of these factions. This leads to a lot of inconsistencies between courses. I have found novice courses with preliminary level drop fences. Until the eventing community decides how it really wants to evolve I don't see things getting any better

As a result of safety and liability issues, all courses are becoming increasingly artificial. To give sponsors some tangible evidence of their contributions, course builders are creating themed obstacles. None of the obstacles at the World Equestrian Games were remotely "natural". Courses have become almost as manicured as show jumping arenas.

Daydream Believer
Nov. 4, 2002, 04:26 AM
I have been eventing since the early 1980's and have seen the evolution described by His Greyness. Things have changed a lot over the last 20 years. I do think in the last 5 years or so in Area II, that the lower level courses are getting increasingly beefed up and technical. I was quite surprised this past spring with the difficulty and technicality of the Five Points Horse Trial (New Longleaf) particularly at the Novice level. It was virtually identical to the training course but just smaller. Numerous combinations/related fences and even a sunken road that caused a lot of trouble. I was on my ex-training horse and he took several hard looks at a few of the fences which was quite out of character for him. A few weeks later at Ft. Bragg and Virginia, he didn't bat an eye at the very "normal" novice courses there. What was wrong with Five Points, IMO, was that it was very early in the season and it was labeled in the Omnibus as "average diffculty" and a lot of people got caught off guard with green horses there.

I think there is a great deal of variation in the Novice/Training courses and the descriptions in the Omnibus don't really tell you what to expect in many cases. I think a rating system like someone else said earlier to be a great idea.

I do think though that the issue comes down to what is novice supposed to be? I think it should be straightforward and inviting, never trappy, very moderately technical with maybe one combination on the course, and have well placed obstacles like ditches/banks/water in places where they do make sense to green horses. I think that there should be Novice courses that are beefed up like a Championship level course and should be known as such. Those courses can be your move up tests for training level. Folks who don't want a "mini Rolex" can avoid those courses and patronize the events with more straightforward lower level courses.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

pwynnnorman
Nov. 4, 2002, 04:29 AM
We were kinda focusing on "the good of the sport" in our conversation. A lot of the responses here are a little "holier than thou" in a way, I think.

I guess my perspective comes from a very firm belief in the value of a strong foundation. I think what I'm trying to argue is that lower levels should "demand" that foundation in how the various phases of the sport are weighed (their impact on the final results).

If you have a brave horse--or access to schooling courses a lot--you can get around x-c with rotten dressage. Moreover, we DO see as one goes up the levels some pretty rotten (compared to other sports, like hunters and jumpers) stadium riding. In other words, IMO, it seems that the lower levels are rewarding x-c when they should be rewarding dressage and stadium (both in the horse and in the rider).

This season, for example, has been SUCH as eye-opener for me. After seeing little of the sport except the big name events for mroe than a decade, going to typical events and watching riders at Prelim and Intermediate cross cantering (I can't believe the number of Intermediate horses who don't seem to have a lead change--isn't that required at Advanced?), the number of incredibly stiff, awkward, hands-holding-a-wrench-not-a-rein, back-bolted-to-butt, what-the-heck-are-you-DOING-competing-at-this-level riders...well, folks, I'm sorry but after spending so much time around h-j'ers, I have to admit I'm appalled.

Too many people seem to be getting by with brave horses, instead of well-schooled ones and I think you get brave horses winning by beefing up cross country instead of beeing up stadium. This weekend, at Virginia, the Intermediate stadium was a real test--and many failed it. I don't remember the last time I watched Intermediate stadium, but I gotta tell you, I have watched a lot of CCI** and *** stadium and the difference is incredible, in my eyes.

"Why aren't you getting that horse balanced NOW?" I kept wondering in my head, watching rider after rider cross cantering corners and doing nothing about it. I just don't understand that. Honestly. A lot of them got away with it, but, in my eyes, that picture was just sooo symptomatic of how far we are creeping away from the philosphy that used to be behind "progression" horse sports like eventing. Don't you think, as "combined training," an Intermediate horse should rarely, instead of FREQUENTLY, cross canter (I'm just using that issue as one example)? Don't you think that, because there's this little thing called dressage, an intermediate rider should be able to CORRECT a cross cantering horse and should proceed to do so when the need arises?

You may argue "who cares about cross cantering," but I'm telling you in all the big-time competition videotapes and live events I've attended, I have rarely, rarely, rarely seen cross cantering. Could that mean that those big-time competition horses and/or their riders are where they are because they HAVE those basics down pat, while those who never get to that level don't get there because they DON'T have those basics? Isn't that a possibility?

What does this have to do with Novice? Well, I think remembering the philosophy of "combined training" as a progressive sport has to start somewhere. Encouraging cross country and REALLY testing stadium at lower levels (making stadium more influential that x-c, that is),I think might remind people of what really makes a horse with COMBINED training (not just a cross country horse).

Think of those "cardboard" guys out there, hanging on through sheer strength as they bury their incredibly generous (and expensive) horses, jump after jump after jump. I say blow them out of the water with technically challenging stadium courses at the lower levels, so that their combined dressage and stadium scores are so embarassing that they will not even think about moving up until they get the basics down pat.

Meanwhile REWARD the newbies and Novices who spend time on the basics, again regardless of the kind of horse they are on. [People will probably argue with me about this, I realize, but I'm one with a very, very firm belief in basic TRAINING over basic "boldness." *I* have control over training--too often, only mother nature and money can control boldness, IMO, and that's just not "sport."]

[This message was edited by pwynnnorman on Nov. 04, 2002 at 07:59 AM.]

Elghund2
Nov. 4, 2002, 04:44 AM
pwynn: I think what you are seeing is the result of dumbing down courses not the other way around. I don't complete but do school on cross country courses to prep for fox hunting.

Almost all of the lower level jumps ask no questions further then can you jump x inches (or feet). Therefore it is easy to point a horse at it and gun them over. I think you would see a lot less seat of the pants riding if XC presented the more technical questions that made a rider have to think about the approach, take-off and landing at the lower levels. I'm not talking about trappy jumps but something that asks a different question then just how high?

"I'd be more tactful, if I were wrong."

pwynnnorman
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:06 AM
But I think it is safer and more "encouraging" to ask those questions in stadium at the lowest levels, rather in x-c. The fact is that you just don't see the result you hope for, do you? You DON'T see more technical x-c courses creating better riders at all. That's because you don't get penalized for burying your brave beastie if said beastie still managed to climb its way over the jump.

In stadium, you DO get penalized for that. Beastie can't climb in stadium. No matter how bad you are in cross country, beastie can still climb.

Imagine how many excellent event riders at the higher levels we'd have if our lower level riders were as good as, say, Regional Medal/Mclay equitation riders in stadium? Subtle, flowing, accurate rides over moderate sized fences. What's wrong with that? And yet, how often do you see that in stadium (except for the pros). Imagine how strong we'd be if eventing required more serious "cross training" from everyone (I'm thinking this as winter arrives and I'm considering who to get out to h-j shows to get them really solid an sophisticated on courses.)

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

mellsmom
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:17 AM
am I the only one who either walks or schools most of the places I'll be showing before the actual event? To me that is a HUGE part of the prepartion needed to go to an event. I want to walk the course before I have to ride it sothat I have a week or two to school anything I have not polished BEFORE the event. I just went out Sat and walked a course where I will be going in the spring. Two fences onteh course made me decide that I won't be going novice at that event next spring. It's early in the season so I'll go do BN and get myself prepper to move up to Novice at a later event. And possibly aim for novice there next fall. I do like the lay outof the event... lots of room to school ...good parking... what appears to be a fun course. Certainly do-able for us at BN.
At the end of this month we'll be going Novice at a local event where I will have schooled the XC once or twice by the time of the event. I know what the stadium course will look like and where my weaknesses are there. I would like to get around without being eliminated :-) Basically, I just don't like surprises. <My horse loves to jump and he's pretty brave, and will save my bacon a lot of the time, but it's just not fair to him to arrive unprepared and expect him to carry my sorry a** around a course I have not prepared him for. I love my horse and want this to be FUN for him. He needs confidence in me and his own ability. I OWE it to him to be sure that he has what it takes to be sucessful and feel good about his performance that day.... it's a two way street. THAT is what I see lacking in some wanna be eventers. Basic lask of horsemanship ie. understanding of the principles of the horse psyche. Respect for all that the horse does for us and appreciation of their efforts. If my horse is not prepared for a particular course it's MY fault. Mine. For not pre-viewing the course.. preparing the horse... showing up with my game face on or whatever.... Our performnce is MY responsibility end of discussion.

"I've got a holiday, a paid holiday, I've got a holiday in my head"

Daydream Believer
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:35 AM
mellsmom,

I agree that preparation is key to eventing but it is impossible to always know what to expect on an XC course a head of time simply by going to walk it in the fall and know what it will be like in the Spring. Organizers sometimes totally redo the courses (Ft. Bragg's training course is a good example of this) and not always are the courses open for people to look at. Five Points was a new event and even though I went to the Advanced Horse Trials a month or so before, it was very hard to tell what the new novice and training courses there were going to be like. You could see construction here and there and the sunken road that I thought looked like a training obstacle ended up on the Novice course. Go figure. Word of mouth and asking other competitors is also a great way to get feedback on courses but you always have to expect surprises and new fences. I think certain events also get "reputations" for putting out certain types of courses...for instance the Virginia Horse Trials (Brian and Penny Ross) always have lovely well built, solid galloping courses that ask questions but aren't trappy. I have never seen an inappropriate or poorly constructed fence for a given level at that event which is why it's one of my favorites in Area II.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

Elghund2
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:42 AM
pwynn: I believe on an earlier thread about making eventing safer that someone suggested that the stadium heights be higher than XC max's and also to do stadium first at the lower levels.

I would also advocate putting in more demanding elements in stadium before someone sees them in XC. That way you are in a safer situation in dealing with a technical question before getting to the jump that doesn't fall down on XC.

"I'd be more tactful, if I were wrong."

pwynnnorman
Nov. 4, 2002, 07:54 AM
"...am I the only one who either walks or schools most of the places I'll be showing before the actual event? To me that is a HUGE part of the prepartion needed to go to an event."

Which means that half the riders in the west and midwest go to most of their events "unprepared"? Do you not realize that some people simply do not have that kind of access to cross country?

Y'know, some of y'all (and I'm sayin' this nicely, so don't get mad at me), a horse doesn't have to have seen a fence to be willing to jump over it. Moreover, a horse can be scared to death of a jump and still jump over it. It's not the jump that counts, it's the RIDE. Indeed, maybe it's not such a good idea to rely so much on the fact that "the horse shoudl jump whatever is put in front of it" idea. For some, that ends up meaning that if the horse quits when the rider errs, the rider gets rid of the horse and finds one that will put up with his or her mistakes (instead of learning to ride better).

Give good basics their due: teach the horse to respond to the rider and the rider to control the horse and it doesn't matter whether the horse has seen things or whether the set up is technical or whatever. RIDE, don't be a passenger. When I evented twenty years ago, NO ONE schooled the courses beforehand.

Simulate x-c's technical questions in stadium (and I love the idea of increasing stadium heights) and then once a rider can answer them in the ring, THEN ask them out in the country. To me, that only makes sense.

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

samie
Nov. 4, 2002, 08:09 AM
I agree coming from a newbie perspective . I rode my first BN event in Oct I thought XC was perfect maybe a little scary on the first jump, there were only a couple logs, stadium i found a bit hard and tight.

I was told that BN would be getting tougher next year to meet standards. I really don't think that is nessacery. I feel BN should be rather easy. and novice easy but beginning to start challenging.

millions of people walking around like happy meals with legs. -Spike

asterix
Nov. 4, 2002, 08:57 AM
This thread is an interesting counterpoint to the mini-rolex thread; seems we can all agree that if it were feasible, a rating system would be extremely helpful. I think there can and SHOULD be a big difference between a course for a rider just moving up from BN and a course for a rider confirming their prep for moving to T.
I also agree that the more technical and demanding we can make the SJ (assuming it is run prior to XC as at many one-days for the lower levels), the better.
I had a very interesting experience this weekend, jump judging at Menfelt's starter trial ("PreNovice," N, and T -- in each case, the course was distinctly "sublevel," which is appropriate for a starter trial).
I judged the water complex -- small drop in, ramp out over log for Training, ramp in, ramp out over log for Novice, and simple ramp in for PN (though the TD commented that she'd have preferred to place the flags so that the riders HAD to actually set foot in the water, as it was they could [and some did] scoot past the flag and sidestep onto solid ground before dipping a hoof).
Training and Novice riders mostly looked fine. I did hear a number of folks having trouble at other fences, but in line with what you'd expect at any trial of this level. Nearly everyone made it through the water decently.
PreNovice was a massacre. Very large numbers of multiple refusals, eliminations, and warnings from the start box that riders were looking "scary" from the get-go. Some the horses that made it to the water wanted little to do with it (though it really couldn't have been more inviting unless it were dry). The majority of the riders had incredibly short reins and were either fighting with their horses needlessly or were tipped forward, stiff as a board, while patient horse tried to do his job. One girl came down the hill tugging sharply at her gently trotting horse; she continued to tug as they approached the water, but added two sharp smacks with her crop, for no apparent reason. Another woman came barreling down the hill, totally out of control, standing on dressage-length stirrups, hands by her chest, yelling whoa all the way. Luckily the horse charged merrily through the water without paying much attention to her.
It was a real eye-opener.
Now, this was PN at a starter trial, and I suspect that many of these folks were doing their first run (trot, or bolt, as the case may be) XC, and I fully expected to see lots of nerves and wobbly rides, but watching the entire division was sobering. As a new eventer myself, I do not want to discourage folks from trying and learning and gaining confidence in our sport, but it was quite difficult to watch the horses get punished for trying to do a decent job, over and over again.
At dressage schooling shows, the judge will often give you verbal as well as written comments intended to help you understand what needs improvement, and sometimes suggest ways to work on your issues.
I think it might be nice for starter trials to offer this sort of feedback in all three phases. It may be hard, looking back on your course, to see whether there are common threads (like sit back and soften your hand!) or whether you and your horse had technical issues with specific types of jumps, like the water, that could be schooled in isolation. One or two experienced jump judges could be detailed to note issues for each rider, and add these comments, along with similar notes from the stadium judge, to the back of the dressage test, for the rider to review.
I know that when I did my first BN horse trial, I had had the opportunity to school well beyond the size and "question" of any of those fences, but felt really nervous about putting a whole course together. Riding from start to finish is completely different from schooling, and until you do it, you don't really know how you and your horse will react.
So, if this was their first time out, many of the riders I saw may have "prepared" by schooling as best they could, and still been caught off guard by running across terrain for a sustained period of time.
The starter trial is an appropriate place for them to learn what that's like, but I wish that they had the opportunity to also learn, specifically, what they might work on or think about to be safer and more comfortable next time out.

mellsmom
Nov. 4, 2002, 10:06 AM
You are right that not everyone has the opportunity to ride or walk the courses a couple of weeks before hand. However, I think it pays to know the basics of the event beofre you go... terrain can be a big issue. If you are coming to the VHT from Florida you really need to know about is that the course is built uo and down in what seems to be a small valley and you will most likley feel like you are going down suicide hill. ;-) If a course is mostly open fields it'll ride differently for different horses, also if it's through the woods, that will make it more likely to have lots of shadows.... if you horse (mine) hates changes in light that will be an issue.
I have all along thought that stadium should be a challenge. Sadly, it's become one for me at the last event! YUCK. My horse easily schooled all the novice fences on that course safely, competently... then the next week we fell apart, ok I did, in stadium. Typical. I don't think I would have been dangerous on XC after that, but if it has been at a HT, and I continued to SUCK RAW EGGS I would certainly have pulled off of XC if I didn'tget my sh*t together.
Perhaps my insistance on walking courses and obsessing with how different obstacles will ride or what will be on the course is my lack of experience showing. Maybe when I've done 15 Novice HT's I won't feel that way. Until then, I'll invest the time and $$$ in being anal in my preparation. I just don't think I'd make it in the mid-west. ;-)

"I've got a holiday, a paid holiday, I've got a holiday in my head"

Janet
Nov. 4, 2002, 10:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Imagine how many excellent event riders at the higher levels we'd have if our lower level
riders were as good as, say, Regional Medal/Mclay equitation riders in stadium? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I would put "Regional Medal/Maclay riders" on an equivalent level with "Prelim Area Championship riders".

Training riders would be equivalent to Childrens/Adult Medal.

I think the "Eventing Tests" were designed to address many of your concerns. Unfortunately, they hace "taken off" like the proverbial lead balloon.

Tootsie says that Novice is designed for experienced riders with inexperienced horses. It also needs to be for inexperienced riders with experienced (and well trained) horses.

I think a lot of the issues are when neither horse nor rider has experience

Tootsie
Nov. 4, 2002, 12:26 PM
When I think about it, experianced horses with inexperianced riders should have about the same levels of difficulties as inexperianced horses with experianced riders. I agree that the problem is that both members of the team are inexperianced. That is what I think is one of the biggest problems of the sport in general, the old "we'll learn together" mentallity. But that is another thread.

I agree that it is not the jump that counts, it is the ride. Horses need to trust their rider in that it will jump when the rider tells it to properly. That is boldness, the willingness to trust the rider.

Personally I would much rather have natural boldness than training. You can always train a forward horse to respond to the rider, but you cannot make a horse bold. Maybe it does not matter as much in the lower levels, but at prelim and up it becomes not fun when the horse is not naturally bold.

Why does someone complain about the difficulty of the novice courses? Why dont they try to raise their level of riding, which is the goal anyway, to meet what is now that level?

"They're a right sorry admission of defeat, them signs are. If my life was that compromised, I sure wouldn't advertise it. My sign would say, 'If there was something else I'd rather be doing, I'd darn well be doing it.'"- Skinny Legs and All

Janet
Nov. 4, 2002, 12:54 PM
Even if you dn't have access to a lot of courses, you can teach a lot of the cross country "questions" with a little bit of uneven terrain and some simple props, as in a Lucina Green clinic.

IFG
Nov. 4, 2002, 01:20 PM
Well I evented a lot Novice and a bit BN in the mid to late 1980's in Areas I and II, then I was on hiatus until this year. Now I am back out BN in the Northern part of Area I. All I can say is that the courses are MUCH bigger and more technical than they used to be. I am jumping things at BN that would never be at Novice 15 years ago. There are big solid tables, rolltops, and pyramidal things that were never there before. I know that they are supposed to be easier for the horse, but they can be intimidating (OK, I nearly croaked after walking a BN course at the start of the season, I admit it, but we did go over everything). BN used to be for people just starting out, it was totally fun and unintimidating. Now I really need to be prepped just to get around. Now maybe it is just the Area that I am in, but I don't know where people just starting out are supposed to go.

I like to go to sanctioned events because you know that the level of the courses is consistent and that they should not be trappy. I think that there should be a recognized level for those just entering the sport. I don't see how we expect to attract people to eventing if the first thing you say to them is go do some jumper classes at a local show before you try an event.

I actually like the technical jumps, but it is not a way to attract people to the sport. Those just starting out are going to have problems.

If we want our sport to grow and fluorish, and to be safe, I think that we need a true entry level that is recognized. BN used to be that level, but at least where I am now, it is not.

Boss Hoss
Nov. 4, 2002, 01:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tootsie:
Why does someone complain about the difficulty of the novice courses? Why dont they try to raise their level of riding, which is the goal anyway, to meet what is now that level?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm one of your "hollier than tho" type respondents...there is nothing to be gained from lowering the standards set for the level. That would be like lowering the standards for becoming a medical doctor or judge, just because we WANT to be one. I learned some hard lessons in this BN-N world and at the time had the same thoughts as the original poster. Sometimes you just have to Suck It Up and learn from the experience.

The starter trial concept is exactly the problem. It doesn't give you a true idea of what to expect at the level...often shared DOWN a level and no time or pace involved. And from my own experiences, unrecognized events will get you into more trouble than if you had just competed down a level at recognized. You'll find things thrown in just for fun that can actually be ABOVE the level (one strides in a BN stadium course) and destroy the confidence of both horse & rider who inherently already have none! This was my introduction to eventing as well.

Moving from BN to N, should be considered carefully as much as the move from T to PL. With each level new suttleties are introduced, along with height, spread & pace. If you don't know the different courses, you might be foolish enough to try taking Great Meadows as your first Novice course to move up from BN..remember I had that crazy idea? There can be a step function difference versus a subtle increase in difficulty.

I also remember asking for a rating system a couple years back..but it doesn't work that emperically. If anything there should be NO comments made at all except..the level and distance and terrain expected. Be prepared to jump any novice obstacle on the surface of the earth at a given linear speed...that about covers it.

Back in October, I did Elysian Hills..it had rained and was raining during the event, and many folks didn't even show up. Everyone was worried about the footing, conditions etc. and didn't even risk it. Well there were less problems on this day with those that did show up (entire divisions went double clean) than with all the folks that show up to a log&lump starter horsetrial on a sunny dry day and leave in ambulances. I think this points to the confidence level of horse & rider as being a major factor in the real world problems observed.

If the obstacles were true to the level you wouldn't have unguided crotch rockets flying around courses just to say they had ridden at that level? I don't think organizers are doing going to tdo the sport any justice if they lower the standards.

I also spoke with someone yesterday who was filming the ECC at fairhill. She said it was BORING..because there onlylike 4 refuals and a rider fall all day. Everyone went over a championship level course with very few problems, because of the preparations leading into this event. Isn't this how it should be anyway? You should be bored out of your gord before moving up in levels, and be schooling the next level anyway.

I also walk the courses of the next level at events, so when I return the following year I already have an idea of the thinking of that course/designer. So I know what I should be schooling in the off season. AND THEN even if they move the question or change it it shouldn't blow my mind...just line the horse up and rate him to the fence.

Robby Johnson
Nov. 4, 2002, 02:20 PM
like others, you must be prepared. If I get up and ride at 6 a.m. each morning, and get five-six rides in per week, with periodic XC schools, schooling h/j and dressage shows, and have the ability to get over a ditch set at the bottom of a hill, or jump a barrel that's on a bending line, then why should I have to "underride" at a level because someone else can only ride 3x per week?

I am a big advocate of riding your horse out, in trails, across terrain, etc. Even if you're never going to compete over a groomed XC course. But it's a big advantage if you are eventing and competing, since you get to know where your horse is likely to be weak when you do get to the HT.

I think the USEA has been more than flexible in providing a good introductory level to eventing. If your friend is too good for BN, but not good enough for N, then he needs to be addressing that at home. Not expecting the competition or the organization to make it easier for him.

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

Pixie Dust
Nov. 4, 2002, 02:28 PM
I'm not understanding the problems of the jumps. Did they look funny?

pwynnnorman
Nov. 4, 2002, 03:04 PM
The thing about this guy, though, is that he's REALLY into it. He's not the least bit chicken and he's not just into competing--I don't want to say to much because I didn't ask his permission to identify him, but understand that he's looking at several sides of the issue, not just a competitor's.

My impression from our conversation is that this is a guy who really cares about the sport and has thought things through unselfishly: what he is focused on is attracting, retaining and motivating (to advance their skills) participants. As far as I can tell, he never advocated "dumbing down" courses at all. His complaint about BN was just that there weren't enough x-c jumps to make it worth spending so much money and time to compete at that level (including shipping long distances, which he does).

Moreover, from a PR perspective, I, too, am concerned about the "shut up and pay your dues" attitude. Think, for a moment, about just WHERE future eventers come from. They used to come from Pony Club and foxhunting, probably, but those avenues are shrinking. Hunter-jumpers, however, aren't and represent a very good source of potential event supporters. No one commented when I expressed criticism that more technical courses aren't solving the problem because of the way a decent horse can climb over regardless of how badly its rider puts it to the fence. But consider how it LOOKS, folks. Scrambling over fixed obstacles is no more good for the image of the sport than "unguided crotch rockets" (which had me ROTFL).

Can anyone say that making courses more technical HAS actually resulted in better riding? I can't say since I haven't been around to compare, but I do doubt it. There are just too many good horses out there to pack people around.

And, Robby, the fact is that people don't pay their dues--they buy packers or they quit. Newbies in any arena are rarely motivated enough to suffer through hardships. That's a fact whether we're talking about sports or marketing/PR. I realize this isn't a simple issue, though. I loved the "traditionalists" vs. (can't remember the other term used). We'll never agree, but I still stand firm concerning eventers' need to get the basics o/f through rider-embarassing "tests" in stadium rather than rider-discouraging (and horse-punishing) "tests" in x-c.

Say, what if the basic strategy was this:

At BN, the horse and rider with the best dressage training wins (because s/j and x-c are just meant to be encouraging).

At N, the pair with the best dressage AND the best stadium training wins (because x-c is still meant to be encouraging).

At T, the pair with dressage, stadium AND x-c wins.

At P, the pair with TALENT and the d/sj/xc wins.

At I, the pair with GUTS, TALENT and d/sh/xc wins.

At A, the pair with BRAINS, GUTS, TALENT and d/sh/xc wins.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

Tootsie
Nov. 4, 2002, 04:05 PM
The problem with that system is it turns into a dressage show. I have been dead last after my dressage, or close to it, and have moved up into the top places after my xc because I could jump clean and fast. It is the xc that should matter the most, that is the idea and base behind our sport. People can have the dressage and the staduim but unless they have the xc I dont think they are going anywhere.

Yes, the x-c is supposed to be encouraging at the lower levels, but it should also be challanging. The course should be designed to ask the questions of that level and if it asks no questions of the horse and rider than they are going to be in for a big surprise when they move up to training. And at what point does it stop becoming encouraging? I think that cross country should always be encouraging to the horse and rider and it should always ask questions. If it asks no questions what is the point? Is a few logs around a feild really going to test the horse and rider? As long as the questions are appropriate for the level there is nothing wrong with questions. If you feel you cannot answer those questions then maybe you should not be competeing at that level.

"They're a right sorry admission of defeat, them signs are. If my life was that compromised, I sure wouldn't advertise it. My sign would say, 'If there was something else I'd rather be doing, I'd darn well be doing it.'"- Skinny Legs and All

Gry2Yng
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:02 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> At BN, the horse and rider with the best dressage training wins (because s/j and x-c are just meant to be encouraging).

At N, the pair with the best dressage AND the best stadium training wins (because x-c is still meant to be encouraging).

At T, the pair with dressage, stadium AND x-c wins.

At P, the pair with TALENT and the d/sj/xc wins.

At I, the pair with GUTS, TALENT and d/sh/xc wins.

At A, the pair with BRAINS, GUTS, TALENT and d/sh/xc wins.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOVE IT! I'd like to win Int, so could the pair with the Brains, Talent d/sh/xc win and we can add guts at Adv? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I tend to think too much and put the pedal down too little.

Robby Johnson
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:11 PM
I feel quite confident that I could build a beautiful PR campaign *for* an accurate test of the Novice rider and horse. As well as the "shut up and ride" philosophy.

You are nitpicking. And there isn't much research or backbone to your argument (speaking from a purely PR perspective). You won't get too far with planning and action if you don't have solid, scientific research.

As is obvious, the course meets the standards as defined by USEA for Novice. If a color is different, your rider and horse must adjust. And I personally feel that it's ridiculous to expect color and shade to be standardized. That is so variable from course to course and area to area - you just have to be prepared for those small surprises. To prepare for that, you must school things and know your horse, and you must understand how a certain visual question will affect your horse's response. And since horse's are mostly color-blind, I'm not overly sympathetic to your original post's "dramatic" changes in light/dark. Revetting in a ditch is something your horse probably isn't going to see until his front feet are leaving the ground. The question is how to ride to the ditch. That's what one must prepare for.

You continue to advocate the softening of the sport, to invite participation by beginner riders. I belive the BN division is in place to adequately address this. There has to be a minimum level of expectation defined, and one must take some personal responsibility, along the way, to meet these minimum requirements. And this is what one does before he moves up. If you read the Omnibus, and keep your ear to the ground, you know which area courses are easier at the level, and which are harder. If you do not wish to test your horse over a harder course, you have the option of not entering, or scratching after you've arrived and walked/inspected the course.

I believe most individuals enter the sport of eventing because they are stimulated by personal challenge. I do not believe most enter the sport because they want to float around in an oxygen bubble, jumping BN fences and calling it Novice.

Continuing to soften the courses will continue to lower the skill required to be competent at the level, and eventually all levels will suffer.

I, too, have consistently gone from 8th - 9th to 3rd - 4th on a consistent/athletic jumper, who was brilliant XC. That is the basis of our sport. Not show-jumping, and not dressage. To win, one must be stellar in all three phases. But to do well, one really only only needs to be stellar in one (XC).

I would love to discuss this with you in person, because I really value what you bring to this BB and discussion. You are right - I seldom agree with you, but I respect your contribution just the same.

Will you be in Cleveland, by chance?

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

Gry2Yng
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:20 PM
mellsmom - I think it is great that you prepare and probably appropriate at BN and N, but in fact, the sport is about jumping obstacles the horse has never seen. As a rider I try to know what I am getting myself into, but I rarely school my horse over any of the obstacles he will see in competition.

I have competed from PA to VA to FL to IL to MN to KY, MI, IN, WI, OH and with the exception of the two competition courses near my home, I have never schooled a SINGLE obstacle I have competed over. In fact, I only school xc two or three times per year, the rest of the work is over poles in the ring. It is the horses job to jump when I point him at a fence.

And yes, I have a green one too, and the trust factor is not there yet, but she knows it is better to jump than not to jump. And I believe bold is bred and obedient is made and to a certain level, either will get you around. I am not sure yet whether this mare is bold, but she IS obedient.

Off topic, but a pet peeve - riders who are willing to move up to Intermediate because they have schooled every fence on the course. Good gracious - IS THE HORSE IN FRONT OF YOUR LEG OR NOT! When the answer is NOT and they change something on the course it causes a BIG problem.

So while I think it is great to do your homework and school different types of obstacles, it is better to train your horse to jump because you said so. Even the boldest of horses will want to peek every once in a while.

So, to drone on and on, I thoroughly enjoy N and T and these courses can be as challenging as any advanced course depending on the horse you are riding, but COME ON IFG, they really can't make the fences any smaller than 2'6" or any simpler than a log on the ground.

Robby - really well said, we were posting at the same time.

IFG
Nov. 4, 2002, 06:40 PM
Gry2yng,

I would love to have logs, what I was talking about is the transition from logs at 2'6" to bright man-made tables at BN. It is a change during the last 15 years. BN did not used to have obstacles of that size. Almost anyone who could do a 2'6"course in a show ring could do BN. I am not sure of that now. I think that many BN courses require a much more educated (or maybe just bold) horse or rider than they used to.

I am not advocating dumbing down the courses. I am asking why they have become so much larger in the last decade. It seems that as soon as a level becomes recognized, and I showed BN before it was recognized, the jumps become a lot bigger. Novice has gotten a lot bigger too. I used to go to Pleasant Hollow, Flora Lea, etc., and the Novice courses there were lower than the BN courses that I see now. Maybe the difference is due to my change in location because I have not been back down there to see their courses, but I am not sure. My question is why have the courses become so much more substantial and what does it do to our ability to attract new eventers.

We are the only sport that does not have an entry level. The show ring has crossrails, dressage has walk-trot, I think that if we want to grow as a sport, and more importantly attract a large enough following to preserve land to have our sport at all, then we need to have lower levels.

And frankly, I really disagree with those who claim that they don't want to "dumb down" the sport. I feel that if you only have sanctioned levels for those who can ride at a fairly high level you are alienating those whom you may most need to attract. You are biting off your nose to spite your face. We will have fewer events because we will lose our base. Make eventing more accessible, and the sport will grow. I am very concerned about land conservation. We need to attract more people to have more land become available for the sport. I think that those who want to be eliteist about the sport are going to sink it.

[This message was edited by IFG on Nov. 04, 2002 at 10:29 PM.]

Gry2Yng
Nov. 4, 2002, 07:04 PM
If you can only jump a cross-rail, I am not sure why you need to go to a recognized horse show. You can go to schooling shows. In the midwest there are schooling HT's and combined tests and they do walk/trot dressage and cross-rails. went there when I was green, and I have gone back with green horses. I don't want to spend $250 to jump cross rails when I can spend $90.

Belonging to all the organizations required to do recognized competitions is expensive. That is the point of testing the water at a schooling show. Anyone who only wants to jump cross-rails doesn't need to pay the entry fees of a USAEq or USEA recognized event.

At some point you have to say it is too basic. Learn how to show at schooling shows. If you are not confident enough or haven't had enough training to jump 8-10 2'6" fences then you have more homework to do before you buy a hunt coat and tall boots.

Grass roots is fine, but at the local event that is run BN-I they have 250 riders. In KY for N-P with a CCI they have 300. Small BN-T can have 180. That's a pretty full day on the xc course.

Guidelines for BN state 2'7" for a solid obstacle with a 2'7" spread at the highest point. The average 30 year old human can jump the max/max obstacle, 99.9% of all horses (over 14.2hh) can jump it from a standstill.

IFG
Nov. 4, 2002, 07:21 PM
Gry2yng,

I agree that the expense of recognized shows is high, but I do not think that the number of schooling horse trials out there is comparable to the number of schooling shows. In fact, it can be very hard to find schooling horse trials. Also, I find that the quality of many schooling horse trials is uneven. I found that the XC was so trappy at some local schooling trials that it was not worth participating. Often these courses are borderline dangerous. I would much rather have a sanctioned event run a good lower level trial.

I admit that most events are maxed out right now, but I hope that if we attract more people, more events will come with them. It only takes one interested person with a large tract of land to sow the seeds of an event. Perhaps I am off target, but I think that the greatest threat to eventing is encroaching land development. I see encouraging land use for eventing by more people as the antidote to that. If people see how much fun it can be, the are more likely to preserve the land. Forgive me for sounding preachy, but I am watching the land around my house and barn be rapidly developed. Land for trail riding is turning into lawns, and cow pastures are being filled with septic systems (questionable which smells better, but the cows are cuter).

I am really sensitive to this as several folks at my barn were interested in trying eventing. I had to warn them off rather than encourage them because they are not at a level to do the current BN courses, and the local unrecognized horse trial can often be really trappy. I didn't want to encourage them to go out into what might be a bad experience. So what do we do with people who want to get into eventing, maybe they do 2'-2'6" at local shows but are not ready to do really solid stuff of that size yet? The way BN used to be, with really natural logs and stuff, I think that they'd be fine, but given some of the stuff that I've seen at BN lately, I don't see them getting over it.

[This message was edited by IFG on Nov. 04, 2002 at 10:30 PM.]

[This message was edited by IFG on Nov. 04, 2002 at 10:34 PM.]

IFG
Nov. 5, 2002, 04:40 AM
I just wanted to clarify a bit. It is possible to show recognized without showing at the AAA level where the big bucks are (I haven't done hunters for years, but I am assuming that shows are still given letter ratings). We used to go to local and C rated shows that were small, nice, and safe, without being overly expensive. There is nothing comparable in the eventing world. I think we need something for green riders that would introduce them to the sport at the lowest level and let them have fun in a safe environment. Sanctioning by a national organization IMHO does go quite a ways towards ensuring a safe progressive structure for learning a new sport.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 5, 2002, 04:47 AM
And so will the guy I was talking to about this. (BTW, I didn't see that "colored logs" thing: he was describing it to me.)

I think, indeed, that we could argue forever about the PR angle. Actually, you kinda contradict yourself when you started in on the "I believe x, y, and z," didn't you? That, too, is not based on research.

Y'know how I'd defend myself? By looking at the huge numbers in hunters, which is NOT an "extreme" sport, the way your words imply the "challenge" of eventing makes it. Weekend warriors (today's reality, one must admit) flock to hunters because they simply cannot be "real" warriors (or don't want to be). Do you honestly think that there are fewer of them than of foxhunters, PC'ers and their ilk? Do you think that eventing should stick its nose in the air and say, "take it or leave it," as in "we don't need you, wimps"? (Although I'm not sure looking soft and sophisticated over decent sized fences, instead of like rough-and-ready cowboys jumping laughably low stuff, is all that wimpy.)

I guess my argument is that, YES, x-c IS, "traditionally" the heart of the sport...but to survive, changes may be needed (and I'm not just talking numbers, I'm talking physical safety). Y'all are still not addressing the "climb over it" issue, I'll repeat again. Still not addressing the fact that more technical courses DO NOT PRODUCE BETTER LOWER LEVEL RIDERS (just more kamakazee climbing, scrambling but undeniably brave and tolerant horses).

[BTW, DO you think that brave and tolerant horses make good and PROGRESSIVE riders?]

I should probably make it known that I am actually a dressage fanatic. I'm a true fan of eventing, but my talent probably lies closer to dressage. As a result, I guess I have a lot more faith in the value of correct basics (to PRODUCE boldness...or compensate for its lack) than the x-c purist and thus I have a built-in desire to see solid, progressive rewarded training where I think it counts: at the beginning (entry levels) of the sport.

Yeah, I guess, as I think about it more deeply, where I'm coming from is a desire to make the RIDE count more at the lower levels and the HORSE count less. I'm nothing if not consistent, you gotta admit. HORSES are expensive--you can buy the win if the horse is what matters the most (at the lower levels), and I always argue against things that encouraging spending money instead of spending time (such as on basics, as illustrated by solid dressage and more sophisticated s/j).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

[This message was edited by pwynnnorman on Nov. 05, 2002 at 07:55 AM.]

Daydream Believer
Nov. 5, 2002, 04:50 AM
I think the point that IFG might be trying to make and that I'd like to make it that it would seem that rather than "dumbing down" the lower level courses have become increasing difficult and technical. I remember when Novice courses were very straightforward with few combinations/related fences and now those sort of courses are becoming the exception rather than the rule. I moved from Area II to Area I and back to Area II again in 2001. I was very surprised to see the evolution of the courses in Area II such as Five Points and even Ft. Bragg's training course as two examples of beefed up courses. Other than Five Points, the only other novice course of that caliber that I'd ever ridden was Millbrook which was advertised as a championship novice course so at least I knew what to expect when I entered. Before anyone says I need to raise the caliber of my riding, I'll tell you that I placed 3rd at Millbrook and 4th at Longleaf/Five Points.

I'm not saying that some courses shouldn't be harder than others, just that they should be recognized as such. I also think that there comes a time when you have to put a moratorium on making a course more and more technical to increase the difficulty which I believe is a current trend. The courses do not have to continue to increase in difficulty year after year. Before long, you have made it exclusive at the lower levels for a lot of folks interested in coming in to our sport. All I'm trying to say is let's keep BN very easy, small, and straightforward and Novice the beginning of the question-asking...simple banks, natural ditches, inviting fences, minimal combinations (other than championship courses). /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

Gry2Yng
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:08 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> All I'm trying to say is let's keep BN very easy, small, and straightforward and Novice the beginning of the question-asking...simple banks, natural ditches, inviting fences, minimal combinations (other than championship courses). /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I absolutely agree. But this IS the entry level. I don't think we need anything more basic than what we have according to the guidelines. Perhaps the guidelines are not being well executed.

triggerfoot
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:10 AM
its interesting to read all these replies.... and i haven't a clue how to effectively solve this problem. i LOVE the idea of more options on course, and the idea of having different point values assessed for different options (although i would cast it as adding penalties for choosing the wimpy option, like for instance: log into water gets 0 penalties, ramp into water gets 3 penalties)

but i strongly caution against adding any more levels. hj is freakin ridiculous. you've got evergreen hunters, pre-green hunters, first year green hunters, 2nd year green hunters, regular working hunters (okay, i respect these guys a lot), children's small hunters, children's large hunters, large pony hunters, small/medium pony hunters, AA small hunters, AA large hunters, JR/AO hunters, did i miss any??? and i haven't even started mentioning jumper or equitation classes yet, or unrated divisions. as far as i know (news from mom, still riding hunters) is that people still complain that there is no appropriate level for them and their horse. it is impractical and prohibitively expensive to adopt this attitude for eventing.

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

Boss Hoss
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:33 AM
I think we need to be very careful in our guarded concern for the future of the sport, and not turn "real" warriors into "weekend" warriors. BN is the entry level, and honestly I would not hold the chick-n-sticks levels below that. It doesn't matter if it's Olympic Weightlifting, golf, tiddleywinks or eventing. You set the bar and then people have to prepare themselves for this level. We can't expect the hole on the green to be larger for the beginner putter, or that a BN course is set at 2'..or worse, when a N fence is shared down to BN at a starter trial.

And you have to expect different courses to offer different levels of difficulty. They all say "average difficulty for average experience" in the omnibus &gt;&gt;give me a break&lt;&lt;, but you know darn well that a Novice course at Great Meadow is NOT average, and that a Novice Course at Menfelt is NOT average..and just because you go clean at Menfelt, doesn't make you qualified to go clean at Great Meadow. But here's the funny thing..I know riders who have done well at Great Meadow, but have not at Menfelt and curse whenever I mention that course as a nice place to take a greeny etc. So even if we developed a rider feedback rating for courses, while the median rating might be useful for judging whether to tackle it, the system still may not service the community well.

You the organizer, and you the competitor are not going to "save" the sport by relaxing the requirements of the level. Ever have a tough ride and then want to blame the course design? I have...doesn't make it right but I have. One year a bunch of people complained that a N course in the area was too easy as everyone finished on their dressage...this would be your "inviting" sport. Then the next year the organizer made the course tougher, and then people complained about how few folks got around clean.

So here's the thing...as a competitor, handle the ups & downs that come with the sport and don't complain about easy/hard elements. If you have a clear case of something not allowed at the level go to the TD. Work with your trainer (the lack of at lower levels is criminal) on how to handle these questions at the next event. Know the rules too! At Waredaca a bunch of folks complained about the water obstacle being a "drop" into water. If you read the rules, the water complex can be 18"high max with 14"deep max water..allowing for a 4" difference between ground and water..so in a drought expect 4" water and a 12" difference (what appears to be a drop). And if they paint the edge white who cares, stadium poles are white and our horses jump them right? Once you get burned by a fence like this, you do go home and put white poles around your ditch/drop element right? Shame on you if it happens twice.

As an organizer/designer...stick to the level requirements and allow the results to fall where they may. Don't try to make everyone go clean, or everyone go home discouraged. I don't think you can ever get this right. Some of the easiest, flattest, naturalist courses in our areas have the most ambulance rides, while other courses with reputations precceding have some of the cleanest rounds, around. Allow your venue/course to develop its calling..IOW, build it and those that prepare themselves for it will come. If you throw a bunch of logs on the ground expect every Gina, Jill, & Harry to show up, AND have problems.

In the end here's how I look at it...

You have to ride the horse you throw your leg over on that day, and jump the obstacles built and placed on the course on that day, in the conditions Mother Nature has set for that day and that in your preperations for that day you have worked on the questions to be asked and not schooled that specific course. Because with all of these variables, it takes a "real" warrior and not a "weekend" warrior to be succesful. (that is a Hunter division right?)

Robby Johnson
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:39 AM
and I think it really hits on the fact that riders/competitors must be prepared to "come to play."

Pwynnorman, let's just shelve this until Cleveland. I'd love to discuss this further over a glass of wine. I don't think I've contradicted myself at all, actually, since the USEA has an extensive record of courses/statistics/data, etc., that support the notion that Novice is safe and effective, as is.

The other issues you bring up are very subjective, and until you can support them with research, it's just huff and puff.

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

Gry2Yng
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:41 AM
Well said Boss Hoss!

BarbB
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:45 AM
All I can say is "ditto"

You are saying all the things I would like to say, better than I could say them.

I am an adult rider who did NOT have the advantage of riding as a child.
I work hard at my riding, ride nearly everyday, take jumping and dressage lessons and clinics and school xc as often as possible.
I, and others like me, need a foothold in this sport that does not require a lifetime of pony club or foxhunting or hunters, or eventing or whatever as a background and assumed level of competence.

This does not mean that I want to dumb the sport down, I just want Novice level to be what the rules say; 'straight forward and inviting' and not a mini version of the uppper levels.

BarbB
charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

...virtue shall be bound into the hair of thy forelock... I have given thee the power of flight without wings. - The Koran

His Greyness
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:54 AM
I first evented in the mid 1970's. At that time there were plenty of fuzzy ponies and back yard horses competing at the lowest levels. The parking area was filled with gently rusting plain two horse trailers, many towed by station wagons. Today everybody must ride a thoroughbred brought to the event in a fancy new gooseneck trailer pulled by a big truck.

For all the money that has been poured into eventing has the standard of riding improved? I don't think so. Fuzzy ponies and back yard horses require assertive riding. They have to be pushed to make the time and they have to be asked to jump. With a competent rider they were perfectly capable of completing an event. I don't recall seeing many of the wildly out of control rides common today.

When you were learning to drive, were you given a Ferrari to practise with? An unintended consequence of today's emphasis on Off the Track Thoroughbreds is that few riders get to learn the whole spectrum of riding skills. They are too busy trying to stop and steer their mounts!

When I learned to ride I first had to master getting a cold blooded horse to go, then I had to learn the diplomacy to control a hot blooded horse. Fortunately I learned to ride (as an adult) at a stable which had a large number of horses so I could experience a wide variety of mounts. I didn't buy my first horse until eight years after I had started to ride. BY this time I knew what kinds of horses matched my riding skills and ambitions.

So, to me the issue isn't entry level courses, or the lack of them. It's the lack of entry level horses and the mismatch between riders and mounts. Bring back the fuzzy ponies! Nobody needs a thoroughbred to compete at Novice. When a rider has mastered the skills to move up to the higher levels THEN a hot blooded horse is more necessary.

Of course Ferraris for Driver Education would get a lot of attention too!

Gry2Yng
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:54 AM
with people moving up from training to prelim is that they think prelim is just a BIGGER training level course. It isn't. I haven't been to CO, but I haven't seen too many novice courses with a full coffin (one stride between elements, not a log, four strides a ditch, four strides a log) or an element IN the water, etc.

If you think Novice courses are tiny upper level courses then you don't understand the questions or you are using hyperbole to make your point.

Robby Johnson
Nov. 5, 2002, 07:10 AM
why are you going to a competition if you aren't confident in competing?

You don't go to a competition to school. You go to compete. And that doesn't mean winning. There are millions of possible reasons why people go to competitions, but the bottom line is that if you enter Novice, you need to be prepared to ride that level.

Now, I do understand what y'all are saying - particularly since you're in an Area where things may not be exactly "easy." Here in Area V our Novice courses are pretty straightforward. Big (for Novice) but straightforward. In fact, I've never ridden an open ditch at Novice in Area V (I have at KHP at Area VIII).

This is where you have the voice, as a competitor, to speak with the organizer/technical delegate, etc., about the quality of the course.

And never forget that you can always vote with your checkbook.

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

BarbB
Nov. 5, 2002, 07:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gry2Yng:

If you think Novice courses are tiny upper level courses then you don't understand the questions or you are using hyperbole to make your point.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If this was addressed to me.....
I do NOT think that the Novice courses in my area are too difficult, they may be even too easy. They ARE straight forward and inviting.....I have no complaints.

My remarks were aimed at the comments that seem to be in favor of making Novice courses technical, apparently so that the step up to Training will be easier.

I am against changing the Novice level courses.
At least in this area they are fine.

I'm not sure how my remarks got turned into a complaint that the courses are too hard for me and I am not prepared - NOT!

I thought this was a hypothetical discussion.
/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

BarbB
charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

...virtue shall be bound into the hair of thy forelock... I have given thee the power of flight without wings. - The Koran

GotSpots
Nov. 5, 2002, 07:39 AM
I've read this thread carefully and what I still don't understand is why we "need" to have a lower, easier division than BN (or what the TD at an event last month called the 9-1-1 division). If you are not prepared to compete over a 2'7" fence cross-country than you should not be competing at a recognized BN division. There is such a rush to get into a recognized event that I think we are missing out on the fundamental basics that are necessary. 2'7" just isn't that big -- I'm only 5'8" and I can step over many 2'7" fences. Moreover, a solid table or barn fence at 2'7" is easier and more inviting to jump than a post and rail at the same height. Go back and do your homework so you are safe at the level. Take your stirrups off, go school some fences in the field, go on a trail ride and pop over some logs. If it's a mental fear issue (and we all have them, no matter what the level -- we can get spooked by a fence, a question, a horse), then go and get some help working through it, be it with a good coach, a sports psychologist, a different horse. Go school a course or some fences outside: yes, I know, it's hard to find schooling opportunities. Build your own. Offer to do work on the course in exchange for a day of schooling. Put up questions in a ring. Throw a couple of jumps up on a trail ride. Go out and fart around on your horse until the idea of popping over a log, a table, a small ditch is fun.

I'm not trying to be holier than thou here, but this topic drives me bonkers. This is a sport, not a beauty pageant. If a particular course does not meet the standards for the level, then it is the job of the riders' representative to work with the TD to fix it. Otherwise, swing a leg over and kick on.

Pixie Dust
Nov. 5, 2002, 08:00 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by His Greyness:
I first evented in the mid 1970's. At that time there were plenty of fuzzy ponies and back yard horses competing at the lowest levels. The parking area was filled with gently rusting plain two horse trailers, many towed by station wagons. Today everybody must ride a thoroughbred brought to the event in a fancy new gooseneck trailer pulled by a big truck.
!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I love it!!! I always think about this too. Maybe it depends on your area. I still see some fuzzy ponies in Maryland. But there has been a change and I was trying to figure it out. So much more money is poured in.....(was it the economy change?) And I wonder, do people ride any better? I don't think so.

Keeping my horse in the backyard, I love the addition of unrecognized BN & elementary events and I use them. I have lots of nice ones in my area, like Menfelt & Marlborough. They are for schooling. I see no reason to have them sanctioned. And, perhaps I haven't been around to enough events, but I can't see any change in the difficulty of Novice. The way I've always done it, I look up the maximum heights/guidlines in the rulebook, then figure I must be comfortable with that. So I measure out the biggest table allowed and say....I need to be able to jump that.....even if it's white. I assumed that's what everybody does.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the notion that dressage wins the BN. I was always trained that dressage came slowly and that you were not allowed to stick your horse into a frame before he was ready. But that's just where I came from. It seems to have changed.

When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson- A Cowboy's Guide to Life

LisaB
Nov. 5, 2002, 08:25 AM
This has been bugging all fall. I went out with the owner of my barn to Middleburg to take measurements and get ideas for x-c fences. There were 3 jumps of particular interest. A ramp, 3'1", the dreaded table 3'2", and the monster rolltop 3'3". Now these fences were for novice. Max height supposed to be 2'11" with a give or take of 1 inch. Then added to that, it's 2'11" from "take off". So 2 of the jumps were on a downhill slope which for some horses/riders is more difficult. The owner of my barn hasn't been out to really look at fences in quite awhile, especially novice. She was aghast at what we have to jump now compared to 10 years ago.
I agree in that 2'11" is 2'11". I realize it's hard to make an exact measurement when building a fence but come on, 3'3". Give me a break.
I have a x-c machine, stops at nothing. So that's not why I'm a little annoyed. It's the fact that Novice is not supposed be training, it's novice.
The adult team championships this weekend had 2 fences in particular like this. One was a rolltop on relatively flat land. Didn't take out a tape measure but it was over 3'. The other was a barn, well over 3' on a kinda steep slope. So the point of take-off made it larger. I didn't go to the td about this or any other course where I know that the jumps are well over max.
I'm just wondering what the deal is with this and should something be said?
My horse's deal is stadium which has gotten much more difficult through the years but he's got to get trained well enough to handle it and I shouldn't complain about the stadium courses. I should be training beforehand.
Re schooling x-c course before show: An unrecognized show, yes. Recognized-no. The point of x-c is bravery and handiness out in a field over natural, solid obstacles.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 5, 2002, 08:29 AM
And the guy I was speaking to, who prompted all of this.

He never once mentioned adding a division lower than BN or anything like that, nor do I. Everyone keeps focusing on the problem with dumbing down x-c, rather than beefing up s/j. I can't speak for the guy I was talking to, but I don't consider designing a course to be "encouraging" to necessarily involving dumbing it down. For example, I love the idea of having options that reward having a better schooled horse (and/or rider). That isn't dumbing down, is it?

And, BTW, some of us DO go to event to school, rather than compete. My horse has basically competed all this fall just to "school" the lower levels before moving up to where he'll really be competitive. He was out there for mileage, not for ribbons.

Yeah, Robby: mileage--that's what I think you are forgetting about (but I've no doubt you do acknowledge it--I realize you didn't mean to sound quite so black-and-white about that). Some of us take horses out to get them mileage because we already have a good idea when and where they'll be competitive. At the very beginning of the season, our plan was for my guy to try to be doing prelim by the end of the season. He won his first event at BN, which clearly meant he wasn't really a BN anyway. No big deal: some are, some aren't. Then he was second at his second event, going N. Again, that only showed that he wasn't really a Novice horse either (I'd argue he wasn't because his foundation in dressage and jumping is so solid). Next, he not only survived the very difficult T course at Marlborough, but in spite of a rider fall due to an abrupt "surprise!" stop at the bank , he even managed to get a ribbon (because everyone else had problems, too). Because Marlborough was relatively easy for him as well, I tentatively entered him Prelim at Virginia, awaiting only his round at Waredaca to make a final decision. Waredaca x-c was a breeze, too, although he and his rider sort of had a mutual meltdown in the other phases which eventually led to her quitting and me having to get a new rider at the last minute for Virginia. If it weren't for that, he would have gone Prelim there--and I wish he had because watching him do x-c at T was positively boring.

So, please don't think that I'm advocating these ideas for personal reasons. Indeed, while I am a dressage fanatic, Connor isn't--and he can get a bit impatient about stadium as well, especially when he's eventing fit and fresh. In other words, I happen to have the kind of horse you traditionalists tend to think so highly of and have kept him moving up as his talent and training warranted, but without too much concern for how he actually placed in competition. I personally believe that he'll do well when more talent o/f is required (just like you guys advocate). In other words, tougher courses at the lower levels would be (or were) actually to my advantage.

So you see, I'm arguing in this thread about the image of the sport and expanding its base, not about my own needs or preferences. Some of you refuse to address the image of scrambling horses in x-c and "crotch rockets" in stadium, but those images do exist--and sadly, there are too many of them (IMO) at T and P, not just BN and N. Rating courses and beefing up s-j ARE possible solutions backed by decent--albeit still arguable--reasoning. I haven't heard many other solutions besides "tough noogies" from the traditionalists here. My discussion with the guy I've mentioned focused on solving the problem of newbie discouragement. Am I to believe that the traditionalists do not see that as problematic? Remember, there are only 12,000 members in the USEA--a very paltry number indeed compared to other horse sports. Is that not worth addressing?

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

Robby Johnson
Nov. 5, 2002, 08:47 AM
Here I was thinking you were advocating more definition to Novice, and you're moving a horse up the levels in a season.

Yes, mileage is a whole new ball of wax.

But in the original scenario, I was under the impression we were talking about Career Novices and their/his feeling that the Novice test was inconsistent or over-facing.

And it still doesn't change the fact that even if you're using the lower levels for mileage, you still need to be adequately prepared to address the questions.

I'm sure your rider wasn't out there going, "well, we'll just wait and see how he handles this Training level fence." I suspect she had a riding plan for each question presented and that, in and of itself, illustrates a rider and horse who come prepared to play.

If she'd done it any other way, that would be unsafe and unfair to both her and the horse.

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

Sissy
Nov. 5, 2002, 10:17 AM
I am a newer eventing rider, coming to it as an adult. I also have to say that BN courses seem to be pretty challenging. (ie 2 waters to ride thru, benches, varying terraine, trees, sun and shade questions). While I don't recommend dumbing things down at all, I do agree there are certainly BN courses that actually are inviting,(ie open and good for horse and rider) vs those I have decided to use as - are you ready for novice. When you are getting into the sport, recognized events are down the road and you end up at some pretty strange schooling stuff... some so easy you can't believe it and some so hard you hope you live. You just have to get to know the courses offered... I don't get to school cross country very much (not available at my barn and I don't have a trailer), but I get to as many as I can afford. I know that the good event horse/rider need to have that trust to be able to face the new and bold, there is still something to be said for the inviting and enjoying parts. Well that is a wishy washy statement but that is where I am. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina!

Janet
Nov. 5, 2002, 11:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I would love to have logs, what I was talking about is the transition from logs at 2'6" to bright man-made tables at BN. It is a change during the last 15 years. BN did not used to have obstacles of that size. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>15 years ago "BN" DID NOT EXIST as a defined division. And it STILL isn't defined as a separate division. It is technically just a specialized version of N that doesn't have to have any fences at max height.

15 years ago "BN" only existed at unrecognized events, and was whatever the organizer wanted it to be.

I certainly jumped tires, tables, benches, mangers, etc. an "below novice" unrecognized events 10 and 15 years ago

equushvm
Nov. 5, 2002, 11:10 AM
I've been reading this thread and I'm frightened!
I have just decided to move into eventing because I enjoy jumping and was frustrated with the incredibly subjective criteria in the h/j world. I wanted to KNOW that my loss was due to a better rider, and not perhaps that the judge despises colored horses. I've seen it often. Rider with the big expensive bay warmblood wins..regardless whether she can ride.

Anyway, that is for another discussion. After reading this thread I wanted to point out the PR point that seems to be ignored. As a newbie, I'm already being frightened off from the sport. I feel like I should go back to the h/j world to get more show mileage or school tougher courses before venturing into event. But is that what you really want? For "would-be" eventers to spend their time and money in other disciplines before becoming "good enough" for eventing?

In other sports do you see this? Do golf athletes practice their swing by learning how to play/swing at a baseball? What about kayakers taking sailing lessons? In the first instance they use the same muscles, and in the second, they are both on boats. Sounds similiar enough, right? But they don't because there are differences in every sport, even if they are both riding boats(horses)or both swinging at small white balls ( jumping fences ).

By the same token, you can't school constantly without some test or measure of your progress. Quite a few of you have children here.......can you imagine if your child took ballet lessons or music lessons and never had a recital? Try telling them they could have one in a few years when they got good enough. How fun would it be to be in a band that never played for anyone? You NEED that formal test; that performance element. FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. Schooling show are very rare. A h/j show will be put on by 15 local barns here, but you have to travel quite some distance to an event, and then it is not usually a "schooling" one. I guess I'm just trying to emphasize the point made earlier, from one on the outside peering in. Make it exclusive enough and no one will come. And events will become harder and harder to come by, and everyone like me will continue to go to the h/j shows because the sport is big enough to be local, they have a level to compete at no matter where you are in your training, and you don't have to "stay home" for years waiting to become good enough to go to your recital.

IFG
Nov. 5, 2002, 11:30 AM
Janet,

You are correct, the BN division was not recognized, but the BN events that I did 15 years ago were listed in the omnibus and run in conjunction with sanctioned events.

The question remains, what do we tell people who are new to the sport. Frankly, I do not consider telling people who want to get involved "Go home until you have the cajones to jump around this course" a tenable position for a sport that wants to grow.

Boss Hoss
Nov. 5, 2002, 11:33 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I am a newer eventing rider, coming to it as an adult. I also have to say that BN courses seem to be pretty challenging. (ie 2 waters to ride thru, benches, varying terraine, trees, sun and shade questions).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is a typical trail ride folks...you don't have to school actual xc courses, just ride out more. That is what the sport is about. Even Charles deKunffy's book on the development of the dressage horse will call for this.

GotSpots
Nov. 5, 2002, 11:50 AM
Equushvm -- you are lucky enough to be in the heart of the winter eventing circuit. Some of our Florida folk can clarify, but I'm pretty sure there are some unrecognized events not that far from you this winter. Go out and try it. If you have schooled a couple of x-c jumps, your horse can handle a trail ride or a lope in a field by himself without coming completely unhinged, and you are fairly comfortable at 2'6"-2'9", find a good coach (or see if you can hook up with someone down there to meet up at an event -- Flightcheck might have some ideas) and go try a BN. Seriously, as much as there is griping and moaning about the difficulty, most BN courses really are incredibly straight forward and you'll have more fun than you can imagine. Don't let the technical discussions and the hoorah about courses scare you off.

Sometimes I think we all need to remember our inner-kid: the one who would get on anything bareback and bomb around the pasture. I'm not saying that we need to be encouraging all sorts of yahooing around, but sometimes we just need to go for it. I said it once, I'll say it again: Kick on!

Janet
Nov. 5, 2002, 12:00 PM
Equushvm,

I guess it depends on where you are. There is certainly no shortage of unrecognized HT (many starting at 18") around here. If there are none around you, then the solution would be to encourage more unrecognized HT, not change the recognized levels.

kileyc
Nov. 5, 2002, 12:03 PM
I just finished reading this thread, well most of the good stuff and I find it interesting because we were just talking about this at MeadowCreek (Area V) this weekend. I thought the stadium was quite challenging, they had a one stride in BN, which I am not sure if I have seen before. It definately got some folks. But I thought for a last HT of the year it was a good question. Novice stadium was no cake walk either, tough turns and everything was max. But I thought it went hand in hand with the challenge level of x-country and yes Robby, there is now an open ditch at novice /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif! And it did cause a few problems, but it was not a deep scary ditch, definately a welcoming ditch. There was also a pretty tight 90 degree angle line, probably 4-5 strides if it were ridden as a line. Most, not all, rode it as 2 seperate fences, might have been different if it weren't pouring rain. But I thought it was a challenging but fair question. A fairly large bank down, and a 2 stride combo. Many folks thought it was a tough course, but I didn't think anyone said it was " not fair". The thing that was different at this HT was that they offered a 2'3" max restricted BN division. About 8 folks entered. We had one first timer who we moved at the last minute down to this division, it was definately a good decision, given the max ht in the BN division.

Did this division belong in a recognized HT? Well after some thought... if the organizers have the course, time and resources to put it on... well that is 8 folks more to enter, have a good 1st experience and want to come back next spring ready for real BN. But I don't think that every HT should offer it.

For the record in Area V, at least I think all of the novice courses are fair questions. (at least the ones I've seen, which is most)

Daydream Believer
Nov. 5, 2002, 12:39 PM
Reading Kiley's post about the novice course in Area V makes me wonder how much, if any, difference there is between the types of courses in different areas...ie. novice in Area II versus Area V.

Let me describe briefly Five Point's course this Spring. I did not go this fall as I had to work so I don't know if they changed it.

There was a big log, then downhill to a post and rails then a sheep shelter with shadows under it but it rode well. Then to the bank up (right beside the intermediate ditch/log which was really visually distracting and scared many horses) You did the bank up, a few strides, down a natural bank slope and then one stride over a big coop. There was an option here but it was very long and not much nicer and you still had to jump the coop at the bottom of the bank down. Then there was a run to a little fence with a fair drop landing. You galloped through a shady area to some roll tops then uphill to the sunken road. The sunken road was the waterloo for many horses that day. There was a steepish slope down into a depression, about a stride then up a bank, then one or two strides to a little post and rails. What was really hard was the footing changed from grass to graystone and it looked really odd to the horses. My extraining horse took a hard look and thought about stopping here but went on with more leg and encouragement. We trotted in. Then you went down hill to a double revetted, deep ditch which was one of the nastiest I've seen at Novice. Uphill to a double oxer two strides then downhill to the water. You ran through the water then took a log just on the dry land on the other side. Both entrance and the log were flagged. Then uphill to a weird jump...it was an oxer/bank thing. It looked like an oxer but you were supposed to jump up it like a bank..hard to describe. Then you finished over a bench I think. Remember this was Novice in early April.

How does that compare to courses elsewhere? It was described as "average difficulty" in the Omnibus. I found it very challenging especially considering it was my first time out this spring and on a horse making a comeback from a long layup. I think more horses than not had XC faults that day and I moved up quite a ways from dressage with a clean XC.

I went on to Ft. Bragg's novice and it was very straightforward and difficult only in that it had two waters to cross and went through the woods a lot on narrow trails. Virginia HT novice course was very nice as usual with a bank option (up and off or run up a ramp and off) and then just straightforward jumps mostly with terrain issues. VA HT has a nice open ditch for novice.

Remembering Virginia's course makes me wonder if more options could be offered in the way Novice is flagged. In other words, flag some training fences that are near similar novice jumps/obstacles so if someone feels ready and wants to prepare for moving up, they have the option to try a more difficult jump. Those that are greener can stick to the lower/easier side. Virginia did that on a few jumps and I liked that alot.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

asterix
Nov. 5, 2002, 12:47 PM
There's a real tension between wanting our sport to grow -- be more popular, have more sponsorship, more coverage, more spectators, more leverage -- and wanting our sport to remain challenging.

If the purpose of a BN or N course is to be inviting so more new eventers can try it, then it will disappoint those looking for a good test of whether they are ready to move up to Training.

Where we have, as in Area II, flourishing "mini-circuits" of starter events, riders can gain experience and confidence before attempting BN and N courses at recognized events. It makes perfect sense that the recognized levels exist on a continuum -- Novice SHOULD prepare you for Training, etc. -- even if individual competitors choose to top out at any point along the way. Having the starter events offers an inviting way to get people into the continuum (or just to stick with logs-in-a-pasture if that's what suits them), without having to alter the basic shape of the sport.

So, can we identify Areas without good starter trials, and are there ways to help/mentor/encourage these Areas in providing starter trials?

I would like to return to my point about watching BN entries at a starter trial -- very few of them were prepared to canter around over terrain in balance, and under control/in harmony with their horses, much less negotiate obstacles, some of which were, as someone else pointed out, nothing more than you'd find hacking out the back of your farm.

This isn't golf -- at all but the most starter of starter trials, you end up on your own, on a horse, running around in the open, aiming at solid obstacles. That's dangerous. It requires some skill, some bravery, and PRACTICE.
I really, really don't want to discourage anyone from joining our wonderful sport, but if you do not have the opportunity or ability to practice riding out on terrain with your horse, maybe you cannot expect to become an eventer. I don't mean this to sound harsh -- if you can't practice jumping fences at home, maybe you can't expect to ride hunter courses at shows (even crossrails!).

I do think that if the horse can be taught to ride out alone calmly and jump basic obstacles, and the rider can be taught to ride out alone calmly and jump basic obstacles, then that pair can expect to go to starter trials, spend some time working on rough spots, and eventually master a BN or even N recognized course.

Expecting that these fundamental skills are part of the prerequisite for riding at events, unrecognized or recognized, seems a modest barrier at best.

Given that, a good series of starter trials should help fill out the lower levels of the sport, and provide an inviting venue for new eventers to see whether they'd like to go on to recognized events.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 5, 2002, 12:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> In other words, flag some training fences that are near similar novice jumps/obstacles so if someone feels ready and wants to prepare for moving up, they have the option to try a more difficult jump. Those that are greener can stick to the lower/easier side. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Great idea!

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

IFG
Nov. 5, 2002, 12:47 PM
I've had a ditch with or without rivetted sides on every BN course I have been to this year.

asterix
Nov. 5, 2002, 01:03 PM
I like the options idea, too! I've ridden N courses where about half the fences were shared with BN and half with T -- a little schizophrenic...but take a fence line with an easier and harder fence set next to each other, and flag 'em both, and let the rider choose, and that's a whole 'nother ball game. Allows the same course to serve both a newer/greener pair and a confirmed pair looking for some challenge but not ready to jump a level.

bigdreamer
Nov. 5, 2002, 01:06 PM
isn't showing supposed to tell you where you and your horse are in your training? Yes we all like ribbons, but if your going out there strictly to win (unless, of course, you are at the olympics... but still, i'd hope you had other goals while there) then, IMO, go away. I have cried(i cry at the drop of a dime /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif...) at shows b/c the horse and I didn't reach a set goal (which meant we usually got eliminated /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif) but i wasn't upset that i didn't get a ribbon. I remember having a particularly not-what-I-wanted dressage test, and i cried cuz i was mad at myself for not fixing it while in the arena... i didn't feel soemthing wasn't fair. I just went home and practiced the whole "correct what's wrong NOW syndrom" that i used to have, not the wait 5 strdes and fix. If a ribbon is what proves to you that your a good rider, then that's kinda sad. You should be proud of your training. And as your training progresses you should be able to tell if you feel confident to move up a level.

When something at a show happens that wasn't what i wanted- i go home and fix it. yes it sux cuz you gotta pay for it- but It was my fault for not training my horse properly or not riding properly. If your not prepared- then either don't show or don't cry about it when you have a crappy time. (ya, i know, i cried. i cry when i do well too tho... *sigh*)

riding is about learning. It's a skill that has to be mastered over time by making mistakes and correcting them. You don't see 16y.o.'s in the Olympics now, do you? (tho i think u have to be 18 to compete at advanced... but either way) Sometimes those mistakes take a long time to fix (like my blasted left seat bone going on vacation for, o, at least a year now :P ) but those mistakes shouldnt' keep you from trying... It's like the whole idea that even if you can't keep your heal down 24/7 at the walk, doesn't mean you shouldn't learn to trot. we're not perfect... u dont' see perfect dressage scores. Tho i would hope that they are pretty good, at the upper levels anyways...

**As far as putting more emphesis on Dressage and Stadium, i say WOHOO!!!!!!**

I beleive Dressage is the foundation to eventing. If you can't do a 15 meter canter circle with correct bend, balance and rhythem in a dressage test, how are you going to do it on course? After all, jumping is dressage with bumps in it, right? What happened to the Style of training, which as far as i know is still is used in Europe, where a horse doesn't even SEE a pole on the ground until they can successfully do a 2nd level dressage test? I Beleive whole hartedly that Dressage and Stadium should be difficult. and then, as those get more difficult, the XC could be able to be difficult as well.

**as nice as it is to just have to "go between the flags and be under time", i think too many people take that fact tooo far. I guess this is just part of the learning process that i emphesize- but too many peopel can "get away" with this and don't really learn... they just have a horrible dressage test and hope that they move up with 2 double clears.

I do beleive that the rules should be followed by the course designer as well- NO jumps bigger then allowed, but questions(jump wise) should be allowed to be asked. Yes i beleive that there should be limits to it all-
*but i still think we could use a "move-up" novice course and a "pre-move up" course. Perhaps the organizer should be required to decide when they put the info in the Omnibus...
*or else- refer to my rating system idea.
*or peopel should have to qualify to move up a level- which IMO would be a pain in the a$$
*OR (lol, how many or's can laura come up with today...) we should make it a "too bad" attitude. You didn't school it- you know it's allowed at that level- it's your own fault for not practicing. That probably should be the answer. Do your homework- the event is the "test" and if you can't do it- it's not the teachers(organizers) fault.

Sometimes peopel go to shows and are presented with a question they have never seen before- such as a ditch-... does that mean it shouldn't be allowed? I think not. That is something that will be asked at every level above novice- whether you like it or not. It is said in the rule book it is allowed- so oh well- that's your problem.

I do beleive, on the otherhand, that the TD is responsible for the quality of the jump- I.E. the ditch that is a down bank into an up hill... i find that this is bad for a horses legs. Even though you are only going over it once- it still should be of better quality. But, your horse should still jump it.

a lot of you guys have good points that i agree with... but this is what i *think* is my opinion... i've read and re-read it soo many times it doesn't make sense anymore.... and it doesn't help that i wrote it yesterday and then i had to go login after i hit post now and the whole message was lost... *sigh* Hope that made some sense.

~laura~

Boss Hoss
Nov. 5, 2002, 01:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The question remains, what do we tell people who are new to the sport. Frankly, I do not consider telling people who want to get involved "Go home until you have the cajones to jump around this course" a tenable position for a sport that wants to grow.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

People have to accept that they are entering a sport where you are asking a 1200 lb animal to gallop across non perfect terrain jumping obstacles that don't move when crashed and that they and or the horse may possibly die in the process. It is an inherent risk no matter what the height or experience of horse/rider. Now whether that takes "cajones" or not is up to the person.

You need to have a little bit of "fear" when doing this sport. Fear can either save your life, or take it away. You need to be able to listen to that voice that says, this spot/pace is unsafe and to keep the horse out of trouble. However too much fear will hold you back from being successful because you won't be willing to push your envelope. But if you have no fear you will put your horse into a fence at an unsafe pace/spot and pay the ultimate price.

The main focus of this sport is XC, jumping obstacles that don't budge! You have to consider that there is a bigger price to pay for failing. A stadium rail will fall easily, the back log on an oxer on xc will not. The horse learns this quickly and becomes more defensive when dealing with a confidence issue. You then become at greater risk of being injured by becoming a projectile from the back of your unguided missile. &lt;aside&gt; Announcer says "And Projectile#57 riding 'An Unguided Missile' having a parting of ways at fence #5" &lt;/aside&gt;

Now the goal is OBJECTIVE with only a minor SUBJECTIVE element (dressage). Imagine if there were "style points" in XC like there is in downhill ski jumping (GIVE ME A BREAK! Fall off a mountain side and then give a subjective measure?). The unfortunate thing is you may be rewarded for "poor style" just because you and the horse got from one side of the fence to the other intack! But you don't have to jump ditches and drops to work on your jumping style and effectiveness. However at the lower levels folks are accepting "getting around" as a measure of their abilities.

So the bottom line is this, be prepared to put in your time preparing for the sport and its risks. Don't expect to be able to have encouraging experiences if you are merely a "weekend warrior". Don't expect the horse to be like a "motorcyle with furr" either...you can't leave them in the garage, add a little gas & oil and expect it to run in the same condition it did when you put it in the garage from the weekend before. Also expect to be at a level until you are bored out of your mind before moving up the first time.

This also means working on the individual phases and the auxilary work required. Dressage schooling shows, jumper classes, heck maybe even a hunter class just to have a fence in front of you, fox hunts, trail rides etc. This also treats the mind of the horse, and keeps it all refreshing.

My event coach told me that when you have ridden a good XC round, you don't remember a thing. He's right! I can barely remember the rides at ECC or Area II from this fall..but I sure can remember those first few years at BN-N on Bubba, and those long walks back to the trailer with an "E" on my pinny.

kileyc
Nov. 5, 2002, 01:08 PM
Daydream Believer,
A friend just moved from VA and she said that in TX, because the terrain is sooooo flat, at training (what we were discussing) she said their were more technical question, man made, but the terrain makes the questions more technical in other areas.

If someone wants to sponsor me, I'll quit my job, buy 4 more horses, one for each level and travel around the country for a year going to all of the horse trials, they I will report back!!!! I know big sacrifice, but I'm up to it! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Boss Hoss
Nov. 5, 2002, 01:24 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>In other words, flag some training fences that are near similar novice jumps/obstacles so if someone feels ready and wants to prepare for moving up, they have the option to try a more difficult jump. Those that are greener can stick to the lower/easier side.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't believe we should take elements from the next level, but use elements from the same level with a more technical question asked.

At Radnor's HT in July they had an "option" on their Novice course. You could either do a straight approach to a jump to a drop element with a one stride in between or go out of the way and take a straight fence. Since I was leading after dressage and needed a 1-2-3 finish to go to Area II and this was THE LAST event I could do it at, I took the safe option. At that time the combination may have eaten my lunch. Now I liked that idea, BUT I think the option needs to have a time factor involved like the upper levels.

Also early in the season while discussing the new time penalties on XC, someone mentioned that they want to be taking a Novice course at 425 mpm before adding the height of the next level. Because along with height comes technical difficulty of the placement & combination of fences...imagine if you haven't worked on the increased speed separate from the height/question problem? Bubba & I jumped 4'3" a bunch of times in stadium practice while competing Novice..but that didn't mean we were ready to move up.

Weatherford
Nov. 5, 2002, 01:49 PM
Increasing the speed without increasing the height can be/is very dangerous.

19 year member of the New Hope clique! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

IFG
Nov. 5, 2002, 02:28 PM
I think that this is a great exchange. I really value everyone's opinions. It seems that many in Areas 2 and 3 have a circuit of starter HTs. I am envious. We are just starting to get those in my part of Area 1, though I know that in NH and VT, they have many.

My concerns, as I have said, relate to how to intiate newbies to the sport without overfacing or discouraging them. With the lack of open space, many kids never go on trail rides or ride out in the open. I am repeatedly amazed that kids in programs that focus on riding only in a ring think that they can go out and event, but that is the way it is for many. I know that lots of you consider trotting around a course over very low logs to be something other than eventing, but if we don't attract people to the field by providing such opportunities, I fear that many potential eventers will be lost.

How do we ensure that there are starter horse trials available, and that they are safe and consistent across the levels if we do not sanction them?

More important, where will my kids do their first event? They want to go XC, not practice in a ring, but the PC only has one rally a year.

cweimer
Nov. 5, 2002, 02:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by asterix:
This isn't golf -- at all but the most starter of starter trials, you end up on your own, on a horse, running around in the open, aiming at solid obstacles. That's dangerous. It requires some skill, some bravery, and PRACTICE.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thank you, asterix. I've been trying to figure out how to say that diplomatically all day. Like you, I'm all for encouraging folks to event, because I am convinced that you do it once and you're hooked.

But I struggle to recommend eventing when people tell me that they only ride 2 or 3 times a week, or that they never leave the indoor, even if it's "only" BN. Even BN is challenging, for all of the reasons stated above. Frankly, if you're not confident, even the teeny-tiny-green-as-grass can be challenging. And that's the hardest thing to explain about the sport.

I actually support the idea of making sj more challenging, to hopefully encourage better riding. I support the idea that this sport should be a progressive endeavor, and that people shouldn't just move up "because I've jumped that high before." I honestly wish that some of the eventing classes that Janet (?) referred to earlier had taken off, as they might provide an intro to the sport for those who are new.

I don't think (at least in my opinion) that the courses at BN/N have gotten significantly tougher; I do think they've become better built. I also think that as I've gotten older, I've gotten more respectful of those fences. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

The idea of making smaller and smaller divisions scares me, because people will look at the fence height alone, and think "oh, well that's easy!" and come out unprepared.

As I've said before, there are no easy answers. I don't want to DISinvite people from playing, I want to make sure they have every chance of being safe and having fun while they DO play.

asterix
Nov. 5, 2002, 02:44 PM
Honestly, if you never ride outside of a ring, I don't think you CAN event.
Logs in a pasture isn't "eventing" per se, but it's a perfectly good way to start out -- I don't think any of us are saying "if you can't charge around over Prelim combos, go home!"...
but, there is NO SUBSTITUTE for learning to ride on terrain.
If there are no starter events in your area, you could always go and "school" at a park or even at a XC facility. Even if the kids aren't ready to jump any of the jumps (and some places have nice inviting low level stuff, but some do not), they can at least practice riding out on terrain.
You may even be able to use a couple of standards and poles to create little XC jumplets.

As for sanctioning lower level events, it does make the event much more expensive to run, and therefore may discourage some organizers. Here in Area II, there are starter events that are well-run, and some that aren't. If you are brand new and don't have a network of eventers to ask, just go to a recognized event, spend the day, and ask around. Folks will tell you which starter trials are worth going to, and which are not.

I know that we are ridiculously lucky here in Area II with facilities and events, but anywhere there ARE events, there are opportunities to school on a course (even skipping the jumps!). It's also possible that with a substantial volunteer effort, you could put on a new starter trial at a facility that runs recognized events...could be something the local PC or CTA can help with...

Janet
Nov. 5, 2002, 03:25 PM
If you don't have access to cross country courses to school, you could start with hunter paces.

Pixie Dust
Nov. 5, 2002, 05:30 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by asterix:
I would like to return to my point about watching BN entries at a starter trial -- very few of them were prepared to canter around over terrain in balance, and under control/in harmony with their horses, much less negotiate obstacles, some of which were, as someone else pointed out, nothing more than you'd find hacking out the back of your farm.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oh, yikes, I'm sure I looked like a total idiot /infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif at Menfelt on Nov. 5 (the earlier one it was Novice, but more like a BN course.) Hektor arrived at the first jump sideways, stopped dead in the middle of a field (no jump anywhere near us) dumping me and then wouldn't go down the tiny drop. ACK!!! [That was why we were at a "starter" trials.] Believe me, we had practiced galloping, practiced drops (like training drops) and everything we were supposed to practice, he galloped an entire BN course beautifully the weekend before, but he just went goofy on me that day. We must have looked totally unprepared, but I thought we were prepared.

When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson- A Cowboy's Guide to Life

wanderlust
Nov. 5, 2002, 05:47 PM
Very interesting thread. I started eventing in the old days (early 90's) in area I, when BN did not exist except at unrecognized starter trials.

Personally, I find BN scary. For exactly the opposite reasons that most people new to the sport find it scary. The fences are tiny. I do not ride nearly as well to anything under 3' as I do to things over 3'. They drag my eye down, and I get a yucky distance every time. They don't give the horse anything significant enough to pay attention to. I will begin a greenie's xc experience by *schooling* over little BN logs, but I won't compete them BN. To me, it all starts at N.

I think it is great that there are alot of adult amateurs competing at the lower levels. If their aspirations go no farther than N or T, I'm still glad to see them out and competing and supporting the sport. That said, we should not be dumbing down the courses so that they can get around successfully. Courses at all levels should be a prep for the move to the next level. What really scares me these days is those who think they can move up to prelim, as they can get around a training course clean. Yet prelim cross-country is a whole 'nother ball game. It is not training level but 3" higher... it is entirely another level of competition, and we should be building training level courses to prepare riders for the move-up to prelim, not dumbing them down to make an easy transition up from N. If you don't want to move up to prelim, that is fine, but you need to be prepared to ride the tough courses. I actually think that the training level courses I've seen should be a whole lot more difficult than they are...

Sannois
Nov. 6, 2002, 04:06 AM
Are you sure Hecktor and my horse aren't related?? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin Franklin, 1755
Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

pwynnnorman
Nov. 6, 2002, 04:23 AM
(That's the National Hunter-Jumper Council. A while back, we debated on how to involve more grassroots participants, including the thriving local circuits.)

Starter HT and unrecognized events are great, but figuring out how to get them (and their entries) under the USEA umbrella would be greater. Not easy, but not something to ignore if you think increasing membership (which includes--do note--increasing support for the sport itself: more courses, more resources, more funding, etc.) is a good idea.

But what about those areas, Janet, who not only don't have starter HTs, but also don't have hunter paces?

[I must admit, folks, sometimes I get a bit of a chuckle out of the kinda "unworldliness" of some posts! "Then let them eat cake," indeed!]

Think of it this way: If you insist that pupils do their homework, but there's a whole bunch of kids out there who don't have any books, are you saying that you don't care if they never get to college?

That's what I'm trying to get at...and as I remember now, the guy was, too. It's gotten lost in all these great posts, but one thing he mentioned to me was how discouraging it was to GET ELIMINATED early on in the course. He travels five hours to an event and gets sent home in two. Now, if the ditch he got eliminated at had an option that would plummet him into last place if he took it but at least he could use it to continue and GET HIS HOMEWORK DONE via the rest of the course, don't you think that would be an encouraging thing for the sport.

Remember, we're not talking about levels that matter on an international scale. These are OUR levels, to do with what we like (as a sport). There's no rule that says you can't change how things have been in order to accomodate how things ARE and insure that things will still BE in the future. Putting costly options in that will get people who have no books at home around won't kill the sport, nor would it impact the pleasure that those up to more challenge would have.

IMO, it's that kind of compassionate out-of-the-box thinking that can really make a difference in ALL endeavors. New ideas always cost more, but if the end result is more dues-paying members and fee-paying competitors--and maybe more landowners and other groups willing to build courses and support the sport--it might be worth it, don't you think?

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

IFG
Nov. 6, 2002, 06:22 AM
Pwynnorman,

I think that you hit the nail on the head. Many posters are in the milieu where there are many starter horse trials, hunter paces, and areas to XC school, but that is really the exception rather than the rule. I too live in an area where I can get to many of these things (though not as easily as many of you south of the Mason-Dixon line). However, many who go out to compete, do not have these resources available. They are learning out on course. I am not advocating "dumbing down" the competition. I have three points:

1) Why has the difficulty of Novice escalated rather than stayed the same? (And my opinion BTW is that Training has not changed much).


2) Why has the difficulty of Beginner Novice escalated rather than stayed the same? (And yes, I do realize that Beginner Novice is only recently recognized).

2) Should there be something easier than the current BN level to attract people at lower levels to the sport in a safe atmosphere?

I am sick, I am cranky, and I am trying to be civil. If I come off as a b****, it is only because I kept myself up all night coughing.

Also, I want to clarify, although I have a yellow streak, I can get around these courses, in fact, I think I may get to Prelim at some point (my trainer has hopes for me, and I hope to). I am concerned with the future of the sport. I am afraid if we don't attract new blood, we will lose the land on which competitions are held.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Nov. 6, 2002, 06:32 AM
to the event facility nearest them - and brought a backhoe /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif - I'm sure all sorts of exciting things could happen.

Seems like some variation on the 'eventing tests lead balloon" as someone so aptly put it could answer a lot of these needs, if we designed tests for a) adult amatuers who needed exposure to basic cross country concepts and b) whoevers who wanted more challenge/mileage/whatever?

What do folks think - theoretically and logistically, of something like "event derbies?" - some form of a low acreage cross country event?? Thinking of some of the schooling facilities within a couple hours of me, I have thought a videoed (how DO you spell "taped?") "choose your own line through each complex, then get a second ride" - e.g. a cross country "fix a test" could be a fabulous event.

In my full vision, standing next to the video camera would be Denny, mike in hand, giving color commentary on the ride. After round one, you would have a certain amount of time for a mini lesson, with a chance to go back and try a harder option, or reschool an option, or such.

Clearly, the two facilities I'm thinking of both have ditch, water, and bank compexes within shouting distance of each other. Would such an event answer some of your needs?

FWIW, I loff the courses at Five Points/ Carolina Horse Park! Very skillful use of each complex to test what is appropriate for a given level while introducing the idea of the next level - quite literally, the very same ditch (revetted on both sides) which on the far right of the complex is an unadorned ditch, next gains a substantial log over it for the Training trahkener, then a taller log and maybe wider ditch for Prelim, and by the far left of the complex you're up to the trahkener to weldon's wall (or somesuch) on a bending line for the Advanced horses.

That course is never open for schooling, but by doing it at one level you are nicely preparing for the next level - to my mind making it both a good "test course" and a good "move-up." That is, when it rode so nicely for me this spring despite it's relative "technicality" ,at Novice, I took it as confirmation that we might be ready for Training in the fall, where it wasn't overwhelming, since we had already ridden through most of the complexes, if on different routes than we did at Training.

The number of people who have volunteered time and capital to that course, though, brings me full circle to the beginning of my post. It took more than one benevelent landowner with a spaare weekend and thousand bucks to make that course happen!

asterix
Nov. 6, 2002, 06:37 AM
Oh, dear, I didn't mean you! (anyway, much as I tried, I couldn't remember many individual pairs -- even 150 entries is a lot to process!)
I KNOW that you do your homework. I saw plenty of horses having green bean moments (or hours /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif).

I found myself saying "good BOY!" in my car as a couple of folks tactfully funneled their bug-eyed greenies through the flags at the water; THAT was really nice to see.

There is a big difference between someone who has done her homework, but who finds her horse reverting to one brain cell, and someone who is terrified to canter down a hill on a perfectly calm horse operating on all his brain cells.

It was the latter type that I found distressing, and that I'd have loved to have signed up for "riding in the field, 101."
It is a challenge for people who have to haul in from long distances, pwynnorman, and if it's feasible I think the more options, the better...
but many of the riders I saw at Menfelt were local -- they can come practice at Menfelt, or Frying Pan Park (free!), or Waredaca, or...

Again, having talked to organizers here in Area II, I know that sanctioning events raises the running cost substantially. Perhaps we can have a volunteer fund for building options and sanctioning Elem/BN events so we can offer better support to new participants, human and equine.

And...what about clinics for new riders? These don't have to be taught by Denny Emerson (though that would certainly be cool!), but could be weekend-long events that would be worth the haul -- working on riding on terrain, putting together courses (I do think if you've only schooled individual fences you can get a nasty shock once your horse starts trucking around a whole course), sharing ideas for conditioning and schooling under constrained circumstances, and a mock event on the second afternoon to run through tack changes, protocols, etc.

Sort of like the training 3 day (which I'm dying to do!) but in a HT format for Elementary/BN riders...

IFG
Nov. 6, 2002, 06:46 AM
Jeannette and Asterix,

Those are some great ideas. I have to say that I have not seen that many hang on for your life rides at BN in my Area. Most of the people are actually very good on green horses or OK on pretty fancy looking packers. Definitely not as many fuzzy ponies and quarter horses as there used to be. I miss the variety! But I am happy to see better riding. I guess what concerns me is that I think that less experienced riders need to have a place. No, I do not think that they should careen around out of control, but I think that an experience learning to trot over low XC obtacles out in the open is great. In fact, that is what I would like for my kids in a year or two. I have had them riding out in the turnout pasture, jumping over small stuff in a very controlled manner. If they get wild, they get grounded!

Boss Hoss
Nov. 6, 2002, 07:10 AM
1) Why has the difficulty of Novice escalated rather than stayed the same? (And my opinion BTW is that Training has not changed much).

I believe because of "supply & demand"..it goes back to people complaining courses are too easy etc. and designers changing to meet the demand. Then with so many in certain areas once you get your crotch rocket on a guidance system, you no longer go to Event X because there is no challenge. And as well when a course gets a reputationf ro being really tough, people avoid it or ride down a level. As well as a sport, it is also a BUSINESS and folks need X number of riders to pay the bills.

As a case in point..last year (2001) Waredaca had a "baby coffin" complex in the Spring on its Novice course. Big log-two strides-ditch-two strides-skinny bog log in a swail of the terrain. Bubba dumped me at the ditch I should know. Then at Area II Champs at fairhill, they had a similar combination (got through it there).

Now this year when I went to Waredaca we didn't do that combination or even a ditch with anything two strides away...even at the Area Champs there. Then when we went to Fairhill for the ECC we ran the 2001 Area Champ course basically but the first element was removed so it was a ditch to a two stride coupe.

Now..what changed the minds of the designers from 2001 to 2002? Was it a conscious effort to make a new course at Waredaca (sunken road was fun!) or the reprecussions on both from competitors complainging about the difficulty.

I remember seeing this at Old Dominion too. One year everyone complained about how everyone got around, then the next year they changed the course and then it was a different story.

That's why I say..leave sleeping dogs lie. Prepare, Compete, Regroup and Retrain whatever it was that was an issue until you can handle anything, anywhere, anytime on a Novice course before moving up.

And if at first you don't suck a seed, suck, suck, suck until you do suck-a-seed!

2) Why has the difficulty of Beginner Novice escalated rather than stayed the same? (And yes, I do realize that Beginner Novice is only recently recognized).

Because this level invites the weekend warriors, the untrained, the greenies and some folks who should have ant farms and not horses...not the majority but enough..the standard should be adhered to strictly. There is more to be lost by varying from standards of the BN level than say T or N...once the horse is on its way in the sport the changes will be easier to adapt to.

As someone said if the horse can walk over the obstacle is it really "eventing"?


2) Should there be something easier than the current BN level to attract people at lower levels to the sport in a safe atmosphere?

NO! The sport has nothing to gain by offering a "chick-n-shitz over sticks" division. I admit I wouldn't want to have to start eventing at Prelim level (UK Novice), but jumping 2ft obstacles to start isn't even making the horse use himself correctly over it. That's a cavalleti for Pete's sake!

Eventing is the synergy of the 3 phases, and you shouldn't come out on XC until you are doing stadium well at 2'6" (BN) where the fences fall and riders bounce easily. You can do a BN XC course without ever having actually schooled a xc course, IF you have done your gymnastics work in stadium, have your horse on your aids in dressage, and ride them out on the trails.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Nov. 6, 2002, 07:37 AM
The Jane Marshall Dillon photo book, and I keep thinking her beginners are looking better over bigger fences than many current "non-beginners" do over the same or smaller. What do we need to replicate in order to produce similarly solid riders these days??

The number of lovely photos in that book is striking - good secure legs and following hands abound! - and apparently they got all the photos out of basically three afternoon photo shoots, using maybe two or three rolls of film per shoot...

Going back to my earlier vision - why Denny (or actually Victor HV was high on my list) came to mind was credibility and succinctness. Certainly beginning eventers don't need BNT's, but my guess is it would be easier to fill a day and cover day fees and send evereyone away with useful feedback if it were an old dog speaking into the microphone.

There are more local/younger/developing rider/smaller name trainers who could give feedback - but I'm less sure that riders would sign up for such a thing.

And - in my study of instructors, I have observed that the old dogs, having seen everything under the sun go wrong 8 million times, are more likely to be able to hone in on a root issue, rather than a symptom or a less root issue.

So, given a choice between A)going someplace to school myself or with a known trainer of my own choosing, B)going for a fix a test with another smaller dog arranged by an organizer, or C) fix a testing with a big dog, I would be more likely to do options A) or C).

Since all rational people will agree with me /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif , that's how I got onto my Denny/Victor etc train of thought.

Daydream Believer
Nov. 6, 2002, 07:39 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl:
FWIW, I loff the courses at Five Points/ Carolina Horse Park! Very skillful use of each complex to test what is appropriate for a given level while introducing the idea of the next level - quite literally, the very same ditch (revetted on both sides) which on the far right of the complex is an unadorned ditch, next gains a substantial log over it for the Training trahkener, then a taller log and maybe wider ditch for Prelim, and by the far left of the complex you're up to the trahkener to weldon's wall (or somesuch) on a bending line for the Advanced horses.

That course is never open for schooling, but by doing it at one level you are nicely preparing for the next level - to my mind making it both a good "test course" and a good "move-up." That is, when it rode so nicely for me this spring despite it's relative "technicality" ,at Novice, I took it as confirmation that we might be ready for Training in the fall, where it wasn't overwhelming, since we had already ridden through most of the complexes, if on different routes than we did at Training.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree that Five Points is a lovely course and that it is well built and very clever in how it progresses such as the example of the ditch. It is one of the most beautiful courses I've ever seen and is a nice one for spectators.

You made my point though in your second paragraph. It is a move up or test course rather than "average difficulty" as advertised in the Spring Omnibus. A lot of people got caught unprepared for it's technicality with their green horses...even some BNT's were having quite a bit of trouble on the Novice with their greenies. I think they should have been a bit more honest about the difficulty.

I like your idea about eventing derbies. When do we start? /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

Pixie Dust
Nov. 6, 2002, 07:45 AM
Heheeee, asterix, I knew you weren't refering directly to me, but I did look like an idiot!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif But I know what kind of riders you are talking about.

Jeanette, my friend did some kind of rally similar to what you just described this summer in Minnesota. She said it was REALLY helpful.

Gry2Yng
Nov. 6, 2002, 11:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I just want Novice level to be what the rules say; 'straight forward and inviting' and not a mini version of the uppper levels <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I took this statement to mean that you think Novice Level courses are mini versions of the upper levels. I didn't say anything about whether you could or couldn't ride them. Just that I don't think they are mini upper level courses. I agree, they should be straight forward and inviting.

lawgrl
Nov. 6, 2002, 11:49 AM
Boss Hoss said:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>NO! The sport has nothing to gain by offering a "chick-n-shitz over sticks" division. I admit I wouldn't want to have to start eventing at Prelim level (UK Novice), but jumping 2ft obstacles to start isn't even making the horse use himself correctly over it. That's a cavalleti for Pete's sake! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Good for you. I'm glad that you didn't feel the need to start with a 2 foot jump. But, to put it succinctly, your attitude is demeaning and not the one that is going to attract newcomers to the sport.

Here's my perspective and one that is shared by several female riders at the event barn that I train at: most of us are older professional females (30s to 50s), we were attracted to eventing from other disciplines (mainly dressage and hunters actually).

None of us have big ambitions---we'd like to (eventually) and perpetually event at the novice/training level.

We bought experienced eventing packers, we train weekly with an eventing trainer, we go to low level hunter/jumper shows and dressage shows to prepare, we ride over terrain and school XC jumps in the fields, we volunteer at local events, and we still want to start with the "chick-n-shitz over sticks" division in eventing!

We may not be the bravest riders in the sport and we may be jumping baby jumps, but damn it, we still feel that we deserve the right to be here.

So what eventing has to gain by this division (other than your derision) is the money and interest I put into this new-to-me sport. Start with novice, make fun of anything lower than that, and we take our money and our horses and go back to hunter/jumper shows and dressage shows.

Now, personally, I don't care if those baby shows are recognized or not, but I haven't bothered to become a member of USEA because I feel that until I ride in recognized shows, what's the point?

I would rather have the eventing world offer those baby classes than dumbing down the currently recognized divisions.

Sorry, I think I'm done ranting now........

IFG
Nov. 6, 2002, 12:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We may not be the bravest riders in the sport and we may be jumping baby jumps, but damn it, we still feel that we deserve the right to be here.

So what eventing has to gain by this division (other than your derision) is the money and interest I put into this new-to-me sport. Start with novice, make fun of anything lower than that, and we take our money and our horses and go back to hunter/jumper shows and dressage shows. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree that Boss Hoss' attitude is demeaning. I find myself looking at the situation from both sides. When I came back to eventing after having kids, those chicken-shit logs on the ground looked pretty big to me. It wasn't that I couldn't jump higher stuff, I just wanted to start out more in my comfort zone. Now after a season at the beefed-up Beginner Novice level. Yes those fences do look pretty small. But I won't insult anyone who wants to start over smaller stuff to stay safe within their comfort zone. Haven't many of the posts cited unsafe rides? Why would we want to make people start out at a higher height? It makes no sense to me.

This demeaning holier than though attitude is how we stand to lose new eventers like lawgrl!

KatieRiley
Nov. 6, 2002, 12:21 PM
I think a benefit of having a recognized 2' division is getting more official members and more people to pay membership dues!

On a more serious note, the newsletter you get with membership is very imformative and people just starting out into the sport would have an immediate source of good info. The newsletter seems to target novice level eventers anyway... so if we had a lower level that appealed to the real beginners, the membership and newsletter could be a real help for new eventers to get more/ better instruction or just a better clue as what they should be doing.

Just a thought....

Pixie Dust
Nov. 6, 2002, 12:30 PM
Give me a break!!! If I want to take my greenie to elementary and/or BN schooling events who are you to judge me???

Like I said before, it makes exposing my backyard horse to new things so much easier. I don't have access to xx jumps, I don't have a set of stadium jumps, and I don't even have a ring. I try and take him to xx schooling opportunities when I can, but it's not the same as being at an eventing barn. And if newcomers want so ride lower level stuff, why do you want to chastise them for that??

BH, your tone has really become condescending. I still think you had a lot of good things to say, but in all honesty, I consider you a newcomer to the sport.

There are a lot of generalizations and perceptions being thrown around without a lot of real data to back them up.


[This message was edited by bgoosewood on Nov. 06, 2002 at 06:45 PM.]

[This message was edited by bgoosewood on Nov. 06, 2002 at 06:46 PM.]

wanderlust
Nov. 6, 2002, 12:48 PM
I understand that alot of newbies and recent returners want recognized divisions with smaller fences. What I don't think alot of people understand is the cost structure that is associated with this. Does anyone know what it costs to build a course? And then to have the TD examine it to ensure that it meets specs?

There has to be some kind of ROI for organizers to build new courses. In addition, if you add even more lower levels, there become competitors who won't get in (at all levels) because of capacity reasons... i.e. event will be over-subscribed. For these reasons, I don't know how willing organizers of bigger trials will be to offer anything less than baby novice. And if BN *does* officially become recognized, you may end up with *less* events offering it due to the cost of upgrading their courses to conform to standards. Either that, or you will end up with much higher entry fees to cover the cost of course-building. I don't think either is an attractive option.

And then where do you draw the line? So lets say we recognize BN... and add elementary as unrecognized to alot of the horse trials. How long until we push elementary to be recognized? And then the x-rail event division?

Starter trials exist to fill a niche. They should be a feeder for recognized trials. Most people in the hunter world don't start out at "A" shows over 3'... they go to local shows and get their feet wet, then they go to locally rated, then maybe a "C", and on up. Additionally, the nation h/j council does not "recognize" any division with a fence height of less than 3'. It is their line in the sand. Unfortunately, USEA needs to either draw or maintain one as well.

I'm not trying to be elitist, guys, just rational. There could be some serious implications to adding levels below N as recognized.

[This message was edited by master_tally on Nov. 06, 2002 at 03:58 PM.]

IFG
Nov. 6, 2002, 01:11 PM
Mark,

Sorry to jump on the bandwagon. I value much of what you have to say, but you should know that my e-mail client assigned your post (forwarded by the BB) two hot chili peppers as a "mood" rating. Yours is the only e-mail that I have ever gotten to stimulate that response.

Boss Hoss
Nov. 6, 2002, 01:44 PM
2) Should there be something easier than the current BN level to attract people at lower levels to the sport in a safe atmosphere?

This conversation keeps going back-n-forth about what the "sport" should do to encourage newcomers. By the "sport" aren't we talking about what the USEA should do? Do you want the "sport" to be represented by a facility that can park 200 rigs in a pasture with logs-n-sticks? Should the USEA offer a 2ft rec. division IMO? NO, that's my opinion..I've fallen, refused, walked off course enough to have one at this BN-N level. The BN level really is sufficient to represent our "sport".

When you start gymnasticing the green jumper you deal with trot poles and cavalettis. The first planks or rails you jump are around 18"-24", and it isn't until around 2'6" that the average horse actualy starts to "jump" as opposed to canter stride over it. I think the bravery of the rider is more of an issue than the horse's ability to jump 2'6" when they start out.

I'm sorry you feel my comments are condescending. But there is no justice being done to the sport if we "recognize" a height/standard that isn't even requiring the horse to use himself fully and doesn't present enough of a challenge to discourage people who should stay at home and practice more. There really is a critical height below which the issues won't get any better but worse. BN seems to be this critical height...if not N.

Whatever happened to "combined training"? You should be working on the phases separate from one another and doing combined tests before tackling a 3 phase horse trial. There are many more starter trials than combined tests, and maybe that is as big a part of the problem. Suppose the "sport" decides it's better to not offer horse trials until BN level and that CTs are what the really newcomer should work on? Imagine going into a BN-N xc course after a year of working on pre-BN CTs?

And as for real data...because I'm in Area II and have all these great opportunities to ride and even jump judge on a bye weekend I can see what the -BN+ is doing. It's scary, I'm sorry. And this comes from being a scary rider doing it too. It wasn't a walk in the park for me either...and still isn't. I also don't see any of these riders coaches/trainers guiding them through the process. I know because I went solo for 3 years, because you can at these levels. Too many green horses & green riders representing the sport...but we all pass through this phase.

There is definitely a market for the starter trials in all regions, just don't ask the USEA to recognize that level and make it the face of the sport. I will always use the starter trials for green horses, but once the quality of the horse is sufficient, I only do recognized events.

Boss Hoss
Nov. 6, 2002, 02:06 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by IFG:
Mark,

Sorry to jump on the bandwagon. I value much of what you have to say, but you should know that my e-mail client assigned your post (forwarded by the BB) two hot chili peppers as a "mood" rating. Yours is the only e-mail that I have ever gotten to stimulate that response.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I feel honored. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif But this isn't a mood I'm in but my opinion based on my experiences participating in the beginner doing BN-N unrec-rec will we survive to Training level stage.

I'm not going to say we have to agree to disagree on this issue, but in fact we will have to disagree to agree in the end in order to do what is best, and I'm willing to do that if required.

Gry2Yng
Nov. 6, 2002, 02:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I found myself saying "good BOY!" in my car as a couple of folks tactfully funneled their bug-eyed greenies through the flags at the water; THAT was really nice to see.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

lawgrl
Nov. 6, 2002, 02:16 PM
Sorry, but still really disagreeing with you, Boss Hoss.

I don't see how offering these lower courses makes it "the face of the sport", and what the heck exactly is the "face of the sport" and who defines it? And what if us newbies are the face of the sport and are putting in the money that also supports the upper levels. GASP!

At least in my area (IX), the BN/N levels are basically footing the bills for the upper levels and schooling areas, clinics, and any type of combined training is few and far between.

Somehow I get the impression that you believe these green riders are an embarrassment to eventing. There will always be people who are overfaced and don't school enough for certain levels. I don't think that refusing to recognize the lower levels necessarily discourages them but it does discourage those of us that have trainers, school a lot, and still want the baby divisions for comfort's sake.

BTW, trust me, my intermediate level eventer likes to use himself even over a 2 foot fence (although he is probably quite embarrased to be carting my novice butt around those chicken shit courses but hey, I pay the barn bills!)

Gry2Yng
Nov. 6, 2002, 02:42 PM
Sorry meant to start a new topic.

Sannois
Nov. 6, 2002, 02:45 PM
I have been trying to for this whole thread. I too am a middle aged working adult eventer, from the ranks of the hunter world. I LOVE eventing. I bought an off the track know nothing about jumping, tb 4 and a half years ago. And have taught him everything. To competing in our first Beginner Novice Recognized event over a year ago, and finishing 6th, to some very respectable Dressage scores in Regular Dressage. However I am still so surprised by the attitudes of some twords the BN division. Pwynn great eye opener. I want to move up to Novice, but I am in no big hurry. We are not scary on Cross Country, and we put down nice stadium rounds. We do hve some attention issues on cross country, and I dont see why I should attempt Novice until we are over those at BN. I still want to know what is the big hurry to move up the levels? ok for some, but we dont all have stars in our eyes or talent to do more that Novice. I truly do this for the fun and accomplishment of having a parternership with my horse. Not the ribbons lining my wall. Wasn't it GM or some big name who said anyone can jump a big fence, but it isn't the height, its how well you jump it. I have jumped judged this summer, and saw quite a number of Novice and training level riders jumping and barely staying on. But they would never think of doing BN. /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin Franklin, 1755
Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

Martie
Nov. 6, 2002, 03:24 PM
a lot of these posts are very interesting.

however, I am reading "organizers should...... or why don't organizers do....." in quite a few.

Well, I am an organizer (Basingstoke Farms in FL), so I thought I'd give you all a couple of thoughts.

#1 - you will find all sorts of BN & N courses across the country - to say that N courses have gotten more demanding in the past few years is quite parochial - some have, some haven't, some haven't ever changed from when they were first built.

#2 - move to FL - we have a new organization - the Florida Horse Trials Association. FHTA sanctions a fairly large calendar of events - most of which are held on the same courses that USAEq/USEA courses are held on (Basingstoke, Canterbury and Rocking Horse) and a few other venues - which also have good courses (Fannin Hill, Green Acres and English Acres). But, they are much cheaper & much more fun. There are fewer rules. FHTA gives you the opportunity to put FHTA Titles on your horse - at various levels in the three phases. A clear round (in dressage, this is 40 pp or less or 60% or better) earns you a qualifying score. 2 Quals earns you a leg. 4 legs earns you a Title. Any number of comps can earn (or not) qualifying scores at any given event - you are not competing against each other (altho' most events do give traditional ribbons & prizes as well) - you are competing against a standard. (www.equinebiz.com/FHTA (http://www.equinebiz.com/FHTA))
At the Basingstoke FHTA events, you can enter all three phases separately if you wish - so you can do P dressage, BN xcntry and N stadium for example. You can also 'go again' for a nominal fee. So, if you go out on xcntry, for instance, at the Starter level (2') and have a really good go, you may wish to go again in the Intro (2'6") level. Our xcntry is for these events is held in two very large fields where you can see everything. All levels get water and banks. We even have a 'coached' division - where your coach can tell you what to do every step of the way (if they can keep up). You can pretty much do what you want to do! And, you can keep doing it from the Starters at 2' through Prelim.

So - it's out there - if you don't live in FL & can't manage to move here or come for the winter - start a similar little organization in your neck of the woods. It's fun!

#3 - options on N & T courses - don't forget that a competition is just that - a competition even tho' some may be using the competition for a schooling. But, since it is a competition first and foremost to those who are designing and building the courses, options at the lower levels don't really make much sense. The speeds at BN, N & T are so low that an option would have to be built in the next county in order for it to have an 'impact'. You want the winner of the competition to be the horse & rider who went around the course the best (within the time & clean over all the questions the cd felt were appropriate) - you don't want the horse & rider who took a bunch of easier options to win over the one(s) who did not.

#4 - fences on courses that are over max for the level - this is a BIG no-no. If you find a fence that measures out to be over-size, you owe it to yourself, your horse and your fellow competitors to talk to the TD about it immediately. Be aware, however, that xcntry fences are measured from the take-off spot - a fence that measures out from the base as over-size, may not actually be so when measured properly with a straight edge & level from the take off spot.

#5 - scary, or intimidating fences - most courses are designed with the horse's perspective in mind - not the rider's. Yes, it is a partnership out there - but it's the horse that sees the course for the first time on course and it's the horse that has to actually DO the galloping & jumping. A fence that looks intimidating to you as a rider, most likely does not look intimidating to your horse (there are plenty of exceptions to this - but fairly few at the lower levels). Some of the skills that the eventer must learn are: how to judge what the horse determines when galloping up to an obstacle, how to stay of the way of the horse so he can do his job even tho' the fence scares the rider silly and what to look for when walking the course. It is a very common occurance that horses stop at fences that riders are intimidated by - not because the horse is bothered by the fence - because the rider is intimidated & 'told' the horse not to jump it.

In summary, I think there is a place for beginning competitions (2', 2'6", 2'9") - I don't think these levels can be equated with a one-star - but I think there is a place for them. If you think so too - encourage the organizers in your area to put on starter type events - but once you have encouraged one or more orgs to do so - BE SURE to attend & to bring your friends! Nothing will stop a fledgling organizer in his tracks faster than to put on something that he has been urged to do & then have no one show up. If you stick with USAEq/USEA events - read the rule book & be ready for whatever is legal for your level & you won't go wrong.

GotSpots
Nov. 6, 2002, 03:37 PM
Whoa there. I think the BN division is fine, for what it is. If you want to do BN your entire career, so long as you are having fun and you and your horse are safe, as far as I am concerned, have at it. That's wonderful for you, and hopefully you'll raise a glass with me at the competitor's party afterwards and we can chat about our days, our horses, and how much fun we've had. One of my favorite memories from my entire eventing career is two fabulous gals who I stabled next to at Pine Top, who were going BN, had fantastic x-c colors, and were all set to have a great time with their much adored horses. I got a huge kick out of them.

But I don't think the USEA needs to "recognize" that division to have that experience, nor do I think that we should "recognize" the elementary or green as grass divisions. Why? For one, I think there's a diminishing return: at some point, we start encouraging folks who really need a bit more work at home to come out, because "the fences are only 18" high." I want each and every one of you who starts on x-c to come back in one piece, and to be honest, I want you all prepared to go out there and do so. If we make fences so easy that someone who has just started riding (no, I don't mean those of you experienced in other disciplines) can get through, I worry that we will be tempting them to take risks that aren't safe. Paternalistic? Not trying to be, but I don't want to make it too easy because I want to make sure that when (a) your horse spooks at a bird, (b) you have a mild terrain question, (c) your brakes aren't as good as they were in the ring, you have the ability and the experience to deal with the situation in a manner which is safe. Doesn't mean you have to be Karen or David, it doesn't mean you have to have years in the saddle. It does mean that you have to have some fundamentals and some lower leg stability. I think that maybe when you have a fence at BN that looks like a smaller version of a N or T fence, riders and coaches will take the sport seriously enough to be well-prepared for some of its inherent risks, maybe more so than if there's a log on the ground you could fly at.

Heck yeah we want you out there. We want you to love our sport, we want you to have fun in our sport, and we want you to be safe doing it.

Pixie Dust
Nov. 6, 2002, 03:41 PM
Oh, well I never said that USEA should *recognize* baby novice or elementary. Personally, I have no desire to do recognized events under novice. If there is a market for that, I certainly have no problem with it. I can't imagine it would be all that hard since many of the jumps can be portable. All the places I go to in MD have plenty of wee jumps.

When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson- A Cowboy's Guide to Life

Pixie Dust
Nov. 6, 2002, 03:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Boss Hoss:
. The first planks or rails you jump are around 18"-24", and it isn't until around 2'6" that the average horse actualy starts to "jump" as opposed to canter stride over it. I think the bravery of the rider is more of an issue than the horse's ability to jump 2'6" when they start out.

.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hahaaaa, well you should have seen Hektor jump his very first 18" coup on xc!!! Actually, the MAIN reason I wanted to take him to elementary horse trials his first year out was because he was jumping everything "new" or "funny looking" like it was 4'!!!

AnyHOO, I completely misunderstood earlier. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Gry2Yng
Nov. 6, 2002, 04:00 PM
well said Marty. You and Amy are doing a great job putting together some wonderful events to fill this niche, not too mention how much fun Bassingstoke is at the recognized events.

GO-dog-GO
Nov. 6, 2002, 04:08 PM
The clocks ticking to fast for me to read all 6 pages but here's my .02


Personally I have no desire to enter an event till we're ready to do a novice. Novice is just that, novice. I'll be the first to say I have a lot of advantages, like my own XC course and winters in Middleburg. But if I couldn't practice what I need to I wouldn't expect to event.

I love to surf but should they have a 1' wave only class for me because I can't practice enough.

If I'm not ready for BN should they have a Pre-BN just so I can enter a "real" event? What if I'm not up to Pre-BN, how bout Low-Pre-BN? Where do you stop?

If it's novice you'll eliminate the BN crowd. If it's BN you elimanate the Pre-BN riders etc.

Seems like a lot of events ya can't even get in. What will having more levels do? Can the events get the help/money they need to host another weekend?

Eventing should not be for everyone just because you want to be an eventer. You should be an eventer because you have the skill to meet the demands of the sport.

Your not a "rock climber" because you scramble up a rough hiking trail.

Your not a "4 diamond trail skier" just because you side-slipped down one.

You aren't a "skydiver" because you've done a tamden.

So now that I've pissed all the BN riders off I'll go have dinner......sorry /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

*Make SURE your right before you decide everyone else is wrong.*

*Lord please save me from those trying to save me!*

Pixie Dust
Nov. 6, 2002, 04:19 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by GO-dog-GO:
Personally I have no desire to enter an event till we're ready to do a novice. Novice is just that, novice. I'll be the first to say I have a lot of advantages, like my own XC course and winters in Middleburg. But if I couldn't practice what I need to I wouldn't expect to event.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hey, don't worry, no one's trying to force you to go. They exist, and I go to them. Works out great for me. I'm going to Full Moon on the 17th! www.fullmoonfarms.com (http://www.fullmoonfarms.com) (I'm talking about UNsanctioned starter trials)
WhEEEEEEEE!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Oooops, gotta let the dawg out........eat dinner....get off the BB!!!

asterix
Nov. 6, 2002, 04:46 PM
I really love the sound of that Fl circuit, and it would be wonderful if every Area had that.

I'm still not sure I've heard a compelling argument for RECOGNIZED entry-level events, though I am firmly in the camp of those who think starter trials have an important place in the sport, for reasons lots of people have already described.

I think we should try some of the ideas we've had floated in this thread. For my part, since Area II has a number of starter trials already, I'm going to pursue what it might take to set up some beginning eventer weekend clinics. I'm going to join my local CTA(s), learn what they already have for riders at this level, and see if we can expand the program.

It may be that others in this area are way ahead of me, but if not, it's not too late to start! I agree with GotSpots -- I want to encourage new eventers, but I want them to have the chance to learn how to be safe and have fun, regardless of their aspirations.

If we can look back in 5 years and see expanded opportunities in all Areas for lower level riders -- from starter trials to creative "Florida" events to clinics -- well, I'd like to think we'd have answered many of the concerns expressed here, from growth and support for the sport from the bottom up, to maintenance of challenge and competitive standards for midlevel riders.

We'd also amass a nice set of data about what worked and what didn't, and why, so that future efforts will be more cost-effective and smarter from the outset.

IFG
Nov. 6, 2002, 05:39 PM
The problem is that I droop in the humidity. I love the idea of local eventing circuits.

I went to pick up my kids, and there was a flurry of activity!

To explain my view on sanctioning, the only reason that I have advocated for sanctioning the lower levels is to standardize them and ensure that events are safely run.

bigdreamer
Nov. 6, 2002, 05:57 PM
ok- i had another thought...

Each level in dressage is stated to have a PURPOSE. They start with the MOST BASIC stuff and work their way up. You don't move up until you are ready.

Each level in eventing should be the same way. Starting with a baby area (like training level dressage being "baby" for dressage competitions) and you move up as you have trained up to that point. You dont' move up to 2nd level before you can do all the movements. So why move up to training before you can do a normandy bank?

You know what is required of you at each level- what you may see, what speeds you have to go, what dressage test you have to do, the height of your stadium course, that you can have a combination at novice, a triple at training...

When you go to a show- you should be able to tackle whatever is thrown at you at your level. if you know you didn't school something that is allowed at your level, like a ditch, then when it shows up on your novice course- DON'T WHINE ABOUT IT. you know what you have to do!!!

Eventing isn't an easy sport- but i think Beginner Novice is about as easy as it gets. There are enough started trials out there that anyone should be able to find one to "get in the sport". If your not ready for an event- dont go. Continue to train. If you dont' have time- then quite frankly that is not the USEA's problem. That would be yours.


I am interested in knowing what everyone else thinks about more emphesis on stadium and dressage. Everyone's soo worried about XC... what about the REST of eventing- the sport that challenges every aspect of horse and rider- which doesn't mean "XC" it means the whole event... including stadium and dressage... i would enjoy opinions on that.

~laura~

GO-dog-GO
Nov. 6, 2002, 07:15 PM
Ya know someone would make a million if they could make/sell light, unbreakable plastic "logs" and boards so people could make/use "XC" fences in rings.

Barns could set up "XC" fences without having an XC course. It's not perfect but it's better then nothing.

*Make SURE your right before you decide everyone else is wrong.*

*Lord please save me from those trying to save me!*

Velvet
Nov. 6, 2002, 08:32 PM
Okay, so I'm a DQ checking in, but I used to event in my teens and early twenties. I haven't read all the posts out here, but it sure seems to be a similar flap to what is happening in dressage. What I mean is, there seems to be a glut of riders at the lower levels and then they are unable or unwilling to move on. The riders may provide a lot of money for the sport, but is that what it is all about?

Just a thought. I'm not taking sides in this one. I remember my riding Novice courses that were at the time called Pre-Training and the top height was 2'3". 18" courses were for schooling shows and there weren't any "in between" steps. Going from Pre-Training to Training was quite a jump (no pun intended) and Training to Preliminary was just bigger fences, but not bigger challenges in the type of fence you would jump.

Was that bad? Why is everything changing? Is it because more riders are mastering dressage and it is making it more difficult to weed out the riders? Is x-country riding going to look like a hunter ring eventually (at the lower levels)? What is the future? Why is much of the past being pushed aside/altered? Is it better now?

Just a few questions--and general curiosity.

It's all about ME, ME, ME!!! (The only signature worthy of a real DQ.)

His Greyness
Nov. 6, 2002, 09:02 PM
What perplexes me is that, with all the new money that has poured into eventing, all the old resources that were available to me thirty years ago have disappeared.

Back then, any barn worth its name would have an "outside course", a field full of permanent jumps such as a log pile, stone wall, ditch and brush fences. You could ride a show jumping type round over cross-country type fences. Instructors seemed to be able to match riders with horses far better than happens today. Perhaps that's because back then you had to rely on school horses since you could not afford to buy your own immediately on starting to ride.

Nearly any horse can complete a Novice course if properly schooled. This year I have seen full draft horses competing at Training level. The more agile drafts can probably go Preliminary! The need for Beginner Novice and Baby Green courses comes from the riders not the horses.

Why can't todays new to eventing riders get the kind of grounding I did in the early seventies? There's much more money being poured into the sport. There are many more people claiming to be "professionals" to help out.

I can still do today what I did twenty five years ago when I introduced His Greyness to eventing. I had no explicit trainer, I took lessons and went to various clinics (Denny Emerson was giving them even back then! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ); I built my own cross country schooling jumps and had a lot of fun.

Why is that so difficult today?

BarbB
Nov. 6, 2002, 09:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bigdreamer:
I am interested in knowing what everyone else thinks about more emphesis on stadium and dressage. Everyone's soo worried about XC... what about the REST of eventing- the sport that challenges every aspect of horse and rider- which doesn't mean "XC" it means the whole event... including stadium and dressage... i would enjoy opinions on that.

~laura~<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

for what it's worth, I have no problem with BN/N/T level horse trials putting more emphasis on dressage and/or stadium, including having minimum requirements to be met and xc last so that if you can't get around a stadium round you can't go xc.

But at the international levels, to put more emphasis on dressage/stadium would change the sport. Not a good idea IMO.

BarbB
charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

...virtue shall be bound into the hair of thy forelock... I have given thee the power of flight without wings. - The Koran

Daydream Believer
Nov. 7, 2002, 04:34 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Martie:
#3 - options on N & T courses - don't forget that a competition is just that - a competition even tho' some may be using the competition for a schooling. But, since it is a competition first and foremost to those who are designing and building the courses, options at the lower levels don't really make much sense. The speeds at BN, N & T are so low that an option would have to be built in the next county in order for it to have an 'impact'. You want the winner of the competition to be the horse & rider who went around the course the best (within the time & clean over all the questions the cd felt were appropriate) - you don't want the horse & rider who took a bunch of easier options to win over the one(s) who did not.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Maybe I need to make what I meant by "options" at Novice a little more clear. I'm not talking about options that make the difference between winning or losing necessarily but rather options that offer a more advanced route to riders who wish to "test" their readiness to move up to training or to "school" a higher level combination. The "easy" way is the standard novice route and the "harder" way is permitted if a rider wishes to take the chance and gain the schooling benefit. Let's face it...competitions are not only about testing to see who will win or lose but also about gaining experience especially at the lower levels.

A good example of what I'm talking about was at Virginia's Spring Course. They have a bank on the course that has a bank up on the left side or on the right side, a ramp up on the approach and a drop off on the landing side. Training level had to jump the bank up and the drop off. Novice had an option here. You could do the bank up on the left side if you wanted to do the training side or you could choose the easier, safer route and run up the ramp and drop off. 90% of the novice riders chose the ramp up but the other 10% who wanted to move up to training and felt ready, tried the bank up (including me! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif).

I think if more organizers offered these sorts of challenges to the novice riders, it would make it more interesting and offer a way for riders to "test" themselves prior to moving up without organizers having to build courses that might be too difficult for the greener horses and riders.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

Daydream Believer
Nov. 7, 2002, 04:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Velvet:
Okay, so I'm a DQ checking in, but I used to event in my teens and early twenties. I haven't read all the posts out here, but it sure seems to be a similar flap to what is happening in dressage. What I mean is, there seems to be a glut of riders at the lower levels and then they are unable or unwilling to move on. The riders may provide a lot of money for the sport, but is that what it is all about?

Just a thought. I'm not taking sides in this one. I remember my riding Novice courses that were at the time called Pre-Training and the top height was 2'3". 18" courses were for schooling shows and there weren't any "in between" steps. Going from Pre-Training to Training was quite a jump (no pun intended) and Training to Preliminary was just bigger fences, but not bigger challenges in the type of fence you would jump.

Was that bad? Why is everything changing? Is it because more riders are mastering dressage and it is making it more difficult to weed out the riders? Is x-country riding going to look like a hunter ring eventually (at the lower levels)? What is the future? Why is much of the past being pushed aside/altered? Is it better now?

Just a few questions--and general curiosity.

_ It's all about ME, ME, ME!!! (The only signature worthy of a real DQ.)_<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You raise some good questions Velvet. I too remember how it used to be and am sometimes dismayed at how much more technical and difficult the courses are nowadays. I don't really think the sport is any better for the changes personally. It used to be that anyone who foxhunted could go to a training level event but I don't think foxhunting can adequately prepare a horse/rider for the more technical aspects of XC now. I have to agree that eventing dressage has become much more competitive than it used to be but it's still a pretty basic test and the tests have even been shortened to help with scheduling issues. I think the answer lies in more difficult dressage and stadium tests versus increasing the difficulty and technicality of XC courses. Nowhere could this be more true than the upper levels of our sport where there were a number of horse fatalities this season.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

AM
Nov. 7, 2002, 05:21 AM
Martie - Have you actually run the FHTA events you describe? If so, what was the attendance? I ask because Waredaca offered something similar a year ago and no one came.

For those of you not competing at recognized events, USEA offers a non-competing membership. You receive the rule book, omnibus, magazine but aren't eligible to compete. You can also just subscribe to the magazine. And you can buy the rule book separately as well.

My volunteering usually involves scoring, so I don't see the scary riding people are describing at the lower levels. I'm wondering if part of the problem could be that the horses don't jump well over the smaller stuff. My actual competing took place during the pre-training era. I certainly preferred the smaller fences but my horse really liked to jump and didn't really jump well until I rustled up enough courage to try some training level size jumps.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 7, 2002, 06:15 AM
Martie (sp?), I think it was you who indicated, from your valuable organizer's perspective, the problem with developing courses in which options are penalized via time issues. But what about changing the scoring such that taking the easier option resulted in penalties? That way, those not really up to "competitive" level could enter and school at their experience/comfort levels, but would not be rewarded for that kind of effort. HOWEVER, they would get around the course and get their monies worth. (Remember, my friend's issue was about getting the Big E so early in the course that travelling so far was a waste of money and time for him.) I realize that not all courses have BN fences adjacent to N's, but many do. Flagging the BN fence as well as the N would be a simple way to do this when such was possible, while for those courses in which BN isn't nearby, spending just a little more money on a simpler option in the design of the fence might bring decent monetary returns by attracting people who might otherwise be skeptical that they could get around the course (and therefore not enter the event).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

tle
Nov. 7, 2002, 06:27 AM
Haven't read all this thread and what I have read so far, I've put off responding to as I know I'll be in what seems to be a minority opinion... don't feel like getting fried or having to defend myself. But I do have 2 quick comments about recent posts:

1) "spending just a little more money on a simpler option in the design of the fence " Uh... have you EVER in your life built a solid, well designed and constructed XC fence? A "little more money"???? And exactly where would this "little more money" come from??? /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

2) YOU GO, MARTIE!! Your last point was beautiful, well-written, and spot-on! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

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

"All's well that ends with cute E.R. doctors, I always say." -- Buffy

samie
Nov. 7, 2002, 06:27 AM
I have herd that the BN requirement are being raised. Is this true and if so what are the changes. I rode my first BN this past year and I found XC perfect . Very inviting though the first jump was the largest , I found that odd but it was still inviting. stadium was a bit difficult for me but it is my weakness and I know I need to improve it.

I think the heights are right on

millions of people walking around like happy meals with legs. -Spike

pwynnnorman
Nov. 7, 2002, 06:47 AM
I know this sounds idealistic, but it is true that sometimes it is necessary to invest in the sport's future.

I guess, in a way, what we are discussing here is about that future, isn't it? Whether, for the sake of growth, the sport should compromise or adjust its traditional characteristics and philosophies? Me, I always want to see more: more entries, more support, more activity. Traits of any sport (or endeavor for that matter) which have exclusive rather than inclusive results inevitably raise my hackles.

At the lower levels of sport, which I consider to be T and below, "the more, the merrier" IMO promises a healthier future for a sport which I think we all acknowledge is not the easiest sport to sustain (compared to other horse sports).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com