PDA

View Full Version : Mini Rolexes??



Weatherford
Oct. 20, 2002, 03:44 AM
Some years ago, Jack LeGoff (I believe) said he could build a pre-pre course ("mini-Rolex") that no one could get around.

This became an interesting and useful discussion of what is and what is not allowed on lower level courses.

The problem Maplebrook and Miriam had with Trakehners mentioned in a couple of other threads points out to me a problem with taking the attitude that certain questions are too hard for the lower levels.

I believe (and strongly) that all questions need to be asked at the lower levels - that is LOWER fences and adjusted distances accordingly - before they are asked at the higher levels.

What I see here in Ireland is lots of smaller ditches, coffins, trakehners, bounces, water jumps, etc - that are included in lower level courses where horse won't get into trouble (and lose confidence) if they make a mistake at them. This, to me, seems logical and right. Yes, you want the lower level courses straightforward, but don't you also want them to be learning experiences? Why not a 2'bounce (make it off a turn, so the horse & rider CAN'T do it too fast.) or a SMALL double bank (there was one in a Baby novice course that I knew in PA that was lovely - but then it wasn't allowed!) Can't these also be done as options?

The big problem I see in the States is that people don't have the land and the courses over which to practice - thus much of their learning is done in the Events or at clinics hosted by the Event location.

Thus the smaller, more inviting, versions of difficult questions, I would think, would be very nice to have and good for horses and riders.

I think if my first ever Trakhener were a tough Training level one - 3'3" over a maxed deep and wide ditch - I too would have a heart attack.

As it was last weekend, the third fence was a big ditch - but there was no where else to go - so it rode easily! The first Trakehner was about 2'3"-2'6" over a small ditch. Easy! Further into the course, the Coffin was very inviting - small, and the log rails at the bottom over the ditch were slanted so you didn't notice the ditch (unless you looked down /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif), then a bit later a maxed log in the trees (big and very inviting!) two strides to your choice of ditches - the big black gaping one happened to be right on the direct two strides from the log - so - it too flowed smoothly.

A few fences later (after the water - which was ugly and hard - deep & muddy but we went around it because of that) another easy bank with a big drop off (again you could do the easier drop off, but the big one was in the rhythm).... Then another small trakhner - with a small ditch. Then anther water - this one was small log, stride, bank (big drop) into very shallow water, canter out and over another log. Then, the last trakhener, which was maxed (1.0 m/3'3"). By that time riding it, however, it looked minimum (I remember thinking when I walked the course, YIKES, I'm NOT jumping this!). It was easy.... the last two fences were a maxed stone wall with a tiny ditch in front and decent drop, and an easy Irish bank...

The point here is, the course included some very difficult questions but graduated them and kept them all in a rhythm so the horses got very confident by the end. (This was a "Hunter Trial" or Hunter Pace as we call it, not an event.)

The whole experience made an actual event the next day (different location) look absolutely cinchy!

How do you feel about difficult questions made easy for the lower levels - rather than not being included at all? Is this still being discussed in the USEA?

I know, there are a LOT of XC fences/questions I would rather try at a smaller height/degreee of difficulty than at the max'ed level.

Found the view, but too expensive

Weatherford
Oct. 20, 2002, 03:44 AM
Some years ago, Jack LeGoff (I believe) said he could build a pre-pre course ("mini-Rolex") that no one could get around.

This became an interesting and useful discussion of what is and what is not allowed on lower level courses.

The problem Maplebrook and Miriam had with Trakehners mentioned in a couple of other threads points out to me a problem with taking the attitude that certain questions are too hard for the lower levels.

I believe (and strongly) that all questions need to be asked at the lower levels - that is LOWER fences and adjusted distances accordingly - before they are asked at the higher levels.

What I see here in Ireland is lots of smaller ditches, coffins, trakehners, bounces, water jumps, etc - that are included in lower level courses where horse won't get into trouble (and lose confidence) if they make a mistake at them. This, to me, seems logical and right. Yes, you want the lower level courses straightforward, but don't you also want them to be learning experiences? Why not a 2'bounce (make it off a turn, so the horse & rider CAN'T do it too fast.) or a SMALL double bank (there was one in a Baby novice course that I knew in PA that was lovely - but then it wasn't allowed!) Can't these also be done as options?

The big problem I see in the States is that people don't have the land and the courses over which to practice - thus much of their learning is done in the Events or at clinics hosted by the Event location.

Thus the smaller, more inviting, versions of difficult questions, I would think, would be very nice to have and good for horses and riders.

I think if my first ever Trakhener were a tough Training level one - 3'3" over a maxed deep and wide ditch - I too would have a heart attack.

As it was last weekend, the third fence was a big ditch - but there was no where else to go - so it rode easily! The first Trakehner was about 2'3"-2'6" over a small ditch. Easy! Further into the course, the Coffin was very inviting - small, and the log rails at the bottom over the ditch were slanted so you didn't notice the ditch (unless you looked down /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif), then a bit later a maxed log in the trees (big and very inviting!) two strides to your choice of ditches - the big black gaping one happened to be right on the direct two strides from the log - so - it too flowed smoothly.

A few fences later (after the water - which was ugly and hard - deep & muddy but we went around it because of that) another easy bank with a big drop off (again you could do the easier drop off, but the big one was in the rhythm).... Then another small trakhner - with a small ditch. Then anther water - this one was small log, stride, bank (big drop) into very shallow water, canter out and over another log. Then, the last trakhener, which was maxed (1.0 m/3'3"). By that time riding it, however, it looked minimum (I remember thinking when I walked the course, YIKES, I'm NOT jumping this!). It was easy.... the last two fences were a maxed stone wall with a tiny ditch in front and decent drop, and an easy Irish bank...

The point here is, the course included some very difficult questions but graduated them and kept them all in a rhythm so the horses got very confident by the end. (This was a "Hunter Trial" or Hunter Pace as we call it, not an event.)

The whole experience made an actual event the next day (different location) look absolutely cinchy!

How do you feel about difficult questions made easy for the lower levels - rather than not being included at all? Is this still being discussed in the USEA?

I know, there are a LOT of XC fences/questions I would rather try at a smaller height/degreee of difficulty than at the max'ed level.

Found the view, but too expensive

ThirdCharm
Oct. 20, 2002, 05:45 AM
Well, lemme tell ya, every single one of my Beginner Novice students has jumped a 2'6" trakhener with a 3' wide fully revetted ditch. Mainly b/c I, personally, HATE trakheners. I wouldn't even think of putting a BN out on course who wasn't doing triple bounces and such at home. **sigh**

JenniferS
thirdcharmtrainingcenter.com

maplebrook
Oct. 20, 2002, 08:31 AM
I've competed BN and Novice in Michigan, and in my limitede experience, most BN and many novice courses are comprised of logs, bigger logs, and creative ways to arrange logs, telephone poles, tires and rocks. There are coops and tables, and there will usually be a little bank or ditch, but all are single fences with big gallop spaces in between. There have been a lot of improvements in recent years, and Michigan does have some really great places to school, but I haven't really felt challenged by the novice fences I've encountered.

It wasn't until I rode at a newly built Novice course last month (Richland Park) that I was confronted with options and multiple fences in combination. It was awesome to see at the novice level. It really made me have to think and adjust throughout the course. (Incidentally, it felt SO good it made me think I could maybe move up to Training in the next year - thus the difficulties schooling on Saturday /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif).

Anyway, I would love to have smaller versions of the more difficult fences to prepare for the higher levels. It only makes sense!

[This message was edited by maplebrook on Oct. 20, 2002 at 12:08 PM.]

Pat Ness
Oct. 20, 2002, 08:35 AM
That progression during the course used to be around more in the states, I think. I prefer this type of cross country as you don't need to school cross country jumps so much as you and your horse grow with confidence during the course.

The problem with the Jack LeGoff comment seems like it was too broad and true only if you don't adjust the striding (as you mentioned). We used to have a wonderfully fun course that Lucinda Green called a mini Badminton here in Minnesota to school over. Nothing over 3'3" and most were set at 3' or under with tons of variety. We had Irish banks, water with jumps in and out, set at the lip and 3 strides out, 5 logs set at bounces (all under 2 foot) an adjustable Weldon's Wall. A coffin with a 2'6" rolltop in and out and varying stride options in between. This was all on 15 acres (or less) and was the brainstorm of Betsy Watkins.
It was a great place to have the Lucinda clinics as Lucinda is the master at learning to ride like your horse is a tube of toothpaste and you are squeezing some out for the big brush.
The course you described, sounds absolutely fun! It really sounds like it simulates going cross country.
We have an 8 mile master's pace today, but it is snowing here and I just don't have the gumption to go have some fun as the rain has caused some incredible mud as well. I know I should not be so lazy, but the weather is kind of getting to me already. I'm in trouble... Thanks for sharing your fun ride though! I think this would be something the horses would love as well as the riders.
Pat Ness

subk
Oct. 20, 2002, 11:42 AM
W--I think it's a lovely idea. But the problem that I see here in the states is that eventing isn't a sport people gravitate to AFTER they've hunted or showed hunters or did dressage or become horsemen in some other disipline and THEN started eventing. We have so many more riders who aren't much more than beginners riding in events. Our lower levels are not only to teach horses the basics but also riders.

How ironic that the course you describe was something you were doing that WASN"T an event. You guys can start your levels of eventing with more difficultly (Your Novice is our Prelim. and Pre-novice or our Training is kind of a new thing over there) for the very reason that you use other riding pursuits such as hunting, hunter paces etc. to start your young horses and to develop riders.

Personally I agree with you 100% but I wonder at what expense it would be to the sport over here.

Magnolia
Oct. 20, 2002, 12:26 PM
Is a trakehner a ditch with a log over it? We have these ditches at my farm and they put big log jumps over top of them. They look scary, but I guess the horse would be doing nothing different than if you jumped the log without the ditch.

We also have one ditch that is HUGE! I'd jump it like a bank - you could jump in and bounce out - it isn't deep, just wide.

The witchy witch witch of south central NC.

Miriam
Oct. 20, 2002, 02:08 PM
I totally agree. In fact, Lucinda specifically said to the course designer that it would be highly beneficial to build a smaller one (more BN or N size) so that riders could progress in more practical steps. I've seen several smaller double banks, but not any on courses. And of course, bounces aren't hardly ever seen until Prelim. I agree that making the technical questions smaller would certainly prevent some disasters and problems at a higher level. Though, as Jennifer S said, I think that the responisbilty to work through some techinical questions rests now with the riders and the trainers. Putting that type of question on course, would force people to practice it at home, and in my opinion create a safer, more educated, competition base.

*Sometimes I think the so-called expets actually ARE experts.*

Poombadesign
Oct. 20, 2002, 05:41 PM
I think that sounds like a really good idea. I would love to jump over a BN/N/T Rolex course!! That would be awesome and so much fun!!! Some events have the same kind of jump, just different sizes, but these are usually only single jumps and not combinations. But there was one event I heard of (maybe Southern Pines?? Don't hold me to it) that was P/I/A and had a lot of the same just different sizes. I think I remember seeing pictures of the water (or one, if there's several) where the question (drop in, up on island, drop back in, jump out) was basically the same, but fence sizes were different. I could be totally wrong here, but I have a slight recollection of such a thing.

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

www.geocities.com/HorsepicsPhotography (http://www.geocities.com/HorsepicsPhotography)

ThirdCharm
Oct. 20, 2002, 07:22 PM
Teaching the basics is the trainer's job, not the event's. Beginner Novice events are there to allow riders (and horses) to demonstrate skills they should have perfected at home. The most the event experience should be expected to teach is how to handle the pressure of demonstrating those skills in public in such a way as to still present a smooth, coordinated performance in all three phases on the same weekend. Cross Country is no place for a "beginner" rider, despite what you will see watching almost any USEA BN competition....

I had not noticed that Ireland and the UK had the corner on hunter, jumper, and dressage competitions and riders. There certainly seem to be plenty in my neck of the USA. I have plenty of students who started off in another discipline (several Hunters, a couple Dressage Queens, some Jumpers, even a former saddleseat rider) before gravitating toward eventing. Of course I have several who started off having never sat on a horse but had seen eventing on TV and thought that looked like the sport for them. Do they learn the basics of showing at BN events? Heck no! If they want to show desperately, they can go to the little local h/j show and pick up some ribbons in crossrails, progress to 2' hunters, there are even some shows around here that have 2' Jumpers :-) Then there are little schooling events that offer things like Maiden 2' divisions. I really don't think it would damage the sport irreparably if the Beginner Novice division didn't cater to the lowest common denominator.

Sorry if I rant, but I've had my heart in my throat one too many times just watching BN stadium!!!

JenniferS
thirdcharmtrainingcenter.com

Weatherford
Oct. 21, 2002, 01:24 AM
Couldn't agree with you more, JenniferS.

My thoughts on XC really come from a few years back when I was more involved with Eventing stateside - writing specs, designing & building small courses, & getting the TD license (which I decided not to complete).

There are quite specific rules as to what can and what cannot be on a course. In retrospect, I think it makes building the XC to the lowest common denometer - rather than teaching. Certainly the jumps should be safe (one of the things that horrified me about some of the unrecognized events in NJ/PA!).

There could be options for those who don't want to do the more difficult "parts" of a low level technical fence.

It just seems to me that you need to experience the technical stuff at the lower/safer heights - and since no one BUILDS that, how can anyone experience competing over it. Or, if no one is building that, how do lower level competitors even get to PRACTICE that on schooling days??

There are plenty of places and ways to practice the SJ questions - from your backyard to local schooling shows. But the XC is another matter, and I think of far more fundamental importance.

IF the courses ASKED the technical questions on a lower level, PERHAPS people wouldn't be quite as quick to move up before they are ready?!
19 year member of the New Hope clique! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Pat Ness
Oct. 21, 2002, 03:20 AM
in terms of the riders. It always seems there are 3 or four in a 50 horse division that think it's like a running race and they blast around. If it could be presented as more of a handy hunter sort of course, I would think that could help some riders understand it is not about jumping at speed.

I believe if we had some truly skinny (4 foot or less) jumps starting at beginner novice, the riders would HAVE to slow down. One is rarely successful racing at a skinny and the most harm to be done is a runout. The 20 foot wide jumps really call to people to turn on the speed as well as all sloping faces (Please not key word on sloping faces ALL--I'm not interested in getting rid of all sloping faces, just adding in a couple of plain old verticals).

Not all people have trainers and that is the reality of the sport.

Pat

ThirdCharm
Oct. 21, 2002, 04:40 AM
While it's true that not everyone has a trainer (heck, I didn't, until after I had gone Training!), isn't bombing around xc kind of dangerous if a rider has neither that or any kind of clue? It doesn't seem like that is something that should be encouraged. I at least was far from a beginner when I took up the sport. Some 2' skinnies, bounces, and funky looking jumps could help a lot, particularly if they were set up in such a way as to invite a runout instead of a stop. Maybe if they get eliminated enough, the people who have no business being in the ring will get the idea that they might need to go take some lessons. I am so tired of eventing being considered the sport of yahoos and the great untutored! "Oh, you just have to survive five minutes of dressage, and it doesn't matter how you look jumping as long as you get around!"

JenniferS

Pat Ness
Oct. 21, 2002, 04:49 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JenniferS:
While it's true that not everyone has a trainer (heck, I didn't, until after I had gone Training!), isn't bombing around xc kind of dangerous if a rider has neither that or any kind of clue?
JenniferS<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I hoped that's what my post was saying, but maybe it wasn't...
Anyway, I agree with you again JenniferS.
Pat

triggerfoot
Oct. 21, 2002, 07:09 AM
pat on the back: i agree completely. BN might be the scariest course to watch, but the way to fix the problem might be to make it more challenging to discourage the wing-and-a-prayer types from entering. i'd bet that BN courses that are described in the omnibus as "easy" have more, ahem, tense moments than those considered hard. one thing that could make everyone happy would be more options at the lower levels. if you don't think your student is ready for the 18" bounce, instruct her to do the log instead.

also, not all of us have facilities where we can practice cross country.

and while i'm at it, i'd like to rant real quick. i've schooled training and prelim, and i want to move up to training next year. it annoys me that i can't "practice" going training speed at a novice event without getting speed faults. yah, i know i know, its to protect the people who are out of control or at least to make them circle a few times, but i am NOT out of control and i can't afford to enter a bunch of extra events just so i can practice an entire course at speed. okay, i'm done now.

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

Weatherford
Oct. 21, 2002, 10:39 AM
Triggerfoot - do you have any Hunter Pace events out there? There are some good ones in PA & NJ that use Event courses - there you COULD do the speed.

The "Hunter Trials" here in Ireland ARE like American pace events, just at speed - and provide a great way to practice.

Would your local CTA (whoops, EA, now!) be interested in sponsoring a "Hunter Pace" type of Cross Country event as a school and fund raiser? No Dressage (judges, scribes, etc), no fence judges (a few "spotters" - although here in Ireland, they DO have fence judges), no sj - JUST timers -

that way people could practice their 400/450mpm, in a controlled setting over the size fences they choose, but not in a "competition".

Would that help?

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

triggerfoot
Oct. 21, 2002, 10:59 AM
but i don't know if they do it. anyone from indiana/ohio/kentucky know if they have hunter paces around here?

i'll look into the possibility of having the ICTA do something like that, but i'm not sure how to go about it. i'll start by writing a letter i guess.

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

Heather
Oct. 21, 2002, 01:01 PM
I agree 100% Weatherford. i've said for a while that part of the scariness you see at prelim in this country in because the leap from training to prelim is TOO big.

I HATE bounces on XC--I think we should get rid of them and put them in SJ, if that's a question we really want to test. BUT, if we are going to insist on having them in XC, then I firmly believe we should start with them at training and maybe even novice level. Maybe six inch logs or foot-high logs at novice, maybe 2 foot logs at training, but waiting until prelim is not kind or wise. Similarly, corners ar e abig question to spring on someone at prelim. I don't dislike the question of corners, but it's a little unfair to throw that in so late in the game.

Now yes, you school these things ahead of time, but we all know it isn't the same as doing it, make or break, on course with adrenaline up.

So I'm all for it, small, round, easy, but with the full questions intact.

Weatherford
Oct. 21, 2002, 01:34 PM
We have some thoughts and concensus here - WHO is going to talk about it at the USEA Annual meeting?

Who can bring Denny & Jimmy & Roger into the discussion - so something can be done?

Granted, building technical courses means having more educated course builders at the lower levels, however, I believe that is happening in Eventing (unlike SJ! /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif )

I would talk about it, for sure, but I am not going to be there - so, someone will have to do so for me!

Please?!

(now that I have, as Heather puts it, returned to the Dark Side....;) )

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

subk
Oct. 21, 2002, 03:35 PM
As this thread has grown I'm going to have to amend my earlier "%100 agreement."

I agree that certain types of fences like trekahners, ditches, banks should be more common at lower levels. I think it would weed out some of the, shall we call it "unprepared riders." It might also help narrow the gap between Training and Prelim so that your not confronted with BOTH new types of fences AND the introduction of true technical questions.

However, I think bounces and other technical questions are completely inappropriate at Training and lower. (bounces now first appear at I not P) As a rider who competes at Intermeadiate (as well as training the horse that far) I have to emphasize to you guys that the difference between P, I and A isn't the type/construction or even size of a fence it's the technicallity --or placement in relation to terrain and other fences and how quickly/often these type of questions come up in the course.

Skinnies, corners and combinations with multipe fences with in strides of each other are NOT appropriate for young horses. Personally I don't think that's how you develop confident horses.

Also, I beleive the speed penalty question is about go under some rule changes so that you will have some latitude to practice higher speeds.

As for people being unsafe and "bombing around XC" that is not at all what I see that's going on unsafe at the lower levels. People CAN'T GO FORWARD! I see Novice (and Training and Prelim) horses strangled by the hardware in their mouth with riders acting like they're being run away with while doing not much more canter than what they do in a dressage ring. I see horses rushing because riders have them so backward that if the horse doesn't rush he'll never have enough power to get over the less than 3' fence in his path.

When horses are being ridden backward they have no opportunity to correct the riders mistakes or find "fifth legs." Backward horses get in trouble and riders get hurt. I would be willing to bet that if the statisic exisit that those lower level riders who "bomb around" have significanlty safer experiences than the slow backward ones!

GotSpots
Oct. 21, 2002, 04:18 PM
I have to agree with Subk's second post -- I don't think that green horses and riders need to be trying to handle the technical questions of corners, bounces, or technical combinations. These types of questions only encourage the backwards riding (pick, pick, pick) and inability to make time on a Novice course that are dangerous. The heart of cross-country is going forward -- too many technical questions too early in a horse or rider's education may encourage them to proceed to a fence so slowly and without impulsion that they are unable to jump it safely, because, at this level (as we see in the dressage questions asked as well) the horse does not have the development or strength to hold himself in a balanced, impulsive canter like a Prelim or Intermediate horse does (or ideally should). That's why we ask simpler questions at the lower levels, because we don't expect the horse to have developed the muscles to compact the canter: it's why we don't ask Novice horses to lengthen their stride and why we ask Training horses to start to be able to moderate their longitudinal stride, but don't expect them to have a true collection or extension yet.

A bounce or coffin asks that precise question: the horse needs to compact his stride while maintaining the impulsion to jump cleanly: it's commonly termed a "bouncy" or "coffin" canter. We don't ask the Novice or Training horses to do this because in general, they can't yet, and/or their riders don't have the ability to properly create that canter. (When we do have a bounce on a Training course --I'm thinking of the bounce bank up at Rocking Horse, for example -- we are asking the horse to jump up, but not out of a collected compact coffin canter.)

Should we have a skinnier fence (note, I said skinnier, not skinny) on Novice or Training? Sure. Should we have variation in the questions asked? Absolutely. There are some wonderful questions you can ask at that level, which should be asked at that level (Wayne's Training, for example, has a question where the horse has to jump light to dark and then down a hill to a little post and rail: great quasi-technical fence that asks a fair question). There's also times where course designers build options for the lower levels, which starts training the rider to think on course about how her horse is going and which jump will be the better ride.

But I don't think it's fair to a younger or greener horse or rider to ask that pair to jump a question which asks for strength and/or development that we've not asked them to demonstrate in any other part of the three phases. If you want to learn to jump corners, or coffins, or a bounce, start out by schooling it. I don't want my horse to see his first corner as he gallops at it on course, regardless of the level.

JMHO. I could be wrong. --GotSpots

subk
Oct. 21, 2002, 04:32 PM
GotSpots--You are so much more articulate than me! Thanks.

ksbadger
Oct. 21, 2002, 09:55 PM
One recurring theme is lack of space for an eventing course. The Montreal Hunt has hosted the Canadian Hunt Challenge several times at their kennels near Mirabel. The course they use fits on four acres or less but has proved more than challenging over the years (banks, drops, walls, water etc etc). It may not give the full galloping experience but something like that might be one answer to getting experience other than a full event.

Brock

Brock n. (Anglo-Saxon) badger as in Brockenhurst, Brocklebank etc

Pat Ness
Oct. 22, 2002, 04:20 AM
Some kind of questions on the course, actually help you dictate the speed needed. It could help on both ends on of the spectrum, the speed demons need to slow down and the picky ones need to ride forward. Skinnies do the same thing.

You would not want a log less then 5 strides from a ditch (at Novice or below) in fact, the log should only be placed after the ditch as the coffin canter is not something the green horses and riders need to learn (as mentioned earlier and a point well taken). But, the log after the ditch is more of a help. Instead of just riding for the ditch, it teaches you to kick on after so that your horse can jump out over the log. It actually helps green horses in many cases as they see the next question and take the rider down to it.
Jumps into the water are also too difficult for the greenies, but a jump a stride or two out of the water again helps the green horse and rider focus on what the question is. Single fences are fine, but a clever use of more simple combinations, will actually help people find their engines and allow horses to see the question right in front of them and to show off how smart they are.
My experience anyway and my opinion.

Weatherford, I'm not headed to the convention and I'm just not brave enough to be able to talk intelligently about these changes. Heck, I have a hard enough time writing my opinions on this board! This discussion makes me want to go out and set up some fun twisty rides out in the field.

Pat Ness

tle
Oct. 22, 2002, 07:02 AM
Just chiming in my agreement with subk and GotSpots (who'da thunk it, right? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ). If you ever attend a course design seminar -- and I **HIGHLY** recommend all riders do as it gives you more insight into what the fences are asking and how you need to be prepared to ride them -- you'll see a recurring theme of asking appropriate questions for the level. Now, yes, we all know there is a huge jump from Training to Prelim (made even larger in recent years, but I think that trend may be changing), but still... Remember that eventing, for example, created their own dressage tests so they *could* test precisely what was needed for the level... to flow right into what skills the horse & rider would need on XC. I think there are some creative ways available to make courses interesting. But with any trend, it's going to take some time.

As for bounces, I wouldn't mind seeing them in SJ if everyone is worried about them on XC. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif But subk, where did you see that bounces aren't at Prelim anymore?? I haven't heard this.

Now, when it comes to running a course at a higher speed... well, sorry, but that's up to you... and if you choose to do it, you either need to plan your ride so you can circle in a couple places, or deal with the speed faults. I think the proposed change in XC speeds precisely so someone can "practice" the higher level speed over lower level fences is ludicrious (sp?) and sincerely hope it gets voted DOWN. USEA instituted speed faults to "help" lower level riders whom were scaring the bejeezes out of everyone realize that that wasn't "koshur". Why on earth do we now what to EMPHASIZE that going *really* fast (and 470 over a novice log is REALLY fast!!) is ok?? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

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

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

Heather
Oct. 22, 2002, 11:33 AM
I'm also curious where it says that bounces aren't at prelim anymore?

And i agree that there is a lot more to a question than the jumps, terrain, placement, etc do add to the difficulty. However, I still think we can start to introduce questions at an eaarlier/easier/smaller pahse in competition. I mean, I've been to a few clinics and lessons in the last two years with BNT and they all start showing baby corners to their horses and riders as soon as they can jump and oxer. They start introducing bouonces as soon as they've mastered the one stride. If baby horses and inexperienced riders are schooling it, I don't think it's wholly innapropriate to have it in competiton. They put in skinnies that are a foot high.

BUT, if we really feel like it could be too much for some people/horses, then how about having options, just like at the upper levels. I've seen two courses that offere training level corners, where the option is either a larger oxer, or a one stride. People new at the level or who have no desire to move up take the oxer or the one stride. Those who want to practice for prelim do the corner. (And let me add, by option, I'm not talking about a long vs short way--in these cases the options are all in a directline with each other--no time lost one vs. the other).

I guess I can only speak for myself, but my first time out at prelim on a horse having it's first time out is stressful enough. Wondering if I can ride well enough to not screw up the bounce or wondering if my horse has seen enough corners was absolute torture. I would have prefered to know the answer in a competitive setting before everything got bigger and faster.

That's just me though--I also liked having two halts in the novice test because the halt was my moment to gather my thoughts and let my horse take in the scenery, rather than trying to shove them down and through the center line when they just wanted to know what was going on. I'm wacky like that. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Robby Johnson
Oct. 22, 2002, 11:56 AM
The girl we stayed with in PA for Radnor showed us video of her baby (Training) at Southern Pines this winter/spring. On the course, there was a baby corner, and a baby coffin.

I do disagree with Pat Ness, however, in that the "coffin canter" should be achievable very early on. Because the coffin canter is actually the demonstration that your horse has impulsion and enough contained energy to get over the fence.

If I jumped a log, assuming I'm going somewhat downhill, to a ditch, and had five strides to get organized, I'd think of my approach in (to the log), where a contained and energetic canter would be necessary.

If I jumped a ditch and had five strides out to a log, I'd likely be more prone to ride really strong to the ditch, then have to take back before the log. I don't think this is a good exercise for a young, green horse.

A green rider, too, would probably be better served having a jump in, instead of the bigger question first.

That's just me, though. Others may feel differently.

For some reason I have zero phobias of open ditches. But put a log on top of it and I start getting all clammy!

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

subk
Oct. 22, 2002, 01:41 PM
Perhaps the year I spent at Intermediate (2001) there were changes but the only bounce I ever jumped or saw in 2 years at Prelim in area III and area VIII was going up two banks in a CCI*. River Glen Prelim this fall had a bounce that also involved going up a bank. Bounces in both these situations are excelent intros to bounces but are not nearly as technical as what is seen at Intermediate with two upright fences. Both those questions demanded a very forward ride that didn't involve a great shift in balance or pace. I almost don't catorgorize them in the same group. Riding a technical bounce was definatley one of the major changes between P and I in my expereince.

The name of the game through out eventing and especially on XC is riding forward, yet backward riding seems to be the ride of choice for far too many eventers. If we start putting complexes on lower level courses we're going to exacerbate the problem. If we put single fences of similar design (ie. trakahners and the like) but smaller than the upper level fence design but with out the technicality we might just encourage some riders to move forward.

So a big yes to fence variety at the lower levels and an big No to complexes. If your ready for complexes move up. It sounds strange but the difference between N and I isn't really the hieght of the fences!

Weatherford
Oct. 22, 2002, 01:48 PM
Someone still has to go talk to Denny, Jimmy & Roger... /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I would like to point out that one of the things people say about Irish horses is just what GREAT XC horses they are. My coach thinks it is because they are smart - which is true - but, I really think it is more like they GET MORE EXPERIENCE over relatively small fences (OK, NOT as small as in the States! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) with some very difficult questions.

And not all of them foxhunt (mine don't and probably won't - too much wire!)

So, my horse, in his first "real" outing (outside of a couple XC days schooling) with ME (the ultimate chicken - who hasn't really evented since PC days) jumped around a Novice/Training level course (not at speed, however) with LOTS of what you would consider "illegal" questions - from all those Trakheners (I can't spell that!) to a real coffin (3 strides to the ditch& rails at the bottom, then 2 strides out - which I did in 3 /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif) a combination that included a ditch to an Irish Bank (we didn't do that because we'd never done a bank that big before - we will when we go back there), an airy log fence in the woods to an open ditch (2 or 3 strides), and a pair of stones walls in a one stride...among other things. The course FLOWED - and once you saw the little kids on the little ponies jumping it, you knew your horse could!

Yes, I think options for the more technical questions is a great idea - (on that course, you could do the log to the big ditch in 2 or swing wide and do a smaller one in 3 or 4.)

I think that the riders who are NOT going to ever move up would especially appreciate having more questions to answer - more difficulty, more challenge - WITHOUT the speeds and the heights.

Perhaps, given the VAST numbers of riders at the lower levels, these levels need some kind of subdivision by experience. Could we award "grading points" at those lower levels so people could earn the right to do the tougher courses & options in a different "class"?

Just more thoughts.

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

Pat Ness
Oct. 22, 2002, 02:05 PM
we have Robby. I found this from the rides I've had on green horses cross country. They all showed me slower was better when it came to the natural obstacles (ditch, water, banks). One of them insisted on trotting over the X in front of the water. I would ask for the canter and he honestly could not process it, but at the trot no problem. If I were to canter this green horse to the first log in front of the coffin, he most certainly would have been confused, but once they've jumped the ditch, the log out is a relief and usually something they are so happy to show and tell us that they can do.

I don't want to promote trotting cross country fences (height) so that is why it seems the height jumps should go after the ditch, bank, water.

What are others experience with green horses and combinations.

Pat

subk
Oct. 22, 2002, 02:13 PM
Weatherford--a couple of questions. Do you think that riders "over there" in general spend more time riding in the open. Not necessarily hunting, just hacking around, down roads or any place less secure than the boundries of what ever farm their on? My asumption has always been yes, but I just realized I have no knowledge to back it up. If the answer is yes do you think that changes the mentality of the riders? (Personally, I think the whole question in this post is not about better prepared horses but better prepared riders.)

Also I had a discussion with Roger this spring not exatly on these lines but I think it applies here a bit. We were talking about the lack a quality in a surprising amount of Int. riders we had watched that weekend. He was wondering if perhaps in the sports effort to make more horse friendly jumps we had allowed riders and horses to continue to move up when they really hadn't learned all their lessons. Riders tend not to give enough significance to having a bad few seconds never connecting that a few years ago that bad few seconds would have been a very bad day. The difference being advances in course design.

The relation between that discussion and the one here would be does opening the options for the course designers to ask more difficult questions at lower levels help some of the issues seen when the questions start getting serious at the upper levels?

JER
Oct. 22, 2002, 03:02 PM
subk, I completely agree about the riding backwards stuff. I see far too many riders with big spurs and strong bits who don't have a clue about letting the horse go forward and do his job. This is the only way to be safe on XC.

With a green horse, I like to have a small fence/log after a ditch or a drop. This gives the horse something else to think about. The ditch/drop becomes part of the process.

I used to foxhunt regularly and this informs my perspective on XC. I believe there are certain basic skills all horses should have. This would include ditches, banks, drops and water. Even if your horse is never going to jump an obstacle with height, he should do all of these things with very little fuss. I've taken a 14 hh Sherman tank cow horse up a bank that was at least 3'9" because it was the only way to go where we needed to go. All four ranch horses in our group did it with ease, and this was not a revetted bank on groomed footing. I've jumped scary, deep natural ditches and negotiated some very uninviting water crossings out hunting, none of which would ever make it past a TD at any level. A good XC horse needs to learn where to put his feet, but this is not something he's going to learn doing single logs spaced far apart on a tilled track.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy to give your horse these basic skills. We don't often have access to good riding land (much less so than in UK/Ireland) and water is just not a naturally-occuring obstacle in Southern California. While I'd love to see tougher small fences on courses, I just don't think that the average amateur would have the opportunity to prepare at home for these sorts of things.

As for speed, I think the 'speeding ticket' penalties at the lower levels are a bit harsh. I think most people aren't learning how to ride forward and at speed, but this is probably not due to a fear of time faults. What does bother me is that 350mpm is just too slow for some horses. My kid's quality young TB goes around a N course very nicely but consistently finishes over a minute under optimum time. He is not in any way out of control -- he's in a rhythm moving forward to the fences, like he should be at this very early stage of his eventing life. My kid COULD trot in a few places (she trots when she feels she needs to for his sake) to waste time, but we put an emphasis on maintaining rhythm over the course, so we take the time faults. But this weekend, her time faults dropped her from 2nd or 3rd to 6th, which I know disappoints her, even though her goal is to move up the levels, not to win at Novice.

GotSpots
Oct. 22, 2002, 03:06 PM
Subk -- just to add to your thought on bounces at Prelim:

I've only seen one bounce that did not involve a bank on a regular Prelim course: on the old Big Bear Prelim course there were two coops (I think, but they could have been solid walls -- they were definitely fences and not banks though) at bounce distance. Pine Top has a bank up-bounce-log and drop, then three strides to a coop on its Prelim course. Rocking Horse has a pair of bounce banks that they use both up and down on their Prelim courses (and up on their Training course). I can't remember if the courses I've seen out west had them -- Jess, do you have any experience with this? I don't recall riding one at Ram Tap or CTETA way back when, but it was quite awhile ago.

Pat Ness
Oct. 22, 2002, 06:12 PM
They are here in Minnesota and have been for years and not just bank bounces. I have seen them at Training as an option at Longview and again not banks, but two verticals.

subk--concerning the lack of actual riders at prelim and above verses passengers. This is a real problem brought about (IMO) by all the sloping faces we now see all over cross country. I can still hear some really great coaches, encouraging me to just ride at it, the face is so sloping it's not a problem. There seems to be no where on course at Training and below, where you need to balance anymore. This is a big mistake (IMO) and by the grace of many a brave, trusting horse, a lot of riders are getting around.

Pat

Miriam
Oct. 22, 2002, 09:02 PM
The Prelim at Paradise (it's first is scheduled to run this november) has a log bounce on it.

PS- I'm with you Robby, I'll jump open ditches that you could bury my truck in, but don't even think about putting a log over it. Sigh.

*Sometimes I think the so-called expets actually ARE experts.*

Weatherford
Oct. 23, 2002, 12:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Weatherford--a couple of questions. Do you think that riders "over there" in general spend more time riding in the open. Not necessarily hunting, just hacking around, down roads or any place less secure than the boundries of what ever farm their on? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Absolutely! EVEN the ones who do NOT ride out in the way we think of it, at least ride OUT of the ring. Most of the SJ events are held on the grass, so you have to know how to do that!

And I agree fully with your discussion with Roger!

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

Robby Johnson
Oct. 23, 2002, 03:38 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pat on the back:
we have Robby. I found this from the rides I've had on green horses cross country. They all showed me slower was better when it came to the natural obstacles (ditch, water, banks). One of them insisted on trotting over the X in front of the water. I would ask for the canter and he honestly could not process it, but at the trot no problem. If I were to canter this green horse to the first log in front of the coffin, he most certainly would have been confused, but once they've jumped the ditch, the log out is a relief and usually something they are so happy to show and tell us that they can do.

I don't want to promote trotting cross country fences (height) so that is why it seems the height jumps should go after the ditch, bank, water.

What are others experience with green horses and combinations.

Pat<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wherein schooling new things, it's best to take a slow, conservative approach.

But the question you define - which is a related distance - didn't sound quite right to me. An open ditch must be ridden over. You can't crawl up to one, but you shouldn't get flat to it either.

I must say that I do, in fact, have a fantastic video from Kentucky (Champagne Run) from 2000. In the ON, they had an open ditch which apparently was 8 strides from the sod bank (a table). With Willow, it's neat to watch because a.) we'd never jumped an open ditch in competition and had only schooled one once, at least a year before and b.) she was galloping with her nose on her knees until about 4 strides out.

She saw it, bubbled up, jumped it beautifully, and was set up perfectly to the sod bank and got 8 even strides from ditch to table. (I know, I counted! Though I never walked them when I did my course walks.)

Point is, she wasn't green at that point, at least to the level, and she was actually a much more forward type of mare. The ditch to table exercise, on flat ground, was good for her, but it also caused problems for the more conservative green horse/riders that day.

I appreciate your scenario because, having another really green horse coming along it makes me think, "what would I rather do with Rhodey?" I have to say the log to the ditch would be more fair, at least for him.

When I moved up to Training - coincidentally the event after the one I mentioned earlier - we had a 1/2 coffin. For those of you who have ridden at Middle Tennessee, you'll know what I'm talking about. The first element was a wide-ish chevron, and down a pretty steep hill to the ditch.

I mean, in all fairness, all you had to do was jump the chevron and the force of gravity would get you through the rest.

Of course, Willow locked onto the skinny/pimple that was the prelim C part of the coffin, so much that I thought we were going to have to lark it!

Blyth doesn't take his horses to a novice competition until they can add strides significantly between two poles on the ground. At the clinic I organized, we set the poles at, I think, six strides. He was really surprised that only one Intermediate rider (out of five groups; 2 OI, 2 OP, 1 OT) could get more than 10 strides between the poles.

Teaching the horse to adjust - lengthen and shorten - at the canter is what I now consider the core of cross-country riding. So Rhodey will not be going out until he can adjust between poles on the ground. (Of course, he could probably do 10 in six, but that's because he can canter in place when not encouraged by my leg!)

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

tle
Oct. 23, 2002, 06:09 AM
Bounces at Prelim: In Area VIII, I've seen regular bounces everywhere... Encore has 2 coops, Gemwood/Greater Dayton has 2 (very lovely IMHO /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) rolltops, Hearthstone/Stillwater has 2 logs, Paxton has 2 triplebars, Winona has 2 triplebars IIRC, Indiana has... well, I can't remember but there is a bounce there. That's why I wasn't sure about your statement. But I get it now. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Ditch/Log or Log/Ditch... the former is actually more friendly. The horse will not be surprised by the log after the ditch as much as the ditch after the log (more to "see"). And the rider probably won't be as off kilter as much coming into a log after a ditch as they could be with the ditch after a log when the horse props a bit.

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

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

Robby Johnson
Oct. 23, 2002, 06:24 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tle:

Ditch/Log or Log/Ditch... the former is actually more friendly. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think it's probably safe to say, at this point, that this is entirely contingent on the rider and the horse.

What's comfortable for you may not be comfortable for me. And in the world of cross-country, it's all about the rider!

Maybe the crux of this is that a horse should be adjustable enough to do any combination of related distance questions.

I can't stop thinking that it would be kinder to the horse - even if he lands and props - to use the prop as a "free half-halt" and keep coming softly to the ditch.

In my mind, I would ride forward to a ditch, and on a green horse I think that type of question would still have them thinking and not 100% focused on the next task at hand. As we all know, five strides can come up fast!

In education and training it's a standard that you start small and build up. So it's understandable that you ask the easy question first, then the hard one.

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Heather
Oct. 23, 2002, 06:40 AM
I'm struck, as I often am, by how different things seem to be around the country. We have many folks on this thread saying that they see all this backwards riding. I can tell you, around here, Area II, what I see is a lot of kamikaze riding. I see people tremendously overmounted, tearing down to fences like fire-breathing monsters, and then jumping up the neck causing the horse to swim in to the air. I see that far more frequently than I see people who are riding backwards or coming too slowly.

I see riders who have apparently never heard of the half halt, or even sitting up in front of the fence, and I see riders who see the need to circle before the second to last fence because they are so fast as some sort of badge of honor. Typically, I see someone on a horse that is too big, too hot, too high powered, or too green for their level of skill, being ridden in an enourmous bit that does not make up for the deifciencies of the rider (who typically has bad hands so in fact the harsh bit only serves to make the horse more agitated and frantic), who gets chased to every fence by a rider who is hanging on for dear life.

So I would in no way be in favor of speeding things up--'round here things are fast enough, thank you very much.

tle
Oct. 23, 2002, 07:03 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I think it's probably safe to say, at this point, that this is entirely contingent on the rider and the horse.

What's comfortable for you may not be comfortable for me. And in the world of cross-country, it's all about the rider!
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Robby, while I luv ya and completely agree that question difficulty can vary from competitor to competitor, the statement I made was from a course design POV, not a rider POV. Course design instruction does state that ditch/log is an "easier" question than log/ditch.

sorry for the confusion.

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

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

Robby Johnson
Oct. 23, 2002, 07:30 AM
Where'd you find that, in print? Do you have a book or something?

I still think it's subjective but, clearly, I'm an exception to the thought process behind it.

Maybe I should go out and jump a ditch/log and a log/ditch and then report back! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

ThirdCharm
Oct. 23, 2002, 07:46 AM
Jumping Branch in the spring had a big log bounce at Prelim, as did Tryon. Tryon had a very long option involving 2 180 degree turns and a two stride log combination.

JenniferS

tle
Oct. 23, 2002, 08:27 AM
Robby, I'll check my reference material from one of the design seminars I atteneded and let you know if it's actually printed somewhere... or if it's just one of those things that I "picked up" on.

I guess the whole thought process is that if the horse can see the WHOLE question from the get-go, it makes it easier for them. I know my mare is still sometimes like this... have to see the question and process it (which, btw, is one thing I remember Jimmy Wofford saying is the biggest difference between a horse that's ready for Novice and a horse that's ready for Intermediate... how quickly they can process information).

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

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

sarapony
Oct. 23, 2002, 08:58 AM
For those of you who didn't catch it, Denny Emerson registered on the boards last week.

He also donated a Loyal Pal breeding to the Baby Aiden Fund.

So Denny, what do you think?

"No time to marry, no time to settle down. I'm a young woman and I ain't done runnin' around." - Bessie Smith

JER
Oct. 23, 2002, 11:36 AM
(taking time out from my exotic, exciting life to respond to Robby...)

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Blyth doesn't take his horses to a novice competition until they can add strides significantly between two poles on the ground. At the clinic I organized, we set the poles at, I think, six strides. He was really surprised that only one Intermediate rider (out of five groups; 2 OI, 2 OP, 1 OT) could get more than 10 strides between the poles.

Teaching the horse to adjust - lengthen and shorten - at the canter is what I now consider the core of cross-country riding. So Rhodey will not be going out until he can adjust between poles on the ground. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But Robby, when Blyth says 'Novice' he's talking about UK Novice, which is 3'6" and allowed to be quite technical (bounces, corners et al.).

I'm not sure a horse needs the same degree of lengthening/compressing skill to jump around a US Novice course, but I do agree adjustment needs to be there by Prelim, which is more or less the equivalent to UK Novice. I can think of exactly one N course out here that has a combination that requires some forethought -- a long gallop to a short two stride with a rollback turn after -- other than that, you find nothing but single fences spread out over the track.

Also, adjustment at US Novice can be a simple transition from canter to trot -- this can allow a better set up for the fence. Getting the 6-10 stride adjustment in canter can take a while in a young or green horse because it does require strength and balance, and you have to develop a steady, rhythmic, forward canter first. Asking a horse to compress his stride when he's not ready for it can be a very frustrating thing for the horse.

Robby Johnson
Oct. 23, 2002, 12:28 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JER:
(taking time out from my exotic, exciting life to respond to Robby...)

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Blyth doesn't take his horses to a novice competition until they can add strides significantly between two poles on the ground. At the clinic I organized, we set the poles at, I think, six strides. He was really surprised that only one Intermediate rider (out of five groups; 2 OI, 2 OP, 1 OT) could get more than 10 strides between the poles.

Teaching the horse to adjust - lengthen and shorten - at the canter is what I now consider the core of cross-country riding. So Rhodey will not be going out until he can adjust between poles on the ground. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But Robby, when Blyth says 'Novice' he's talking about UK Novice, which is 3'6" and allowed to be quite technical (bounces, corners et al.).

I'm not sure a horse needs the same degree of lengthening/compressing skill to jump around a US Novice course, but I do agree adjustment needs to be there by Prelim, which is more or less the equivalent to UK Novice. I can think of exactly one N course out here that has a combination that requires some forethought -- a long gallop to a short two stride with a rollback turn after -- other than that, you find nothing but single fences spread out over the track.

Also, adjustment at US Novice can be a simple transition from canter to trot -- this can allow a better set up for the fence. Getting the 6-10 stride adjustment in canter can take a while in a young or green horse because it does require strength and balance, and you have to develop a steady, rhythmic, forward canter first. Asking a horse to compress his stride when he's not ready for it can be a very frustrating thing for the horse.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I almost put my disclaimer in when I posted that originally - that I know UK Novice is basically US Prelim equivalent and that was brought up when he came to Dallas. It doesn't matter, he said. He said wouldn't take a horse to anything if it couldn't compress and lengthen it's stride. It's essentially the foundation of his method.

After watching him teach for two days, the value in this training is apparent. BTW, Kim is also a real stickler for impulsion and being able to ride forward to the fence on a controllable stride, as is Jim (Graham). These are the three trainers I've been exposed to mostly the past two years, and I really think their methods make sense.

I don't think asking a horse to compress his stride, at amoeba level, is asking too much at all. It's something you have to do as a fundamental step in flatwork, regardless. You say you must develop a steady, rhythmic, forward canter first. I ask you this, does a steady, rhythmic, forward canter not, by definition, carry an intrinsic degree of impulsion along with it?

If it's frustrating to the horse, then you probably shouldn't be schooling the question. To me that demonstrates a hole in his training. Because if I'm having to leave long and/or rush over solid obstacles, in a combination, I'm a danger to myself and my horse anyway.

The point of this thread was to introduce "types" of fences at earlier stages in the game. I'm all for that, and think it's great for the horse and (probably even more so) the rider. But to address the question you must have resources and education which allows you to answer it. If you're asked a question that requires compression - regardless of how big or how small it is - you need to be able to compress. Bottom line.

There are so many safety concerns about eventing, and really with just cause. Telling a green rider on a green horse to "just stay out of his way and let him figure it out" is toxic, the more I think about it. If the rider is talented, with natural balance, and the horse is correspondingly brave, they can fake it really well. (Ask me how I know this.)

And I think it's a real duplication of mental and physical effort - especially in this country - when, once a comfortable level of skill is assessed, the pair must go back and begin to "finesse" and "pick apart" the current ride. I want my horse to be well-schooled enough on the flat that if I give him the aid for a 9-foot canter stride, he gives me a 9-foot canter stride, whether we're jumping or in the dressage ring.

Incidentally, I cannot think of hardly any Novice courses in Area V that have related distance combinations. (Can you Dezi?) Oh, wait. While they're numbered seperately, there is somewhat of a combination at an event called Greenwood in Weatherford, Texas. You jump out of the woodline over a coop, go maybe 6-8 strides, then have a rockwall between two trees that walks 4 strides to some log/brush fence.

I know this combination too well. Because I was riding a horse that couldn't compress, we jumped out over the coop, barrelled "forward" to the rockwall and, because we couldn't compress (and because her attention was on something other than the fence - namely the active warmup area closeby) I took a nosedive into a tree at about 400 mpm. She locked-on too late, realized she couldn't do it, and tried to glance off to the left. Unfortunately, the standard was a sizeable oak tree. Fortunately she had enough self-preservation to stop herself. I, of course, took the secondary impact!

Now, do I wish I'd done a little more flatwork/compression preparation before that event? Absolutely!

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Weatherford
Oct. 23, 2002, 01:49 PM
Sent this to Denny a few days ago.

Just sent it to Roger...

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

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

Pat Ness
Oct. 23, 2002, 02:00 PM
For finding a way to get the information to the powers that be.
Pat

wanderlust
Oct. 23, 2002, 02:16 PM
I board/ride at CTETA, so I get to see all sorts of interesting things.

First, in regards to the prelim bounce issue... CTETA has at least one (if not two, can't really remember) bounce. The first is two enormous hanging logs. I also think there may be a bounce out of the new road crossing (jump down, one stride, jump up, jump log) but don't remember if that was for prelim or intermediate.

As far as kamikaze vs. backwards riding, I see waaaayyyy more backwards riding. Case in point... while hacking out through the x-c course this past Saturday, there were two riders schooling over some of the baby novice and novice fences. The riders looked to be novices themselves by the way they caught the horses in the mouth and were left behind repeatedly. I meandered by, watching the horses do a strung-out "hunter lope" up to a small (2'9") ramp, then just stall out and stop repeatedly. One horse, bless his soul, decides to attempt to jump, but the rider hangs on his face, and he doesn't have enough motor to even get all the way over. He puts his feet down on the ramp, one slid off forwards, the other stayed on the ramp. Rider was hanging precariously to his neck. Horse manages to get the front foot back up and over the jump, and extracts himself from the straddled position. They were both very lucky, because I thought he was going to do a slow-motion flip. Rider re-approaches with the same lack of impulsion, horse leaps into the air and jumps her clean out of the tack. At this point, because I had seen enough, and because I knew if I watched any longer I would have a difficult time keeping my mouth shut, I trotted off into the trees.

IMO, backwards riding is a far greater sin than going like a kamikaze (not that *either* is a good thing)... it is easier to turn horizontal momentum (i.e.speed) into vertical lift, than it is to get vertical lift without any momentum. Also, crashes at speed will hopefully throw you out of the path of the animal should you flip; in this case, had she flipped, she would have had 1100lbs of horse land direction on top of her.

[This message was edited by master_tally on Oct. 23, 2002 at 05:36 PM.]

JER
Oct. 23, 2002, 03:08 PM
Robby, I think we're talking more along the same lines than you seem to think.

My initial point was that I don't think it's necessary for a US Novice horse to be able to put 10 strides into a 6 stride line. I'd be comfortable if I could ride the poles (set at normal 6) in 5-8 strides on a green horse, provided there was no loss of rhythm/impulsion while making those adjustments. And I put the 5 in there because lengthening is very important too.

But before I did any adjusting work, I'd make sure the horse could work in a comfortable rhythm at the canter. This can take a while for some horses.

As I've said before, I've done a fair amount of foxhunting, some of it on inexperienced horses. It's a good way to get the horse going forward in a rhythm. The horse learns to think about what he's doing, how to keep himself safe, and how to take care of his legs and feet. Most horses, after a spell of hunting, would be very safe to take around a Novice course, not because they have a totally adjustable stride, but because they know how to take care of themselves.

And while you're jumping around some N courses, you can be working at home on adjusting the canter stride. The pole exercise is a good one, same with gymnastic jumping exercises.

This is what we're doing with our young TB right now. He did 6 months of trail riding, started jumping in May/June, did 1 jumper show, some hound exercise with the local hunt and 2 N HTs. Maintaining a rhythm is still the most important lesson he's learning; we work on that first, then add a few adjusting exercises. He'll do his first T HT next week, then spend the winter doing some proper foxhunting.

Longitudinal adjustments need to be taught by someone who knows how to do it properly. It is not simply pulling the horse back in front. I've seen groups of H/Jers do this and it's just all wrong. It takes a fair amount of riding skill to put 10 good canter strides in a 6 stride line without losing rhythm or impulsion and I think N-level riders can be on their way to learning this (I hope they are) without having to be all the way there yet. A Novice rider needs to learn how to go forward and in a rhythm and stay WITH the horse; until they can do this, they shouldn't be trying to micromanage.

We haven't talking about straightness, but I think this is very important for this discussion. We teach horses to hold a line to a pole/fence right from the beginning and do tiny corners, buckets, single hay bales, small bounces, etc. The horse needs to know they have to stay straight and on their line, and the horse has to know that the rider is not going to ask him to deviate from this line -- a rider who lets the horse get crooked or gets the horse wiggly is NOT safe even at the lowest levels.

subk
Oct. 23, 2002, 04:18 PM
Robby I have to say I think your compression/expansion requirements to start at US Novice are pretty tough. Keep in mind that when Blyth starts a horse that same horse may very well be doing its first 3-day in 12 to 18 months--or even less--even if that starting point would be the equivilant to US Novice.

You (I assume) and I are going to stick around at the lower levels and smell the flowers a bit longer! You know, a year or so at Novice, another year at Training then maybe if things have been going really well a 3-day 3-4 years after our first event.

eal
Oct. 23, 2002, 04:26 PM
I just started reading this thread today, and wanted to comment.

Poombadesign said:
Some events have the same kind of jump, just different sizes, but these are usually only single jumps and not combinations. But there was one event I heard of (maybe Southern Pines??
Don't hold me to it) that was P/I/A and had a lot of the same just different sizes.

I competed at Five Points HT at the Novice Level in September. I was able to do my first sunken road. The novice horses went down a slope into the sunken road (we trotted), go a stride,and jump up a bank. Then it was 2 or 3 strides on a bending line to a log. That log wasn't too high, and it was a great introduction to the sunken road with another element afterwards (numbered separately.)
Each level had a more difficult version of the sunken road.

The bank complex was huge, but the novice horses jumped up, went across, went down a little slope, and a few strides later, another jump. 5 Points does a great job of having the same type of stuff for the Novice level as the upper levels, but at an appropriate height and combination.

I really enjoyed the course! I wish other course designers would introduce similar fences.

bigdreamer
Oct. 23, 2002, 06:19 PM
hi all

I was tempted to post a subject like this the other day after attending an event where LOTS of people got eliminated.

I was riding novice, and we had a ditch on our course. AT LEAST 20% of the riders had a refusal (out of 120 entries!) if not elimination there! Then at prelim, there was a weldons wall/brush (brush w/ ditch in front) that was NO BIGGER (including brush) then training size- and i watched more people get eliminated there then anywhere else that weekend. By the end of XC only 9 people were left in each prelim division.

Now we dont want to "dumb down" the courses- because that makes move ups sooo much more difficult... but I am almost tempted to think there should be a rating system for each event. like, a N1, N2, N3. N being novice, N1- an EASY good move up type course. N2 being moderate difficulty and N3 being championship calibur.

I think this would help riders gauge what events they should enter. I just find it sad when you see a ton of novice people get eliminated. as much as they need to learn, i feel it would SUCK to get eliminated every time! (i've been there...) Then they get discouraged and dont want to compete. Perhaps it is their own riding issues, but still... (does that make sense?)

The rank of the course could be decided by the TD when they come visit earlier in the year- which wouldn't cost any extra. Just when TD's do their clinics to become TD's they learn the rating system. Only cost would be the extra ink it takes to write the numbers in the omnibus.

As much as this seems like an inconveniance(spl) i think it would help a LOT.

~Since some riders need nice move up courses and some riders need courses to challenge them as pre-move up courses, this would be a great way to solve the problem.
~A person moving up to training and a person planning on moving up to prelim at the next show dont really belong in the same group- does that make sense? Perhaps you could get away with it- but that would be for the rider to decide when entering- since they would then know what to expect on their course and they (hopefully) know what they are ready for on course.

any thoughts?
~laura~

Robby Johnson
Oct. 23, 2002, 06:35 PM
Blyth Tait I ain't, and never will be! And don't liken myself too. I just think it's good to aspire to be better, and I think making excuses relative to the level is missing the boat entirely. Precision is achievable, even at the lower levels. With that in mind, yes, a US Novice horse would likely be really prepared if he could put 8 strides into a six stride line, and possibly lengthen for five on it (just as important, as JER notes). I hope you didn't think I was making Rhodey put 14 strides into a four stride line. (Though it likely would appeal to him as that is his nature.)

I guess my point is that you cannot just sit up and be a passenger: just because you're at a lower level doesn't mean you don't have to make riding decisions.

And, again, I brought the whole point of compression up because if you're attempting to simulate higher level questions, with accompanying degrees of related distance, you must be able to address the impulsion/compression issue successfully.

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

bigdreamer
Oct. 23, 2002, 07:14 PM
i agree that "psychological" fences and small technical stuff is AWESOME to ahve at lower levels. I just wonder- as in my previous post about 2 up from this one- why are people having issues with the little jumps on their courses that should be a snap? IMHO a lot of peopel are moving up WAAAAAAAAY too soon. i honestly think there should be standards you have to meet before moving up... but tha'ts just me. I find it ironic that people move up to prelim from training after a few good shows... and then my trainer and her daughter who have been winning consistently at training all year long, schooling some advanced level questions in a clinic with an Olympian, but yet they don't feel prepared for prelim yet...

i guess i think the whole "level" thing should be changed (as stated in previous post) and standards should be met before moving up... but that is my opinion. anyone else with me? or an i loner on this....?

~laura~

DizzyMagic
Oct. 23, 2002, 07:26 PM
MHO is that novice courses should be straightforward and encourage the rider to ride forward. Although I've seen the kamikaze rides Heather mentioned (and I hope I've never been one of them /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ) I'm not sure that anything a designer can do with a course will slow them down. Can you imagine a kamikaze ride through a sunken road...even a baby one?! Yikes!

My best rides as a green rider on my green horse were on courses with straightforward log, coop and brushy fences, without combinations or baby questions. She got the forward idea, I got the forward idea and it was a lot of fun.

Emily

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

Pat Ness
Oct. 23, 2002, 07:41 PM
I have ridden cross country (only about 7, which is so few, but enough to get a pretty good idea) will compress on their own when they see the question as they usually begin to back off. That is when you add leg and you receive a wonderful compressed horse that is going forward. That is how I like the green horses I ride to go as you then ride between your leg and the fence. That is something I have been taught in numerous clinics.

Robby, you also mentioned earlier about if its frustrating to the horse, you probably shouldn't be schooling it. I disagree. If it's frustrating to the horse, you are doing it the wrong way and need to break down the question either by slowing down the pace, making the question lower or spreading the combination out further. I would say slowing down the pace will help the situation over 90% of the time.
Also, this quote from one of your posts has me curious: Telling a green rider on a green horse to "just stay out of his way and let him figure it out" is toxic

Are you thinking your last clinic was not very helpful? The problem I see here is the green rider part and if clinicians had their choice, they would not be putting green riders on green horses. I have to agree with your clinician and the theory to let the horse figure out the questions especially when the fences are stadium jumps. The horses know when they are the ones that made the decision for the ride and they also know when it was the rider interfering. Maybe you were not referring to your previous post about that clinic though so I'm sorry if I misunderstood.

Also, the coop to rockwall where you had a fall, could have worked with a good half halt in between the obstacles. Compressing each stride all the way down to the next cross country obstacle, just does not sound like a good plan. It sounds like a great plan for stadium though. Just had to point out a few things I found way different then anything I heard of before for cross county riding.

As far as too speedy verses backwards riding on cross country. It is definitely the speed demons that are what I see. Both are equally as terrifying.
Pat

[This message was edited by pat on the back on Oct. 23, 2002 at 10:59 PM.]

[This message was edited by pat on the back on Oct. 23, 2002 at 11:02 PM.]

Robby Johnson
Oct. 24, 2002, 03:41 AM
But I'll try to answer you as best as I can!

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pat on the back:
I have ridden cross country (only about 7, which is so few, but enough to get a pretty good idea) will compress on their own when they see the question as they usually begin to back off. That is when you add leg and you receive a wonderful compressed horse that is going forward. That is how I like the green horses I ride to go as you then ride between your leg and the fence. That is something I have been taught in numerous clinics.

Yes, so you see that it is possible to have a compressed horse, even at a lower/green level. You use the fence/question as a way to help balance the horse. But it's also really assumptive to think that all will back off. Some will grab the bit and go, others will stall and fall behind the leg. So you must make some sort of riding decision to help, wouldn't you agree?

Robby, you also mentioned earlier about if its frustrating to the horse, you probably shouldn't be schooling it. I disagree. If it's frustrating to the horse, you are doing it the wrong way and need to break down the question either by slowing down the pace, making the question lower or spreading the combination out further. I would say slowing down the pace will help the situation over 90% of the time.

I think I pretty much said this exact thing in another post, when I responded to JER's comment about frustrating the horse, but it's always worth restating. OOPS! I'm editing because I went back and reread and didn't see anything more descriptive; I guess I posted that on a different thread. I'm on my K.I.S.S. kick lately. That's very much a Ralph-inspired thing. He always says, "go back to something they understand, then ask again." My personal feeling is that when a horse exhibits an outward sign of confusion/discomfort, that the only thing we can do is go back to a simpler exercise until he is confident and understands. Sometimes this can take 1 minute, sometimes it can take a week!

Also, this quote from one of your posts has me curious: Telling a green rider on a green horse to "just stay out of his way and let him figure it out" is toxic

Are you thinking your last clinic was not very helpful? The problem I see here is the green rider part and if clinicians had their choice, they would not be putting green riders on green horses. I have to agree with your clinician and the theory to let the horse figure out the questions especially when the fences are stadium jumps. The horses know when they are the ones that made the decision for the ride and they also know when it was the rider interfering. Maybe you were not referring to your previous post about that clinic though so I'm sorry if I misunderstood.

Nope, I wasn't referring to that at all. That clinic was incredibly helpful, as I posted originally. I think most would agree that green/green isn't a great combination. But it happens, and you must be prepared to teach it. Horses that can figure out the job, by themselves, and that forgive many rider mistakes (which we all make, I'm sure you'll agree with that) are worth their weight in gold. But I think it's really only fair to the horse - who we ask to do so much - that the rider be equally versed and capable. That's what I'm saying about the teaching style in which the rider's abilities aren't addressed.

Also, the coop to rockwall where you had a fall, could have worked with a good half halt in between the obstacles. Compressing each stride all the way down to the next cross country obstacle, just does not sound like a good plan. It sounds like a great plan for stadium though. Just had to point out a few things I found way different then anything I heard of before for cross county riding.

Trust me, sister, your armchair quarterbacking can join my 3000 theories on what could've been done differently! I wore the bruises for a month and I regretted the ride immediately. But a good half-halt tends to result in compression, essentially, so I think we're saying the same thing. In my situation, you must know that I was riding a mare who was having a pretty heavy heat cycle, who'd already been set on her butt (the day before in the show-jumping, when she exhibited the most beautiful charge-of-the-light-brigade to canter-in-a-teacup before a 4-stride line ... basically the same question she was asked the next day) and again on course, and things were unraveling as the course progressed; for a horse who never had an XC penalty, in 3 years of competing, it was surprising me as the course progressed and I kept thinking, "WTF is happening here?! Who are you down there?!"

As far as too speedy verses backwards riding on cross country. It is definitely the speed demons that are what I see. Both are equally as terrifying.
Pat

[This message was edited by pat on the back on Oct. 23, 2002 at 10:59 PM.]

[This message was edited by pat on the back on Oct. 23, 2002 at 11:02 PM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

[This message was edited by Robby Johnson on Oct. 24, 2002 at 06:59 AM.]

arnika
Oct. 24, 2002, 06:29 AM
Hi to all this morning.
After seeing and riding on several Fl courses and watching the differences in the flow of the rides depending on the courses, I guess I would definitely vote for the baby versions of upper level questions on Novice and above. I would disagree on having closely (ie: less than 4-5 strides) related fences on Novice.

I would rather have a lower level rider schooling related fences on their own time and not have to worry about it on course. The majority of riders I see on Novice are kids, adult ammies out for a good time and occasionally pros on very green horses.

I'd like the kids to have fun and be safe, same for the ammies, and the movin'-on-up crew/pros pretty much know how to train for 1-2 strides and bounces. However I think it would be fun to encourage them all to see and jump small, fun , individual fences. I loved the post above about the sunken road, that's exactly the type of question I think should be started at the beginning.

Terry

tle
Oct. 24, 2002, 07:10 AM
Novice courses are currently allows to have fences no closer than 33', although they must be numbered separately.

Rating system: while great in theory, you're talking about having the TD rate the course. TD's do their pre-course check at only 6 weeks out. Omnibus listings must be written and submitted approximately 6 MONTHS out. So if the TD is to rate the course, we're talking an extra trip ($). AND, for many courses that are on public or semi-public land, they may not have the fences available/in-position for that kind of check. There are 6 events not counting Rolex that run at the KY horse park. That place is phenominal in it's use of portable fences. I know for my local course, we finished *2* brand new prelim fences the weekend prior to the event! I agree that rating courses could be a helluva lot better than the current "Average" that everyone seems to use, but it also has to be feasible.

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

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

KatieRiley
Oct. 24, 2002, 07:24 AM
I really think Pat and Robby are saying essentially the same things... each just have a little different approach.

Back to the original idea---I really like the idea of having a "mini-rolex." I would like to experience some of the various "upper level" fences at a lower height. My first response was "But, but, it would take ME twice as long to get ready to go show at novice!" I admit, I've ridden for years but this is the first year I've gotten to show and getting out to do a novice horse trial is just burning me up. My trainer wouldn't let me go out and do a novice horse trial first thing--I've had to do combined tests, dressage shows or beginner novice this year. Then I started to wonder if that wasn't the problem--people just like me, dying to get out and do it, but don't have someone at home to kick them in the butt when they try to rush the level. I've never realized until this year what a valuable asset a trainer is--especially when it comes to needing a good kick in the butt. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif From my experience this year, she has given feedback about dressage test and what level is appropriate for me to compete at. We've even discussed next season, what I'd like to do, and what it takes to do it correctly and safely.

Master Tally mentioned watching a couple beginner types school cross country. My question is: where in the world is thier trainer? Maybe this is the real problem with lower levels--it's the lack of good consistent help that is causing people to ride too fast or to slow? I hate to think if it weren't for my instructor, I might have been one of those riders. Scary thought, but it's true. When you are ignorant, it's awfully easy to make mistakes. And when you don't know what is causing the problems, it's twice as hard to correct it.

Just a thought.

tle
Oct. 24, 2002, 07:34 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Master Tally mentioned watching a couple beginner types school cross country. My question is: where in the world is thier trainer? Maybe this is the real problem with lower levels--it's the lack of good consistent help that is causing people to ride too fast or to slow? I hate to think if it weren't for my instructor, I might have been one of those riders. Scary thought, but it's true. When you are ignorant, it's awfully easy to make mistakes. And when you don't know what is causing the problems, it's twice as hard to correct it.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oh, I had to laugh at that comment. This IS one of the problems and USEA is trying to address this through the Instructor certification. When I was doing BN and Novice, I did have an instructor who would go out XC schooling with me, give me a weekly lesson, go to events with me, walk courses, warm me up, etc. Was I ignorant and misguided? HELL YES!!! My problem wasn't that I didn't have an instructor... it was that I had an instructor who was ignorant and I didn't know any better!! Two sides of the same coin. And when you're ignorant, you don't know what you don't know. So the question then becomes, how do we find and inform those who don't know any better??

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

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

KatieRiley
Oct. 24, 2002, 07:51 AM
TLE, you are right... I wrote a long post and in an attempt of making it more concise, I deleted a comment that mentioned having qualified help. Paying someone oodles of money for bad information is terrible--especially bad when you get the attitude you are right and everyone else is wrong. Crowell told me "No help is better than bad help" when I went home after a working student stint last year and was complaining about not having good help at home. Thankfully, I found someone!

Glad to make you laugh anyway. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

asterix
Oct. 24, 2002, 08:07 AM
Agree with the overall themes here -- would love more questions/options on lower level courses. Also to add to the others on bounces at Prelim -- last weekend's Prelim at Waredaca had a bounce, offset rolltops, I believe, with a long and uninviting go around.

To the idea that most folks at Novice don't need/want shorter related distances, and the "move-ups and pros" know how to school them at home, I disagree! I moved up to Training last year after clear sailing around BN and N courses and a ton of schooling of T and a few Prelim fences, but found that
a) not too many schooling areas have short related distances in the permanent collections -- most tend to come out in the portables, at least around here, and
b) schooling anything in a little isolated unit, or schooling it with stadium fences at home does NOT adequately prepare you for how it feels to encounter something like this 2/3 of the way around course, when your horse is tired, or pulling, or wound up, or...

My first Training course was quite straightforward, with the exception of 2 large angled logs set one stride apart (Marlborough, for those of you Area IIs out there). THis combo gave me the serious heebyjeebies right up until I was four strides out. WE had had such a nice flowing go till then that when I felt him lock on the line, I knew we'd be fine. But nothing we had schooled had really approximated that combo, and it was a BIG step up for a novice rider/horse pair.
I would have been really happy to try something like that, much smaller, maybe not offset/angled, on a novice course earlier in the season, but there was nothing even close.

wanderlust
Oct. 24, 2002, 09:12 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tle:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Master Tally mentioned watching a couple beginner types school cross country. My question is: where in the world is thier trainer? Maybe this is the real problem with lower levels--it's the lack of good consistent help that is causing people to ride too fast or to slow?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

My problem wasn't that I didn't have an instructor... it was that I had an instructor who was ignorant and I didn't know any better!! Two sides of the same coin. And when you're ignorant, you don't know what you don't know. So the question then becomes, how do we find and inform those who don't know any better??
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

At first, I wondered if one of them was the other's coach. But as I got closer, I realized they were both novices. Decked out in mostly correct garb, although the fact that they both had the shoulder pads attached to their vests (which were not tipperary or the new charles owen) was a dead giveaway that they were *very* new to this. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I am quite sure that they were hunter princesses of some sort who thought it would be "fun" to school some x-c stuff. Problem is, you can't ride that hunter lope to solid, spooky fences, even if they are small. Unfortunately, they were not aware of that. They are lucky they didn't get hurt.

I think both lack of coaching and bad coaching are serious problems. I also think it is very hard for newcomers to *find* qualified coaches, especially if you aren't very close to the atlantic coast. USAE used to have a listing of trainers on their website, complete with qualification listings... while I'm sure that USAE didn't verify all the info given, it was a good start, and a good central repository.

Let me pose a question... had you been me, and seen these two having a bit of trouble, would you have said something, or, as I did, rolled your eyes and ridden away? It killed me not to say anything, and the coach in me really wanted to go help them. However... not sure that it was really my business, which was why I left.

[This message was edited by master_tally on Oct. 24, 2002 at 02:19 PM.]

kileyc
Oct. 24, 2002, 09:32 AM
I found this post really interesting, now that I have a new greenie and am trying to read his ability and what and when he might be ready for. A couple of thoughts and a question.
I was at the Blythe Tait clinic that Robby put on, at training/prelim move up. The point I got from the pole excercise is that when fences get more technical, you must be able to have control over exactly what your horses stride is. It was a hard excercise and lots of horses struggled. But much like leg yield or shoulder in, you must practice it even green horses and riders, you might not be able to get a 10 in a 6, but you could work on a 7 and a 5 in a 6.
Not all technical fences should be at lower levels, like bounces, but little trekheners, "skinniers", off-set 2 stride combos and maybe corner with options, would be cool!

My question is why is it that many folks, refuse to do a recognized ht at beginner novice? I find no shame in starting my greenie and keeping him at BN until he is ready to move up. But I seem to hear that it is a waste of time and $$ for and experienced rider to do a recognize HT at BN. Has anyone else heard a lot of people say this??? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

ThirdCharm
Oct. 24, 2002, 09:48 AM
There are several courses around here (NC) that have 'a,b' related fences at Novice (2'11", w/t/c dressage test, for any of our friends from across the pond). Tryon has a set of rolltops/tables set at two strides apart, Five Points/Longleaf had two ascending oxers two strides apart, I'm sure I could think of more if I didn't have to rush to a lesson in a moment. Tryon's combination isn't even terribly wide at the face. They weren't maxed and none of my students found them particulaly onerous. I think that's a very suitable question at Novice, since Training can have triple combinations on xc.

JenniferS

asterix
Oct. 24, 2002, 10:46 AM
OK, I may brand myself as a total idiot with this question, but, why, master tally, did the presence of shoulder pads and non-Tipperary vests mark them as total newcomers (sounds like their riding was a better tip off)?
I bought my Casel-Equi vest when I WAS a total newbie, but ever since the shoulder pads saved my collar bone/shoulder in a fall I have seen no point to taking the pads off. I also see little point in buying a "cooler" vest since mine fits, doesn't get in my way, and seems as safe as any of the other ones.
I may not look like I know what I'm doing by what I'm wearing, but I can assure you that I am a perfectly competent training level rider.
Have I missed something? Would I be safer w/o the shoulder pads? Should I upgrade my vest? I'm serious, here, either I need some good advice before I go back out or I look like a dork, but a safe dork. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Weatherford
Oct. 24, 2002, 11:05 AM
I find it very interesting that most people seem to think a two stride combination is going to be safer/easier than a one-stride.

SJ Course Designer, Linda Allen, disagrees - and I am inclined to agree with her. A low level "flyer" who comes into a two stride combination too fast may well just do a one (as happens, unfortunately, in low level sj when time is a factor) and flip. That same horse would rarely bounce a properly set XC one stride - but certainly can do two in it safely.

Granted, this may not be as much of an issue with the two stride combinations set at at least 33' - but, then, in my youth, a one-stride on the outside course for a horse was set at 28' (24' for lg pony, 21' for small) - so it COULD be a problem....

The wall to wall combination set in two treelines on the course I rode the other day was a nice "long" one - we did a very happy galloping one - I could easily see people doing a short two, too. It was not too hard for most (American) novice eventer, IMHO. (Although, the table that was the next fence was BIG! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

I think we Americans worry too much and that worrying interfers with our riding. You can't become part of the horse if you are worrying - which IMHO, means you can't really learn to ride - as riding is about feel and you can't feel if you are tense. So, we become our own worst enemy.

It was pretty amazing to watch the kids on ponies cruising around the "advanced" course ( fences from Prelim to Intermediate level)!! Sure, there was as section for under 12's - but they just didn't have to do the biggest fences on the course and some of the combinations. It was amazing to me what they DID do! And most of those under 12's were more like under 8 or 10 on TINY ponies!

To the original point, IF we had these sophisticated questions at the lowest levels from tiny banks to shallow ditches, perhaps everyone would be braver later on?!

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

Weatherford
Oct. 24, 2002, 11:12 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> My question is why is it that many folks, refuse to do a recognized ht at beginner novice? I find no shame in starting my greenie and keeping him at BN until he is ready to move up. But I seem to hear that it is a waste of time and $$ for and experienced rider to do a recognize HT at BN. Has anyone else heard a lot of people say this??? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think many experienced trainers and riders simply do not think they need to be doing 2'6" - 2'9" on their greenies.

Here in Ireland, there is no such creature - the lowest level is Training (1.0 m). That was my horse's first event. OK, he did a Hunter Trials the day before with chicken ole me - and THOSE fences were bigger than the event.

I don't think people ride better here, but they ride - they got on an go. They have the confidence to give their horses confidence. I have yet to meet anyone who rides in a ring on a regular basis. And those who don't won XC fences drive their horses somewhere that does.

People do what works for them and their horses.

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

wanderlust
Oct. 24, 2002, 11:16 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by asterix:
OK, I may brand myself as a total idiot with this question, but, why, master tally, did the presence of shoulder pads and non-Tipperary vests mark them as total newcomers (sounds like their riding was a better tip off)?

Have I missed something? Would I be safer w/o the shoulder pads? Should I upgrade my vest? I'm serious, here, either I need some good advice before I go back out or I look like a dork, but a safe dork. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was being facetious... which I keep forgetting doesn't translate well over the internet.

Yes, their riding was certainly the tip-off. And I have to give them props for their safety-consciousness, especially considering the circumstances. As far as shoulder-pads... I don't use them myself because I find them annoying and bulky, and just don't like the feel of them on my arms.

I'm glad you like your casel-equi... I find them much stiffer than the tipperaries, as do most people I've talked to who have tried both.

I'll admit, I love fashion, and sometimes wish I could be a hunter princess (gasp) for the fashionable aspect of it (oh, what fun I could have combining coats with shirts and britches). Hence my love of classical x-c garb (i.e. skull cap with properly fitted navy satin cover, navy blue tipperary vest, TS breeches, etc). All the neon colors make me want to call the fashion police.

That said, the most important aspect is that each rider is comfortable and safe, and if the CE vest and shoulder pads help you feel that way, more power to you. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Just please, please, please everyone... don't wear a sleeveless shirt under your vest for x-c at a recognized trials, or I may be *forced* to call the fashion police! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Robby Johnson
Oct. 24, 2002, 11:36 AM
I got the humor, master tally!

kileyc, who are you sweetie? I had 28 of you birds to shuffle that weekend, and I'm glad you got the same gist of what he said that I did. For a while there I was scratching my head going, "was I really there?" Oh wait, have we identified that you are, in fact, Miss A.W.? If so, big hug to you!

Your question about the BN is a good one. I am much more comfortable, as little-old-nothingtoprove-AA, keeping my horse at BN until he's ready to move up. Having, in the last 4 years, taken a horse from Green to Training, I have to remind myself that they're all different. With her, one BN was plenty, but I'd also evented two other horses at two other events the first year I had her. We stayed at N for 2 seasons, and did 1 T and started another (retired), so I don't even profess to be a competent T rider. With Rhodey - who hasn't even schooled solid obstacles yet - it may be that he stays at BN or, God forbid, schooling dressage/hunter shows before he makes his debut!

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

asterix
Oct. 24, 2002, 11:46 AM
phew! Glad to hear I am just dorky, not unsafe.
I'm SURE if I tried on one of the newer, nicer vests, I would love it (remind me NOT to at Fair Hill this weekend), but I am in blissful ignorance, which is cheaper than knowledgeable envy...
As for comfort/bulk, I am still new enough at this that the adrenaline rush wipes out ANY sensation I get from my vest, so I don't really notice it at all.

And you will be relieved to hear that it is hunter green, and color-coordinated with my pad and helmet. Everything else is tasteful black. Not that anyone notices -- they are laughing at the sight of me, perched like a little (green, dorky) peanut on top of my enormous, hyper-enthusiastic horse, vainly trying to look like I'm actually in charge.

So far I have successfully convinced him to jump the fences on our course, rather than the much cooler looking ones on the Prelim course, but it was a close call a couple o times. All of you who told me Irish-bred/hunted horses would think Novice and Training American fences would look laughable were spot-on. He will need to suffer them, however, until they start looking laughable to _me_ as well...

To make this on topic, we had a two stride combo at Novice that he zoomed through in one (though that was due at least in part to his large size/stride, er, yeah, that was the problem), and I promised myself we would HAVE to sort out our fence-approach communications before attempting courses with more related distances, or at least any that were shorter than that one!

At the moment, lots of bulk between me and the ground doesn't seem like such a bad thing!

tle
Oct. 24, 2002, 12:04 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Just please, please, please everyone... don't wear a sleeveless shirt under your vest for x-c at a recognized trials, or I may be *forced* to call the fashion police! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Don't worry... you don't have to bother the fashion police as sleeves are mandatory on XC (according to the rulebook).

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

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

kileyc
Oct. 24, 2002, 12:24 PM
Hey Robby,
It is me and I am not really trying to be anomomys, although I should because I can't spell it! Anyway, it is me April Williams from Dallas! You are right, it depends on the horse, I started a guy last fall at novice, but he had done the 4' jumpers and was not green. Who knows how long my new greenie will be at BN-I rushed him a bit to his first BN and he wiggled in stadium, cleared the oxer, but in his cofusion forgot to put his feet down and landed on his nose and knees! Thank goodness didn't scare him, but it did severely bruise my butt and I am still healing a month later! In hindsight it was WAY to early for his first HT. He is done for the year and will bring him back in the spring, when he is ready for BN.

Robby Johnson
Oct. 24, 2002, 12:30 PM
kileyc! We can have lots of chardonnay at the barn!

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

wanderlust
Oct. 24, 2002, 01:31 PM
Thanks Robby, I knew I could count on you. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by asterix:

And you will be relieved to hear that it is hunter green, and color-coordinated with my pad and helmet. Everything else is tasteful black.

So far I have successfully convinced him to jump the fences on our course, rather than the much cooler looking ones on the Prelim course, but it was a close call a couple o times. All of you who told me Irish-bred/hunted horses would think Novice and Training American fences would look laughable were spot-on. He will need to suffer them, however, until they start looking laughable to _me_ as well...
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Breathing deep sigh of relief...

Interesting that you say that about your ID. I have been riding a dutch WB from the UK who did some extensive field work, and jumped around one of the "B" courses (Blenheim, I think) at prelim (their novice) before coming over. He tries to pull me at every large fence on the course when we are just out galloping. I have not yet jumped him, but I would have little fear of skipping the BN/N/T fences and just jumping him around most of the prelim course. He just gives me the feeling that the bigger and more solid, the better, and I shouldn't waste his time with anything small. Then again, small fences scare me, because I couldn't find a distance to them if it hit me over the head (which I believe is a function of growing up riding medium ponies over 3' courses). Anyways, I digress...

TLE- it may be against the rules to ride without sleeves, but I saw several people do it at one of the horse trials. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

JAGold
Oct. 25, 2002, 09:11 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kileyc:
My question is why is it that many folks, refuse to do a recognized ht at beginner novice? I find no shame in starting my greenie and keeping him at BN until he is ready to move up. But I seem to hear that it is a waste of time and $$ for and experienced rider to do a recognize HT at BN. Has anyone else heard a lot of people say this??? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've only followed this thread intermittently, so forgive me if I'm missing part of the discussion. It's no secret that I don't really like the beginner novice division, especially for green horses! I can see it's place for green riders, older horses who really can't handle novice any longer, or ponies. And I'd like to see it at schooling shows, rather than at recognized horse trials.

That said, the reason that I don't like BN for greenies is that I think it teaches the horse the wrong idea for XC. The fences are so tiny and the speed so slow that horses do not learn to gallop forward to their fences. It would not be safe to ride at a faster pace over those fences, but green horses shouldn't learn to crawl around, or worse, be held back to a very slow pace, on XC. Also, I don't think that the fences encourage good jumping efforts. Instead, they allow almost any horse to be very sloppy and still make it to the other side -- not a good habit to carry up the levels.

I don't ride greenies BN. Period. In fact, I don't even school them over BN type fences except for a few tiny logs or telephone poles when they are first jumping. Even the greenest of green can trot over a three-foot log or table. In fact, on a really spooky horse, I've been known to trot much of a NOVICE XC course, because I think it is a better experience for the horse to trot than to canter so slowly, and because I'd rather have the horse trot up to 3' fences. (Would it have been bad for the horse to trot BN instead of novice? Probably not. But also not that productive, at least in my mind.)

I'm not advocating rushing up the levels. But I don't have any great fondness for BN.

On the original thread, I would absolutely like to see more technical questions, within reason, at the lower levels. However, I don't think that simply making corners, sunken roads, ect. smaller makes them appropriate for the lower levels -- and I don't think that is what anyone here is advocating. I would like to see the types of excercises that prepare riders for the questions asked at the upper levels: steering, adjusting the stride, and the like. I'd like to see more turning questions on novice courses, even if they are simply log-to-log or coop to coop. I agree that narrowER fences should be introduced at novice and training. Novice courses could include modified sunken roads -- there was one on the novice course at Trojan Horse that rode beautifully. Half-coffins should be routine at training and introduced at novice. But a ditch can be made inviting with natural wings at novice.

I do think that the biggest change in difficulty is between training and prelim, and that it is especially important to incorporate more technical fences on the training courses especially so that riders are ready to add speed and height to those questions when they move up to prelim.

As for whether this will make eventing more or less safe, I think that the beauty of well designed questions is that they will eliminate unprepared riders/horses without injuring them. The rider who cannot steer to a skinny will likely have runouts, but not a bad accident. More technical questions will also prevent unprepared riders from getting 'round by the skin of their teeth and force them to learn the basics and seek out instruction. I do think raising the standard is the right direction for the lower levels of the sport. --Jess

asterix
Oct. 25, 2002, 12:08 PM
That is exactly right! BN was useful for me starting out (on an older Novice horse, not a greenie) only because it allowed me to focus on riding right, and not be at all worried about the fences...but once I moved up to Novice, I found it actually easier to ride the course as a whole, bc we could at least get a flow going...but I know a number of people who have become enamoured of eventing who honestly can't jump a novice fence yet.
The current system of having GAG, BBN, and BN at unrecognized events allows them to trot around and (usually) make it over everything, but it does not really make them better able to ride Novice. The other alternative is to raise the bar and insist on Novice as the lowest level, which may encourage these folks to get better fundamentals (or may just result in scary rides).

I am jump judging at Menfelt's starter trial on Nov 2, and will be interested to see how a whole field of riders look out on course.

And, master_tally, yes, this does sound familiar...

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> He tries to pull me at every large fence on the course when we are just out galloping. I have not yet jumped him, but I would have little fear of skipping the BN/N/T fences and just jumping him around most of the prelim course. He just gives me the feeling that the bigger and more solid, the better, and I shouldn't waste his time with anything small. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's it to a "T" -- when we school, the hardest thing is to prevent him from charging off over everything he sees, and everything everyone else is jumping. Halfway through the (straight, small bank out) Novice water at Marlborough, he caught sight of the P/T banks out, hung a sharp left (at full gallop), and headed for the fun stuff. Luckily I did manage to regain command of the ship and continue out the proper side, but geez!
This is why I am so interested in this topic -- this horse could clearly charge around Prelim strictly in terms of size and speed, and I could probably stick with him, but I do not think we are ready to do ANY of the more technical questions. He'd certainly bound bravely at them, but I don't know how to help him. I would love to find courses at Training that allow us to work on our communication skills -- at that height, I suspect he could muscle us out of most problems. But, since I am inexperienced, the jump to Prelim will need both our brains and his bravery. I hope we will find what we need out schooling...
Anyway, he made it clear that we needn't bother with Novice any more. You could practically feel him thinking "this thing? This is the smallest pile of logs in the field! You've gotta be joking..."

triggerfoot
Oct. 25, 2002, 12:41 PM
I have NEVER in my short eventing life gone to an unrecognized ht. reason is: my trainer hasn't, and i go where my trainer goes.

i see this as a potential problem. if there was no such thing as BN, my first event ever would have been N (i probably would have survived it, but that's only 'cause i have hj experience, so at least i'm used to the show jitters and dealing with hyper horsies in new environments). otherwise, i would have had to go trainerless, which i think we can ALL agree is bad.

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

Weatherford
Oct. 25, 2002, 01:08 PM
They don't have trainers in Ireland, and the lowest level is TRAINING level (1.0 m - 3'3").

They didn't have trainers when I was growing up and eventing, either.

I don't think not having a trainer IS bad - it means people need to do their homework at home! By homework, I mean basics - like riding forward and developing a secure seat.

I do hope the H/J attitude of I don't do anything without a trainer doesn't become prevalent in Eventing - it drives me batty. (NO OFFENSE MEANT!!!)

Can you imagine, "I can't start my Dressage at 10:01, cause my trainer is helping someone else in the other ring..." Uh uh - won't fly - and SHOULDN'T FLY.

But, that IS another topic!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

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

wanderlust
Oct. 25, 2002, 01:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:
They don't have trainers in Ireland, and the lowest level is TRAINING level (1.0 m - 3'3").

They didn't have trainers when I was growing up and eventing, either.

I don't think not having a trainer IS bad - it means people need to do their homework at home! By homework, I mean basics - like riding forward and developing a secure seat.

I do hope the H/J attitude of I don't do anything without a trainer doesn't become prevalent in Eventing - it drives me batty. (NO OFFENSE MEANT!!!)
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But Weatherford, riding in Ireland is different. Kids grow up on horseback, riding through the fields and woods and jumping whatever may be in the way of getting to their final destination. Riding boldly is just part of the culture from the beginning.

That doesn't happen here in the states. People ride in rings. Around and around and around. They jump fences that fall down, so the forward, connected ride is not as necessary (in their perspective, not mine). They go for trail rides once a week. And I see that frequently the problem is not kids and teenagers, but people who decided to take up horseback riding as adults, and therefore don't have the naturalness and feel of those that have been in the saddle since they were 4. *These* are the people who need coaches, both inside and outside of the ring. Especially when they get outside the ring.

Do we want them to develop the dependency on the coaches that you see in the hunter world? Of course not. But I would like to see a large percentage of those adult amateurs, especially those who are new at this sport, having more appropriate coaching.

JAGold
Oct. 25, 2002, 01:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:
I don't think not having a trainer IS bad - it means people need to do their homework at home! By homework, I mean basics - like riding forward and developing a secure seat.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, Weatherford, that was part of what I was trying to get at. Turning and controling pace are basic skills that should be in place before riding in the open. Courses should not be built to accomodate those who have not mastered such basic skills. Instead, courses should encourage people to learn at home and educate them as to what is missing or should be improved.

As for riding with or without a trainer at shows -- I have always worked consistently with a trainer at home, and my trainers have always insisted that I be prepared to be entirely on my own at a show if necessary -- if, for example, ride times conflict. My trainers have always made every effort to walk my courses, warm me up, and provide feedback after my ride -- but they have also made sure that I could prepare myself (or seek out help from someone else) if they were not able to be there. After all, your trainer can't do anything for you while you are actually on course -- it is up to you when it really counts! --Jess

JER
Oct. 25, 2002, 02:31 PM
Weatherford, I agree with you about the trainer thing.

I event without a trainer present, although I do take lessons 2x week from a showjumper. For the past two years, I helped my teenager in the warm-up ring but now, at 15, she prefers to go it alone. If she wants help, I'm there, but she knows her way around the event grounds and how her horse is supposed to go.

I actually think it's important for the rider to know when his/her horse is properly prepped to go in the ring or on the field -- no one should have to be dependent on a trainer for this.

JER
Oct. 25, 2002, 02:35 PM
master_tally's 'more appropriate coaching' should include teaching the student how to prepare for competition without the trainer's help.

I see too many trainers yelling useless information at their students in the warm-up ring -- useless because the rider is either too nervous to listen or because they're just not going to have any schooling breakthroughs in the next 10-15 minutes.

Robby Johnson
Oct. 25, 2002, 02:43 PM
I actually had to quit riding with my trainer at events for this exact reason! I couldn't do it. She made me more nervous and confused!

I don't train with anyone on a regular basis - just clinics and what-not. I hope to find someone to ride with regularly, though, when Rhodey starts going.

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

triggerfoot
Oct. 25, 2002, 02:47 PM
was the "trainer thing..." you know, the "oh my god i can't do an undersaddle hack class without my trainer whispering instructions from the rail" thing.

so thanks for the interesting responses. i have seen a lot of trainers at ht's that make me cringe. lots of micromanagement, and trying to fix things (esp in dressage) at the last minute. these are trainers i would DUMP IMMEDIATELY!!!! however, mine stays totally out of my way unless i need him for something, in which case he's right there. the most important part of having a trainer is, for me, the course walk.

i made the point not because of my own needs, but because the "trainer thing" was brought up earlier in this thread. i do think its terribly important for green riders to have their trainer there. not me of course, 'cause i'm so perfect /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

and as for the REAL reaon i don't go to shows alone: i don't have a trailer /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

*time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.*

[This message was edited by triggerfoot on Oct. 25, 2002 at 05:56 PM.]

subk
Oct. 25, 2002, 04:12 PM
I just wish yall were all hanging out in my den with a few beers and Chardonay for Robby! (O.K. Cokes for the minors!)

I want to introduce a concept that I think alot of you are missing. (Feel free to disagree!) For the horse, the difference in the difficulty from level to level has little to do with the height of the fences. It's the rider that gets juiced up with the idea of "it's over 3 feet (or whatever your mystical number is) OMG!" The horses just respond to the juiced up riders. I will conceed here that as you move above prelim this can start to change--but I don't think it does as much as you guys probably assume it does.

As I've seen it, experienced upper level riders rarely are concerned about the height of a fence in a combination just based on the biggness of the fence. They tend to see it only in the sense of how a fence's biggness effects the required ride and how that ride effects answering the rest of the question. (I can think of some exceptions here but I don't think they show up very often.)

This very same concept is why alot of experienced riders opt not to run BN. The technical questions at Novice are so basic that there is zero advantage to making it "easier" for the horses with smaller fences. Also most pros/experienced riders are riding horses they expect to have some scope and would rather find out that they don't at Novice (where it still acceptably safe to make such discoveries) than waste the time and money at BN. (I also agree with all of JAGOLD resoning as well.)

I don't think "rating courses" will work just because often times courses don't run how the designers/TDs/ organizers expect them to run! And often they very same course isn't consistent from event to event as how it rode statistically.

bigdreamer
Oct. 25, 2002, 05:00 PM
is when i go to a show and these people have their trainers that are training them at the show... not just simple "you need a little more left bend" or "make sure to sit up after the jump" but they are going at the student with no avail to do different things! If you haven't learned it yet, you AREN'T GOING TO LEARN IT IN THE 5 MINUTES BEFORE YOU GO IN THE RING!! Little reminders are ok- and perhaps if your horse is going wacko b/c of nerves and just being green- then it's ok- but *sigh* it's just a pet peave of mine. My trainer likes to come to our shows with us just to watch- and at our first show this year when the mare was a little nutty it was nice to have her voice just say "relax and ride" and that's what i did /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif. worked just fine.

i also hate when a trainer is walking a course with their students and is is pointing out every little last detail including "and your heading back to the barn at this jump, so your horse will be more forward".... Now perhaps for some that is a true statement, but i mean come on! When you get in the ring and your riding your course- or your out on cross country- how much of this are you actually going to remember and how much of it will actually effect you? When i walk my courses i look for the obvious and see if their are any hidden tricks- but other then that- poof i'm off. Now, this may be nice if you are competing at prelim and above- but when it's a beginner novice course?! COME ON SUNSHINES, its nice forward happy riding at this level. if you really need all that help at BN, go home.

that is my opinion... you go to a show to see where your training is at- not how much you can train in the 5 minutes before you compete.

~laura~

Janet
Oct. 25, 2002, 08:10 PM
I think it is important to work with a trainer/ instructor in preparing to compete, but I don't think it is very importatn to have one WITH you at the event- especially if you have already attended a couple of events as somebody's "helper" or have another competitor who can "mentor" you, and make sure you know the routine.

It CAN be helpful to have someone knowledgeable to walk the course with, but aside from that I don't think a trainer helps much.

If you (and the horse) haven't already learned "it" (whatever "it" is), you aren't going to learn it in warm up

Janet
Oct. 25, 2002, 08:21 PM
I think it is VERY IMPORTANT to have "lower than novice" fences to school over, but I don't see a major problem with starting to compete at Novice.

If you school over the pre Novice fences, move up to schooling over the Novice fences, start schooling Training fences, and do a couple of "mock runs", where you do, say 10 fences in a row without pulling up, you should be ready to do a Novice course. Of course, if you have no where to school, you have LOTS of problems.

You can certainly ride the Novice dressage tests at dressage schooling shows, and 3' courses at local jumper shows. The only thing that is mossing is learning "the routine".

The "advantage" of the Pre-Novice divisions is that you can actually compete sooner, but I don't think there is much you learn in a BN course that you couldn't learn just schooling.

That being said, I usually start out taking a horse to one pre-novice copetition before tackling novice, but I wouldn' lose much sleep if other committments made it implausible.

It isn't THAT long ago that the lowest level of competition was Prelim (as in Ireland). The horses and riders STILL started over 2'6" fences, moved up to 3' fences when they had confidence, then schooled 3'3" and 3'6" courses, and finally were ready to compete. The thing is most peopel aren't patient enougfh to wait that long before getting competitive feedback

Janet
Oct. 25, 2002, 08:28 PM
No rules against Novice combination (a, b) fences. The first time I saw a combination on a Novice course this year, I checked the rule book. Nothing there.

In fact, the rules say that Novice cross country "should include...a double."

COuldn't fnd anything about 33 feet either.

The rules also say that Prelin cross country obstacles "May now include... simple bounces.."

[This message was edited by Janet on Oct. 26, 2002 at 12:06 AM.]

Janet
Oct. 25, 2002, 08:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> That doesn't happen here in the states. People ride in rings. Around and around and around.
They jump fences that fall down, so the forward, connected ride is not as necessary (in their
perspective, not mine). They go for trail rides once a week. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I sincerely hope you are not advocating entering a horse trial (at ANY level) WITHOUT schooling cross country fences. THAT could be disasterous.

And, yes, if you haven't done it before, you DEFINITELY need an isntructor to teach you how to ride forward AND definsively cross country. But that is a very different issue from having a trainer with you at the event

Janet
Oct. 25, 2002, 08:43 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> see this as a potential problem. if there was no such thing as BN, my first event ever would
have been N (i probably would have survived it, but that's only 'cause i have hj experience, so
at least i'm used to the show jitters and dealing with hyper horsies in new environments).
otherwise, i would have had to go trainerless, which i think we can ALL agree is bad.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Nope. Don't "agree that it is bad."

Janet
Oct. 25, 2002, 09:16 PM
Back to the original question.

I think it is VERY valuable to have "mini Rolex" fences to school over. Narrow fences, bounces, arrowheads, trakheners, coffins, banks, big drops, steps, jumps with height into water, offset in and outs, weldon walls.

But I think it is a very different thing to put those things in a course.

For instance, I think a horse should be schooled over a trakhener (with a chance to look at it, figure it out, over jump it, and decide that it is OK) before having to jump it in the "heat" of competition. But if you put it on a course, you will probably have SOME horse that have never seen one before, and it could lead to a "bad first experience", which will be hard to overcome

DizzyMagic
Oct. 25, 2002, 10:48 PM
My eventing career has been short (and interrupted by a non-eventing head injury!) but I have join those of you on the BN tangent to say that I truly appreciate the BN division.

I've been riding for about 5 years, and I credit eventing with giving me some basics and confidence to ride in the open and over varying terrain, which has in turn improved my general riding skills a great deal. Obviously there was a trainer in there teaching me the necessary skills, so maybe it would be more accurate to say that the desire to event made me learn these things.

However, my horse is just more than pony-sized at 14.3hh and not very scopey. A good rider could get her around a true novice course, but for where I was when I started, there's no way I could have. Moreover, as an adult beginner, the size of the fence really did have a big impact on the way I rode! BN size fences were more accessible to me mentally, and easier for my little horse to jump.

I would work and work to get ready for a show, and all that preparation improved my riding, I'm sure. But I always felt like every show was about 30 lessons compressed into one day! I can't emphasize enough how educational it was to actually go to the show and event my horse. And if it weren't for the pull of the adrenaline rush, I know I wouldn't have been bold enough to do some of those "scary" things, like canter down a strange wooded path, canter downhill, through water, jump a bench or a little roll-top. All those things were big to me at the time, and the achievement of coming through the finish flags, or (gasp!) picking up a ribbon were priceless to me.

Novice seemed huge and far away to me, and BN made eventing accessible for my particular circumstances. I have since evented Novice, and schooled a lot of bigger stuff on my instructor's retired Advanced horse, which was the experience of a lifetime for me! But, I'm sure I never would have even started down the path if it hadn't been for BN, and now I'm a timid adult amateur who happens to be addicted to galloping. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

It's not a division for everyone, but I definitely think it has a place here.

Emily

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

Weatherford
Oct. 26, 2002, 02:07 AM
Janet - I think I agree and disagree with you.

Better having problems with those sophisticated questions at BN/N/T than at Prelim - where the fence height does become a factor.

Think we should start another thread on trainers in Eventing?? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

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

Pat Ness
Oct. 26, 2002, 05:15 AM
JAGold, I think we do need to have the turning questions and the related distance questions to prove the homework was done. It forces a flat out running rider (and they are out there) to slow down and if built correctly - it will still encourage forward riding.

subk, I agree with you that the height does not matter to the horse, but as you stated it certainly does to the rider and that is why small questions are needed and if they are introduced at the lower levels, the riders will ride them with WAY more confidence when they find them in one strides, off angles or in bounces, thus helping the horse instead of just being a passenger.

What about a fenceline with 3 fences in it about 100 yards apart. They are numbered 7, 8, 9, and with plenty of room on both sides of the fence for however large/small of a turn you want to take into it. Maybe the first fence is a ditch, the second a hanging log and the third is an inviting trakehner. This set of fences could help in a couple of ways. If you have a horse you want to allow to move on as you are moving up a level, just make wider sweeping turns and your seconds could tick away. If you have a horse you want to move up a level, but you want to practice angling, use the log and the trakehner as schools for that. If you have a less experienced horse/rider that has never seen a trakehner, they get an instant progression. By using the ditch first, they may have some problems there, but the next jump is a simple log and by gosh you have a chance to have a great ride over that so you can carry it on to the trakehner.

Along with more related distance questions, more turning questions and a couple of verticals (height here does make a difference again for a rider), I believe those of us out here who are not trainers, and still need the lower levels, would have a whooping fun time and I think the courses could be on smaller acreages as well. Equaling more events in Minnesota (land of 10,000 lakes and one recognized event).

Weatherford, does Ireland still have real vertical faces on some of their cross country jumps?

Pat Ness

[This message was edited by pat on the back on Oct. 26, 2002 at 08:24 AM.]

[This message was edited by pat on the back on Oct. 26, 2002 at 08:27 AM.]

pwynnnorman
Oct. 26, 2002, 12:05 PM
This has been a great thread. Forgive me if I'm asking something that has already been discussed, but I only skimmed some of this.

A lot of people have brought up Marlborough this year. That was my guy's first Training level event and I thought it was really tough, although he did well enough (a "Surprise!" stop at the bank, which he simply didn't expect, and still a sixth placing). I was worried about the water, but more so about the last six or so fences which were like three combinations in a row, right at the end of the course.

THEN he did Waredaca, which my rider thought was more difficult, but I thought was disappointingly easy for someone trying to get a talented horse useful experience (the plan was for him to do prelim at Virginia next). It's been years and years since I was involved in eventing, but someone, please, what was your impression of those two events?

Also, on the BN/N issue: I think BN for greenies is just a matter of knowing when its time to move up. My guy won his first event at BN and that was the end of him going BN (and after a 2nd at N, that, too, seemed to indicate to me that he didn't need to stay there either). Isn't that reasonable? If it's easy and the horse finishes the course confident and looking for more, don't you think it's better (provided the rider is capable) to move on to keep the horse challenged and thinking, rather than risk boredom or carelessness?

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

asterix
Oct. 27, 2002, 06:37 AM
Hopefully someone here rode both Marlborough and Waredaca this year -- I rode M Training last year, and the end of the course I think was the same (2 stone walls at right angles, to the one stride offset logs, down to the ditch-to-rolltop), and I walked (but didn't ride, alas) Waredaca this year.
Except for that sequence at the end (oh, and I forgot about the new Training sequence, downhill bending line), I thought Marlborough was pretty straightforward. But some of that stuff at the end is a BIG jump up from novice (how I was looking at it)...
Waredaca Training this year looked like a hodge-podge. The water was sort of unimpressive, and many of the fences were straightforward, but that ditch-and-wall scared the pants off me, and I've schooled the bank/drop complex, and it's a BIG drop down.
So I would think it perhaps depends on your horse. I think Marlborough would be easier for a catty horse, harder on a big charger (like mine), but Waredaca looked to reward the bold, forward ride, with less emphasis on combinations.
Also, I was looking at it from the perspective of a rider just moving up to Training, not looking to prep for Prelim. I guess if I had to pick, I'd say that Waredaca looked a little easier, but that's largely because big doesn't bother my horse, while I'm still working on steering and adjustability...

Weatherford
Oct. 27, 2002, 12:48 PM
Re vertical faces on XC in Ireland - I believe so. Certainly the stone walls at the one real event we did were fairly vertical. And there were vertical logs, etc. I think so.

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

triggerfoot
Oct. 28, 2002, 05:10 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Janet:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
otherwise, i would have had to go trainerless, which i think we can ALL agree is bad.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Nope. Don't "agree that it is bad."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

hmmm, okay. so everyone thinks i don't need a trainer, that's fine and you're right... now that i have been to a whopping 4 horse trials and ready to go training!!! however, you REALLY want to send people to their FIRST EVER HT trainerless??? if you read my original thread, that's what i was referring too.

i'm gonna read the new thread "role of trainers in eventing" once i am done with this, but in the meantime.....

for my first ever event, i didn't know anything about etiquette, when to enter the dressage arena and what to do once i got there, how to walk a xc course, how to deal with footing (it was raining like crazy, and i had only been schooling in fair weather) etc etc etc. i would have CROAKED without my trainer. sure i had read the rulebook 1,000 times, but there was sooooo much to remember... and then once i was done remembering how not to get eliminated i still had to get on and ride.

before you declare that no one needs a trainer at shows, make sure you do in fact mean NO ONE.

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

wanderlust
Oct. 28, 2002, 08:52 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Janet:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> That doesn't happen here in the states. People ride in rings. Around and around and around.
They jump fences that fall down, so the forward, connected ride is not as necessary (in their
perspective, not mine). They go for trail rides once a week. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I sincerely hope you are not advocating entering a horse trial (at ANY level) WITHOUT schooling cross country fences. THAT could be disasterous.

And, yes, if you haven't done it before, you DEFINITELY need an isntructor to teach you how to ride forward AND definsively cross country. But that is a very different issue from having a trainer with you at the event<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Did you read my original post in its entirety? Not quite sure how you managed to interpret it in that manner. I was simply pointing out that the reason people here need coaches to learn to ride x-c is because they do not have the opportunity to get outside the ring on a regular basis.

Janet
Oct. 28, 2002, 10:21 AM
Oh boy- TWO posts addressed at me.

First off, I DIDN'T say "no one needs a trainer at shows". I said that I didn't agree with the statement: "otherwise, I would have had to go trainerless, which I think we can ALL agree is bad."

I am NOT suggesting that ANYONE doesn't need an instructor. EVERYONE needs an instructor- just not necessarily AT the event with you.

I AM saying that GOING TO AN EVENT without a trainer isn't not NECESSARILY bad. Even for your first event.

(I am NOT saying that going WITH an instructor or trainer is BAD.)

For someone going to RIDE in their first event, without an instructor, I would expect that they had already attended several local events (preferably WITH someone who was riding), so they would already know the "ettiquette", had walked a cross country course, had walked a stadium course, etc.

I would expect that they had VOLUNTEERED as a jump judge at several events, so they were both familiar with the rules, and had an opportunity to see other people make mistakes, and learn from them.

I would expect that they had already ridden their dressage test at a dressage schooling show, so they know what to expect there. (The rules are a LITTLE different, but not much.)

I would also expect that they had been to a jumper schooling show.

I would expect that they had schooled, if not actually in the rain, certainly in a variety of footing.

Anyone who HASN'T done these things before going to their first event is definitely at a disadvantage, with or without a trainer. And if you HAVE'T done these things, then YES, you DEFINITELY need a trainer, or at least an experienced colleague willing to guide you through it.

But if you HAVE done these things, and have confidence in yourself and your horse, there is no reason you shouldn't have a sucessfull trianerless "first event".

The first "events" I went to were Pony Club rallies where, BY RULE, you were allowed NO advice from the time you entered the grounds. (Nowadays, I understand that they let you have someone to walk the course with. Not then.) But we all had plenty of advance preparation.

To re-iterate. I am NOT saying it is bad to have a trainer at your first event. But I AM saying that, if you have the proper advance preparation, it isn't bad to go to your first event without a trainer.

Master Tally.

I CERTAINLY agree that "people here need coaches to learn to ride x-c" (even people elsewhere). But I DON'T agree that it means they need a trainer WITH THEM AT THE EVENT. I would hope that they had ALREADY learned from their trainer "how to ride cross country" BEFORE the event.

triggerfoot
Oct. 28, 2002, 10:28 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Janet:
First off, I DIDN'T say "no one needs a trainer at shows". I said that I didn't agree with the statement: "otherwise, I would have had to go trainerless, which I think we can ALL agree is bad."
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

thanks for the clarification. You did take the comment out of context though. the whole paragraph was specifically about my first event, as i mentioned in the beginning.

so do you think its, um... not-bad to go trainerless at your first event? i guess you're saying that it "depends on the individual" (an oft-heard phrase on this board /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif). i really am trying to see this with an open mind, but i guess i'm more obstinant than i want to be because it seems very foolish to send a beginner to a ht trainerless. question for you janet, in pony club, did they have officials who would step in if they saw a kid doing something stupid or dangerous? i wish i could have done it when i was wee.

by the way, i just want to say how totally cool it is to have all of you "older and wiser" types out here in BBland. i love these disagreements and always feel like i come out the other side better edjucated. thanks!!!

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

[This message was edited by triggerfoot on Oct. 28, 2002 at 01:43 PM.]

Weatherford
Oct. 28, 2002, 11:38 AM
I think, triggerfoot, her point is, and certainly is the case in Pony Club, you do your homework at home. And you experience events as a friend, volunteer, etc, before actually competing. And, you go to other kinds of shows before your first event.

Yes, there are Officials at PC ralleys that can step in if there is a problem - but, the point is, the kids are prepared (they earn their place on their teams) before they go - AND, since they do go as teams, they HELP EACH OTHER.

Linda Allen told me that she was dumbfounded (and VERY impressed!) by the Pony Clubbers she coached at the National Pony Finals. She said, they didn't need me! They knew how to walk their courses, how to warm up their ponies, what kind of warm up and how long, etc etc. It allowed her to coach them on a more sophisticated, for example, strategy for certain kinds of courses, etc.

The same is true of a pony club "D" team going to its first event - the kids are prepared.

(You should join! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

(By the way, she also said that had her PC team members been allowed to be judged in the Individual Pony Jumper Finals, 2 or 3 of them would have been in the top 4! Unfortunately, they were not allowed to be judged, as they were there by invitation rather than qualification, therefore, the Pony Committee didn't think they were qualified... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif )

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

EventerAJ
Oct. 28, 2002, 12:02 PM
"The same is true of a pony club "D" team going to its first event - the kids are prepared."--Weatherford


Well, I wouldn't say that I was "prepared" for D-rally as thoroughly as Janet has suggested (no dressage shows or many xc lessons). /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Still, I had a great time, learned a heck of a lot more, gained independence and experience. Having a wonderful horse who saved my butt didn't hurt, either /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif I can proudly say I was the only one on my team who didn't fall off or was eliminated. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

~AJ~
"Got no excuses for the things that we've done; we were brave, we were crazy, we were mostly young." K.C.

Janet
Oct. 28, 2002, 12:06 PM
What Weatherford said.

And, while PC officials COULD intervene if you did something stupid or dangerous, I don't think I ever saw it happen.

And I find a LOT of support between competitors:
"Be careful of jump 5, it rides spookier than it walks"
"A lot of people are having trouble with the black and yellow vertical, the ground drops away to the right."
"Can you tell WHY I had that rail down?" "It looked to me as if you lost impulsion on the corner and didn't get it back in time."

This is one of the reasons the proposed new "coaching rule" makes no sense for eventing

triggerfoot
Oct. 28, 2002, 12:17 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Weatherford:
I think, triggerfoot, her point is, and certainly is the case in Pony Club, you do your homework at home. And you experience events as a friend, volunteer, etc, before actually competing. And, you go to other kinds of shows before your first event.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

that would certainly work... i'm still stuck in remembering my confusion when i started this. it would have been wise for me to do this stuff ahead of time, but for the most part i felt like it was impossible. the closest x-c venue to me is an hour away, the next closest is (i think) 4 hours away. any events held close-by i want to compete in, and its hard to find time (and money, i am a grad student after all) in my rock-n-roll lifestyle to go to an away event and mess around with hotels and whatnot. if i am going far away, i'd rather use the money to compete. if there's an event at the nearby location, i want to ride in it because trailering is so much cheaper. okay, so that's why i never spectated at a ht before jumping in, because i'm cheap. i never even KNEW i could jump judge without having competition experience.

whew! my long and rambling point is: i figured it was more economical and efficient to just jump right in.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
(You should join! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) [pony club]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

i'd love to, but i am an old fogie. is there an OPRC in indiana???

Question for weatherford (or anyone else i guess): do you think i made an okay choice? given that i'd done jumpers in competition up to 3'9" and know how to handle competition in general, just clueless about eventing (earlier this year i mean, now i am an EXPERT /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif) that it was okay for me to NOT check things out from the ground first, and just leap right in with the help of a trainer???

time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

Janet
Oct. 28, 2002, 01:58 PM
It is harder when there aren't any events close by to go to without competing. We are spoiled here, because I could find at least one event (recognized or unrecognized)within an hour and a half, just about every weekend from Aplil to early July, and late August to November.

The more "homework" you can do ahead of time, the easier it would be, but I don't think there was anything WRONG with your choice, just that not everybody needs to do it that way.

No prior experience needed for jump judging. As long as you can tell the difference between a jump, and a refusal or runout. I have had people from work, who like horses but have never ridden, be jump judges, so you are more than qualified.

Pixie Dust
Oct. 29, 2002, 07:26 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by asterix:
My first Training course was quite straightforward, with the exception of 2 large angled logs set one stride apart (Marlborough, for those of you Area IIs out there). THis combo gave me the serious heebyjeebies right up until I was four strides out. WE had had such a nice flowing go till then that when I felt him lock on the line, I knew we'd be fine. .<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Heheeeeee......I was jump judging that event. I walked the Training course thinking......hey maybe we can do this (like in a year)....then I got to that combination and just went..... uh oh. Glad to hear it rode well!!!

What an interesting conversation!!!

Pixie Dust
Oct. 29, 2002, 08:08 AM
hrmmmmm, let's see if I can remember what I wanted to comment on.

Jagold, I'm intrigued.....no BN. What should I be doing? I had problems at my last event, but I truly think it had nothing to do with the fence size and everything to do with the "spooky" surroundings. I am going to Full Moon on the 17th at BN. Maybe I should just trot the course again. He is such a GOOF! I don't think I am a green rider, but this goofy, but talented horse has me a bit spooked myself, so BN is probably a good idea for us. The reason I would never do a recognized BN is just money. THere are a ton of unrecognized events to do. I will do unrecognized at BN and N before our first recognized N. [OK, I answered my own question /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.]

RE: riding in Ireland v. the US & the "good ole' days". It really depends on your barn. In the 70's & 80's I boarded at a barn where there was lots of land, streams, xc jumps etc. They hunted (and I was able to tag along.) There were NO rules. We did all kinds of silly stuff, often barefoot & bareback etc. Nowadays, many barns (because of insurance & other reasons) don't even allow you to jump unless you are taking a lesson. So it's harder to gain that experience in the US. Even just the experience of galloping across a field.

Re: trainer at an event. When I started (back in the 80's) I never had a trainer at any event. But, like Janet said, I had already been a helper/groom for other eventers, I had jump judged and I went with a buddy. Plus, I had already spent years showing local Jr. Hunter (also sans trainer) and knew how to get myself together.

asterix
Oct. 29, 2002, 12:02 PM
Yes, that combo at Marlborough rode just fine, at least at that moment, with that horse...
but -- and maybe this was just because I was obsessed/terrified about jumping it all day long -- I could swear that I heard an unbelievable number of falls and refusals at that combo during the day.

My trainer had blithely said "this is no big deal" when we walked the course (and yes, I was glad to have my trainer with me to walk my first Training course -- very good to hear HOW to ride that combo since we'd never schooled anything quite so unforgiving), though he was very careful about just how he wanted it ridden.
As I cleared it, I saw him, waiting on the other side, cheering me on (I think he figured I would either want cheering, or someone to catch the horse). Of course, later, he said "yeah, that was more like a Prelim question at Training height..."

Weatherford
Oct. 30, 2002, 01:53 AM
of course that was a fine decision!

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

Sannois
Oct. 30, 2002, 02:38 AM
Wow we should compare notes!! You described me and my guy at our event last month. I know if I cant get through a BN cross Country with out all those :HEY whats that over there?" episodes it will only be harder at novice! I ended up trotting some of the cc again, after thinking I just dont have his attention. Even though he was superb at the event in June. I cant see dealing with it at Novice, I need to get it solved at Beg Novice, BTW he isn't worryed about the fences, just the things out in the field, :\ So should we just forget beginner Novice?? I'm not sure what was said. Early!

"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!

Pat Ness
Oct. 30, 2002, 04:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by asterix:
Of course, later, he said "yeah, that was more like a Prelim question at Training height..."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think this is the one of the problems... They put a question on course and max the height for the level. I totally agree that the horses don't care about the heights, but I still mentally care about the heights. So why not have this combination at a 3' height to encourage the riders confidence and have more combinations on the course?

That's the direction I would like to see it go. Not get rid of the max fences, but add 3 or 4 interesting combinations at a slightly lower height.
Pat

Pixie Dust
Oct. 30, 2002, 08:06 AM
Yup Sannois! He was GREAT at a BN HT in July & September (we actually galloped /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif) and then he became completely unfocused at a "starter" N HT in October (XC only) and we were eliminated (and I fell off!)

After thinking about it further, I can see how some people wouldn't bother with BN, but for me, working out of my backyard, BN & E are so helpful. Hektor's first time on a stadium course was at a HT. Since the jumps were only 18 inches he went over all of them, and it was PURELY a schooling experience. When I boarded at an eventing barn, I could school jumps & courses all I wanted, so I did't have much need for E & BN.

Sannois
Oct. 30, 2002, 04:54 PM
What should folks like Bgoosewood and myself do? I started out over a year ago at a Recognized event, USEA, at BN and my horse and I had no problems, except our Dressage was lacking, Now this fall we have Cross Country Attention issues, Still at Beginner Novice. I still am hesitant to move to Novice, thought we have schooled some good solid Novice fences and was fine, This is all new to my horse, who only has been jumping for a little over four years, Never jumped before I got him. He is 14. I have ridden hunters for a good 30 years, and I would not classify myself as a beginner, Although I have no designs on anything above training, and probably not with this horse. I feel when problems like mine and bgoosewoods arise it makes sense to stay at a level where you can deal with the non jumping issues, Am I wrong? Would love to hear your thoughts.

"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!

JAGold
Oct. 30, 2002, 05:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Sannois:
What should folks like Bgoosewood and myself do? I started out over a year ago at a Recognized event, USEA, at BN and my horse and I had no problems, except our Dressage was lacking, Now this fall we have Cross Country Attention issues, Still at Beginner Novice. I still am hesitant to move to Novice, thought we have schooled some good solid Novice fences and was fine, This is all new to my horse, who only has been jumping for a little over four years, Never jumped before I got him. He is 14. I have ridden hunters for a good 30 years, and I would not classify myself as a beginner, Although I have no designs on anything above training, and probably not with this horse. I feel when problems like mine and bgoosewoods arise it makes sense to stay at a level where you can deal with the non jumping issues, Am I wrong? Would love to hear your thoughts.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sorry...I've been caught up in math all afternoon!

First, though I don't think either of you has interpreted it this way, I don't mean to tell you what to do with your horses, and I don't mean to imply that either of you are "beginners."

That said, I think you've really answered your own question: when the issues aren't related to the jumps, then you need to ride at a level where the jumps will not add to the problem. For a green or spooky horse who has no problem with 3' fences and novice type questions -- or rather, no more problem with 3' fences than 2'6 fences, novice is fine. If adding the height and difficulty between BN and novice makes a difference to horse or rider, then the pair benefits from going BN.

I really do believe that 3' fences should not be a problem for any horse who is ready to compete -- they can trot 3' fences and should have in advance of a novice horse trials. If 3' fences bother them, my tendency is to school and take them to shows to hang around, perhaps, but not to compete.

If 3' fences (again, in comparison to 2'6 fences) are an issue for the rider, that is a different story and when perhaps BN and schooling shows are appropriate. If you don't think you can ride your spooky horse as well to a 3' fence as a 2'6 fence, then by all means, ride him at the level where you can ride him well.

I've often taken horses that my trainers' clients have had trouble with at BN, novice. This is because I don't think the problem will be worse at novice, and because I think that given a positive ride, the learning experience will be better at novice.

So I guess I'm not really answering your question, except to say that if you think the horse will go better at BN either because he or you question the novice fences, then ride BN. Otherwise, all things being equal, I think horse and rider are better served at novice. Does that explain my thinking at all? --Jess

Sannois
Oct. 31, 2002, 02:08 AM
And quite frankly I do have issues with a three foot fence when geek boy is oggling things all over the place and is anywhere BUT the task at hand. That said, We will get some more schooling under our belts and get the communication factor working. THEN maybe we will try a Novice Horse Trial. Thanks for your insight! /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!

Weatherford
Oct. 31, 2002, 02:09 AM
Pat on the Back - EXACTLY!!

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

asterix
Oct. 31, 2002, 06:39 AM
That's it exactly -- that combo at Marlborough would have been much less intimidating had it been 6" smaller. I agree that it doesn't matter to the horse, all other things being equal, but if you are on a green horse (or, in my case, a horse new to Training with some confidence issues), if it matters to the rider, it CAN matter to the horse.
Curiously, earlier on that same course, they had an option where the short way required more accuracy than the long way...but both options were SO small that it was sort of a wash.
I think this gets back to the (futile, I guess) proposal that we have some gradations within the levels. That little option was nice for riders moving up from Novice -- fence itself was very soothing, and you could practice deciding which option to ride, which is a pretty new experience for most riders at that level. But that later combo was more appropriate for a solid, confirmed Training level rider, one who is beginning to think about Prelim questions.
I know we've decided that grading courses within levels is impractical; I suppose what I would vote for is course design that is a bit more consistent within the course itself -- how many times have those of you who do the lower levels found that the same course had both "bottom of the level" and "top of the level" questions?
I don't know ANYTHING about course design, and I'd like to learn, so perhaps this idea stems more from ignorance than anything else, but...

Pat Ness
Oct. 31, 2002, 04:32 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by asterix:
I suppose what I would vote for is course design that is a bit more consistent within the course itself -- how many times have those of you who do the lower levels found that the same course had both "bottom of the level" and "top of the level" questions? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It is one thing if it is a simple fence after there has been a question that was taxing, but I have been on courses where you felt like they just brought in a log to add to the number of jumps, no thought process behind it at all. Hey, they could bring in two small logs and put in a nice turning combo. This is where it helps to have TD's that are willing to come up with quick ideas to add to the course before the official walk.

subk
Oct. 31, 2002, 06:29 PM
Again I'm reading off the same page as JAGold. I think the answer to your question again depends on your horse. I see BN as a rider thing not a horse thing and you must do what you as a rider are comfortable with.

But one thing to consider about inattentiveness. What's there about BN to get your horse's attention in the first place. For my very athletic TB it doesn't matter if we're talking about dressage or XC the harder the question the more likley he's going to pay attention and make an effort in his performance. His dressage is lousy but he's almost always going to do a better Prelim test than Training test because he has more to keep his brain busy in the harder test. If your jumping boring hay bales no wonder your guy is shying at the spectators--they're much more interesting (The little winky face needs to go here!)

Also concerning a max combination at the lower levels. Usally when I see this type of question, if the course has been well designed, the horse will have answered the problems separately in some way earlier on the course. If the max question comes out of left field, to me it's a sign of poor course design. Perhaps when you walk you can look for these things and just realizing that you've already had some prep fences can give you a bit a confidence boost for the combo.

GotSpots
Oct. 31, 2002, 07:25 PM
Just an echo of Subk (anyone seeing a trend here?): most of the better courses really do build on each other, though sometimes we as riders don't realize it! For example, I know of a Novice course where the second fence is a pile of logs in the middle of a field, the sixth fence is a pile of logs that you turn to off of a corner, and the 13th (I think) fence is a pile of logs at the bottom of a hill. What's great about this is that the first time the fence is used, it introduces the obstacle, the second time, it asks the horse and rider to package the gallop so as to make it around the turn, which sets the team up to have that packaged ride to the fence down the hill where they will need it. But the first time I walked this course, I remember saying "this is lame, it's just one pile of logs after another." Took a smart rider to explain to me what the course was designed to do, (after kindly explaining that perhaps there was a reason my gangly youngster had not even blinked at the fence at the bottom of the hill which I had been all worked up over).

I also think options are a wonderful way to help riders at a level make choices appropriate to their ride and their horse, and I applaud the black flag rule which makes this easier on course designers. Hopefully the efforts of the USEA towards promoting good course design and training course designers will continue.

subk
Oct. 31, 2002, 07:54 PM
Trend? What trend, where? Who said anything about a trend...you'd never guess we work with the same trainer would you?

By the way Gotspots, one of these days I'm going to figure out just who you are! There's a couple a people who I hope you're not but I doubt that's you--you sound much to reasonable to be that irratating. Do you know who I am? How is it possible that we ride with the same person and I'm to stupid to know exactly who you are? Other than I live 2 1/2 hours away...

Pixie Dust
Nov. 1, 2002, 06:54 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by subk:

But one thing to consider about inattentiveness. What's there about BN to get your horse's attention in the first place. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

OH, nothing! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I am now thinking that it doesn't really matter which I am doing, I just have to get his attention! (SJ & dressage are no problem)

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Also concerning a max combination at the lower levels. Usally when I see this type of question, if the course has been well designed, the horse will have answered the problems separately in some way earlier on the course. If the max question comes out of left field, to me it's a sign of poor course design. Perhaps when you walk you can look for these things and just realizing that you've already had some prep fences can give you a bit a confidence boost for the combo.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hey, I think that's pretty much what they did at Marlborough....worked up to that combination. Isn't that clever, and would explain why asterick's horse went so well!!

This has been a most informative discussion!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

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

asterix
Nov. 1, 2002, 01:31 PM
So when we walked that Marlborough course, I (and several of my friends) thought "no way will Notch jump this thing"...but by the time we GOT there, as I've said, he really locked and loaded and just flew over it...
so I suppose, looking back on it, we'd already had a large brush and rail at the 2nd fence (early challenge to commit to biggish vertical fences), a one stride bank to vertical, 2 helsinkis that were just as big and telephone-poley as the later angled logs (though as single fences), and, last but not least, 2 stone walls on a sharp turning line to make sure everyone's talking to each other.
As a new/lower level eventer, it's very easy for me to get fixated on scary questions late in the course, but I can see that in this instance, and in several others, the riding of the course itself made those questions more "flowing" and less "aliens have set this awful thing down for me to jump," if you see what I mean.
Thanks, subk, GotSpots, and bgoosewood, for thoughtful answers!