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  1. #1
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    Default Spinoff: Is moving up w/o Mastery exclusive to Eventing?

    " Personally, I feel that somewhere along the way "competitive" and "sport" has been diluted by the "move-up mentality", and it begs the question, why? Why are riders, who are not even placing at their current level, "WANTING" to move up? Why are riders more ambitious in regards to the "move up" than they are to the "pursuit of perfection" in the division in which they are currently competing? Eventing is, after all, a sport (an Olympic sport at that), and in sport competition is the basis for the existence of the sport itself. Why is there a general lack of desire to "be competitive"?



    Vuma's commentary in the sportsmanship thread got me thinking......

    Why does it seem that moving up the levels and getting to Prelim and beyond rather than mastering the lower levels has become a trend in Eventing?? ( and I am NOT referring to Pro's on greenies etc...)

    Perhaps I am just imagining this but when I think about other equestrian disciplines I just don't notice this issue glaring out at me. I am sure it exists...but is it widespread enough to cause issue ( as far as safety )as it does in eventing? What IS with the move up trend? Is this an issue that is unique to our sport???

    For example: If you think about the ammie levels of the hunters and jumpers. How often do you hear of someone competing in the Modified Hunters/EQ NEVER ribboning or riding competitvely whatsoever but yet moving up to the Amateur Adult Hunters and Eq?

    In dressage.....how often does a 1st level rider score regularly score 50% and below but move on up to 2nd and 3rd??

    In jumpers..... is it common for riders (non pros) in the Low training jumpers to not place at that level at all and then move up to the Adult Jumpers???

    I honestly do not know the answer to all these questions but I think they are important to ask. What sort of systems are in place in other disciplines (if any) to promote good sportsmanship and safety that are effective?

    Ideas/Opinions???



  2. #2
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    No. Just watch some mid level jumper classes or venture over to the dressage board to find evidence of the same mentality in other disciplines. People think they have to be competing at X level in order to be a "real" equestrian. For some reason they forget that one must be competent at that level as well.



  3. #3
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    Hah, MANY of the rounds I have seen in the Child/Adult jumpers are not even worthy of a cross rail class. Plenty of dressage riders I have seen going 1st or 2nd level who have no concept of proper bend, or lateral work.

    Most eventers, just like in other disciplines, that have GOOD COACHING will not be the scary riders, and will move up when the time is right.

    The difference between eventing and other disciplines IMO is "placing." Getting a ribbon is not as important in eventing as it is in other disciplines regarding moving up. If you are consistently ribboning in the children's jumpers, you are probably going consistently clear/double clear fairly easily, and it may be time to move up to the high children's or modifieds. Although this is not even the case lots of times, as a kid can race around in the low level jumpers and win, but should they move up? If you're at 1st level in dressage, always scoring in the mid/high 60s, occasional low 60 or low 70, you are probably ready to move up.

    However it is different in eventing. The low level divisions are very tight, and it's hard to win them because so many people have great dressage scores, and almost always finish on them. So if you are usually in 10th with a -38, but consistently going clear at, let's say, Novice, why shouldn't you move up?

    Some event horses will never be dressage stars, but it doesn't mean they shouldn't move up. At the lower levels in general, you need a dressage star to place, but you don't need one to be ready to move up. You need to be jumping clear to move up. Obviously you shouldn't have god awful dressage scores, but you get my point.

    And as an eventer moves up through the levels, dressage does become less important, because at Intermediate you can have a mid-range score, but if you finish on it you are most likely going to place very well.



  4. #4
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    It's in every discipline. A very good friend of mine is a typical, text-book Dressage Queen. She bought a lovely TB cross and started at Training - did well enough to bump to First level. She had not scored above 60% once at First level before moving up to Second in the same season. She has shown a couple of Second levels and is now bumping up to Third for this year. I believe the issue there may have been that she was placing in the top 1,2,3 out of classes sized 2-6ish, so maybe her good placing out-weighed the actual class size and her received score, so she upgraded.
    Eventing and show jumping is certainly no different. I think that once people place well enough for their liking (ie: in the top 5) that they believe that they are ready to tackle the next higher level.

    I'm a firm believer of mastering one level at competition while schooling the next higher level at home. When you are receiving consistent and predictable scores at that level, that may be a good time to move up. There are of course some horses who can't handle the smaller levels and only get better results as the levels get more difficult. But I always question why that horse can't master a smaller level in the first place?



  5. #5
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    I personally think the "move up" mentality is pushed by coaches and trainers. (I by no means think that all trainers/coaches think this way.)

    If they encourage students to move up before they are ready, they get their students to become dependent upon them for everything. They want students to be "needy" because it means more income for them: training, board, lessons, show fees, trailering, etc. They also encourage/demand that students purchase a new horse (from them or their buddies so they get that commission) since they are moving up.

    These people want the students to come to them for everything: how to tack up, walk the course, warm up their horse, what event to go to, what suppliments to feed the horse.....

    Why aren't trainers/coaches teaching eventers to be independent thinkers who can figure things out? Isn't that the goal of any teacher- teach your students to become proficient and compitant? Every good rider needs a trainer or coach to bounce ideas off, but a rider should be able to figure out how to solve a problem. That's what lessons are for, aren't they?

    I know there are plenty of super coaches and trainers out there that do teach riders independence. But there are a lot of trainers/coaches who do not teach independence. I think the bad trainers lack self-confidence and good teaching and horsemenship skills themselves.

    Many eventers don't have a lot of options when it comes to lessons and training. They train which who is available, not who is necessiarly a good coach/trainer. They aren't enough good trainers and coaches out there, especially in some areas of the country.

    In the AQHA, the Beginner Novice and Novice sections of classes (western pleasure, huntseat pleasure, equitation, etc.) are HUGE! To "move up", a rider must win a set number of points, and then they must "move up." The AQHA keeps increasing the number of points it takes to "move out" of the Beginner Novice or Novice class. People WANT to stay in those classes. As the rider gaines points, they gain proficiencty, so in theory, they should be more competitive when they move to the next class.

    I'm not saying eventing should do that, but they must change the "move up" mentality. It's dangerous and we're not producing safe and proficient riders.
    Last edited by mbarrett; Mar. 6, 2008 at 09:53 AM. Reason: clarification



  6. #6
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    Default

    Ever seen the level II/III jumper classes at a jumper show? Yes, there are some VERY polished teams, but there are also a bunch of freaking TERRIFYING rides with out-of-control riders on really fast horses just flinging themselves around. They are often successful, too--after all, you only have to leave 'em up and go fast to win.
    Click here before you buy.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Ever seen the level II/III jumper classes at a jumper show? Yes, there are some VERY polished teams, but there are also a bunch of freaking TERRIFYING rides with out-of-control riders on really fast horses just flinging themselves around. They are often successful, too--after all, you only have to leave 'em up and go fast to win.
    And unfortunately the polished teams often don't place, since they aren't out of control galloping over everything...



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_expresso View Post
    If you are consistently ribboning in the children's jumpers, you are probably going consistently clear/double clear fairly easily, and it may be time to move up to the high children's or modifieds. Although this is not even the case lots of times, as a kid can race around in the low level jumpers and win, but should they move up? However it is different in eventing. The low level divisions are very tight, and it's hard to win them because so many people have great dressage scores, and almost always finish on them. So if you are usually in 10th with a -38, but consistently going clear at, let's say, Novice, why shouldn't you move up?

    .
    The difference is in the lower level jumpers than eventing is those that
    race around like madmen CAN because the jumps aren't high yet. But the higher the fences go the harder it becomes to get away with that. There comes a point in the jumpers where the scary, running willy nilly rider IS NOT going to survive and the rails will start falling.

    As far as going Novice and dressage scores in the high 30's keeping you from ribboning??? What's wrong with focusing on improving the dressage work and schooling Training level fences??


    I realize moving up unprepared in Dressage is an issue as well. There was recently a thread about creating a qualifying score system.

    I am not saying this issue is exclusive to Eventing. I am just more or less attempting to analyze the issue and create discussion, hear opinions etc...



  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mbarrett View Post
    In the AQHA, the Beginner Novice and Novice sections of classes (western pleasure, huntseat pleasure, equitation, etc.) are HUGE! To "move up", a rider must win a set number of points, and then they must "move up." The AQHA keeps increasing the number of points it takes to "move out" of the Beginner Novice or Novice class. People WANT to stay in those classes. As the rider gaines points, they gain proficiencty, so in theory, they should be more competitive when they move to the next class.

    I'm not saying eventing should do that, but they must change the "move up" mentality. It's dangerous and we're not producing safe and proficient riders.

    Interesting. This is similar to the rules in the Modified Adult h/eq. After a certain number of blue ribbons the rider must move on out. The 2'6 divisions in the H/EQ are very poplular and there are alot of people that could careless about moving on out.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LookinSouth View Post
    The difference is in the lower level jumpers than eventing is those that
    race around like madmen CAN because the jumps aren't high yet. But the higher the fences go the harder it becomes to get away with that. There comes a point in the jumpers where the scary, running willy nilly rider IS NOT going to survive and the rails will start falling.

    As far as going Novice and dressage scores in the high 30's keeping you from ribboning??? What's wrong with focusing on improving the dressage work and schooling Training level fences??


    I realize moving up unprepared in Dressage is an issue as well. There was recently a thread about creating a qualifying score system.

    I am not saying this issue is exclusive to Eventing. I am just more or less attempting to analyze the issue and create discussion, hear opinions etc...
    I don't really see your point. Moving up when you aren't prepared in any discipline will eventually catch up with you and be dangerous, whether it's jumpers, eventing, or anything.

    Why shouldn't you move up if you are consistently getting -38s in dressage at Novice and always going clear? If I waited til I had consistently awesome dressage scores at Novice to move up I would be there forever. Some horses just aren't that great at dressage. But we were nearly always clean in SJ and XC, so we moved up. I am not consistently clean XC yet at training, so I won't move up yet. But as long as my dressage is decent, it is the thing I am least worried about regarding an upgrade.



  11. #11
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    If you can consistently go double clear in both stadium and cross country I think it's okay to move up. Many horses are never going to be dressage horses, but a lack of dressage skill isn't unsafe. You just won't be competitive.

    If you move up and can't get around cross country without jumping penalties, you need to drop down and school more. I did that, and placed second at my second training after being eliminated the first time out. It's a good rule of thumb.



  12. #12
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    I, personally, will never probably score in the low 30s or high 20s in dressage. Heck, it's a party when we break into the 30s. But my gelding is has had an almost two entire seasons at Training with the last one not having a single jumping fault on cross country and only once had time penalties (because I was very sick and couldn't breathe and had to keep pulling up and walking to catch my breath). In stadium, we may have one rail down here and there but that is usually me either letting down mid-course and having the rail cause I relaxed to much or I sat down too early and pulled a rail with the back. We are planning on a move up to Prelim this spring. Is his dressage up to par? I don't know.. he can do the movements, but he isn't a fancy dressage horse by any stretch of the imagination (nor am I a DQ...LOL). We have extensively schooled Prelim questions on cross country with great results and I am currently attending a lot of H/J shows and showing in the 3'6" jumper divisions (and placing in the top 3 usually). So should I hold back and stay at Training yet another season even though we are just not going to ever get those low 30s? I doubt I will. I will "get through" the dressage and enjoy myself on cross country and stadium. We do school dressage a lot and take lessons whenever we can, so I don't scoff that off... but we are going to be limited because he isn't the big fancy mover.

    Just my thoughts......from someone who dreams of scoring in the 30s in dressage.... LOL.

    Bobbi



  13. #13
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    How does one define "mastery?"

    There are plenty of folks who can jump 5 foot at home and do one-tempies but blow up at competitions? Have they mastered the sport? Does placing define mastery?

    I would have never progressed if placings were used to define my "mastery." Things did not get better until I started running at Preliminary and above. I've never won a HT but I am consistent in the ribbons. Does this mean I haven't mastered what I am doing?

    Reed



  14. #14
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    JMHO

    There is not necessarily a direct correlation between placing, mastery and scoring... And when to move up.

    In eventing: A low dressage score at BNovice/novicemay mean that your horse is very very steady, and obedient - not that he/she has the strength/flexibility to do a training or prelim test. He/she may clock around at 350 mpm over 3 foot fences yet struggle terribly w/ the combinations and footwork required at training/prelim or not yet have the balance in the gallop.

    In jumping: A horse/rider that screams around a low level jumper course cleanly (and winning) may very well lack the balance and timing to jump fences 6 to 9" higher.

    In dressage: a horse scoring 70% at first level may have a lot of pushing power, obedience and w/ lengthening and lateral work developing but may not be ready to do collected work or counter canter in a test and therefore is not ready to move up to second at a show...

    All move ups require a certain skill set in place for the move up to go well. this skill set does not necessarily directly correlate w/ scores or placing.... The responsibility and decision truely resides with the rider and his/her coach.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_expresso View Post
    I don't really see your point. Moving up when you aren't prepared in any discipline will eventually catch up with you and be dangerous, whether it's jumpers, eventing, or anything.

    .

    My point is it seems to definitely be an issue in eventing that people have noticed. That's all. Is it an issue in other disciplines too?? Of course. But some of those disciplines have systems in place to help prevent it while eventing does not.

    The other thing is if it doesn't catch up with you until Prelim that means there is quite a potential for safety hazards on the road to that level. In the 3'6 jumpers everything falls down, yeah it's still dangerous, but not as nearly life threatening.

    Honestly, in Area I (maybe this is limited to my area) I have yet to see the fancy dressage horses consistently pull in the low scores at BN/Novice. IF they do, it's because they were ridden well. It is usually won by the most CORRECT horses.
    The things required to score in the low 30's in the Dressage at BN and N are the same elements required to ride a good stadium/jumper round. If the rider can't get the horse on the bit, going at a consistent pace and responsive on the flat how on earth can we expect it o/f?? Stadium is just dressage flatwork with a few jumps in between.

    Going clear IMHO does not translate to mastery/correctness. Afterall, look at the scary level I and II jumpers. They go clear all the time.

    What I got out of the OP's quotes in the Sportsmanship thread was what ever happened to working on mastering a finessed and correct ride with great form on the part of both horse and rider?? But maybe that's just my take. It's interesting to hear everyone's opinions.
    Last edited by LookinSouth; Mar. 6, 2008 at 02:42 PM.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqsiu View Post
    but a lack of dressage skill isn't unsafe. .


    But isn't it unsafe if it means the rider cannot half halt, adjust or whoa the horse to any degree on stadium and XC??
    We've all seen the very scary riders out there whipping around, barely hanging on with the saintly horses clearing every fence. It's safe until that rider gets hurt when horsey decides to stop etc...



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LookinSouth View Post
    But isn't it unsafe if it means the rider cannot half halt, adjust or whoa the horse to any degree on stadium and XC??
    We've all seen the very scary riders out there whipping around, barely hanging on with the saintly horses clearing every fence. It's safe until that rider gets hurt when horsey decides to stop etc...
    Yes.

    I was speaking specifically to the outstanding jumpers that are die hard safe on cross country but are shitheads in dressage. Being able to score in the low 30's is admirable, but a score in the low 40's does not indicate that you shouldn't go cross country. My old event mare was very good jumping, but I usually got too tense in dressage to ride a great test. So my hands sucked ass and my mare got pissed, which led to 6's instead of 7's. I could still half halt and balance her before jumps.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LookinSouth View Post
    It's safe until that rider gets hurt when horsey decides to stop etc...
    Or how about the highly skilled rider that gets a horse around, but the horse is at the limit of it's ability? There are always exceptions to the rule. I still believe that adequate middle of the pack dressage should not prevent someone from moving up if their jumping is in line.



  19. #19
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    Or, how about the fact that you get high enough in levels there is no way there will be consistent placings simply because there are so many good riders?

    Hell, one year Sally O'Conner told me that me and my horse were totally inappropriate at Intermediate after dressage, placing us last, yet we were one of only 2 double clears on XC and one of only 3 double clears in stadium. Subsequently, over the past few years she has been very gracious to us at competitions.

    I feel Vuma's and Lookinsouth's implications work well for low level eventing but not above prelim as at that point a lot of chaff has already been separated.

    At the same time, there is no way to prevent folks from lying about qualifications on their entries. I know of at least one instance where a fatality had lied about their background.

    Reed



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAyers View Post
    I feel Vuma's and Lookinsouth's implications work well for low level eventing but not above prelim as at that point a lot of chaff has already been separated.

    Agreed. I am certain 99% of riders beyond Prelim are more than competent in all phases regardless of their dressage scores.

    I think a system is neccessary for the lower levels. And your right...there is no way to prevent people from lying



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