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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 16, 2002
    Posts
    1,771

    Default The levels, bottom to top---

    So let`s create a list of our sport`s levels, and what they SHOULD be:
    1. Maiden, minnow, grasshopper, whatever the name, this is the tiny fence, no speed taken, totally introductory level.
    Most of the unrec. trials in Vt and NC run these, and they work well, I think, for those who need them, horses and riders.
    What should they be?
    2. Beginner novice
    3. Novice
    These are the 2 huge divisions in American eventing. Can we help Kevin and the task force
    determine what WE want/need?
    4. Training. Here the test begins to be a test. How much of one is appropriate?
    5. Preliminary.
    This has been described as the hardest of the easy levels, and also as the easiest of the hard levels.
    This level may be the trickiest to work out, because there`s such disagreement about what it SHOULD be.
    Can there be a 2 track prelim division, one for "destination" riders, for whom prelim will be their top goal, and another "move through" division, for those preparing for Intermediate and higher?
    Our sport really needs to figure this out, I think.
    6. Intermediate---Hard and testing and fast, we all realize.
    How hard, testing and fast, and how to achieve that?
    7. Advanced
    a. 3- star
    b.4-star
    Level 7 is reserved for less than 1% of riders/horses.
    It`s it`s own world, and as such, not in USA control, at least not totally, as the FEI is strongly involved.
    Maybe outside of what a US task force can realistically address.
    Thoughts, suggestions for Kevin and Co?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2000
    Location
    charlottesville, Va
    Posts
    2,574

    Default I'll bite

    1) Introductory- Intro B dressage, 8-10 cross rails or 2' verticles in stadium. 10 18" - 2' XC obstacles, no water, no drops, no banks. Very easy straight forward

    2) BN, Dressage... Stadium..... XC- No combinations. Gallopy courses without tricky questions. UP banks, but no drops.... simple water crossings. If possible the option to hop up a bank out of the water at our discretion as we get miles. 12- 14 nice solid fences that are not overly decorated and are not too visually stimulating. There is where your baby horses and newby riders go to get miles. Let's get them both in a mindset to go boldly forward.

    3) N- XC - Can we see some flagged options here? Seriously, we want the same gallopy XC courses as BN, but with the option to add some degree of difficulty as we get more miles. Leave it up to the competitor to challenge themselves as they want to move up. Those new to the division can do the more straightforward course, those wishing to move up can challenge themselves more. Riders can then use their own judgement to ride what they are ready for. Since there's no course rating system, and no course regulation to speak of, at least give a rider the chance to opt out of things they are not ready for.. and for others to opt into things they want to experience to prepare for the next level.

    As for the upper levels, I can't comment as I'm not at that level.... Just make it more doable for the horses and stop trying to make it an extreme sport like snowboarding. I don't want to watch XC and think Oh My God.... at every fence and worry about horses and riders not making it back to the barn safely.
    Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!

    http://mellvinshouse.blogspot.com/



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 3, 2007
    Posts
    323

    Default

    Denny - I like your ideas. However, I'm on the fence about a 2-track preliminary. I am concerned about the extra work for the volunteers, facility owners, builders, etc., and the standard of competition between the 2 tracks. Leading into.....
    Over all, I feel we need to return to cross country, and move away from stad-oss country. Personally, I like having the optimum time and do not agree with removing the optimum time from any level. I think this is all part of the game. Just as options are given on some XC courses, riders must chose to take the easier route or to not press to make the optimum time to safeguard themselves and their horse. I think we need to lessen the number of combinations on cross country. Ten years ago, if someone told me there would be bounce combinations on XC, I would have laughed - but this is our current reality. I miss the big galloping courses with massive gallop fences (granted, there were several combinations on these courses as well, but not nearly the number there are now) - the ones that made you say "Sh*t that's big" but rode beautifully. Intermediate just doesn't look as fun as it used too.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2007
    Location
    Owings Mills, MD and Mt. Airy, MD
    Posts
    1,195

    Default

    I want to agree with what mellsmom has said about Intro, BN and N. I will add I think a small ditch is appropriate at BN, or just a 'gravel spread' simulating a ditch.

    The only thing I will say is that I would hate to see Prelim broken up. While I understand that many people think of Prelim as either end-point or just the beginning, I believe it is one level and should be considered as one. I would be especially disappointed if USEA forced us to be in one or the other (eg. ammies in an 'easier' prelim). Instead, a better option IMO is to continue mellsmom idea and give more options on a single course, at all levels. After all, people have different goals not just in the entire spectrum of levels but within a level and even at a particular event. Or this might just be better accomplished by giving better descriptions of the level at each individual event, so people know what event will meet their needs and provide the proper challenge. This is not, to say, that I think people should know exactly what a course is going to be like, that kind of defeats the purpose...

    I liked a lot of the questions posed in the taskforce goals.
    Winfield Farm
    Karrera "Zoee" ~ Redshift "Orion" ~ Inquisitive "Q" ~ No Doubts "Lady"
    I Paid For My Vet's New Truck Clique



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2007
    Location
    body in charlottesville VA, heart in Ocala FL
    Posts
    2,037

    Default

    I LOVE the idea of more options on course. It would be a great thing for people that just moved up, or people planning on moving up soon. To make things simpler, there could be "hard BN" and "easy N" jumps that are shared, and then "hard N" and "easy T" jumps that are shared, and "hard T" and "easy P" jumps that are shared, and so on. That would also make it easier for the course builders, so there would be a lot of shared jumps opposed to two different sets of jumps for each level.

    Also I would like to see more "questions from the level above" offered at smaller heights as options. For example, an option on a training course for a bounce, but very small in height. I think if these types of options were offered, riders and horses would be more comfortable with them BEFORE they are asked at full height at the level they are "supposed" to be asked at. The more comfortable people/horses are with certain questions will bring down the accident risk factor, IMO.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2006
    Location
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Posts
    3,294

    Default

    I love Mellsmom's idea about options at Novice. Makes total sense to me! For me (and a lot of people I know) the move up from Novice to Training is big.
    We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
    www.dleestudio.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2001
    Location
    Middleburg, FL
    Posts
    1,126

    Default

    Honestly I think there should be a level under BN for the younger riders on young horses or ponies who are not ready to do the larger BN jumps (ok ok, may not be LARGE, but when your ten and just starting out, 2'7" or 2'9" or whatever it is is BIG!)

    I also think that maybe T/P should be really utilized or I/P,but instead of using the Prelim course for the I/P and Training course for the T/P there should be some sort of middle ground, middle speed and maybe combo's similar to those at the higher level, but smaller. We need more "steps" in our ladder.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    passepartout
    Posts
    10,085

    Default

    I'd like Prelim to be more like Novice in the UK. I've ridden courses with lots of great stuff -- complicated waters, fences in situations where you have to really think about the natural terrain, downhill galloping fences -- but the fences aren't all maxed out. Some are T height or less. You get the complexity without the height yet nothing feels dumbed down.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Posts
    2,079

    Default Hey Jazzy

    Jazzy you are from Ontario...would you say this is an apt description of pre-entry, entry and pre-training here?

    Quote Originally Posted by mellsmom View Post
    1) Introductory- Intro B dressage, 8-10 cross rails or 2' verticles in stadium. 10 18" - 2' XC obstacles, no water, no drops, no banks. Very easy straight forward

    2) BN, Dressage... Stadium..... XC- No combinations. Gallopy courses without tricky questions. UP banks, but no drops.... simple water crossings. If possible the option to hop up a bank out of the water at our discretion as we get miles. 12- 14 nice solid fences that are not overly decorated and are not too visually stimulating. There is where your baby horses and newby riders go to get miles. Let's get them both in a mindset to go boldly forward.

    3) N- XC - Can we see some flagged options here? Seriously, we want the same gallopy XC courses as BN, but with the option to add some degree of difficulty as we get more miles. Leave it up to the competitor to challenge themselves as they want to move up. Those new to the division can do the more straightforward course, those wishing to move up can challenge themselves more. Riders can then use their own judgement to ride what they are ready for. Since there's no course rating system, and no course regulation to speak of, at least give a rider the chance to opt out of things they are not ready for.. and for others to opt into things they want to experience to prepare for the next level.

    As for the upper levels, I can't comment as I'm not at that level.... Just make it more doable for the horses and stop trying to make it an extreme sport like snowboarding. I don't want to watch XC and think Oh My God.... at every fence and worry about horses and riders not making it back to the barn safely.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 1999
    Location
    Just Enough Farm, GA
    Posts
    2,228

    Default

    1. Having jump judged a ton of these, I think the bar needs to be raised a little. I think the dressage test should require canter -- even if it's just establish the canter through a corner and down some portion of the long side. Competing in a sport that requires riding across country at even the smallest level means that a rider should be prepared to canter.

    2. BN - open and inviting cross country, no related distances required.

    3. N - still open and inviting, but add related distances with 2 strides minimum. Single fences should start to have terrain issues as part of the question - fences at tops or bottoms of slopes and off turns.

    4. T - here the bar raises from learning cross country to having a skill set that can handle related distances with terrain questions added into the equation. Still encourage the horse and rider forward.

    I haven't walked courses above training with an eye towards riding them, so won't comment other than to say that I'm not wild about a 2-track system for a number of reasons, but they boil down to a Prelim rider is a prelim rider is a prelim rider and same for the horse. You and your horse either have the stuff to do the level which is appropriate and safe as a progression to I & A or you don't. There is no God-given right to progress in this sport, you earn it with hours in the saddle and some degree of native talent/reflexes that prepare you to handle the questions. I think eventing through training should be accessible to riders and horses with basic skill sets and training. I've always regarded Prelim as where those with a little more strut start to step up.
    If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb




  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2007
    Location
    Central,PA
    Posts
    713

    Default

    Ill take a shot as well mainly just to voice my concerns and stance on the
    "situation"

    Ive never evented in my life, While I'm from a Hunter/Jumper backround, I have fox-hunted, paper chased and grew up going X-C. So while not entirely new to the "problem area of the sport" you can take my post as a grain of salt.

    I have an OTTB after seeing him move and mainly Jump, he will never be a hunter, Eventing is the end "goal" and now with such issues arising and walking my first courses and fence judging for the first time this past spring I truly think I will never have the desire to go above novice.

    I dont think the issues with the sport are in the lower levels. Truly they are at heights and questions suitable for a team just starting out. Our first event will be BN, Fun, Inviting and not challenging ( at least not for myself or my horse ) We will move up when hes ready and he tells me so.

    I love the idea of having options, even on a BN course having a water, a bank but having routes around said questions. My horse has done everything but a ditch ( which we do not have at our home farm) I would love to have all these questions presented to him in a enviroment thats not over facing or scary for him in a nice easy course I know we can get around and still smile at the end.This way once we move up theres still a ditch but added with a jump a few strides out... or whatever but I would like to build on our learning and not move up and present obstacles hes never seen in a competion atmosphere.

    Im not even going to touch Prelim and above as I will probably never get there and at this point have no desire to, Frankly it scares the Bejesus outta me, and Im known to be bold ( obviously not compared to some of you) !!! But Im def. not on a packer by any means and hes still trying to figure out what excally to do with his feet !!!

    I will say this though : While I like the idea of having a 2 track prelim. Im not sure .........Maybe a rule implemented that each horse and each rider needs to compete in at least 3 Prelims SUCCESSFULLY before a move up may be made. Successfully is no penelties.After so many "attempts" at one level the horse and rider must drop a level, compete there successfully before another attempt may be made at the move up. Its just a toss around..............

    While some say they dont want it to turn into an "extreme sport " it already is. I mean who in there right mind gets on a 1,200 lb animal and expects them do some of the things we ask them to ?? Only horse people, and while snow boarding is dangerous so is trying to control an animal with a mind of their own.But some how we've done it.


    I think it gotten to outta hand,sure spectators wanna see what is appealing to the eye, But at the end of the day everyone should be safe and ready for the next day. There has to be some common ground. We just need to find it and keep this sport challenging, but safe.


    Ok Im done.
    Ride it like you stole it....ohhh sh*t



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2004
    Location
    Milton, Ontario
    Posts
    1,437

    Default

    [QUOTE=CanTango1;3120871
    I love the idea of having options, even on a BN course having a water, a bank but having routes around said questions. My horse has done everything but a ditch ( which we do not have at our home farm) I would love to have all these questions presented to him in a enviroment thats not over facing or scary for him in a nice easy course I know we can get around and still smile at the end.This way once we move up theres still a ditch but added with a jump a few strides out... or whatever but I would like to build on our learning and not move up and present obstacles hes never seen in a competion atmosphere.
    [/QUOTE]

    The problem with options at BN is that time isn't really a factor so there is no real incentive for riders to go the straight route.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2007
    Location
    Central,PA
    Posts
    713

    Default

    Yes I agree, But going along with the whole, BN should be easy peezy, super inviting etc etc. I would want some sort of challenge like a water or a ditch. If you/or the horse are not comfortable with it, give them the option to go around. Your right there is no time. Personally I would take every question presented at that level that I felt comfortable with. Why ?? Because when I move up those questions are going to be there anyway.
    Ride it like you stole it....ohhh sh*t



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
    Location
    Colorado- Yee Haw!
    Posts
    2,878

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hony View Post
    The problem with options at BN is that time isn't really a factor so there is no real incentive for riders to go the straight route.
    I, as a BN rider would love to see options. I'd prefer this over taking out the fun stuff like down banks, ditches and water. I love the mini real cross country obsticals. Just because eukanuba snookums and I don't want to go novice b/c I'm a wuss and he's old doesn't mean we shouldn't get to play in the water and on the drops. Really, I think these should be required and starter trials should be the place to go to "no water" or "no ditch" events. I would also love BN to be flagged big enough that we can jump into or wade into the water and jump out or wade out.

    I do however think it is totally rediculous to let people go cross country who can't do canter in a dressage test. If you can't canter in a dressage ring you shouldn't be doing it in an open field. I was always bummed when we did starter trials that the dressage was a little bit rediculous.

    There is one even near us in the fall that runs a totally differend OBN - a move up course and BNR and BNH which are 2'3" max. I liked this idea and ~half of the OBN jumps were novice jumps - so I don't think they actually needed that many more jumps. That was a good option in my opinion. I was eligible for BNR, but just entered OBN as I wanted to tackle that course.

    Pretty much I like the BN courses I've seen as is. Except I would like the speed to be 325 or 300 rather than 350.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    263

    Default

    Ten years ago, if someone told me there would be bounce combinations on XC, I would have laughed - but this is our current reality.
    There were bounce combo's at prelim and above over 10 years ago.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2003
    Location
    Celina, TX
    Posts
    2,440

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by c_expresso View Post
    I LOVE the idea of more options on course. It would be a great thing for people that just moved up, or people planning on moving up soon. To make things simpler, there could be "hard BN" and "easy N" jumps that are shared, and then "hard N" and "easy T" jumps that are shared, and "hard T" and "easy P" jumps that are shared, and so on. That would also make it easier for the course builders, so there would be a lot of shared jumps opposed to two different sets of jumps for each level.

    Also I would like to see more "questions from the level above" offered at smaller heights as options. For example, an option on a training course for a bounce, but very small in height. I think if these types of options were offered, riders and horses would be more comfortable with them BEFORE they are asked at full height at the level they are "supposed" to be asked at. The more comfortable people/horses are with certain questions will bring down the accident risk factor, IMO.
    Great idea! That way if you are thinking about moving up, you can ease into it by riding at your level but choosing the more difficult options to prepare for move up. I believe that there was a thread about having a between division for Training and Prelim and I think option fences would solve that

    4Martini: Eukanuba Snookums Good thing I wasn't sipping my coffee when I read that.
    Last edited by imapepper; Apr. 3, 2008 at 11:03 AM. Reason: to add a comment



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    I don't like a distinct "two track" system for Preliminary, either, but could there not be more use made of OPTIONS? For instance, if you're a BNR taking an up-and-coming horse around for experience, by all means do all the hard options. You don't care about the ribbons anyway, right? If you're trying to qualify for a CCI* or Intermediate, OK, you MUST do at least "X" number of options on a Prelim XC course to make it a qualifying score, but you still have the choice of WHICH options, or NO options if you're not having a great day. You can still complete, even be competitive if that's important to you, save the qualifying score for another day when you're more on your game or the course suits your horse better.
    Click here before you buy.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2001
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    659

    Default Options...

    It does seem that the options have all but disappeared. Back in the 90's, if there was a corner, bounce or other difficult fence/combination on a prelim track, there was usually an optional route. Sometimes it was a "B" element around a corner going the wrong way, but at least you had the option of taking an easy route. Now, I hardly ever see an option on these courses. These options would eliminate the "need" for two tracks, and give people a better way to "test" their horses, or build confidence - a choice that is up to the rider anyway.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2008
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    70

    Default

    I love the idea of flagging different options for BN - Training. I'd like to think that most of us will always push ourselves - when we're ready. We can also gauge ourselves while on course. Sometimes, my OTTB is LOOKING for an excuse to get himself worked up, other days, he's got the 'I can conquer the world' attitude.
    Moving up each level, there are added technical jumps. How about saying the intro to a new type of technical jump, the max height will be based on the previous levels'. For example, in Training level, now you can be asked to jump a ramp downhill. The maximum height would be based on novice level - 2'9" (right?) Is there a way to categorize the new types of jumps / technical questions that are added at each level? I know while walking a course, I'm going to feel much more confident tackling a new challenge at a height which is more than comfortable to my horse.
    With the prelim level - perhaps at that stage, we can mandate a standard 'course difficulty' rating. That way, when your new to that division, it's simple to know which is a good 'move up' or 'move on' event.
    With all this being said...I can't imagine how difficult it is to put on an event. Let's remember that is is very generous of land owners to build these courses and organize these events for us. I certainly don't want to make it too difficult for the organizers of events to offer the event!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2004
    Location
    Lexington KY
    Posts
    1,374

    Default

    Like others have mentioned, I would like to see optional ditch, water, up/down bank at BN. At Novice, I certainly want to see pass through water and up/down bank...and an optional ditch.



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