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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Default Is there anything we can do to prevent LL disasters?

    I'm conflicted, mostly due to the upped discussion on SAFE, SMART riding here.

    This question is specific to a certain horse/rider combo I've known for a while, and while I hope to never run across such a pair again in the future I don't doubt I will. I've known the rider for at least a handful of years. They recently (summer 2007) purchased the horse, a very sweet TB gelding that is supposed to have been a successful A circuit jumper in his younger days (now 15). Very clean, but VERY fast. I boarded at the same barn as them off and on, they ride/rode with my trainer off and on, maybe once every few months or so. Rider is 12 years old.

    The pair attended a derby recently and entered Training. Mid-40's dressage, and the jumping appeared to be close to the edge of disaster (as opposed to brilliance). Going back and looking at photos, EVERY SINGLE photo depicts the poor horse's head up, mouth gaping open and the rider clinging to the reins like a monkey, including the ones where she gets left behind at the down bank into the water and just about rips his back teeth out trying not to fall off. I'm happy to say she managed to recover, but did land in front of the saddle in a heap.

    I'm sad to say I saw it coming, many months ago in the making when rider's mom told me the new trainer they had been working with recommended that they jump horse in a double twisted wire snaffle. I can't say if they followed that recommendation, but the gaping mouth would suggest they did. The riding at the derby is the norm for this rider.

    What, if anything, can I do to prevent these lower-level disasters in the making from becoming real? I don't mean to pick on this pair, as I *DO* know a few other pairs that scare the CRAP out of me all too often... but it caused me to stop and wonder, short of confronting the pair, if there was anything I could do to keep them safe. Confrontation wouldn't go over well, obviously. I know the attitude in the past has been MYOB, but that seems to have shifted a bit in light of recent events.

    I just don't want to see them at P/I in a couple years being taken away by ambulance. If I see them at an event, do I warn the staff? I just don't want to seem like a tattle tail!
    Last edited by Heinz 57; Jul. 4, 2008 at 11:10 PM. Reason: Went back to Grammar School!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2000
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    Michigan
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    1,190

    Default

    In a couple years, when they're competing at P/I, they might have improved accordingly. A 12-year-old rider doesn't come to the barn booted and spurred and ready for the Olympics, you know

    I'm all for alerting staff to dangerous riding that occurs at the competition, whether the rider is LL or UL is immaterial.

    I'm not so keen on someone alerting the staff that they've seen so-and-so ride at the barn and they're bad riders, or they rode poorly at last month's event, or that someone doesn't agree with the training/equipment choices. That smacks not only of poor sportsmanship but of my-way-or-the-highway type thinking.
    Proud Member of the League of Weenie Eventers
    Proud Member of the Courageous Weenie Eventers Clique



  3. #3
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Default

    Ok, warning the staff was a bad suggestion... but given that the riding has only gotten worse, I doubt they will even need to be warned.

    This has *absolutely* nothing to do with me having any sort of poor sportsmanship. I assure you that my motives are as stated - I don't want to see them hurt. I've been watching her since she was seven or eight, and she looks up to me. I'm just wondering if there is any way to keep them safer, without having to lay in front of the jumps like the PETA people.

    Otherwise, I'm not sure how I could have poor sportsmanship when I'm not even competing? I was spectating, not riding. My greenie is nowhere near competition ready.

    ETA: I was hoping to approach this in a more general sense. What, if anything, do you do at an event when you see a *lower level* rider out of control or riding dangerously? Or, do you consider it no big deal because its lower level...?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2000
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    Default

    My response wasn't meant to imply that you might have less-than-stellar motives in this case; sorry if it came across as such. But the idea of contacting a staff member and stating that bad riding or such has happened outside the purview of their authority at that competition with the intent to focus scrutiny on that rider...wow, that's a long-a$$ sentence, and I don't even know if I had a point to make

    Oh, yeah, it could be seen as simply trying to tarnish the rider, to get folks to have a negative, pre-conceived opinion, which might not be true at all and which might not benefit you as a spectator but maybe a friend or relative of yours, you know, tear someone down so someone else looks better...That thought would be in the back of my mind were I an official and someone started telling me horror stories of so-and-so back at the barn. I'd think: I can't do anything about what has happened before, why in the world are you telling me this, is there another motive?

    You're right; bad sportsmanship is probably not the best term for it.
    Proud Member of the League of Weenie Eventers
    Proud Member of the Courageous Weenie Eventers Clique



  5. #5
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Default

    You're right... telling staff that someone has ridden poorly outside the venue is useless.

    FWIW, neither I nor any of my relatives or friends would ever be competing against her, but I see your point. Either we have greenies, are pros that are reduced to the open divisions, or are just weenie adult ammies - I don't know anyone that was competing against this particular pair that day.

    IS there anything that can be done in a case like that? If a pair is dangerous in the warmup, I hope someone takes note, even if it IS just lower level.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2001
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    High in the mountains of Southwest Virginia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieK View Post
    That thought would be in the back of my mind were I an official and someone started telling me horror stories of so-and-so back at the barn. I'd think: I can't do anything about what has happened before, why in the world are you telling me this, is there another motive?
    As an official, I am always thankful to anyone who will give me a heads-up on a horse and/or rider who could be a potential disaster waiting to happen. I don't see this as bad sportsmanship or someone angling to improve their own stature at the expense of another, although I'm sure this could be a motivating factor. But even if it is, it allows me to keep an eye on the potential problem and determine for myself if intervention is needed. If it isn't, nothing more has to happen.

    Because officials are greatly outnumbers by competitors at an event, without the heads-up it is possible for them to miss something until it is too late. So don't be shy about giving them the benefit of your knowledge of situations like you described. Nothing is lost by alerting them to the situation, but not alerting them could have very dire consequences that impact all involved, not just the horse or rider in question.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If the Number 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still number 2?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 30, 2002
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    Default

    I don't know.
    I see Canterlope's point - about being spread so t h i n at events that you would appreciate heads' up about riders who might be unprepared.
    I see that Bear wants to be pro-active and prevent an accident and is doing this from the goodness of her heart.
    BUT....
    there is a point where you just get into someone else's business a bit too much. You know we have had a saying in horse racing -- class will out.
    That means that poor performances result in nothing and good ones will win eventually. Maybe not today. But usually a rider like this can't win and that in itself is supposed to encourage them to find different and better ways to improve.
    Not saying that always happens. But you know you can't be poking your nose in other people's lessons and training habits -- unfortunately they learn at the expense of the horse, but don't we all to some degree? Who out there is a perfect rider? I make my share of booboos let me tell you, and some unfortunately are public, too.

    Let us not dissolve eventing to a witch hunt of "safe" or "unsafe" riders and running around privately snitching on people to get them on Watch Lists. I just fear the whole McCarthyism "are you or have you ever been a communist" mentality, and it can rear its head pretty quickly if unchecked. To leave this in the hands of an overworked TD at an event with hundreds of riders is bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon, JMO.
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
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    4,343

    Default

    That means that poor performances result in nothing and good ones will win eventually. Maybe not today.
    OK- that holds true in hunters. But eventing is a sport where the culture is such that there is more prestige in riding (poorly) at Prelim than winning at Novice. How many people are out there- out of control at Novice or training stating "oh- Flossy needs larger jumps to back him off".

    I think giving an official a heads up can't hurt. Bottom line- that scary ass person doesn't know they are scary- if they knew they were, they would drop a level. It probably can't hurt for them to hear some doubters.



  9. #9
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    Mar. 20, 2001
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    Colorado, a suburb of Los Angeles
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bearcombs View Post
    I've been watching her since she was seven or eight, and she looks up to me.
    Since you know this rider I would suggest a more direct approach. Suggest more lessons or more xc schooling. Talk to her about the difference between schooling and competing.
    This horse is an old pro and he may really come alive at a competition and she may not be getting the help she needs to cope with the difference in him.
    If her family is not a competitive horse family and she is 12, they are all coping with this for the first time.
    Instead of hoping the officials at an event can help....be proactive and see what you can do to help her yourself.

    And I agree that a 'confrontation' in terms of 'you shouldn't be competing' is not going to work. Take the softer route.
    She looks up to you? Then be a mentor for her.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 1999
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    Midland, NC, USA
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    Default

    I'm not sure if I agree that "the truth will out". There are trainers who can talk the talk and will convince the rider that they just need a different horse (and will be happy to find you one for 10-20%), more expensive saddle, put the horse in training, whatever.

    Of course there are also the riders who are just willfully ignorant and will go from trainer to trainer hoping to find one that will agree that they don't need to get in some kind of reasonably athletic condition and ride more than 2x/week to compete, of course a former Halter champion QH could do Prelim, whatever.

    "People are stupid. Accept it and move on."

    If I saw the rider at an event riding dangerously, I would simply mention to the TD that they should watch out for rider so and so. TDs can't possibly hope to see everything and the ones I know will be happy for a heads up. Some might catch the rider at it and have a word. Maybe enough official warnings will enlighten said rider that they need to make a change. Given the situation described, it seems likely that the rider is clueless, those close to the rider are ignorant, and the trainer is taking advantage, so it is probably not going to happen otherwise.

    Edited to add, since I just saw your post about the rider looking up to you: By all means, if she looks up to you, maybe discuss your concerns with the rider (or the rider's mom?)

    Jennifer



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Default

    Since you know the family, I would have a conversation with the rider's mom, or with the rider herself, and see if you can give them some useful suggestions.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2002
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    Staunton, VA US
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bearcombs View Post
    ETA: I was hoping to approach this in a more general sense. What, if anything, do you do at an event when you see a *lower level* rider out of control or riding dangerously? Or, do you consider it no big deal because its lower level...?

    It is not a sin to alert the organizers (particularly the TD or ground jury) if someone is riding dangerously. These days, you may be doing every one a favor...it doesn't hurt the competitors in any way if they are riding OK and the ground jury keeps a watchful eye on the competitors...and IF there is an instance that the TD or ground jury DOES feel like the horse/rider is out of control, it is an opportunity for them to talk to the rider (and their trainer, if present) about possibly stepping back a level until they are better prepared.

    Rick in VA



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2000
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    Chantilly,va.
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    Exclamation watch list

    you are explaining why a "watch list"is needed; The hope being that, placing on the e list would be a warning;
    breeder of Mercury!

    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
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    New England
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieK View Post
    . A 12-year-old rider doesn't come to the barn booted and spurred and ready for the Olympics, you know

    .

    Precisely why they have no business competing and riding at 3'3. Training level is still "lower level" but it boggles my mind how quick people are to brush off bad riding and consider Training a learning type level. There is plenty of room for injury to both horse and rider at Training!

    It sounds like this pair would still be scary at BN.

    This is why a stricter qualifying process needs to be in place

    I personally don't see why notifying the TD to keep their eyes out for the pair would hurt.



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