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  1. #1
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    Nov. 21, 2007
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    Default Penalty points on xc question

    In looking at a horse's USEA record, what do 20, 40 and 60 penalty points mean on xc? Had a friend ask me this tonight, and all I know is that 20 is a run out? TIA! I told her not to buy one with a bunch of points on the xc column!



  2. #2
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    Nov. 19, 2007
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    20 for the first stop at an obstacle. If you have a second stop at that same obstacle it is 40 added to your first 20, so you now carry a total of 60.
    Or one stop at one fence and then one at another, that gets you 40, and then one more stop at another jump gets you 20 more so now a total of 60.
    Did I just make it worse?
    It makes perfect sense in my head.



  3. #3
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    Apr. 20, 2009
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    20 points is for one refusal at one fence (could be a run-out, and flat-out stop, whatever). If you see 40 points, that indicates that the horse had one stop at each of two separate fences (20 + 20). If a horse stops a second time at one fence, he gets an additional 40 penalties, for a total of 60 (20 + 60). A third stop at a single fence results in an elimination. A fall of rider will also result in elimination (E), a fall of the horse results in mandatory retirement (MR), and if the rider chooses to call it quits for the day (for whatever reason, but before being eliminated), it will be listed as a retirement (R). Before the new rules were instituted a few years ago, one fall of rider was allowed and incurred 65 penalties, so you may see that on older records.

    Hope that helps!

    ETA: Oops, simultaneous post! What pass said .



  4. #4
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    The first refusal at any XC obstacle is 20 points. The second refusal at a single obstacle is 40 points.

    If you see 20 points, it means the horse had one refusal on XC. If you see 40 points, it means the horse had two refusal (at two separate fences). If you see 60 points it usually means the horse had two refusals at the same obstacle, but it could also mean the horse had three stops (all at separate fences).

    Although XC jump penalties can be a yellow flag on a prospective horse, it can also mean other things. For instance, a horse that has just moved up may be learning about a specific fence type (ditches, coffins, and corners are often "gotchas" the first time around, especially if the horse/rider do not have access to a course to school prior to the show). You may very well see a horse with some jumping penalties the first time at a move-up level and it may not indicate anything bad.

    If the horse has been clean up to a certain level (Prelim is often a dividing line), that may indicate why the horse is for sale -- because it has topped out. These horses can be extremely safe/knowledgeable horses at the lower levels.

    If you are going to use eventing records as an indicator of a horse for sale, it is important to have someone knowledgeable about eventing interpreting the results. For example, I have seen people assume it is bad to have time penalties, when in fact, the wise rider often expects time penalties the first few times at a move-up level. This can often indicate the horse has been brought along properly, as opposed to it being interpreted negatively.



  5. #5
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    Nov. 21, 2007
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    Thanks! The horse in question has 15 events listed, with 3 that were 20 xc points, 1 that was 40, and 1 for 60. I told my friend to pass as horse obviously has issues with xc, and it's all BN!



  6. #6
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    For example, I have seen people assume it is bad to have time penalties, when in fact, the wise rider often expects time penalties the first few times at a move-up level. This can often indicate the horse has been brought along properly, as opposed to it being interpreted negatively.
    Or it could mean that the rider was a wimp (and I'm talking about myself here) and the time penalties were incurred through no fault of the horse. At our last event of the season last year, I brought my horse back to a trot for the water obstacle because I wasn't comfortable, and this caused us a small time penalty. Horse would have been quite happy to canter through it, I'm the one who chickened out (what can I say? this was my first competition season and I'm still pretty green). Of course I kicked myself later, especially as it bumped us down two spots in the results.
    Last edited by cranky; Jan. 25, 2010 at 05:34 PM.
    -Debbie / NH

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemytbs View Post
    Thanks! The horse in question has 15 events listed, with 3 that were 20 xc points, 1 that was 40, and 1 for 60. I told my friend to pass as horse obviously has issues with xc, and it's all BN!
    I wouldn't necessarily say you are correct (I'm also not saying you aren't but I would consider some other things). Were the penalties at the beginning of his show career or the end? Was it the same rider? Were the other 12 runs clean?

    15 shows with penalties in the first few outings followed by several shows with clean runs would not necessarily rule out a horse for me, especially if the penalties got fewer as the went along. How do you know how that horse was started? Perhaps they didn't have access to a XC course for schooling and they used the first outings as education. Maybe the rider was the problem. Perhaps there were other factors such as the horse having an issue with water, which has since been resolved (the point distribution that you describe could have been all at one type of fence). Yes, penalties points can be an indicator of an issue, but not always.

    Again, that's why it is important to have someone knowledgeable about eventing looking at the results and perhaps, asking the seller for more information.
    Last edited by SevenDogs; Jan. 24, 2010 at 10:17 PM.



  8. #8
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    What about footing? My mare has two stops at 5 outings Training, and both were footing related (one probably could have been salvaged with a better ride, so I take the blame on that one entirely, and the other MAYBE could have been saved with a bit more fitness work--MAYBE). Granted, I fell off in the SJ at one of them, resulting in the big E, but my horse is a rockstar XC--even if her record doesn't bear her out. I also suffer from severe show nerves, making our dressage record less than stellar (but improving) and our SJ equally abysmal. She's got the training and movement and jump--I just screw it up for her!

    Record is such a sketchy thing on which to base one's decision, IMO--it only tells half the story because only half of the equation is the horse! It's just some additional information.



  9. #9
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    Agree with everyone else -- you need to know the whole story, including the rider.

    If the horse has gone out 15 times at Beginner Novice, one of two things is probably true...either

    a)no, the horse is NOT a good event prospect. Should not take any horse 15 tries to "get" Beginner Novice with an experienced rider

    OR

    b) the horse is being ridden at least most of the time by a much less experienced or confident rider, who is most comfortable staying at Beginner Novice. In this case the stops on the record could have as much or more to do with the rider as the horse. Horse could be bold, running right past an obstacle. Horse could be a wise soul and putters to a stop if too underpowered or crooked to jump well. Or horse could just need a more steady ride.

    If (b), and especially if stops are mostly at the beginning of those 15 BNs, I would not assume horse is a no go as an event prospect....

    You can look up rider records as well as horse records -- that will probably help sort this out.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

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  10. #10
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    Shoot, Bonnie's record is peppered with scores of 20 here and there--I certainly am not looking to sell her, but I wouldn't necessarily stop looking at a horse with a record like that, ESPECIALLY at BN, where a lot of riders just go out to school and not to be competitive.

    If the horse has a string of 20's and 40's at Training and up (which mine also has, alas--I am not a brave XC rider) then I'd be more concerned.
    Click here before you buy.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemytbs View Post
    Thanks! The horse in question has 15 events listed, with 3 that were 20 xc points, 1 that was 40, and 1 for 60. I told my friend to pass as horse obviously has issues with xc, and it's all BN!
    I wouldn't reject a horse based on those scores, certainly not without knowing the whole story. Could be "stupid rider error". Could be "dog ran out in front of horse on the last stride". Could be an ineffective rider. Could be bad footing.

    What does your friend intend to do with the horse? A BN horse, or a prospect to move up to N and T?

    MOST horses (riden by an experienced eventer) that are going to "move up the ranks" don't go BN 15 times. THAT would attract my attention more thatn the occaisional refusal.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  12. #12
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    Yes, Janet, my thoughts exactly.
    I use the unrecognized events we have locally to cover that level at much lower cost. And there is no way to know how many unrecognized, if any, a horse may have, unless one questions the owner and they reply honestly. Photographers who post unrecognized event photos are a great source!
    (Some parts of the country don't have the wealth of unrecognized we do in our region, I realize.)
    And may I add...I don't consider footing really much of an excuse at this level, although I also realize that footing varies widely from event to event, and even from one end of a course sometimes to the other end! An event horse, truly, needs to know how to handle footing and jump from any sort of footing, kind of like a foxhunter figures it out. Sliding into a jump without purchase and chesting it is sort of a rider problem, in my opinion - why didn't you stud up? Or scratch? And at BN the horses can just about walk over the obstacles, and the faces are very wide, so you should be able to find a dry spot to take off from. JMO. I am sure there is a good reason the horse has done this many at the level, however.
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
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  13. #13
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    You can get 20 penalties for dumb reasons, too, like forgetting where to jump was and approaching at an impossible angle; or just presenting the jump poorly to the horse; or the rider could circle beacuse they were not comfortable with the distance; or the horse could have hesitated and took a tiny step back at the water, etc.

    Like others said, the red flag isn't so much the XC penalties 1/5 of the time as it's the 15 BNs. Did the horse place well the rest of the time? Maybe the rider was going for a year end award at BN?



  14. #14
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    Some people never aspire to do more than BN because it's their happy place. Bonnie's mom had a long career at Novice, never did a recognized Training ever, because that was her--and my--happy place and comfort zone.
    Click here before you buy.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Some people never aspire to do more than BN because it's their happy place. Bonnie's mom had a long career at Novice, never did a recognized Training ever, because that was her--and my--happy place and comfort zone.
    That is why it is important to ASK. And to know what the buyers's aspirations are.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  16. #16
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    My other thought was - is this a lesson horse or a leased horse? Were all those penalties with the same rider? Because the scenario that comes to me (admittedly w/out seeing the history) is of an essentially safe BN packer who needs to be ridden a bit to fences, and 3 different kids learning the ropes of riding XC in competition, having a stop or two, "getting it", then moving up to another horse.

    Either that or the horse has a problem with water, and only 1/3 of the courses had flagged water

    But you'll never know really until you ask - why not ask the seller?



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by saje View Post
    My other thought was - is this a lesson horse or a leased horse? Were all those penalties with the same rider? Because the scenario that comes to me (admittedly w/out seeing the history) is of an essentially safe BN packer who needs to be ridden a bit to fences, and 3 different kids learning the ropes of riding XC in competition, having a stop or two, "getting it", then moving up to another horse.
    Agree completely - this could be a sound citizen teaching kids or Adult Ammy's the ropes. May just need their own human to progress.

    Either that or the horse has a problem with water, and only 1/3 of the courses had flagged water

    But you'll never know really until you ask - why not ask the seller?
    Never ASS-U-ME because you make an A** out of U and ME
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemytbs View Post
    Thanks! The horse in question has 15 events listed, with 3 that were 20 xc points, 1 that was 40, and 1 for 60. I told my friend to pass as horse obviously has issues with xc, and it's all BN!
    There could be a lot of rider error in BN rounds. I'm still waiting for a round where I don't make a stupid mistake - that might never happen



  19. #19
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    Here's what the girl emailed my friend:

    "her refusals were never scary ones they were the fences where I would be backed off and unsure and she could feel it
    She is extremely brave and willing very aware of you on her
    If i needed her to trot a entire course she would
    She has never taken off with me during cross country"


    To answer some questions, same rider (younger girl), 16 events in 2 years, 2 N, 14 at BN. Horse won 1, got 3rd in two, 4th in three, and was 5th in the two N outings.

    From what I gather, the rider is not ready to move up. This is making me think too hard! I guess I'll suggest that my friend go look, but insist to xc school the horse prior to purchase?? Potential buyer has Novice aspirations AT MOST!



  20. #20
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    lovemytbs, I might suggest that your friend confer with his/her trainer or an experienced eventer about this horse and whether it might be suitable for his/her aspirations. It's very hard to judge a horse simply by this sort of advertisement, plus, I suspect the seller might not appreciate having his/her correspondence reprinted on the internet. May be better for your friend long term to be working with a professional or experienced eventer who can help guide him/her toward appropriate goals.



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