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  1. #1
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    I love the groundswell of support for the traditional three-day. I'm committed to it - I really am - primarily because I believe that the sudden shift without preparation or forethought is risky for the horses and riders and potentially damaging for the sport as a whole.

    But I've got this darned devil's advocate in my head that won't shut up.

    What if we're wrong? What if this grassroots commitment to a format that has no support from the top levels, and that seems to be phased out internationally, is not the salvation of the sport, but rather the death-knell? I mean, the FEI was wrong to shove this down our throats as they did, and they obviously don't care whether Eventing lives or dies. But what if we're making the whole situation worse by fighting it?

    We seem to be the only country where the masses have dug in their collective heels and said NO. Other big Eventing countries don't like the change either, but they seem to be rolling with it. Here, we're fighting it and I'm proud of that, but…

    I've been reading all these threads and thinking about it a good bit lately. It worries me, the direction that this could all take. It seems like there is a growing disconnect between the international riders and the rest of us, and the organizers, caught in the crossfire, will suffer unduly in our stand. The international riders and the hopefuls are forced to go forward with the new international standard, while we enthusiasts are steadfastly opposed to it, and the result seems to be nothing but ill will between the two groups.

    We are angry with the leadership and the ULR's for letting our sport go without a fight; we lack respect for this new format, and for the riders for seeming to capitulate to this whole debacle. We are frustrated at having no voice whatsoever. We think the short format is absolutely the wrong direction for the sport, and we have articulated some really good reasons for our beliefs.

    But there is another side to the coin. There are the riders, organizers, officials and others for whom this sport is not a game but a livelihood. They are convinced, perhaps rightly, that the traditional three-day is lost. They are scrambling to find footing in this new world, and they are bound to be resentful that the base has deserted them. The organizers, too, seem likely to be resentful about the squeeze put on them, from the riders who refuse to ride long formats if offered, and from the supporters who refuse to support the short format in any way.

    And so what becomes of the sport? Fractured at a time when it needs desperately to be united, what farm or group will be brave enough to start a new event? How will the sport grow, how will it promote itself, how will it capitalize on the publicity of last year's Rolex? Or, being fractured, will it become ever more fragile, unable to withstand the inevitable upheavals of the future?

    And while we make this stand, other countries, rolling with the punches, focus on preparing their riders and horses for international competition.

    Somebody, please tell this devil's advocate in my head to shut up! Tell me that we're right, that we're doing something good, not something that is futile and ultimately harmful!!

    Emily
    "It's not a perfect world....But it's still good to be alive! If you don't know by now, you'll probably never understand the way it feels to wanna live....One Perfect Moment!!"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 5, 2001
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    I love the groundswell of support for the traditional three-day. I'm committed to it - I really am - primarily because I believe that the sudden shift without preparation or forethought is risky for the horses and riders and potentially damaging for the sport as a whole.

    But I've got this darned devil's advocate in my head that won't shut up.

    What if we're wrong? What if this grassroots commitment to a format that has no support from the top levels, and that seems to be phased out internationally, is not the salvation of the sport, but rather the death-knell? I mean, the FEI was wrong to shove this down our throats as they did, and they obviously don't care whether Eventing lives or dies. But what if we're making the whole situation worse by fighting it?

    We seem to be the only country where the masses have dug in their collective heels and said NO. Other big Eventing countries don't like the change either, but they seem to be rolling with it. Here, we're fighting it and I'm proud of that, but…

    I've been reading all these threads and thinking about it a good bit lately. It worries me, the direction that this could all take. It seems like there is a growing disconnect between the international riders and the rest of us, and the organizers, caught in the crossfire, will suffer unduly in our stand. The international riders and the hopefuls are forced to go forward with the new international standard, while we enthusiasts are steadfastly opposed to it, and the result seems to be nothing but ill will between the two groups.

    We are angry with the leadership and the ULR's for letting our sport go without a fight; we lack respect for this new format, and for the riders for seeming to capitulate to this whole debacle. We are frustrated at having no voice whatsoever. We think the short format is absolutely the wrong direction for the sport, and we have articulated some really good reasons for our beliefs.

    But there is another side to the coin. There are the riders, organizers, officials and others for whom this sport is not a game but a livelihood. They are convinced, perhaps rightly, that the traditional three-day is lost. They are scrambling to find footing in this new world, and they are bound to be resentful that the base has deserted them. The organizers, too, seem likely to be resentful about the squeeze put on them, from the riders who refuse to ride long formats if offered, and from the supporters who refuse to support the short format in any way.

    And so what becomes of the sport? Fractured at a time when it needs desperately to be united, what farm or group will be brave enough to start a new event? How will the sport grow, how will it promote itself, how will it capitalize on the publicity of last year's Rolex? Or, being fractured, will it become ever more fragile, unable to withstand the inevitable upheavals of the future?

    And while we make this stand, other countries, rolling with the punches, focus on preparing their riders and horses for international competition.

    Somebody, please tell this devil's advocate in my head to shut up! Tell me that we're right, that we're doing something good, not something that is futile and ultimately harmful!!

    Emily
    "It's not a perfect world....But it's still good to be alive! If you don't know by now, you'll probably never understand the way it feels to wanna live....One Perfect Moment!!"



  3. #3
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    Good point, but I would rather eventing die out then be turned into something it never was.
    Drea



  4. #4
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    I think it's about establishing the facts -- what's the best format in terms of the health and safety of the horse?

    It's imperative to remember that NO SCIENCE has gone into making the changes in the sport. The 'short-format' was adopted ostensibly and TEMPORARILY due of difficulties with the eventing venues in Athens. Then the next WEG (Aachen) decides it's not going to bother with steeplechase despite the promise to acquire the needed land in their winning bid for the WEG. Then the FEI decides that future championships will be without steeplechase. And so on.

    Where are the studies that would tell us whether this is the best thing for our sport?

    Why should we have to 'roll with the punches' when our sport is being changed by political forces? Why should we take any punches at all? We pay all sorts of membership fees, we participate, we volunteer, we train and breed horses suitable for the sport. But I didn't sign up for punches.

    If good, solid research shows that Phases A, B and C are not to our horses' benefit (especially as it impacts them on Phase D), then I'll happily support the short format. Until this work is done, I'll continue to criticize this sort of political decision-making.



  5. #5
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    I think it's a very thoughtful question, and I've also wondered what the view is from "the top" of this still-small "movement" to save the traditional 3-day.

    When one sticks their neck out and stands against the majority, one is exposed to this kind of "risk". "What if I'm wrong?" "What if everyone thinks I'm a troublemaker?" "What if I'm offending somebody whose opinion I value?" "What if people whom I admire greatly disagree with me?"

    For one thing, I think each individual has to decide for themselves how much this kind of thing is "for them". No doubt a lot of people support the "Save the 3 Day" in spirit, but don't feel comfortable making a huge scene about it. That's got to be OK--you can't force someone to be single-minded about something, just like you can't force someone to donate money--it just isn't right.

    Those who ARE single minded, on the other hand, do need to be careful that the "cause" doesn't become something with a life of its own, to be clung to no matter what even when good sense and experience start saying it's time to let go. I'm not by ANY means saying that there might come a time to slink off and give up, BUT (this is really important) since one of the main points of the "Save the 3 Day" movement is to FIND OUT if the long or the short format is better, then we all have to be prepared to accept (graciously, I hope) things if, in fact, the short format IS proven to be more beneficial and less risky to the horses. It won't do any good to then cling to the defense of the long format on those grounds--anyone who does so will be labeled a fool.

    Defending the long format as a *tradition* is quite another thing, and it's probably a lot more nebulous--in today's "disposable culture" traditions don't always mean a whole lot, until they're long gone and are then brought back as "nostalgia". I dearly hope this isn't what will happen to the classic three day format!

    If this movement gets "no support" from the top levels, I would hope that it ISN'T because we haven't done our homework and become a legitimate, thoughtful (as opposed to histrionic and strident) "lobbying" group, if you will. A bunch of loud yelling and threats is a great way to rally folks to a cause, but it MUST be followed up with action. Case in point, supporting RESEARCH (the key to the entire issue, IMO) with the dollars we've raised. T-shirts are great, and I will wear mine proudly, but it takes DOLLARS and TIME and POLITICAL MOVING AND SHAKING, too.

    If all that is done, and the battle is lost, I don't think anyone will need to slink off and be ashamed of supporting this thing in the first place. Not every good cause is a winner. I, of course, hope that this good cause DOES effect some change, but I, too, am not 100% hopeful. It doesn't mean I won't do what I can, because if I DON'T, then who am I to complain?

    One thing I would VERY MUCH like to hear is a consensus among ULRs as to WHY they are so passive about the disappearance of the short format. Sure, one rider says one thing, and other riders say other things, and maybe there IS no consensus. Also, I wish like hell that we could raise enough of a stink that it would force the FEI to address SPECIFICALLY and HONESTLY the reasons for the change, the likelihood of a reversal (pending research) and for them to acknowledge at least the DEBATE.

    I don't know what I "expect" from the USEA on this, and I agree that blaming organizers is a really quick way for us all to wind up with large, bleeding bullet holes in our feet. I'd hope that with an OLYMPIAN EVENTING GOLD MEDALIST as the leader of the USEF we'd have a really strong voice as Americans on the FEI level. I respect David O'Connor enormously, but everything that he says lately is SO carefully parsed and political that it's hard to really know WHAT he thinks. I know he's a good communicator, so I hope he'll find it important enough to include us in his thinking honestly and without a lot of B.S.

    And the riders? Well, I've vowed not to clinic with anyone this year if they're outspokenly against preserving the long format. How to treat someone, though, whose OWN hands are tied between wanting to do Rolex and wanting to be on the Olympic team? I certainly can't blame them, but can I blame "the system" or "the Captain" whose goals are DIFFERENT FROM mine?

    Oy, this is way too long...don't expect anyone will read it, but you are not alone in wondering deep inside if this protest will be successful and if it will wind up being a divisive, negative thing. I really hope it isn't, and for my part the potential cost of not doing ANYTHING for fear of offending someone or "making waves" is too dear...I haven't ever even done a three day, but I've come to believe (and I freely admit I didn't think the short format was that bad of an idea originally) that the sport is better off with at least SOME ATTEMPT to keep the classic format. Somebody's gotta do it, and if the Olympians won't step up, then hell, why not me? I've got an education, a brain, a USEA member number, a checkbook and a horse...I guess I'm as qualified as anyone! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...on_biggrin.gif
    Click here before you buy.



  6. #6
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    I am very happy that we do have someone playing Devil's Advocate, as I think that is how facts and reasoning get fleshed out in debates. I also have to say that I see some reasoning to change to the modified format, primarily: money. Many could argue that if we would like to see our sport continue on and fourish, we need to provide a format for organizer/hosts that is less demanding financially so that we can have more of them. Hosting a 3-Day is very taxing economically. Have we not seen a drop in the number of quality events? Perhaps in order for our sport to survive, we may need to adjust it.
    That being said, I am a strong advocate of retaining the classic 3-Day. I have always hoped to compete in one and it would break my heart not to. I also think that steeplechase and R&T's are important in ascertaining the fitness level of a horse and keeping it from causing itself harm during the rigorous XC phase. If we lose those phases, we lose an important litmus test in determining the fitness of our horses. This is the main I reason I support maintaining the 3-day--- not nostalgia, because I feel that has nothing to do and should have nothing to do with determining the future of our sport. We have to think about what's best for our horses, not about preserving tradition. Although, in this case I think what's best for our horses IS maintaining tradition http://chronicleforums.com/images/cu...milies/yes.gif
    In Your Dreams...
    I don't think an all or nothing approach is at all an answer. Just because we may not like a switch to a modified format does not mean we should let the sport die. Let's all be rational.



  7. #7
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    Well said Deltawave. I completely agree. Not much is being done in Canada because we don't host any major 3 days like Fairhill and Rolex and what not. The only bigger 3 day that we host was cancelled this year due to lack of entries. I hope that wasn't a foreshadow of things to come.

    I have mixed feelings about the shorter format. It will be a different kind of sport than we traditionally see at the higher levels, but I would be very interested to see what information major testing and research would show as to whether or not the short format is more beneficial and safe. I'd hate to see the 3 day die. Most of us strive to be at that level one day, and to think that if we make it all the way up there and it no longer exists?

    The thought of the sport itself dying is very sad, and I hope there are a lot of people who hold stronger political clout that are out there supporting the cause to keep our sport alive!

    Live on and gallop strong!



  8. #8
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    Oct. 16, 2002
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    To blindly support a sport which doesn`t prove anything doesn`t make sense, that is true.
    So, what does the full 3-day prove ("prove", in its old sense, also means "test")
    1.It tests the intrinsic stamina and endurance and soundness of the horse. If eventing is lost, WHAT OTHER SPORT (except endurance, which is almost entirely little Arabs)tests those qualities? For all the thousands of years of man`s relationship with the horse, until 20th century mechanization, that WAS THE PRIMARY TEST.Lose the one "mainstream" sport which still needs those qualities, and how long will those qualities stay in the gene pool?
    Kim Severson`s letter says she`s had more horses hurt in steeplechase than in x-c, so get rid of steeplechase. A better conclusion, from the equine genetics perspective, is "choose inately sounder horses."
    2. It tests the horsemanship skills of the elite x-c rider. It`s not as if for the past 50 years all event horses were failing to cope with steeplechase. The great riders KNEW HOW to train those horses so they stayed sound. READ YOUR HISTORY. Hundreds of elite 3-day horses had LONG CAREERS, because their riders were great trainers.Do we want to lose these skills?
    3.What about the physical toughness of the RIDER? We know that the classic 3-day horse has to be tough, but SO DOES THE RIDER. It`s very interesting to me that Mike Plumb and Bruce Davidson, our 2 mainstays for so many years, also were Maryland Hunt Cup riders. Do we see any of these current riders exhibiting that kind of ultimate athletic toughness???? I don`t think there`s a single one anymore who raced over fences.
    So,are technicians going to replace athletes as the litmus test for this formerly cavalry officer sport? We already have 2 sports for technicians, pure dressage and pure show jumping.
    4. And finally, what about the ultimate test of any sport, the pure CHALLENGE of it all , the meaning that is only there BECAUSE IT IS HARD?
    Can you begin to imagine these headlines?
    Norkay and Hillory get to within 300 meters of summit of Everest!
    Roger Bannister comes within 2 seconds of the 4 minute mile!
    WE ARE NOT ON THE WRONG TRACK. The FEI is on the wrong track, and the upper level riders who go along are abdicating their leadership responsibilities to future generations of riders.
    They will come up with 101 "reasons" why short format is better, but classic 3-day events, as excelled in by the great riders of our recent past, is a more meaningful sport than some insipid cross between 4th level dressage, preliminary level show jumping and 11 minutes of cross country, where NO ONE of the 3 pieces is an elite piece, not the low level dressage piece, not the low level jumping piece, and not the much lower than in years past cross country piece.
    Winston Churchill said "Never, never, never never surrender." There are powerful forces trying to cut out the very heart of a great sport, and we can let it happen, watch it happen, or fight. Those are the only choices, aren`t they?



  9. #9
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    Wow! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...icon_smile.gif Great topic and great posts.

    I think it is very important that, no matter how strongly we believe that the classic three day needs to be preserved, we must also remain open to the possibility that we may be wrong. At this point in time, we just don't have enough information to support either side of this issue and the only way we will find out for sure is to continue to ask questions. If we just blindly continue to argue our case without looking for answers to the questions that are raised about the two formats, we would be incredibly irresponsible and no better than the persons who made the unilateral decisions to change our sport without the data that proves these changes were needed or best for our sport.

    It is no secret that I whole-heartedly support preserving the classic three day. I just don't buy the current reasons that are being touted to justify the need to deep six R&T and Steeplechase, especially the ones concerning the health and safety of the horses. If the classic three day has such a negative impact on the horses, then why weren't we hearing about this prior to the changes that were made? Surely our upper level riders are not so heartless that they would remain silent about the fact that the classic format was so detrimental to the horses. But prior to this situation, there was no universal ground swell among these riders supporting this position. To be sure, there were horses that did sustain injuries on steeplechase, but not at the level that the current argument suggests.

    It wasn't until there was a great deal of opposition against the changes in format that this argument surfaced. Initially, the changes were justified by citing the expense of creating the R&T and Steeplechase tracks and the lack of open land. When we didn't buy into this, that's when the health and safety of the horses argument came to the forefront.

    Maybe I'm a bigger cynic than I believe myself to be, but I don't see this as a legitimate argument because there is no proof at this time that supports it. Instead, I see it as an attempt to use emotion, rather than data and facts, to justify the changes.

    It is well known that event riders as a group are incredibly devoted to their horses. We will go to great lengths to keep them safe and sound. Because of this, one of the easiest ways to motivate us to accept unpopular change is to pull at our heartstrings and convince us that we are putting our horses in harms way by running them in Three Days with Steeplechase.

    As a result, once it became apparent that we weren't going to roll over and accept the changes in format based on the money and lack of land issues, I don't think it was mere coincidence that the "powers-that-be" shifted their gears and threw our horse's welfare into the mix. It's actually a pretty smart move on their part.

    However, the one thing these "powers-that-be" didn't take into consideration is that, again as a group, eventers are not a bunch of lemmings. We aren't going to blindly follow the arse in front of us off of a cliff without a legitimate and convincing argument supporting the need to make that leap. To be sure, our upper level riders may be justified in their apparent acceptance of the changes because they aspire to represent the US in international team competition and are being told that they will not make the team if they run their horses in Events that offer the "with Steeplechase" format. But this isn't an appropriate justification for the remaining 99.999% of our member who don't fall into this category.

    The rest of us have not been given a well-founded reason along with supporting data that has convinced us to jump on the "without Steeplechase" bandwagon. Until this happens, we need to continue to fight for one of the main components of our sport that makes it so unique while remaining open to the possibility that we may need to accept its demise if it is shown that this is what's best for Eventing as a whole.

    Will a continued fight cause upheaval between the various factions involved? I don't see how it couldn't. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. By our very nature, we humans are prone to resisting change, especially when it comes to altering our core beliefs related to what we feel is right and wrong. Given this, we normally don't change until the upheaval surrounding an issue rises to the point where we have no other alternative than to look for resolution, either by accepting one of the propositions currently on the table or by coming up with a resolution that hasn't previously been contemplated.

    Often times, it is a resolution that hasn't previously been considered that clears the path and allows us to find agreement. And, in most cases, we end up in a far better position than when we started the whole process. It's as if this "critical mass point" removes our blinkers, opens our minds, and allows us to "think outside of the box."

    In this situation, we haven't yet reached this point. Until we do, I have no doubt that the growing divide among our members is going to grow. However, we can't allow this to distract us from the main issue or cause us to alter our beliefs just to placate feelings of ill will. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be concerned that we are a house divided on this issue, but we can't use this as the main motivation behind settling on an outcome that only addresses emotions and not the true root of the problem.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If the Number 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still number 2?



  10. #10
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    Everything I've seen about David O'C as head of the US federation has lead me to conclude that he is first and foremost politically expedient. His association with the previous administration puts him in a dubious light to begin with, and, so far, with his politically loaded statements, with not very much factual substantiation, only reinforces my skepticism. It's not the best for maintaining the 3de to have someone with this approach at the helm. It would be better to have someone who genuinely cared and believed and could marshall the large body of facts to show that the full 3de is valid as is, instead of putting his efforts into looking good to the FEI in order perhaps to ensure a future role in it. Just MHO



  11. #11
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    Okay, let's take the statement of we are one of the very few countries really taking a stand. Okay, when have we NOT taken a serious stand when something is blantantly wrong? Let's go all the way back to the Boston Tea Party folks.
    So, that being said, it is very tempting to not have the phases for me and my horsie. He's bigger and doesn't have the stamina of a tb. But boy can he jump a beautiful round. But that's not an event horse. Like Denny said, if your horse can't make it around steeplechase, then it's not a world class event horse. period. so sorry, too bad. Kim's way way off if she said that.
    Possibly because the x-c is getting so much more techie and there's not a lot of galloping fly fences anymore, even at the lower levels, we kinda freak out at it. Maybe if we went back to the traditional x-c courses(with some modern advances in safety of course) then folks wouldn't argue about this change. They would friggin' get it.
    Even duct tape can't fix stupid



  12. #12
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    I have so many thoughts on this subject, that I haven't been able to contain them enough to post... but I do want to say this

    There has never been a "fight" in history, where the participants at one point or the other didn't say "What if we are wrong?" But ANYTHING worth keeping, is worth fighting for.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We seem to be the only country where the masses have dug in their collective heels and said NO. Other big Eventing countries don't like the change either, but they seem to be rolling with it. Here, we're fighting it and I'm proud of that, but…
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Our country is standing up and fighting for what we believe in... because that is what Americans do. We have faith and loyalty for a system of justice that the majority can and should make the decisions... not an elite few. I believe that the quest for the supreme equine athlete is worth keeping... and I will fight for it in anyway that I can.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> And so what becomes of the sport? Fractured at a time when it needs desperately to be united <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Why? Why is it so important that everyone agree and get along? Without differences of opinions, our country would never have been formed. Society is sadly all about "feeling good" and "getting along"... what about doing what is right, even if it is harder... even if you might fail?

    There is nothing more sad than the trend in society to make everything easy enough so that everyone can accomplish it. If you want fewer equine injuries... then stop trying to compete every horse with 4 legs at the highest levels of competition. There are some that will reach that level... and some that won't.

    Also- to this comment

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I also have to say that I see some reasoning to change to the modified format, primarily: money. Many could argue that if we would like to see our sport continue on and fourish, we need to provide a format for organizer/hosts that is less demanding financially so that we can have more of them. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    We have this format in place already... it is called a HORSE TRIAL. Why should the sport change so that every organizer can offer a 3-day- when it really isn't a 3-day that they are going to be offering? They already have the horse trials...

    Anyway... I better stop there.. before my ramblings get more disconnected...
    If you always do what you've always done- you'll always get what you've always gotten.
    Madison Ridge Farm



  13. #13
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    Some think that the 3-day is inhumane to horses. What is really inhumane is expecting a horse that has not been prepared properly to compete in this type of event. But then the horse will not pass vet exams anyways...

    Does anyone recall at the Olympics this year the article writte by a reporter named Barbara (cant remember last name)?? She was more bashing the Canadian team but also the eventing sport claiming that it was horse abuse, that eventing should be taken completely away ect..

    My thoughts; If there is proper research done and it is proven that 3-day events are in some way damaging to a horse than I am for the short format... Our horses welfare is more important than that.

    But until then I am for the traditional 3-day because that is the sport.

    "Rather than doing away with our sport, we should be proud of it, defend it and continue to improve it." Jim Wofford

    *** I love Jim Wofford... hes awesome, I hope one day I can go to a clinic of his.
    \"My horses are not my slaves, they are my friends.\" -Dr. R. Klimke



  14. #14
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    "What if we're wrong?"

    Believe me, I've often asked myself that... and always came back to the same conclusion. It's happened before and it very well may happen again. In 35 years, I've gotten used to it. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_razz.gif

    However, in this instance, until solid, scientific proof can be given, I don't care who thinks I'm crazy, who thinks I'm pushy, or who blackballs me politically in this sport. I agree that this world has become way to PC for my taste and if it means fighting for something I believe in, so be it!

    there are way too many options that we little smurfs have come up with that may have solved the FEI/IOC problem with eventing without bastardizing it. Why were none of those solutions enacted? Were they even considered (if we can come up with them, you'd THINK someone "up there" could think of them too)? Why was this decision made and not another one? and don't give me some fairy tale about the well-being of the horse. Denny and DC covered that one (thanks guys for being so articulate!)

    I've been accused of being a bit of a Pitbull when it comes to certain things... and this is one of them. But if we're wrong ... we'll get behind the new sport. but honestly... I don't think we are -- at the VERY least in the idea that we as the participants in this sport deserve to not be dictated/lied to.
    ************
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike



  15. #15
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    Where are the riders in the UK on this issue? I subscribe to the Eventing magazine put out by British Eventing, and it seems to be silent on this topic that's so volatile here. BE has such a huge calendar (in England, Scotland and Ireland), and I think larger number of riders, both amateurs and a lot of professionals who may not get to compete at Badminton or Burghley. I sure would like to hear their take on this topic, which surely affects them as well as it does us here in the U.S.



  16. #16
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    Could we be wrong about about whether the short format is better for the horses? yes.
    Are we wrong to ask questions and protest when we are dictated to by a distant governing body whose leader declared long before these changes were made that she thought the endurance phase was cruel and has, in my understanding, never been a supporter of our discipline? Nope.
    Not asking these questions when we have these doubts about what it will do to the welfare of the horses and spirit of the sport and insisting that these changes not be made without finding out some crucial answers first would be wrong IMHO.
    Is there a risk to the sport? Possibly. Could it be divisive? Yes, if we and those who we disagree with us let it be. But even if we have some repair work to do after all is said and done, I think we can do it.
    Also- in asnwer to your question about why other countries are not protesting- I think the other big 3 are not facing what we are. I think it was tle who posted on another thread that the other eventing biggies (UK, AUS, NZ) still have long format 3 stars being held next year. Our country's eventing leadership seems to be the first one declaring that the the long format ship is sinking and ordering the riders to abandon ship.
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)



  17. #17
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    Wow, so many well-thought out and inspiring replies!!

    I only have a sec here at work, but I wanted to toss something out there really quick:

    I don't actually think we're wrong to suggest that a dramatic shift without research or study is potentially VERY harmful to the horses (and riders as well!) That just seems like common sense to me. I do still feel like fighting the good fight. I guess I'm a little worried that we're fighting the wrong people.

    I count many of these ULR's and hopefuls as friends. I'm frustrated with their viewpoints, but still these are folks I care about. The FEI on the other hand - to them I would give no quarter and no aid!!

    What I wish is that we could take this fight where it belongs: directly to the doorstep of the FEI, the gnomes in Switzerland, the oligarchs who appear to be trying to destroy our sport. And we can't get to them, can't have an impact on them, can't even be heard!

    What I worry about is that as a house divided against ourselves, we will not be able to overcome this challenge, or whatever the FEI has in store for us next. I worry that by fighting among ourselves, we are handing the FEI exactly what they want, the seeds of the demise of our sport.

    (Sorry this is so scattered, I'll come back and try to be more coherent later.)

    Emily
    "It's not a perfect world....But it's still good to be alive! If you don't know by now, you'll probably never understand the way it feels to wanna live....One Perfect Moment!!"



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2003
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    I have just a quick observation regarding this discussion. We should be careful about placing all of our weight behind the results of research regarding which format is better for the welfare of the horses.

    Take Rolex for example. At Rolex last year a short format CCI**** was run for the first time ever. The long format ran as well. To many it was obvious that the short format horses were a lot worse off than those running the long format. The obstacles and questions asked on both courses were true and challenging to the four star level. Jump ahead to the Olympics. The majority saw this supposedly four star level course as a joke. Many compared the course to an easy three star.

    So why was the Olympic course so much easier than the short format Rolex course? Perhaps, as it appeared, the short format Rolex course really was too hard on the horses. The Olympic format had already been changed, the only option would have been to lower the standards, make the course easier.

    My point? A study comparing the long format Rolex course to the short format Olympic course is like comparing apples and oranges and would do little to determine the effects of removing steeplechase. If you make the course short enough, the speed slow enough, the jumps low enough, and the questions asked easy enough, of course it will be less stressful on the horses!

    I suppose we will have to wait and see if other short formats also dumb down the difficulty of their courses. If they do then studies comparing true four star long format events and ‘dumb downed’ short format events will serve no purpose. Anyone have an opinion about how the short format Fair Hill course compared in difficulty to the ‘normal’ long format courses of years past?



  19. #19
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    May. 6, 2004
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    I think we need a dose of reality on the international scene. The international scene includes countries that have been eventing much longer than the US. I'm sorry if this is going to sound controversial, and I have to admit that I didn't read all of the above posts because they were so long....but:

    1) The rest of the world doesn't really care much abbout what we think. we are just another country in the horse world and have to live with te consensus.I don't think you can understand this unless you have lived outside the US.

    2. Personally, I think (donning flame suit) that American eventers have got used to picking up OTTBs for almost no money and turning them into Eventers. In other countries they breed for eventers not the track and it seems the current preferred mix is about 7/8TB.

    But most of the eventing community is actually not in the US.....so maybe we should listen to them?

    NOTE: I made major edits to this, this morning - I was having a bad hair day last night and vented too much, methinks.........



  20. #20
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    sian - Your post does sound controversial, and notwithstanding the condescending comment about how Americans think, I'm not sure I understand what you meant. Are you saying other countries are happy with the short format? Are you saying that we shouldn't give track horses a second career? Are you saying they're poorly bred and not suitable for eventing? My horse is an ottb (unraced), not extraordinarly bred and clearly he had a very nice eventing career. He is certainly not the only successful event horse from the track, and why should that be a bad thing?

    I'd love to know why other countries are not so shaken by this change to the short format. But perhaps, bambam, you struck the nail on the head - they still have the option to do the long format at the 3 star level. In this country, that option is absolutely gone, leaving the 4 star in question and casting long shadows on the 2 star.

    Denny - I hadn't at all considered the potential impact over the long term, both in terms of the horses and the horsemen. One thing that drew me to eventing, fresh from years of volunteering in equine rescue, was the amazing horsemanship of eventers. I knew very little about sporthorse care, (still a drop in the bucket compared to real horsemen), but I looked at the eventing world and saw so much there that I wanted to learn. I came to this sport specifically because I wanted to be a good horseperson and this is where I found so many willing and able teachers. Will that horsemanship be another casualty of the change? I hadn't considered it, but what an awful thought.

    I'm so glad so many of you guys took the time to respond to my darned devil's advocate... I read and found food for thought in every single post! It's late, and I didn't come back with any coherent thoughts, mind still swirling with information. I am glad, however, to have so much to chew on...

    Emily
    "It's not a perfect world....But it's still good to be alive! If you don't know by now, you'll probably never understand the way it feels to wanna live....One Perfect Moment!!"



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