Just a quick question for you COTH's that's been in my head for a few days. This weekend my mare and I went to Flying Cross HT and had a blast going Novice (my second!), but we had a small run in on cross country. As I was coming to my last "galloping" jump (before the first combination: brush & ditch), the open oxer, I spotted two golf carts moving around on the far left of the jump line. Although they weren't in my direct path, they seemed oblivious that a horse was on course. When I was heading through the break in the fencing to get to fence five, I yelled out, "Heads up! Horse on course!" This didn't seem to get their attention, so I then yelled out, "Stop your golf carts! My horse will spook!" My mare is bombproof, but she always gives moving golf carts a hard "oogle." These golf carts still did not stop even as I was quickly approaching my jump. I then yelled as loud as I could while looking at them, "Stop your golf carts!!" We cleared the jump about four strides later and yelled out my (snarky) thanks. (FYI, I'm pretty vocal on course! It's always been endless amounts of praise and sometimes random chatter until this time!) The rest of the course rode great and we were double clear. I also heard that riderboy had a similar issue while on course this weekend.
So, is stopping for a horse on course a rule or just common courtesy? I'm paranoid that I'll ruin a ride when walking XC with horses on course, moving away from their path and making sure others don't disturb their round. I've always thought that no matter what method of transportation, everyone is to stop and move for the horse on course. Is this right? I'd like to know for future reference, thanks in advance!!
My evidence: Flying Cross XC video! I put in little annotations to point out where it is, but you can hear me yell from a few fields over! Pump up your volume, and you'll probably catch it. My mom thought I told my mare she was awesome (which she was), so it's right before she says that (around 1:34). You can see one cart stop, and one keep going!
"Red on the right, white on the left, insanity in the middle."
While it is courteous to stop, I do not expect it. I expect that my path be clear and people associated with the event (fence judges, etc) don't stand up and wave their umbrellas while I am in the vicinity of their fence, but assume that there will be a certain amount of moving traffic (pedestrians, bicycles, jog strollers, officials cars) etc on course while I am running. While I could see the golf carts, they did not seem that close to you (though it was far away and hard to tell), sort of in front and off to the side of you. I know of nothing in the rules that would cover this.
I had a similar problem crossing a road to training fence 14. Also a Flying Cross .The paramedics were oblivious to my approach and motored in front of me. It's on my helmetcam video. No harm done but I was quite surprised by how close they came. I yelled but to no avail. IMO, a horse on course always has the right of way, but the inattention and ignorance of people can never be underestimated.
ETA- just got home and watched the video, damn girl, you got a set of lungs! Your mom apparently didn't quite understand what you said. Glad it turned out OK, but like the dog that chased Buck Davidson at Rolex, seems like a million ways to screw up a ride.
Last edited by riderboy; Sep. 22, 2011 at 08:11 PM.
I can't watch the video right now...where they in your path? If yes, then they better move along, if not, though, they really aren't obligated to stop going about their business. Usually, gold carts are used to deliver refreshments to jump judges and pick up scores or to allow officials to move about the course. If they had to stop moving because they are in the general vicinity of a fence that was being approached, nothing would get done. It is YOUR job to get your mare over her issue (my horse hates dogs...but I don't yell at people walking courses with their dogs to stop moving because he might spook!).
It is polite and courteous to not get in a rider's way or add unnecessary distraction. However, that does not mean that the course needs to become a giant game of freeze tag when a horse is around.
Motoring straight across in front of you is a definite no, no. That obstructs you which is different than what the OP was concerned about, which was her horse being spooked by the moving golf carts. The former should be included on your event evaluation (if only so that the organizers can remind the ambulance drivers of this issue for future events - or have a protocol in place to stop you if they had to cross at that time to get to an injury site on course). The latter is part of eventing IMO. Right of way, absolutely. Silence and/or stillness (as you might expect for golf and tennis majors), not so much.
Back in the 90's we'd taken our daughters to Coconino & our younger daughter, who was riding Training, came over a jump to see people SITTING on her next fence, which was shaped like a Z without the slant in the center. No fence judge yelling so she just kept yelling & they kept sitting. Her pony, who jumped anything remotely looking like something to jump, jumped the jump with them still on & galloped on to the bank. They did get up after having hooves so close to their heads. Idiots.
We're redneck enough, Heinz . . . it's not unusual for my one daughter to take horses back to their corrals using the golf cart after a long day, sometimes more than one at a time. They all get used to it sooner or later.
I realized my newest one was getting a free crash course in bombproofing yesterday when I saw the BO's grandson (about 3 years old) driving his battery powered kid-sized Gator up and down the aisleway in front of her stall. My older two geldings just sigh and watch with interest.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
No real comment on the OP's specific case--if they were interfering with the jump, that's not okay and should go on the event eval, if they weren't than that's just a bad luck moment and you've got to forget it and go on to the next.
For my own specific example, hehe, I was at a schooling horse trials and apparently all the radios weren't working but they sent me on course anyway (I was the first to go for the day in Training) and one of the volunteers had parked their car directly behind the ditch (don't know why)...as in it was made into a rather large ditch and wall (or ditch and car??). I pulled up and asked if they could move it and they said sorry, they didn't realize the show had started already. I had about 40 time penalties but they were removed . It was my boy's first training, didn't think he was ready for Burghley just yet, lol.
It s been quite a few years but David O'Connor was hit while on a xc course by a car driven by an official. He was first to go and they didn't realize things had started yet. Sooooo yes, you have the right of way but you still need to be careful especially if you are early/frist in a division to go!
As the rider of a REALLY spooky horse I do feel your pain, but as an event horse (and rider) they must learn to focus on the job. not the distractions. I watched the video and really could not see any golf carts near where I could also see you.
If you focus on the golf carts, so will your horse. Focus on your fence and the horse will focus on the fence. On other horses who were XC machines I never ever noticed things on course other than my line. People would ask me if I saw them? No. Waving? No. Yelling? no. That umbrella? No. if it wasn't on my line I didn't see it. If it was on my line, well, get out of the way because those horses didn't care.
Riding the spooky one actually hurt that level of concentration because I would worry about what she was looking at - was it REALLY something to be concerned about? It was usually not, so I had to retrain myself to focus on where I wanted to go, no matter what she was trying to look at, so she would too.
Sorry but I do not see where they were in your way and often the ground jury is driving on course to observe or resolve issues and I have had them motoring right next to me BUT MY FOCUS is on my JOB and keeping my horse connected to me. GO WITH THE FLOW and stay focussed, there was a big discussion at a meeting of officials and riders regarding a yellow card protest and the riders voiced that many could not focus because they were distracted by thoughts of what officials in golf carts were doing and weather it might have been related to a previous fence the rider had jumps. GROUND JURY MESSAGE.... FOCUS on your task and be safe.
NOW I agree at times pedestrians are the main problem as many walk with head phones in, phones attached or chitter chatter and you are screaming and most are offended as if they can not hear my horse thundering down
END OF DAY your video does not illustrate a danger or a problem IMO GREAT JOB riding though
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
I think this calls for a few rousing games of 'chase the golf cart around the arena for carrots'...
But I may just be that redneck.
Love it...I'd do that too. If they are not about to cross your path...I ride out the spook of my horse. It's part of becoming a good event horse and focusing on their job. I expect them to learn to deal with it.
I will yell "heads up" if I'm coming up behind someone (walking the course) on my line and I think they may not hear me coming. Not scream it..but just let them know I'm coming.
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **
Great, thank you guys for the helpful responses! I've never experienced it before with golf carts, I've had people in my path at Penny Oaks (which is understandable when you whip around into a path in the woods!) and just needed a "heads up" to get them to move. To be honest, I was more concerned than my mare!! Only my fourth HT ever, third on her, so that's why I was asking.
Thanks so much!
"Red on the right, white on the left, insanity in the middle."
Can't see video tonight either, will check tomorrow when things work faster....this is a subject about which I too, have had some questions, and both Scubed and Amanda have just about answered them.
I do agree with the "freeze tag" notion. Some riders (not the OP) but some I know get downright crazed while on course....screaming if you are within 200 yards of them....while I do always move, when I hear anyone yell heads up, I look and decide whether I am in the way, and either stop, or move quietly. But some people are absolutely insane about wanting the course completely emptied for themselves. I know who they are, and keep an eye/ear out for the announcer when walking my course, and make sure to hide someplace if they sound like they are close to where I am. It's annoying but what are you going to do.
My old trainer used to say that you should imagine you're at Rolex and the 'path' has ropes up on either side. If something is happening outside the 'ropes' - deal with it. A polite, and non-screaming, 'heads up' is always appropriate if you have any doubt that someone sees you.
If they were blatantly on course and in your way I would say they should have stopped. But if every golf cart would comply with every rider's requests about what his or her horse spooks at, well, nothing would get done. It's part of the experience. Reminds me of watching a helmet cam from an UL rider who yelled at some spectators to stop running.... honestly I wouldn't have even noticed them had she not yelled at them. Kind of rubbed me the wrong way - there are thousands of people there to see you ride and you feel like you can't get your horse around an Advanced course without everyone standing still?
"Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."
When I was jump judging once, I did yell at someone on a bicycle. I yelled horse on course and instead of moving to the side, the person just kept biking. I guess she was doing a course walk and did not feel the need to stop, even though all the pedestrians stopped and stood to the side.
She was not necessarily in the way, though she was in the mowed path and I know some horses react a lot to bikes. I eventually screamed at her to move to the side for the three seconds that the horse needed to pass to get to my jump.
I supposed she thought she should be fine, but it was Novice level, so more likely to have green horses/green riders. I felt that caution was best.
I'm in general agreeance with everyone here - if they were directly in your path (such as the cart in riderboy's helmet cam video), they needed to give you the right away. However, if they were not directly in your galloping path and were a working part of the event, I don't see it being as much of an issue.
I will say, though, I completely understand the "spook" element with your horse. During my horse's first BN run at Leg Up this year, I had an almost golf-cart spook at the third to last fence. It was in the prairie, just off the hill from the boy scout camp - fence had a good gallop before it and then went from light to dark with a clump of shade trees on the left side. Unfortunately, someone (who was not working the event) decided to park their golf cart in the shade there - coming into the fence, the line looked like you were going to jump the golf cart too. My boy questioned it and got a little funky coming into the fence, which I had to take at a very awkward angle to avoid the golf cart, but we made it over clear (and got a dirty look in after to the driver of said golf cart ). While I was irritated at first, I also realize that both horse and rider need to have enough focus on their game to tune out the "background" - fence judges, people walking the course, golf carts, etc. It's something we are working on
Are there rules for this? No. Should anyone get in your way? NO. Should you get your horse used to "possibilities"? Sure. But not everyone has the opportunity to desensitize their horses to ALL the inevitabilities.
That said, it has been considered common courtesy to stop, whether you are walking, biking, in a gold cart, whatever, when a horse is approaching. Even if you're just walking in a galloping lane. I teach ALL my students, even those who do not event, to keep an ear and an eye out for horses while on course. If the only way to get from one fence to another, like going down a wooded path, then you MUST stop and move as far off to the side as possible, while staying visible as soon as possible so that your presence isn't a sudden surprise. If you are moving around in the vicinity of an approach to a fence, remove yourself from any possible line that rider might take and stand still.
Yes, so much common courtesy has gone missing in the sport. I tell each of my students to imagine that THEY are on course. Wouldn't they like fellow competitors, spectators, officials, and volunteers to show respect by allowing them best conditions for success.
I've been doing this for 31 years and have seem so much change, for the good and not so good. Eventers have been known as giving, helpful to other competitors, sportsmen. I hate what I have witnessed the last few year. Sorry to be so sour and I'm not sure if it's a generational thing or just a general loss of manners.