You gotta admit they are brave. I sure as heck wouldn't jump a horse around those courses knowing as little as they do. Or maybe ignorance is bliss.
It's basically doing IHSA, only you also have to swim and run and stuff. A few are decent riders, most at Beijing....I was actually rooting for some to fall off so they'd stop banging the poor horses in the mouths and backs.
MyGiantPony, I've been writing an occasional series of posts about pentathlon for Eventing Nation. If you click here, you can read through them, and also watch some interviews and riding videos of pentathletes.
The riding standard has improved substantially in recent years. Beijing was a disaster but that can't be blamed solely on the athletes. The horses were inexperienced OTTBs, trained and prepared in the Beijing area, where equestrian culture does not have deep roots. Most of the riders were very, very nervous about having to get on those horses and go in the ring. It was unfortunate for all involved that many viewers around the world were introduced to pentathlon this way.
London will be different. GB is probably the world's strongest nation in pentathlon, with a well-developed feeder system into the sport via Pony Club. The horses -- many of which have previous pentathlon experience -- will be first-rate and the course will be big.
Pentathlon is a unique and wonderful sport. Pentathletes are not 'all swimmers', not at all. Many come from Pony Club. Many were riders before they did anything else. They are often at national or international level in fencing, shooting, running and/or swimming. It isn't easy to have this degree of proficiency in one sport, never mind several.
So please give pentathlon another try in London. This will be pentathlon's first Olympics with the combined run/shoot event -- 1k laps of running interspersed with shooting, like biathlon -- which is really exciting to watch.
When I was teaching at Potomac HorseCenter in the eighties (!!) I taught a man who was a candidate for the team; there were no horses there jumping 4 feet except, my own horse, so, we jumped LOTS of gymnastics; he developed good basics pretty quickly
Last edited by Carol Ames; Jul. 26, 2012 at 10:39 PM.
When I was teaching at Potomac HorseCenter in the eighties (!!) I taught a man who was a candidate for the team; there were no horses there jumping 4 feet except, my own horse, so, we jumped LOTS of gymnastics; he developed god basics pretty quickly
OMG...where's PITA when you need them??
Just at the first horse/rider's round in the video below. This poor animal is a SAINT! Look at how the neck is bent as the rider uses his poor mouth to get her leg back over the saddle!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=3w2wFkmo8No
Every time a Pentathlon thread comes up, all the haters come out of the woodwork and start up again - not so many, but they are loud.
By "haters" do you mean someone like me, that was so excited to see it that I purchased tickets for it in Atlanta, over a year in advance? I had also purchased tickets for the swimming phase, but reality was the venues were too far apart to see both, so I still have those original tickets.
Watching how abusive it was to horses in Atlanta MADE me a hater, as it would anyone else that cared about horses, and ever actually watched the sport. Current videos have not made me see it is any different.
Jumping around 3'6"+ courses 3-4 times plus a warm-up period for EACH, within about an hour and a half, ridden by beginners in Atlanta heat was severely abusive, and I am about as anti animal "rights"/PETA as you can get. You will notice I have been just as "loud" at opposing them.
OMG...where's PITA when you need them??
Just at the first horse/rider's round in the video below.
That is the only ride of that caliber on the entire video. It is a terrible ride, although the horse also was said to have rearing issue, so it was a bad situation that might have been prevented by eliminating the rider in the warm-up, as is allowed under UIPM rules.
But keep watching because there is some very good riding. At 13:05, you can see Melanie McCann, who'll be going to the Olympics for Canada. Unlike the others on our national team, Melanie did not start out in Pony Club. She started riding for pentathlon, about 4-5 years ago. She's worked very hard on her riding and has become a careful, thoughtful rider who is usually near the top for riding points.
At 57:42, the current world champion Mhairi Spence shows considerable riding skill (she is excellent), as does the final rider, 2008 Olympic champion Lene Schoneborn of Germany, on a horse that's not the easiest ride.
In pentathlon, you have 20 minutes to ride the horse in warm-up. You may jump 5 fences and no more. It's easy to wag fingers at pentathlon riding (and it is true that some nations do not have a reputation for good riding or horsemanship), but there is a lot to be said for learning how to get on a strange horse and go out on a 1m course. Because your goal is to get around, you have to work with the horse and make improvements going forward.
I can guarantee everyone out there that you wouldn't be so quick to put it down if you'd ever tried it yourself.
I can also guarantee you that if you ever try pentathlon, you will absolutely love it.