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  1. #1
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    Default My bad day got me to thinking: Success rate of the third try

    My day ended way sooner than I had hoped when I rode VERY poorly to a very big, upright corner on the prelim course at Waredaca. I gave it a second try, but when it didn't happen, I thanked the judge and walked off the course. It just wasn't going to happen, and it certainly wasn't the kind of fence I could sit back and try to cowboy over...and, ultimately, I rather an "R" than and "E".

    But, among the hundreds of other things it got me to thinking about, I got to thinking that I don't think I've ever had a successful third attempt at a jump in competition. The couple of times it has been that bad (and, thankfully, it is a blessedly few times, despite all the green horses I've ridden), I've always walked home after the third attempt. I've retired a couple of times after the second, usually when I realize that if I manage to get the horse to leave the ground, it is highly unlikely to be a good, safe jump.

    So, I'm just curious....how many have successfully gotten it together on the third attempt? What kind of fence was it? What level? Was it just a green baby moment who needed a third look to be convinced? Or was it bad riding and you needed a third attempt to screw your head back on?

    This isn't meant to be some break down or evaluation of anyone's riding or anything. I am truly curious if I'm alone in this, or if others have had the same outcome.



  2. #2
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    Only once have I been in this situation. It was definitely a case of me being a greener rider, having more guts than skills, and my determination to get it done overcame my lack of skill.

    Having said that, I will never do a 3rd attempt at a XC fence again. It is a pact I made with a peer and our coach in 2006, at Galway Downs at the Saturday evening "party" the day Mia Eriksson died. Needless to say it was a sombre night. (She had been eliminated for too many stops, but obviously didn't realize it and continued on. The announcer/ground jury was in the process of getting her pulled off the course, but she was approaching the water complex, proceeded to jump, horse flipped and landed on her.)

    We all agreed that if we had one stop or run-out on course, it happens, can be a moment's inattention, a bad distance or maybe the horse needed a look. We can decide to continue on after that. But a second run-out or stop means, "something's not right." And we agreed that a competition is not the time or place to try to school through it - whether it's rider error, horse isn't feeling right, or we are not ready for the question.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


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  3. #3
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    I've done it - with the horse who wanted/needed to asses the detail of the grain of the wood. The third try with her was often just fine. Plus I got mad enough to make the rest of the course happen! She was not a good XC horse (doh) but I couldn't let her get away with ignoring me. We were competing at Training, well within her scope. P? Maybe not so much.



  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blugal View Post
    Only once have I been in this situation. It was definitely a case of me being a greener rider, having more guts than skills, and my determination to get it done overcame my lack of skill.

    Having said that, I will never do a 3rd attempt at a XC fence again. It is a pact I made with a peer and our coach in 2006, at Galway Downs at the Saturday evening "party" the day Mia Eriksson died. Needless to say it was a sombre night. (She had been eliminated for too many stops, but obviously didn't realize it and continued on. The announcer/ground jury was in the process of getting her pulled off the course, but she was approaching the water complex, proceeded to jump, horse flipped and landed on her.)

    We all agreed that if we had one stop or run-out on course, it happens, can be a moment's inattention, a bad distance or maybe the horse needed a look. We can decide to continue on after that. But a second run-out or stop means, "something's not right." And we agreed that a competition is not the time or place to try to school through it - whether it's rider error, horse isn't feeling right, or we are not ready for the question.
    Wow. This is a somber and excellent point, and one of the things that was on my mind when I called it a day after take 2 didn't happen. I kinda forgot about that, but it does stop and make you think.

    In my case, things just weren't happening. There were a lot of details to why it wasn't going to happen (I wrote about them in my blog), and I just wasn't willing to go at in one more time.



  5. #5
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    Oct. 4, 2008
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    Default

    Well, I don't ride, but instructions, simple, first time at a fence, well, they are learning too. Second time same fence, done. Period. End of story. We haven't ever had that actually happen though...but if it did. As the levels increase in risk, and difficulty, it becomes harder and harder to school them. Pony does amazing on corners at Training level, and most Preliminary, but had a bad stop at Poplar, unseated Missy. It was max height, width, and had shrub on top of it. Was, in other words, a massive corner. Problem is, won't go school those often. Too risky. So we try and just go slow about bringing them up, with a lot of xc schooling days. By doing so, I think, maybe us, but it lets you know when it just isn't right....and in reality, if it takes three times, it probably just isn't the right time, right day, right situation. YB, glad you are cautious...seems just smart thing to be these days.
    May the sun shine on you daily, and your worries be gone with the wind.
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  6. #6
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    Dec. 27, 2001
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    I've only ever made 3 tries once.
    Very intimidating ditch and wall (3rd fence on a Training course, thank you not-so-much). Never schooled one. It had already eaten 2/3 of the Training Rider division. We had a stop, I circled around and tried again, changing NOTHING. Had a hoof-perfect repeat of the first stop. Took a minute to calm down, think, and realized he was drifting left (as he liked to do anyway) and diving out the open left side. The right side was hard up against the woods. Came back with determination and aiming for the right side of the fence. Success!!

    Lesson there is maybe it is ok if it is NOT a massive fence (I was scared of it, but it was Training size after all), and if refusals one and two were carbon copy. If you have changed your approach and your ride and got the same result, I agree, third time will not accomplish anything.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

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  7. #7
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    Aug. 30, 2011
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    I don't know - I guess it depends on the horse and the jump- but I was thinking about it, and I can't remember personally ever having more than one stop on course, meaning horse stops, we represent and go over.

    But, I think you did the right thing. I pulled up and retired in the middle of SJ once. Some times things just aren't going right and are better addressed another time.



  8. #8
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    I am, IIRC, 2-for-2 on third attempts, both at Training ditches that came early in the course and surprised my not-normally-ditchy horse. Also surprised me! In both cases, I gave basically the same ride on the second approach as on the first and then got my act together and changed the ride on the third with resulting success. (Although in the first case we then ran past the B element of the half-coffin, so said success was fleeting...!)

    Both times I've had two stops at a fence with height -- one "I don't understand this question" on the horse's part and one "I don't think I can," I made a second attempt to see if answering, "You can and I'll help you," would improve the situation and then retired when it didn't.
    http://longestformat.blogspot.com/

    "The present tense of regret is indecision."
    - Welcome to Night Vale


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  9. #9
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    It really does depend on the horse - my "one stop wonder" usually went after the first stop, and always after the second. Her E's were for 4 total stops on course, not 3 per fence. When my old mare, the XC machine, stopped once - first stop in something like 10 years - I thought "whoa, something's not right" . She jumped on re-approach and we carefully finished the course but had she stopped at anything, including a branch in the path, I was ready to pull her up.

    I guess this is where experience and maturity come into play - knowing when the horse just doesn't have it in him vs. being a pill. There was one fence at an event my O-S-W stopped at repeatedly - even schooling. She hated it. But I could get her over on the 2nd or 3rd try. (it was a 'house' type fence - pretty straightforward...) So it really depends on the circumstance. I only had the one horse and wasn't ready to give up eventing, so I took my stops and got to show jump, where she excelled.



  10. #10
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    My general rule is that one stop is my fault 99% of the time. I try my level best to do something different on re-approach to give myself/my horse a better chance, and if I think I've given myself and the horse a fighting chance and the answer is still "no" I will usually retire. Last time that happened was on Bonnie at a T in Kentucky. It was really muddy, she slid on approach to a trakehner (never her favorite) and in spite of my giving her a moment, taking my time on the re-approach, she slid (and stopped) again and we called it a day. Cantered back to warmup and jumped the natural fence twice and she was feeling OK so that was that. We ended on a better note and it just wasn't for us that time.
    Click here before you buy.



  11. #11
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    It depends. Generally, if I've had multiple stops on course, it's a sign that we're having a bad day, or not prepared enough, and it's time to go home.

    However, one of my proudest accomplishments (and learning moments) was finishing Radnor CCI** in 2006. I had single stops at 3 different fences, for different reasons...reasons that you only truly discover at a horse's first 3-day (fit/too strong/then tired). However, that course was incredibly difficult that year, DOC called it a "soft 3-star" in places. Many people withdrew (Karen thought it was too tough for Mandiba) or didn't finish (Allison Springer fell off Arthur). I gave it a try, our inexperience showed a bit, but my mare and I really grew up around that course, and we did some tough questions very well. I was very proud to finish, despite not going clear. (After the 3rd stop, the possibility of being eliminated honestly never occurred to me; but I was VERY conscious of her energy level, and was prepared to pull up at any moment if she was "done.")


    Other times, though, you have to analyze (quickly!) what's going wrong, and why, and how fixable. Sometimes it's hard to know in the moment, and it's better to err on the side of caution and to save your horse for another day.
    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
    ? Albert Einstein

    ~AJ~



  12. #12
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    I was successful once on the third attempt...but I don't think it counts. There was an option and I took the option. It was also at a corner fence...and I was lucky there was an option. I wish they had more fences with options.


    I was able to go back and school that corner and had no issues....but I have no doubt that at that moment, if I had tried the corner again while I was on courses he would have stopped. The option was nice to have...and I learned to just take the option sooner if you have one stop.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  13. #13
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    I have in greenie situations. I had one horse who had 2 stops at the 1st fence (@ Difficult Run, so set in a fairly chaotic area) and jumped the rest clear. I think it was his first event. I had another who had 2 stops at the water several times (novice, flags only water) before coming to terms with strange water on course.

    But now that you mention it, I can't think of any successful 3rd tries with more experienced horses or bigger fences.


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  14. #14
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    I've tended to have jumping machines, but two times come to mind. Once at Spring Bay with Gizmo fairly early in our preliminary career and the trakehner was on that bridge over the creek and the water was flowing very fast under it. He was still a little ditchy at that point in his training. But he seemed to be working on processing it and by the third try, he got over.

    The second time was with my guy who doesn't like xc jumps and I was stuffing him around an intro course at Rocking Horse. He needed three tries on a couple of the fences, but he is a total chicken out jumping xc by himself and has since found a new career.
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



  15. #15
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    It depends on the horse and the level. BN-T on a horse that needs to school it on a straight forward fence? Ya, I'll do it. If it were a sales horse, maybe not. But one that just needs miles? Probably.

    Prelim and higher? Nope. 2 and done.



  16. #16
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    Oct. 22, 2001
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    I agree it's not a hard/fast rule. With a baby, I tend to keep trying as long as I can, because I want to reinforce that they will be going forward. Now, I may change the question a little bit and/or fix my ride before I try again: for example, if I have one stick at jumping into the water, I might circle through the pond to get their feet wet and then go back to the jump. Similarly, if I had a glance off or came too fast to a question, than I'd fix the canter or the line and try again, so long as I can do that thoughtfully. And, with something like an easy in to water or a baby drop, it's pretty easy to get a second stop counted against you if your horse wiggles his feet backwards at the top for a moment or so, and in those cases, there's no point to just going home - much better to get the job done if you can.

    That being said, if my second ride is the same mistake as my first and I can't get my head out of my own butterflies, and/or there's something fundamental going on, then it's ok to call it a day. So if you have one who is telling you s/he just doesn't want to play today, than it's not a bad idea to go home after a stop.


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  17. #17
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    Interesting conversation! Seems like the general consensus is "depends." (Shocking in the horse world! ).

    I do tend to agree that on a baby you can maybe have a little more success on the third try. But I also think it is easier to get in the back seat, use a whip judiciously, and safer to let them scramble over smaller fences (With big wide faces). And, obviously, things with no height are easy to give it the old college try.

    But like I told someone yesterday, this was not a fence I could "beat" him over. And since he didn't seem to have his head in the game from the moment we left the startbox, anyway, it just wasn't our day.

    I was bummed there was no option, and felt better when talking about the issue later with the BNR I lesson with said he was surprised there was no option, either. Oh well. Time to stop stewing and start working!



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    I was bummed there was no option, and felt better when talking about the issue later with the BNR I lesson with said he was surprised there was no option, either. Oh well. Time to stop stewing and start working!

    Yeah...it seems like they are getting cheaper about building options. It is really frustrating...our entry fees go up...and yet I feel like less is done on the courses. The options do NOT need to be fancy...and should be time consuming but so nice to have. I still rememeber a great Prelim course at Fair Hill years ago that if you jumped all the direct routes on course, it was a super hard Prelim, almost Intermediate (great for a last prelim before moving up) but because of how the course was flagged, and the options available, it was also a fantastic first prelim where you would finish with time but a confident horse. I wish those course were more typical and not the exception.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  19. #19
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    Yeah. It would have been nice to add a boat load of time to our stop, but get to continue around the course, rather than walk home. I think had I had something to gallop at and we had gone on to the meat of the course (the corner was the 5th fence), Toby would have clicked into gear and we would have had an otherwise decent round. He was starting to get into the swing at the 3rd.

    Don't want to turn this into a Waredaca/course design thread (Especially since I love Waredaca and think they do a great job) but it WAS disappointing to walk nearly the exact same course as I did last June. The corner was moved and a few other questions were changed slightly, but almost the same course, fence for fence.



  20. #20
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    WRT that specific fence, I agree, an option would have been great. It was so early on course, and the turn was awkward and blind. It was not until the last second that you (much less your horse) knew where you were going. It would definitely have been nice not to have to end the day on that question.



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