Wednesday, May. 29, 2024

What Do The Professionals Think Of The Long-Format Preliminary Three-Day?

Long-format organizers don’t expect professional riders to swell the ranks of their preliminary three-days now that the Fédération Equestre Internationale no longer recognizes phases A, B and C. But most young riders and amateurs don’t compete without taking at least an occasional lesson, so support from the professional ranks will still be necessary to make the new three-day series a hit.

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Long-format organizers don’t expect professional riders to swell the ranks of their preliminary three-days now that the Fédération Equestre Internationale no longer recognizes phases A, B and C. But most young riders and amateurs don’t compete without taking at least an occasional lesson, so support from the professional ranks will still be necessary to make the new three-day series a hit.

“I highly recommend a training three-day as a goal for my training-level riders, so they’ll understand the feeling of a full format,” said Bonnie Mosser, a four-star rider based in Gordonsville, Va. “At preliminary, the long format helps my horses to become more positive galloping and jumping and learning to jump at speed. I find that very useful for the future and also for the riders. I think it’s a great training tool.”

Mosser also recognized that if her amateur riders want to participate in a preliminary three-day, it would be her job to support them.

“As professionals, we have to not get caught up in our game as the top riders. We can’t expect everyone to just go along with our world,” she said. “We have to stop and think about their world too, the lower-level riders and what their goals are. It can be two different avenues in our sport, and we may have to keep it that way, that one doesn’t necessarily feed the other.”

James Wofford is all for two tracks, although he does see some room for crossover between long-format national three-days and short-format FEI three-days.

“I don’t foresee the classic horses bothering much with the FEI ladder. If you have a horse that you believe has an FEI future, and you yourself have done a long format; if your horse has done one half-star or one long-format one-star, and it has galloped at a soft brush jump at 650 meters per minute and missed a little bit and learned to make an arrangement at speed, I think that horse has learned the things it needs to learn before it goes up the FEI ladder,” he said. “But they’re not mutually exclusive. You can do a CCI* without and a month later or so do a classic.”

Jonathan Holling, however, believes that putting a lot of resources into keeping the long format alive isn’t a great idea.

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“If it becomes supported, I’m all for it. My concern with having these preliminary three-day events is that with the economic times we’re in and the stresses we put organizers under, I don’t want to encourage organizers to run a division that’s not cost effective and is not supported,” he said. “As a competitor, and as a member of the [U.S. Eventing Association] Board of Governors, and as the chairman of the Professional Horseman’s Council, it’s most important to me that those events continue to run at all levels.”

Holling, a four-star rider from Ocala, Fla., also has concerns about how we are educating the youth of the sport.

“I feel that the shortened format is very much its own thing. The argument that the long format is a different sport is a very valid argument,” he said. “We need to not have kids learn how to ride around a short-format three-day event, which is a different monster, for the first time at a two-star. It’s unfair on the horses.”

Holling has volunteered every year to help teach the steeplechase at the training-level three-day at the Florida Three-Day Event, and he said that if the long format came back at all levels, he would definitely support it.

“But I don’t think it’s an argument that’s going to be won anymore,” he said. “We had that opportunity, and we decided we wanted to stay in the Olympics. We made that choice. Instead of saying we learned better horsemanship in the long format so we need to return to that, we need to be teaching people, from the beginning, better horsemanship about the short format. It’s a different test of horse, but it’s still every bit as tough. We need to get better at it.”

 

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