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BRAINSTORMING Thread: Post your favorite eventing solutions here

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  • #41
    Reed, I didn't find the Australian study. Someone else here posted the link. All I did was save it because it seemed so relevant to the discussion.

    PM coming.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire


    • #42
      Add a modified 'chase at the start of XC. Or, go back to the old format. But since that will never happen, please, please add a modified 'chase at the start of CCI XC.

      I watched the video of poor Laine before it was removed, and I will confess to watching it more than once trying to figure out what the horse was thinking. And all I could come up with is that if the horse had done the 'chase, he would have been ok leaving from the gap he should have taken, instead of putting his feet down and trying to give himself another stride where there wasn't one.


      • #43
        Create opportunities for horses and riders to learn or compete over steeplechase fences, either via separate playdays, by starting courses with them, or by creating special competitions of for example dressage and steeplechase.

        Rethink the skills and tests we want to ask of our top eventers and redistribute them between xc and sj: remind ourselves that it takes a fearsome amount of skill to jump a even a straightforward xc course at 3'11" and that we'd be OK with every 4*/Olympic/etc competitor coming home clean or perhaps with a few time penalties. We'd accept x-c basically having little direct/obvious impact on the score for most riders other than you obviously have to be able to do it (keeping weenie riders like me from participating even if I can do 3rd level dressage and 4'3" jumpers). Move some of the technical questions we're asking on xc, maybe even bounces, to show jumping day.

        Test out more collapsible options even for solid obstacles like tables and possibly logs. Evaluate each type of obstacle and determine whether rotational falls (and other serious injury) occur. Solid walls can be built from lightweight materials like styrofoam or in another breakaway configuration so that they collapse straight down and not in front of the horse. Test, do not assume, to see if this improves safety. Worry about function first, cost last. It's easier to raise money than the dead.

        Consider whether the education of horse and rider demands collapsible obstacles at all levels, or only at upper levels. Maybe BN/Novice are safer learning to jump solid logs than something illusory. At Advanced, the horses will believe they're solid.

        We need to make sure we understand how horses read complicated fences and how their education facilitates that. Even the great ones may miss: witness fall of Beezie Madden and Authentic at 2007 show jumping World Cup.

        When considering accidents, consider not just the fence for that incident but the fences before it. Consider whether multiple apparently unrelated accidents/incidents at one event, such as EIPH + fall, may actually indicate that a portion of the course is creating unexpected stress for the horses.

        Eventing is changing whether we like it or not, due to real estate pressures that affect the early education of horse and rider, more top riders and top horses that do all three phases well (and for more years), the loss of the long format, and other factors that we probably don't understand. Our sport cannot be regularly fatal to horse or rider if it is to survive, particularly in an era of vivid, instant communication. We need to focus on creating the ultimate all-around test for horse and rider without punishing mistakes with death or severe injury, even if it means significant changes in format or scoring.

        Proposed changes should be based on data and analysis, not just on gut feelings. (After all, as many people have claimed that changing to the short format would improve safety as claimed it would hurt safety, but no analysis was done.) There are many people with such skills in the eventing community; ask for help if this expertise is not immediately at hand.
        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


        • #44
          Personal responsibility is wonderful, valuable, and important, but even if only the irresponsible die, and even if 99.9% of riders are responsible and competent, we will still lose our sport. Any/every severe accident reflects on us all, and we are all in this together.

          And perhaps the most fearsome issue is how many people have been hurt or killed who are very skilled and quite competent at the level where they were competing. This suggests to me that the problem isn't one that individual riders can solve with more preparation, even though I still believe in the need for it and the value of it.
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


          • #45
            to add to the great list (tx cp)

            1. My thought is that if the courses have become more technical to separate the “winners” out, why not skip the crazy technical questions (false ground lines, no room for run outs, way to many complexes etc) and “raise the bar” with learning the mpms with out a watch. I think at all levels that would be hugely impactful. Who is the better rider at any level, the one riding the watch or the one that knows how their horse travels given all of variables on any given day,moment,weather, course? You could make the time penalties for going to fast pretty steep in order to weed out that problem. I only ride at the lower levels and have used a watch, forgotten my watch and purposely left it in the truck for various reasons. But let’s suppose a day comes along when I go into XC after winning dressage and my barn mate came in second with barely a point between us. I am going to be really concerned about not getting time faults. Who is the better competitor……….the one that can do that through, feel and training or the one that keeps listening for the beeps? Who deserves that win? I am not saying this is THE ANSWER but I do think it warrants discussion.

            2. get rid of false ground lines


            • #46
              This is the most intelligent post

              Originally posted by gooddirt View Post
              Easier said than done, and it will further encourage bad riding.

              For several years there has been a strong emphasis on "safe" fence shapes, tilted tabletops, etc. Unintended result: People are moving up faster than they should.

              Frankly, I'm wondering, where are all the much-maligned square tables and vertical faces? They certainly aren't here.

              XC fences are already expensive as heck to build. For collapsible fences I can't even begin to estimate the cost, but I'm sure you can multiply the present cost by 2 or 3x and up.

              Mandating collapsible fences would be the end of the sport as we know it, because organizers can't afford to abandon their existing jump inventory and replace it with jumps that cost lots more and require a Ga. Tech engineer (egads!) to build, certify, and maintain them.

              Imagine what could happen if one of them failed to perform? The rider might say "It's not my fault that my horse died. The stupid jump didn't fall down. Who certified it? Let's sue them!"

              The best solution is BE PREPARED AND RIDE SMART!
              I have read yet. Thank you gooddirt!!!
              In keeping with the current thoughts on safety in the sport,
              Lets remember some of the other professional sports that could be improved by these ideas.
              All baseballs, polo balls and jai lai balls will be replaced by whiffle balls!
              Indi cars will have a maximum speed of 25mph. 6 air bags will be required, no metal on the outside.
              Football, tackling will be outlawed, 2 handed touches below the waist will be forbidden. All players will be wrapped in heavy padding. All players falling down will be required to be seen by medical personnel. I could go on and on. Outrageous isn't it. But to some thats exactly what some of the suggestions are like. I am sure I will be either ignored or lambasted for not being " sensative" or caring enough about our horses and riders.
              Not at all. I LOVE this sport. I have also been accused of living in the "Old" days. Well did Mike Plumb, Bruce davidson, Torrance watkins et al. need special jumps? How many thousand of jumps have been successfully executed by horse and rider combinations. Their horses were fit and the riders were up to the task. Do not sound the death knell for this sport.
              Look at Dennys suggestions for qualifications. Make it not so easy to move up. a pair HAS to prove themselves. The rules worked for many many years. Sorry to say but it was not broke, and it did not need fixing.
              In my humble opinion, the changes to the short format and many new rule changes has seriously altered the sport. A rational look need to be taken at the whole sport. Hysterics are not the answer. Making jumps that fall apart will be the end of our sport as we know it.


              • #47
                SPEED BUMPS!! Since speed and vertical faces are a major factor in rotational falls, perhaps course designers could implement speed bumps prior to these types of fences. Obviously I am not refering to the the annoying lumps placed in the middle of a residential street or a parking lot, but designing the course to force slower paces. This methodology is not unknown in road design and construction. Just another thought.


                • #48
                  Originally posted by wanderlust View Post
                  Add a modified 'chase at the start of XC. Or, go back to the old format. But since that will never happen, please, please add a modified 'chase at the start of CCI XC.

                  I watched the video of poor Laine before it was removed, and I will confess to watching it more than once trying to figure out what the horse was thinking. And all I could come up with is that if the horse had done the 'chase, he would have been ok leaving from the gap he should have taken, instead of putting his feet down and trying to give himself another stride where there wasn't one.

                  Here is what I don't understand: Most ULRs claim that for a good CCI*** or CCI**** warmup, they basically simulate phases A,B, and C to get their horses correctly warmed up and in the right mindset before XC. Yet these are the same riders that abhor the long format for its "undue wear and tear" on the horses legs? A little contradictory considering that they can admit that the long format was the best warm up for their horses... and if you're "simulating" it for warmup, are you not putting that same so-called "wear and tear" on your horse's legs as you would be if you were just doing those first 3 phases??


                  • #49
                    Personal responsibility -- trainer responsibility -- dangerous riding definition -- preventing an unprepared/unready horse and rider from accident prior to heading out on XC.

                    The yellow card/dangerous riding ticket system is being urged to be expanded, which is a function of the eventing official's education and training. It has been said that dangerous riding is undefinable. I disagree.

                    The ICP program has some really excellent teaching and training level expectations and there is a whole host of good definitions in this program. Let's not reinvent the wheel. Go to what we already know.

                    Revamp warmup arenas. Having been a warmup steward at many events, I can tell you it's like a free for all and should not be.

                    There should be:

                    ----Limits on how many horses allowed in warmup. If you are scheduled at 1pm to stadium jump then the earliest you can legally be in show jump warmup is say 12 noon. If there becomes too many horses in warmup the steward can stop the warmup arena activity and kick people out or force everyone to walk until it clears out a little. Or if it reaches a limit of say 20 horses an adjunct warmup area would have to be utilized without jumps where hacking and warmup on the flat would be allowed until the main jumping area has cleared.

                    ----No one can be in warmup after they have competed.
                    ----No one but grooms and trainers with USea memberships in the warmup.
                    ----No one directing riders or coaching unless they have signed an entry blank as such.
                    Carry your USEA card, it will be checked and you must show it to get in the area.
                    ----No stadium warmup in XC warmup. And vice versa.
                    ----NO approaching the official warmup steward - you speak when you are spoken to. The warmup steward needs to be treated like a TD or judge -- as they are responsible for the safety of all riders and horses in the area and need to observe horses and riders carefully. This steward should sit alone and not have any other responsibilities like getting riders to the gate or in order or in the ring, etc. They need to be directly responsible to the Ground Jury.
                    ----Warmup could be video taped.
                    ----Any rider who falls in warmup needs to be somehow held, talked to, looked at, examined, scratched, etc. Any horse who falls in warmup is done.
                    ----Yellow card system in force as soon as you enter the warmup ring. In other words you can get a penalty warming up. If you and your horse are THAT BAD to get a yellow card in warmup then we are getting closer to stopping the dangerous, accident-waiting-to happen riders before they get on course stuck in the oxers.

                    I do not mind warmup being policed in this manner. It would make it safer. Most organizers have a defined warmup area already, and a warmup steward as well. These modifications just make the area have a little more teeth and make it less of a free for all and more of a place where indeed the competition is under way and you are being watched. Just being able to check USEA cards at the entrance is one way of limiting it to the correct people and making sure riders understand they are under scrutiny. Organizers, chime in here -- would this work?

                    This should be done in a friendly and customer service manner to avoid tension and tempers, so the warmup steward should be a knowledgeable person with a nice demeanor but who can be tough when necessary. All steps necessary to keep warmup calm, cool, comfortable, tension free, and welcoming should be taken, but the zoned out rider crashing thru warmup fences needs to be identified before running down to fixed timber on course a few moments later.
                    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                    • #50
                      Totally agree!

                      Originally posted by flypony74 View Post
                      Just a few thoughts off the top of my head....

                      • Folks, a lot of this boils down to personal responsibility. If there is any question as to whether or not you or your horse are prepared for a level, DON'T DO IT. Parents need to be involved to make these decisions for their children. Adults should seek a quality, qualified instructor to help guide them. I don't have a suggestion as to how to facilitate this, other than giving everyone an injection of good sense. Maybe some education funds can be earmarked to fund some standardized regional adult and young rider educational programs...make them low cost and accessible to all riders. Quality outings like that would certainly help adult riders, young riders, and their parents make good judgment calls (from selecting a regular instructor, to helping them understand where there may be holes in their training that they need to address before considering a move up, etc)....very much in a nutshell.
                      • I think a lot of it has to do with modern course design. The show jumping courses set out in a field. My suggestion here is to revert back to a more classical course design (less technical), while keeping the safety features of today. I wholeheartedly agree with getting away from vertical faces combined with spreads (tables, etc). Verticals and open oxers should have frangibles. I'm sorry, but half-coffins and skinnies at Novice are just crazy....that is still and INTRODUCTORY level! I know that horses and riders need to learn to do these things, but let them develop their basic skills and confidence before throwing this crap at them.
                      • Bring back the long format or some variation of it. Get the horse warmed up and settled before they embark on D.
                      • Post more officials on course (maybe create "Assistant TDs") that have the authority to stop a rider who is riding dangerously or is clearly overfaced. Many jump judges don't have the judgment or feel like they have the authority to report something like this.
                      • I have no problem with beefing up the qualifications for the upper levels....heck, that is where we see most of the fatal and serious injuries. But don't put qualifications on the introductory levels (BN-N-T), as many folks with limited time and budget, like myself, get a lot of mileage on their horses at carefully selected unrecognized events, and may not have the funds to do a lot of recognized each year. I don't want to be stuck at BN for five years, but then again, I'm sure not going to move up before I am thoroughly prepared. Goes back to that personal responsibility thing.
                      • I do not agree with the rotational fall rule proposals. I can guarantee you that, from my perspective as a rider, a rotational fall is a much more frightening scenario than any sort of suspension. That in itself is enough to keep me off a course that I'm not ready for. And I kind of feel like this rule is a moot point, because it seems that most riders don't just pop right up and walk away from most rotational falls.
                      • I also don't agree with the "one fall you're out" on x-c rule. This goes back to personal responsibility. You get dumped because you're not up to the game that day, do the right thing and RETIRE. You got dumped because of a fluke, non safety-related incident, get back on and ride. Maybe the rider needs permission from the nearby "Assistant TD" that I talked about above before they are allowed to remount and continue?

                      Personally, I think a lot of it has to do with the modern courses, in general. Like I said before, let's get back to the more old school courses, combined with the safety features of today....seems like the best of both worlds.
                      Excellent points, all! Well said!


                      • #51
                        Qualifications need to be beefed up. More clear cross country rides and better stadium results. We were discussing on another thread that some horses just take rails... well, personally, if the horse can't go and showjump with less than 12 faults, perhaps it should not be doing cross country at that level either. This 24 faults is ridiculous in my opinion. If my horse had 24 faults, I would consider it attrocious, not a qualifying result or something to "move up on".

                        When you can do a **** without ever going clear in a CCI***, something is wrong.

                        When you can do a CCI* without ever going clean in prelim cross country, something is wrong.

                        Who are we catering to here? The pros who are capable (for the most part) of moving up horses at a faster rate than the average ammy and don't care for the qualifications, or the rest of the people, the amateurs, the young riders, who may not understand that they aren't good enough to move up, but the qualifications tell them they are?


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by LISailing View Post
                          SPEED BUMPS!! Since speed and vertical faces are a major factor in rotational falls, perhaps course designers could implement speed bumps prior to these types of fences. Obviously I am not refering to the the annoying lumps placed in the middle of a residential street or a parking lot, but designing the course to force slower paces. This methodology is not unknown in road design and construction. Just another thought.
                          Mike E-S did just that at Rolex this year, and as a respected designer said after Lainey's accident, "We can't design to prevent that."



                          • #53
                            Great idea to get all suggestions together in one place.

                            -Design XC fences that are more like what is found in nature. Go back to the roots of the sport and use more natural obstacles like logs, brush, ditches, creeks, etc. Perhaps not all horse brains can understand giant round flower baskets...I don't suspect cavalrymen saw those out on the battle field.

                            -Use breakaway technology in fence building. At the very least we can use log poles with breakaway cups as the top of a fence (like those used for XC schooling.)

                            -Eliminate riders for a fall on XC. Why are riders eliminated for a fall in show jumping and not XC? It's as if USEA is encouraging a rough and tumble go around the XC course...

                            -Increase trainer responsibility for Prelim and above. I know of at least one rider competing at a level which the trainer does not think the competitor is capable of, yet the trainer does not say anything in fear of losing the client. That should end! Trainers should be required to sign any entry and should be questioned, fined, suspended, etc. if the student is eliminated more than once at that level in six months.

                            -Don't know of this has been done, but compile statistics of fences that have falls (not just rotational) at ALL levels to see if there are any consistent factors such as ground lines, fence shape, etc. that cause problems.


                            • #54
                              Flutie, do you know if slow down methods were used prior to the fence that Lainey fell? Do you know, what methods were used? Were the riders aware of these controls (i.e. were they passive or active methods)? I'm sure that some methods were incorporated on the course, but would be interested to find out if they were incorporated at this location.

                              To my knowledge, USEA has developed some specifications for fence and course design. But, I'm do not know if specifications have been developed that address track placement, track footing, takeoff footing, landing footing, speed bump design methods, etc. I do believe that the development of a set of specifications would be beneficial to the event orgainizers, designers, builders, riders, and trainers. However, I do not believe that their implementation should be mandatory, but only suggestive (i.e. hieght requirements for the levels are max., not required as are speeds).

                              It should also be recognized that regional soil and land charactersitics play a major role in the manner in which a course is designed and built. Within the past fifteen years, I've seen a continued emphasis and improvements made to the tracks. What is considered an acceptable track in VA may not be practicable or obtainable say in NM or AZ, but the horses in each of these areas are familiar with reasonable galloping tracks.


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by flutie1 View Post
                                Mike E-S did just that at Rolex this year, and as a respected designer said after Lainey's accident, "We can't design to prevent that."

                                Not only did Mike E-S do this at Rolex this year, the flower basket was placed to BE a fence that required a rebalancing half halt, after a downhill run and off a turn, with a dip in the ground 1 stride before take off. If you rode it right it was to help set you up for the upcoming coffin. Jimmy Wofford talked about this fence specifically on his course walk and said that it had been carefully placed to make the rider rebalance.
                                The big man -- my lost prince

                                The little brother, now my main man


                                • Original Poster

                                  Adding Lincoln's summary of Jiffy Read's thread:

                                  -- train horses to figure it out for themselves over fences and imperfect terrain in training (nb: the inherent tension with highly technical xc courses where obedience is pitted against self-preservation)
                                  -- more training at the gallop and in the hunt field for agility and familiarity with tacking terrain at speed and with distractions.
                                  -- ensure that the increased emphasis on dressage does not produce the unintended result of horses trained to their rider guiding each footfall. Stephen Clarke, the "O" dressage judge, talks about the elusive combination of suppleness, brilliance and accuracy. That comes from a horse being independent enough to remain in self-carriage and in rhythmn without being micro-managed. There is a bit of a parallel theological debate in the dressage community on whether art is in the control or in the partnership.
                                  -- let horses develop more slowly (especially as there is a greater % of warmbloods who mature later), spending more time below the * level.

                                  What else should be added?
                                  Link for the thread: http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/sho...d.php?t=145512
                                  Taco Blog
                                  *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Denny's idea from the joint letter thread

                                    You know, here`s a radical idea. Simply make every level one level lower.
                                    Make the training xc courses prelim, the prel.xc, int, the 2 star becomes 3 star, the 3 star is now 4-star, etc. (The current 4-star xc goes away)
                                    It won`t happen, but what an easy way to lower the stress levels and the danger levels across the board.
                                    Then make the big questions get asked in show jumping, and, presto, far fewer falls, because speeds are slower, heights lower, spreads narrower, etc.
                                    Face it, folks, the Classic 3-day event is gone. Is there even a place for eventing in the 21st century? That`s the big question right now. And that`s because we`ve finally reached the famous "tipping point", the point beyond which the general public, the rest of the broader horse community, and finally even the broad event community, will no longer tolerate the degree of danger to both riders and horses.
                                    So, as many have concluded, make xc easier.
                                    Is this a radical departure? Of course it is. Will it save eventing? It well might, and if so, it`s worth it.
                                    Hell, at the end of the day, someone will still get 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. And far fewer accidents.
                                    This may be the only real solution. At least until totally, radically different jump construction techniques are perfected, which may take years.
                                    We don`t have years.
                                    Original thread: http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/sho...d.php?t=145345
                                    Taco Blog
                                    *T3DE 2010 Pact*


                                    • #58
                                      - Stringent qualification rules before pairs can move up.

                                      - TDs who have the right to pull a rider up on course if they feel the rider's dangerous or the horse is having difficulties.

                                      - Leave the technical questions for stadium! Some of the "technical" areas I've seen on XC lately are not so much technical as just plain stupid. (sorry, just MHO!) Some seem to be designed not to ask a question of the pair, but more as a trap and it's ugly to watch, takes away from the horse's confidence, and is punishable by death if you don't luck out through the stupidity. You want to test just how adjustable/brave/quick-thinking the pair are? Do it in stadium.
                                      Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery


                                      • #59
                                        I just sent this email to David and Kevin at safetythoughts@usef.org and safety@usea.com:

                                        While I applaud your proposals set forth in your recent memo to USEF and USEA members, it’s a little bit like closing the barn door after the horse has run out. Punishing a rider after the fall has occurred isn’t going to save the horse we might lose in that fall, nor is it going to prevent everyone from the kind of riding we are trying to stop. And punishing a rider who isn’t riding dangerously with a suspension for a fluke fall isn’t the answer, either.

                                        What I'm proposing for cross country is a "Yellow and Red Flag Warning System" similar to that in race car driving. When dangerous driving occurs, a yellow flag is waved to alert that driver that he is on notice, and the next flag waved will be red and the driver is out of the race.

                                        This system would involve having Flag Stewards, who would be responsible for various sectors of the cross country. Each Flag Steward would need to have an unimpeded view of every fence in his or her sector, and a radio. Ideally these stewards would be members of the ground jury, the TD, the event organizer, or other educated officials acting as representatives of the safety committee for the event. They would NOT be volunteer cross country jump judges.

                                        If Control is made aware of potentially dangerous riding by a jump judge, or can see it first-hand, they would radio to one of the Flag Stewards, who would be responsible for waving a yellow flag at the oncoming rider, well in advance of the next jump. This rider would in effect be put on notice that they need to modify their riding and slow it down and rebalance their horse before jumping the next fence. The penalty for not doing so would be a red flag of elimination.

                                        Obviously, there are other logistics that need to be considered and worked out, but this is just an initial proposal.

                                        If such a system were in place at Rolex, Lainey might have received a yellow flag at Fence Two or Three, and the fall that occurred at Fence Five might never have happened.

                                        Just a thought.


                                        Lesli Cohen
                                        Volunteer Coordinator & Development Assistant
                                        Florida Horse Park
                                        11008 S Hwy 475
                                        Ocala, FL 34480
                                        Volunteer Coordinator, Equiventures, LLC
                                        and the Sunshine State, Little Everglades,
                                        & Live Oak Combined Driving Events


                                        • #60
                                          I really really should be working but here are my random thoughts……..

                                          I think there is more than one problem and there needs to be more than one solution. This hasn’t happened overnight so we need to examine each change and the resulting consequence.

                                          1 – Loss of the long format. It is gone and I unfortunately don’t see it coming back. However to all of those who have issues with the “dumbing down” of the sport – it has already happened – it happened with the short format. So maybe we can find a compromise – small R&T followed by a modified chase then the vet check then xc. If land is the true issue – this could all be done in a very small area – boring yes but if it increases safety who cares.

                                          2 – Qualifications – years ago riders only had 1-2 top level horses and therefore were MUCH more careful with them.(there are exceptions I’m generalizing here) If you lost your UL horse it could conceivably take several years to MAKE another one. So the qualifications could be slack because riders were responsible enough to take care of themselves and their horses. Not so now – and this doesn’t just apply to riding – even at work we can’t find responsible people anymore. So if riders won’t take care of themselves perhaps the sport will have to. Tougher qualifications, STOP more people on course if they struggling, etc. I’ve been to Rolex every year for about 15 years and have never seen so many people ‘just’ getting ‘round.

                                          3 – Course design – get rid of all the vertical faced tables, heck make the whole stinking course out of brush until the pins can be perfected. I think there is a happy medium between the old courses and the new ones – it just needs to be determined what that is.

                                          4 – Training – there is a wonderful topic going on about this now. Horses need to be able to think for themselves. If they are trained by a rider who never makes a mistake who gets them in perfectly 99% of the time what happens when that 1% is at a huge solid jump? Everyone is going to miss – sometime. If the horse is allowed to learn to think for himself and the course is designed so that he can – maybe just maybe it would be a start.

                                          Just my random thoughts…………… back to working now…….