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No refunds due to adverse weather

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  • No refunds due to adverse weather

    Here in the Midwest we are directly in the path of former hurricane Gordon. In Indiana we've gotten between 4 and 8 inches of rain in under 48 hours with rain rates of 2 inches per hour. As a result every horse trial I've heard of has been cancelled. It's a major disappointment to the organizers that have put their hearts and souls into putting on both long running events and trying to revive shows in neglected parks. I am also certain it is a major disappointment to all the people who signed their entries, despite every entry I have ever seen saying "no refunds to do adverse weather." Yes, we are eventers and we are tough souls, but even we have to take horse welfare and good horsemanship into consideration.

    I am incredibly appalled at the number of people who have taken to Facebook to express their displeasure at the cancellations. Demanding refunds, vowing to never enter again if the facility is going to cancel due to adverse conditions, blaming facilities on not having footing equipped to handle hurricane level rain fall amounts. Complaining that an offer of a free schooling day wasn't enough. This includes trainers with students disappointed at not being able to attend local schooling trials and individuals upset at their recognized events. I have to question what trainers are teaching those students.

    Perhaps some do not understand the hours of labor involved in even getting to the point of putting your trial on the omnibus. Hiring TDs, paying for dressage judges and their hotel rooms, putting down deposits on caterers, consulting with course designers, building new fences that are safe, suitable, and interesting for every level. The hours and hours that volunteers put in, and then requiring those volunteers to stand out in the rain for up to 12 hours. Perhaps they feel that schooling trials should have footing that holds up to 2 inches per hour, or they are not worried about their Novice horse pulling a tending in deep mud or their Starter rider trotting their course in rain so hard they can't see the fences.

    I have heard the reaction to all of this from at least one of the organizers and I would not be surprised if they found something better to do with their time next year. Work on their own farm? Ride their own horse? The possibilities are endless. If even a few grumpy eventers treat our community this way we can be sure to find even fewer events offered in the future.

    Had any of these organizers said "the show must go on!" would people have really wanted to run their horses XC with 6 inches of rain on the ground? If you looked at the weather, and decided for the safety of horse and rider to scratch, then why would you expect a refund if the entire show canceled?


    What compensation do you feel you are owed if an event cancels? Despite "the fine print" clearly stating that there were no refunds? Partial or complete refund? Transfer of funds to another show? If there are no other shows scheduled do you feel the show should make another date and reschedule? Does it make a difference if you are showing recognized or at a schooling trial? Do you feel the "show must go on" because it's eventing?
    Last edited by enjoytheride; Sep. 9, 2018, 09:13 AM.
    http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Ugh-- I don't ever "expect" anything-- it's generally pretty clear from the prizelist that they aren't required to do anything. Of course it's a nice surprise when you do get something, and if I am involved with organizing I usually try to make that happen. The event we ran in May was rescheduled to August, and we allowed people to use their entry either at the June event or in August-- the overwhelming majority of competitors were really good about it.

    We're getting 2-3 inches of rain this weekend, and the local recognized event ran yesterday but cancelled today. It sucks, but safety and keeping the landowners happy (in that order) are way more important.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting questions. I’ll vote for transferring a portion of funds to another Event by the same organizers less administrative costs the organizers had to pay that are non refundable to them.

      Personally, wouldn’t have wanted to be hauling with so many roads, including portions of interstates, flooded. Having seen a (career ending) double back suspensory on a sloooooow Hunter over 3’ fences on flat ground jumping out of deep mud iafter hours of torrential rain? Think owners and trainers need to stop and think about putting their horses in some situations where possibility of accident and/or injury outweighs the need to continue. Some people need protection from their own choices, especially when it involves the best interests of a horse who can’t choose.

      Suspect the organizers might have canceled AFTER they were contacted by riders and trainers who were electing to scratch and AFTER they determined the footing was unsafe before they made the decision to cancel. With different levels of competence in riders and trainers expected on horses with varying training and soundness, think it was the only sensible call.

      Not even considering expecting officials and volunteers to stand out in weather like this for hours while trying to see what is going on. This was serious rain for hours and hours and hours. Most persistent in my 25 years as an area resident. Lots of other outdoor events normally able to run in tne rain rescheduled or cancelled too, including many high school football games and a USL Pro Soccer game called after trying for awhile. It was bad and on top of already saturated ground from a historically wet year.
      Last edited by findeight; Sep. 9, 2018, 09:26 AM.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had the same reaction to the anger at no refunds. I do think it'd be great to roll-over any amount they can to future events or refunds. I was entered in a local dressage show Saturday at the same venue that had a mini trial planned for Sunday. The dressage show is hoping to find a judge for another date, but if not, we get a refund minus the office fee. The mini trial (first year for new local circuit) offered no refunds, which was stated up front regarding adverse weather, but did offer free schooling. I think partial refunds or schooling for free are both fair, but some people will never be happy.

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        • #5
          You do realize many of those complaining now would have been all over social media griping about flooded parking and stabling areas, bad footing and overall bad conditions, whining about having to haul and compete on an unsafe course claiming it should have been cancelled and they would have been willing to forfeit their fees to be safe? Or claiming negligence in the injury of horse or rider injury for operating in such miserable, unsafe conditions?

          And you bet thats what many them would be doing today had they been allowed to compete in these conditions. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t but at least nobody and no horse gets hurt.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

          Comment


          • #6
            I was entered in a show that was cancelled (pretty sure it's the same one that LilyandBaron referred to). I was disappointed in the cancellation, but not with the organizers. They definitely made the right call - it wouldn't have been safe to run. I'm just fed up with all the rain! It has been such a wet year (got poured on at our last dressage schooling show), but we can't control the weather and just have to deal with the punches that Mother Nature throws at us. The organizers are offering a free schooling day which to me is awesome and something I definitely appreciate. I attended one of their earlier schooling days and was really impressed with all the work they had put in.

            I get that people are frustrated - I was really looking forward to this show as well - but I very much respect and appreciate the organizers for their tireless efforts and appreciate that they put the safety of horse and rider first.

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            • #7
              I can understand the frustration, but not the bashing. It's an expensive sport! I blew over $500 on a HT that was cancelled this spring. I was happy to get $200 back in credit (on 2 entries). It did make me gun-shy about entering any other recognized HTs this season though. I've stuck to starter trials--less to lose.

              It looks like they just ran dressage at Bucks County today. Not sure why they didn't cancel altogether--it must have been really wet.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kcmel View Post
                I can understand the frustration, but not the bashing. It's an expensive sport! I blew over $500 on a HT that was cancelled this spring. I was happy to get $200 back in credit (on 2 entries). It did make me gun-shy about entering any other recognized HTs this season though. I've stuck to starter trials--less to lose.

                It looks like they just ran dressage at Bucks County today. Not sure why they didn't cancel altogether--it must have been really wet.
                They ran all 3 phases at Bucks, at least so far. I chose last night to scratch...my horse was due for hocks after Bucks and even though I desperately wanted to compete, I thought sliding around in the mud would be worse for his hocks and therefore his confidence.

                They did tell me last night that they had not had much rain and therefore they thought the rain would make it perfect. Not sure if I believed that and with a 90 minutes trailer ride each way and a relatively early dressage time, I wasn't really willing to put in all that work in the cold rain just to scratch after dressage.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I participated in an unrecognized horse trials yesterday that did not cancel. They have ground that tends to drain pretty well. Granted both myself and my friend woke up to torrential downpour kind of hoping it was cancelled...

                  It had slowed down by our jumping times but we (and everyone else) rode dressage in raincoats. The venue has definitely learned lessons from years past and designed the course with weather in mind. This time of year you used to be guaranteed to have the step up or down at the water at Novice but due to a year or two where the water got to flooded, I think they just opted to have a run through there. They also didn't use the ditches in that same field as they have been underwater in the past. I was really impressed with how they designed and interesting and different course apparently with weather in mind.

                  That being said, another local venue is owned by a private family so they have often turned their unrecognized horse trials into combined tests (no refund or partial refund) in weather like this as the owners do not like that fields being torn up to much.

                  As far as really adverse weather effecting a horse trials - if your ground is oversaturated and you feel it is unsafe or the propery owners do not want to run the horse trials...well, those are the breaks. I fully appreciate a free schooling or partial refund but the rules clearly state that is not expected. It sucks, but such is life.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not sure using Bucks County to compare with the record amount of non stop rain the last 3 days on top of already saturated ground in Indianapolis and surrounding areas where OP is located is a valid comparison. Maybe to answer the question of refunds in general but not to imply OPs competition could/should have run. Most sports in the area without a roof cancelled or rescheduled too, without refunding anything. And it’s still raining, cold too.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was entered in a recognized horse trial that ran upper levels yesterday but cancelled lower levels today. We've gotten 2-3" in the past 36 hours and today has been nothing but more steady cold rain (this, after it was 90 all week!!). There are no arenas there so all three phases would have been on saturated grass, a.k.a. mud.

                      I was really disappointed to get the cancellation email after I was all geared up for pony's first horse trial, but I don't think it would have been much fun today and the ground would have taken a long time to recover. The email said that the organizers "will be in touch in the next few weeks with information regarding refunds or other consideration," which sounds promising. I know they have a lot of sunk costs so I appreciate any refund or schooling passes they can offer.

                      I was wondering yesterday whether horse show insurance, modeled on travel insurance, could ever be a viable business.

                      ETA: Two upcoming HTs in my area are waiving late entry fees for people who were entered in the cancelled divisions at Seneca this weekend. I think that's a super cool demonstration of how eventers are a community! Thank you to the organizers of Marlborough and Flora Lea.
                      Last edited by Libby2563; Sep. 9, 2018, 09:44 PM.
                      Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm one of those that lost my entry fees this weekend due to weather too, and I am appalled not just of some of the rude responses but also by how incredibly ignorant they are. People, by Thursday afternoon every penny of your entry fee has been spent. It's gone. They can't refund what they don't have. And asking for credit? They aren't making money on ANY of their events, why do you expect them to lose money on the next one so you can have a credit? Especially these farm event on people's private property where they've got temporary stalls. And these small farm events? They are the heart and soul of our sport--the best thing going on. If you have one near you you ought to be writing them a $100 check every year just in appreciation of what a big job and sacrifice hosting is--and volunteering.

                        Pro tip--or more accurately irascible, old curmudgeon of an amateur tip:
                        When you budget your horse showing expense for the year plan on losing one entry fee because your horse will abcess three days out, your kid will get sick, your truck will break down and they can't get the part in time, OR the weather will suck and the event cancels. It happens--get over yourself and stop showing everyone what a dumbass you are.

                        Now go write the organizer a thank you note and tell them how much you are looking forward to next year. Gees, doesn't anybody's trainers make you write thank you notes anymore? Kids these days.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Do you also write thank you notes to the proprietors of stores where you are a customer? My business and my money are my “thank you notes.”

                          Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                          you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
                            Do you also write thank you notes to the proprietors of stores where you are a customer? My business and my money are my “thank you notes.”
                            You think events make money?! Hahahahahahahahaha! You think there is any lower level event that could exist without relying on free labor?! Seriously?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by subk View Post
                              You think events make money?! Hahahahahahahahaha! You think there is any lower level event that could exist without relying on free labor?! Seriously?
                              Without my money, they couldn’t even break even, so yes, my business and my money for them to cover their expenses is a thank you. The events that do well and fill, do so because they are offering something better than others. The ones that don’t fill and eventually get removed from the calendar are because they aren’t.

                              This is still a business and the competitor is still the customer.

                              It has nothing to do to do with the question but I’m not writing the organizer a friggin letter thanking them for existing and taking my $280 to cover their costs. If I like an event I might volunteer if I’m not competing. This is business, not charity.
                              Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                              you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Um, yes, I bring baked goods to my feed store, hardware store, & vet's office, & give a little thank-you something to the farrier & mail carrier, so a thank you to the event organizer is also something I've done.
                                It makes everyone feel good.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I was appalled and horribly disapointed in the way organizers were being treated due to the cancelations as well. I posted this on FB yesterday morning...

                                  "A local event was canceled this weekend due to remnants of hurricane Gordan stalling over the venue causing a weekend of monsoon-like weather on already soaked ground. While most the comments I have seen in public forums have been understanding and supportive, the organizers have received undeserved criticism (to put it lightly). I can only think this is from riders who do not have much experience eventing, because the organizers actually saved us more than just money by ca...nceling. With the weather coming in, the odds of completing the event this weekend were incredibly slim. Once we leave home we incur the cost of diesel, hotel, bags and bags of shavings (@ least twice the normal amount to soak up the wet ground), vacation time, the misery of spending the weekend out in horrible weather (& the mess!) and worst of all the increased risk of injury (to our horses & ourselves) attempting to compete in horrible conditions. Clearly, I hate losing the entry fee, but I am glad they made the tough, correct decision to cancel.
                                  I hope everyone realizes what a tough call this was for the organizers, they prepare for this event all year round, canceling sacrificed all the work they’ve put into it. They considered every option possible to try to run the event safely before calling it. No one makes money hosting events – it is a true labor of love (and honestly, I am not sure why anyone does it). The stalls were already set up (over $10k), insurance, association and officials fees were paid, the courses were designed, set and decorated, jumps built and maintained, port-a-potties, catering (I'm sure there are more expenses I don't even know about) – all the money we paid in entry fees had been spent, the funds are simply not available to refund. They are doing all they can in offering schooling at a later date (which is never available at this private venue). I am as disappointed as everyone else, I was so excited and ready to move up at this venue – but the only place we can direct anger is at Mother Nature - & really at the end of the day we need to take a step back and remember how lucky we are to be able to do this at all."

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post

                                    Without my money, they couldn’t even break even, so yes, my business and my money for them to cover their expenses is a thank you. The events that do well and fill, do so because they are offering something better than others. The ones that don’t fill and eventually get removed from the calendar are because they aren’t.

                                    This is still a business and the competitor is still the customer.

                                    It has nothing to do to do with the question but I’m not writing the organizer a friggin letter thanking them for existing and taking my $280 to cover their costs. If I like an event I might volunteer if I’m not competing. This is business, not charity.
                                    Clueless. Quoted for posterity.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think it's nice if the venue can offer a credit for a schooling or something else that is for them low cost and low impact but of value to the riders who missed out, but as subk points out, by the time they cancel due to weather pretty much all the money is spent. The only way to give refunds is to charge a little more for all the events that aren't cancelled, to have a cushion.
                                      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

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post

                                        Without my money, they couldn’t even break even, so yes, my business and my money for them to cover their expenses is a thank you. The events that do well and fill, do so because they are offering something better than others. The ones that don’t fill and eventually get removed from the calendar are because they aren’t.

                                        This is still a business and the competitor is still the customer.

                                        It has nothing to do to do with the question but I’m not writing the organizer a friggin letter thanking them for existing and taking my $280 to cover their costs. If I like an event I might volunteer if I’m not competing. This is business, not charity.

                                        You sound like the type of person who thinks snapping their fingers at waitresses is also acceptable.

                                        If you don't want to write a thank you note or otherwise be grateful to event organizers for providing you with an opportunity to compete then you don't have to. You are not required to write a thank you note, but sheesh quit acting like writing a thank you note is a remotely taxing activity. It takes five freaking minutes at most and a little bit of graciousness goes a very long way in making event organizers feel like they aren't wasting all their time, effort, and money. 'Cause most of 'em are not making money on eventing. Breaking even is almost an impossible goal.

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