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Ashley Stout , 13 and her horse, killed in Rotational Fall (Named to YR Training team)

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  • #61
    I believe that eventing trainers and hunter/jumper trainers teach differently regarding getting to a good distance, appropriate speed and balance for the situation, and where a horse's forelegs and knees should point.

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by Figment View Post
      I believe that eventing trainers and hunter/jumper trainers teach differently regarding getting to a good distance, appropriate speed and balance for the situation, and where a horse's forelegs and knees should point.
      Can you elaborate on the point you are making?

      Comment


      • #63
        Indeed, Figment, I would also like to understand your point better.
        The big man -- my lost prince

        The little brother, now my main man

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Figment View Post
          I believe that eventing trainers and hunter/jumper trainers teach differently regarding getting to a good distance, appropriate speed and balance for the situation, and where a horse's forelegs and knees should point.
          Well of course they do. A horse crawling around a course on his forehand would have some very serious trouble jumping a solid fence out of stride and/or with terrain involved. Apples and oranges -- actually, not even in the same fruit metaphor. Eventing is completely different than H/J and suggesting this person would have been better off if she had a hunter jumper trainer is so left field and insulting to the parties involved I don't have much of a respectful comment to make here.

          My sincere condolences to all of her (and her horse's) connections. There are not many things I hate more than seeing updates like these.
          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by RAyers View Post

            Let me ask you this? How many more kids would you prefer to die or be maimed while you sit and give thoughts and prayers. What happened isn't new.

            FEI statistics show that horse falls were UP last year while rider displacements were down. The risk of rotational falls has dropped to 1 in every 750 falls while regular falls are 1 in every 55 rides. The risk of severe or fatal injury is still "high" at over 1 in every 500 starts. Now think about that. At Rebecca Farms coming up, there are over 500 starters. That suggests the possibility the one rider may die in the next week. That is the reality.

            I'm not looking at this fall and death. I am looking at the next one, the next 10 and trying to prevent that. And part of it is getting rid of semantics that "justify" a child being killed in a sport that is supposed to be fun.

            Next time I will underline for emphasis.
            So well said!

            What other mainstream sports, with and without horses, have a similar rate of death for participants?

            I’m curious to know where eventing fits in, in terms of both human and horse fatalities.

            If something this tragic doesn’t make you question how dangerous an activity is, what type of data is needed to evaluate its safety, and what is being done to prevent future fatalities in participants, then some serious soul searching is in order.

            I am not a parent, but if I was and saw something like this happen, I would seriously question whether that is a sport I would want my child participating in.

            Of course, children and adults die doing everyday activities but would you intentionally continue in a sport where death is shrugged off as part of participation? Where people tell you to go do another sport if you question safety?

            Maybe everything possible has been done to make the sport safe, but we don’t even know that because there isn’t enough data and research available to make educated conclusions.

            I do think there is a much higher number of deaths in eventing compared to other sports, but I don’t know for sure, hence my question above.

            If it turns out to be true, don’t we have some responsibility for the minors and horses involved in eventing? Shouldn’t we be sure we are giving them every opportunity to come through training and competing alive?

            Please do not scold me for discussing the above on this thread...as Reed said above, thoughts and prayers do nothing. How many deaths does it take for people to stop trying to explain away deaths in this sport?

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by frugalannie View Post
              My deepest condolences to Ashley's family and friends.

              A slight aside query that I post only because so many knowledgeable people are on this thread.: Are there a comparable number of serious/ fatal incidences in hunt fields? They, too are often jumping solid obstacles, without the chance to walk teh course before. Just wondering, and I truly mean to take nothing from the gravity and sorrow of this thread's subject.
              I think you ask a good question. I don't know that anyone has ever kept good statistics about fox hunting accidents, but speaking as someone who used to event and also has fox hunted for many years, my impression is that there are far fewer (proportionately) fox hunting accidents, at least in the US. In some ways, you would think that fox hunting would have a lot of terrible accidents. The footing is unmanicured and often boggy, slippery, or riddled with errant rocks or roots, there are plenty of riders that have questionable equitation (no insult intended here), plenty of horses that are not athletic jumpers, and plenty of the horses (and plenty of the riders) have a few years on them. And hunting can be very strenuous, lasting much longer than a cross country round and horses are often quite tired at the end of a days' hunting.

              But there are some key differences. First of all, many fox hunting obstacles are not as solid as they appear. The planks of a coop that have been weathering outside all year typically break fairly easily. Secondly, most fox hunting obstacles have great ground lines. In the case of coops, the shape of the jump does not allow a horse to use a too close take off spot. Obstacles like stone walls have an obvious solidity that naturally encourages horses to back off and jump carefully. Visually, the obstacles are typically easy for a horse to process. Jumps are often set into fence lines. Also, the horses are almost always able to see the horses in front of them jumping the obstacle before they have to jump it. Lastly, the horses often hunt over the same territory multiple times in one season, jumping the same jumps more than once, so there is an element of familiarity.

              My observation is that in the past, many eventing obstacles were somewhat similar in style to fox hunting obstacles--coops, brush type fences, logs/log piles, etc. There were corners, combinations and banks and water jumps, etc. but the obstacles were visually straightforward and easy for horses to "read." A horse could be galloping along, see the next jump up ahead, and start getting a clue about what was next. Nowadays, I see a lot of jumps that must be incredibly difficult for a horse to visually process on the approach. Airy jumps, narrow jumps, complex groups of jumps/narrow jumps (which one are we jumping?) and complex combinations. I also see various jumps that I think create an optical illusion for the horse, for example, with odd light/dark materials or odd patterning. There also are occasionally jumps and combinations with visual distractions that make it harder for a horse to visually process in a fair manner what the jumping question is.

              Having watched eventing for decades, I feel like it has gotten progressively more dangerous. These deaths and falls--they were not happening at this rate 20-30 years ago. (If someone has data, please correct me--maybe RAyers does.) Which is why I feel that it is nonsense to suggest that we should just accept these deaths and accidents as an inevitable part of a dangerous sport. It doesn't have to be this way. We are smarter than this, better than this. Our riders and our horses are worth more consideration than this.

              My heart goes out to the family and friends of this young person who obviously loved her sport. It is heart wrenching for all of us who ride and who have family and friends that event.

              Comment


              • #67
                I echo those who say that now is absolutely the time to ask the difficult questions. I don't see anyone here hating on the sport or saying no one should event- I hear caring individuals who seek to improve the sport by making it safer. Will we ever eliminate ALL horse and rider deaths? Probably not. But what is wrong with trying to cut the number to half, or a quarter, if research and technology would allow us to do so?? Why would anyone be against that?

                As for the references to cars and other hazardous sports- yeah, people hurt or get killed. But guess what happens? We do research into why and how those injuries and deaths happen and then modify equipment to minimize it. Cars weren't originally built with seat belts. Babies rode on mother's laps, or rudimentary seats. Now we have state of the art R&D, and effective seatbelts and car seats for infants through tweens that have exponentially reduced deaths.

                I believe for those calling for investigation, that is the line of thinking we are after. Yes, we have better equipment now in eventing than 30 or 40 years ago. We have frangible pins being utilized in some fences. But why shouldn't we continue to expand the focus on safety?

                My heart goes out to this poor girl's family and friends, I cannot even imagine their devastation- let it not be in vain. Let's work together to make our beloved sport safer, not shrug our shoulders and say "what else could be done?" rhetorically.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by BeeHoney View Post


                  My observation is that in the past, many eventing obstacles were somewhat similar in style to fox hunting obstacles--coops, brush type fences, logs/log piles, etc. There were corners, combinations and banks and water jumps, etc. but the obstacles were visually straightforward and easy for horses to "read." A horse could be galloping along, see the next jump up ahead, and start getting a clue about what was next. Nowadays, I see a lot of jumps that must be incredibly difficult for a horse to visually process on the approach. Airy jumps, narrow jumps, complex groups of jumps/narrow jumps (which one are we jumping?) and complex combinations. I also see various jumps that I think create an optical illusion for the horse, for example, with odd light/dark materials or odd patterning. There also are occasionally jumps and combinations with visual distractions that make it harder for a horse to visually process in a fair manner what the jumping question is.

                  Having watched eventing for decades, I feel like it has gotten progressively more dangerous. These deaths and falls--they were not happening at this rate 20-30 years ago. (If someone has data, please correct me--maybe RAyers does.)
                  I think I've heard that statistics show that deaths and serious injuries have actually decreased in recent decades. But I would welcome more authoritative information.

                  Nonetheless, I agree with you about the obstacles. The Disneyland effect... with the cutesy sculptures and such. Horses must be wondering, "what on earth is this?!" as they approach. One marvels at the bravery of these horses (so unlike my daughter's pony, who regarded many jumps with healthy suspicion until they proved themselves innocuous)... but perhaps it's gone a bit over the top.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by KellyS View Post

                    So well said!

                    What other mainstream sports, with and without horses, have a similar rate of death for participants?

                    I’m curious to know where eventing fits in, in terms of both human and horse fatalities.

                    Growing up entrenched in motorcycle racing I can tell you for certain this sport. There is a single location in Europe (aisle of man) whose 37.7 mile course claims 3 to 4 lives every year. One singular course on one tiny island.

                    There is a huge difference in the attitudes of the participants. Racers fully understand the inherent risks of the sport, they understand it is dangerous AF, and pick their races according to the amount of risk they want to take. Some courses are lots more dangerous than others. People uncomfortable with the increased risk of injury or death don't ride those.


                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Yes, the TT is well known to kill racers (250+ to date, averaging 2 per year). How many are children?

                      MotoGP spent 12 years developing the racing leathers and protective gear, instrumenting every rider at every race to measure all the forces imparted on riders that allows racers to survive crashes at 200 mph (See recent Pirolla crash). Formula 1 racing spent decades to eliminate driver deaths (See book by Sid Watkins who lead the effort since the 1970s, The Science of Safety: The Battle Against Unacceptable Risks in Motor Racing).

                      Your cavalier attitude is dismissing the death of a child.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Ruth0552 View Post
                        This is horrific, in my mind particularly because the horse was solid and young, not old or of questionable soundness, and because it sounds like the jump was not ridiculously large. I’ve always thought of my plebeian lower level being fairly safe. Also horrific because the rider was so young.

                        I’m honestly interested in seeing the jump and approach. I don’t think of a fence under 3’ being capable of causing a rotational fall, but obviously it is.
                        I had a neighbor who was in a rotational fall over a 2ft log. The horse just didn’t jump. Both were ok.
                        If the jump is taller than the horses knees, they can have a rotational fall

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          I am answering a direct question about mainstream sports. Not comparing this situation to TT. I even made it a quote. Obviously. Dont be dense. Nobody is dismissing her death. Stop with the drama.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #73
                            Originally posted by Manahmanah View Post
                            The only way to completely eliminate rotational falls over fixed objects is to ban jumping over fixed objects. In other words, banning eventing.

                            Otherwise, this is a rare but real risk in the COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY sport you choose to participate in.

                            Even if we could get every single jump in every single venue turned into collapsible objects, there would still be falls and deaths. There are falls and deaths in show jumping. There are deaths in barrel racing. A woman who lived down the road fell off her horse and died trail riding not too long ago.

                            Deaths from rock climbing can be eliminated by banning rock climbing.

                            Deaths from racing motorcycles can be eliminated by banning motorcycle racing.

                            I think it's in extremely poor taste to spin up a thread like this to push the "dangerous eventing" agenda before this poor young girls body is even cold.

                            We get it. You think eventing is dangerous. Absolutely nobody is denying that eventing is dangerous. Riding horses is a dangerous activity. Maybe that should be banned too.

                            Spinning up these emotionally driven threads in the heat of the moment does nothing to help eventing be safer. It just serves to drive people away. If that is your goal, congrats on it.

                            Huge strides HAVE been made to make eventing safer in the past decade, and it is safer now. Safety improvements continue to be made.

                            I just dont see how this helps anything at all, and the family of this young girl is sure to come here and read all of this and have their grief multiplied by the usual agenda pushers.

                            If you hate eventing and think it's so horrible and dangerous, please do go find another sport.
                            Hey if you don’t like to the topic or the commentary, don’t enter the thread. Go start your own condolences thread. This forum is one of the only places we can come and discuss Eventing safety in an open dialogue with intelligent and educated people. Sorry it makes you uncomfortable. Sorry it makes people get on their rant calling us haters of the sport and too dumb to know the risks blah blah.

                            Another person died yesterday at an unsanctioned event in the UK. But that’s totally normal right?
                            Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Is is difficult to read these comments from my perspective as a rider, mom, member of the local community, and acquaintance of those directly involved. I understand the passion for the sport and sense of urgency that leads you all to try make sense of this tragedy and possibly prevent another. There are so many statements here that feel like judgement from afar, speculative question being asked, by a lot of people, none of whom were there or have any actual data. This is a widely read and respected international forum. For the sake of those of us experiencing this more intimately (and my grief is miniscule by comparison to the families, breeder, trainer, and close friends) ... it's barely been 72 hours ... we are still reeling from the reality that these two are forever gone from this life. It's hard enough to deal with it based on what we do know, without having to read about what everyone else thinks they know. I, myself, competed at a high level in another high risk sport. Tragedies like this happen outside of eventing. They should make us strive for safety but bad things do happen despite everyone's best effort. Sometimes you can point to a reason and say, "this was avoidable," and try to make it sport safer for the next participant. Sometimes bad things just happen despite doing everything according to "best practices" and with as much care, equipment, and common sense possible. The words "freak accident" and the reference to "a curb" were made literally a few hours after this happened, while I'm sure the person who used those words was still in a state of shock and disbelief. Don't make it harder for us by taking those words and turning them into some sort of platform for your own opinion and imagining you have some sort of omniscient understanding of the what wrong here. Strive to be safe, strive to make your sport better. Do that. But don't imagine you know how or why this happened or who is responsible when you weren't even there. I'm not saying, don't ask the hard questions, I'm just saying, read what you are writing and ask if it is fair, or whether you are implying any sort of blame or judgment on the people involved, while trying to make your possibly very valid point.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by horsemom141 View Post
                                Is is difficult to read these comments from my perspective as a rider, mom, member of the local community, and acquaintance of those directly involved. I understand the passion for the sport and sense of urgency that leads you all to try make sense of this tragedy and possibly prevent another. There are so many statements here that feel like judgement from afar, speculative question being asked, by a lot of people, none of whom were there or have any actual data. This is a widely read and respected international forum. For the sake of those of us experiencing this more intimately (and my grief is miniscule by comparison to the families, breeder, trainer, and close friends) ... it's barely been 72 hours ... we are still reeling from the reality that these two are forever gone from this life. It's hard enough to deal with it based on what we do know, without having to read about what everyone else thinks they know. I, myself, competed at a high level in another high risk sport. Tragedies like this happen outside of eventing. They should make us strive for safety but bad things do happen despite everyone's best effort. Sometimes you can point to a reason and say, "this was avoidable," and try to make it sport safer for the next participant. Sometimes bad things just happen despite doing everything according to "best practices" and with as much care, equipment, and common sense possible. The words "freak accident" and the reference to "a curb" were made literally a few hours after this happened, while I'm sure the person who used those words was still in a state of shock and disbelief. Don't make it harder for us by taking those words and turning them into some sort of platform for your own opinion and imagining you have some sort of omniscient understanding of the what wrong here. Strive to be safe, strive to make your sport better. Do that. But don't imagine you know how or why this happened or who is responsible when you weren't even there. I'm not saying, don't ask the hard questions, I'm just saying, read what you are writing and ask if it is fair, or whether you are implying any sort of blame or judgment on the people involved, while trying to make your possibly very valid point.
                                I am so sorry for you and all of her connections. Trust me, those of us on this thread who ask questions are not pointing fingers of blame. Instead, the scientists who are posting, and there are several of us, want to dissect the accident as quickly as possible , while recall is fresh, to learn from the event and potentially prevent future tragedies. Just as the NHTSA, NTSB and FAA investigate accidents as quickly as possible to prevent future tragedies, we wish to do the same for eventing accidents.

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  None of us are saying "do nothing." None. Emotions are high, as they should be.

                                  Shared on behalf of the Stout Family:

                                  ***In honor of Ashley, all fellow riders are encouraged to wear formal competition attire (sans helmet) to the services.

                                  A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. Please join us as we celebrate the life of Ashley Stout. Friends will be received from 2:00PM-4:00PM and 6:00PM-8:00PM on Monday, July 15, 2019 at Koch Funeral Home (2401 S. Atherton Street, State College). The funeral service will be at 11:00AM on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church (867 Grays Woods Blvd, Port Matilda) with a luncheon to follow. Ashley’s passion for riding and for her beloved horse, Grady, drove her young life. For this reason, in lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to Area 2 Young Riders Program in Ashley's name.

                                  https://www.usea2.net/departments/young-riders

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    For those who believe that I don’t care, as somebody who has seen people die (including on XC), I don’t take things like this lightly. I’ve lost friends and had friends horribly injured on XC. And trust me, you only need to hear the bones break and see lifeless bodies more than once to develop a passion to use your skills and experience to push for greater safety.

                                    Again, looking for cause takes nothing away from anything. It is not assigning blame (that is a legal concept only, not engineering or science).

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                                      For those who believe that I don’t care, as somebody who has seen people die (including on XC), I don’t take things like this lightly. I’ve lost friends and had friends horribly injured on XC. And trust me, you only need to hear the bones break and see lifeless bodies more than once to develop a passion to use your skills and experience to push for greater safety.

                                      Again, looking for cause takes nothing away from anything. It is not assigning blame (that is a legal concept only, not engineering or science).
                                      I really appreciate the time and energy and expertise you put into safety in equestrian sport, both here and in the committees where you've served.

                                      I think it's hard to know what to think about this accident without knowing the obstacle involved or the circumstances. IME, which is merely anecdotal, the severe accidents we see at Training and below tend to be general horse-sport deaths rather than being particular to cross-country. Christopher Reeves had his accident because his horse stopped. I'm reminded of a similarly tragic accident to a teenager in our area several years ago when she was warming up at an event - she was cantering on the rail when the horse tripped and fell and she suffered a horrific TBI. In the hunters and jumpers, solid plywood walls, coops, and rolltops up to 3' are used. Rotational falls do happen there occasionally.

                                      On smaller fences, it seems to be related to some combination of the horse losing his footing, excessive speed, or having some other dramatic health event at the worst time such that he does not properly take off for the jump. There's no question that at Prelim and above we have the additional factors of prescribed speed, higher jumps, fatigue, and obstacles that are more challenging for the horse to read and interpret in time.

                                      Certainly, if there's something that can be improved about this fence, we all want to know.
                                      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


                                      • #79
                                        Through my husband's job, he met someone who is an ICU nurse and who attended a large *** event up this way as a spectator with her daughters (who event). They witnessed someone have a terrying fall at the event and this nurse shared how poor the care was for this person, who ended up dying.

                                        Basically, the rider never had a chance. There was only a BLS (basic life support) crew on hand (I don't know what is required by FEI but if it's only BLS, maybe that needs to be changed) and the show management would not allow a helicopter to come and fly the person to a trauma center because "it would scare the horses." There are a lot more details that are appalling but I can't share them without giving away the person and event and I won't do that because I do not feel that is fair.

                                        So, it's not just that people are dying, it's the attitude of the people in the sport toward not only death but to safety in general and appropriate care to avoid death. It is very cavalier at times. Thus, any time someone says "don't talk about it" or "you can do everything and still have a death", it makes me wonder:

                                        1. When is the appropriate time to talk about it? According to many who post any time a death happens, it would be never.

                                        2. Do we even know what "everything" is? We don't even have conclusive data on safety vests. How can we know that everything being done is safe as it can be? From the equipment to the training to competing, there are still a lot of unknowns.

                                        This is a tough topic. Unfortunately, it comes up again and again.

                                        This isn't about adults making decisions...it's about children and horses and it is our responsibility to make sure they are protected as much as possible from fatal accidents.

                                        How can anyone argue against having that conversation?

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          When a person gets on top of a horse, there is always a chance, however slight, that their positions will end up reversed.

                                          There are factors that can increase the likelihood of that unlikely event. Jumping - or failing to jump - a solid obstacle would appear to be one of them.

                                          So not a freak accident. An incident of low probability (provided horse and rider are within their scope of capabilities) but relatively high catastrophe.

                                          FWIW, some years ago I looked into rotational falls at Training and below. There was some language in the original TRL study about the point of the shoulder as a rotating point - I forget the specifics but it suggested Prelim/CCI* (at the time) and above. Add to that, I’d personally witnessed several rotational falls at T.

                                          The POI that seemed to repeat was broken hips and pelvis. The POI wasn’t head/neck/spine as in upper-level rotational, it was lower down. Again, this was based on informal research into a small number of incidents.

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