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Another rider death

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  • I was at Badminton in 1999. This was the infamous rainy year where 70+ horses started out on XC and IIRC, 29 finished.

    There were no fatalities, although 3 or 4 of the riders present were to be killed in XC accidents that year. One - a frighteningly ‘quirky’ rider with team ambitions - was killed the following week at a BE novice HT.

    A number of the horses that got around XC that day were near the bottom in terms of dressage and SJ. There was one unfancy hammerheaded mare who stormed around XC with her nose stuck straight out like an anteater. She went with great enthusiasm and never put a foot wrong. The next day, she cheerfully cantered around the SJ taking down every single fence, as was her habit.

    I love a horse like that. We need more of them in eventing, not fewer.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post

      Seriously...Sometimes coaches have no control over what the client wants to do, I see it all the time but in dressage so it's not as dangerous but it's ugly!
      If you don’t stand behind your students, then why are you teaching them? That might also be a wake up call for some people, if they run out of coaches willing to sign off on their behavior. But of course, being banned from competition doesn’t mean the client base goes away, as we’ve seen from the convicted horse murderers. I know of a person who seems to have a revolving door of trainers, as she seems to keep searching for what she wants to hear, and not what she NEEDS to hear.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by JER View Post

        It doesn’t. The comparison is coconuts v oranges.

        The EXO can protect you from massive crush injuries or blunt force trauma to the torso.

        The Kan cannot.

        Eventers were collectively stupid not to buy the EXO.
        Very sorry to see that. I never heard about the EXO while it was on the market. Probably because I wasn’t actively shopping for a vest. I wonder if Woofwear did give the patent to the therapeutic riding people.

        Comment


        • Here’s the thing too. Deaths aren’t happening in the ring. Just because someone scores well enough in a ring doesn’t mean they are going to have the skill set to be safe on XC.

          My current mare is the leave me alone I got this type when jumping. I’m there for moral support. If myself or her rider picks a distance for her we better be right or she will throw a hissy landing from the jump. This also doesn’t work in one’s favor for SJ, however, it keeps me safe XC. Get the impulsion, get the balance, get the rhythm and leave her alone once she locks on to the fence. I still have a habit of fussing too much with her in the ring.
          Don't try this at home.

          Comment


          • Then maybe it would be a good idea to get rid of dressage from your discipline . It sounds like that’s everyones least favorite anyway.
            But, maybe the SJ could be the decision maker for someone moving onto CC.
            Even in the jumper ring, you can’t move to the jump off if you have a rail, or even if you have a time fault.

            Sure, there will be those horses that are good at CC, but not SJ and it might not be fair to them, but there needs to be some sort of change. I don’t think f. Pins are the entire answer.

            Comment


            • I’m a little torn on the SJ restriction, seeing it from both sides. Regardless, that wouldn’t have kept Kerry On out of the startbox that day.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Blugal View Post
                I don't agree the officials should get sued out of existence. We are talking (right now) specifically about an adult, who chose to participate in a dangerous sport, and signed a release waiving all her rights.

                The officials have duties and responsibilities. But right now, those do not include "fence-by-fence analysis of each rider and pulling them off course or giving a yellow card if they look dangerous" (a subjective analysis) with equal application to each rider.

                If we, as a sport, want this, then we pay up. Pay for more officials that have this specific job duty, and for the insurance covering them, since we have shifted the risk from ourselves to someone else. Pay for video analysis, pay for additional officials to manage the slew of protests that will occur when people miss their qualifying rounds.

                That is an acceptable price for preventing deaths - I don't mind. But it's just not the system that we have right now.
                Let me be, perhaps, more clear.

                At Rebecca Farms she bolted out of the box, rushed the first fence with the horse's head sky high and jumped it like a cow landing on all four feet. Bolted off to the next fence and ignored any effort to be checked or balanced and proceeded to jump multiple fences in similar manner. Then she lost what little steering she had and left the galloping lane into a hay field where the horse frantically leaped around trying to get out of the waist high grass. Then left out a stride to a maximum oxer. And that was just the first half of the course.

                This was not an ugly fence or two that might have been missed by officials. This was not a "bad day" or a "one off" we can occasionally give a pass. This may be one of the most dangerous rides from start to finish that I have ever witnessed in over 40 years involvement in this sport.

                We have rules, policies and procedures to stop this type of performance. As members we have convened, encouraged, donated, voted and pleaded with our governing body to address this type of issue and this type of riding. We were assured that systems have been put in place. The question that we should be demanding answers to are "why did the existing protocols fail?"

                Officials have been given broad and definitive discretion to step in and apply dangerous riding rules. (And horse abuse rules, but that's another thread.) The broader membership has supported and encouraged it. Officials can informally warn, card and/or eliminate for it without options for appeal. Was this rider warned in anyway by officials?

                We have a Watch List. Officials can note a problematic rider and/or horse so they are on the radar of the next set of judges she rides under. Was she on the Watch List? And if she was why wasn't she being watched?

                We have been promised that we have an on course radio and control system at events that allow officials to hear real time what others on the course are seeing. Officials are to be mobile to move around the course. I've sat at control, the radios should have been buzzing with eyewitness. "Rider doesn't seemed to have much breaks." "Rider has lost her steering and has left the galloping lane." "Rider left out a stride in front of the oxer." Was any of her on course antics being reported to control? If not, why not? If they were why didn't an official get their eyes on her? Or did they?

                We have strong rules against dangerous riding which she flagrantly, repeatedly and probably habitually violated. Yet she continued on course, went to other events unimpeded and even moved up to a more difficult level.

                There's "neglect" which you can waive with your signature on a document and there is "gross neglect" which you can't waive with any amount of paper work . IF the answers to the type of questions I made above are not satisfactory, a good lawyer is going to see if they can't pin "gross neglect" on us. I might be the biggest "liberty & personal responsibility" person you know, but if we neglected our own rules and safety protocols we have a big, big problem in multiple ways.

                I'm told this event is lighting a fire under people and that much need push to address safety and course design are now on the table. We can employ all the technology in the world and study and re-imagine fence design, but if we are not, can not or will not follow our own safety protocols that are already in existence then we will never fix this. I pray that officials warned her, that she was carded and it hasn't shown up in reports, that she was on a watch list, that someone was trying to stop her last week and couldn't get to her, anything. But this is bad, really, really bad.

                Comment


                • If people don't love dressage its because they're doing it wrong. I was in the same boat, hated dressage, did it to do it, but never liked it. Switched to a dressage coach, instead of one of those all around coaches, and my dressage is so fun now. The tools we have, the difference in response of my horse, the throughness I get from him. I truly believe if you are doing dressage right, you actually will enjoy it, as it has its own "thrill".

                  Maybe I'm weird, but I love it now. Plus, my show jumping and cross country has improved immensely since switching to a strictly dressage coach and then having a strictly cross country/show jump coach, although I am looking casually for a SJ coach to help me out.

                  Comment


                  • Hi, all. First off, condolences to the connections of both the horse and rider. I'm not an event rider- for full disclosure. I had a thought while reading through the entire thread. I'm not sure if it has relevance so I will just put it out to the more experienced riders. When I was a kid in New England, all the event riders were Pony Club kids. I couldn't afford to be a pony club kid and had a free backyard horse with no trailer. Anyways, I did buy all the pony club books which I still have to this day many decades later. I tried to follow the information in the books the best I could on my own. The Pony Club kids grew up to be excellent riders who were very proper and did things the right way. They always did things correctly and safely. Their surroundings were clean and their horses were well cared for. Back in the day, if someone had a high pony club rating it meant something. Now, having never done Pony Club I can't say if my perceptions from 30-35 years ago are truly accurate. But, my point is..those Pony Club kids sure did know how to ride. I wonder if:

                    1) The Pony Club program is still producing such skilled horsemen and women as they appeared to 30-35 years ago

                    2) If modern eventers still come up through the Pony Club or just go to eventing barns where being an overall excellent horseperson (and rider) might not be emphasized anymore.

                    Again, I am probably way off base and I don't know if there is any relevance or not. I just read about all the poor riding and I remember, in my day, the eventers were Pony Club kids who were excellent riders and excellent horsemen and women. Maybe times have changed? I can't say.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by subk View Post

                      Let me be, perhaps, more clear.

                      At Rebecca Farms she bolted out of the box, rushed the first fence with the horse's head sky high and jumped it like a cow landing on all four feet. Bolted off to the next fence and ignored any effort to be checked or balanced and proceeded to jump multiple fences in similar manner. Then she lost what little steering she had and left the galloping lane into a hay field where the horse frantically leaped around trying to get out of the waist high grass. Then left out a stride to a maximum oxer. And that was just the first half of the course.

                      This was not an ugly fence or two that might have been missed by officials. This was not a "bad day" or a "one off" we can occasionally give a pass. This may be one of the most dangerous rides from start to finish that I have ever witnessed in over 40 years involvement in this sport.

                      We have rules, policies and procedures to stop this type of performance. As members we have convened, encouraged, donated, voted and pleaded with our governing body to address this type of issue and this type of riding. We were assured that systems have been put in place. The question that we should be demanding answers to are "why did the existing protocols fail?"

                      Officials have been given broad and definitive discretion to step in and apply dangerous riding rules. (And horse abuse rules, but that's another thread.) The broader membership has supported and encouraged it. Officials can informally warn, card and/or eliminate for it without options for appeal. Was this rider warned in anyway by officials?

                      We have a Watch List. Officials can note a problematic rider and/or horse so they are on the radar of the next set of judges she rides under. Was she on the Watch List? And if she was why wasn't she being watched?

                      We have been promised that we have an on course radio and control system at events that allow officials to hear real time what others on the course are seeing. Officials are to be mobile to move around the course. I've sat at control, the radios should have been buzzing with eyewitness. "Rider doesn't seemed to have much breaks." "Rider has lost her steering and has left the galloping lane." "Rider left out a stride in front of the oxer." Was any of her on course antics being reported to control? If not, why not? If they were why didn't an official get their eyes on her? Or did they?

                      We have strong rules against dangerous riding which she flagrantly, repeatedly and probably habitually violated. Yet she continued on course, went to other events unimpeded and even moved up to a more difficult level.

                      There's "neglect" which you can waive with your signature on a document and there is "gross neglect" which you can't waive with any amount of paper work . IF the answers to the type of questions I made above are not satisfactory, a good lawyer is going to see if they can't pin "gross neglect" on us. I might be the biggest "liberty & personal responsibility" person you know, but if we neglected our own rules and safety protocols we have a big, big problem in multiple ways.

                      I'm told this event is lighting a fire under people and that much need push to address safety and course design are now on the table. We can employ all the technology in the world and study and re-imagine fence design, but if we are not, can not or will not follow our own safety protocols that are already in existence then we will never fix this. I pray that officials warned her, that she was carded and it hasn't shown up in reports, that she was on a watch list, that someone was trying to stop her last week and couldn't get to her, anything. But this is bad, really, really bad.
                      Yep, and her Training level rides were similar, even in the SJ. I am really quite scratching my head at how she was encouraged to upgrade without improving her position or core. Many many people failed this woman, and she failed her horse.

                      Her horse jumps high up and lands almost all 4s a lot of the time.

                      Just because your horse WILL, doesn't mean it SHOULD.
                      Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by LadyB View Post
                        If people don't love dressage its because they're doing it wrong. I was in the same boat, hated dressage, did it to do it, but never liked it. Switched to a dressage coach, instead of one of those all around coaches, and my dressage is so fun now. The tools we have, the difference in response of my horse, the throughness I get from him. I truly believe if you are doing dressage right, you actually will enjoy it, as it has its own "thrill".

                        Maybe I'm weird, but I love it now. Plus, my show jumping and cross country has improved immensely since switching to a strictly dressage coach and then having a strictly cross country/show jump coach, although I am looking casually for a SJ coach to help me out.
                        Samesies. LOVE dressage now, love love love it.

                        If anything has come from this, it is that I will ensure my horses are 200% ready for their level before we attempt it.
                        Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                          Just because your horse WILL, doesn't mean it SHOULD.
                          A horse that will not stop under any circumstance is the most dangerous to ride.

                          Comment


                          • Over the years, I’ve been contacted on occasion by parties seeking to save a rider from themselves.

                            Maybe I knew the requesters IRL, maybe I didn’t. Either way, they came to me for help. I think it’s clear on this BB that I’m not afraid to speak my mind, I’m not afraid to have unpopular opinions and I’m not afraid to take action.

                            On these occasions, I was asked to contact officials and provide evidence of a rider’s lack of safety on their horse. You do some show photo searches, you get the comp record, you dig around and find some pics of the horse flailing over a jump that’s beyond their scope, etc.

                            I actually don’t know the outcomes of these efforts except for one, where the rider ‘decided’ not to enter the comp and did not compete the horse again. This was a positive outcome.

                            My takeaways from this:

                            1. Even BN eventing people are afraid to go to officials with their concerns. I know this because I was intervening on the part of some people whose names are known by everyone in eventing.

                            2. There are some really good, really concerned people in eventing that really want to prevent riders (to whom they may not have a connection) from harming themselves and their horses.

                            3. This doesn’t happen often enough. We need to look out for each other.

                            Comment


                            • I think the big problem in eventing is people think horse and or/rider is brave and therefore has talent or skill.

                              Riders are seen as good because they compete at Prelim/Intermediate. Even if they are ending up dead last, or placing top 3 with multiple rails and stops on XC because of little competition.

                              Bravery does not equal talent. We really need to start engraving this. Brave horses and riders allow each other to upgrade a lot quicker than those who have to work on finesse to get their horses jumping well and confident.

                              Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Alterforme View Post
                                Then maybe it would be a good idea to get rid of dressage from your discipline . It sounds like that’s everyones least favorite anyway.
                                But, maybe the SJ could be the decision maker for someone moving onto CC.
                                Even in the jumper ring, you can’t move to the jump off if you have a rail, or even if you have a time fault.

                                Sure, there will be those horses that are good at CC, but not SJ and it might not be fair to them, but there needs to be some sort of change. I don’t think f. Pins are the entire answer.
                                I haven’t read anyone here say dressage is their least favorite. I have a love hate relationship with it because I’m not very good. It is what I practice a lot of because I’m not very good. So despite all the frustration those light bulb moments for me make it absolutely fun. Would I ever ride just dressage? Probably not, unless there was a physical reason I or my mare couldn’t jump.

                                If a horse and rider can go XC in a safe manner they most definitely can SJ and ride dressage in a safe manner. However a horse and rider who can SJ and do dressage can’t necessarily go XC in a safe manner.
                                Don't try this at home.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

                                  Yep, and her Training level rides were similar, even in the SJ. I am really quite scratching my head at how she was encouraged to upgrade without improving her position or core. Many many people failed this woman, and she failed her horse.

                                  Her horse jumps high up and lands almost all 4s a lot of the time.

                                  Just because your horse WILL, doesn't mean it SHOULD.
                                  So tragic in so many ways. Horrifying that she was allowed to compete this poor terrified but willing to do mare.
                                  "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

                                  Comment


                                  • In the H/J world, people like to win. I think the majority of riders show in the division or height that will give them the most success and bragging rights. It’s not cool to move up & not place well show after show.

                                    I would think most eventers feel the same way. Why move up if you & the horse aren’t winning. Do the event show encourage people to stay in a division for end of year championships? Or points towards finals?

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by JER View Post
                                      Over the years, I’ve been contacted on occasion by parties seeking to save a rider from themselves.

                                      Maybe I knew the requesters IRL, maybe I didn’t. Either way, they came to me for help. I think it’s clear on this BB that I’m not afraid to speak my mind, I’m not afraid to have unpopular opinions and I’m not afraid to take action.

                                      On these occasions, I was asked to contact officials and provide evidence of a rider’s lack of safety on their horse. You do some show photo searches, you get the comp record, you dig around and find some pics of the horse flailing over a jump that’s beyond their scope, etc.

                                      I actually don’t know the outcomes of these efforts except for one, where the rider ‘decided’ not to enter the comp and did not compete the horse again. This was a positive outcome.

                                      My takeaways from this:

                                      1. Even BN eventing people are afraid to go to officials with their concerns. I know this because I was intervening on the part of some people whose names are known by everyone in eventing.

                                      2. There are some really good, really concerned people in eventing that really want to prevent riders (to whom they may not have a connection) from harming themselves and their horses.

                                      3. This doesn’t happen often enough. We need to look out for each other.
                                      I find it the height of irony that in an effort for "safer sport" we have spent a great deal of resources requiring uninvolved third parties to take responsibility in recognizing and reporting harassment that may lead to emotional damage, and yet when it comes to real physical danger we have big name riders shirking their duties onto out spoken amateurs to do the job they won't.

                                      What if we spent half the resources we've spent on that type of education on a "see something, say something" program for dangerous riding?

                                      Comment


                                      • Just because your horse WILL, doesn't mean it SHOULD.

                                        I also tried to paste the part about horses that won’t stop are dangerous but didn’t get it to work. (This is probably why I lost my original screen name.).
                                        Thirty years ago I boarded (very, very briefly) at a barn that trained jumpers using a “hot shot”. Those horses just.would.not.stop. I‘m not suggesting that is what happened here, but “where knowledge stops, violence begins”. Very famous saying but I’m not sure who. Maybe from “Give Your Horse a Chance” by D’Endrody?

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by Alterforme View Post
                                          In the H/J world, people like to win. I think the majority of riders show in the division or height that will give them the most success and bragging rights. It’s not cool to move up & not place well show after show.

                                          I would think most eventers feel the same way. Why move up if you & the horse aren’t winning. Do the event show encourage people to stay in a division for end of year championships? Or points towards finals?
                                          We have the AEC’s. Of course we like to win. However, if you watch the video of the rider and then watch the coach, you get the impression riding like that is their normal.

                                          You most certainly can win an event with a good enough dressage score, be a complete dumpster fire in XC (I believe the Rebecca ride was a double clear despite being a dumpster fire) and do well enough in SJ.

                                          Hunters are judged on style. So it needs to be pretty and soft. That’s what wins. Dumpster fires won’t win. However, we can point out horse and rider combinations in eventing that are just flat out scary going XC who still win, and move up.

                                          Dumpster fires in SJ don’t win. Who was that guy who was sanction by the FEI who’s horse punched out multiple jumps? Why did he move up?

                                          It’s not fair to compare.
                                          Don't try this at home.

                                          Comment

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