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One Fall Rule

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  • One Fall Rule

    This has bothered me for some time now. And after what I saw at a show near the end of the season, it has sort of been eating at me.

    IMHO, the rule is stupid. But I know all the arguements for it so we won't go there. What bothers me is the hippocracy of the rule.

    Why is head trauma from falling off BETWEEN fences different than head trauma from falling off associated with a fence? I am assuming here that you did not hit your head on the fence. Ie, why when I fall on my butt at fence so different than my landing on my butt in the field? The bruise sure looks the same.

    Why is falling off in warm up different than falling off on course?

    Why is falling off at home the day before the show different than falling off on course? If you need to be cleared by USEA to be able to compete again after a fall on course, why do you not need to be cleared if you fell off at home when a show would be in that same time window of needing to be cleared if it happened at a show?

    Why can an EMT clear you as being ok to ride again that show when one of the supposed big concerns about the head trauma is the damage that shows up LATER?

    I guess I am just confused, or stupid.

  • #2
    Two different things.

    If it is a fall in which you are "apparently injured", you have to be cleared by the EMTs. It doesn't matter if it was in the parking lot, the warm up, ata fence, or on course away from the fences.

    If you fall but are NOT "apparently injured", then only falls at fences cause elimination.

    This part is really no different from the other jumping discilines. In both hunters and jumpers, if you fall off in warmup, there is no penalty. If you fall off on course, you are eliminated.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Define "apparantly injured". 2 things that I saw this fall were, IMHO, apparantly inured.
      One was a fall in warm up where the rider hit her head and even with the helmet she loss consciousness.
      The other was one where the saddle slipped, rider came off under horse, got galloped over, horse of course took off all over the place with saddle underneath it, caused alot of excitment. KID got back on and competed.

      If those weren't "apparantly injured" what is?

      And, if you aren't "apparantly injured" when you fall at a fence why are you eliminated if that same thing had happened 6 strides earlier and you still weren't "apparantly injured".

      Comment


      • #4
        The first definitely counts as "apparently injured". Under GR 1317 (applies to ALL disciplines) -

        If a rider "in schooling or competition areas" is "apparently unconscious or
        concussed" then "he/she is precluded from competing until evaluated by qualified medical personnel as defined in GR1211.5. If the competitor refuses to be evaluated, he is disqualified from the competition."

        Second one (if no concussion) is covered by Eventing rules
        EV113 Medical Requirements.
        1. ACCIDENTS INVOLVING COMPETITORS
        a. In the event of an accident in which a competitor is apparently injured or concussed,
        they must be examined by designated medical personnel to determine if they may take
        part in another test, ride another horse or if they are capable of leaving the grounds.
        Refusal to be examined shall be penalized by a fine of $100 (Payable to the Organizing
        Committee) at the discretion of the Ground Jury.
        b. Competitors who fail or refuse to follow the advice of the medical personnel regarding
        treatment following such a fall may be subject to disqualification at the discretion of
        the Ground Jury.
        If the officials didn't enforce this, you should write it up in your event evaluation, and/or in the "evaluation of officials" form.

        As for the third one (difference between "Fall with no injury" at a fence vs not at a fence), it is just like all the other faults.

        Circle after presenting to the fence- penalty.
        Circle nowhere near a fence - no penalty.

        Halt after presenting to the fence- penalty.
        Halt nowhere near a fence - no penalty.

        Fall after presenting to the fence- penalty.
        Fall no where near a fence - no penalty.
        Janet

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post

          Why is falling off at home the day before the show different than falling off on course? If you need to be cleared by USEA to be able to compete again after a fall on course, why do you not need to be cleared if you fell off at home when a show would be in that same time window of needing to be cleared if it happened at a show?.
          Do you really want that kind of a nanny state? Let's face there are falls and then there are falls... Fortunately the majority of falls the rider pops right back into the saddle with only a bruised ego...

          Comment


          • #6
            Meghan, for the record, I agree with you. The rule is idiotic.
            Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
              Do you really want that kind of a nanny state? Let's face there are falls and then there are falls... Fortunately the majority of falls the rider pops right back into the saddle with only a bruised ego...
              No, I don't. But with the issue of head trauma signs (including death) occuring even several days out, I am kinda surprised that we are not required to sign a waiver or statement to the effect that if we have suffered a fall or any other apparantly head trauma in so many days prior to a competition we will not hold any party associated with the event liable. And that the EMT's on grounds know that I have suffered a head injury in the very recent past. If not for safety reasons but for legal/liabiliy reasons.

              From "Trauma Management: An Emergency Medical Approach" by Ferrera/Colucciello/Marx/Verdile/Gibbs. Chapter 11--Traumatic Brain Injury by Zink and Lanter: The classical scenerio of epidural hematoma (bleeding around the brain) is initial loss of consciousness followed by a "lucid interval" in which consiousness is regained, with subsequent lethargy. Deterioration can occur rapidly. Subdural hematoma (bleeding immediately adjacent to brain tissue) is 6 times more common than epidural hematoma and has a higher mortality rate. Acute subdural hematomas usually results from acceleration/deceleration injuries. The initial injury may have occurred days or weeks prior and may be forgotten by the patient. Cerebral contussions (concussions) occur with rapid decleration injuries such as falls. Concussions are manifested by at least one of the following: 1) any loss of consciousness 2) any loss of memory of events immediately before or after the accident 3) any alteraion in mental state at the time of the accident (ie feeling dazed, disoriented or confused) or 4) after 30 minutes a Glascow Coma Scale of less than 13-15 (you will can google Glascow Coma Scale to see how this is done).

              Ok, so I am a nerd. But I think as you read that above you saw several things that are very common with falls from horses.

              I am not trying to be argumentative here. I have very strong medical background in trauma/brains/etc, albeit veterinary (I am a boarded veterinary anesthesiologist and am residency trained in critical care. And am not "wet behind the ears"; ie 30 yrs of doing this.) If I have a patient that has head trauma from smacking its head on the asphalt from being hit by a car its degree of head trauma is not different from that of a patient that smacked its head on asphalt from falling off a balcony or out of the back of a pick up truck.

              A fall is a fall is a fall. Hitting one's head on the ground at a competition is the same no matter where on the grounds it happens. Actually, it might be SAFER out on course since many courses are aerated and that ground is "softer" than that that has been pounded by hooves over and over and over, ie warm up areas.

              What defines "apparantly injured"? Did it not used to be that EMT's were to evaluate the rider at the fence for signs of head trauma? There was a list of questions and tasks they did to decide if it was safe for the fallen rider to continue (based on the Glasgow Coma Scale).

              If one is not "apparantly inured" after a fall somewhere not associated with a fence and is not "apparantly injured" after a fall associated with a fence, what is the medical difference?

              Landing on some body part other than one's head can also result in head trauma via the coup/contrecoup effect (similar to shaken baby effect).

              So, if there is some medical evidence that fall on course or on grounds IS medically and physiologically different than a fall at a fence (assuming one did not hit the fence with their head), then the one fall rule makes perfect sense. If there is NOT medical evidence that the 2 are different, then the rule needs to be seriously re-examined. Rules intended to protect riders, or horses, should be based on medical or scientific fact. Not by knee jerk emotional anecdotal reactions.

              Again, not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand what the REAL story is behind the one fall rule.

              And sorry for the long ramble.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, I thought it had less to do with head trauma specifically, and more to do with the fact that if you have a fall at a fence, you are presumably not having the best of goes and should probably quit before you or the horse ARE seriously injured. Sure, there are exceptions to this, especially at the lower levels (the green horse spook and stop) but I think it's valid at the upper levels, personally.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
                  Well, I thought it had less to do with head trauma specifically, and more to do with the fact that if you have a fall at a fence, you are presumably not having the best of goes and should probably quit before you or the horse ARE seriously injured. Sure, there are exceptions to this, especially at the lower levels (the green horse spook and stop) but I think it's valid at the upper levels, personally.
                  Regarding the first part: If my mare spooks at something totally unrelated to her fence, ie while we are "galloping" between fences at blazing BN/N speed, and I fall off--which has happened--one can say the same thing.

                  IMHO, and based on my tremendous amount of experience ;-), it would seem better for younger horses and/or riders to get a second chance to get over the fence even if they hit the ground. And are still ok physically to continue.

                  And just to be clear: For me getting back on to continue is seldom an option so the rule doesn't really affect me. My mare is 17.2 and I am 5'2". Getting back on in the field is NOT going to happen. And to make matters worse she high tails it back to the barn and greater than steeplechase speed. Only once did she get caught and I was able to get back on after she dumped me on course.

                  For the second part regarding the upper levels, I whole heartedly agree. At those speeds and supposedly level of experience by both rider and horse, falls should not be happening.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not going to comment on the rest of the rule, but I do think it's pretty silly that a fall between fences is not penalized like a fall at a fence is. I understand the point Janet made, but it still seems like a fall between fences is much different from a circle, halt, etc. TBH, I'd much rather see a person fall because of something related to a fence than fall off just galloping around. If someone can't even stay on their horse when it's just running, I'd hate to see them attempt to address an obstacle.
                    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      At first, I agreed that a fall at a fence means you have training problems, and are possibly/probably overfaced, and so should be eliminated...while a fall on course, elsewhere, did not have to do with the fence.

                      But really, if you fall off on course anywhere, there is a problem with your control of the horse out in the open. Part of the X-C test is that you can rate your speed, ride over uneven terrain, and jump fences at your level...I don't think any of the original eventing competitors, by the time they got to 'training' (or even prelim) which was the original entry level, had trouble riding their horses in the open...but nowadays it is essentially part of the X-C test that you can control your horse outside an enclosed ring. So, perhaps it would be appropriate to check riders in officially for X-C (at warm-up, perhaps, or a specified amount of time before the ride time) and any falls before crossing the finish flags would be grounds for elimination.
                      They do still flag warm-up fences, don't they? When I competed, you could get eliminated by jumping a warm up fence the wrong way.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
                        Meghan, for the record, I agree with you. The rule is idiotic.
                        Which one?

                        The one about "1st fall at afence =E"?
                        -I do not think it is "idiotic", but I wouldn't object to seeing it change.

                        Or the ones about concussion and apparent injury?
                        -I think they are good, and I also support the proposed rule change which will make it even stronger for concussions.
                        Last edited by Janet; Jan. 8, 2011, 04:05 PM.
                        Janet

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                          No, I don't. But with the issue of head trauma signs (including death) occuring even several days out, I am kinda surprised that we are not required to sign a waiver or statement to the effect that if we have suffered a fall or any other apparantly head trauma in so many days prior to a competition we will not hold any party associated with the event liable. And that the EMT's on grounds know that I have suffered a head injury in the very recent past. If not for safety reasons but for legal/liabiliy reasons.
                          Sounds good on paper BUT
                          1- It has already been well established that the USEF can not regulate what happens away from an recognized/endorsed competition, whether you are talking about poling jumpers with tack rails, a "suspended person" training horses and riders, or falling off your horse. The one big exception, of course, is the drug rules, which are enforced by random tests at competition. I suppose they could institute "random concussion tests", but that doesn't seem very practical to me.

                          2. The vast majority of "falls" do NOT involve any injury at all, let alone head injury.

                          3.The entry form you sign already covers the following points
                          I AGREE that I choose to participate voluntarily in the Competition with my horse, as a rider, driver, handler, vaulter, longeur, lessee, owner, agent, coach, trainer,
                          or as parent or guardian of a junior exhibitor. I am fully aware and acknowledge that horse sports and the Competition involve inherent dangerous risks of accident, loss, and
                          serious bodily injury including broken bones, head injuries, trauma, pain, suffering, or death (“Harm”).

                          I AGREE to hold harmless and release the Federation and the Competition from all claims for money damages or otherwise for any Harm to me or my horse and
                          for any Harm of any nature caused by me or my horse to others, even if the Harm arises or results, directly or indirectly, from the negligence of the Federation or the
                          Competition.

                          I AGREE to expressly assume all risks of Harm to me or my horse, including Harm resulting from the negligence of the Federation or the Competition.

                          I have read the Federation Rules about protective equipment, including GR801 and, if applicable, EV114 and I understand that I am entitled to wear protective
                          equipment without penalty, and I acknowledge that the Federation strongly encourages me to do so while WARNING that no protective equipment can guard against all
                          injuries.

                          I represent that I have the requisite training, coaching and abilities to safely compete in this competition.

                          I AGREE that if I am injured at this competition, the medical personnel treating my injuries may provide information on my injury and treatment to the Federation
                          on the official USEF accident/injury report form.
                          Janet

                          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A fall is a fall is a fall. Hitting one's head on the ground at a competition is the same no matter where on the grounds it happens. Actually, it might be SAFER out on course since many courses are aerated and that ground is "softer" than that that has been pounded by hooves over and over and over, ie warm up areas.
                            I agree a fall is a fall.

                            And "hitting your head" is "hitting your head".

                            But the VAST majority of falls at a horse trial do NOT involve "hitting your head", and it does not make sense to treat every "horse stopped-rider didn't- landed on feet then fell on side" as a "hitting your head"- whether in conjunction with a fence or not.

                            None the less, at MOST of the events I have been to in the last couple of years, any rider who fell (whether at a fence or not, and even if not "apparently injured") has had to be cleared by the EMT before going on to ride a second horse.
                            Janet

                            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What defines "apparantly injured"? Did it not used to be that EMT's were to evaluate the rider at the fence for signs of head trauma? There was a list of questions and tasks they did to decide if it was safe for the fallen rider to continue (based on the Glasgow Coma Scale).
                              That is a good question, and it would be good if there were an official definition of "apparently injured".

                              WRT the evaluation at the fence, I thought so too, but was told otherwise by the officials. So no, it was never an official policy, just a "suggestion".
                              Janet

                              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If one is not "apparantly inured" after a fall somewhere not associated with a fence and is not "apparantly injured" after a fall associated with a fence, what is the medical difference?
                                No medical difference, and no difference in the "return to play" rules.





                                Landing on some body part other than one's head can also result in head trauma via the coup/contrecoup effect (similar to shaken baby effect).

                                So, if there is some medical evidence that fall on course or on grounds IS medically and physiologically different than a fall at a fence (assuming one did not hit the fence with their head), then the one fall rule makes perfect sense. If there is NOT medical evidence that the 2 are different, then the rule needs to be seriously re-examined. Rules intended to protect riders, or horses, should be based on medical or scientific fact. Not by knee jerk emotional anecdotal reactions.
                                The "return to play" rules are the SAME for both cases (at, vs not at, a fence), and are the ones "intended to protect riders or horses."

                                Whatever the original motivation, the "First fall at a fence = E" is does no more (and no less) "to protect riders or horses" than "3 refusals at one fence = E."

                                It (1 fall =E) is, in fact, being officially readdressed by a USEA or USEF committee.
                                Janet

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  IMHO, and based on my tremendous amount of experience ;-), it would seem better for younger horses and/or riders to get a second chance to get over the fence even if they hit the ground. And are still ok physically to continue.
                                  The same could be said (and HAS been said) about "3R @ 1 fence = E" and "4R on course = E".

                                  In fact, it was said a LOT when the rule was changed from "5 R on course" to "4 R on course".

                                  Around here, we are lucky to have a lot of unrecognized events. Some of them run strictly by the official rules, but others are more liberal about letting you continue with a green horse after official E. I am glad we have both kinds.
                                  Janet

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by mg View Post
                                    Not going to comment on the rest of the rule, but I do think it's pretty silly that a fall between fences is not penalized like a fall at a fence is. I understand the point Janet made, but it still seems like a fall between fences is much different from a circle, halt, etc. TBH, I'd much rather see a person fall because of something related to a fence than fall off just galloping around. If someone can't even stay on their horse when it's just running, I'd hate to see them attempt to address an obstacle.
                                    Two things.

                                    First (pure logistics), lots of XC courses run through the woods, and there are lots of places the rider can't be seen by any jump judges. If the rules counted every fall not-at-a-fence, you would have to have "spotters" every 100 feet through the woods.

                                    Second, if a rider falls off ANYWHERE (and somebody sees it) because he/she "can't even stay on their horse when it's just running", then he/she can (and should) come under the "Dangerous Riding" rule.

                                    But sometimes a horse just loses its footing on a turn, or trips in a rut, and even the competent rider comes off.
                                    Janet

                                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                                      They do still flag warm-up fences, don't they? When I competed, you could get eliminated by jumping a warm up fence the wrong way.
                                      Yes and yes.
                                      Janet

                                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Fillabeana View Post
                                        ...but nowadays it is essentially part of the X-C test that you can control your horse outside an enclosed ring. So, perhaps it would be appropriate to check riders in officially for X-C (at warm-up, perhaps, or a specified amount of time before the ride time) and any falls before crossing the finish flags would be grounds for elimination.
                                        If you "can't control your horse outside an enclosed ring", we already have a Dangerous Riding rule- whether or not you fall off.
                                        Janet

                                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                        Comment

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