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Personal "rider responsibility"

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  • Personal "rider responsibility"

    I spoke with a bunch of eventers and non-eventers alike at Rolex this year about the question of rider responsibility. The general consensus was that there needs to be more rider responsibility and honest, if not critical, assessment as to if they are ready for what they are attempting.

    So, what does this mean for ME?

    First of all, I'm not going to give up on eventing. I searched long and hard to find a horse sport I could enjoy, and now that I've found it, I'm here for life. I enjoy the challenge of putting in an excellent dressage test, then powering over SJ fences clean and clear, then polishing it off by tackling the challenge of XC, galloping and jumping with my partner.

    Second, I'm going to continue to listen to my partner. Mac is a great horse, who loves to jump. If he ever says "NO" about a question on a course, I'll be listening... I'll raise my hand and be done for the day.

    I'm still setting my long term goal to be running the T3D, but I'm not going to put a date on that completion. I'm going to spend more time at Beginner Novice, and not move on until I'm totally bored with the fences and courses. I am mandating that I must score a 36 or below in Dressage, AND finish on it 3 times, before I'll let myself think about being ready for the "leap" to Novice.

    At Novice, I will have to finish on my Double Clear 36 or below 4 times before considering the step up to T. I plan to spend a minimum of 2 years at T, but must first finish on my 36 or below 5 times before attempting the T3D. I accept the fact that this may take more then 2 years, but its a sacrifice I'm willing and happy to make.

    I'm also going to require I keep myself fit, and put more emphasis on my riding skills. I will focus on schooling more and competing less. I'll participate in as many clinics and lessons as I can, and I'll further my education as much as possible.

    Anyone else?
    Megan

  • #2
    My sport

    Yes, there is no other equestrian sport for me. I love the sport, I love the people in the sport, I love the horses in the sport and most importantly I love the food served at the shows! Seriously, where else can you have that Walter Mitty moment and pretend, just for a second, that you are riding with Jeb Stuarts cavalry cross country. I KNOW my horse loves it-can you imagine how cruel it would be to just do dressage or the dulling routine of stadium ALL the time? Not for me or him, sister. Nope, I am committed to this thing through and through. I want the sport safer for everyone because it's the right thing to do. But I have to do my part first,foremost and always. Not push horses along fast for resale, idiotic "points" or some ego trip. By the way my horse was sired by Grey Macha. Any relation to your boy?

    Comment


    • #3
      Can't find my falme suit. . .

      Another eventer for life here, but I have a question: since you brought up the rider responsibility issue; why is CMP coming under such fire? If you walk the course and it looks too difficult for you , or your horse and time after time you find his courses to be "extreme" why wasn't something done a long time ago. A lot of people seem to be very anti CMP now, why all of a sudden?

      I will never go beyond training, but my horse might so I'm very concerned about the safety issue. I will choose my instructors and courses as if my horse's life depended on it.
      RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

      "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree. My daughter would love to go novice this year, but my "rule" was that the pony still doesn't care for ditches - tends to scramble. Sorry, you can't just pick a novice event with no ditch. Mastering ALL of the skills and questions of BN is going to happen first. Also, the pony needs to truly be ready for Novice dressage. It may not be beautiful, but having been in scoring at a HT, I would never want to see "Homework to be done at home. Not ready for this level." on a dressage test.

        Comment


        • #5
          I, like you plan to continue on with eventing because I have a wonderful partner and I really enjoy the sport when it is done safely and correctly. We owe it to our horses to not only be riders, but horseman. Not only can we help them by riding them and working with them under saddle, but work with them in hand and learn all you can about your horse. I plan on preparing my mare for just about everything she is going to see on a training course, and if the course is not going well, listen to my instincts and call it a day. Nothing is worth loosing her. I will not put her at risk to help my own competetive career, and I will not bring her to events or move up to a level that I think she is not prepared for. I will always listen to my coach's advice, and train with people who are not there to tell you how wonderful you look and how lovely your horse is, but to teach you valuable information to improve your riding and horsemanship. I will prepare so that I never have a hail mary course, at any level. I never want gallop down to a fence wondering if we are going to make it or not. Through pony club, I will enhance my own riding and horse management skills, so that I feel prepared to take on the inevitable minor and major ailments of horses. I will also not lock myslef into the sport of eventing. I will continue to go to dressage shows and jumper shows, as well as continue fox hunting, because its the best way to get your natural balance on a horse. The best way we can repay our horses for what they do for us is to make sure they have the best care possible and they have a rider who is thinking and caring about the safety of both.
          *off soapbox*
          It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, I'm thinking about buying some new gear as part of my personal responsibility - looking for advice in another post. Afterall, how many posts are out there asking the USEA to follow Formula 1 and mandate better safety gear? But, even at rolex - how many of the riders really had the best safety gear? I'm starting to think that it's time for me to put my money behind my mouth and support those companies that are at the forefront of safety gear. As much as it hurts to pull out the good old credit card- really come on - most people here are probably spending ~$1k/ month on this hobby and you can't afford a new vest?

            Part of this may be that my husband just had a 2 hour surgery that could potentially have been avoided if he had better motocross boots on. We'll never know - but even not out of the cast I made him buy the best ones available.

            I am also going to continue to attending clinics as much as possible to get really good instruction (as we don't really have much for eventing instructors here.) And getting feedback on a regular basis from my trainer.

            Oh, and much to the chagrin of some fellow cothers, I will continue to challenge the maximum time if I have a day that I think my horse or I would benefit from a trot break on cross country

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by riderboy View Post
              By the way my horse was sired by Grey Macha. Any relation to your boy?
              Yep, Grey Macha sired my guy too. Go Irish Draughts!
              Megan

              Comment


              • #8
                I hear everything you guys are saying. I think you all have very valid ideas. However, from the sounds of it you guys are all amateurs competing at the lower levels. Your livelihood does not depend on a good placing at a tough event. It doesn't depend on creating a horse to sell at the upper levels. You aren't driven by not only a dream of the Olympics, but a belief that it can be made real. I think you are looking at things from a very different point of view than people riding at Rolex or a similar level.
                Shop online at
                www.KoperEquine.com
                http://sweetolivefarm.com/services.php

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by vbunny View Post
                  However, from the sounds of it you guys are all amateurs competing at the lower levels.
                  Rest assured that you're are wrong. Their are plenty of current and former upper level riders floating around here. As one of them, the lack of "rider resposiblilty" I saw this weekend was about the worst display of sportsmanship I have ever seen in eventing.
                  Last edited by subk; May. 2, 2008, 01:08 AM. Reason: typo

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                  • #10
                    Subk--Are you referring to the accidents we know about, or were there other reasons for you to say that? Just wondering.
                    \"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.\"--Pogo

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think vbunny touches on a very important issue, which is that we don't fully appreciate the pressures that we each face as individuals. We generally understand what motivates "other people" or "people at X level", but we aren't very good judges of what motivates our own selves. Moreover, we aren't very good at understanding how our choices affect others, both our horses and our fellow competitors. We have reached a point where each additional mistake could have dire consequences for the sport as a whole.

                      I applaud any and all efforts by individuals to "clean their own house" so to speak, and do their very best to ensure that they aren't part of the problem. But the number of accidents has now gone beyond an individual solution. It has become a collective action problem, and requires an institutional solution. We have to do a better job of making sure that the rules, regulations and preparation/qualification system meet the needs of today's competitors. That means presenting them with courses that meet a reasonable expectation of "safe", and ensuring that our fellow competitors are qualified and prepared for the level they are attempting. Yes, they should be ensuring this themselves, but if they goof, their horse and our whole sport suffers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        listening to your horse

                        I hear you on that one (I did not mean for that to be a pun, lol)

                        I was an ambitious teenager at one time. I lived and breathed cross-country.I dreamed of the Olympics. There was a time when Prelim wasn't far off in the future (I was competing novice, schooling T and P at home). But at that time I had a horse that jumped picnic tables because I pointed him there. He loved his job. I could walk rolex without flinching, and say "in 10 years I am going to be here" (that was 6 years ago, lol). But for as much heart and talent that horse had, his hocks did not agree. He went on to be a school master for a great lady.

                        I bought a horse that oozed talent over fences. What I did not know is that he had been so fried in the past, he hated it. He absolutely hated it. He hated jumping, he hated going in the open at anything faster than the walk. In our first year together I was taken off with more than I can count, and still I pushed on. Finally, due to an injury we spent one summer we spent 8 weeks doing flat work, and I realized that I had an entirely different horse. I came to the conclusion that I had to listen, and I had a decision to make.... sell a horse that had mental and physical issues would likely not end up in a good spot, or give it up. I made the only decision my conscience would allow. And so I here I sit, surrounded by a big white box practicing shoulder-ins and serpentines rather than galloping through fields.

                        But I am at heart an eventer for life, I miss it more than words can even express. I will be back when the time is right.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mary in Area 1 View Post
                          Subk--Are you referring to the accidents we know about, or were there other reasons for you to say that? Just wondering.
                          I'm not going to go into it now--I'm still too angry at the lack of horsemanship or sportsmanship I saw on Saturday. But most of the accidents we saw on Saturday were not "accidents" --an accident is something unexpected. When you ride the toughest XC course in the world and know after the first few fences you don't have brakes or in some instances you don't have a gas pedal when you fall it should not come as a surprise to anybody.

                          Looking at the falls (all of them not just the bad ones) most had significant and multiple indicators well before the falls that the horse and or the rider were not on the top of their game that day. So yes, I am referring to the accidents we know about, but if I was the Queen All Powerful Ruler of Eventing (thank God I'm not) there were 1 or 2 clean rounds I would have at the least yellow carded under the Dangerous Riding provision. Talk about by the Grace of God...

                          After last weekend I've come to believe that the key to understanding these serious falls is to anyalize the video and photos of the jumping efforts BEFORE the fence the trouble occurs.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Subk

                            Originally posted by subk View Post
                            Rest assured that you're are wrong. Their are plenty of current and upper level riders floating around here. As one of them, the lack of "rider resposiblilty" I saw this weekend was about the worst display of sportsmanship I have ever seen in eventing.
                            I must agree, however, I applauded Polly Stockton for raising her hand and calling it a day after her guy had a few stops.
                            I know there were a few others, and I know there were some that needed to and did not.
                            Question for you, how do we get that rider responsibility back at the upper levels. USed to see people retire alot, now its go on no matter what, and I cant help think that some that continued and maybe should have called it a day suffered as a result. Again, just my opinion from some of the rides I witnessed.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by subk View Post
                              After last weekend I've come to believe that the key to understanding these serious falls is to anyalize the video and photos of the jumping efforts BEFORE the fence the trouble occurs.
                              If that is true, that is GOLD. That is exactly what we need: A way to prevent the accidents BEFORE they occur. I have heard a lot of buzz about how poorly prepared many of the Rolex riders were, but to me it sounded very "20/20 hindsight". That's not helpful if you can't use it to actually identify people likely to have wrecks. But if you can? That simplifies things tremendously.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                well said...being an amateur, I believe there are other pressures at the highest levels that aren't related to the 'it's not our day' indicators you just mentioned -- rider ego, prestige, owner pressure to perform -- as horseman and horsewomen, those factors should play no part in the world of eventing but do push riders to exceed their and their mounts 'comfort' zones...was this a factor this past weekend -- unknown bu maybe...I remember one Rolex about a few years ago that comes immediately to mind -- where a multiple Rolex winner's 'ride' was so 'off' and 'labored' with the horse so behind the rider's leg that the rider got dumped on her head in the water at the Head of The Lakes, but it was fairly evident to even a rank amateur like me (still working Novice), that it was time to call it quits well before that point in the ride -- the excessive use of the crop to every jump to get the horse moving on...that ride didn't end in trajedy but it well could have for both horse and rider. The issues we are dealing with today have been present in our sport at the highest levels for awhile...and unfortunately, we can see it almost every weekend at our local pony-club horse trials as well -- riders who continue to push the envelope for whatever reasons when it's evidently time to withdraw...different pressures, same human nature. That is why our oversight organizations (USEA and USEF) need to ensure proper measures are in place at every level to intervene in the interest of safety for horse (who doesn't get a vote) and rider (who should know better) lacking the 'heat of competition'...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by subk View Post
                                  After last weekend I've come to believe that the key to understanding these serious falls is to anyalize the video and photos of the jumping efforts BEFORE the fence the trouble occurs.
                                  I mentioned this on another thread but it's worth bringing up again.

                                  I think eventers don't pay enough attention to a 'bad' but clear jumping effort. You get over by the skin of your teeth or you get around clear with a few sticky moments. Then you remember the clean go but not the bad fence or two.

                                  In steeplechasing, everyone remembers the bad fence, even if the horse wins. The press asks the horse's connections about it, they ask the rider if he feels safe riding the horse, they speculate what's going to happen the next time the horse runs, they may even urge the trainer to drop the horse back to hurdles or not run at certain venues.

                                  Bad fences and sticky moments are taken seriously in steeplechasing. So is rhythm. If a horse has a bad fence early in the race and doesn't get his rhythm back or if a horse fails to find his rhythm at all, the jockey pulls up. No one wants to get hurt out there. (NH jockeys fall once in every 12 or so rides. If you don't want your career to end, you have to be careful.)

                                  I think eventers could take a cue from steeplechasing here but right now it's not really part of our culture.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JER View Post
                                    I mentioned this on another thread but it's worth bringing up again.

                                    Bad fences and sticky moments are taken seriously in steeplechasing. So is rhythm. If a horse has a bad fence early in the race and doesn't get his rhythm back or if a horse fails to find his rhythm at all, the jockey pulls up. No one wants to get hurt out there. (NH jockeys fall once in every 12 or so rides. If you don't want your career to end, you have to be careful.)

                                    I think eventers could take a cue from steeplechasing here but right now it's not really part of our culture.
                                    Well said.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Rider responsibility and trainer responsibility needs to be number one priority, but many people are not thinking clearly. I'm looking at entry status for the first event of the season here in Canada and there are people who have had one clear round at prelim and a couple bad goes upgrading to Intermediate for the first event of the season??? What are people thinking. I know a 20 here and there on a horse record can be indicative of a number of different problems, some not being dangerous at all, but when the record is more bad than good, perhaps staying down for some more runs ain't a bad thing. So why do people want to move up if it's not good? Why do their coaches want them to move up if it's not good?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Sannois View Post
                                        I applauded Polly Stockton for raising her hand and calling it a day after her guy had a few stops.
                                        I know there were a few others, and I know there were some that needed to and did not.
                                        Young Rider Emilee Libby should get credit and praise for being the only other rider to Retire her horse on course when it was obvious (after 2 stops) she shouldn't continue.

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