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A Question Nobody Wants To Answer

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  • A Question Nobody Wants To Answer

    So another horse has died, this time at Bromont.
    I think we all know how to make eventing safer. That answer is actually quite simple.
    It is to make cross country day easier. Probably by slowing down the required speeds, maybe 20 mpm, for preliminary and up, by softening the faces of the verticals, with generous ground lines, by ramping up the requirements for moving up, by taking away the "ticket to ride" of those conspicuously failing at a level, and making them re-qualify at a lower level, by making all horse fatalities trigger an automatic inquiry, a la endurance, and by penalizing "dangerous riding."
    BUT--- Here`s the question, the 900 pound gorilla.
    "Do we want to make the cross country phase of eventing a little too easy for our best riders, or do we want to leave it too hard for our lesser riders?"
    Put another way---We can make the show jumping and dressage phases more likely to influence the final results, but we will lose cross country as being the dominant factor.
    But it will make things safer.
    I don`t think we can have it both ways, hard xc, safety first.
    So which is more critical, safe or testing?
    Personally, I used to think testing. Now I don`t think our sport can survive that approach, not indefinitely.
    What do others think?
    Too easy for the best, or too difficult for the rest?
    http://www.tamarackhill.com/

  • #2
    Originally posted by denny View Post
    Personally, I used to think testing. Now I don`t think our sport can survive that approach, not indefinitely.
    I used to think testing too. And I took it for granted that the "best" would be the ones being tested. The suberb horsemen, unusually gifted and brave horses, the course designers with a sixth sense for what would work and what wouldn't.

    Given that those descriptions no longer really apply...anyone who can make the qualifications is liable to be out there on a course designed by the bigger is better generation.....I think we have to opt for safety.

    I think is the loss of a peculiar and wonderful sport.

    I will treasure until I die the videos I have of Murphy Himself and Priceless and Sunfire, and Kibar Tic Toc and Three Magic Beans and Little Tricky and all the other greats, but I don't expect to see courses built for them anymore.
    Nina's Story
    Epona Comm on FB

    Comment


    • #3
      Simple answer...earn the level you show.

      People don't want to wait to show at classes they don't belong or can't ride. X-country shortened so the warmbloods can compete, stadium less interesting and too low, again so the warmbloods can compete. People who don't belong in the show for another year or two...who won't wait.

      I showed when courses were longer and a real workout, TBs were the horses who excelled, the warmbloods couldn't compete. Hunter classes seemed to all start at 3', not almost caveletti height to make people feel good about themselves.

      Better to control the lowest elements than to reduce the competition to baby levels.
      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

      Comment


      • #4
        Unfortunately, I have to agree with "too easy for the best" right now.

        Perhaps, just perhaps, after stronger "move up" requirements, etc., then perhaps we could change to stronger XC...

        But I've seen too many injuries and deaths to believe in "personal responsibility" anymore.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by denny View Post
          So another horse has died, this time at Bromont.
          I think we all know how to make eventing safer. That answer is actually quite simple.
          It is to make cross country day easier. Probably by slowing down the required speeds, maybe 20 mpm, for preliminary and up, by softening the faces of the verticals, with generous ground lines, by ramping up the requirements for moving up, by taking away the "ticket to ride" of those conspicuously failing at a level, and making them re-qualify at a lower level, by making all horse fatalities trigger an automatic inquiry, a la endurance, and by penalizing "dangerous riding."
          BUT--- Here`s the question, the 900 pound gorilla.
          "Do we want to make the cross country phase of eventing a little too easy for our best riders, or do we want to leave it too hard for our lesser riders?"
          Put another way---We can make the show jumping and dressage phases more likely to influence the final results, but we will lose cross country as being the dominant factor.
          But it will make things safer.
          I don`t think we can have it both ways, hard xc, safety first.
          So which is more critical, safe or testing?
          Personally, I used to think testing. Now I don`t think our sport can survive that approach, not indefinitely.
          What do others think?
          Too easy for the best, or too difficult for the rest?
          Take the cross country back to the good hedges and ditches and reward the horses who are forward going.

          Good solid ground lines,less of the "turn a corner and 2 strides to a stupid lump of cheese",less coming down hill into a bloody great unforgiving upright into water.

          Less tight one stride solid fences where 99 % of the horses hammer their front legs making it over the fences.

          "Get rid" of the ridiculous "skinny's,upright catchy slow down to show jump courses"

          Bring the fun back to cross country day.

          Save the stride counting,,,can't face the course without my trainer walking it at least 2 times so they can tell me how to ride ,stride and jump the crowd pleasing cluster***** s,

          Make the stadium harder.

          Can you tell,I am fed up with seeing "great horses" going cross-country having their faces torn up by purple faced riders,wobbling all over their backs,some of these horses are "uncharacteristically stopping.

          I don't blame them,,,it is enough to make them lose their nerve.
          \"I have lived my life-it is nearly done-.I have played the game all round;But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to Horse and Hound\".

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by denny View Post
            I think we all know how to make eventing safer. That answer is actually quite simple.
            It is to make cross country day easier. Probably by slowing down the required speeds, maybe 20 mpm, for preliminary and up, by softening the faces of the verticals, with generous ground lines, by ramping up the requirements for moving up, by taking away the "ticket to ride" of those conspicuously failing at a level, and making them re-qualify at a lower level, by making all horse fatalities trigger an automatic inquiry, a la endurance, and by penalizing "dangerous riding."
            BUT--- Here`s the question, the 900 pound gorilla.
            "Do we want to make the cross country phase of eventing a little too easy for our best riders, or do we want to leave it too hard for our lesser riders?"

            Of the question asked: safety first. I think the only jumps out there should be designed with impact in mind. The Brits are working on this now.

            But I do like fernie fox's answer -- I think the xc phase needs a complete overhaul, maybe just the wrong questions are asked there. It's so unnatural for the horses, it's just the wrong concept altogether.

            Comment


            • #7
              One last comment on the 'making it too easy for the best'

              Even if we want it to be difficult for the best, there have to be limits. Anyone who thinks that a course should be built to be difficult for Bruce Davidson to ride around is nuts, or living on a different planet or something...
              Nina's Story
              Epona Comm on FB

              Comment


              • #8
                I am not involved in eventing so my free advice is worth exactly that. But. You people should consider a zero drug tolerance for your sport. If the horses are getting killed mostly at the upper levels them make it a zero drug policy for the preliminary level and above. Only fit healthy horses would be sound and able to start.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The FEI has a "no foreign substances" mandate already. I've not seen too many unfit, unsound horses competing at Preliminary level, ever. And random drug testing is routine--I've been tested, seen them at almost every show I've been to the last couple of years.
                  Click here before you buy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by facinated View Post
                    I am not involved in eventing so my free advice is worth exactly that. But. You people should consider a zero drug tolerance for your sport. If the horses are getting killed mostly at the upper levels them make it a zero drug policy for the preliminary level and above. Only fit healthy horses would be sound and able to start.
                    Its not drugs that are killing horses, they are hitting fences, breaking bones and lives.
                    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Facinated.. since you are not involved with Eventing - perhaps you have not been aware of the many discussions/threads and recent National Safety meeting etc..etc. So your comment does not address the issues here and makes no sense at all.

                      Denny - I've got to go with safety, I really want XC to be the defining thing in Eventing - the part that sets the ribbons, but with the loss of the endurance part (long format) the dressage/show jumping are now coming more to the forefront anyway. I would rather have it be not hard enough for the best than too hard for the worst because the price you pay is way to high as we have seen. This has to be a sustainable sport, and the only way to make it so is to have it be something that does not have such a horrific injury alternative for the partnership. It should test, but not on a pass/fail basis. Failure is not an option at the upper levels. This is a demanding sport, but it has to be fun. Fun to do and fun to see.
                      That is what sport is about right?
                      Horsemanship and the partnership, learn it, talk it, admire it, pass it on!
                      "The Pony" Theodore O'Connor 1995-2008

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In a perfect world...

                        we must make it too hard for the rest. We cannot make the XC too easy-it would completely take away what the sport is all about- even more than has already been done. By making the XC easier, we will further reward those with the big $$ who buy the fancy moving warmbloods so they can clean up in the dressage, get around the now easy/slower/smaller/less challenging XC, and jump clean around the now massive SJ. May as well just take away XC all together and have CTs every weekend

                        I also think that if the XC is made easier, that you will have more unsuitable riders out there at the upper levels. If the D and SJ are jacked up, people are going to spend even more time in the ring schooling their tempies and much less time in the tack galloping and jumping across the country. The XC would be on the bottom of the priority list. I see this causing many more injuries/deaths of horse and rider.

                        Although I have said I don't think the XC should be "easier", that does not mean I support current course design. I agree with ferniefox in that we need to go back to "old school" XC. We need big, galloping, forgiving fences that scare the crap out of the riders when they walk the course, but ride great and are easy questions for the horses to understand and jump at a gallop.

                        So, IMHO, the XC should be beefed up rather than dubed down. This will (theoretically) keep riders from moving up, or at least make them damn sure they are confident and capable out there on course.
                        There's a rainbow in the sky all the time, don't be blind." -Ziggy Marley

                        www.equinepartnershots.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          tired of the lower level solutions to upper level problems

                          I think Denny has hit the nail on the head. The top tiny percentage of riders make everything look easy while the "rest" of the ULR's have more difficult. It;s time to have it be less challenging for that tiny top percentage and make it safe for the rest of the ULRs.

                          I'm disappointed that the solutions coming out of the safety summit are all geared towards the lower levels when the accidents and horse deaths are at the higher levels.
                          I'm not saying that all the suggestions to improve the lower levels are not valid or necessary but it all seems to be smoke and mirrors.
                          "Look, are horses dying during rotational falls and the response is well look at all the bad galloping at the lower levels, if we don't change that then the deaths will not stop." Seem a little disjointed to anyone else. There is plenty of bad riding out there at the lower levels and I'm hopeful that the suggestions that came out of the sumit will help that but it still does not change or affect the issues that brought us together in the first place.
                          WE need to get rid of the ridiculous dangerous fences that set the horses up for failure, give real ground lines and educate everyone from teh lolwt smurf to the BNT and ULR's. Or am I alone on this one???
                          It takes a good deal of physical courage to ride a horse. This, however, I have. I get it at about forty cents a flask, and take it as required. ~Stephen Leacock

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Like I said, free. In other horse sports it is common practice to compete soundish horses with the help of different drugs. It is common to have a horse which would not jog sound without bute, or would feel a nagging pain and not perform as well. Often these horses are babied along during the week so they can compete on the weekends. It is great to hear that is not the case in eventing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RunForIt View Post
                              Its not drugs that are killing horses, they are hitting fences, breaking bones and lives.
                              And pulmonary hemorrhaging from the course design, all the bouncing around on the xc course:

                              "... the movement of the intestines can get out of phase with the movement of the diaphragm in such a way that the intestinal mass is swinging forward as the horse is trying to exhale. This causes the diaphragm to be slammed forward and slightly upward. The diaphragm, in turn, squeezes part of the lungs against the chest wall.

                              "The lungs are filled with alveoli, tiny air sacs, and capillaries, miniscule blood vessels. The alveoli and capillaries are so fine and so interconnected that oxygen from the inhaled air can pass into the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide in the blood can pass out of the blood into the lungs to be exhaled. The capillaries are at their smallest and most efficient near the rear, tapered end of the lungs where they abut the diaphragm.
                              It is exactly these most efficient, extremely fine capillaries which are repeatedly impacted by the forward-surging intestinal mass. As they rupture under the stress, the horse's air passages become clogged with blood." http://www.thinkythings.org/horserac...fo.html#causes

                              "However, it is natural to suppose that years of [competition] might leave a fair amount of scar tissue on a horse's lungs. Therefore, it might be worthwhile to consider how well older horses will be able to breathe " http://www.thinkythings.org/horserac...fo.html#causes

                              I know USEF is doing a study on this, so I'm sure there will be more info to come. We need a strong cross country, just not the one we have now.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                From Emstah....

                                Although I have said I don't think the XC should be "easier", that does not mean I support current course design. I agree with ferniefox in that we need to go back to "old school" XC. We need big, galloping, forgiving fences that scare the crap out of the riders when they walk the course, but ride great and are easy questions for the horses to understand and jump at a gallop.
                                So, IMHO, the XC should be beefed up rather than dubed down. This will (theoretically) keep riders from moving up, or at least make them damn sure they are confident and capable out there on course.
                                __________________

                                I toatally agree,your wording is better than mine.


                                \"I have lived my life-it is nearly done-.I have played the game all round;But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to Horse and Hound\".

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Woah, hold the phone there, sm. It is massively premature to correlate EIPH with the rigors of modern XC courses. A good hypothesis, yes, but nowhere NEAR proven.
                                  Your "source" cites no veterinary journals, no research, nothing but racing editorial pieces. Before we go "deciding", it would be prudent to have the facts.
                                  Click here before you buy.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    From Emstah....

                                    Although I have said I don't think the XC should be "easier", that does not mean I support current course design. I agree with ferniefox in that we need to go back to "old school" XC. We need big, galloping, forgiving fences that scare the crap out of the riders when they walk the course, but ride great and are easy questions for the horses to understand and jump at a gallop.
                                    So, IMHO, the XC should be beefed up rather than dubed down. This will (theoretically) keep riders from moving up, or at least make them
                                    damn sure they are confident and capable out there on course.


                                    This is exactly what Lucinda was saying at a clinic this spring. You SHOULD fear the big rider-scarer jumps. That fear is part of what makes you determined to ride it correctly and get over it. She predicts softer courses would result in MORE catastrophic injuries and fatalities.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I think the reason the Safety Summit didn`t really come up with enough concrete proposals is because the obvious answer---- "Make XC too easy for the best." isn`t a very palatable answer, esp. for those who consider themselves in that "best" catagory.*So they wriggle, like fish on a hook, trying to have it both ways, keeping xc seriously challenging, and yet safe.*Can they have it both ways? I doubt it, really. Maybe if engineering geniuses can create inexpensive, collapsible fences, they can get close.*But for all the "personal responsibility" we hear, there`s an enormous fallacy at work.It only works if EVERYBODY exercises it. If ONE rider doesn`t, and if that results in ONE fatality, horse or rider, that`s about all it takes, one per event, just as we`ve seen all year.*Those "ones" add up to lots, as we`ve seen, all year.
                                      http://www.tamarackhill.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by fernie fox View Post
                                        From Emstah....

                                        Although I have said I don't think the XC should be "easier", that does not mean I support current course design. I agree with ferniefox in that we need to go back to "old school" XC. We need big, galloping, forgiving fences that scare the crap out of the riders when they walk the course, but ride great and are easy questions for the horses to understand and jump at a gallop.
                                        So, IMHO, the XC should be beefed up rather than dubed down. This will (theoretically) keep riders from moving up, or at least make them damn sure they are confident and capable out there on course.
                                        __________________

                                        I toatally agree,your wording is better than mine.


                                        I agree with these 2 but would like to add.....I think our greatest loss came when the full format went away. I know, I know, it is my same old soap box but really, if you look at the history, the real trouble began when riders started spending less time in the tack. There are 1000 more details which, when added into the equation, add up to the mess in which we currently find ourselves.
                                        I would suggest that a full format 3-day event be a requirement to moving up to the next level. If you want to go Prelim, you not only have to have 4 clean trainings, you must also have a clean Training level 3-day. To go Intermediate, 4 clean Prelims PLUS a clean CCI(*) full format, etc. and so on.
                                        As Emstah has stated here so eloquently, please don't dumb down the courses. Make them big. Make them inviting. Ramp away the faces of the jumps. Put up more hedges. Lay down obvious ground lines. Forbid vertical faces. Allow and encourage a true gallop. Skinnys are fine with me. As are combinations but make the jumps understandable to the horses. Don't knock the times down, don't lower the jumps. Lower jumps will only cause the idjits to think they can fly them all. Make them big and scary. Scary to riders, easy for horses. It is not a difficult task, it is how it was in the olden times.
                                        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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