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Spectators at Events

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  • Spectators at Events

    I am sure this has been brought up before but.... I had to ask. I am a newbie at Eventing. I have been to Rolex, Ocala HT and several at Rocking Horse. Today at RH I was shocked at the fact that so many competitors were doing "course walks" from what I could see for their next day course while there were competitors on the course. Also volunteers who seems to not have any idea where to go/walk or warn others not to. It was down right scary a few times. I have never seen this before at RH or the other two venues I have been to. Yes there are always the few who just stroll out on course and don't look and get waived/yelled off but today was really weird.

    So many actual competitors getting in the way of on course competitors, course walkers blocking fences, etc.

    Is this normal? I heard riders yelling "stay where you are, don't move!!!) and saw a few people just about get run over.

    Am I just a newbie and this is normal? Oh let's not forget the volunteer on the atv who seemed to have zero idea where the course or horses were.

    Very scary

  • #2
    I've jumped over jump judges before. As a rider you let folks know you are coming. Most folks are good about freezing or getting out of the way. I see no issues with competitors on course. And even at places such as Rebecca Farms or Galway it is common.

    As for competitors walking during competition, they need to be out there (with common courtesy). There is no way you can walk a course 4-6 times in one day, especially if you run early in the morning. Rolex is an exception as it is a special event with a single division.


    • #3
      It is commonly done with most of the one day events I attend in my areas. "Heads up" gets yelled a lot. Some riders are freakier about it than others. Really, horses are fine with people close to them, it's riders who cannot judge how close a person is standing and make issues of it. In my experience a horse will rarely run over a person. Now ponies...that is a different story!
      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


      • #4
        biz, where were you located? From my vantage point I could see almost ALL of the xc except maybe 3 fences, and was only aware of 2 times when persons walking had to be "spoken to".

        We had many more spectators than normal today, because of the beautiful day + the Advanced divisions. Oh, and the Course Designers Seminar - but they were easy to sight, walking like ducklings behind the instructor


        • #5
          I think that for those new to the sport, the organized chaos of cross country day can seem out of control, when it isn't. For those coming from arena sports that are fully contained, often with designated spectator areas, the expansive course and beehive of activity is almost inconceivable. It actually has worked extremely well for decades, with very few problems. Hands down, my favorite.


          • #6
            Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
            In my experience a horse will rarely run over a person. Now ponies...that is a different story!
            Originally posted by SevenDogs View Post
            organized chaos of cross country day

            Sounds like a typical XC day in PNW!!! Enjoy and heads up!


            • #7
              When I've jumped judged some riders get pretty freaked about it and you hear lets of yelling. As a jump judge I had a pretty good idea how close the next horse was and would tell people you have a horse coming in about XX seconds.

              Some people are kind of clue free when walking courses. I had my young horse out for his second horse trial last year and we went past a group of people close enough that I could have hit them with my stick. It never phased him in the least. I didn't want to be one of those riders that comes screaming into a jump.

              Years ago I saw Dutton at Morven. He came through some trees and there was a woman and her dog in the middle of the galloping lane. He never said anything and calmly took the horse through a little stand of trees and then jumped.
              A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


              • Original Poster

                Okay sounds like normal and yes coming from hunter world not used to it However just seemed more than normal compared to the others I have been to (not including Rolex) Of course Ocala was late afternoon last day so no course walkers. Does seem to be just part of the challenge of cross country (distractions) I figured it was just me. I was by jump 16 I think from about 2-4 pm (near the start area) There were a several groups gathered near there and a lot of people walking back and forth so a very high traffic area.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by FlightCheck View Post
                  biz, where were you located? From my vantage point I could see almost ALL of the xc except maybe 3 fences, and was only aware of 2 times when persons walking had to be "spoken to".

                  We had many more spectators than normal today, because of the beautiful day + the Advanced divisions. Oh, and the Course Designers Seminar - but they were easy to sight, walking like ducklings behind the instructor
                  PS yes I saw them they hung where I was for quite a while and had to be asked to move every time a horse was coming, but nothing scary, more the ones that were out in the middle of the course as two horses were coming in different directions, but alas it is just the hunter princess that probably made it seem scary.


                  • #10
                    Yes, it is very normal and necessary for competitors to be out walking courses while people are riding. We have to squeeze our course walk in when we can and most folks know how to get out of the way. I kind of welcome the distractions that test my horse's focus because he needs to learn to focus on me no matter what (within reason of course). But the horse on course should always have the right of way -- I'm not a yeller either, I will just do what I need to do to get the job done.
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                    We Are Flying Solo


                    • #11
                      Generally the TD is pretty good about hunting down people that don't get out of the way when someone hollers "HORSE ON COURSE!" I have seen TDs threaten to remove people from a show for getting in the way of competitors.


                      • Original Poster

                        The riders didn't seem upset in the least. They just said something if they needed to. One rider went out if his way to go around a "walker" but did tell her to stay put so as not to have her go the same way he was planning on "detouring." I will get used it I am sure just the busiest I have seen it at RH I guess. I agree it is the most awesome spectator sport out there!!

                        P.S. I wish I knew who the rider was on a cute chestnut I saw. Every jump you could hear her yell "good boy!" It was so sweet!!
                        Last edited by bizbachfan; Feb. 19, 2012, 10:48 AM.


                        • #13
                          If you come to Rocking Horse in March, come see me - and welcome to eventing


                          • #14
                            Yearsandyearsandyears ago I was a jump judge at Essex. The event was held at the USET and being a jump judge was as close as I was ever going to get to jumping over one of those ginormous fences (they ran Prelim and Intermediate to put the story in perspective ).

                            There was a largish crowd of people heading toward my fence at one point during the competition, so I hopped up and shouted at them heads up, rider on course. They didn't pay me the slightest bit of attention, so I hopped up, shouted louder and waved a bit. Still nothing. I waved some more, shouted some more ...

                            The area steward finally sidled up to me and said, "That's Captain Mark. I think he knows enough to able to get out of the way in time."

                            Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                            The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                            www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog


                            • Original Poster

                              RR, funny story

                              Flightcheck, thanks, I am trying to get out to RH every chance I get, I live only an hour away so will pm you next time. Hoping to school on the Cross Country soon and doing the schooling show March 10, then tadpole three phase in May. Should be there to watch the HTs in March. I will try to "relax" a bit next time.


                              • #16
                                Biz, you can come sit with me anytime there. I can help you sort the organized chaos that is eventing xc day!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks Flightcheck, will do! I have one more question. A young lady lost her stirrup, as in actually came off her saddle. She thought it was broken but an official helped her put it back on and she went on her way, without dismounting. Some of the spectators said that would eliminate her, others said no. I tried to read the rules and was unclear if this was allowed or something that they would "consider." Curious what happens when you have a tack malfunction?


                                  • #18
                                    Technically, EV138.9
                                    "headgear or spectacles may be handed to a competitor at any time", and those are the only things mentioned.

                                    Normally if this happens, the competitor jumps off, gets the stirrup/crop/etc., and fixes their own problem.

                                    In this case the TD radioed that by all means to help the rider with her stirrup.


                                    • #19
                                      I can't imagine any fellow competitor objecting to an official helping a rider, in this situation. .