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"Safe XC Riding Clinic" . . . starring Darren C.

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    "Safe XC Riding Clinic" . . . starring Darren C.

    Just received this and thought "what a great idea!" until I saw who was doing the teaching:

    As it is, I cannot and will not support the clinic, although it's being organized through a friend and someone I respect very much. It hurts me to do so, but I can't in good conscience support this thing with someone "starring" who's recently set such a terrible example of safety-mindedness.

    An invitation to event riders,
    parents of riders, instructors, and coaches
    [SIZE=2][/SIZE][FONT=Arial][SIZE=3] USEA Area VIII Cross Country Safe-Riding Clinic
    [FONT=Arial]Monday, August 25, 8 a.m. - 12 noon, the day after the Richland Park Horse Trials
    Richland Park, MI, Cross Country Courses

    *Presenters: Robin Walker, Leslie Law and Darren Chiacchia
    *Demonstration riders/horses from Novice level through Intermediate level
    *Content: Explanation, demonstration, discussion of galloping to, rebalancing for, and jumping over a variety of XC fences appropriate to each competition level.
    *Purpose: Confirmation and improvement of spectators' understanding of and eye for safe and effective XC riding techniques.
    *Cost: $15/spectator[/FONT]
    Click here before you buy.

    I absolutely agree DW! I wouldn't be able to support it either, close friend or not.
    The recent Real Sports program has a lot to do with as well, I felt that Darren was such a joke in the interview, creative HBO editing or not. Just made eventing look so stupid!
    Grab mane and kick on!


      Wow that sounds GREAT. Maybe Laine can help, too.
      "Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back. The true witches know that." ~ Peter S. Beagle


        Originally posted by Lose That View Post
        Wow that sounds GREAT. Maybe Laine can help, too.
        Boss Mare Eventing Blog


          Wow. I so don't feel that way about Darren!

          What was it he said in the HBO clips that portrayed eventing as stupid? I know this is so just an opinion, but I didn't think the out of body talk was relevant to anything, just something sensational they decided to use. But I enjoyed Darren's interview.

          I thought the part about "backyard carnivals" or whatever it was they said was silly (about the XC jump judges)... it showed they didn't know the sport.


            HELLO! Pot, I'd like you to meet the Kettle.

            Maybe Darren will provide the "What NOT to do" demonstration?



              Oh, and just to add, I absolutely support anyone who believes in their principles, so I'm not criticizing your decision, deltawave. Just wondering why you see him as a rider who disregards safety. I haven't been reading all the threads/posts here and I know there's been some discussion about it, so please forgive me if I'm asking for a rehashing. I think all I've heard was that the horse he had the accident on was brought along very quickly, which does seem unsafe. But then I've also read some good counterarguments to that. As a rider, his history is undeniable. He has done a lot and done it safely, so why does this single accident (and most lifelong eventers do eventually have an accident, unfortunately) preclude him from acting as a reliable source for safety?

              I sent him an email after his Chronicle article in which he said frangibles are only a small portion of the solution. If I remember correctly, he went on about the rider responsibility. I sent him an email asking why so light on frangibles as a solution and never got a response. But it sounded like he was advocating frangible design more than anything during his interview with HBO.


                Originally posted by crittertwitter View Post
                Just wondering why you see him as a rider who disregards safety.
                He says he is an advocate for safety yet he ignores MEDICAL GUIDELINES for management of head injuries in sport. He touts rider responsibility yet he doesn't practice what he preaches.

                What precludes him from safety is that he has NO exeperience in REAL safety. He is a rider, not a safety expert. As many here have shown, SAFETY is a process to be managed by folks with experience BEYOND just simply riding. This is why the British have sought the help of TRL and University of Bristol and NOT tried to fix things in house. Sure he may have input but he ahs none of the engineering, nor the scientific or emergency management background that it takes to create an effective safety environment.

                I feel I can comment on that as a member of multiple safety committees and as a person who helped develop safety protocols in the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department as well as managing my own explosion synthesis lab.

                Yes, folks like Derren, Leslie and others can push for educated and safe riding but they are not really qualified to manage a safety program.



                  I think the 'riding competitively before totally healed from traumatic brain injury' thing is what most people are reacting to...
                  "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                  My CANTER blog.


                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    Just received this and thought "what a great idea!" until I saw who was doing the teaching
                    Unfortunately, Darren isn't the only "teacher" of concern...


                      Original Poster

                      Well, Darren C impaired is 10 times the rider I am fully able. Let me make that perfectly clear. I am not one to judge whether or not he rushed a horse up the levels, that's not for me to say. But I do think he's being enormously irresponsible by returning to competition (even riding at all) this soon. And setting a TERRIBLE example of safety-consciousness in the process.


                      Darren suffered a near-fatal fall with (by all accounts) an enormous Traumatic Brain Injury only 4.5 months ago, and I thoroughly and heartily reject the notion ("clearance" notwithstanding from his "team of doctors") that he is SAFE to be riding right now. I don't mean he's incapable--see above--I mean he's UNSAFE, as in putting himself at enormous, ridiculous risk for permanent and devastating re-injury in the event he should take another fall.

                      His choice? Sure it is. But it's OUR sport, these are impressionable young riders he's "inspiring" with his "heroic" return, and I think he's absolutely, positively, unequivocally sending the wrong message by competing this soon after his brain injury.

                      I'm a moderate, fence-sitting, "sees both sides" type of person but this is one place where I have no room in my heart or in my brain for the point of view that says "he has to compete" or "he's an amazing, heroic specimen". BAH, nonsense. His brain is no more than a ball of delicate mush, just like mine or anyone else's. No way in HELL I'd let a loved one of mine do what he's doing, dirty looks and "nobody tells me what to do" crap notwithstanding.

                      Grrrrr. Got my blood up again, this has!
                      Click here before you buy.


                        crittertwitter, we had a long and vociferous thread a few weeks ago when Darren signed up to ride -- 3 months after suffering his TBI -- something like 5 horses at his first horse trial back.

                        It was way too soon, by any guidelines anyone here was able to cite, for someone with this type of injury to be back out doing a high-risk activity. The likelihood of another accident (due to subtle impairment from the first one) was elevated, and the likelihood such an accident could prove catastrophic (due to the trauma from the first one) was also elevated.

                        This struck many of us as an EXTREMELY POOR EXAMPLE to set by someone who has taken a prominent role in safety discussions in our sport.

                        In the end, he scaled back to 2 rides, which proceeded without incident, which does nothing but prove he was lucky.
                        The big man -- my lost prince

                        The little brother, now my main man


                          Move on please...

                          I think its sad that, in order to make a statement, we demonize individuals... the points have been made, over and over again.... Move on... please.

                          We do not forward our cause - safety - by stalking individuals ... Darren, Laine or even CMP.

                          Flame me if you will. I agree that Darren has come back too early but wow, how many ways can you say it and to what new point.
                          Live, Laugh, Love


                            Originally posted by RAyers:

                            Maybe Darren will provide the "What NOT to do" demonstration?

                            Well, I have taught at a couple of barns where the only thing I could tell my new students was, "This is how you SHOULDN'T run a barn or take care of your horses".

                            Yes, I did get a pink slip.

                            Edited to add: fairly well known barns, too.


                              Original Poster

                              This is about making a choice to "vote with one's checkbook". I am so in favor of safety-consciousness in our sport I was already flipping through my calendar to see if I could take the day off and go to the clinic. And then I saw the poster boy for how NOT to be safe was doing the clinic. My voting dollars went back in my wallet.

                              I don't know any other individual in the sport right now that's setting a worse example of safety-mindedness. It is appalling to me and I find the topic of this clinic to be almost painfully, pitiful inappropriate considering the "star", especially painful when we need things like this so very, very badly right now. Unbelievably inappropriate, almost to the point of being comical if it weren't so damn depressing.
                              Click here before you buy.


                                Originally posted by CANTEREOIN View Post
                                Flame me if you will. I agree that Darren has come back too early but wow, how many ways can you say it and to what new point.
                                well, um, in this case, crittertwitter obviously did NOT know about this, since s/he assumed deltawave's response was about his accident, and not his return to riding.

                                These conversations are not linear and people join/drop out randomly. Sometimes we end up repeating ourselves about stuff we feel strongly about.
                                The big man -- my lost prince

                                The little brother, now my main man


                                  Maybe I should come up with a completely original poster (so there cannot be a fuss over it legally) about,

                                  The Dark Side of Eventing.


                                    I do see what y'all are saying about his coming back awfully soon. That's tough, though... leaving a sport that you love and, well, also your profession. I also think that all eventers must be a little soft in the head. I'm totally joking. But, seriously, what I was going to say is I also think he has a lot of qualified trainers around him who, I hope, would tell him if his kinesthetic memory wasn't there or he was showing bad judgment. A lot of athletes compete with injuries and after recovering from injuries. In the eventing world, safety is a very sensitive issue right now, so I can see why you think he should be more mindful about recovering. A seriously injured horse, to me, is the worst outcome of a riding accident because we know what we're asking them to engage in and they are participants. They're kinda like our kids.

                                    My fault, cantereion... I asked why they thought he was being unsafe. Sorry to ask everyone to rehash, just wanted the clear answer.


                                      I too saw the advertisment for the clinic on the TEAM website this morning - I almost choked on my cheerios. I *almost* posted on COTH this morning about it but refrained. I'm glad Deltawave decided not too!

                                      Part of successfully and safely negotiating a XC course is knowing your limits, your horses limits, and making smart, healthy decisions for both yourself and your horse and furthermore, your sport. If you come to play do it responsibly not only for yourself, but for the good of the sport in general. Darren did not make a responsible decision for the good of his sport, irregardless of his own personal health (which no one really has any reason to know about except himself and his doctors and perhaps the powers that be in the USEA.) He did not provide a good example of responsible riding or responsible training by riding so soon after a TBI. Clearly unprofessional. And clearly not someone I want lecturing me on being safer on cross-country.


                                        Originally posetd by fargonefarm:

                                        I almost choked on my cheerios
                                        Now THERE'S a safety issue. Someone would have to drop everything and come to your rescue quickly and perform the Heimlich Maneuver.