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Has your enjoyment of eventing been affected by horse/rider deaths?

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  • This is where horse and rider safety is not a factor. What you re bringing up is the business model. Eventing has moved to a h/j system where a trainer churns horses to make money on the commissions. The development of a partnership is less important than having multiple horses at a top level and all potentially for sale to well healed clients.

    The short format was developed as the result of monetizing the sport for the IOC etc.

    Now, the business model and management of eventing has destroyed my enjoyment of the sport.

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    • I sadly agree with the above.
      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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      • Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        We stand in dire need of funding and of a means of monitoring a galloping horse effectively, with equipment that can be accurate and withstand the motion, the fact that the horse is miles away from a computer, gets wet, and is large and hairy. For starters. Surmounting these two huge obstacles would allow us to get STARTED with all the other stuff that needs doing.
        So I got curious and in a few minutes found this product, V-MAX, which provides heart monitoring for horses under saddle. Also Polar Equine has something that indicated measuring while working. This pdf of the v-max is clear about set up under saddle.

        You don't need to be near a computer to record data, transmit and store locally in transit then download the results. As to wet and hairy...wet seems to not be a problem (sticky leads or girth mounts), but hairy, how many rider/owners want to shave spots on ol' dobbin for lead placement then go into a 4* dressage test (when we worry about the perfect braiding

        I think it would a great study, over a season, to get volunteer riders to run a weekend with such monitors. Perhaps not just at ULs, but at all levels and at 3D events as well. I am not a medical person nor scientist, but as a computer geek I love both the challenge of finding solutions to problems and crunching numbers. Without a doubt I'd volunteer my Sterling to the cause though given our level, I doubt his heart rate would change (mine on the other hand).

        I know this is way out there, but have you consider a kickstarter project relating to this study. Get the work out and I bet you'd get monetary support if at the end the data and results were made public.

        Oh that I could do more then post of a forum, but really help, for it (pardon the pun) breaks my heart when I read about these events. I watched Hickstead when he just dropped...sad. Maybe nothing conclusive would come out from this type of effort, but if it contributed to better understanding it clearly should be done.

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        • The endurance riders have been using the heart monitors for long time. There has been a number of research projects/papers, too. Dr. Jeannie Waldron, D.V.M., would be a good person to ask about it. She is a multiple world champion in endurance and did some of the research.
          Intermediate Riding Skills

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          • Originally posted by KellyS View Post
            Reading the Andrea Leatherman thread just broke my heart.

            I've been involved with eventing for 12 years now, competing at the lower levels and supporting the upper levels; however, less so since the change of formats.

            Let me preface this by saying that I know there are horse deaths in every sport and I also that horses can easily die just standing in the pasture.

            BUT...is anyone else getting to the point where they question their support of a sport where the number of horse and rider deaths (and severe injuries) has gotten to the point where we're relieved when an event completes without one?

            It just makes me ill to see this happening, and most of the time, these accidents happen to professional riders--riders at the top of their games at the highest levels (and despite all the safety measures now being taken).

            I never thought I'd say this but, for me, eventing just doesn't have the appeal it used to have. I still look forward to playing at the lower levels down the road, but am also enjoying other sports that do not present the same level of risk to horses and riders.

            A few years ago, if I'd seen a post like this, I would have vehemently defended eventing. But I just can't do it anymore. Am I the only one?

            And at what point is one death one too many?
            What an honest, brave question to ask. My answer is "yes." The ropeside view I had of Lainey Ashker's RF that killed Frodo Baggins, and nearly her, as well as another up-close witnessing of the demise of Mike Winter's horse (aortic rupture) in 2009, has had a profound impact on me, and how I connect to the sport. I returned to Kentucky until 2010, but found as a spectator I was suffering from some PTSD. I held my breath/braced my body until the horse safely jumped, or I would turn my head and not even be able to watch in some instances (usually if it was a friend riding).
            When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

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            • Originally posted by RAyers View Post
              This is where horse and rider safety is not a factor. What you re bringing up is the business model. Eventing has moved to a h/j system where a trainer churns horses to make money on the commissions. The development of a partnership is less important than having multiple horses at a top level and all potentially for sale to well healed clients.

              The short format was developed as the result of monetizing the sport for the IOC etc.

              Now, the business model and management of eventing has destroyed my enjoyment of the sport.

              Agreed.


              I think if you look towards the British horses you will see some who went many years also. Charisma is a good one, just for the perfect example.
              Boss Mare Eventing Blog
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              • I wonder if the answer to the longevity question could be a yes and a no.

                Total speculation, but I wonder if the old school eventing horses of the long format days would have had longer careers doing short format, but with the change in format has come a change in horse type and these new style horses with fancier and less efficient movement are perhaps not lasting as long as the old style horses would have because they have to work harder to get fit and they are more tired while jumping the latter portion of their xc rounds which leads to increased risk of injury.

                Also, with the primacy of the dressage phase and the increased time spent riding in the sandbox, there's less time to spend on fitness and conditioning and less time spent riding on varied terrain so that the act of going xc during an event is more of a contrast to the horse's daily experience which may lead to increased injury. Again, total speculation.

                I also wonder if the $$$ horses are being turned out less. It seems that most ULR's still turn out their eventing horses but I'd be curious to know if there was movement toward less turnout because of the value of the horses. That could impact long term soundness as well given the horses still have to perform over terrain.

                Comment


                • JP60, there are multitudes of heart RATE monitors available for horses. I have one, it cost me $40. I simply took a "human" one, minus the equestrian markup, and rigged it to go under my horse's girth.

                  However, what is needed is "live" on board EKG MONITORING. Not the RATE, but the RHYTHM is what we're interested in. Just knowing the heart rate is not very helpful, unfortunately, although that information is easily gotten. Heart rate tells us some things, but if we're trying to figure out what makes horses die, it's not enough. We need the actual continuous EKG tracing, and it is a hugely daunting task. It's easy to measure the pulse, but getting the actual rhythm/electrical signal of what the heart is doing is MUCH, MUCH harder. Believe me, we've been trying!

                  However, any enterprising young gearheads out there who wanted to invent such a device, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the right people.

                  I am going to (if I can get a couple of people to help me) put a "human" implantable EKG monitor in my horse this spring, simply as a one-horse feasability study. The devices exist and work well in people, but to extrapolate to a 1000 pound mass of muscle and expect crystal clear data is a reach. But still worth trying.
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                  • Originally posted by whicker View Post
                    The endurance riders have been using the heart monitors for long time. There has been a number of research projects/papers, too. Dr. Jeannie Waldron, D.V.M., would be a good person to ask about it. She is a multiple world champion in endurance and did some of the research.

                    So have event riders. When I first was learning about this sport...EVERYONE did their conditioning and galloping with heart monitors on their horses....this was over 15 years ago.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                    Comment


                    • Delta...you should contact New Bolton. I have a horse who broke a rib and it pressed against his heart. (yes...that was an expensive surgery but he is doing well.) As damage to his heart is a big concern, he has had every test done on him. One is an EKG at speed where they put elecktroids on him that feed wireless to a lap top. We went a large indoor in the winter (and they also do it in a field) and worked him...including galloping.

                      He's actually due for another one when we can gallop outside again in the spring so we can have his speed up more than in the indoor. So I do think there is some technology out there but the range may not work for a xc course unless you have multiple lap tops out on course....
                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                      Comment


                      • Pretty sure the vets who are spearheading the EKG monitoring are working very closely with New Bolton already, but it's good to hear of any means of getting this kind of thing to work. Yes, securing the electrodes to a jumping horse who's going through water, sweating profusely, with a rider on its back without making the horse carry something cumbersome or capable of interfering with its movement is TOUGH. And sending such an instrumented animal out to gallop and jump thousands of yards away from computers and getting readable signals . . . oy.

                        Some of our first tries were in the form of a foam block with the EKG electrodes built in, which went under the girth. Others have gone up by the withers and under the saddle. A vet up in Canada is developing a sort of sheet of electrodes to go over a horse's back. But once you add tack, a tremendous amount of motion, and sweat . . . the difficulties pile up! Also riders are (justifiably) very leery of anything that might bother their horse.

                        If we can ever get the ball rolling again, the idea is to test devices on lower level horses first, before asking a rider doing his or her first *** to strap on some crazy apparatus.
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                        • *preface this: I haven't read the whole thread and have not been following what happened to Andrea.

                          With that said, the short answer is yes. The amazing horsewoman who got me into riding (as in, the first horse I ever rode was one of her horses) died a few years ago resulting from a fall cross country going advanced. Her family were close family friends when we were growing up as we moved to the states the same year. I'm pretty sure my parents would disown me if I ever entered anything resembling an event with cross country in the mix again.
                          "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                          "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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                          • Development of the horse regarding it's biophysical capability, stamina, agility, etc. can all play a part, and a younger horse especially that are repeatedly demanded to exert themselves past their limit, reach a limit, usually known as death, from whatever causes, catastrophic failure of muscle, tendon, ligaments or heart. This is not a spectacularly new thought.
                            "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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                            • Just a thought.. is there any research from the racing industry OR from the steeplechase industry related to this? I'm just thinking that these are big industries and there's more money in them than in our little corner. Perhaps in Europe?

                              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                              Pretty sure the vets who are spearheading the EKG monitoring are working very closely with New Bolton already, but it's good to hear of any means of getting this kind of thing to work. Yes, securing the electrodes to a jumping horse who's going through water, sweating profusely, with a rider on its back without making the horse carry something cumbersome or capable of interfering with its movement is TOUGH. And sending such an instrumented animal out to gallop and jump thousands of yards away from computers and getting readable signals . . . oy.

                              Some of our first tries were in the form of a foam block with the EKG electrodes built in, which went under the girth. Others have gone up by the withers and under the saddle. A vet up in Canada is developing a sort of sheet of electrodes to go over a horse's back. But once you add tack, a tremendous amount of motion, and sweat . . . the difficulties pile up! Also riders are (justifiably) very leery of anything that might bother their horse.

                              If we can ever get the ball rolling again, the idea is to test devices on lower level horses first, before asking a rider doing his or her first *** to strap on some crazy apparatus.

                              Comment


                              • Yes, there is research ongoing in the racing industry. One of the things that needs to happen is a consensus and a collaboration. For a lot of reasons (funding, primarily, and also the desire to guard one's own technology as well as the innate differences in the sports) this goes along at a snail's pace. There are a handful of papers published every year on the topic of monitoring, sudden death in competition horses, etc. But that is so slow, and it's very difficult (no matter how tempting) to extrapolate between what happens to a 4yo standardbred who competes and trains only in harness on a flat oval and a 15yo warmblood with an unknown background for its first 6 years who gallops and jumps one day and does dressage the next. Still, yes, there is research going on. But the pace of progress is slow, especially when compared to what we're used to on the human side.
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                                • What I'm wondering is what will happen when the BNR/Ts of today who started in long format and were trained by the Old Cavalry Guys all push up daisies? Will the sport become unrecognizable, just like modern hunters? The current FEI seems to be pushing it to become something very new. Is it dumbing down or is it improving?

                                  How many centuries of knowledge will be lost? In 50 years will there even be horse sports?
                                  "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
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                                  • Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                    I am going to (if I can get a couple of people to help me) put a "human" implantable EKG monitor in my horse this spring, simply as a one-horse feasability study. The devices exist and work well in people, but to extrapolate to a 1000 pound mass of muscle and expect crystal clear data is a reach. But still worth trying.
                                    I would be VERY interested to hear how this works out, if you are able to do it. I would think anything other than an implantable device would be next to impossible to keep in place on a horse going cross country ... It's not quite the same as a (relatively) hairless human running on a treadmill!

                                    But for research purposes, the information could be worth its weight in gold.

                                    Comment


                                    • I just ordered the gadget, so the ball is rolling, albeit not very far yet. I have a bunch of young, innovative, genius-type electrophysiology partners who will be fighting for the chance to implant the thing in my horse. They just don't know it yet. Next step is to get some expert opinions on where, exactly, to put the thing. I may seek opinions from some of the vets here, actually.
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                                      • deltawave, you rock

                                        but if the IOC can get rid of wrestling, how far behind can horse sports be? And what a game changer that would be. What would then be the goal? Would the long format come back?

                                        With all the portable technology, the devices for the test you need can't be too far away. The money to fund it however, might be.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                          What I'm wondering is what will happen when the BNR/Ts of today who started in long format and were trained by the Old Cavalry Guys all push up daisies?
                                          How many centuries of knowledge will be lost?
                                          Ummm, none. There are those of us under 50 who can actually, you know, learn and read and contain knowledge...

                                          I'd actually be happy if eventing was out from under the IOC's interests, so I hope for that.

                                          Wish I could offer some insight on EKG's and horses, DW. We sometimes have a similar problem with PIT (microchip) tagging some types of animals -- if the animal has a larger body mass or the tag migrates, we might not pick it up with the reader. Is it possible for the rider to have say, an armband receiver that collects data from the transmitter so it can then be "dumped" at the end so you wouldn't have to have a zillion computers along the way? Not a live feed unless, OH OH, you then get the rider's device to tap into the cell towers and stream the data for you! Why, you're welcome! ROFL.
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