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Question about riding (specifically at big FEI events) with injuries

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  • Question about riding (specifically at big FEI events) with injuries

    After seeing what happened with Marilyn and Demeter today, it made me think:

    We would never ask our horses to run around a 4* event if they were feeling under par, with any sort of injury. It just makes me wonder why it is allowed to run with the rider clearly "under par." Clearly there is no line which states what injury constitutes as "risking wellbeing of both horse and rider," but I can't help but feel that Marilyn was putting the well-being of her horse at risk by running her, more or less one-armed. It was pretty obvious she was uncomfortable, and dealing with some pain during her run... that kind of injury is incredibly painful, and absolutely distracting while trying to navigate a 4* course.

    Someone in a different thread stated that, had she had both shoulders intact, she would have either been able to stay on, or not found herself in that position. If the horse had fallen or gotten hurt because of her decision to ride with that injury, would more people be upset?

    I don't mean this to be a slam on Marilyn, and I would have written this had it even been about William, it just bothered me a little that there is no rule here. Thoughts?

    Look at William and Boyd saving their horses for another day... surely there would be another day for Demeter... in a more ideal situation, no?

  • #2
    I had the same thought.... wouldn't that much pain and guarding affect body mechanics and posture, possibly weighting the horse's balance differently? I don't think I'd want to be galloping down to some tough technical questions and have a different balance. She's one tough lady, that's for sure.
    Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay


    • #3
      But where do you draw the line? Boyd rode with a hurt ankle Lynn rode with a broken pinkie. Riding through injuries is part of the eventing culture. She did seem in obvious pain and favoring the shoulder to me too even in dressage Not sure of the answer
      Gallop on


      • #4
        It has to be a personal choice, otherwise it becomes very subjective.


        • #5
          I did not see Marilyn's fall but I did see her jump just before that- the straight up ditch brush #12 which the mare attacked and cleared with air and the sunken road. Any issues with Marilyn were not evident to me at that point.

          From a spectators selfish point of view I appreciated Marilyn's effort today. You plan to go view this top notch competition and anticipate seeing the best along with the new names. It is understandable (and unpredictable) when a horse or rider has entered then has to withdraw prior to the start so Marilyn gets an "atta girl" from me. The new to Rolex riders that had something to prove today also get my "atta girl". There were some really well ridden rounds by newbies.


          • #6
            If she was having trouble with her shoulder, that would explain why she got bounced out of the tack and couldn't hang on - there looked to be a moment when a lucky/unhurt/whatever rider could have clawed their way back into the tack.


            • #7
              I was about to post a similar topic. Are riders limited to what they are allowed to take pain killer/medicine is general during a FEI competition? Would some of these riders be riding in pain because they can't take the required pain killers?

              A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


              • #8
                I am no expert but let me respond to some of what is stated above:
                - There are rules that dictate what drugs athletes can not take. They can also be tested. see GR413 of the USEF rules. I do not have the list of prohibited drugs
                - Furthermore saying it is the rider's choice is not quite true. The Ground Jury may prevent a ridr from riding if they feeel they are a dnager to themselves or other riders. I would bet that the GJ discussed these issues before letting these people compete.
                To be precise FEI Rule 4.1 says
                4.1 IF there is any doubt with regard to fitness to compete the Ground
                Jury may with Medical Advice eliminate the athlete at its discretion."

                One final point, as posted on EN and in a USEA press release, Marilyn was going to meet with a doctor who is on the USEA Board of Governors and is a consultant to the USOC to discuss her competing


                • #9
                  MLM's injury, while painful, I doubt, affected what happened today. She just had a bad fence. When Melissa was a working student for Bruce Sr. She got the exact same injury falling off a bucking horse. She went on to finish out her time there, with no help from a doctor, and had a grade 3 seperation. She mucked stalls, used wheelbarrows, groomed, and did what you would expect working for him. Was she in pain? Was it enough for her pride to take backseat to it, never. Marilyn went out and did a great job yesterday in dressage, and I didn't see even a cringe from her.

                  As far as rules, they can indeed pull you. When Melissa lost her big toe nail, ugh, anyway, she lost it, so happens the judge happened to be a friend on FB. So she knew about the injury, guess what, when she went to warm up for stadium, there stood the ground jury, making sure SHE could ride, and they told her as much. Had they felt she wasn't safe, she wouldn't have gone. No one else knew about it, and I am betting, the injured riders were being watched.

                  So, MLM gets a atta girl from me too. She did her best, and just wasn't her day. I was very impressed with some of the riding at Rolex today, and the composure from some of those first time kids...KUDOS to them all for doing thier best. It takes a whole lot of work and effort to get there. Eventually one day I will groom for my rider there too!
                  May the sun shine on you daily, and your worries be gone with the wind.


                  • #10
                    Let's just add that MLM fell at fence #17(?) - well into the course, and had been fine through the questions asked to that point. Her horse hit behind or banked the out of the question, and that jolt knocked her out of the saddle. I was right there (and even shouted "hang on!" while she was on his neck afterwards).

                    *Perhaps*, if she had been 100%, she could have clawed her way back on. But really, it wasn't a sure thing for anyone.


                    • #11
                      Sheesh, hasn't anyone out here had similar injuries so they have an idea how it feels? These guys have been hurt many times and have higher thresholds for pain. A separated or even dislocated shoulder SUCKS and hurts, but at her level she could do everything on that course to help her horse. She just couldn't react quickly and strongly enough to save herself from that fall. The horse at no time appeared as if his rider was unable to help and she did help and then rested the shoulder between jumps.

                      As for the broken finger, that spiral would suck, but she'd has to be about half way healed based in the comments made and the most annoying thing was probably the splint. I'm guessing it ached, but the adrenaline on course helped. You don't use you're pinky that much.

                      In the broken ankle, I have no idea if it's a hairline fracture or what. But I'm guessing its not displaced and had been reset. I don't know, but at his level he could probably just suck it up and ride with a hairline fracture for all the previously mentioned reasons.

                      Some people are debilitated by a minor injury. Others just are not. And most people who aren't athletes don't understand how this who are can deal with injuries and ride through the pain when necessary. They make it into something bigger than it is (relative to what these athletes/riders at Rolex do). At least the medical professionals on staff at Rolex know this. Trust them.

                      Im like other riders who've had most of these types of injuries. While I am not and never have done what they are doing, I do know that you get very good at judging what you can and cannot do and how much pain you can handle. They've had a LOT of practice.
                      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                      • #12
                        I have to agree with the OP. Seems iffy for people to compete when they are that injured but I understand its the riders choice. I think the riders could make a better choice for the sake of their horses.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by steves View Post
                          I am no expert but let me respond to some of what is stated above:
                          - There are rules that dictate what drugs athletes can not take. They can also be tested. see GR413 of the USEF rules. I do not have the list of prohibited drugs
                          - Furthermore saying it is the rider's choice is not quite true. The Ground Jury may prevent a ridr from riding if they feeel they are a dnager to themselves or other riders. I would bet that the GJ discussed these issues before letting these people compete.
                          To be precise FEI Rule 4.1 says
                          4.1 IF there is any doubt with regard to fitness to compete the Ground
                          Jury may with Medical Advice eliminate the athlete at its discretion."

                          One final point, as posted on EN and in a USEA press release, Marilyn was going to meet with a doctor who is on the USEA Board of Governors and is a consultant to the USOC to discuss her competing
                          The WADA rules,regarding prohibited substances, are the standard for FEI competition and I doubt that USEF is tougher. http://list.wada-ama.org/prohibited-...ed-substances/

                          Some narcotic pain medications are allowed some aren't.
                          According to the WADA list Vicodin is allowed Percocet is not.

                          Most people , I would imagine would not be inclined to compete at a 4* event under the influence of narcotic pain medication. Not really helpful for balance and reflexes. Then again, the medication does not effect some people as much as it does others, and some may be fine with it.

                          I don't personally know any people who ride at that level , so I don't know what people do or do not take in competition.

                          I have dislocated a shoulder in the past and I must say that with, or without, pain medication anyone who rides with even a seperation is a tough cookie.

                          As for the ride in question, I think it must have been well considered. If the mare had been a puller I'd bet the rider wouldn't have tried it..


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
                            I think the riders could make a better choice for the sake of their horses.
                            That's a pretty strong statement to make with no evidence that the welfare of these horses was in any way jeopardized. I sure wouldn't accuse someone of not looking out for their horse, because the rider has an injury, evaluates the situation, and decides to ride.


                            • #15
                              I thought Marilyn looked amazing until the combo where she came off, and it did *look* like the kind of tip a rider of her caliber could have recovered from if all parts were working properly. I thought it sounded iffy to attempt 4* XC with such an injury, but then watching her go and watching that Kate's AMAZING gallop -- balanced and so relaxed her reins almost looked loopy, so straight and honest to her fences, I understood why she tried. I imagine if her horse had been one like Daily Edition (or her own old partner, Udonna) she would have WD'd.
                              But when you know your horse, know the nature of your injury and take the educated gamble to try ... I can't fault that. I understand some of these top riders retiring after a stop to save their proven XC mounts for another day. I also think that it's not necessarily in the best interest of the horse, in a case like ML's not to at least TRY: All the fitness work to get to Rolex has been done -- that's pounding and wear on the horse that can't be taken back just because you don't run, so TRY to make it count for something rather than giving up and walking away. Of course, that's a case-by-case decision relating to rider injuries, not horse injuries (ie, JB WD'ing her horse).
                              i remember a few years ago, one of the Canadian riders was clipping her horse before Fair Hill CCI*** and her stepped on her hand. She actually lost the end of the finger and rode with that injury still very fresh, which also sounds incredibly painful, but IIRC she made it around, got a qualifier she needed for a 4*, and went on to run Rolex multiple times.
                              I evented just for the Halibut.


                              • #16
                                There is a long history of tough 4* riders getting the job done well despite injury. They know better than anyone how they feel and what it takes to get their horse around a course. With input from doctors and those around them, they decide whether or not to ride injured. This situation is, of course, completely different from an injured horse who does not get to speak up about how he feels. Riders have a responsibility to not ask their horse to compete when hurting or injured because the horse doesn't get to choose for themselves.
                                Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                                  Sheesh, hasn't anyone out here had similar injuries so they have an idea how it feels?

                                  I rode around a Novice HT with a fractured collarbone and the associated soft tissue damage and cracked ribs. The injury was 1 week old. The pain wasn't so bad but the lack of balance was an issue. You just can't support yourself the same way -- it doesn't hurt, but there are things you just can't do. Like get out of bed in the morning, if you forget about your shoulder and sleep lying down. You have to call for help.

                                  I was fine but it wasn't easy. I had to circle before a jump at the bottom of a hill, but I'd actually planned this in advance because I knew there was no way I'd keep good balance going down hill, and this was a horse that hated having an unbalanced rider. I would have been comfortable at a higher level on a different horse (my long-backed Prelim packer comes to mind), but not this one.

                                  Yesterday, Marilyn looked at times like I felt that day. I was surprised she got as far as she did with her balance being off like that. With a separated shoulder (in a Grade 3 you would usually have some clavicle displacement), you simply cannot sit up and rebalance as usual.

                                  When she got to the hollow, it was just too much for her -- at least that's how I saw it. ML loses her balance on the short uphill slope before the fence, then can't recover in time.

                                  I hadn't seen this mare go before and have no idea what 'normal' is for her, but my observation is that letting her gallop in a rather strung-out manner would make the rebalancing more difficult for the rider.

                                  I don't want to bash ML here because I appreciate her enthusiasm for eventing. As others have said, riding with these types of injuries should be personal choice (not so with concussions/TBIs!) and riders should be responsible enough to stay within their limits and take care of their horses.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by skydy View Post
                                    According to the WADA list Vicodin is allowed Percocet is not.
                                    I find this amusing, simply because Percocet at any dose is about as effective as a Tic Tac for me, but Vicodin is a warm and VERY effective friend. Given the variability of human reactions to medications, seems like it would be nearly impossible to make such a list. But I guess you have to pick something.
                                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                                    We Are Flying Solo


                                    • #19
                                      If you listened to the commentators during her ride they commented on her being able to let the horse go w the loopy rein, and I believe saying something along the lines that if the horse had been a puller/stronger (they mentioned an earlier horse) it would be a much more difficult ride. I think it's always easy to sit back and armchair quarterback especially after it's done. Several people were popped out of the tack- some similar type falls - they weren't able to right themselves back into the tack either and didn't have any injury. Now I'm going to go rewatch her ride.


                                      • #20
                                        My opinion is that riders should think about if they are still able to give the horse the ride they need with whatever injury they have. If not... then they should make the judgment to not compete.

                                        She was galloping with only one hand on several occasions which was what seemed worrisome to me.