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    We create these XC courses which ask these 'questions' of our horses.

    Is it okay with us that an experienced, top-class horse who misreads one of our 'questions' should have to pay for it with his life?

    Comment


      Does anyone have a picture of the fence?

      Comment


        Originally posted by JER View Post
        We create these XC courses which ask these 'questions' of our horses.

        Is it okay with us that an experienced, top-class horse who misreads one of our 'questions' should have to pay for it with his life?
        I was thinking this. If a course has questions, and a yes means the horse succeeds, the no answer shouldn't equal injury, disfigurement, or death. Isn't there a better way to ask questions?
        When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
        -William Shakespeare (Henry V)

        Comment


          Originally posted by Foxglove6 View Post
          I was thinking this. If a course has questions, and a yes means the horse succeeds, the no answer shouldn't equal injury, disfigurement, or death. Isn't there a better way to ask questions?
          Originally posted by JER View Post
          We create these XC courses which ask these 'questions' of our horses.

          Is it okay with us that an experienced, top-class horse who misreads one of our 'questions' should have to pay for it with his life?
          Great posts!

          I still, for the life of me, don't understand:

          Why all the false ground lines and optical illusion type fences at SOLID obstacles? Why are we trying to trick horses and riders??

          Why dramatically (over time) increase the level of technicality AT ALL LEVELS, and not change the time?

          Running at a time of X mtrs per minute over, say 22 jumps, with 2 - 3 combinations (so a total of 25 efforts) at a certain height, one could say that this could be negotiated at X speed, and still remain safe.

          Then, increase the number of combinations, somewhat related distances, single fence technical questions to -say, 7-9 per course. You may still have 25 efforst but they will be placed differently, and demand FAR different rides, gallops, etc., but no change in the over OT. I am not Reed, but it seems to me that it simply doesn't make sense.

          It's not like the horses or riders have developed an extra set of eyes, or an extra leg, so we have to make the courses more complicated and still have to be completed at the same speed.

          My hear goes out to Liz and her team.
          I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.
          Frederick Douglass

          Comment


            sounds like the back rail was pinned. But the horse wasn't coming straight down on the rail, he was coming more forward than down because he was coming from an angle the designers didn't expect - but maybe should have. The pins are designed to work as intended through a certain range of 'angles of attack' that does not include parallel to the ground, correct?
            HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
            www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

            Comment


              I read her post in COTH and found it amazing how brave she was in describing for all her experience and her position on that specific type of fence. My heart goes out to her for losing a horse and I would hope top officials take note and listen to this good, strong person.

              I would also hope she sets a future example of being open in talking about what happened(s) in a tragic moment so maybe a change can really be made. Riders should not be afraid to speak up and voice their opinion for if we don't then others may still suffer. If the rider does not have a voice, then others need to be that voice. JER and foxglove6 have stated it very well.

              Comment

                Original Poster

                I can't even imagine how terrifying that fall must have been for her. There is NO need for this fence on xc. We can test this in stadium. It's purely a frightener.

                Comment


                  I haven't seen the fence but she says it was big (very wide). This fence could easily have killed Liz as well as Cooley. I just don't understand why the damn courses have to be so tricky. Eventing is exciting without having "sneaker" jumps.

                  I don't watch upper levels anymore, they seem more scary than exciting.

                  Comment


                    After reading Liz's heartbreaking post, I am furious that this fence was out there on that course.

                    So are the PTB now trying to obviously trick brave, well trained horses and excellent riding?? Because that's what this was.

                    The margin of error should NOT be this outcome!!

                    Anyone have pic of the fence? This is horrifying and maddening.
                    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.
                    Frederick Douglass

                    Comment


                      I've just felt that courses are no longer designed with the horse's wellbeing first and foremost. Spectator-friendly, challenging riders; it seems that describing courses as horse-friendly is an afterthought, if it is mentioned at all.
                      Leap, and the net will appear

                      Comment


                        What is interesting is that I thought that wide unfilled oxers were banned after the 1988 Olympics when many horses, including at least one US horse, mis-read the oxer as a bounce.

                        Comment


                          i'd also want to see a picture.

                          ii was thinking about how much goes into course design last weekend. we went to a local venue that has some very inviting fences elementary-prelim. mostly logs, coops, cordwood, etc. nothing technical. it's a great venue for green horses.

                          except their water complex.

                          it's an oxagon shape, with one side being non-bank options and the other side being bank-up (or down) options.

                          every single horse (including a retired ** horse with YR) misread the training bank up out of the water. every single one of them, and they were all very athletic, hit the bank with their forelegs and wildly scrambled up. the water was not deep, it was barely more than 2 inches.

                          the bank had at ground level a pine log half submerged in water, with a recessed/hollow face (stone wall about 3-4 inches inside the pine log) with another pine log on top. i will say it, and i will say it again - horses do not read recessed or hollow questions well. it was not a fluke that the horses missed their mark with the bank; it was not even a high bank -- but the way it was designed made every horse there take off incorrectly.

                          it makes me wonder how much of it starts at home at local venues - so many different people are involved in making the jumps at local venues - it's not just UL people. it would really be a fantastic tool to see more studies done on how horses read these fences; i really think sloping and protruding fences are read best - especially if the base is widest with a slanted/slimmer top. there was, IIRC, an article not too long ago done by an author who's name is escaping me (morgan russel maybe?) that discussed a top course designer's findings with which jumps were most accurately read by horses.
                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                          Comment


                            I'm so sad for Liz, and hope for a speedy recovery both physically and emotionally.

                            I'm also going to ask a question that may not be popular, and is not aimed at Liz in particular, but at what point is it up to the rider(s) to say to the organizers that something seems overly dangerous? Her comment was this:

                            "Where we fell was at a very wide, but not very tall, open rail oxer off a turn. When I walked the course I remember thinking it was one of the widest I had seen in an advanced competition and that it would demand respect and proper riding, and I was concerned that a horse could possibly misread it as a bounce."

                            Which is apparently exactly what happened. Should something like this be on the course without a ton of fill to make it clear that is not a bounce? Absolutely not. And the course designers should be held accountable. But in addition to holding course designers/builders responsible, part of it has to be up to the riders to stand up at the time and say "this seems dangerous, is there something that can be done to make it less so?" And if not, well, no one is out there holding a gun to their heads to make them go around.

                            I feel like none of the proposed safety/design improvements are going to get rapidly implemented unless riders start making a stand.

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              I've been looking but no luck finding a picture. This is the problem!! We can't even SEE what we are talking about. This information should be easy to find. Anyone in the Uk able to help?

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by wanderlust View Post
                                I'm so sad for Liz, and hope for a speedy recovery both physically and emotionally.

                                I'm also going to ask a question that may not be popular, and is not aimed at Liz in particular, but at what point is it up to the rider(s) to say to the organizers that something seems overly dangerous? Her comment was this:

                                "Where we fell was at a very wide, but not very tall, open rail oxer off a turn. When I walked the course I remember thinking it was one of the widest I had seen in an advanced competition and that it would demand respect and proper riding, and I was concerned that a horse could possibly misread it as a bounce."

                                Which is apparently exactly what happened. Should something like this be on the course without a ton of fill to make it clear that is not a bounce? Absolutely not. And the course designers should be held accountable. But in addition to holding course designers/builders responsible, part of it has to be up to the riders to stand up at the time and say "this seems dangerous, is there something that can be done to make it less so?" And if not, well, no one is out there holding a gun to their heads to make them go around.

                                I feel like none of the proposed safety/design improvements are going to get rapidly implemented unless riders start making a stand.
                                I would never blame any individual rider who didn't make a fuss about a particular fence, but I wonder if there could be a system where there were designated rider representatives, and concerns could be raised to them and perhaps discussed amongst the riders prior to cross-country day?

                                Comment


                                  Did it say anywhere whether HHS Cooley's fall was rotational, or more of a lawn-dart type fall?

                                  I don't know what the exact amount of force is that's required to activate a frangible pin. If the back rail was pinned, it sounds like too much force was required to activate the mechanism to be effective in preventing a catastrophic fall. I would think the back rail on an open oxer should be designed to give way pretty easily.

                                  Comment


                                    What a tragic senseless loss of a terrific horse. My heart breaks for all who loved him.

                                    Comment


                                      Some thoughts from a random hunter-jumper rider (myself). I've never competed in eventing - I just enjoy it as a spectator. I mention this because my thoughts below may be totally wrong, and an indication that I really don't understand the sport. If that's the case, just point it out, and I promise my feelings won't be hurt.

                                      [how's that for a disclaimer]

                                      Anyhoo, if I understand eventing correctly, the cross-country phase is meant to test boldness and endurance/stamina. And the cross-country phase, being the heart of the discipline, should also have a significant effect on the overall standings - ideally being as or more influential than the other two phases. Because it's not combined dressage/show-jumping, it's eventing.

                                      I wonder if the source of some of eventing's struggles is an assumption that the effect of the cross-country phase on the overall standings should be reflected in the standings after the cross-country phase. And so if the standings remain unchanged from dressage after the cross-country phase, that phase was watered down. As a result, course designers struggle to design courses that will rearrange the standings on cross-country day, without getting any rider or horse seriously hurt or killed. And that's got to be a very hard thing to design for.

                                      My thought is that a cross-country phase can play a substantial role in the final standings of a competition, but that role may not be obvious during that phase, but rather play out in the show jumping the next day. You may have nearly all horses complete the cross country without penalty, but those horses haven't passed the stamina/endurance test if they're too tired/sore to show jump well the next day. So, the overall effect of the cross-country may be seen on the third day, not the second.

                                      You can have a very effective, fun, and even educational cross-country course that plays a key role in the final standings. But if the resulting shake-up in the standings occurs during the show-jumping, rather than at the conclusion of cross-country, people criticize that competition as striking the wrong balance between the phases. When actually it was the right balance.

                                      Comment


                                        Originally posted by Darkwave View Post
                                        Some thoughts from a random hunter-jumper rider (myself). I've never competed in eventing - I just enjoy it as a spectator. I mention this because my thoughts below may be totally wrong, and an indication that I really don't understand the sport. If that's the case, just point it out, and I promise my feelings won't be hurt.

                                        [how's that for a disclaimer]

                                        Anyhoo, if I understand eventing correctly, the cross-country phase is meant to test boldness and endurance/stamina. And the cross-country phase, being the heart of the discipline, should also have a significant effect on the overall standings - ideally being as or more influential than the other two phases. Because it's not combined dressage/show-jumping, it's eventing.

                                        I wonder if the source of some of eventing's struggles is an assumption that the effect of the cross-country phase on the overall standings should be reflected in the standings after the cross-country phase. And so if the standings remain unchanged from dressage after the cross-country phase, that phase was watered down. As a result, course designers struggle to design courses that will rearrange the standings on cross-country day, without getting any rider or horse seriously hurt or killed. And that's got to be a very hard thing to design for.

                                        My thought is that a cross-country phase can play a substantial role in the final standings of a competition, but that role may not be obvious during that phase, but rather play out in the show jumping the next day. You may have nearly all horses complete the cross country without penalty, but those horses haven't passed the stamina/endurance test if they're too tired/sore to show jump well the next day. So, the overall effect of the cross-country may be seen on the third day, not the second.

                                        You can have a very effective, fun, and even educational cross-country course that plays a key role in the final standings. But if the resulting shake-up in the standings occurs during the show-jumping, rather than at the conclusion of cross-country, people criticize that competition as striking the wrong balance between the phases. When actually it was the right balance.
                                        All of this makes a ton of sense. You would think that if it's that clear to you, a non-eventer, it would be clear to the eventing powers that be. Unfortunately, the leaders of the sport are too stupid or compromised to see your point.


                                        SJ used to be a test of how much horse you had after XC. Dig around on youtube for the Athens Olympics team SJ footage. The XC was not difficult but time was tight and some riders went too fast. They paid for it in SJ and you can tell by the way their horses jumped.

                                        Historically, the purpose of the SJ phase in the written directives for eventing was to show that the rider had preserved enough of the horse to SJ correctly. The SJ was lower and less technical. The directives were changed a while back to make the SJ an independent test of the horse's ability in SJ, unrelated to the xc phase. The fence height was raised and the degree of difficultly increased exponentially. The type of horse needed to succeed in this phase changed.

                                        This change in the purpose of the different phases is how the TPTB are moving towards a sport where SJ is first even at the Upper Levels. CIC's have already gone that way and this is likely the last Olympics that SJ will be last (thanks DOC, not).

                                        All of the changes to the sport to the dressage and SJ phase are bad for the xc phase.
                                        Per the US Pony Club championship thread, the AEC's this year are not even going to have a xc phase. Just an eventing derby in a derby field over solid obstacles. Evidently they don't have a xc track. Seems super smart and safe to me but what do I know. That's where everyone who has any power wants the sport to go so that it can be more like the h/j business model and support a lot of professionals.

                                        Comment


                                          Originally posted by ncrider
                                          Per the US Pony Club championship thread, the AEC's this year are not even going to have a xc phase. Just an eventing derby in a derby field over solid obstacles. Evidently they don't have a xc track.
                                          Point of clarification, for AECs, excluding BN, the other levels will have some type of cross country "course" to run. My feeling is that there will be a few start and finish fences in the Derby field.

                                          I found your thoughts and those of darkwave to be spot on. My own drum that I've beat on, accepting the lose of the long format, has been to extend the length of the course(s), reduce the more extreme technical questions and fences like the open oxer, and put the real question back not only to endurance on cross country, but is there enough for stadium. Why do they not have skinnies on stadium, Skinny bending lines, portable pools; there are so many ways to ask technical questions in stadium that do not need to be on cross country (or not as much).

                                          If we don't want shows to end on Dressage, the answer is not to try and eliminate teams by brute force, but do so by numbers and rails.

                                          Comment

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