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Novice riders: Opinions wanted.

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  • Novice riders: Opinions wanted.

    Ok, I just got back from Virginia and had an interesting conversation with a guy I've been meeting at events throughout the fall. He's unhappy with the way Novice courses seem to be evolving. In his opinion, because of the newly recognized status of Beginnner Novice, Novice itself is becoming more and more technical, and many difficult types of jumps are being made more difficult by becoming less and less natural in how they are placed and/or presented.

    The example he gave was ditches. At one event, he noted how the Novice ditch was set on the side of a hill where one would never expect to see an open ditch. At another, the ditch had just been refurbished and the retaining walls were made out of very, very contrasting logs. We also discussed the white-painted retaining walls around the water at another event and a barrel jump that had had an inordinate number of problems in a previous year that was just moved--basically unchanged in its presentation--to a new location AND had to be approached on a bending line.

    We talked about how so many Novices just don't have the time to do as much schooling as more serious eventers (not to say that they aren't serious, but they are often not riding as often, not getting as many lessons, not going to school the courses beforehand, etc., etc.). His concern is that for Novices who can only get to three or four events a season and end up getting eliminated, they may get discouraged and leave the sport. Realizing that some would argue that they should drop back to BN, he contends that BN, given how few jumps there may be on x-c (12 or so), makes it hardly worth while to ship sometimes quite long distances.

    What do you think? I agree with him that "naturalness" (like locating ditches where they would likely be found: at the base of hills, in swales, etc.; not setting up lines that ask advanced questions, like bending ones with related distances; and considering the lighting and contrast effects of jump building material) are important to encourage both horse and rider. So, in my mind, the quesition is: When (at what level) should courses STOP being developed for "encouragement" and start becoming more of a "test"?

    BUT just remember, when you consider this, WHO you are testing and WHAT you expect them to be able to do. For example, we talked about how No. Va. eventers have tons of schooling courses to utilize in preparing for "tests" at any level, while Midwesterners, etc., hardly have ANY. So, for the health of the sport, should the Novice level "test" or "encourage"? Should there be only ONE level that "encourages" (BN)? Is THAT good for the sport? Or would it be better to reward the basics as they are "testable" via dressage and stadium (which everyone has, more or less, equal access to in preparation), and keep cross country "encouraging" at Novice?

    Sportponies Unlimited
    Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
    http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Ok, I just got back from Virginia and had an interesting conversation with a guy I've been meeting at events throughout the fall. He's unhappy with the way Novice courses seem to be evolving. In his opinion, because of the newly recognized status of Beginnner Novice, Novice itself is becoming more and more technical, and many difficult types of jumps are being made more difficult by becoming less and less natural in how they are placed and/or presented.

    The example he gave was ditches. At one event, he noted how the Novice ditch was set on the side of a hill where one would never expect to see an open ditch. At another, the ditch had just been refurbished and the retaining walls were made out of very, very contrasting logs. We also discussed the white-painted retaining walls around the water at another event and a barrel jump that had had an inordinate number of problems in a previous year that was just moved--basically unchanged in its presentation--to a new location AND had to be approached on a bending line.

    We talked about how so many Novices just don't have the time to do as much schooling as more serious eventers (not to say that they aren't serious, but they are often not riding as often, not getting as many lessons, not going to school the courses beforehand, etc., etc.). His concern is that for Novices who can only get to three or four events a season and end up getting eliminated, they may get discouraged and leave the sport. Realizing that some would argue that they should drop back to BN, he contends that BN, given how few jumps there may be on x-c (12 or so), makes it hardly worth while to ship sometimes quite long distances.

    What do you think? I agree with him that "naturalness" (like locating ditches where they would likely be found: at the base of hills, in swales, etc.; not setting up lines that ask advanced questions, like bending ones with related distances; and considering the lighting and contrast effects of jump building material) are important to encourage both horse and rider. So, in my mind, the quesition is: When (at what level) should courses STOP being developed for "encouragement" and start becoming more of a "test"?

    BUT just remember, when you consider this, WHO you are testing and WHAT you expect them to be able to do. For example, we talked about how No. Va. eventers have tons of schooling courses to utilize in preparing for "tests" at any level, while Midwesterners, etc., hardly have ANY. So, for the health of the sport, should the Novice level "test" or "encourage"? Should there be only ONE level that "encourages" (BN)? Is THAT good for the sport? Or would it be better to reward the basics as they are "testable" via dressage and stadium (which everyone has, more or less, equal access to in preparation), and keep cross country "encouraging" at Novice?

    Sportponies Unlimited
    Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
    http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

    Comment


    • #3
      Okay, here's my opinions. Just remember I'm basically a nobody and new to the sport. And under the voting (and drinking!) age, too! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

      Well, I see BN as the introduction to the sport. First time out, green horse or green rider thing. A confidence builder and a place to just plain have fun. The obstacles should be completely unrelated, low in height and width, and unchallenging. Lots of logs and such.

      Novice is the continuation of BN (notice the word NOVICE is in BN!), but beginning to ensure the riders are keeping thier horses fit for a longer go. It also adds in a bit of height and maybe some "scarier" obstacles, but the new and "scary" ones are in nice, easy places to see.

      Training level is where it starts to get somewhat serious. Here your horse gets the things put in non-obvious places, like maybe a "scary" jump in the shadows, or around a sharper turn in the woods. Not so much "approach" time as the N level.

      Prelim, to me, is where things are serious. It's the deciding level between having fun and competeing (not saying that you're not having fun at Prelim or not competeing at Training or below!). Once you hit Prelim, you expect questions, difficult ones! Also, those scary jumps are going to be in weird places, and they're going to be bigger. The course will be more technical and so on.

      And then, of course, Intermediate and Advanced go on to be even more difficult and technical. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

      That's just the way I see it. BN was created because N was too hard, or requiring too much preperation, for people who are just testing the waters, seeing if they really want to event. Why would you then bump the difficulty of Novice up? It seems to me that then they'll need a transition level between BN and N!

      -Anne, the sister of a PrettyFilly and searching for the PerfectHorse-
      "I'm not insane...I just compartmentalize!"

      Comment


      • #4
        I am sorry if this sounds a bit bad but it is almost like he is using it as a cop out. No, I did not get ahead at the ditch three times, it was placed in a bad place. It was the course designers fault I got elimiated, not mine. That was just the first impression I got.

        Cross country is always designed to test the horse and rider, always. What varies with the levels is the difficulties of the tests. The novice levels should test the bravery of the horse over small obstacles. At training it gets a bit more technical with the changing of strides and then gets more and more "questions" on the tests as you move up the levels. The courses are not designed so that people should not have to ride them, nor are they designed specifically to make people have problems. Why should it make a difference to your horse if there is a ditch on the side of the hill or a ditch at the bottom of the hill. The horse should know it has to jump it anyway. If the horses doesn't know it has to jump it than there is something wrong witht he training.

        Novice is the introduction to eventing for young horses started by experianced riders. I would go as far as to say that 95% of the upper level riders (advanced) would never dream of sending their horses to a BN horse trials. Some of them only do two or three Novices before moving up. And the horses are ready at the time.

        Novice is supposed to test the basic bravery of horses and riders. They should be able to jump a ditch placed anywhere, they should be able to jump a scary jump off of a curve. If they cant, dont blame the courses. Take a look at the training of the horse and rider.

        "They're a right sorry admission of defeat, them signs are. If my life was that compromised, I sure wouldn't advertise it. My sign would say, 'If there was something else I'd rather be doing, I'd darn well be doing it.'"- Skinny Legs and All
        Hanlon's Razor

        Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

        Comment


        • #5
          it's funny that you bring this up. I am friends w/ a TD whose wife was on my team at the kentucky team challenge. There was also a ditch there on the novice course that was kinda like a downbank into an up hill. While walking the course, there were several jumps that he saw issues with, so he went and talked w/ people and they made some changes. tho the ditch couldn't really be changed... and LOTS of people got eliminated or had issues there. This show was probably the last one of the season for many peopel... not a nice way to finish the season off, is it?

          The same guy hosts 2 events on his property each year- and their novice course is very simple. He's had several peopel ask why he doesn't "beef it up" and he says "cuz i dont' want to see ANYONE walk off the course crying b/c they got eliminated, i want them all to finish".

          I honestly think that there is no real answere... we need easy novice courses, and we need the pre-move up ones that prep you for training level. Which is why i have before said that a rating system would be nice, but that would mean the TD needs to come out and rate the course b4 the omnibuses go out... It would be convenient tho.

          I feel if novice stays simple, and you move up to training, you are in for a RUDE AWAKENING. I guess the oraganizer should decide what type of course it should be, inviting or testing, when they send in their stuff for the omnibus, then when the TD comes out they will have to make sure the course meets that standard... have some kind of point system for each different "question" and have, forexample, an easy N be 10 points, and a testing one 15 points... or something... then the competitor will know what is to be expected of them, and then know what events to pick in respect to what their horse is prepared for.

          that's my opinion... tho i find this topic very interesting and hope more peopel respond [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] It is definately something tha ti feel needs to be addressed.

          ~laura~
          "Do you care, or don’t you care? Because if you do care, you better speak up now or take what you get."
          — Denny Emerson www.savethe3day.org
          **proud member of the trakehNERD group**

          Comment


          • #6
            Since I am an Adult rider with only BN experience at eventing. I feel like The Novice courses that I have seen around here, MI are fair, and most likely not as technical as in the VA MA etc. states,Area2?? Anyway, I always get this underlying impression, that there are some folks that look down on BN. Not sure why, but it is often brought up in a quite a few threads of late, as not really being what eventing should be. Well I am going to give Novice a shot next spring, but if we have trouble, it will be right back to BN for us. I'm in it for the fun at my age. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

            "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin Franklin, 1755
            Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

            Comment


            • #7
              z APPENDIX 1 - LEVELS OF HORSE TRIALS BOD 1/14/01 Effective 12/1/01
              1. Novice - The Novice Level is an introduction to Horse Trials, combining dressage, cross-country, and jumping tests. ...... The cross-country should include a variety of introductory obstacles, including an inviting bank, drop, ditch, water crossing, brush, and a double. It is intended to be a positive experience, involving galloping in balance and jumping out of stride. ........BOD 1/13/02 Effective 3/1/02

              I do not believe that this description of novice level intends that Novice level 'test the bravery of horse and rider.'
              I think the key is the statement that it is intended to be a positive experience.
              It should give horse and rider the experience of riding forward to cross crountry obstacles.
              Technical problems and tests of the rider's nerve and the horse's bravery are better left for more experienced competitors.

              BarbB
              charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

              ...virtue shall be bound into the hair of thy forelock... I have given thee the power of flight without wings. - The Koran

              [This message was edited by BarbB on Nov. 03, 2002 at 08:35 PM.]
              Nina's Story
              Epona Comm on FB

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm with Tootsie on this one. The horse should know by the time it gets to Novice that it is to jump whats in front of it, no matter where in the terrain it's located. And honestly I dont think the horses notice the terrain as much as the rider. Do you honestly think the horse canters up the ditch and goes "what?! UPHILL?? NOT POSSIBLE!"? That seems like a rider thing to me.

                If you aren't up to competing at Novice, which IMO is very straight forward and simple 99% of the time, then drop back down to BN. As it is I think that most Novice events are actually TOO simple... Training XC was a big move up from the courses we had been doing (which were listed as above average), and it really shouldn't have been. If anything, I'd rather see Novice get a little bit MORE technical.

                -Amanda

                You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find.. you get what you need.
                http://the900facebookpony.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  A horse is going to refuse a ditch no matter where you put it, if the horse has not been sufficiently schooled for this obstacle. Even if you only go out for one event a year, you need to be prepared to answer the questions presented. I think problems with ditches, water, drops etc. are more an issue of lack of trust between horse & rider. To prove it have you instructor get on the horse and they'll get the horse over it pretty calmly. But how many Novice eventers have this confidence in their own skills?

                  This season, I schooled one xc course and a coffin complex at my trainers, and that was it! We did the rest of the work over stadium fences. I don't think it has as much to do with natural versus unnatural appearance as it has to do with the presentation to the fence. (what's so natural about stadium obstacles?) I know you can't simulate all novice XC obstacles in stadium, but if you can't rate the horse into the various questions you can setup in stadium, then you don't have the confidence to do it on a XC course where the fences don't fall for your protection.

                  You can do other things too like riding your horses over tarps, through a low spot filled with plastic jugs, over planks of plywood etc. to prepare them for variations in natural terrain and manmade obstacles.

                  Here's my opinion: setup any novice obstacle, anywhere on course that is legal (aka inviting), and get out of the way cause we're going over it. We're still not dealing with obstacles that the average horse can't get over even with the average jumping horse. In my 4 years of limited experience in BN & N, the problems I had with refusals had to do with rider error/confidence. Bubba was not a brave jumper, but he did it because of our work together and the confidence I had in him to do even if out of a bad spot. Manahawk now jumps anything you put in his way, but at first he stopped to test me and to see how I was going to respond.

                  It doesn't matter if the question is made out of fallen trees or tractor tires, or a white border for that matter. The horse sees an obstacle standing in the way of its direction of travel..only the rider sees the bells and whistles. Envision the jump with a stadium pole on the top, that's what you need to get over. Rate your horse to the fence and take the correct spot. I've seen far more terrifying rides at BN-N (including some of my own videos) because the fences are low enough the horses can get over without assistance of the rider.

                  Now there are always going to be starter horse trials, but when you are talking recognized novice..you should be introduced to the elements that comprise the sport placed any and everywhere that is inviting. Yes Novice should be a pleasant experience, but you still have to do the work in preparing for the experience.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Boss Hoss - You said it!
                    I think it's all about preparation. Practice, challenging your horse and exposure. If you are confident enough to ride the level and your horse is prepared properly there shouldn't be any other issues. I know I start my younger less experienced horses out doing hunter paces and tons of schooling. Once they have confidence in me (as long as they are physically capable) they jump anything I put them at because they trust me. Rider confidence plays a huge role when you are riding a BN (just starting out) course and stepping up to N. I think N courses absolutely should be challenging. Also though I do feel they should be inviting enough that people WANT to step up once they and their horses have mastered the BN courses. It's no fun winning every BN trial you ride in a hundred times. This means you have no competition and should move up. BUT, I've known people who have ridden some more difficult N courses and lose the confidence to continue in that level because it had a few "scarey" fences or funky approaches that they felt they were not ready for . I can see how this discussion can go many directions and I can't wait to see more responses.

                    Good, Better, Best.....the best don't rest until their good is better and their better is the very best!
                    RIP Spider Murphy 4/20/02 - 10/31/10

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A long time ago far far away the lowest level of eventing was PRELIMINARY. Since eventing was a rural sport, most participants fox hunted so riding cross country was an every day (or week) part of their experience. Any horse that was worth anything already knew how to jump walls, ditches and hedges.

                      Then along came the Baby Boomers from the suburbs who knew not fox hunting. Their sense of entitlement demanded that they too should participate and win in this sport. So TRAINING level was created, which, when the cycle repeated, begat PRE-TRAINING, which was later renamed NOVICE by some PR flak who believed that Baby Boomers didn't want to be identified as PRE-anything. The cycle continues and we now have BEGINNER NOVICE and traditionalists deride the "dumbing down" of the sport.

                      This evolution and even the previous posts to this thread demonstrate the basic schism that exists in eventing. The "pragmatists" are trying to increase participation in eventing. They need the money so believe competitions should become more inviting for folk who have no experience of cross-country riding. Abetted by rising affluence and an increasing number of "professionals" wanting to make their living from eventing a lot of suburbanites have now joined the sport.

                      The "traditionalists" want to keep people in their place. You have to earn the right to compete. Eventing separates the men from the boys, the sheep from the goats (or whatever other symbolism you like to use). Don't come to the competition unless you have what it takes. Not even the threat of excluding eventing from the Olympics will shake some traditionalists from their beliefs.

                      Other factions exist within the ranks of the competitors. Some folk are highly competitve and have to win and move up, no matter what their abilities are. Others want to putter around at novice for ever.

                      Unfortunately any event may be run by any of these factions. This leads to a lot of inconsistencies between courses. I have found novice courses with preliminary level drop fences. Until the eventing community decides how it really wants to evolve I don't see things getting any better

                      As a result of safety and liability issues, all courses are becoming increasingly artificial. To give sponsors some tangible evidence of their contributions, course builders are creating themed obstacles. None of the obstacles at the World Equestrian Games were remotely "natural". Courses have become almost as manicured as show jumping arenas.
                      ------------------------------------------------------------
                      But all the finest horsemen out—the men to Beat the Band—
                      You’ll find amongst the crowd that ride their races in the Stand

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have been eventing since the early 1980's and have seen the evolution described by His Greyness. Things have changed a lot over the last 20 years. I do think in the last 5 years or so in Area II, that the lower level courses are getting increasingly beefed up and technical. I was quite surprised this past spring with the difficulty and technicality of the Five Points Horse Trial (New Longleaf) particularly at the Novice level. It was virtually identical to the training course but just smaller. Numerous combinations/related fences and even a sunken road that caused a lot of trouble. I was on my ex-training horse and he took several hard looks at a few of the fences which was quite out of character for him. A few weeks later at Ft. Bragg and Virginia, he didn't bat an eye at the very "normal" novice courses there. What was wrong with Five Points, IMO, was that it was very early in the season and it was labeled in the Omnibus as "average diffculty" and a lot of people got caught off guard with green horses there.

                        I think there is a great deal of variation in the Novice/Training courses and the descriptions in the Omnibus don't really tell you what to expect in many cases. I think a rating system like someone else said earlier to be a great idea.

                        I do think though that the issue comes down to what is novice supposed to be? I think it should be straightforward and inviting, never trappy, very moderately technical with maybe one combination on the course, and have well placed obstacles like ditches/banks/water in places where they do make sense to green horses. I think that there should be Novice courses that are beefed up like a Championship level course and should be known as such. Those courses can be your move up tests for training level. Folks who don't want a "mini Rolex" can avoid those courses and patronize the events with more straightforward lower level courses.

                        "I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          We were kinda focusing on "the good of the sport" in our conversation. A lot of the responses here are a little "holier than thou" in a way, I think.

                          I guess my perspective comes from a very firm belief in the value of a strong foundation. I think what I'm trying to argue is that lower levels should "demand" that foundation in how the various phases of the sport are weighed (their impact on the final results).

                          If you have a brave horse--or access to schooling courses a lot--you can get around x-c with rotten dressage. Moreover, we DO see as one goes up the levels some pretty rotten (compared to other sports, like hunters and jumpers) stadium riding. In other words, IMO, it seems that the lower levels are rewarding x-c when they should be rewarding dressage and stadium (both in the horse and in the rider).

                          This season, for example, has been SUCH as eye-opener for me. After seeing little of the sport except the big name events for mroe than a decade, going to typical events and watching riders at Prelim and Intermediate cross cantering (I can't believe the number of Intermediate horses who don't seem to have a lead change--isn't that required at Advanced?), the number of incredibly stiff, awkward, hands-holding-a-wrench-not-a-rein, back-bolted-to-butt, what-the-heck-are-you-DOING-competing-at-this-level riders...well, folks, I'm sorry but after spending so much time around h-j'ers, I have to admit I'm appalled.

                          Too many people seem to be getting by with brave horses, instead of well-schooled ones and I think you get brave horses winning by beefing up cross country instead of beeing up stadium. This weekend, at Virginia, the Intermediate stadium was a real test--and many failed it. I don't remember the last time I watched Intermediate stadium, but I gotta tell you, I have watched a lot of CCI** and *** stadium and the difference is incredible, in my eyes.

                          "Why aren't you getting that horse balanced NOW?" I kept wondering in my head, watching rider after rider cross cantering corners and doing nothing about it. I just don't understand that. Honestly. A lot of them got away with it, but, in my eyes, that picture was just sooo symptomatic of how far we are creeping away from the philosphy that used to be behind "progression" horse sports like eventing. Don't you think, as "combined training," an Intermediate horse should rarely, instead of FREQUENTLY, cross canter (I'm just using that issue as one example)? Don't you think that, because there's this little thing called dressage, an intermediate rider should be able to CORRECT a cross cantering horse and should proceed to do so when the need arises?

                          You may argue "who cares about cross cantering," but I'm telling you in all the big-time competition videotapes and live events I've attended, I have rarely, rarely, rarely seen cross cantering. Could that mean that those big-time competition horses and/or their riders are where they are because they HAVE those basics down pat, while those who never get to that level don't get there because they DON'T have those basics? Isn't that a possibility?

                          What does this have to do with Novice? Well, I think remembering the philosophy of "combined training" as a progressive sport has to start somewhere. Encouraging cross country and REALLY testing stadium at lower levels (making stadium more influential that x-c, that is),I think might remind people of what really makes a horse with COMBINED training (not just a cross country horse).

                          Think of those "cardboard" guys out there, hanging on through sheer strength as they bury their incredibly generous (and expensive) horses, jump after jump after jump. I say blow them out of the water with technically challenging stadium courses at the lower levels, so that their combined dressage and stadium scores are so embarassing that they will not even think about moving up until they get the basics down pat.

                          Meanwhile REWARD the newbies and Novices who spend time on the basics, again regardless of the kind of horse they are on. [People will probably argue with me about this, I realize, but I'm one with a very, very firm belief in basic TRAINING over basic "boldness." *I* have control over training--too often, only mother nature and money can control boldness, IMO, and that's just not "sport."]

                          [This message was edited by pwynnnorman on Nov. 04, 2002 at 07:59 AM.]
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                          • #14
                            pwynn: I think what you are seeing is the result of dumbing down courses not the other way around. I don't complete but do school on cross country courses to prep for fox hunting.

                            Almost all of the lower level jumps ask no questions further then can you jump x inches (or feet). Therefore it is easy to point a horse at it and gun them over. I think you would see a lot less seat of the pants riding if XC presented the more technical questions that made a rider have to think about the approach, take-off and landing at the lower levels. I'm not talking about trappy jumps but something that asks a different question then just how high?

                            "I'd be more tactful, if I were wrong."

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              But I think it is safer and more "encouraging" to ask those questions in stadium at the lowest levels, rather in x-c. The fact is that you just don't see the result you hope for, do you? You DON'T see more technical x-c courses creating better riders at all. That's because you don't get penalized for burying your brave beastie if said beastie still managed to climb its way over the jump.

                              In stadium, you DO get penalized for that. Beastie can't climb in stadium. No matter how bad you are in cross country, beastie can still climb.

                              Imagine how many excellent event riders at the higher levels we'd have if our lower level riders were as good as, say, Regional Medal/Mclay equitation riders in stadium? Subtle, flowing, accurate rides over moderate sized fences. What's wrong with that? And yet, how often do you see that in stadium (except for the pros). Imagine how strong we'd be if eventing required more serious "cross training" from everyone (I'm thinking this as winter arrives and I'm considering who to get out to h-j shows to get them really solid an sophisticated on courses.)

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                              • #16
                                am I the only one who either walks or schools most of the places I'll be showing before the actual event? To me that is a HUGE part of the prepartion needed to go to an event. I want to walk the course before I have to ride it sothat I have a week or two to school anything I have not polished BEFORE the event. I just went out Sat and walked a course where I will be going in the spring. Two fences onteh course made me decide that I won't be going novice at that event next spring. It's early in the season so I'll go do BN and get myself prepper to move up to Novice at a later event. And possibly aim for novice there next fall. I do like the lay outof the event... lots of room to school ...good parking... what appears to be a fun course. Certainly do-able for us at BN.
                                At the end of this month we'll be going Novice at a local event where I will have schooled the XC once or twice by the time of the event. I know what the stadium course will look like and where my weaknesses are there. I would like to get around without being eliminated :-) Basically, I just don't like surprises. <My horse loves to jump and he's pretty brave, and will save my bacon a lot of the time, but it's just not fair to him to arrive unprepared and expect him to carry my sorry a** around a course I have not prepared him for. I love my horse and want this to be FUN for him. He needs confidence in me and his own ability. I OWE it to him to be sure that he has what it takes to be sucessful and feel good about his performance that day.... it's a two way street. THAT is what I see lacking in some wanna be eventers. Basic lask of horsemanship ie. understanding of the principles of the horse psyche. Respect for all that the horse does for us and appreciation of their efforts. If my horse is not prepared for a particular course it's MY fault. Mine. For not pre-viewing the course.. preparing the horse... showing up with my game face on or whatever.... Our performnce is MY responsibility end of discussion.

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                                • #17
                                  mellsmom,

                                  I agree that preparation is key to eventing but it is impossible to always know what to expect on an XC course a head of time simply by going to walk it in the fall and know what it will be like in the Spring. Organizers sometimes totally redo the courses (Ft. Bragg's training course is a good example of this) and not always are the courses open for people to look at. Five Points was a new event and even though I went to the Advanced Horse Trials a month or so before, it was very hard to tell what the new novice and training courses there were going to be like. You could see construction here and there and the sunken road that I thought looked like a training obstacle ended up on the Novice course. Go figure. Word of mouth and asking other competitors is also a great way to get feedback on courses but you always have to expect surprises and new fences. I think certain events also get "reputations" for putting out certain types of courses...for instance the Virginia Horse Trials (Brian and Penny Ross) always have lovely well built, solid galloping courses that ask questions but aren't trappy. I have never seen an inappropriate or poorly constructed fence for a given level at that event which is why it's one of my favorites in Area II.

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                                  • #18
                                    pwynn: I believe on an earlier thread about making eventing safer that someone suggested that the stadium heights be higher than XC max's and also to do stadium first at the lower levels.

                                    I would also advocate putting in more demanding elements in stadium before someone sees them in XC. That way you are in a safer situation in dealing with a technical question before getting to the jump that doesn't fall down on XC.

                                    "I'd be more tactful, if I were wrong."

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      "...am I the only one who either walks or schools most of the places I'll be showing before the actual event? To me that is a HUGE part of the prepartion needed to go to an event."

                                      Which means that half the riders in the west and midwest go to most of their events "unprepared"? Do you not realize that some people simply do not have that kind of access to cross country?

                                      Y'know, some of y'all (and I'm sayin' this nicely, so don't get mad at me), a horse doesn't have to have seen a fence to be willing to jump over it. Moreover, a horse can be scared to death of a jump and still jump over it. It's not the jump that counts, it's the RIDE. Indeed, maybe it's not such a good idea to rely so much on the fact that "the horse shoudl jump whatever is put in front of it" idea. For some, that ends up meaning that if the horse quits when the rider errs, the rider gets rid of the horse and finds one that will put up with his or her mistakes (instead of learning to ride better).

                                      Give good basics their due: teach the horse to respond to the rider and the rider to control the horse and it doesn't matter whether the horse has seen things or whether the set up is technical or whatever. RIDE, don't be a passenger. When I evented twenty years ago, NO ONE schooled the courses beforehand.

                                      Simulate x-c's technical questions in stadium (and I love the idea of increasing stadium heights) and then once a rider can answer them in the ring, THEN ask them out in the country. To me, that only makes sense.

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                                      • #20
                                        I agree coming from a newbie perspective . I rode my first BN event in Oct I thought XC was perfect maybe a little scary on the first jump, there were only a couple logs, stadium i found a bit hard and tight.

                                        I was told that BN would be getting tougher next year to meet standards. I really don't think that is nessacery. I feel BN should be rather easy. and novice easy but beginning to start challenging.

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