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Mini Rolexes??

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  • Mini Rolexes??

    Some years ago, Jack LeGoff (I believe) said he could build a pre-pre course ("mini-Rolex") that no one could get around.

    This became an interesting and useful discussion of what is and what is not allowed on lower level courses.

    The problem Maplebrook and Miriam had with Trakehners mentioned in a couple of other threads points out to me a problem with taking the attitude that certain questions are too hard for the lower levels.

    I believe (and strongly) that all questions need to be asked at the lower levels - that is LOWER fences and adjusted distances accordingly - before they are asked at the higher levels.

    What I see here in Ireland is lots of smaller ditches, coffins, trakehners, bounces, water jumps, etc - that are included in lower level courses where horse won't get into trouble (and lose confidence) if they make a mistake at them. This, to me, seems logical and right. Yes, you want the lower level courses straightforward, but don't you also want them to be learning experiences? Why not a 2'bounce (make it off a turn, so the horse & rider CAN'T do it too fast.) or a SMALL double bank (there was one in a Baby novice course that I knew in PA that was lovely - but then it wasn't allowed!) Can't these also be done as options?

    The big problem I see in the States is that people don't have the land and the courses over which to practice - thus much of their learning is done in the Events or at clinics hosted by the Event location.

    Thus the smaller, more inviting, versions of difficult questions, I would think, would be very nice to have and good for horses and riders.

    I think if my first ever Trakhener were a tough Training level one - 3'3" over a maxed deep and wide ditch - I too would have a heart attack.

    As it was last weekend, the third fence was a big ditch - but there was no where else to go - so it rode easily! The first Trakehner was about 2'3"-2'6" over a small ditch. Easy! Further into the course, the Coffin was very inviting - small, and the log rails at the bottom over the ditch were slanted so you didn't notice the ditch (unless you looked down [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]), then a bit later a maxed log in the trees (big and very inviting!) two strides to your choice of ditches - the big black gaping one happened to be right on the direct two strides from the log - so - it too flowed smoothly.

    A few fences later (after the water - which was ugly and hard - deep & muddy but we went around it because of that) another easy bank with a big drop off (again you could do the easier drop off, but the big one was in the rhythm).... Then another small trakhner - with a small ditch. Then anther water - this one was small log, stride, bank (big drop) into very shallow water, canter out and over another log. Then, the last trakhener, which was maxed (1.0 m/3'3"). By that time riding it, however, it looked minimum (I remember thinking when I walked the course, YIKES, I'm NOT jumping this!). It was easy.... the last two fences were a maxed stone wall with a tiny ditch in front and decent drop, and an easy Irish bank...

    The point here is, the course included some very difficult questions but graduated them and kept them all in a rhythm so the horses got very confident by the end. (This was a "Hunter Trial" or Hunter Pace as we call it, not an event.)

    The whole experience made an actual event the next day (different location) look absolutely cinchy!

    How do you feel about difficult questions made easy for the lower levels - rather than not being included at all? Is this still being discussed in the USEA?

    I know, there are a LOT of XC fences/questions I would rather try at a smaller height/degreee of difficulty than at the max'ed level.

    Found the view, but too expensive
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Some years ago, Jack LeGoff (I believe) said he could build a pre-pre course ("mini-Rolex") that no one could get around.

    This became an interesting and useful discussion of what is and what is not allowed on lower level courses.

    The problem Maplebrook and Miriam had with Trakehners mentioned in a couple of other threads points out to me a problem with taking the attitude that certain questions are too hard for the lower levels.

    I believe (and strongly) that all questions need to be asked at the lower levels - that is LOWER fences and adjusted distances accordingly - before they are asked at the higher levels.

    What I see here in Ireland is lots of smaller ditches, coffins, trakehners, bounces, water jumps, etc - that are included in lower level courses where horse won't get into trouble (and lose confidence) if they make a mistake at them. This, to me, seems logical and right. Yes, you want the lower level courses straightforward, but don't you also want them to be learning experiences? Why not a 2'bounce (make it off a turn, so the horse & rider CAN'T do it too fast.) or a SMALL double bank (there was one in a Baby novice course that I knew in PA that was lovely - but then it wasn't allowed!) Can't these also be done as options?

    The big problem I see in the States is that people don't have the land and the courses over which to practice - thus much of their learning is done in the Events or at clinics hosted by the Event location.

    Thus the smaller, more inviting, versions of difficult questions, I would think, would be very nice to have and good for horses and riders.

    I think if my first ever Trakhener were a tough Training level one - 3'3" over a maxed deep and wide ditch - I too would have a heart attack.

    As it was last weekend, the third fence was a big ditch - but there was no where else to go - so it rode easily! The first Trakehner was about 2'3"-2'6" over a small ditch. Easy! Further into the course, the Coffin was very inviting - small, and the log rails at the bottom over the ditch were slanted so you didn't notice the ditch (unless you looked down [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]), then a bit later a maxed log in the trees (big and very inviting!) two strides to your choice of ditches - the big black gaping one happened to be right on the direct two strides from the log - so - it too flowed smoothly.

    A few fences later (after the water - which was ugly and hard - deep & muddy but we went around it because of that) another easy bank with a big drop off (again you could do the easier drop off, but the big one was in the rhythm).... Then another small trakhner - with a small ditch. Then anther water - this one was small log, stride, bank (big drop) into very shallow water, canter out and over another log. Then, the last trakhener, which was maxed (1.0 m/3'3"). By that time riding it, however, it looked minimum (I remember thinking when I walked the course, YIKES, I'm NOT jumping this!). It was easy.... the last two fences were a maxed stone wall with a tiny ditch in front and decent drop, and an easy Irish bank...

    The point here is, the course included some very difficult questions but graduated them and kept them all in a rhythm so the horses got very confident by the end. (This was a "Hunter Trial" or Hunter Pace as we call it, not an event.)

    The whole experience made an actual event the next day (different location) look absolutely cinchy!

    How do you feel about difficult questions made easy for the lower levels - rather than not being included at all? Is this still being discussed in the USEA?

    I know, there are a LOT of XC fences/questions I would rather try at a smaller height/degreee of difficulty than at the max'ed level.

    Found the view, but too expensive
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, lemme tell ya, every single one of my Beginner Novice students has jumped a 2'6" trakhener with a 3' wide fully revetted ditch. Mainly b/c I, personally, HATE trakheners. I wouldn't even think of putting a BN out on course who wasn't doing triple bounces and such at home. **sigh**

      JenniferS
      thirdcharmtrainingcenter.com
      Third Charm Event Team

      Comment


      • #4
        I've competed BN and Novice in Michigan, and in my limitede experience, most BN and many novice courses are comprised of logs, bigger logs, and creative ways to arrange logs, telephone poles, tires and rocks. There are coops and tables, and there will usually be a little bank or ditch, but all are single fences with big gallop spaces in between. There have been a lot of improvements in recent years, and Michigan does have some really great places to school, but I haven't really felt challenged by the novice fences I've encountered.

        It wasn't until I rode at a newly built Novice course last month (Richland Park) that I was confronted with options and multiple fences in combination. It was awesome to see at the novice level. It really made me have to think and adjust throughout the course. (Incidentally, it felt SO good it made me think I could maybe move up to Training in the next year - thus the difficulties schooling on Saturday [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]).

        Anyway, I would love to have smaller versions of the more difficult fences to prepare for the higher levels. It only makes sense!

        [This message was edited by maplebrook on Oct. 20, 2002 at 12:08 PM.]

        Comment


        • #5
          That progression during the course used to be around more in the states, I think. I prefer this type of cross country as you don't need to school cross country jumps so much as you and your horse grow with confidence during the course.

          The problem with the Jack LeGoff comment seems like it was too broad and true only if you don't adjust the striding (as you mentioned). We used to have a wonderfully fun course that Lucinda Green called a mini Badminton here in Minnesota to school over. Nothing over 3'3" and most were set at 3' or under with tons of variety. We had Irish banks, water with jumps in and out, set at the lip and 3 strides out, 5 logs set at bounces (all under 2 foot) an adjustable Weldon's Wall. A coffin with a 2'6" rolltop in and out and varying stride options in between. This was all on 15 acres (or less) and was the brainstorm of Betsy Watkins.
          It was a great place to have the Lucinda clinics as Lucinda is the master at learning to ride like your horse is a tube of toothpaste and you are squeezing some out for the big brush.
          The course you described, sounds absolutely fun! It really sounds like it simulates going cross country.
          We have an 8 mile master's pace today, but it is snowing here and I just don't have the gumption to go have some fun as the rain has caused some incredible mud as well. I know I should not be so lazy, but the weather is kind of getting to me already. I'm in trouble... Thanks for sharing your fun ride though! I think this would be something the horses would love as well as the riders.
          Pat Ness

          Comment


          • #6
            W--I think it's a lovely idea. But the problem that I see here in the states is that eventing isn't a sport people gravitate to AFTER they've hunted or showed hunters or did dressage or become horsemen in some other disipline and THEN started eventing. We have so many more riders who aren't much more than beginners riding in events. Our lower levels are not only to teach horses the basics but also riders.

            How ironic that the course you describe was something you were doing that WASN"T an event. You guys can start your levels of eventing with more difficultly (Your Novice is our Prelim. and Pre-novice or our Training is kind of a new thing over there) for the very reason that you use other riding pursuits such as hunting, hunter paces etc. to start your young horses and to develop riders.

            Personally I agree with you 100% but I wonder at what expense it would be to the sport over here.

            Comment


            • #7
              Is a trakehner a ditch with a log over it? We have these ditches at my farm and they put big log jumps over top of them. They look scary, but I guess the horse would be doing nothing different than if you jumped the log without the ditch.

              We also have one ditch that is HUGE! I'd jump it like a bank - you could jump in and bounce out - it isn't deep, just wide.

              The witchy witch witch of south central NC.
              The witchy witch witch of south central NC.

              Comment


              • #8
                I totally agree. In fact, Lucinda specifically said to the course designer that it would be highly beneficial to build a smaller one (more BN or N size) so that riders could progress in more practical steps. I've seen several smaller double banks, but not any on courses. And of course, bounces aren't hardly ever seen until Prelim. I agree that making the technical questions smaller would certainly prevent some disasters and problems at a higher level. Though, as Jennifer S said, I think that the responisbilty to work through some techinical questions rests now with the riders and the trainers. Putting that type of question on course, would force people to practice it at home, and in my opinion create a safer, more educated, competition base.

                *Sometimes I think the so-called expets actually ARE experts.*
                "One thing vampire children have to be taught early is, don't run with a wooden stake."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think that sounds like a really good idea. I would love to jump over a BN/N/T Rolex course!! That would be awesome and so much fun!!! Some events have the same kind of jump, just different sizes, but these are usually only single jumps and not combinations. But there was one event I heard of (maybe Southern Pines?? Don't hold me to it) that was P/I/A and had a lot of the same just different sizes. I think I remember seeing pictures of the water (or one, if there's several) where the question (drop in, up on island, drop back in, jump out) was basically the same, but fence sizes were different. I could be totally wrong here, but I have a slight recollection of such a thing.

                  "It's Friday afternoon...do you know where YOUR Chronicle is??????"

                  www.geocities.com/HorsepicsPhotography
                  www.horsepicsphoto.com
                  Give back to your community! Volunteer at the local fire department and/or rescue squad!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Teaching the basics is the trainer's job, not the event's. Beginner Novice events are there to allow riders (and horses) to demonstrate skills they should have perfected at home. The most the event experience should be expected to teach is how to handle the pressure of demonstrating those skills in public in such a way as to still present a smooth, coordinated performance in all three phases on the same weekend. Cross Country is no place for a "beginner" rider, despite what you will see watching almost any USEA BN competition....

                    I had not noticed that Ireland and the UK had the corner on hunter, jumper, and dressage competitions and riders. There certainly seem to be plenty in my neck of the USA. I have plenty of students who started off in another discipline (several Hunters, a couple Dressage Queens, some Jumpers, even a former saddleseat rider) before gravitating toward eventing. Of course I have several who started off having never sat on a horse but had seen eventing on TV and thought that looked like the sport for them. Do they learn the basics of showing at BN events? Heck no! If they want to show desperately, they can go to the little local h/j show and pick up some ribbons in crossrails, progress to 2' hunters, there are even some shows around here that have 2' Jumpers :-) Then there are little schooling events that offer things like Maiden 2' divisions. I really don't think it would damage the sport irreparably if the Beginner Novice division didn't cater to the lowest common denominator.

                    Sorry if I rant, but I've had my heart in my throat one too many times just watching BN stadium!!!

                    JenniferS
                    thirdcharmtrainingcenter.com
                    Third Charm Event Team

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Couldn't agree with you more, JenniferS.

                      My thoughts on XC really come from a few years back when I was more involved with Eventing stateside - writing specs, designing & building small courses, & getting the TD license (which I decided not to complete).

                      There are quite specific rules as to what can and what cannot be on a course. In retrospect, I think it makes building the XC to the lowest common denometer - rather than teaching. Certainly the jumps should be safe (one of the things that horrified me about some of the unrecognized events in NJ/PA!).

                      There could be options for those who don't want to do the more difficult "parts" of a low level technical fence.

                      It just seems to me that you need to experience the technical stuff at the lower/safer heights - and since no one BUILDS that, how can anyone experience competing over it. Or, if no one is building that, how do lower level competitors even get to PRACTICE that on schooling days??

                      There are plenty of places and ways to practice the SJ questions - from your backyard to local schooling shows. But the XC is another matter, and I think of far more fundamental importance.

                      IF the courses ASKED the technical questions on a lower level, PERHAPS people wouldn't be quite as quick to move up before they are ready?!
                      19 year member of the New Hope clique! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
                      co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        in terms of the riders. It always seems there are 3 or four in a 50 horse division that think it's like a running race and they blast around. If it could be presented as more of a handy hunter sort of course, I would think that could help some riders understand it is not about jumping at speed.

                        I believe if we had some truly skinny (4 foot or less) jumps starting at beginner novice, the riders would HAVE to slow down. One is rarely successful racing at a skinny and the most harm to be done is a runout. The 20 foot wide jumps really call to people to turn on the speed as well as all sloping faces (Please not key word on sloping faces ALL--I'm not interested in getting rid of all sloping faces, just adding in a couple of plain old verticals).

                        Not all people have trainers and that is the reality of the sport.

                        Pat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          While it's true that not everyone has a trainer (heck, I didn't, until after I had gone Training!), isn't bombing around xc kind of dangerous if a rider has neither that or any kind of clue? It doesn't seem like that is something that should be encouraged. I at least was far from a beginner when I took up the sport. Some 2' skinnies, bounces, and funky looking jumps could help a lot, particularly if they were set up in such a way as to invite a runout instead of a stop. Maybe if they get eliminated enough, the people who have no business being in the ring will get the idea that they might need to go take some lessons. I am so tired of eventing being considered the sport of yahoos and the great untutored! "Oh, you just have to survive five minutes of dressage, and it doesn't matter how you look jumping as long as you get around!"

                          JenniferS
                          Third Charm Event Team

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JenniferS:
                            While it's true that not everyone has a trainer (heck, I didn't, until after I had gone Training!), isn't bombing around xc kind of dangerous if a rider has neither that or any kind of clue?
                            JenniferS<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                            I hoped that's what my post was saying, but maybe it wasn't...
                            Anyway, I agree with you again JenniferS.
                            Pat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              pat on the back: i agree completely. BN might be the scariest course to watch, but the way to fix the problem might be to make it more challenging to discourage the wing-and-a-prayer types from entering. i'd bet that BN courses that are described in the omnibus as "easy" have more, ahem, tense moments than those considered hard. one thing that could make everyone happy would be more options at the lower levels. if you don't think your student is ready for the 18" bounce, instruct her to do the log instead.

                              also, not all of us have facilities where we can practice cross country.

                              and while i'm at it, i'd like to rant real quick. i've schooled training and prelim, and i want to move up to training next year. it annoys me that i can't "practice" going training speed at a novice event without getting speed faults. yah, i know i know, its to protect the people who are out of control or at least to make them circle a few times, but i am NOT out of control and i can't afford to enter a bunch of extra events just so i can practice an entire course at speed. okay, i'm done now.

                              time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Triggerfoot - do you have any Hunter Pace events out there? There are some good ones in PA & NJ that use Event courses - there you COULD do the speed.

                                The "Hunter Trials" here in Ireland ARE like American pace events, just at speed - and provide a great way to practice.

                                Would your local CTA (whoops, EA, now!) be interested in sponsoring a "Hunter Pace" type of Cross Country event as a school and fund raiser? No Dressage (judges, scribes, etc), no fence judges (a few "spotters" - although here in Ireland, they DO have fence judges), no sj - JUST timers -

                                that way people could practice their 400/450mpm, in a controlled setting over the size fences they choose, but not in a "competition".

                                Would that help?

                                19 year member of the New Hope clique! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
                                co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  but i don't know if they do it. anyone from indiana/ohio/kentucky know if they have hunter paces around here?

                                  i'll look into the possibility of having the ICTA do something like that, but i'm not sure how to go about it. i'll start by writing a letter i guess.

                                  time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree 100% Weatherford. i've said for a while that part of the scariness you see at prelim in this country in because the leap from training to prelim is TOO big.

                                    I HATE bounces on XC--I think we should get rid of them and put them in SJ, if that's a question we really want to test. BUT, if we are going to insist on having them in XC, then I firmly believe we should start with them at training and maybe even novice level. Maybe six inch logs or foot-high logs at novice, maybe 2 foot logs at training, but waiting until prelim is not kind or wise. Similarly, corners ar e abig question to spring on someone at prelim. I don't dislike the question of corners, but it's a little unfair to throw that in so late in the game.

                                    Now yes, you school these things ahead of time, but we all know it isn't the same as doing it, make or break, on course with adrenaline up.

                                    So I'm all for it, small, round, easy, but with the full questions intact.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      We have some thoughts and concensus here - WHO is going to talk about it at the USEA Annual meeting?

                                      Who can bring Denny & Jimmy & Roger into the discussion - so something can be done?

                                      Granted, building technical courses means having more educated course builders at the lower levels, however, I believe that is happening in Eventing (unlike SJ! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img] )

                                      I would talk about it, for sure, but I am not going to be there - so, someone will have to do so for me!

                                      Please?!

                                      (now that I have, as Heather puts it, returned to the Dark Side.... )

                                      19 year member of the New Hope clique! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
                                      co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        As this thread has grown I'm going to have to amend my earlier "%100 agreement."

                                        I agree that certain types of fences like trekahners, ditches, banks should be more common at lower levels. I think it would weed out some of the, shall we call it "unprepared riders." It might also help narrow the gap between Training and Prelim so that your not confronted with BOTH new types of fences AND the introduction of true technical questions.

                                        However, I think bounces and other technical questions are completely inappropriate at Training and lower. (bounces now first appear at I not P) As a rider who competes at Intermeadiate (as well as training the horse that far) I have to emphasize to you guys that the difference between P, I and A isn't the type/construction or even size of a fence it's the technicallity --or placement in relation to terrain and other fences and how quickly/often these type of questions come up in the course.

                                        Skinnies, corners and combinations with multipe fences with in strides of each other are NOT appropriate for young horses. Personally I don't think that's how you develop confident horses.

                                        Also, I beleive the speed penalty question is about go under some rule changes so that you will have some latitude to practice higher speeds.

                                        As for people being unsafe and "bombing around XC" that is not at all what I see that's going on unsafe at the lower levels. People CAN'T GO FORWARD! I see Novice (and Training and Prelim) horses strangled by the hardware in their mouth with riders acting like they're being run away with while doing not much more canter than what they do in a dressage ring. I see horses rushing because riders have them so backward that if the horse doesn't rush he'll never have enough power to get over the less than 3' fence in his path.

                                        When horses are being ridden backward they have no opportunity to correct the riders mistakes or find "fifth legs." Backward horses get in trouble and riders get hurt. I would be willing to bet that if the statisic exisit that those lower level riders who "bomb around" have significanlty safer experiences than the slow backward ones!

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