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So much for Rolex......

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  • So much for Rolex......

    Radio Flyer and I will not be able to use my “new” eyes (Lasix surgery provided by Dr. Koffler) this year at Rolex. We were, like so many others, caught off guard by the ambiguous wording of the new safety rule concerning falls and eliminations. I would be surprised to find anyone who thought the rule would use results from 2008. At least to me, it clearly reads 12/1/08 onward, with no notification of retro-activity.
    After I received 'The Call' from poor Shealagh Costello (luckily no one killed the messenger), I had multiple days of adreline-charged, extremely clear thought to process the ramifications of EV1053C. Of all the ways to miss a four-star! Well, if you do it long enough…

    In order to keep my sanity, something positive has to come out of this mess. I am an advocate of safety in our sport, so I have some ideas to help the rule work for us.
    Point 1: Since, according to FEI rules, my horse should have been flagged with a fall of horse instead of rider the moment he was caught in the fence at Poplar last September, I immediately saw the first shortcoming. The rule addresses two falls of rider or two falls of horse. There is no mention of a combination of the two. That is a serious loophole!

    Since my rider fall at the Fork in April was completely my fault, I was willing to take my punishment and let Karen O’Connor ride Red - something I have always thought should happen anyway since I have been distracted for the past eight years being a mom. This brings me to the next shortcoming, why is it only the horse that loses their qualification?

    Point 2: Shouldn’t it be the combination of horse /rider who need to requalify? I mean COME ON!! If you were unlucky enough to watch 100 falls, how many do you think would be the horse’s fault? I have been told it was so the riders could ride their other horses. DUH! If it is the combination, then the rider on another horse would be fine and the horse with another rider would be fine. The way it is now, an amateur could give their horse to a professional to be requalified and take the ride back without having learned a thing.

    Point 3: The way the rule is written now, a coach could tell their student with an important goal to go out after their first incident and intentionally have their second. Meaning, after a fall, at the next available competition, start cross-country, pull up and dismount or after elimination go out and circle three times in front of a fence. Then they would be able to drop down a level, requalify their horse and move on with a clean slate. They would not have to worry that they would lose their qualification at the last minute (e.g. Dorothy and Red at Rolex).

    A possible solution that would encourage good horsemanship would be to allow a rider to voluntarily move down and requalify after their first incident. If they chose not to and then had a second incident, then good horsemanship would be forced upon them. All four horse and rider combinations who were caught by the rule for this Rolex had already voluntarily moved down in order to rebuild confidence. Unfortunately, it did not count.

    Food for thought, I rode so poorly to that fence at the Fork because it was small, shared with Intermediate and I was worried it wouldn’t hold Red. I panicked, stood up and pulled him behind my leg - poor horse! If anything I was too careful. A reasonable amount of positive aggression is required as you move up through the levels. One of the scariest types of XC rides to watch is when a rider is afraid of making a mistake, which this rule unfortunately encourages. If you come out of the box saying, “I can’t fall!” then you probably will fall.

    We need a new version of this rule. Unfortunately, we are coming closer to attempting the impossible job of policing “horsemanship”. The truly difficult task is to make rules that don’t end up promoting poor horsemanship. I was told that I could requalify for Rolex by doing my two Intermediates on the two weekends between The Fork and Rolex. That would mean four weekends in a row at Advanced, Intermediate, Intermediate then a CCI four-star. SERIOUSLY? You have to be kidding! Is THAT safe? My old boy would give it a try because a thousand years of breeding have made him that way, but would he have made it? Would he have broken down half way around Rolex? Is that good horsemanship? Please tell me the answers are easy for you....


    DC
    Last edited by Teammolokai; Apr. 24, 2009, 01:23 PM.

  • #2
    Hi Dorothy,

    I agree with you 110%. The rule just doesn't make sense.

    Thanks for posting!
    "Fifteen minutes of excellent work is better than an hour and a half of wandering aimlessly around." -Col. Bengt Ljundquist

    Comment


    • #3
      DC


      I would also like to know how legally they could circumvent the "effective date" and lack of reto-active wording. Presumably you had legal council before dealing with CAS?

      Comment


      • #4
        I also agree with you. That rule needs to be re-vamped.
        GO TARHEELS!
        COMH
        http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles
        http://community.webshots.com/user/funnyknuckles2

        Comment


        • #5
          Rolex will be lacking extraordinary talent because you and Red are not there. It is a shame, indeed, that you are being punished for your high standards of horsemanship. Instead they should be applauding you and using you as an example of HOW to be a 4 * rider.
          Just because I talk slow doesn't mean that I actually AM slow.

          Comment


          • #6
            Dorothy,

            You always have such good insights in to how to make this sport safer. Little did you know, back in February, when you spoke to the Area8 banquet about safety issues, how much you would be affected by these new "safety rules".

            I am so sorry that Red and you will not be running at The Rolex. I believe that they are being unfair and unjust.

            Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that someone will listen to our concerns about this rule.
            When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

            Comment


            • #7
              Dorothy -
              Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This rule is not promoting good horsemanship nor safe riding.

              Let us know if your plans lead you to Burghley this fall. I'll contribute to your campaign! **** horses don't come along everyday (for most of us) and you need to let them shine when you have them!

              Comment


              • #8
                Dorothy, I salute you for taking lemons and making lemonade. Very classy!

                We'll miss seeing you go at Rolex this year, but I think that your insightful analysis of the rule as it stands should have a lasting impact.

                Thank you.
                They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by frugalannie View Post
                  Dorothy, I salute you for taking lemons and making lemonade. Very classy!
                  I agree wholeheartedly.
                  I think your thoughts above make a lot of sense (as did the thoughts you expressed at the safety summit last year). Lets hope someone at USEF can actually hear logic. The intent of the rule (whether you agree with it or not) is clearly not being achieved by the rule as written.
                  There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Totally agree with your post Dorothy and totally agree with Frugalannie's note of "classy". You go. Best of luck at Rolex '10.
                    http://www.camstock.net/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Touché' well said and I commend your courage to be so public! I too will support your next efforts.
                      Live, Laugh, Love
                      http://confessionsofanaaer.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow, sounds like you are being a remarkably good sport about it. The rule is broken in many ways. Like any rule that tries to legislate common sense with black and white logic it will have many unintended side effects and maybe very few intended effects.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I did not realize that the horse was knocked down, not the horse/rider combo. How ridiculous! Thank you for your thoughtful post; I hope it reaches the attention of the rule committee. I'll contribute to a Burghley campaign.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bummer about Rolex....hope you do some fund raising and get a shot at running in Germany or maybe France instead. Kick some a$$ abroad.

                            I hope that they will rethink aspects of this rule or this rule entirely.....this is not the direction that I want to see this sport go and see very little safety that will result from a rule like this.
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It is amazing how this sport has changed over the years. I find it unfortunate that today we have to attempt to make rules to promote good horsemanship. It is obvious that you have amazing horsemanship by not running Red at 4 events back to back just to get qualified to run at Rolex.

                              Hopefully by bringing this rule (and it's faults) to the public and allowing everyone to discuss it they will make this rule more specific so others don't suffer your fate.

                              I am extremely sorry we won't be seeing you and Red run at Rolex this year, but I hope that you make it to Luhmuhlen or Burghley.

                              Marissa

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Thank you so much for taking the time to post and for sharing your extremely insightful point of view. Like others have said, I will miss watching you and Red this year.
                                Member of My Balance is Poo Poo Clique

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Obviously not the same, but we'll be cheering you around Loudon this weekend!

                                  It is so disheartening to see the unintended (at least I hope they are unintended! ) consequences of these rule changes. And to even suggest running four weekends in a row culminating at a CCI**** is absolutely ludicrous. As you say, THAT is poor horsemanship.
                                  "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." ~ Mark Twain

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Just wanted to say welcome! I really appreciate your willingness to stand out in a public forum and voice your thoughts. It's the **** riders like you who encourage open discussion amongst all eventers that I respect and admire. Hopefully we can all develop a united voice for keeping this sport safe, logical, and with the horses' interests in mind.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Dorothy,

                                      Sadly, as rules get rushed through to both legislate safety and to appear as if action is being taken, they fail to adequately consider the implications of those rules. This is not the only rule where issues exist.

                                      While you unfortunately are forced to serve as a high level example, this issue goes as an example to the need for DATA driven rule making. This could have been done as a provisional rule for 2 years in the form you suggest and the data could be examined to see if it had a real effect on falls and injury. Alas, such is not the case.

                                      Reed

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Teammolokai View Post
                                        Point 1: Since, according to FEI rules, my horse should have been flagged with a fall of horse instead of rider the moment he was caught in the fence at Poplar last September, I immediately saw the first shortcoming. The rule addresses two falls of rider or two falls of horse. There is no mention of a combination of the two. That is a serious loophole!
                                        I agree, this is a serious loophole - is it a combination? one or the other? They probably mean any of the combinations: two horse falls, two rider falls or one of each, but it should be made clear in the rule.

                                        Originally posted by Teammolokai View Post
                                        Since my rider fall at the Fork in April was completely my fault, I was willing to take my punishment and let Karen O’Connor ride Red - something I have always thought should happen anyway since I have been distracted for the past eight years being a mom. This brings me to the next shortcoming, why is it only the horse that loses their qualification?
                                        This is something that needs to be clarified also. If the horse has two falls, then the horse may be overfaced and need to go down a level. If the rider falls, then the rider - but that also leaves the gray area - one rider, one horse..

                                        Originally posted by Teammolokai View Post
                                        Point 2: Shouldn’t it be the combination of horse /rider who need to requalify? I mean COME ON!! If you were unlucky enough to watch 100 falls, how many do you think would be the horse’s fault? I have been told it was so the riders could ride their other horses. DUH! If it is the combination, then the rider on another horse would be fine and the horse with another rider would be fine. The way it is now, an amateur could give their horse to a professional to be requalified and take the ride back without having learned a thing.
                                        Great idea - rider AND horse should need to requalify. This leaves a loophole for a rider to never learn anything from their fall.

                                        Originally posted by Teammolokai View Post
                                        Point 3: The way the rule is written now, a coach could tell their student with an important goal to go out after their first incident and intentionally have their second. Meaning, after a fall, at the next available competition, start cross-country, pull up and dismount or after elimination go out and circle three times in front of a fence. Then they would be able to drop down a level, requalify their horse and move on with a clean slate. They would not have to worry that they would lose their qualification at the last minute (e.g. Dorothy and Red at Rolex).
                                        Would dismounting be considered a fall? Is this something a jump judge can assess? If a horse is pulled to a stop/walk and the rider obviously swings a leg over and dismounts then an addendum to the rule can solve this concern. The problem would be someone really good at doing face plants on purpose...

                                        Originally posted by Teammolokai View Post
                                        A possible solution that would encourage good horsemanship would be to allow a rider to voluntarily move down and requalify after their first incident. If they chose not to and then had a second incident, then good horsemanship would be forced upon them. All four horse and rider combinations who were caught by the rule for this Rolex had already voluntarily moved down in order to rebuild confidence. Unfortunately, it did not count.
                                        I agree, this is a good idea and possibly not one the makers of the rules thought of initially.

                                        It is hard to make a sport that is so reliant on good horsemanship safe for the sue-happy competitors that have horsemanship last on their list.

                                        Thanks for the insight on the problems with the rule. Even the best minds can come up with something that is not perfect and hopefully they can take their mistakes and revamp the rules. I am sure it is annoying to have to be one of the 'guinea pigs' of the new rule, but it is also a great service not only to be a 'guinea pig', but to take time to assess what went wrong and what went right.

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