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Long Format.. Why is it gone?

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  • Long Format.. Why is it gone?

    The only answer I have ever known is because of the IOC, but I know there has to me of a reason as to why we switched to short format. I rememeber reading about it a long time ago before I was super into eventing (and I was super young), but I can't remember what the article said.

    Can someone explain why all we do is short format now?
    ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
    R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor

  • #2
    You know the answer. the IOC threatened to evict eventing... the FEI came up with this abomination that allowed us to stay then forced it on the national federations by mandating that all championships be short format (riders were right in that they ARE different so if championships were in their future, they needed experience at the short format -- so byebye long format). In the course of shoving it down our throats, some PR guru decided to float the "its better for the horses" crap to the masses along with "you can do more and your horse can be a star for longer" crap to the riders and owners.

    not that it makes me mad or anything.
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


    • #3
      How much time do you have....

      There are thread and threads (NOVELS) about this subject back when it was happening.

      Some reasons that were touted (and my editorializing)

      Lack of land for long format (not really since the events were already doing them)

      "want horses to be superstars" so they need to compete more often which with the SF they can (remains to be seen- I think Biko and Charisma are every bit as famous as um, let's see, who ARE the superstars these days - I guess Headley Brittania deserves credit here. but I had to think)

      Long format breaks down horses, short format is better for them, less stressful. Proven not to be true.

      The Germans wanted their warmbloods to excel and they couldn't handle the endurance issue. Also proved not to be true since you need a catty fast horse to deal with the ABCDEFG type questions and the sprints necessary to make the time on the new courses.

      I think the FEI decided that the didn't want to do it anymore. We (americans who were up for a team position and other 'powers that be") wanted to remain in the Olympic games so we said OK, change. Then no one entered the long formats because they were not required and they are very hard, so they died out except at the * level and now the Training Level becuase some of us want to do them for the sport of it, not to get on the Olympic team.

      Others probably have slightly more detailed and accurate information but that's my recollection/opinion.


      • #4
        Because too many Dressage Queens and Hunter and Jumper princesses, both male and female, had expensive horses they wanted to show,and someone to pay for it. None could really gallop, and it seemed too scarey to learn the whole thing, but they wanted to get to change clothes 3 times, and have their pictures taken perched up on their horse's necks, wearing bright colors. They stamped their little tender feet, and waved their purses til the people who dod not have such big purses finally caved in.

        So the people who knew how to do the hard work and the real riding have to toss away all their years of real dedication, so the dressage riders and H/J riders can "play" too.
        Don't get me started
        What would you try if you knew you would not fail?


        • #5
          How long was Ringwood Cockatoo at the top? I remember seeing that horse go around the WEG (Long format BTW) in Jerez Spain in 2002. It's 2009 and he's just now retiring....

          Poggio II, Charisma, any number of the horses Bruce Davidson Sr. rode back in the day - All had nice long careers in spite of the long format.

          Yes, the IOC was making a lot of noise about eventing - it's dangerous, it takes up too much room.... Anyone seen a reduction in the number of injuries since we switched over? I understand the land complaint FROM THE PERSECTIVE of the IOC - I mean they just built the last Olympic XC course on a golf course.... Roads and tracks would have taken up a ton of space - but they're fooling themselves if they think it will make it any safer.

          Both formats have been around for ages. I think there could still be room for both. If the olympics want to run short format, fine. Can we at least get long format at the WEG???
          The rebel in the grey shirt


          • #6
            Jimmy Wofford wrote in a recent article that the decision was not because of the IOC, although the IOC has taken the blame for a long time. He said it is entirely an FEI decision, and the national organizations such as USEF have gone along with it for various reasons.

            The mags are all scattered and I'm not finding the article to reference it, but it was in either US Eventing or Practical Horseman and it was this year.


            • #7
              If it does die, over the next several years, it won`t be because some organizers don`t offer it. It will be because riders won`t enter the few which survive.

              It`s really that simple. Don`t look "outward" for a reason.


              • #8
                Originally posted by denny View Post
                If it does die, over the next several years, it won`t be because some organizers don`t offer it. It will be because riders won`t enter the few which survive.

                It`s really that simple. Don`t look "outward" for a reason.
                Exactly. If you want it to survive, you personally need to do one or more of the following: ENTER, volunteer, and/or contribute. For those not ready to enter, contributing is a great substitute. You can either contribute to specific shows or look into the newly formed Long Format Club, which was specifically formed to pool individual donations into significant support for the Training and Preliminary Long Format/Classic shows throughout the US.


                I gotta be honest, for all the discussions here on saving the long format, I have been surprised that more donations haven't been received (and no, I am not a part of that organization). C'mon guys... if you want it, do something!


                • #9
                  Hey, I put my money in with the longformat club and now that Shiv is transitioning to retirement, I have made it a goal for my next horse to be focused on long format competitions. Let the young ones play in the short format.

                  I would not lay the blame all at the FEI's feet. While JW may be right, there was PLENTY of interaction between the IOC and FEI when the decisions were made. And it could be seen that pressure was being put on the FEI by the IOC.



                  • #10
                    Yes PLEASE donate to the Long Format Club! Let's put our money where our mouths are! I understand not being able to enter- I was planning to do the T3D this fall and then my horse tore half his hoof off, s**t happens and all that. But if you aren't ready to enter, please AT LEAST show support by donating so that we can ease the burden of putting on these events!


                    • #11
                      I saw you on the list of the Long Format Club donors, Reed!

                      I do think there is going to be a "start-up" period to get these long format entry rosters filled, and that is why financial support is soooooo important. We need to keep these Organizers afloat, until they are self-sustaining.


                      • #12
                        One more time.

                        To understand why the long format died a sudden death "Follow the Money!". The long format did not fit the business model of either the Olympic Games or of the top level professional riders. It's too expensive to put on or participate in compared with the income it generates.
                        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


                        • #13
                          Our annual 3 day here used to do the long format.The roads and tracks came thru some farmland to the fairgrounds and onto the track where jumps were set up.There was nothing like hearing the clip clop as they approached then exploded onto the track.It was amazing!


                          • #14
                            I think the lack of land theory is a crock. They're adding GOLF to the Olympic Games. Talk about a waste of LAND!
                            Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
                              I think the lack of land theory is a crock. They're adding GOLF to the Olympic Games. Talk about a waste of LAND!
                              Remember that you may think it is a waste of land, but it is steeped in as much tradition as many horse disciplines and is a much older sport than Eventing.

                              The cross country course at the last Olympics was built on a golf course and wasn't the LA Games course also on a golf course? You can pretty much guarantee that there is a golf course in any country that will hold the Olympics. If not, the country can build a course and get revenue later by turning it into a public course or a private club. It would be a destination venue for many people.

                              I know people that have goals to golf a round in every US state or every European country. Golf in the Olympics, while it still requires land, is a MUCH wiser business investment for a country than a cross country course that is never used again. Can anyone name a cross country course or venue that was an Olympic course and is now still in use?

                              As a former hunter rider, I can tell you that hunters 'princesses' did not 'dumb down' eventing.

                              From the very simple standpoint of money/space it makes a lot of sense to have the short format, rather than the long format, in the Olympics. The trickle down effect caused the short format to rein. Even with people touting the Training level three day, long format, it is still difficult. From a personal perspective, finding a spare $400 and five days off work (yeah, when you work retail, like I used to, the work week did not end on Friday) is not easy.

                              The Long Format Club is a great way to help defray the cost of the event and make the event more known. As I stated before, I did not know about the long format until I started frequenting these boards. Without knowledge, people won't know and I am sure there are plenty of other eventers out there doing their own thing and not pouring over the Omnibus every day who also do not know about the event but would add it to their wish list if they did know. Like Denny said - if the long format dies, it will be because people do not enter it, not because it was not offered.


                              • #16
                                So goes Badminton, so goes..........

                                The following excerpt is from http://www.thejoyofhorses.com/june99/badminton.htm

                                "When Frank Weldon retired in 1988 the mantle of Course Builder and Director Of Badminton fell to Hugh Thomas. PICTURE 6.

                                On the threshold of the 21st Century, Badminton is just as popular as ever, yet Hugh Thomas is now working in difficult times. If Badminton is to retain the generous sponsorship necessary to back such a huge event it has to attract television coverage; to attract television coverage it has to be seen to be totally horse-friendly. Yet, as in any sport, the competitors have improved over the years. Hugh has to try and find a balance between making the cross country course viewer-friendly yet difficult enough to challenge the competitors and provide spectacle. It has not been possible for Hugh to build higher and wider - nearly all the fences are of maximum dimensions already - so he has gone down the avenue of making the course more technically difficult, introducing narrow fences which demand control and accuracy. PICTURE 7.

                                Picture 7
                                This year Hugh was faced with the added difficulty of a new scoring system. The idea of the new system is two fold - to simplify scoring for the benefit of spectators and to put a greater emphasis on the cross country phase. Dressage penalties, now scored only in whole numbers, seem to work out at approximately double what they would have been in the past. Faults incurred in the show jumping phase remain the same at 5 penalties for a knock down, 10 for a refusal, 20 for a second refusal and 30 penalties for a fall. It is in the speed and endurance phase that the penalties have been altered radically. 1 penalty is accrued for every second over the optimum time (it used to be 1 penalty for every 3 seconds over time), 40 penalties are given for a refusal (previously 20 penalties), 80 for a second refusal (previously 40) and 120 penalties are given for a fall (previously 60 penalties). Obviously it has become very important to endeavour to come home within the optimum time, thus riders are encouraged to gallop at speed to all the fences. In one of the first events at which the new scoring system was employed several riders ended up in hospital! Hugh's answer to this was to produce a course that was so twisty and technically difficult that it became impossible for the riders to gallop at any fence!
                                Picture 8
                                The course did not find favour with many of the riders who, over the years, have become accustomed to "...a big, bold, galloping course that you can really attack." at Badminton. The course for the 50th Badminton was definitely big and bold - the fact that the Mitsubishi Pick-ups PICTURE 8 (set at an angle) had become the second fence was immediate testament to that - but hardly a single fence could be approached directly. "

                                Watch here (be careful not to get too caught up in the excitement; listen carefully at 4:59-5:30, 7:03-7:42, 22:33-23:28). Video is 27 min. long: http://www.badminton-horse.co.uk/lat...ary_video.aspx


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by denny View Post
                                  If it does die, over the next several years, it won`t be because some organizers don`t offer it. It will be because riders won`t enter the few which survive.

                                  It`s really that simple. Don`t look "outward" for a reason.
                                  so perhaps your thoughts beg another question...WHAT ARE REASONS PEOPLE AREN'T ENTERING THE LONG FORMAT EVENTS? I'd like responses to that question from the people who aren't entering. Just read to my dismay, that the Training 3DE at the Florida Horse Park has been canceled.

                                  Now, as a competitive runner back in the day, EVERYONE wanted to train for and run a marathon (or talked about even if they were scared to death)...that distance though, is not made for every body - not everyone's body is set up to take the training that completing a marathon requires. Not everyone's muscles, tendons, and bones can take the weeks of long runs and middle distance runs needed to prepare your BODY to complete that one 26.2 mile run on the target MARATHON day (its generally not the race itself that produces injury, its the training, even if your injury happens during the race). Those training runs take incredible amounts of time out of your spare time if you work a traditional job. Some folks were better served by training for races at shorter distances.

                                  I'd say the same thinking could be applied to eventing...some horses and riders do not have the bodies, temperament, goals, or time to train for the long format events. Great, the horse trial format exists for those horses and riders.

                                  What has gone amuck, is that for so many folks, the Long Format, the Classic 3 day event, whatever you want to call it, has been taken away. I do believe that there are upper level riders who would give ANYTHING to be able to aim their horses and training at a 2** or even 3 and 4****, but those opportunities have been taken away.

                                  So, I return to my first question: why aren't people entering the Long Format, Classic 3DE? Thank goodness for Bonnie Mosser, Stephen Bradley, Stuart Pittman, and Ruthie Harbison...outspoken advanced riders who long for, and make public their reasons for supporting 3 day events with Roads and Tracks and Steeplechase.

                                  Back out to ride Rasta so I can get to a BN event this year.
                                  ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


                                  • #18
                                    I would have agreed with many of the reasons given here until the last week or so. The way we have been inundated with coverage of that seminal event of 40 years ago has made me think again. I think the long format has come under pressure because we have forgotten the lessons of Woodstock.


                                    • #19
                                      Wasn't there also something about the former President of the FEI, the Spanish Infanta, being opposed to eventing? I seem to recall a good bit of finger pointing at her when short format was introduced.

                                      I've never understood why the English speaking eventing countries rolled over and just took it.
                                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                      Thread killer Extraordinaire