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Poll: Bad weather & rescheduling events

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  • Poll: Bad weather & rescheduling events

    I'm curious as to how people feel about this subject, specifically as it pertains to schooling events where the divisions offered start with stick-on-a-ground and go through Novice.

    If the weather forecast is dreadful (temperatures in the 30's, 80% chance of rain mixed with snow by 8 am of the event day according to weather.com) 24 hours prior to the event, would you prefer the event go on as held, is canceled with a make-up schooling day offered, or rescheduled for another day? Keeping in mind that the weather forecast might be wrong and the event day ends up having glorious weather, or that the rescheduled day does not fit in your calendar. The event has a no refund policy. What would you prefer?

    Edited to say: I'm poll impaired, so the poll option did not work out. The selections were supposed to be:

    1. The event must go on! 24 hours cancellation notice is not enough. Forecasts are often wrong and/or the new event date might not fit on my calendar.

    2. Reschedule the event. If the weather for the original day turns out to be glorious and/or I can't make the new event day, I promise I won't write nasty-grams to the organizer.

    3. Cancel the event and I'll take the schooling day later.
    Last edited by Lisa Cook; Oct. 19, 2009, 08:47 AM.

  • #2
    It depends on the venue for me. If it was a combined test, in all weather footing arenas, it can go on, regardless of the weather.

    If it involves XC, muddy parking lots and ice? Cancel for the sake of the horses and the property. I hate when things are cancelled but it happens. Who could have predicted a snowstorm the 3rd week of October?

    If I get a schooling day out of it, or a reschedule? That's hugely generous, but I may or may not be able to take advantage, so it is a bonus, but I understand the organizer may not be able to do that.

    I don't drive my horse trailer when it's snowing, so I would have not gone anywhere yesterday.


    • #3
      I think schooling shows should be cancelled when the weather is forecast to be terrible. yes, I know that sometimes the weather doesn't do what it's supposed to, but there are some storms that they just aren't wrong about... such as yesterdays. There is a difference when the forecast for a "rainy" day and when the forecast a "noreaster" or a "hurricane" (as was the case earlier in the fall) Schooling shows with little kids, first time/part time eventers, greeny horses should be fun experiences. Being out in the freezing rain/snow is not fun or a positive experience. Sanctioned events are some what a different story because of the amount of set-up and non-refundables. I don't see why when a schooling show is picking days why they can't put in a rain date. Yes, some may not be able to attend a rain date, but at least you have an out if the weather is going to be miserable. Or a schooling day is another option to give people something for their money. I know as a competitor that it's a much easier pill to swallow when the organizers cancel a show then when I have to make the call not to go. I'm not one to run from some rain, but there are some people who show up no matter what and don't really have a good understanding of the safety issues involved with running XC on a wet muddy course. They also feel that if the organizer says it's a go... then it must be safe for everyone! Some people at schooling shows are scary in perfect conditions!!!!!


      • #4
        I was entered this past weekend. We were/are in the same conditions here that everyone at Fair Hill were running in.

        By Saturday morning, I was praying for a postponement. I hadn't ridden since Thursday due to conditions (I have no indoor). It sucks sending your money and then the event getting cancelled, but I was 95% sure even it went on, I was not going. And if I did go, I would have WD before XC. And I was entered at BN! It was MISERABLE outside for 3 solid days. I forgot what the sun looked like!

        There is so much involved in rescheduling. I am hoping they can manage to get something organized for those of us who missed the event. My place had water running into the basement, standing water in our front yard, along with my pastures. I can't imagine trying to go XC in those conditions. Not worth an injured horse! Live to see another day!


        • #5
          We Went!

          Well, since I think we were at the exact schooling show that made you post this query, Lisa, I can tell you first hand that I was sooooo glad they did not cancel. There are so many other fall hunter paces, dressage shows, horse shows and family plans that if they had canceled yesterday, we probably would not have been able to take advantage of a schooling day.
          Add in that the footing was phenomenal and the highest level was Novice and I have to say that I did not see dangerous weather-related conditions at all. I was incredibly impressed that the dressage rings held up incredibly well - no deep mud in the corners by 1:30, when my second daughter did her test.
          Were we frozen and wet - at times, yes! Did my older daughter have one stop at the first fence because the pony was being extra cautious and slowed down to take a look and then slid and then stopped? Yes. Did she then come around and take that fence wonderfully and the rest of stadium and xc? Yes!
          Were the conditions the most trying of any? Yes. Did my daughters come away from the day having learned a ton and really proud of themselves for persevering? Yes.
          For my older one, she was going Elementary - so 2' jumps - on a very wonderful, experienced and careful pony. My younger one was just doing
          a walk-trot dressage test on the same pony. Would I have taken them if it were their first time? No.
          I have spoken to people who did not go who think the show should have been canceled. I can tell you that I saw nothing in footing, course design or event management that gave me any pause for the safety of the horses and riders.
          And, even though there were moments when the rain was mixed with snow and the wind was blowing, it really was not as bad as predicted (I thought) and it was not as bad as it might have been.
          I guess I didn't answer the more general question, but for a specific case, the show was right to go on.


          • #6
            Hi Lisa - I had two horses at your event yesterday. I wanted to scratch, but it was my daughter's end of the season "move-up show" and she was really bummed out when I mentioned the possibility. So I soldiered on. lol My daughter went Novice, so was done around 9:45ish..at that point the weather was just starting to get bad. The second horse/rider went Green and we were there until sometime after 2:00. It was cold, wet & miserable...I told HR that I was really surprised you didn't cancel the show. I would not have been at all unhappy or offended if you did, sometimes events have to cancel due to weather & that's part of the sport just as much as all of the beautiful days. SH*T happens.
            I do want to say that as awful as the weather conditions were, each and every member of your club that I encountered was pleasant and helpful, which must have been a super-human effort in light of the fact that they were all wet & frozen. I hope you've all recovered.

            Edited to add: Weather at the aforementioned event was freezing rain/snow with temps in the 30's. This was not your typical rainy show.
            Last edited by chism; Oct. 19, 2009, 06:03 PM.
            "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


            • #7
              For some reason most horse people aren't smart enough to stay indoors when the weather is bad. Perhaps it's because we're doing what we love, perhaps it's because we paid for it and we're sure as hell going to get our money's worth, perhaps it's because we are too stupid to know better.

              As long as the footing is safe and I'm wearing enough layers/waterproofing I'll be there. It's hard for me to reschedule and I don't want to lose my money. Anyone who doesn't want to show can always pack it up and go home so unless your volunteers are dropping left and right the show can go on.

              What I want is for the organizers to let everyone know they can throw show attire to the wind and dress in whatever way keeps them warm and/or dry.


              • #8
                I think I'd rather it was cancelled. Well, dependent on the parking, actually. We had a lovely schooling show here locally, but the weather forecast was appaling. The parking was on grass, on the side of a hill, and the first truck got stuck around 9am. The barn owners were pulling trucks out of the dreadful conditions all day. I left at noon, having got the last space on the flat. I made it about 10 feet before starting to slide sideways. It was carnage, and made a total mess of their beautiful paddock I felt scared, and any of my friends who called me in the middle of that particular 12 hour thunderstorm were advised to stay home. It wasn't safe.

                Unfortunately, there was still a backlash. I don't think people can realistically plan rain days - unless all the entrants agree to pay an extra 50-60% contingency fee ! We'd be ok in our area to reschedule, heck, if you guys have a show to go to every weekend, you're darn lucky ! But even so, the costs and logistics would be prohibitive, I suspect.


                • #9
                  CDCTA ran unrecognized this past weekend in Culpeper. The rain stayed north and while the skies were gray, the temperatures cold and the windy blowing, we had an XC schooling day and a HT. The footing was wonderful. Most competitors came and had a good time despite the weather.

                  From the organizers point of view, canceling a HT is a major financial disaster. It is not as simple as having it on a rain date or offering schooling. Many HT venues are not owned by the sponsoring organization. They pay rent and if its an popular equine facility, they have to fit into that facility's schedule. There may not be much of an option for a rain date and the landlord expects to be paid for those dates, rain or shine. There also are other non-refundables that the club is going to have to absorb, like insurance, the course designer, etc. Running a horse trial is not a particularly profitable venture.

                  It takes considerable prep work to set up a HT. In our club, much of it is done by volunteers. Getting enough volunteers to do the prep work (e.g. mow the galloping paths, weed eat around jumps, set-up the stadium jumps, etc.) and well as show up for the HT is a major concern. We needed 50 volunteers putting in countless hours to run this weekend. These people have lives and they may have other plans for the "rain date".

                  Most organizers also compete or have horses competing in the sport. We are well aware of the disappointment and lost entry fees when we have to scratch. Keep in mind that most HTs do not refund entries in the event of a weather cancellation, so trying to hold the HT for those who are willing to compete under the given conditions is better than a cancellation. I'd say we had about a 10% attrition rate yesterday with about half due to horse or rider injury prior to the HT and half due to weather concerns.

                  Obviously every situation is going to be unique. I simply don't think its realistic to expect a reschedule or even a schooling option in the event of a weather cancellation. We participate in a sport that requires we be outdoors in variable weather conditions. I think we have to live with it.
                  Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                  • #10
                    Practical experience

                    As usual, this year I have helped run a number of events and shows in New England. Several of them took place in bad weather. The number of competitor no-shows for the one show that was rescheduled was higher than for those that ran in bad weather. The rescheduled show was also short of volunteers on the new day. There weren't any disasters in the shows that ran in bad weather.

                    Competitors can vote with their feet. Most of them do not stay away when the weather turns nasty. Organizers can have legitimate reasons for cancelling a show; for example, if the parking areas are likely turn into a quagmire - the reason one Badminton was cancelled in a very wet year.

                    If you can't stand the rain, don't enter the show.
                    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


                    • Original Poster

                      I started this topic because I am with the organization that held yesterday's show, and the answers here will help facilitate a discussion we will have in few weeks about what to do if we are faced with a similar scenario in the future.

                      We had 30+ entries out of 100 scratch yesterday. Reactions from actual entries thus far have ranged from "I can't believe you guys are hosting the show - you are crazy to do this." to "We had such a great time - thanks!".


                      • #12
                        I think it all depends on the footing. We were at Loch Moy on Saturday. The footing for dressage and show jumping was perfect. Cross country footing was good. The parking area was good. Amazingly, I did not see any vehicles get stuck. The event was unrecognized and untimed, so no one was tempted to go too quickly. Raincoats were allowed. The waits between rides were not long. We were out of there 3 1/2 hours after we arrived. Although we were wet and cold after spending 3 1/2 hours in 38 degrees and rain, we were very happy that the organizer ran the event. If it had been rescheduled, my daughter could not have taken off from work at the last minute, and probably could not have gone on the new date.

                        Snow, freezing rain, ice or bad footing would have changed my opinion. If an event is not safe, it should be cancelled.


                        • #13
                          I think as eventers, competitors need to accept that the organizers' calls in poor weather situations are going to be a mixed bag of go and no-go. Sometimes we get an unexpected benny like a free school or a reschedule date, but I don't think they're to be expected.

                          In most situations, personally, I'd prefer to see the show go on, if it can be safely done without wrecking the facility. Particularly if they have D/sj in treated footing and no xc (or convert to a CT). Although admittedly, it can be a bit hard to judge from home whether the parking will be okay, whether any fences not holding up will be removed from the course, etc.

                          I took my greenie to several events this year in varying degrees of cold, rain, and mud - the weekend weather du season. And I must say that even though I had more than a few bouts of nerves about finding out how he would handle the footing, I was very glad to have the information when all was said and done (especially since, as it turned out, I worried more than he did about it). It's just good stuff to know and if it works out well it builds confidence.

                          If there is a no-refund policy in cases both of cancellation and scratching, I can't see why competitors would complain of whatever choice is made. I hope the comments you're getting are sportsmanlike, even if the opinions vary widely!
                          Talk to the Hoof


                          • #14
                            With as difficult as it is for me to arrange a weekend off, away from home, at a show, I'd rather a show had a pretty high threshold for cancelling. I don't mind scratching or withdrawing if the weather is too horrible for me to go around--I did it in Kentucky a few weeks ago--but unless the show is going to offer a refund, I'd just as soon take my chances that the weather might be better than anticipated, and go.

                            Speaking of refunds, I am totally on board with shows NOT offering them. I get it that costs are incurred no matter who shows up. I was just bringing it up to indicate that I don't expect one, and only if it were a routine thing to offer them would I happily accept early cancellations of shows. Not going to happen, I realize, so again I'd prefer the show not cancel and let the individual rider decide whether it's worthwhile to go or not go.
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