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Fence #20 - it's not about the pin! it's about acceptable obstacle design

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  • Fence #20 - it's not about the pin! it's about acceptable obstacle design

    I'm opening this thread as NOT A PIN/COLLAPSIBLE ENGINEERING discussion. It's about the principals behind the JUMP OBSTACLE DESIGN. It's about horsemanship. It's about rider and horse safety.

    There's another thread that is really a good engineering discussion and should probably continue as such. This thread can hopefully be the derail that would have happened in that one, that one can stay with engineering.

    *******************
    Pins and collapsibles are not the magic doorway to design where a fall is like a roller-coaster leaving the tracks on a high-speed turn --- regardless of pins or collapsibles.

    *******************

    I know a highway safety engineer who said that a highway barrier that saves a driver from one disaster is nonetheless useless if it re-directs car & driver into a tree - or into oncoming traffic.

    Physics and engineering are equally possible and effective on what happens after, where the falling body goes. This has been proven in highway safety design. This has to become part of course and obstacle design.

    It isn't just about reducing the fall -- designers must look at what horse & rider will fall on. The risks where they are likely to land.

    Bounces are riskier for falls ---
    A BOUNCE AT THE TOP OF A DOUBLE-DOWN ?????


    Mike E-S has much 'splainin to do.

    To keep my support I must see eventing understand that Fence #20 is not to be repeated, because of AFTER the fall, the LANDING.



    Quoting my post from the other thread ...

    Not just falls - HORSE FALLS. Rotational. THREE. ONE JUMP PROBLEM.

    In that case it really does not matter that over 50 horses got over ok. And fwiw, some of those had a scary moment that righted itself, Bonnie Mosser for one. It does not matter that quite a few skipped down easy-peasey.

    It goes beyond the pin.

    I don't have a problem with double-downs - actually they are fun, I've only done the low ones.

    But a bounce is more risky for leg-hanging. Leg-hanging is more risky for falls. A fall at a double-down is likely to be a skiing-type fall in that gravity takes the body down and down until ... What if one of those horses had rolled or slid off the second step down?

    This jump problem design was stupid from the get-go. It is a magnet for disaster, regardless of the pin. Eventing has had enough of that recently.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Just an add ... there are plenty of very challenging obstacles and problems that I find acceptable. I would like to address design decisions that invite a catastrophic landing to a fall. That can be avoided.

    Eventing can remain a challenging and even a risky sport, without self-destructing.

    3 horse falls at one jump on one day - rotational - has to wake someone up.
    Has it?

    Comment


    • #3
      Same stuff. Different day. New excuses.
      Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

      Comment


      • #4
        Atleast one of those falls would have been prevented had there not been a drop, the horse would have gotten his feet beneath him and carried on.

        I doubt the other two would have happened either because both were not snappy enough with their front end. I doubt these talented, well-trained horses who were ridden near perfectly to the jump would have caught their legs had they not as the crested the jump caught sight of the drop. I feel like they were just distracted as they raised that left leg. I can't see any other reason all of those horses would have had this problem otherwise.

        I feel like it is an interesting question to ask the horses but the problem is that the wrong answer seems to have too much risk. Hmm.....I am interested in hearing if other people think this type of obsticle should stay. I am currently undecided.
        “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

        !! is the new .

        Comment


        • #5
          This was from the other thread, and echoes my thoughts about what I perceive as a design problem exactly:

          Originally posted by Duramax View Post
          I was at the coffin when Dorothy and Radio Flyer fell. It was nearly the same exact thing- horse catches knee and then flips- almost identical to what was happening at the Hollow. (Although Dorothy said that she took one tug too many- so easy to do!!) I'm inclined to think that having very vertical rails as the first element of these combinations is not a good thing- the horse is coming off the ground with its front end right as it sees the next question (down bank or ditch, etc.) and that slows down their take-off or distracts them just enough so that they catch a leg. What about a "rampier" or more forgiving first element of these technical combinations?
          Blugal

          You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

          Comment


          • #6
            Again, following OVerandOnwards' excellent logic - at what point do we say, wait a minute, LET's LOOK AT THE COURSE DESIGN? After all, it is the single common denominator - yes there are others, but it seems that is the overwhelming one.

            Or is it that it is now accepted - this is what eventing has become, and now as much energy will be put into cleaning up the wrecks that will inevitably be made as was once put into those hours in the saddle when it was about fitness, and bravery.

            I am so discouraged with this sport. And, I have been a fan, member, loyal supporter(albeit on a small level) since the late 70's/early 80's. No, never an upper level rider, but I have watched/studied, read, and ridden, ok, only through training.

            Doesn't it seem that these courses are unfair to the horses, and rider's??

            Wasn't it Bruce that said he was tired of seeing purple faced riders having to kick and yank their way around?

            Or is that no one or not enough will say enough is enough, and the "sport" is what it is, now. With the exception of those organizers and designers that chose to stick to the truest form of the sport, XC will henceforward be a nasty, technical, tricky themepark that attempts to trick, and ultimately undermine the confidence of that special type of horse we who love them have always admired as an event horse.


            Ok, rant over.

            Overandonward - great thread!
            My big man - April 27, 1986 - September 04, 2008-
            You're with me every moment, my big red horse.

            Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I am not against challenging courses. I believe these horses are powerful and able, capable of far, far more than humans will ever ask of them. I am all for frangible pins and collapsibles.

              I believe that the way some of the questions have been presented have nothing to do with horse capability. They are magnets for disaster if something goes wonky. Other obstacles aren't so much.

              Especially focus on ... in case of fall, where will horse & rider land?

              Bounce at the top of a double-down???

              Everyone involved in the design of #20 should have known better. I don't care who they are. If they have lost their judgment, they need more supervision by those who have better judgment. Doesn't matter what grand things these designers have done in the past. The bloom is off the rose. Supervision is the accountability for those demonstrably going in the wrong direction. 3 horse falls - rotational - 1 jump - 1 day

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by *JumpIt* View Post
                I doubt these talented, well-trained horses who were ridden near perfectly to the jump would have caught their legs had they not as the crested the jump caught sight of the drop. I feel like they were just distracted as they raised that left leg. I can't see any other reason all of those horses would have had this problem otherwise.
                I think it was poor design for an XC fence, however, they were not ridden perfectly by any means. They put in an extra stride and all got there close, with no momentum, and tried to eek over... which is sometimes the right thing to do with the one stride to bank, but it obviously didn't work out for them...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post
                  Mike E-S has much 'splainin to do.
                  Or he could just retire...

                  .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I do see the point and actually wondered about the same thing myself. I guess everything is pretty clear through the retrospectroscope. It seemed that the consequences of a missed approach or bad distance or whatever to the first element of the hollow carried particularly severe potential consequences, none of which, thank the Lord, materialized. By that I mean no serious injuries resulted.
                    Last edited by riderboy; Apr. 26, 2010, 03:26 PM. Reason: clarification

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lkramer View Post
                      I think it was poor design for an XC fence, however, they were not ridden perfectly by any means. They put in an extra stride and all got there close, with no momentum, and tried to eek over... which is sometimes the right thing to do with the one stride to bank, but it obviously didn't work out for them...
                      eh....what do I know, hehe. What I mean by that really is they were being ridden by excellent riders.
                      “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

                      !! is the new .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The type of fence involved, vertical w/a bounce distance to a drop, has been done many times before successfully. Even w/ two drops, it's a completely fair test for 4* level.

                        IMO the fence could have been made safer by having a more rampy profile however. In fact, I've said many times that I think true vertical faces on fences should be elimated. Especially on tables or anything w/ width, as those are approached w/ more speed, which increases the risk if the horse gets too close.

                        Back in the old days of eventing, there were many fences w/ true vertical faces. But because in those days riders let their horses have more responsibility for their timing and footwork....IOW trained them to think for themselves, horses generally made less major mistakes at them.

                        Nowadays though....w/ riders micromanaging every detail for their horses (not allowing them to think for themselves), there are bound to be misshaps at any fence w/ a true vertical face when the rider is not absolutely perfect.

                        So IMO the answer is to either change the way horses are trained, going back to the objective of trusting the horses natural instincts, or completely eliminate all vertical faces on fences, making them all quite rampy.
                        http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          After watching vid and looking at pics... I'm in the camp of "poor course design." In this day and age of super technical XC, there needs to be more consideration of the consequences if someone does miss. I'm also not a fan of "surprise" questions with horses... (i.e. not seeing the down banks until it's "too late.")

                          JMHO,
                          Seb
                          Aca-Believe it!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What has the Hollow looked like in previous years? Wofford says it's a lefthanded approach this year but that's all I found.

                            Wondering if that rail appeared for the first time this year?
                            Talk to the Hoof

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Consider that all the horse falls save The Good Witch (and I'm still unclear whether is was just Jennifer that fell or if they both fell) came at the exact same type of element. The first water, the coffin, and the hollows all had a narrow, vertical, airy rail that had very looky or surprising combinations behind them on a downhill landing or bounce down. I think it is exactly as the previous poster stated, that the horses got their first look of what was ahead AND DOWN as they brought their feet up over the vertical, and hesitated enough to catch a leg. Make the first element either less airy, or more rampy. Preferably more rampy or round (like a rolltop).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                                IMO the fence could have been made safer by having a more rampy profile however. In fact, I've said many times that I think true vertical faces on fences should be elimated. Especially on tables or anything w/ width, as those are approached w/ more speed, which increases the risk if the horse gets too close.

                                Back in the old days of eventing, there were many fences w/ true vertical faces. But because in those days riders let their horses have more responsibility for their timing and footwork....IOW trained them to think for themselves, horses generally made less major mistakes at them.

                                Nowadays though....w/ riders micromanaging every detail for their horses (not allowing them to think for themselves), there are bound to be misshaps at any fence w/ a true vertical face when the rider is not absolutely perfect.

                                So IMO the answer is to either change the way horses are trained, going back to the objective of trusting the horses natural instincts, or completely eliminate all vertical faces on fences, making them all quite rampy.
                                You should watch the video I posted on this thread:

                                http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=254516

                                It includes an interview with Hugh Thomas (CD of badminton) where he shows several new very airy, vertical fences on this year's course and says that he has been "asked to design more upright fences of this nature" because riders have "become used to thinking that everything can be jumped from a gallop."

                                Really worth watching and shows that we have some very different out there about what direction UL courses are/should be headed

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My thoughts were that the upright face of the first fence...with a bounce to the steps was done to encourage riders to give those steps the right sort of ride....think bouncy coffin canter. This is a hard question later on course when a tired horse is perhaps pulling and more on its forehand and a rider may be more tired and not riding as effectively.....thus placing a big importance on being fit and prepared. So the fence should have helped pick the horse's eye up a little and prepare them for the drops down.

                                  All three falls...it looked like the riders never got the horses' balance completely back on their haunches or their canter collected enough. They jumped over their shoulders a bit leaving a leg behind....and I think the steps down afterwards made that an easy mistake for the horse to make.

                                  To me...I agree that it is an ugly result when it goes wrong. I'm not sure I would say it was an unfair question though.....I'd defer to those that rode it.
                                  ** 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


                                  • #18
                                    So since we don't have a rider to crucify for killing his horse this year, we are going to vilify Mikey E-S, a course designer who is universally well respected? It is certainly fair to analyze the fence and ask whether we want to continue presenting this type of question, but Mikey E-S's retirement is a TERRIBLE loss to the sport. He is an amazing advocate for the horses and probably knows as well or better than many riders what will go thru the horse's brain when it sees one of his fences.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I was there at Fence 20 and watched all three falls (we happened to get there right before the first one happened). I also watched about 10 pairs make it through there just fine, some had bobbles and balance problems, but nothing that looked scary or on the verge of control.

                                      I am on a business trip now and haven't had time to look at my video of all of those horses, but this is what I think...this is just my opinion.

                                      First, it wasn't a totally vertical face, there was another log like the top rail in front of it with flowers, etc. So the groundline was well defined and about a foot out from the base. We walked up on the whole thing after the last horse.

                                      Second, the riders that had trouble didn't have the canter they needed coming over the first element and then probably hesitated more when they saw what was coming. I will compare their canters with the other riders when I get home. What a previous poster said about them not having the hind end under enough and jumping over the shoulders is right on.

                                      Third, there was an OPTION at that first element that NO ONE I watched even looked at. If there is such concern that this is an unjumpable/unfair question, why not take the lone vertical and then circle around to the steps by themselves? I think that the answer lies somewhere around the idea that neither the riders, coaches or course designer thought it was a terribly unfair questions to begin with. A question that had to be ridden correctly and carefully, but not something that was outside the realm of their abilities. Taking the option at the top was what Mike E-S gave the riders who might not feel comfortable with the whole combination or who might have less horse under them at that point in the course than they planned. But, no one even glanced at it.

                                      I'm not sure what it all means, but I don't think we can make every obstacle foolproof and I don't know that arguing about the frangible pins is the right answer. Someone else posted that even if the fence had come down, that wouldn't have changed the fact that the horses were ridden to it in a way that didn't work out. I think this is the issue here. I saw a lot of horses on the course that looked tired. Tired horses early on, even by the head of the lake. Horses that looked like they were beat 3/4 of the way around. I think that is a huge contributing factor to all of this. And I think sometimes you just have a bad fence. Unfortunately, this is a high risk sport, and that bad fence could be unbelieveably costly, but we can't prevent every possible incident and still compete in our sport.

                                      Just my 2 cents from what I observed. I love this sport, and I hope that it will go back to its roots, with galloping and jumping out in the open as our main premise, not this technical, tight stuff we keep seeing.
                                      TPR!
                                      Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc
                                      www.goodhorse.org

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I did not see the falls in question. However, IMHO, this year's hollow was less terrifying to watch than last year's, when horses were jumping up the double banks to a fence on top (I believe a cabin). Horses without impulsion were flinging themselves and I became so convinced that someone was going to fall backwards down the bank that I had to stop watching that fence.

                                        This year, going down the bank was not nearly as scary to watch. And it wasn't the bank that made people fall, remember, it was the rail.

                                        I did see the Jump Jet refuse at the head of the lake, and was very glad to see the styrofoam log break perfectly. The horse did not even act stung. However, and just IMHO, even with a regular log I don't think this type of stop would have resulted in a rotational, as it was a true refusal and the horse made no effort to jump the fence. Without the new log he would definitely have been more banged up, though.

                                        Overall, I thought the course was MUCH horse-friendlier than recent years. There were no open corners or open oxers. Many, many of the jumps were topped with brush.

                                        No one is mentioning the new, max, triple table/brush element that rode beautifully with a nice forward gallop. Isn't that what people have been asking for?

                                        Comment

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