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Jimmy Wofford comments in PH

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  • Jimmy Wofford comments in PH

    Forgive an HP from wandering over from the land of show name and fashion threads on a gloomy and rainy day but...

    I happened to pick up a copy of PH over the weekend and enjoyed his thoughts on the current state of Eventing. Kind of hard on some and I wondered how it struck you all over here.

    Even though I do not Event or even closely follow it, I think he made some thought provoking comments a la GM. Think he is dead on target too.

    I especially liked something that went like this "...you have two chances. Slim and None. And Slim just passed out watching you careen around the warm up ring."

    Should be good for some discussion.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

  • #2
    I have not read the entire article yet but was hoping to see someone post on this. I loved that quote by him..the slim and none one I think this is a really good topic and I am interested in what everyone has to say.

    Comment


    • #3
      Findeight I burst out laughing and kept rereading that "Slim and None" comment, it was just too funny!
      I thought the article was really well-written and appreciated his giving an approving nod to other disciplines.

      Comment


      • #4
        findeight, my PH came this w/e but I have not read it yet... but if you want to find out how eventers feel about the current state of eventing, check out the already very long thread on "should we be looking to training issues"

        Eventers are, and have been, VERY concerned about the state of our sport for quite some time.

        I for one would appreciate a viewpoint of "other" sports- how is eventing currently viewed by the rest of equestrian-dom? Maybe an outside viewpoint or suggestions for improvement would be helpful, or at least give us another angle that we maybe cannot see from within.
        ~Living the life I imagined~

        Comment


        • #5
          Theres a video of eventing in the 80's that I watched not too long ago, I'll find the link later, it seemed so much less dangerous! And wasn't eventing designed to test hunt horses out or something? I don't think you're going to run into many giant wooden ducks that require you to jump over, on a hunt. Just my beginner opinion though.

          http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...98433323996010

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Think you are becoming aware there are serious Eventers and then there are people who think they are serious Eventers just like we have "real" Hunter and Jumper riders/trainers and...well...a whole lot that aren't. Some that have no business in the ring too.

            Maybe some bad training and trainers starting to creep in there.

            Your sport is getting more, not less, popular on lower levels-quite the double edged sword.

            And, no, Eventing was not designed to test Hunt horses. It evolved out of testing cavalry horses to ride into battle-and get shot up. I'll take the ducks.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think the BIGGEST issue with all horse sports is the varying quality of training. I was visiting my old riding instructor and she was commenting on the poor quality of training among hunters and well, frankly the scariness of eventing. There are really excellent trainers - but then there are many who should not be teaching.

              What I hear most frequently is that eventers are scary and reckless with their horses and that they buy lower quality horses. I think its 90% untrue. When I rode with eventers, the gripe was that hunters "can't ride" and buy horses that do the work- again, 90% untrue.

              The best eventers and hunters are so similar- choosing good matches for their goals, lots of flat work, emphasis on control over fences, good form over fences for horse and rider. Moving up when capable.

              The worst eventers and hunters are similar- no regard for riding or "control", no emphasis on proper seat, not doing quality flatwork, showing in whatever division is there.

              My criticism of eventing would be that people move up too soon. I saw a few too many people happy to get around- as if getting around was an invite to move up. Too few comments on the quality of rounds (jumping) from trainers. Too many green riders on horses with shortcomings. Too many people who's form over fences interfered with the horse (catching horses in the mouth). Too little criticism in general.

              My positive views include the DIY attitude and knowledge of horse care at all levels, gratitude towards the horse, willingness of trainers to work with any one on any horse.

              Plus, you really notice the bad 10% more than the decent 90%. It really is scary to watch some people ride.

              Comment


              • #8
                I read the PH article by Wofford and I agree with much of his commentary. However, I think it is important to point out that he specifically referred to the issue of riders moving up too soon with his "slim to none" comment and particularly referred to moving up from Training to Prelim where SPEED in terms of the XC is a huge factor of rider readiness which ultimately determines safety.

                If you take a look at the lengthy thread regarding training issues you will find that the majority consensus seems to agree that there is a problem with riders moving up too soon in some cases. How can we fix this?? We're all putting our heads together to figure that out. Stricter qualifying regulations as well as age restrictions would be helpful in that regard I believe.

                I also agree with Wofford's comments on "more soft riders". I personally think the shortage of quality trainers who teach correct and soft riding is not solely limited to eventing trainers either I noticed alot of driving with the legs followed by see sawing w/ the reins etc... in the Dressage warm up of a BN/N rated HT where I was a ring steward. I even noticed a "pro" on a green horse employing this technique and was puzzled. A good dressage trainer will not allow a rider to pull or see saw the reins at all...ever. Afterall a correct frame is the result of balance and impulsion from behind and is never the result of see sawing, pulling or restricting hands.

                Wofford also commented on the lack of varied riding experiences among eventers. This is where I have to disagree with Woffords comments. I tend to think that eventers ride with trainers of other disciplines and experience riding outside of "eventing" on average much more than riders in other disciplines. Afterall, we are required to know something about dressage(hence our inclination to train with dressage pros), many of us ride/clinic with H/J/EQ trainers to improve our stadium rounds or fine tune our Eq over fences as well. Some of us don't even have an "eventing" specific trainer to begin with. Quite a few eventers use foxhunting to keep their riding and horses sharp over XC terrain beyond the event season. I think you'd be alot more likely to find an eventer at a gymkana or working cattle than riders from some of the other english disciplines, but of course that's only my opinion

                Lastly it seems eventers have a reputation for having bad form O/F or Eq. I am not sure when/where this "reputation" began but if you take a look at the wealth of photos from many of the eventers on this board on the current photo sharing thread your not going to see a whole lot of legs sliding back,laying on the horses neck or grabbing in the mouth. On the contrary you will find alot of balanced positions, flat backs as well as a tight secure legs and an appropriate release. I think that thread speaks for itself as far as the level of quality riding in the majority of eventers today. There will always be poor examples of riding in a given discipline but those examples (if the minority) should NOT blemish the reputation of the discipline as a whole. JMHO

                As far as the growing popularity of the lower levels being plagued by some inadequate riding?? Again this is not limited to eventing. It is a problem in nearly every discipline. I personally believe this is the result of improper training/horsemanship all around at the lower levels. Those riders that have weak skills in the lower levels are going to have a hard time moving up the levels successfully. We cannot judge the future of eventing based on some of the rounds you may see at BN/N just as you can't judge the future of the Reg. Workings based on what you see in the Modified Adults

                Of course this all JMHO feel free to disagree

                Comment


                • #9
                  TYhanks, but, I mustdisagree!

                  rockmylittlesoxThanks for posting the video; it was great to watch the "legends" I must disagree with you over the issue of safety; Those fences were far less forgiving, and a mistake meant a hard fall or worse, I don';t recall any deaths but one at the Worlds at Luhmulen; at a table, horse fell and landed on the rider; Look at the number of max drops in the Badminton video, definitely harder on the horse; and the horses in the video have already done steeplechase and roads and tracks, so,their "blood is up !" Also those were the days where it was possible to earn bonus points for speed, ie., coming in under the time; doing away with that plus the full format and huge fly fences was intended to save the horses , and require better riding, hence "more technical fences " causing glance offs rather than falls; actuallythere are spots at Rolex with big solid fly fences much like those at Badminton. remember eventing has undergone massive revision to satisfy the :humaniacs : who complained about the falls in the individual at Sydney, though, I personally don't remember any; and the short format was taken up allegedly to keep eventing in the Olympics; and be aesir on the horses; I , too, find it interesting that so many deaths have occurred after the short format came into use; Lots of indifferent factors to be considered here; David and th ecommittee will be busy; I would like to see some statistics on the frequency of falls/ injuries in the long format versus the short format there there were plenty of "dangerous fences "back in those days; there were at least 3 horse fatalities at Badminton in '92; and, in the year I went to the convention, there had also been been several horse deaths, and that was a major topic; of discussion I recall that Dr. . Mayo dvm. commented on the injuries he was s seeing, and suggested collapsible fences; Karen and others ,of course, stood up and said that they wanted the fences solid, so that the horse knew he had to jump and jump clean or it would hurt; In the past concern has been over the horse fatalities, because rider fatalities were rare; as someone pointed out there are now more riders starting more times; I have not heard of any one factor, tiredness , poor lighting, or horse and rider having a :bad day: int falls resulting in rider deaths; certainly the rotational falls do seem to predominate, but, how do we ""legislate " those out of eventing? Jumping solid fences at speed will always have that element of risk







                  Originally posted by rockmylittlesox View Post
                  Theres a video of eventing in the 80's that I watched not too long ago, I'll find the link later, it seemed so much less dangerous! And wasn't eventing designed to test hunt horses out or something? I don't think you're going to run into many giant wooden ducks that require you to jump over, on a hunt. Just my beginner opinion though.

                  http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...98433323996010
                  Thanks, but, I must disagree!
                  Last edited by Carol Ames; Nov. 27, 2007, 12:38 AM. Reason: typos
                  breeder of Mercury!

                  remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have to compare the combinations in that video with the ones that I was standing in front of by the infield water at Rolex two years ago. In the Badminton video, the horses galloped the combinations. At Rolex, the horses had to slow down so much for the combinations, I thought they were going to start cantering in place. It was scary to watch showjumping out on the XC course, but that's what the fences were calling for.
                    Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I also agree with Wofford's comments on "more soft riders". I personally think the shortage of quality trainers who teach correct and soft riding is not solely limited to eventing trainers either I noticed alot of driving with the legs followed by see sawing w/ the reins etc... in the Dressage warm up of a BN/N rated HT where I was a ring steward. I even noticed a "pro" on a green horse employing this technique and was puzzled. A good dressage trainer will not allow a rider to pull or see saw the reins at all...ever. Afterall a correct frame is the result of balance and impulsion from behind and is never the result of see sawing, pulling or restricting hands.
                      This was the point that stuck in my mind the most, too. I really think it is far too prevalent and is closely associated, in fact, with the "move up fast" mentality. It takes time to get the horse truly through and using its back. [I'm also being hit with it over and over again since Kev doesn't like to be bottled up at ALL and has a wicked capriole.]

                      I also agreed with him wholeheartedly that too few (no, not NONE) eventers cross train. I admired Gina Miles for doing Level 7 jumpers with McKinleigh. How many others take time out of their eventing schedules to focus on (and COMPETE in) just one of the phases? I have, however, met a couple of younger riders who gallop racehorses. [Trouble with that is that it doesn't exactly edumucate the hands.]

                      And lastly, I really, really, truly agree with him that eventers need to appreciate hunters one heck of a lot more. Quiet, effective rides are so extremely rare in stadium, IMO.
                      Sportponies Unlimited
                      Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I haven't read the article but I will go find a PH while I am out today.

                        Quite a few eventers use foxhunting to keep their riding and horses sharp over XC terrain beyond the event season.
                        Using foxhunting to sharpen your horse over terrain before or after event season doesn't really work in areas where the two seasons are running at the same time. In the south you either event with an occasional dabble in the the hunt field or you hunt with the occasional dabble in eventing. I know that I wouldn't risk hunting my event horse in the middle of the prime of eventing season. I can't afford to lose my entry fees if something should happen on a hunt. Plus it's not my love so why would I risk an injury doing something I'm not excited about? I can go out on my own and gallop over uneven terrain where I am in control of speed and what kind of muck my horse runs through.

                        Honestly there are few events these days that have the type of terrain we dealt with 20yrs ago. I remember that water jumps used to be truly natural and you had to walk through it to find where the crappy areas were. Now a days you don't see too many people feeling the need to wade through the water to look for mucky spots and holes. Footing is more groomed all around and you rarely get really mucked up spots on course.

                        I agree with Carol that the fences of the olden days were not any safer. If you saw those fences in person you'd think differently about them being safer. Especially at the local level course design and fence building practices could be scary. Most courses were random jumps placed out in the fields with weird ground lines, strange placement, scary building techniques, and many were very airy. I prefer the design and build of today's courses. I know at most events I got to there is a rhyme and reason for fence placement and build other than we need another fence so lets put one here. Though I would say my only complaint is today's ditches. At the lower levels we used to have more ditches that were not riveted or only riveted on one side making introducing ditches more friendly. I can remember rarely seeing a ditch riveted on both sides unless it was training level, occasionally I would find one on a novice course.
                        http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/pinkngreen

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I forgot, the wind surfers in the foreground at the end of the video cracked me up! Oh the 80's!
                          http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/pinkngreen

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pinkngreen View Post
                            Using foxhunting to sharpen your horse over terrain before or after event season doesn't really work in areas where the two seasons are running at the same time. In the south you either event with an occasional dabble in the the hunt field or you hunt with the occasional dabble in eventing. I know that I wouldn't risk hunting my event horse in the middle of the prime of eventing season. I can't afford to lose my entry fees if something should happen on a hunt. Plus it's not my love so why would I risk an injury doing something I'm not excited about? I can go out on my own and gallop over uneven terrain where I am in control of speed and what kind of muck my horse runs through.

                            .
                            Very good points!! I live up North so I did not even think of what eventers in other Areas may or may not cross train in as a result of schedule conflict. Up here the event season has come to an end before the formal hunt season begins so quite a few eventers take advantage of the hunts to keep themselves and/or their horses in shape. I also agree with you that there IS alot more risk involved with hunting than the XC portion of eventing(at the lower levels especially). The footing can be unpredicatable and the approach and landing of some of the jumps in the hunt field are far more trickier than anything I've encountered at the BN level in eventing This is because hunts must place their fences in areas that landowners approve of and they usually have to have a go around so sometimes fences are placed in a grouping of trees, at the bottom or top of steep hill etc.... All in all though foxhunting (even at 2nd flight) has really taught me what I need to work on as far as riding in the open! I can say for sure that what I have learned from foxhunting far exceeds what I have learned from galloping/riding in the open at my own pace with one or two other people. Even hunting with 2nd flight is much more difficult(for me) than anything I have faced at the low levels of eventing XC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Go Pwynnnorman

                              Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post

                              And lastly, I really, really, truly agree with him that eventers need to appreciate hunters one heck of a lot more. Quiet, effective rides are so extremely rare in stadium, IMO.

                              Here Here!!! I started eventing after years in the H/J land. In fact I went from indoors to my first event at the age of 15. And while the whole dressage thing took a while to get into my thick teenage skull; my H/J back ground always served me well in the HT world.

                              When I was on college, I left my horse at home, and was the ultimate hitch-hiker. If you have a horse I would ride it. I was luck in that my H/J trainer was OLD SCHOOL. OLDER THAN GEORGE MORRIS! And those skills always served me well on the borrowed hunt horses, eventers, etc. that I jumped for 5 years.

                              But Eventers are so dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. With the INSANE over-evaulation of dressage at the upper levels, what is the incentive for a competive junior to really learn to ride quietly. The sport rewards getting over the fence, not getting over it nicely.

                              But back in the day of the three day, you and the horse had to jump in a more 'quiet' way. Who the hell wanted to jump all the XC and the stadium fences, and the stepple chase fences like you were doing twister on the back of your horse? The clean quiet ride is more efficent.
                              If you can see it, your doing it wrong...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
                                I also agreed with him wholeheartedly that too few (no, not NONE) eventers cross train. I admired Gina Miles for doing Level 7 jumpers with McKinleigh. How many others take time out of their eventing schedules to focus on (and COMPETE in) just one of the phases? I have, however, met a couple of younger riders who gallop racehorses. [Trouble with that is that it doesn't exactly edumucate the hands.]

                                And lastly, I really, really, truly agree with him that eventers need to appreciate hunters one heck of a lot more. Quiet, effective rides are so extremely rare in stadium, IMO.
                                Most of the people I event with do some cross training in the winter, either dressage or show jumping.
                                Most of the people I event with also have a good understanding of hunters and truly appreciate how far from simple it is. A group of us met at the Cup Classes at the Royal this year specifically to see the young hunters.
                                Having galloped up to 16 horses a day I can say for certain that it does educate the hands and teaches one how to gallop properly. Even on a race horse you have to be supple and ask the horse to come through from behind. Riding work helps to teach you to use your hands less and your legs/stick more. There is nothing worse than riding a youngster that won't come through and gallops around like a camel.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
                                  I also agreed with him wholeheartedly that too few (no, not NONE) eventers cross train. I admired Gina Miles for doing Level 7 jumpers with McKinleigh. How many others take time out of their eventing schedules to focus on (and COMPETE in) just one of the phases?.
                                  Most of the eventers I know DO cross train.

                                  Gillian just got back from a week plus doing jumpers (level 5 IIRC) with Sportscar at Raleigh.

                                  I do straight jumpers with Belle, straight dressage with Music (and Spy), and hunters with the young ones (Brain when I had him and Chief when he is ready).

                                  Wendy Bebie fox hunts

                                  Yvomme Lucas does straight jumpers and straight (upper level) dressage.

                                  I am having a hard time thinking of someone I know that DOESN'T cross train.
                                  Janet

                                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I haven't been to any events in the last few years (waiting for baby horse to grow up), but when I did there was a lot of out of control crosscountry and stadium rounds. More than 10%. One thing that bugged me were some of the ridiculous stadium rounds for BN and N -- they rode more like a showjumping jump-off than a stadium round for people starting out. Turns were way too sharp and frequent, etc. Get people jumping in good tempo and balance before throwing more advanced stuff at them.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                      .

                                      I am having a hard time thinking of someone I know that DOESN'T cross train.
                                      Precisely why I was puzzled by Woffords commentary on a lack of cross training. Most of the eventers I know are BN - Training and some are very serious competitors on the national level. However, ALL of them either do jumpers, foxhunt, USDF dressage shows or at least something in addition to Eventing. I can't say I know alot of upper level eventers personally but I would think at that level it would be wise to compete in both Jumpers and Dressage beyond the regular Event season in their given Areas. In addition, in our area the riders that regularly clean up in Dressage at the lower levels are the riders who ALSO compete at the Dressage shows (and are competitive there as well)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I think that some of us forget that sometimes people have bad days. I would say that generally my rounds are safe and clean, however I was embarrassed for myself after my last stadium round this fall. I got lost twice and presented very poorly to a triple combination, resulting in a stop at the second element. I had dodged jumps to get back on course prior to that having gotten lost after the fourth fence. It was a mess and I was certain that people were snickering about my dangerous riding. I probably would have been better to have pulled up but I didn't and ended up having a eight fault round with time faults.
                                        I guess the question is, why didn't I pull up. I don't know. It didn't cross my mind. What did cross my mind was, how am I going to get back on course and get things going better.

                                        I guess we also forget that horses have bad/weird days too.
                                        I remember a time earlier this year when I rode a course much faster than I had in the past. This was again stadium. My horse literally took control and I had to haul her back several times to get the right canter to the jump. This is a horse who is normally very adjustable. Sometimes the horse takes you by suprise and behaves very differently than they usually do. Sometimes the rider just doesn't react as quickly to it as they should.

                                        The thing is that when this happens at N or T the horse can usually jump out of any trouble spots. When it's P or I the mistake can be fatal.

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