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Since its been lost in the Cracks thread..repost on its own merit. LOWER level issues

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  • Since its been lost in the Cracks thread..repost on its own merit. LOWER level issues

    I posted this in the Cracks in the foundation thread but I see now that that thread has gone the way of what I was saying overall...We are VERY quick nowadays to make excuses and blame other people for our problems.

    Soooo.... here's the original thoughts I had. Enjoy if you missed it before.

    You know it’s all well and good to criticize what’s going on at the top, but I think we're missing the biggest elements to this debacle, what’s going on at the bottom...

    Spend a weekend at a recognized bn-p event and then go to a bn-t unrecognized event. Over and over you'll see elements of the same "challenges" confronting the eventing world at the top but in grievous miniature at these levels.

    Control: Not as wide spread of a concept as it should be. And I don't mean, "Hey my horse pulled me at home, let's throw a gag on him and then I can event!" No I mean is the horse and rider going through all 3 phases in a manner that suggests that over all of the questions the horse will be obedient to the rider? I'll ignore the one or two moments where the xc machine horses get excited for a fly fence. That's fine. But in dressage are you seeing yanking for transitions? Are they doing their tests accurately by showing transitions at or very close to where they are expected? Or are they a full 5 strides beyond when they change?

    In stadium can they balance a horse on course without realigning its molars? Is it a round the spectators watch normally or are you seeing people turn away, look down and hear "peanut gallery noises"???

    On xc can the pairs maintain a pace appropriate for the challenges before them? Can they adjust said pace as needed, again without the molars being aligned or worse, removed? Do you watch them and think, “Wow this person's doing a nice round.” Or are you checking to see that yes the ambulance is in fact nearby.

    And over and over can they grasp that ascension to the next level should only come when they have successfully acquired and demonstrated that they have acquired the skill set of the level they're at now??? And are their trainers standing their ground enough to keep riders at levels where they belong and need to be until they hit their lightbulb moment and can safely move up a level????

    Now in my time spent spectating, fence judging and watching fellow competitors from the warm up I'd have to say we're batting at or near 50%. The other 50% should be demoted back a level. Now this isn't the same proportion at all levels. But I mainly have been watching Bn-P.

    The sport however rewrote the rules such that some of the bad 50% are in fact completing the requirements and bouncing up the levels. Not improving as they do so, just carrying forward a foundation built on sand. And this is clearly evident with some of the 2* and 3* riders. (Who I am saying have improved as their ascended but not as much as they could have) I heard over and over from Fair Hill CCI*** and CCI** last year how some of the 2* and 3* riders were sheer white at the thought of competing in mud. (Now let me say it was a lot of mud, I wouldn't enjoy it. But footing and weather are challenges of the sport. We all know that) But rather than say "Oh man I don't think I should ride out here, I think its best to scratch." the riders with all their baggage and fear went out, did horrible warm ups befitting of a D rated pony clubber and then at the first complex had their horses quit or sensing their anxiety. Where was the wise move there? What happened to learning how to send a horse through the deeper footing, supporting them knowing they’ll likely chip in more and need a lot more support and confidence from the rider?

    And this demonstrates very clearly my last point:

    RESPONSIBILITY

    Its not a fence's fault, it's not a judge's fault, it's not your trainer's fault, and it's not the fault of the little kid who purchased the illegal in Md, but not in Pa firework and shot it off at you and your horse as you approached the bugaboo water jump at plantation ....(Ok maybe I'd give you that one )

    Stop wasting time making excuses, suck it up that an outing found a weak spot you have and go spend the energy fixing the damn weak spot. I swear the walk through the barns at Plantation last fall after the CIC was like a whiner's convention. STOP! Own up that you or your horse made a mistake. We all do it. But if instead of blindly blaming something or someone else you take responsibility and work on it, then my God you may actually learn something and improve how the $300 plus of your entry fees gives you a return on your investment!!!

    All of these issues exist at all levels in some way, shape or form.

    And all of us need to look within ourselves and find where we aren’t making the grade and decide to work on ourselves. I am not suggesting walking up to another rider and telling them off about any of these issues. It’s a personal journey strapped into a team bus and that in and of itself makes for interesting dynamics. We all want the glory, we want the blue ribbon but we aren’t all prepared for the kind of inner dissection of your capacities (physical and mental) that it takes to get there. The (overall long term most consistent ) winners are the ones who don’t make excuses, who know “Crap! I knew I should have added a stride there and he felt weak and I didn’t give him enough gas. Ok I better work on it.” They’re frustrated and mad at a stop the same as everyone but instead of bitching they go home and fix it.

    Ok I think I have rambled enough and made enough of the things I think are killing us a whole, public.

    Feel free to debate. And of course for every rule there are exceptions. But I think the movie “He’s just not that into you” makes an EXTREMELY good point. People like to live thinking that the exceptions are the rules (Jane Doe trained herself and her ottb to the Olympics, so I can too!). And in fact they’re still the exceptions, if you could live by the rule thinking it’s the rule, (You’ll need a trainer at some point) then life would come and go a lot easier.


    ~Emily
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

  • #2
    It still boggles my mind, where I live, so many parents let their kids go to an event (or even jump at home) without a trainer. The parents are not "horsey" parents and have no clue. I feel like saying something but "Little Janie" can do no wrong, even though she has broken down three OTTBs in two years and cant complete a dressage test. But she sure goes fast cross country... "Look at her go!!!"

    I agree with so much of what you say, but this one really gets me. Safety is such an issue, why not invest in a trainer???

    Comment


    • #3
      If we're batting 50 percent, how do we get the other 50 percent into the fold? How do we encourage better riding, and better horsemanship? Should the USEA's "Style Award" program be ramped up? Should we send out the Equitation Police? Should we require "qualifying results" as far down as Novice and make the dressage score even lower? Require an ICP instructor sign the entry blank?
      Last time I looked the flag was still flying and it was still America and not communist Russia. This stuff can't be dictated, and even the unrecognized event management puts these events on to make money and can't walk up to Dangerous Susie on Reluctant Horsie and say, "you ride like crap, go home."
      An underground movement to encourage better riding is about the only way to go that I can think of. I don't think the debate is over what we see as a problem, just how to go about fixing it.
      We were at a marvelous little playground last Sunday, a place at which I have been trying to get a multi-day summer vacation adult eventing camp going for three years. Can't fill it, and you KNOW who I can get there to instruct and provide education. They. Just. Aren't. Interested.
      (Know how to ride, don't need no stinkin' instructor.)
      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, I am a young rider, and yes I am very aware of the fast moving up riders. I know one girl who wants nothing to do with prelim but bought a seasoned packer and her PARENTS are forcing her to move up! I'm not really sure where the trainer is in all this but the major push is the parents. They were talking to her about where her big move up would be after the girl had a fall at the show that weekend, girl was so white you'd think she was a ghost, with out even having the qualifications to move up. From what I've heard the girl also falls off once and crashes through a jump twice every jump lessons at home. I know this isn't any of my business considering I don't ride with this girl or her trainer and only see her at shows, but what are the parents thinking? I want to move up the upper levels but whenever I come across a road block I think to myself, "Hmm I could probably move up next show but would it be beneficial for me?" I don't need my parents to do that for me nor do I need my trainer. I might ask her opinion but I'm not going to let anyone push me a level up if I'm having doubts. But this girl makes me fell bad because I know, as bad as it may sound, that I'm a more solid if not better rider and I plan on staying at the level I'm at for at least another season, well past any qualification requirements.

        I don't think adding more qualifications would fix this issue though with the majority or young riders. Dumming down the courses for these type of people would only make it worse and the people really ridding at that level won't feel as accomplished. The only thing that will successfully stop this is if the trainer, parents, and even just spectators said something. I for one though have no desire of starting a conflict with the parents I mentioned by saying that I'm terrified watching their daughter jump around a novice course when shes going training already. Maybe the only way to stop this would be making a position for a judge at a show give at the end of the weekend-despite the outcome-and give a pass or fall rating of their ride of whether they can move up. Unfortunately I can not see anyone wanting to spend all weekend watching about 200 riders and determining whether or not they have the skills to be able to handle the next level because this should be dressage's, sj's, and xc's purpose. Yet their purpose has been undermined by riders going out and getting packers so that they can jump around clear.

        So what is there that can be done if our first tests aren't doing the job to discourage these riders from moving up?
        typos are my specialty

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SunkenMeadow View Post
          It still boggles my mind, where I live, so many parents let their kids go to an event (or even jump at home) without a trainer. The parents are not "horsey" parents and have no clue. I feel like saying something but "Little Janie" can do no wrong, even though she has broken down three OTTBs in two years and cant complete a dressage test. But she sure goes fast cross country... "Look at her go!!!"
          Oh god this. And worse, Little Janie starts taking in students at age 15 and becomes a coach! Because she figures she can stay on and make it around a course without dying, so she is awesome.

          My biggest issue with riders at the lower levels is horsemanship. I notice some scary riding, yes. But what breaks my heart the most is those riders sitting on their horse all day long, jumping the warmup fences a zillion times and galloping hell bent for 45 minutes in warmup, not getting off to cool them out after xc, loading them hot and sweaty onto the trailer and going off to enjoy the shopping. Running skinny horses, lame horses, very unfit horses and then whining about how its all their fault in the end. And oh the bits, in hands not ready for them.

          I realize Novice is not exactly the test of Rolex, but Novice horses are still only fit for Novice, its the top end of their current abilities, and they are still hot and breathing hard at the finish line. Riding back to the trailers is one thing, but not getting off at all while they stand around and chit chat with friends while the horse looks about to pass out really grinds my gears. And I cringe to think of the training schedules of these kids. Jumping and galloping 7 days a week! One was at my barn for a short time, she wouldnt ride for 2 months, come out and gallop the pony until it was soaked, jump around the ring through my Training/Prelim fences set on horse distances (her pony was 13.2). Chase to the corner I had set up and push long. She never once rode in a snaffle, her jumping bit was a 3 ring and her flat bit was a pelham. She took one lesson with my coach, who told her she had to change the way she rode to get good flatwork....girl refused to pay her for the lesson and then left while we were gone at a show.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bobthehorse View Post

            Riding back to the trailers is one thing, but not getting off at all while they stand around and chit chat with friends while the horse looks about to pass out really grinds my gears.
            This is one of my pet peeves. I was volunteering at a schooling show several months ago, helping out on X-C start/finish. It was very hot, and about 1 in the afternoon. A rider came off the training level x-c and proceeded to sit on her horse, halted, in the sun. After about ten minutes I told her that if she was worried about being in the way of warm-up if she stood in the shade, she wouldn't be and she was more than welcome to move her horse under the trees. She said no, she wanted to watch her friend's ride (friend went in another 10 minutes or so), and she could see better from out there. I offered to walk the horse if she wanted to stand on the fence to get a better view of her friend's ride, and her mother intervened and haughtily refused, saying horse was FINE. I was trying to phrase things so that I could get the horse a break without offending the rider, but being polite didn't work, and with no position of authority at the event I was uncomfortable being more blunt. A few minutes later, one of the organizers came by; I explained the situation, and the organizer spoke to the rider (while still being polite, but a little more blunt). Rider and mother were offended, but the point seemed to get across.

            My feet have always hit the ground about three seconds after we pass through the finish flags - it's just what I was taught growing up. The horse gave you a big effort out there, now it's your turn to take care of him (or her). Your horse is not a chair, a grandstand seat, or a motorcycle.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by lizajane09 View Post
              My feet have always hit the ground about three seconds after we pass through the finish flags - it's just what I was taught growing up. The horse gave you a big effort out there, now it's your turn to take care of him (or her). Your horse is not a chair, a grandstand seat, or a motorcycle.
              Me too. The girth and flash are undone before my gloves/helmet/vest come off too. And then I wash and scrape and walk and wash and scrape and walk until he is cool and breathing normal. No matter the level.

              Comment


              • #8
                I also think that if there was some way to encourage better horsemanship that a lot of the other problems would go away as well. It is a lot harder to ride dangerously when you are thinking about your horse first and the ribbon second. I wish there was an easy way to do something like a best condition award like they do in endurance for each level. Also requiring instructors is not the way to go either, many are not worth the paper their checks are written on and are often the cause of the problems.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think absolutely riders need better trainers when they are making dangerous decisions and not caring properly for their horses. You have to learn somewhere- that is the role of your coach- to teach you.

                  There is a serious lack of good lower level trainers in the country that teach riding and have the time to teach horsemanship. Yet that is what the kids need- they just don't know- their parents don't know, and sadly, in some cases the instructors are ignorant as well. Don't get me started on the poor instruction in my area,but it is very hard to find someone competent who is not a top level trainer (which a beginner really does not need). I see kids do things today that my trainer would have KILLED me for (riding in FLIP FLOPS, cussing out bill paying mom, jumping a shoeless horse, handing off hot pony to mom to go play with friends)....

                  I think ultimately parents don't get that riding well is more than the skills of staying on or jumping high, so they don't value the slightly more expensive trainer who does... flat work.... or takes the time to talk about farrier work or explain worming schedules or demands kids to put the horses away correctly. My HJ trainer is just that- have noticed many of her students are the kids of parents who rode- who pay more knowing she is quality.

                  It's really hard to find event trainers that fall between scary local teen or clueless adult and BNT who lacks the time to be a mentor. I know of a few in my area, but there are not enough of them, and I see them lose clients to scary trainers for stupid reasons.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ooooooh, easy there on the people riding skinny horses... we're trying, we're trying. 5 year OTTB. Alfalfa, all he can eat grass, beet pulp, Equine Senior, flax, rice bran & oil. Teeth done. Blood work and urine normal. Doesn't care about eating, drops weight every time he gets in the trailer. We're trying...
                    http://albigears.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by magnolia73 View Post
                      I know of a few in my area, but there are not enough of them, and I see them lose clients to scary trainers for stupid reasons.
                      This. Wanna know how many junior students I've had walk with their parents' blessing because I refused to let them move up, or make the jumps bigger?

                      I did have one girl ask at one point, how come so and so gets to go training and I'm going BN? And I said, kindly, "because so and so has been here, six days a week, for a minimum of four hours a day, taking 2-3 lessons a week, for the last three years, and can completely care for her horse and herself. You barely make it three days a week, you are here for a hour tops, and you don't make any additional effort."

                      She moved to a different trainer.

                      This may not be the spot, but when it comes to junior riders at this juncture, I'm seeing a real change in culture, that often originates with the parents. I don't know why this is, but the day of the barn rat seems to be over. The best kids I have, who are dedicated, and love being at the barn, etc. are still not at the barn as much as I was at the time because their parents insist they do other things, be involved in their school, etc. There is always a play, a concert, another sport, you name it. And that then leads to a lot of pressure to perform at the show, because of what they are "giving up" to be there.

                      It's not good enough to be tenth, with a clean xc, because they had to skip band practice, and miss a soccer game, so they need a ribbon!

                      It's tough out here folks. The grass roots are sharp and pointy in places.
                      Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
                      Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
                      www.phoenixsporthorses.com
                      Check out my new blog: http://califcountrymom.blogspot.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I did notice, at a Pony-Club schooling event earlier this year, a young girl on a completely unprepared out-of-control OTTB, where the PC DC in charge did have words with her, and at one point made her get off, sort out her helmet (clinging vaguely to the back of her head with the throatlatch flapping ,....)

                        Incidentally, and I think this is OT ... but I watched a girl run XC at a recognised event a couple of weeks later, with the strap on her helmet so loose, it was hanging a good 3 inches BELOW her chin ! Is that not in some safety rule ? I didn't say anything, btw, to my shame, I should have done, even though I was only a bystander, but I didn't notice it til the starter had started the countdown.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Would someone please explain why an instructor must have two students going Novice before they can enroll in the ICP program?

                          If we want better instructors for the lower levels, should not the program be available before the students are going Novice?
                          When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by albigears View Post
                            Ooooooh, easy there on the people riding skinny horses... we're trying, we're trying. 5 year OTTB. Alfalfa, all he can eat grass, beet pulp, Equine Senior, flax, rice bran & oil. Teeth done. Blood work and urine normal. Doesn't care about eating, drops weight every time he gets in the trailer. We're trying...
                            Personally, I'd rather see a horse slightly lean than obese.
                            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Having a good instructor has made a night and day difference in how I perceive my riding. I started working with a couple of great instructors about 4 months ago after stumbling along on my own for a few years (only at BN mind you). It's amazing all the things I have learned in such a short period of time. Unfortunately I can't take as many lessons as I would like (1 or 2 a month if I'm lucky) due to time, family, money, work, etc., but having the guidance at shows and having a plan for at home between lessons has made all of the difference in the world for me.

                              I'm 36 years old and I plan to stay at BN until I'm confident and my trainers are confident that I can make the move to N safely.
                              Harmonys Maestro: 1992-2008 RIP
                              Harlequinn - redhead extraordinaire

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by albigears View Post
                                Ooooooh, easy there on the people riding skinny horses... we're trying, we're trying. 5 year OTTB. Alfalfa, all he can eat grass, beet pulp, Equine Senior, flax, rice bran & oil. Teeth done. Blood work and urine normal. Doesn't care about eating, drops weight every time he gets in the trailer. We're trying...
                                I realize some horses are hard, but there is no excuse to take a horse with a full set of ribs showing, hips hanging out, croup sticking out - to an event and show it. For some reason it especially bugs me when they have obese riders on top.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  THIS is the thread that needs attention. As a CONSUMER of trainer's "products" it seems to me that there is really a lack of emphasis on preparing for x-c.

                                  Of course there is the requisite x-c schooling, but that, IMHO, does little to prepare a horse and rider for the actual task of going cross county alone on game day. Schooling days are PACKED with riders (making it impossible to put more than 2 fences in a row together without having a crash), and attended in groups (never forcing the horse and rider to leave the herd).

                                  I was a H/J rider until my teens and started foxhunting at about 12. However, no one ever taught me to ride x-c. Foxhunting alone does not TEACH someone to ride x-c effectively and safely. I found that out the hard way by hunting for years without any guidance and getting QUITE hurt since I never was told how to ride defensively x-c. Perhaps this is intuitive for some. For me it was not.

                                  In sum: I REALLY wish that someone had taught me to ride x-c safely and effectively before I got so hurt. Now I have fragile confidence and I am not sure that that is entirely repairable. I started eventing since my foxhunting accident and I STILL have not really been able to find a trainer that can break down x-c riding into teachable skills. I do not think that it is reasonable to require ammies to just "get the feel by doing it" as the casualties that will inevitably result do nothing to help our phenomenal sport.
                                  "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by magnolia73 View Post
                                    I think absolutely riders need better trainers when they are making dangerous decisions and not caring properly for their horses. You have to learn somewhere- that is the role of your coach- to teach you.
                                    My coach was more like a mentor for me, she had me since I was 10. But I dont see her being as proactive with her students now, maybe because they arent so young. But there are a few of her students that dont take her quite as seriously as I did/do and they just say "yeah yeah" and go off and do as they please. What can she really do? Not her horse, not her barn, but for some reason they keep coming back for lessons, and she keeps trying to change their attitudes. Now that I think about it, the worst students are the ones with the most arrogant, know it all parents....hmmm.

                                    She taught me everything from bandaging to riding to taking temps to braiding to first aid to building a conditioning program. And maybe she knew I would listen, but she never tolerated any bad attitudes towards the horse. And even at 10 I knew I had to put in my flatwork and not overjump my horse. I took everything seriously because she told me everything was serious, and I still do. It may only be a 3' fence, but there is no excuse for bad riding. And its never ever my horses' fault!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What I have learned about horses started with my 4-h leader. The hunter or dressage trainers never got involved with actual horse care. Owners were left to figure it out on their own. Without someone to guide you through stable/horse management, how do you learn?

                                      It's more than just bad riding that's at stake, it's horse care.
                                      Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.

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                                      • #20
                                        We dont school xc often, but when we do its usually 1 or 2 people out on the course alone. We are lucky. Its not our course but most places in the area allow schooling apart from 2 weeks before an event, so we trailer in a have a lesson.

                                        I think more than anything, hacking preps you for xc. Hills, woods, puddles, fallen trees, ditches, roads, rocks, wildlife, trotting, cantering, galloping. Going into a new place and dealing with it. That takes care of bold attitude towards the unknown, pace control, bond with the horse, stickability, change in terrain and forward thinking.

                                        The xc questions, coffins, corners, skinnies, turning, bounces, half striding - you can build in the ring so the horse at least understands the questions being asked. Of course its not the same, but if they did a pole corner over and over and they see a real one, they at least have some experience to draw on. I think I find it more useful than xc schooling in a way, because we both feel more relaxed seeing something for the first time in a fall downable situation. Then on course, they are like oh yeah, and they seem to have an easier time understanding the question. Not just the horses, the riders too.

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