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Oxers--back rail lower?

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  • Oxers--back rail lower?

    Is it legal to have the back rail of an oxer lower than the front rail in an Equitation class? Nothing I can do about it now but curious as to the rules.

    Situation:
    At a state h/j association show somehow set the back rail of an oxer lower than the front rail. It was not set this way for previous divisions, the mistake was made during the course change before my division (3ft). Somehow the first 10 people that went did not notice or care and there were a number of bad spots to this fence. I didn't notice it as I went into the arena but 3 strides out I sure noticed it and we got a pretty awful spot to it as my horse gave it the evil eye. I exited the arena and promptly informed the gate steward that one of the oxers was set backwards. She looked at me like I was crazy, talked on her radio, then told me that since the class had already begun it had to remain set that way. They promised to correct it for the Medal class to follow the Eq division.

    I guess that was a fair decision but I, personally, was mortified riding up to a 3' oxer with a pretty big spread and that sneaky back rail. And naturally my horse spooked at it again in the Medal even after it was corrected. Was it legal for them to run the class with the back rail lower? Did they make the right decision to continue the class with said oxer as is?

    (I tried to look it up in the rule book, but alas I did not succeed)
    Last edited by SkipChange; Oct. 14, 2009, 11:55 PM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    I don't see it in the equitation rules, but courses are addressed in the hunter rules.

    Check HU 119.3 and HU 122.4 for details.

    Basically, the back rail of an oxer should be 3" higher (though technically the rule doesn't say higher), and if a mistake in the course is not noticed by the time three entries have gone, the course stays the same for the rest of that class.

    Comment


    • #3
      I could be wrong, so check your facts. I thought an oxer with a lower back rail was called an 'offset'. I frequently see in prizelists that there are "no offsets or poling in the schooing area", leading me to conclude that it was an error in the showring.

      Sorry to hear about this. What a bummer.
      ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~

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      • #4
        That seems like a dangerous rule. Off set oxers can cause major problems...especially when sprung on horses and riders. Perhaps not as big a deal at the 3ft level but it's still possible for a horse to misjudge it and get hung up in the back rail. I know some people use them to make horses more careful or to trick them into having a rail (not condoning or agreeing with this practice) but in a show situation that just seems plain dangerous.

        I suppose it does depend on just how off set it was too. One hole off I can see being overlooked. 2-3 holes off I can't.

        Comment


        • #5
          I Canada, anyways, I'm pretty sure that is illegal at shows.

          I also believe it is called an off set oxer which is how the prize list usually seems to address it. It is dangerous, particularly with larger jumps and is sometimes used as a kind of nasty training technique.
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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by MHM View Post
            I don't see it in the equitation rules, but courses are addressed in the hunter rules.

            Check HU 119.3 and HU 122.4 for details.

            Basically, the back rail of an oxer should be 3" higher (though technically the rule doesn't say higher), and if a mistake in the course is not noticed by the time three entries have gone, the course stays the same for the rest of that class.
            Thanks, that's what I figured was the case. Went to the section of the rulebook, makes sense.

            Originally posted by snaffle635 View Post
            I could be wrong, so check your facts. I thought an oxer with a lower back rail was called an 'offset'. I frequently see in prizelists that there are "no offsets or poling in the schooing area", leading me to conclude that it was an error in the showring.

            Sorry to hear about this. What a bummer.
            This is why I was a bit miffed. I was a little concerned about safety of jumping such a fence. Luckily I was riding a horse I usually showed 3'6" so I figured we'd clear it but was really concerned by how much he spooked at it and was praying I wouldn't get a refusal.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ofsets (back rail lower) are illegal in competition, and for schooling at the show, but that can be a very useful (not nasty) schooling exercise. When used correctly, it is NOT "to make horses more careful or to trick them into having a rail" but to improve their form.

              When using offsets for schooling you have to introduce them in a way so that the horse KNOWS the back rail is there. That is why they are not legal at the show.

              For HUNTERS, the back rail should be 3" higher, but for Jumpers (and I presume for Eq) you can have the front rail and the back rail at the same height.

              But, unfortunately, you can't change it after half the class has gone, even if it is set wrong.
              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).

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              • #8
                Is there a rule somewhere someone can reference?

                ETA: Sorry, just saw the 122.4 rule referenced by MHM that does indeed say that there has to be a 3" difference between front and back rails. I will go back to my jumper world now!

                I just had this conversation with Greg Best at a clinic. We were discussing the fact that there's no rule stating that offsets are illegal in the show ring, which came up because one of the jumps in the Jr/AO Jumper finals class I rode in a few weeks ago was an oxer with a plank front rail that was a couple of inches higher than the pole back rail. He was commenting on a particularly tough course designer who is notorious for setting offset oxers (and more significantly than a couple of inches) in Grand Prixes. So as far as I know there's no specific rule against offsets in the show ring. But it could be different for hunters and jumpers and I'm not nearly as familiar with the hunter/eq/medal rules. (again, ETA that it is indeed different for hunters!)

                As a side note, despite the fact that swedish oxers are illegal in the schooling ring they are completely legal (and used frequently) in the show ring. I would assume the same for offsets. Lots of room for abusing both in the schooling ring which is why they've been banned from there.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Janet View Post
                  But, unfortunately, you can't change it after half the class has gone, even if it is set wrong.
                  Off topic, I learned this the hard way. I was showing in the A/O's at the Menlo Circus Club show back in 2000 (George Morris was one of the judges) and the first few riders were having horrible biffs at one line - everyone got there too short and had to either add a stride or leave from three miles away. My trainer told me to ride in forward and get the distance. OK, major chip. After some of the top A/O riders in the state had problems, the course designer was called in and it turned out the line was set incorrectly (ya think?). But since the class was halfway done, they had to keep it that way. I always thought it was unfair that the later riders knew the situation and could add a stride (arguably not the ideal choice in a "normal" class but a far better choice that launching and having a gasper or doing the chip that many of us did). When the class ended, the younger A/O's had the line set correctly, of course!
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                  • #10
                    ljc-

                    Was there not a course walk before the class? If so, I would think somebody would have caught it then if it was flat out set wrong.

                    It's the same with adjusting the time allowed. The judge has to change it by (or after) the third rider, or leave it alone for the rest of the class.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ljc View Post
                      Off topic, I learned this the hard way. I was showing in the A/O's at the Menlo Circus Club show back in 2000 (George Morris was one of the judges) and the first few riders were having horrible biffs at one line - everyone got there too short and had to either add a stride or leave from three miles away. My trainer told me to ride in forward and get the distance. OK, major chip. After some of the top A/O riders in the state had problems, the course designer was called in and it turned out the line was set incorrectly (ya think?). But since the class was halfway done, they had to keep it that way. I always thought it was unfair that the later riders knew the situation and could add a stride (arguably not the ideal choice in a "normal" class but a far better choice that launching and having a gasper or doing the chip that many of us did). When the class ended, the younger A/O's had the line set correctly, of course!
                      Maybe if they learned how to walk a course beforehand--costly learning experience for some it sounds like. Bet they will remember that one.
                      Discipline is the Bridge between Dreams and Accomplishments

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MHM View Post
                        ljc-

                        Was there not a course walk before the class? If so, I would think somebody would have caught it then if it was flat out set wrong.

                        It's the same with adjusting the time allowed. The judge has to change it by (or after) the third rider, or leave it alone for the rest of the class.
                        She is talking about the A/O hunters, since the A/O Jumpers are divided by high and low not age and did mentioned that the younger A/Os had a correctly set course. No course walk in the hunters.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by feather river View Post
                          Maybe if they learned how to walk a course beforehand--costly learning experience for some it sounds like. Bet they will remember that one.
                          She is talking about the Amateur Owner Hunters, not the Jumpers. No course walk in the hunters.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Seal Harbor View Post
                            She is talking about the Amateur Owner Hunters, not the Jumpers. No course walk in the hunters.
                            Ah. Since it wasn't specified, I guess the mention of George made me think jumpers.

                            I don't see him near a hunter ring too often.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              In Australia in any form of jumping, you cannot have the back rail lower than the front.

                              That said, when George Morris was out here giving clinics, he had the riders jumping triple bars backwards! That would have worried me a bit, but I guess he knows what he is doing :P

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Just another reminder that I'm old. They used to be called hogbacks and you saw them in the jumpers all the time.
                                madeline
                                * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Madeline View Post
                                  Just another reminder that I'm old. They used to be called hogbacks and you saw them in the jumpers all the time.
                                  I've always been told hogsbacks are a version of a triple bar not an oxer. With a low rail in front, the middle bar the highest and the back rail the same height as the front rail.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Was once watching a 51+ Adult class and saw the lady that is, arguably, the most sucessful nationwide in this division take a nasty spill off a well regarded and many times champion Hunter because they had not moved a line in after the REGULARS went. She was early on and the first 5 or 6 to go had horrible distances to chips but had other issues too and were...ummm...less accomplished riders. It was not obvious just how long that line was. They sort of blew off trainers who wanted a measure on that line 'cause they were poor trips anyway, chalked it up to typical Adult lack of pace to the first line.

                                    Five stride frst line away from the in gate that should have been about 71' to 72'. She made the numbers with a flyer and the horse landed on his nose, pitching her into the dirt face first-in her 50s. And she NEVER comes off at shows.

                                    The judge called for a tape measure and the line was about 78'.

                                    After a conference with the stewards it was determined the course, by the rulebook, could not be reset but they changed the diagram to reflect the correct distance and made sure everybody was aware.

                                    That poor gal, she said later she thought she was just dead in the water pace wise when she jumped in and gunned the horse, by the time she realized just how long that oxer was coming up, it was too late to pull out or add anything and she just grabbed mane and kicked...he hit the back rail with a front foot and went down in a heap.

                                    Once everybody knew, most added (with no penalty in scoring) and others on some of those big strided WBs were careful to really pick up the pace and made it-but they were ugly-and ran off around the corner that followed and overshot the next line.

                                    Lesson learned, ride off your eye and not counting. Always be ready to change your plan based on how your ride is going and what those before you did.

                                    IMO, if you know about a mistake like that dropped back rail on an oxer? You are going to have to just ride to a good, strong and deeper spot and leg him then free up and stay out of his mouth. Most of them will easily clear when placed that way. There is nothing outlandishly dangerous about something like this-as long as you know it's there and are willing to change your ride as needed to compensate.

                                    It sucks. But it happens.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Madeline View Post
                                      Just another reminder that I'm old. They used to be called hogbacks and you saw them in the jumpers all the time.
                                      Hogsbacks are different.
                                      Low first rail
                                      High middle rail
                                      Low back rail.

                                      Offsets just have two rails
                                      High front rail
                                      Low back rail.
                                      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

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                        Hogsbacks are different.
                                        Low first rail
                                        High middle rail
                                        Low back rail.

                                        Offsets just have two rails
                                        High front rail
                                        Low back rail.
                                        Thank you Janet, Hogsbacks are certainly different. I would be happy to jump a hogsback any day as I used to event and those are common on XC.

                                        RE: Everyone who asked if we walked the course....I don't walk hunter/eq courses ever. First of all it is not like it is some huge AA show or Big Eq finals. Second, I can figure out inside, outside, inside without having to see it from the ground. I usually check out the course in the morning if they let us hack out before classes. The aforementioned class took place at around 9pm and I don't think anyone wanted to wait around for people to walk the course. Plus it was only a 3ft class, if it was bigger or involved a combination (it didn't) I might be inclined to walk it. The lesson I did learn was do not rely on other people to spot problems, or go at the beginning of the order!

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