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SillyFilly27

Where Have The Careful Eventers Gone?

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I was watching my barn's schooling trials this weekend and I was sitting near our judge and I want to know your opinions on the the speed/pace of each rider in XC. Our barn holds Starter and Beginner Novice divisions. Some riders had a steady canter, some cantered/trotted, one BN and one Starter rider flew through, one BN rider actually brought her horse to a walk halfway through. The judge was very disappointed with the girls that chose to gallop carelessly and said that if this was a recognized event they and their trainers would have been carded. These girls claim that this is what happens in the upper levels, but they basically were just letting their horses fly around while they just sat there, pretty much just steering.

I would assume most would want a steady canter and a controlled gallop, but these girls looked dangerous. They weren't setting up their horses at all for the fences and chipping almost every one. It was scary watching them flying through courses because that is what their impression of eventing is- going fast, jumping high, and hoping you stay on. I think they are giving eventing a bad name, even at this low of a level. Is this happening in other places? It looks irresponsible to me.

I love eventing and I hope to do more of it in the future, I just am getting so irritated with people who don't take the time to properly school and train themselves and their horses safely. I know a lot of the riders this weekend had only been preparing for a few weeks. While these are low divisions, I still think I would want a horse who was a good jumper to safely take solid fences, not a horse that I just "taught" a few weeks ago. Just because XC and stadium aren't judge like hunters on form and equitation is no reason to not teach your horse to jump properly.

Sorry, rant over, I just want to know if I am alone on this opinion or if others share my thoughts.

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when i did my first and only event (so far! not ever) i walked and trotted with a bit of canter :P

i got passed by 4 people

but it was a good experience lol

but i know what you mean. a lot of the youngest riders arent taught about pace as much as they should be and are told to get around as best they can.

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yea, it is really annoying when you see people coming to shows on their little prissy ponies and they have no clue how to safely ride a cross country round! its kind of offensive to the sport to think "oh cross country.. all gallop around the feild at home and we should be fine next week". Cross country is a difficult style of riding, no matter what level! its dangerous and very intimidating too. people need to be more aware of the risk for them and their horse.

were the people trying at all to slow their horse, or were they really pushing? because i know my first pony Daisy was a serious speeeed-demon throughout our whole 3 year eventing career. she always was and will always be an extremely fast pony! i took her elementary and beginner novice, even went to AEC's with her, and i'm sure every person watching was holding their breath because she was soooooooo fast. She was the hardest thing i've ever ridden because i'm pretty sure not even the best of the best could get her to be at a slower pace on xc! and trust me, i just pretty much sat there and tried to slow her down between the fences, but sqeezed her to jump and she FLEW!

i think thats the difference between dangerous riders and excited, experienced horses. If the rider is really pushing the horse to go faster than is safe, then call her out for dangerous riding! If the horse is just a "let me do my thing" type of horse, then just forget it because in the end the horse usually knows whats best. :)

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With the incentive of event trainer certification via USEA, hopefully we'll be seeing less and less of this sort of rider. I think that is the biggest issue with most riders who want to get into eventing however cannot find the facility or trainer to accomodate them. The lack of proper guidance teamed with poor foundations from another discipline is what leads to the 'have-a-go-at-it' riders we are seeing.

I am on the fence with the move to build up BN cross country obstacles. I think in one hand it would help deter the less prepared competitor and convince them to compete down a level where likely they belong... on the other hand I realize this division is where mistakes are to be learned, without fearing serious injury to horse and rider. So to build these fences up is just more leg work at this point. More leg work for show = more fees for competitors = vicious cycle no one wants to deal with.

I really don't have any respect for those horse people who base their end-all conclusion of eventing from some backyard snap shot sent into GM's jumping clinic or people who only tap into the news of eventing when it involves a tragedy. If you're in it for the right reasons, the right drive, the right dedication, there's no question to why we love our sport.

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I see this happen so often at the lower levels and quite often, at the upper levels too. There are certainly a number of horse/rider combinations that I simply will not watch go in either the x country or Stadium. I say combinations because many of these riders are capable of putting in stellar trips on other mounts. While there are several pro's who will take a young horse out at Novice and let them gallop a bit, they DO slow down and balance for the fence. The gallop in between is in preparation for an impending move up. Unfortunately, younger, greener riders see this happening and then just go gallop like banshees.

I personally like for my BN and Novice horses to go around like a Hunter in the Stadium. They should go lope around the cross country. Then again, I have major issues with BN and Novice horses going around the Dressage ring in a 4th level carriage. I feel that far too many riders are being let get by on results. I don't know how many times in the last few months I have heard "But she won! How can you say it was a bad ride?!". When people are covering their eyes, gasping collectively and singing a horse's praises all through your Stadium round, it's not a good thing! I really don't care if you somehow, miraculously left all the rails in the cups. If you didn't find a single distance, were an out of control maniac in between and were laying all over the horse's neck and back at each fence, the win means nothing regarding your performance!!

That rant over....There are some lovely up and coming riders in this Area at the BN and Novice levels. Just about every weekend I am happy to see a few young riders who walk their courses properly and professionally and ride them as according to plan as possible. To see a young rider who has developed a true sense of feel, line and pace is a wonder to me after witnessing most rides in what I like to refer to as the "911 Division". Sure there will always be moments in rides that we question. These will be questioned even more loudly at the upper levels, where more often than not the consequences of such rides are much more substantial.

I don't know that there is an answer at this point. I do not believe that making BN courses more difficult will do anything to solve the problem. I also believe that it would be devastating to the horses and riders who need a bit of a confidence boost to do so. There have been some advancements made in the ways of supposedly safer jumps, break aways and the like, but this again, I feel will not solve the problem of dangerous riding. Darren had some ideas about judging fences, but let's face it, most Horse Trials are lucky to get enough volunteers capable of uttering the word "clear", to get a full jump judge crew capable of actually judging one's ride to a fence would be impossible. At the end of the day, all I can hope is that each of those whom head out and scare me come back with six legs between the pair of them.

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As the owner of a horse that CAN be particularly strong on the cross country course, I know just how difficult it can be to learn how to manage your horse's speed and to learn how to really gallop a horse in balance and control. It can be a difficult thing to learn but I think it's a skill alot of our riders are missing out on these days, particularly at the lower levels.

My trainer's 12 year old daughter recently rode my horse in a clinic which included a cross country schooling and the most important thing she learned was how to maintain and control my horse's "enthusiasm" on cross country in an effective and correct manner. Eric and Sarah Dierks taught these young riders a very effective method of using their BODIES to slow and stop their mounts, not super strong bitting contraptions and the famous "Sit and pull" Im seeing alot of these days. Riders were taught to stand in their stirrups and drop their weight straight into their heels while pressing their hands down into their horse's withers. To their surprise, without a single tug of the reins the horses slowed and stopped within a matter of seconds. This especially gave my trainer's daughter a whole new sense of balance and control with Riper who can be quite strong and fast on cross country. It was a great skill for a kid to learn, and I wish more would learn to do it.

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This first barn I ever rode at was out of control. I didn't know any better because it was all I knew and I trusted my trainer with everything. My horse was FAST while jumping and I remember I was in cross country warm-up at my third schooling trial (competing novice) when my trainer first introduced the "half-seat" to me. Also, a few monthes later I found out you actually have to bend your horse while turning in the stadium course. Imagine that!

Things used to be very chaotic with that trainer I had. I switched to an all dressage trainer a few years ago and I do ten times better at trials with just dressage training. Of course I travel far for the occasional cross country/stadium lesson.

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yeah I agree- I hate seeing people gallop through beginner novice. Heck starter trials aren't timed, there is no reason to fly through it.

I trot at some point during all of the cross country, I am really conservative and careful, even at training level.

I think it would be VERY helpful if eventers did hunters for a while and hunters did eventing for a while. They could both use it

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