BRAINSTORMING Thread: Post your favorite eventing solutions here

I’ve been reading the Rolex accident threads with interest, as I read the Red Hills threads with interest, and as I read the November Ocala threads with interest.

We have come up with a plethora of ideas over these difficult months, and we need to make a list that will be of use to the USEA and USEF, even the FEI.

One unifying concern is that we are seeing that even the best of the best can make mistakes. So we need to consider reducing the deadly consequences of mistakes, as well as reducing the number of mistakes.

Here are some of the options that have been tossed around.

  1. Do away with vertical faces, on fences with spreads or without spreads.

  2. Make XC fences collapsible with innovative engineering. The consequence for knocking such a fence down is elimination.

  3. Increase the use of frangible pins.

  4. Reduce the spreads of fences.

  5. Reduce speeds (already a rule change in the works for this).

  6. Change course design to include less technicality/ “showjumping over fixed fences”.

  7. Bring back the long format, or some elements of it (vet checks, mandatory warmups).

  8. Make qualification criteria for Prelim and up much more stringent (there is already a rule change in the works for this).

  9. Conduct an analysis of style/proficiency (assessed by knowledegable officials) and their correlation with previous experience of horse and rider.

  10. Make 4-star events extremely difficult to qualify for/ be invited to.

  11. Institute a mandatory XC course meeting and course walk with a respected teacher and rider.

  12. Increase participation in the Instructor Certification plan, either by encouragement or requirement.

  13. Increase the powers of officials to stop a dangerous ride on XC.

  14. Conduct a detailed study of the numbers and frequency of serious injuries or deaths of horses and riders (TB or not TB’s project).

  15. Conduct a detailed study of horse exercise physiology, including the causes of pulmonary hemorrhage (the latter is now delegated to a task force).

  16. Hold a moratorium on upper-level competitions until ____.

We’ve made quite a list, wouldn’t you say? Please add to/ comment on any or all of these as you see fit.

1 Like

1- Burn the square spreads! Keep a vertical face without a spread, but make it mandatory that every vertical be installed with frangible pins.

2- Up the qualifications. Demand better results before moving up. It won’t get rid of the “scary but clear” riders, but it will help slow some people down.

SLOW DOWN SPEEDS

RIDER RESPONSIBILITY

I said this in a thread a little while ago

Oxers: Frangible pins ALWAYS USED

Verticals: Frangible pins, or built similarly to these fences:
http://www.photostockplus.com/home.php?user_id=34487&tmpl=28&event=170232&action=viewphoto&photo_id=7856958&album_id=171186
http://www.photostockplus.com/home.php?user_id=34487&tmpl=28&event=170232&action=viewphoto&photo_id=7856959&album_id=171186
http://www.photostockplus.com/home.php?user_id=34487&tmpl=28&event=170232&action=viewphoto&photo_id=7856962&album_id=171186

Ditches, water banks: Not much we can change, but they don’t usually cause as many serious problems.

Utilize more logs, hay bales, BRUSH FENCES, etc for jumps

Tables: Slanted front, no vertical faces

The sport (and all equestrian sports!) should promote responsible horsemanship as well as safe, accurate riding. Instruction should focus on mastering skills, not moving up the levels–the latter should be the reward for the former.

c express- thanks for posting your comment from the other thread.

Others: if you have made a post on another thread that includes your ideas for solutions, please copy them here. I would like us to have an archive of ideas and maybe even something that we could bring to the attention of the sport’s leadership.

Great Thread

Just have to say, I’ve been reading here for a long time but this is my first post. I have been eventing since my teens and just celebrated my 40th bday so I’ve seen the sport go through some major ups and downs. I won’t say anymore on this thread here other than I think it is a great, useful and clear topic and well done!

CP, very good list and I think it is fairly complete. I am not sure I agree with #16 but it belongs here as an idea to be considered.

I’d add to #1 that square-topped fences should go – make the back higher – and for very wide oxers, use fill. Horses should not wonder whether they can or should put their feet down in the Footbridge (not that I think that was the main issue this weekend but it has certainly occurred to horses in the past).

[QUOTE=asterix;3176120]CP, very good list and I think it is fairly complete. I am not sure I agree with #16 but it belongs here as an idea to be considered.

I’d add to #1 that square-topped fences should go – make the back higher – and for very wide oxers, use fill. Horses should not wonder whether they can or should put their feet down in the Footbridge (not that I think that was the main issue this weekend but it has certainly occurred to horses in the past).[/QUOTE]

Actually, I think that’s how Dornin’s second fall occurred. A friend of mine has his facebook pics from this years rolex and there is a horse standing in the middle of the footbridge and the rider is being thrown over his head.

[QUOTE=CookiePony;3175871]

  1. Make XC fences collapsible with innovative engineering.[/QUOTE]

I wonder if there are any engineering schools/colleges with engineering programs that have IHSA or similar teams that would encourage their members to tackle this as a senior project or something like that. I was on the team at Ga Tech I was one of the few riders who wasnt an engineering major.

Just a thought…

I think they might want to go back

and see what the courses looked like 40 years ago. The original purpose was 'the Military." A horse should go thru nearly anything, TRUSTING HIS RIDER. Now there have been great safety improvements, but do we really need cheese wedges with mice sticking out the top? Can’t they do innovative things on a course, with the new pins?
I guess I think they should ALWAYS build an alternate route [safer] unless it is a straight up jump.
As much as I dislike regulation, there perhaps needs to be a little more here, and an Invitational Rolex is sounding better and better to me.
Qualifers sound like a good idea too.

Let’s all pray for a safe Badminton

A couple more

  1. Use the Rider Rep system all the time. Expand and explain it.
  2. In Endurance, every horse death results in an immediate inquiry, and if the rider`s actions are found to be contributory, he/she is subject to anything from public censure (least penalty) to fines, suspension, etc.
    This REALLY makes people think about going too hard with a tired horse.
    3.Mandatory xc walks with the xc designer at major events, major to be determined.
    4.More articles about rider responsibility in USEA News by respected ULRs.
  3. More stringent penalties for dangerous riding.
    Ill think of some more, but those are a few. The biggest difference I see between eventings response and endurance`s response to horse death, is that in eventing, the rider tends to be swamped with sympathy, whereas in endurance, the rider has to come before an inquiry to determine possible blame.
    It makes endurance riders damn careful, let me tell you.

Basically if you have a table or something like the footbridge, DON’T TAKE A TUG!
Anyway, what should be happening is NOT banning verticals and square oxers. If you can’t ride them, go home and practice. BUT what’s happening is that if you make a mistake, your horse and you can get seriously injured. THAT has to stop. I think if we can put a man on the moon, we can certainly make a table, vertical, square oxer collapsible so the rider/horse doesn’t die.
Stop with that, will ya?
Anyway, onto address the points above.

Basically, continue with what Denny said and add from CookiePony:

  1. Make XC fences collapsible with innovative engineering. The consequence for knocking such a fence down is elimination.

  2. Increase the use of frangible pins.

  3. Bring back the long format, or some elements of it (vet checks, mandatory warmups).

  4. Make qualification criteria for Prelim and up much more stringent (there is already a rule change in the works for this).

  5. Conduct an analysis of style/proficiency (assessed by knowledegable officials) and their correlation with previous experience of horse and rider.

  6. Make 4-star events extremely difficult to qualify for/ be invited to.

  7. Increase participation in the Instructor Certification plan, either by encouragement or requirement.

  8. Increase the powers of officials to stop a dangerous ride on XC.

  9. Conduct a detailed study of the numbers and frequency of serious injuries or deaths of horses and riders (TB or not TB’s project).

  10. Conduct a detailed study of horse exercise physiology, including the causes of pulmonary hemorrhage (the latter is now delegated to a task force).

CookiePony -

Great idea. Thanks!

Something has been rolling around in my mind after reading a description on one of the related threads of a rider falling off, looking dazed, and the poster (who apparently witnessed this) being surprised that the rider got back on looking as dazed as the rider did. And the rider later suffered a serious accident on the course.

In a sports related fall or potential injury (in most / all sports performed on a high level), while the athlete’s opinion is certainly important in the assessment of whether they are physically able to continue (or should continue), the final decision of their continued participation is based on the assessment of someone with medical training - and importantly someone other than just the athlete. With no disrespect to the athlete (of any sport), given that the athlete would be pumped up on adrenaline and the fall may have included a minor head injury, the athlete him/herself would not necessarily be a reliable / fair / unbiased final decision-maker on this.

On one of the related threads, flutie1 posted something about a possible rule change (apparently to be voted on soon), that if a rider falls off, that is automatic disqualification.

If that rule change goes through, obviously the above is mute. But if it does not, then it seems like there should be someone assessing the competency of the rider to continue after a fall other than just the rider him/herself. Not that the whole event needs to be delayed to give the rider a complete physical exam. But to me (my day job is medicine), it seems like an obvious “gap in the system” to not have the rider’s competency (especially mental / cognitive) assessed after a fall. Shoot…even in boxing, the referee can stop the fight if a boxer appears stunned (or given that it is boxing, too stunned).

WJ

Revamp the dressage tests so that they focus on balance.

What we’re learning from some of these XC ‘accidents’ is the importance of balance and the rider’s understanding of when, where and how to rebalance on XC.

We can teach balance/rebalance at the gallop but we can also make it a priority in the dressage ring.

Can we break down the proposals by topic?

  1. Horse experience qualifications

  2. Rider experience qualifications

  3. Terrain modification

  4. Jumps modifications

  5. Procedural modifications after injury and/or before and after XC

  6. Total design modifications, including speed, length of course, number of jumping efforts, etc.

  7. Rethinking how the phases fit together

With proposed rules modifications after all this has been hashed out and not before.

If we can break down the issues into smaller and more focused ones, they can be addressed with more precision and more dialog.

Easier said than done, and it will further encourage bad riding.

For several years there has been a strong emphasis on “safe” fence shapes, tilted tabletops, etc. Unintended result: People are moving up faster than they should.

Frankly, I’m wondering, where are all the much-maligned square tables and vertical faces? They certainly aren’t here.

XC fences are already expensive as heck to build. For collapsible fences I can’t even begin to estimate the cost, but I’m sure you can multiply the present cost by 2 or 3x and up.

Mandating collapsible fences would be the end of the sport as we know it, because organizers can’t afford to abandon their existing jump inventory and replace it with jumps that cost lots more and require a Ga. Tech engineer (egads!) to build, certify, and maintain them.

Imagine what could happen if one of them failed to perform? The rider might say “It’s not my fault that my horse died. The stupid jump didn’t fall down. Who certified it? Let’s sue them!”

The best solution is BE PREPARED AND RIDE SMART!
Glenn

Make the existing requirements for move ups requirements for both Horse and Rider, not just Rider.

Make a long format *** a requirement for both horse and rider before moving up to a **** of either format, and add a long format *** at Rolex to be run along with the short format ****. It could also be a qualifying round for the next year’s ****.

N

I am sorry but I find this to be myopic. Yes, a good, safe fence will be more expensive but I sure as HELL assure you that it will be cheaper than a vet bill, a loss of life or the risk of bad publicity or law suits that can shut this sport down. To say that it is too expensive is a cop out. Remember that in a study of 600 horses and riders it was found that 1 in every 3 horse falls results in a major horse injury and 1 in every 100 falls results in the horse’s death (Murray et. al, 2006) regardless of cause.

How would a fence that will collapse if a horse hits the face but can still bank off the top encourage bad riding? To use your logic, just because you have air bags in your car I assume you speed or play chicken with trucks on the road.

Again, to pawn off responsibility SOLEY as a rider’s function is to say that all car accidents are the driver’s responsibility or that all plane crashes are the pilots. This is EVERYONE’S responsibility.

Reed

[QUOTE=gooddirt;3176320]Easier said than done, and it will further encourage bad riding.

For several years there has been a strong emphasis on “safe” fence shapes, tilted tabletops, etc. Unintended result: People are moving up faster than they should.

Frankly, I’m wondering, where are all the much-maligned square tables and vertical faces? They certainly aren’t here.

XC fences are already expensive as heck to build. For collapsible fences I can’t even begin to estimate the cost, but I’m sure you can multiply the present cost by 2 or 3x and up.

Mandating collapsible fences would be the end of the sport as we know it, because organizers can’t afford to abandon their existing jump inventory and replace it with jumps that cost lots more and require a Ga. Tech engineer (egads!) to build, certify, and maintain them.

Imagine what could happen if one of them failed to perform? The rider might say “It’s not my fault that my horse died. The stupid jump didn’t fall down. Who certified it? Let’s sue them!”

The best solution is BE PREPARED AND RIDE SMART!
Glenn[/QUOTE]

I think I disagree with one

“5. Reduce speeds (already a rule change in the works for this).”

Perhaps change the wording to “re-evaluate what speeds are appropriate for what levels” (and phases, if some version of the long format were to be reconsidered). As several posters have pointed out, steeplechasers, p2p riders, etc. all travel at a much higher rate of speed than eventers typically do. They ride in a different position, and therefore fall differently. There was an excellent article in the British Eventing magazine a couple of years ago about learning how to fall, and using National Hunt jockeys as their models.

Speed in itself may not be the culprit.