Monday, April 28, 2008

The Dressage Percheron?

I have talked about this before, and I try to keep this blog upbeat and focused on the horse instead of the greater sport. But I am honestly a little out of sorts about the recent tragedies at Rolex. Two more amazing animals destroyed and one brave rider fighting for her life. And we call this a sport?

Badminton next weekend. I am going to sit that one out. Too many deaths last year.

I have read the public comment from upper level riders. I have read the comments from Captain Mark Philips. I call bullshit. Too many deaths to say they are all freak accidents. And for those saying we need tighter qualification requirements, some of our best are falling, not just the overfaced ammies.

I makes me ill to think about how little accountability or responsibility is being taken in this sport. Notice I did not say blame, just own up to the fact that there is a problem. And whether we want to own up to this or not, the deaths really picked up with the demise of the short format. The long format really weeded out the "almost ready" from the "damn sure we're ready and in peak fitness". A horse even at 90% fitness might not be able to squeak that extra 2 inches you need to clear the table when you blow it. Or have the mental focus to contend with corner after technical corner. And when you are moving that fast, over jumps that large, those 2 inches just might save your life.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. The sport Brego and I are playing in has little resemblance to the uber elite upper level riders and competitions. It's so different that people at that level don't fear mortality, I suppose. I just want a sport that encourages me to be a better all around rider with a little adrenaline kick now and then. Hunters in the US is a caricature of foxhunting, and eventing is turning into a caricature of its own.

There's no point to this post, just anger and frustration. The whole world wants to not accept responsibility for the very real crisis we, as a people, are in. It seems eventing literally imploding is just a symptom.

In other news, the rice rationing is really going to impact the fancy rice bran I feed Brego. Bad day.


Beckz said...

The short format does seem to have led to a lot more injuries. Fitness levels are lower, and I think the roads and tracks got your horses really warmed up and the steeplechase let you get your eye in over sloping brush fences meaning when you hit the course you were readfy, or you hadn't got that far. They need to do more about fences that collapse and prevent rotational falls. There is no reason to do it, and for eventing to suvive its increasingly bad press they need to do something.

Beckz said...

not to do it*

Daun said...

Beckz, you are correct on all counts. I read somewhere that there have been 30 (human) deaths in the last 30 years or so, and 11 of them in the last two. 1/3 since the end of the long format.

Come one FEI and USEA! You are not saving eventing to keep it in the Olympics. With the public outcry, it will be banished from the Olympics AND bastardized into the short format. Genius.

MARGIE said...

My husband and I have gone to Rolex every year for the last eight years. This past one was horrible. I don't think that I can support this sport at the upper levels as we've done in the past. This may have been our last, unless they change it. Your comments - I couldn't have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard about Rolex...I am usualy slow on the news since I just wait for my magazines to come. I think that this happens with every athletic activity. There is a push to make is harder, faster, more elite and safety is pushed to the side. I rode at a barn where a girl who was 16 I think, she might have been 17 was able to qualify to ride a 2 star event. I rode with her on many occasions and found that she used more luck and bravery then skill when she rode. It makes me really sad that horses have to pay the price for a humans will to challenge themselves. That is true in many disicplines though, not just eventing.