Oliver Townend Fence 4 (Shallow Springs)

ponynutz

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Just wondering what we all thought about the near fall here.
Horses legs gave way and he carried on.
Impressive stick from him but really think he should've pulled horse up - I'd be worried about the legs.
 

Horses_Rule

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I would say it probably looked worse than it felt… like the other said I think he would have pulled up if unsound or felt off. My biggest concern whilst watching the highlights is how many riders are smacking horses with the stick AFTER a fence?! I’m not a ‘it’s cruel to ride horses at all’ by any stretch but I don’t really see why it’s necessary if the horse has done what you’ve asked 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

Orangehorse

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I think it was a very tough course and the riders were slapping the whip down the shoulder to get the horse to pay attention - not that I noticed it much. Some of them were maybe looking at the crowd. I had a fall cross country once when my horse was so busy gawping at some people he wasn't looking at the fence - a lesson that I learned the hard way.
 

Velcrobum

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I would say it probably looked worse than it felt… like the other said I think he would have pulled up if unsound or felt off. My biggest concern whilst watching the highlights is how many riders are smacking horses with the stick AFTER a fence?! I’m not a ‘it’s cruel to ride horses at all’ by any stretch but I don’t really see why it’s necessary if the horse has done what you’ve asked 🤷🏻‍♀️
Have you Evented at any level? The smack as you call it is a reminder to the horse to respond to the leg. It is in a XC round akin to using a dressage whip on the flat to reinforce the leg aid. A top level event horse has to be adjustable and responsive otherwise that is when mistakes happen sometimes resulting in falls.
 

Wishfilly

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Oliver's horse's near fall was very dramatic, but other riders also had near falls (e.g. horses on knees) and continued (one to have a fall later on the course)- so why is it just Oliver who gets picked on?

As others have said, he was held on course for a long time and was off the horse straight away. I'm sure if he noticed any issue then, he would have pulled up.
 

Wishfilly

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One or two smacks down the shoulder keeps a horse to its task. Taking your hand off of the rein, turning the stick backwards and giving it one or two down the quarters is another thing entirely. And I am pretty sure you don't see that in eventing at that level.
I would say several riders did use the stick that way on the get away from fences if they felt the horse hadn't jumped well.

Not commenting on it, just to say it definitely happened and was noticable.
 

teapot

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One or two smacks down the shoulder keeps a horse to its task. Taking your hand off of the rein, turning the stick backwards and giving it one or two down the quarters is another thing entirely. And I am pretty sure you don't see that in eventing at that level.
Not commenting on the specifics but whip use may well be on the next update to the FEI yellow card list after yesterday...
 

ycbm

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One or two smacks down the shoulder keeps a horse to its task. Taking your hand off of the rein, turning the stick backwards and giving it one or two down the quarters is another thing entirely. And I am pretty sure you don't see that in eventing at that level.
I would say several riders did use the stick that way on the get away from fences if they felt the horse hadn't jumped well.

Not commenting on it, just to say it definitely happened and was noticable.

Townend himself has been penalised for exactly that behaviour, hasn't he?


ETA I have checked and he was warned for that kind of whip used after Badminton 2018 and again after Blair 2018.
.
 
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fetlock

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I wonder whether it would be feasible to have a rule limiting how many times a rider can use a stick, like in racing.
Assuming this is still current

Use of the whip has been limited to two times per use. The ground jury can deem multiple excessive uses of a whip between fences as abuse of the horse.
 

Elf On A Shelf

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I would say several riders did use the stick that way on the get away from fences if they felt the horse hadn't jumped well.

Not commenting on it, just to say it definitely happened and was noticable.
Really? I wouldn't have thought you would/should have needed a back hander eventing! Especially with professionals at that level.

It's one sport I know next to nothing about and don't watch so I am actually surprised about that!
 

Red-1

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I have used a whip on the getaway from a fence before. It is not because of a poor jump, it is where I have used my leg and the horse ignored it. They may have got away with it at the fence in question, by me changing the plan and fitting an extra stride in, but at the next fence there may be a gaping ditch or something where it simply isn't feasible for the horse to ignore the go signal and still stay safe. The use of the whip would be after I landed and put the leg on, to give the horse a clear signal to go. If it is ignored, on top if the ignored signal in front of the fence, they will have a reminder to keep up to the leg.

I may well use the leg again before the final approach to a testing fence, and make sure there is a clear response.

Awful feeling, to be on a big course with a horse who is dead to the leg. If it is just the aid that needs refreshing then fair enough, but if the horse is tiring it is time to pull up. Sometimes it may need refreshing away from the other horses, or after a sticky fence.

ETA _ I am no way a professional eventer! It is certainly how I was trained by them though.

With some horses it would never be necessary. With one, when he moved up a level, it may be a couple of times on course until he settled into the rhythm of the new height/ more complex questions.

Far from lose confidence, it meant we had good approaches and smoother jumps.

It would be one smack, after the failure to respond to the leg. If it needed more, I would say that the horse needed to go back to a lower level or schooling.
 

LEC

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If the horse has had a sticky jump where it hasn’t taken the rider to the fence as it should have then sometimes you have to give it a slap behind the saddle to say stay in front of the leg otherwise you could go to next fence and horse dribbles into it and has a problem.
 

stangs

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Assuming this is still current

Use of the whip has been limited to two times per use. The ground jury can deem multiple excessive uses of a whip between fences as abuse of the horse.
My understanding is that that limit is 'per incident', rather than a limit on how many times a rider can use the stick in total. Personally, I'd rather there be a firm maximum as well, rather than letting riders get away with lots of whip use as long as it's isolated.
 

ponynutz

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Oliver's horse's near fall was very dramatic, but other riders also had near falls (e.g. horses on knees) and continued (one to have a fall later on the course)- so why is it just Oliver who gets picked on?

As others have said, he was held on course for a long time and was off the horse straight away. I'm sure if he noticed any issue then, he would have pulled up.
Wasn't really picking on him in particular, just his was the one I saw and thought most people would remember given he's a big name so used it to bring the topic up.
 

Nari

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I wonder whether it would be feasible to have a rule limiting how many times a rider can use a stick, like in racing.
My understanding is that that limit is 'per incident', rather than a limit on how many times a rider can use the stick in total. Personally, I'd rather there be a firm maximum as well, rather than letting riders get away with lots of whip use as long as it's isolated.
Do you really think it would be practical to have the riders counting how many times they've used a whip? I'd rather they focused on riding the course.
 
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