I fully admit that my idea of fun stuff and other people’s idea of fun stuff might not align, but… maybe there’s something here for everyone? This is my collection of the noteworthy stuff that’s happening so far on the internet this week. Don’t worry, it gets less heavy as we go along.
First of all there’s the video that literally everyone needs to watch, whether you’re pro-Safe Sport or anti-Safe Sport (ok perhaps especially if you’re anti). If you’re involved in equestrian sport, Safe Sport concerns you, and it’s your job to educate yourself. Period, full stop. Last week at the USHJA convention they live streamed a Q&A with SafeSport’s Michael Henry. Fair warning, it’s long, but I just listened to it during my commute and barn chores. The first hour and 20 mins or so is Michael walking everyone through the SS process, addressing a few common misconceptions, and clarifying what exactly they do. During this time he drops some pretty interesting statistics, like the fact that in the 2 years that SS has been open, they’ve had over 4000 cases and resolved 2800 so far across all sports. And of those, only 800 have resulted in any kind of violation (ranging all the way from a warning letter to a permanent ban). Only 2% end up with any kind of temporary measures (which can range from a no contact order up to a temporary suspension) in place while the investigation is ongoing. And of all the cases where a violation was found by SS, less than 1% got overturned in arbitration.
The Q&A part starts after that, and fair warning, it’s… cringey. Some of the anti-SS people are doing themselves no favors by being blatantly ignorant about the basic facts, and attempting to repeat complete falsehoods even after they’ve been corrected multiple times. If you want SS reform, by all means make it your cause, but at least get your facts straight and understand what it is and how it works. Otherwise you just look like an idiot on a video that the crowd in the room (and everyone watching) is laughing at. Awwwwkwaaarrd.
Moving on, I mentioned Monday that I’d listened to several of the live stream lectures from the USEA convention, and thankfully they’ve started to put some of them up online for replay. One in particular that was of great interest to me was “Why Aren’t US Event Horses Lasting Longer?”. If that’s not an attention-grabbing title I dunno what is. The panel for this one was particularly good: Erik Duvander (team coach), Matt Brown (ULR), Max Corcoran (a lot of things, but especially a top groom), Sam Watson (ULR), Dr. Susan Johns (vet).
They talked about everything from footing to frequency of events to basic rider choices. Yes, the discussion was geared toward top level horses, but IMO a lot of it applies all the way down the levels. The consensus was that while our harder footing tends to get much of the blame, it certainly can’t hold all the weight since other countries with equally hard (or harder) footing don’t have the injury rate that we do. The thing that really stood out to me were the stats based around how often horses were showing – the numbers they used were regarding horses at the Advanced level, of course, but still highlighted something that I thought warranted consideration even at the mid-levels. They found that with horses who had 3-5 starts per year, 71% of them had careers of 8 years or longer, whereas with horses that had 6 or more starts per year, only 22% had careers 8 years or longer. Is it perhaps both a blessing and a curse that people can event year-round in this country if they want to?
They also talk about our allowed usage of NSAID’s (some other countries don’t allow them at all and have totally clean sport), and how quick we seem to reach for them to alleviate symptoms rather than look more closely at the possible root cause. I think that’s also a fair point to consider, and something I see a lot. Horse feeling a little sore? Give it some bute and carry on!
I’ve been thinking about many of their points and chewing on what might translate (or not) to us folks further down the levels, but I feel like people should watch the entire discussion and see what they get out of it for themselves.
On a more fun note, EquiRatings fan voting for their Horse of the Year 2019 awards is in it’s semi-finals!
All of the horses I voted for in the first round made it through to the semis (yes ok I’m a traitor to my country by not voting for Tsetserleg, but he was up against friggin HALE BOB, one of my absolute favorites of all time, I just couldn’t), although my brain just about exploded at having to choose between Vanir Kamira and Rioghan Rua. Like I might have been sweating a little, cursor hovering back and forth between them, trying to pick. The polls are on the EquiRatings facebook page, and since it’s fan-based it’s more fun, so eventing fans – go vote!
Last but not least, I found out on Monday that I was the recipient of the Event Riders Association Amateur Impact award for 2019. I hadn’t realized before that ERA did special awards, but it’s a pretty cool honor and I already have someone in mind to nominate for next year. I know that Nadia was the one to nominate me this year, and it was really kind of her to think of me and throw my hat in the ring, so many thanks to you Nadia! This was definitely a highlight after what has been a bit of a challenging second half of the year.
That’s a lot of stuff happening for it to only be Wednesday.
Have you guys watched any of these videos yet? Thoughts? I’m really itching to discuss. We’ve got everything from SafeSport to drugs to show frequency to top event horse popularity all contained in one post, surely there’s something here worth talking about!