Editor’s Note

Practical Horseman - - Special Eventing Issue -

When I was 17 years old, I gal­loped my show jumper up to a wa­ter jump and he re­fused. I started to turn him away from the jump to re-ap­proach it when sev­eral things hap­pened quickly. As I turned, he be­gan to hop up and down and back up. On the “up” part of his hop, one of his hind legs slipped on the tape at the wa­ter’s edge and he fell back on top of me. I broke my pelvic bone in three places and was in the hospi­tal for two weeks and on crutches for al­most three months.

Look­ing back, I know that many things con­verged to cause the ac­ci­dent, but af­ter read­ing our safety ar­ti­cle (page 26), I be­gan to think what could I have done to keep my­self safer. For in­stance, my horse had started to stop at wa­ter jumps—I prob­a­bly shouldn’t have been at that class at all un­til we were ab­so­lutely sure he would jump. My horse also had be­gun back­ing up a few steps when he was im­pa­tient—I should have taken that be­hav­ior more se­ri­ously.

Hind­sight, of course, is 20/20, but my point is that tak­ing safety se­ri­ously needs to be ev­ery rider’s top pri­or­ity. And in the hus­tle of ev­ery­day life and try­ing to fit in rides or the next com­pe­ti­tion, that can be pushed to the side.

In our safety ar­ti­cle, which fo­cuses on what’s be­ing done to make event­ing safer, we fo­cus on fran­gi­ble tech­nol­ogy and data track­ing, but many we in­ter­viewed talk about an­other piece of the puz­zle—rider re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Part of that re­spon­si­bil­ity is train­ing, which, of course, is where Prac­ti­cal Horse­man can help. The train­ers whom we do ar­ti­cles with don’t just ex­plain how to do some­thing but how to do it safely. In Se­lena O’Han­lon’s ar­ti­cle on jump­ing up and down banks, she stresses that there is noth­ing in the ef­fort that “in­volves a dra­matic, heroic leap.” In­stead she of­fers a step-by-step ap­proach that leads to suc­cess—safely. In Jim Wof­ford’s col­umn (page 16), Jim shares his sys­tem­atic pro­gram for get­ting your horse ready for cross-coun­try. It re­views con­di­tion­ing and three types of school­ing to make sure that you and your horse are ready to ride an en­tire cross-coun­try course, again suc­cess­fully and safely.

As our story on safety in event­ing re­veals, many peo­ple are work­ing hard to make sure the sport is safe—and there is still more to be done. But if we all take re­spon­si­bil­ity of our ac­tions, train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion, we can do a lot to keep our­selves and our horses safe.

Take care.

San­dra Oliynyk Editor

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