Good Pony!
July 9, 2012 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Go for a 1st-person ride at Rolex with Doug Payne and Running Order Here's a nifty window into the world of 3-day eventing; the triathlon of the equestrian sports world [Previously] beware, video maybe vertigo and/or habit forming; OP not held accountable for time spent down the rabbithole linking thru Doug's many other wonderful helmet-cam rides & analyses.

Maybe speaking strictly for myself here, but nearly every horse-crazy teenage girl's dream is to someday make it to the Rolex 3-day event as a competitor. I have been to Rolex several times, merely as a spectator. The fences are terrifyingly huge. I believe Doug makes mention of this somewhere in his video analysis; he himself is 6'3" and cannot see over the "drop" elements from the low side.

I'm extremely grateful to Doug for the time he has taken to put together this and his other XC helmet-cam videos. He does some very articulate analysis on this video (including explaining his mental error that confused the horse and caused the one mistake they had) thus providing internet horse junkies and others worldwide an unique insight into the sport, as well as a wonderful "ride-along" experience that we would not, or could not, ever experience for ourselves.

Here is a bonus video that explains the back story of Running Order's development from a "weedy" failed steeplechaser to the talented, up and coming 4-star athlete he is today.

as a teenager/young adult, I spent over a decade working my way up through the eventing ranks to Advanced; got all the way to a couple FEI 3-star events, then had a show jumping wreck that permanently spooked me out of competition. This stuff is not easy.
posted by lonefrontranger (20 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
(oh and in case it's not obvious, I strongly recommend watching this both in HD and where you can listen to the sound / voice-over).
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:16 AM on July 9, 2012

I think I'm glad my daughter sticks mostly to dressage and judged trail rides. It took my wife years to get to the point where she could watch her jump the little 2 foot jumps at 4-H shows.
posted by COD at 12:08 PM on July 9, 2012

COD, how old is she exactly? Honestly, I was perfectly happy showing my 15 hand Quarter Horse at western pleasure/trail and hunter hack until the age of about 13, when a family friend loaned us their nice Polish Warmblood novice event horse for the summer/fall when they went off to college... it's a disease, I tell you.
posted by lonefrontranger at 1:11 PM on July 9, 2012

Horses are a disease indeed!

I'm in drastic need of footwear, bras, and underwear, but guess who will get their sparkly new shoes every six weeks (or five, if necessary.) We've been walking around on subfloor, because we haven't been able to afford to put in the laminate flooring, but guess who has a nicely drained gravel run in shed with new matting on it? I bought my last Levi jacket at the thrift store, but the ol' swayback got a brand new special built up saddle pad this spring.

It should be classified in the DSM-IV under mental disorder, I tell you!

Great post, lonefrontranger. I've never jumped higher than 3'6"--and that as a young'un, but I don't regret all those miles endurance riding, in spite of wrecked knees and two back surgeries. Some of us have poor conformation!

Here I am in the middle of cutting horse country, but madly in love with with dressage. Not so the DQs here, who are the snottiest of the snots, yet wouldn't have a prayer back East----I'm lookin' at you Craigslist advertiser of the 6th [sic] level dressage horse for $500!)
posted by BlueHorse at 1:34 PM on July 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

She is 16. We have a 15.1 hand Paint horse that came out as a Palomino. Which of course is not really a dressage horse... She has made the State 4-H Horse Judging Team the last two years and that involves a lot of travel, so she really hasn't shown at all the last two summers because she simply does not have time. However, we are told she has already accomplished enough in horse judging and hippology to expect multiple schools to be fighting over her 4 years of college.

If it works out to a 4 year full ride I may actually profit on 7 or 8 years of horse ownership :)
posted by COD at 1:38 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

heh... I took judging & hippology for exactly one year in 4-H. I was already devoting so much time and focus to eventing at that point that I didn't have the attention span for doing the homework and research needed to give good oral interviews (and I hated, hated, HAAAAATED having to stand up and give oral reasons in panel, omg!)

and I hear you on the 15h cow ponies not being the best ever dressage horses... or just really hunter/jumpers at all for that matter. After our friends sold the Polish they'd loaned us, my poor little dude had to endure a couple seasons of being ridden to hounds (for conditioning) as well as some beginner novice events, which he did surprisingly well at for being your typical not-scopey-at-all daisy clipper of a laid-back cow pony. The only thing he had going for him was he was honest as the day is long and would jump anything in front of him, regardless of how badly he was faced, from a dead standstill if necessary, and nothing ever spooked him. Oh well, it earned him his Versatility bronze in, of all combos: Showmanship, Trail, Hunter Hack and Jumping... plus a couple of points in Reining, even. Likely the strangest combo ever collected in breed history. of course this was all back in the early-mid 80s before all those big, weedy crossbred near-100% Thoroughbred type "hunters" had invaded the ranks of the Quarter Horse breed, so it was still possible.

the cost of travel and the ungodly cost of maintenance, showing, feeding, shoeing, etc..., added to my mental qualms after the jumping wreck, ultimately did us in. We also couldn't afford the high five/low six figures required for a "real" event horse to take me any further than I got, and the retired racehorse I had lucked into was getting too old and wasn't reliable enough (she had been overfaced by a prior owner and could be a dirty, unpredictable quitter when the mood struck).

so, yeah... that's where my college education fund wound up, but I don't really regret it either.

BlueHorse, when I'm out on training rides these days, I frequently ride my bikes past a ranch north of town that specializes in high-end cutting & reining horses - their breedstock just happens to be from the same foundation line as my little old show horse, and every so often I stop along the fence to pet some pretty faces that have hauntingly familiar bone structure and expression, even six generations removed.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:09 PM on July 9, 2012

//and I hated, hated, HAAAAATED having to stand up and give oral reasons in panel, omg!)//

We learned (well after the fact last year) that she broke down and cried at just about every practice reasons session they did, and the 4-H leader had serious doubts if she would even follow through and travel with the team.

5 months later she took 1st overall at Arabian Nationals, beating all the other 4-H kids, the Arabian Club kids, and the college kids on collegiate horse judging teams. They are pretty sure she is the youngest winner ever. Kids do amazing things when you stay out of their way...

Neither my wife nor me have ever been on a horse. We have no idea where she gets it from :)
posted by COD at 2:22 PM on July 9, 2012

Endurance riding looks incredibly interesting. Does the complete newb just start with trails riding lessons and see if they get infected with the aforementioned disease?
posted by bfranklin at 3:12 PM on July 9, 2012

bfranklin: on the surface, yes, you can do just that. Be warned however: owning horses at a competitive level is at least as, if not more expensive than having children, at a nearly 1:1 rate.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:28 PM on July 9, 2012

That was really cool, I only ever did baby eventing, and stopped jumping altogether after a particularly bad fall that left me with a herniated disc and a bad concussion...but wow...that horse looks like so much fun to ride, you can tell he loves his job. Thank you!

/fellow sufferer of horse addiction
posted by biscotti at 3:36 PM on July 9, 2012

Don't even get me started on the multiplier effect of a child with a horse...
posted by COD at 3:50 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

...that horse looks like so much fun to ride, you can tell he loves his job...

I know! I'm nearly thirty years on from eventing now; gave it up for racing bikes long ago, and even I would love to take this guy for a quick jog around, even just in the dressage ring. He looks like riding a pillow on springs with rocket boosters.

I adore the little ear conversations he's having with Doug the whole time, like, where they're barrelling into that huge messed up combo of evil water DOOM at +20mph, and the horse just jauntily cocks his right ear back like "don't worry man, I got this, it's all good."
posted by lonefrontranger at 4:05 PM on July 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Endurance riding looks incredibly interesting. Does the complete newb just start with trails riding lessons and see if they get infected with the aforementioned disease?

Just find some local endurance riders and ask them for advice. They're a friendly bunch. Very, very friendly! If you're a runner you can try Ride and Tie probably pretty quick because people are always looking for runners (you'll have to google it, sorry I'm on my phone) Ride and Tie is the bastard stepchild of endurance and cross country running and possibly the most entertaining sport of all time for the competitor.
posted by fshgrl at 5:02 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Eta: its worth going to one to see the start alone. You know that scene in Far and Away where they all race to claim land? It's kind of like that except more spandex.
posted by fshgrl at 5:11 PM on July 9, 2012

I adore the little ear conversations he's having with Doug the whole time, like, where they're barrelling into that huge messed up combo of evil water DOOM at +20mph, and the horse just jauntily cocks his right ear back like "don't worry man, I got this, it's all good."

I said almost exactly that to my husband. I love this rider too, very soft and considerate of the horse, and even when there are discussions about collection and impulsion, you can tell they're more back and forth conversations about what needs to happen than the rider trying to manhandle the horse, very nice riding, he asks every time. And the laser lock that horse gets on the jumps, I love horses like that. And the happy little goggles he does at the spectators and other horses beside the track, like "Dude, check out what I'm doing!", just lovely. Happy horse with a great rider, that's what it's supposed to be like.

This was just awesome to watch, I am still grinning.
posted by biscotti at 6:18 PM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

This was great, really enjoyed it. I love my horse, I love riding, and I love jumping, but I am way too chicken to jump anything as big as those fences. It was nice to be able to do it vicariously, and I also love the gentleness of this rider and his lovely connection with the horse, who was clearly having a fine time.
posted by OolooKitty at 7:52 PM on July 9, 2012

bfranklin: memail me, and I'll see if I can hook you up with some folks and/or send you the list for your regional rides. Or you could just google American Endurance Ride Conference and poke around on their site--lots of info there! There are many local clubs, too. Ours is the Southwest Trail and Distance Riders--note the trail riders are listed first! They actually help fund many of our endurance rides when they come out for the short rides--it's usually 10, 25, and 50+.

If you simply show up at a ride having talked to the ride manager prior, they'll probably put you to work! Best job EVAR is scribing for the vet, next is taking pulse and respiration, my absolute last is gate timer, but lots of people like sitting on the finish line doing finish times. By and large endurance folk are a pretty good bunch and love to gab; all you have to do is introduce yourself. There's usually a bunch of people left in base camp during rides. Just don't interrupt busy vets, managers, riders, etc during the ride.

familiar bone structure and expression, even six generations removed...
Lonefrontranger: There was a stud farm down the road for 30 years that had absolute cookie cutter horses that got better and better each generation--THAT is how you know they have a breeding program and are not just throwing their stud at any ol' thing with a uterus.

@fshgirl: Ride and Tie is the bastard stepchild Oh yes indeed, it is a bastard!! (and a bitch and evil, ugly, and miserable!)

FYI Ironman Lew Hollander is looking for a horse for himself and his partner, as Hanna's horse is apparently off. For cryin' out loud, the man is 80+ years old!! (and no folks, R&T is NOT easy.)
posted by BlueHorse at 9:01 PM on July 9, 2012

Yay! That was so much vicarious fun. What a stunningly smooth ride he is! The combined horse and rider skill in this video was such a pleasure to experience.

I used to jump anything on my gumpy 17hh horse when I was young and reckless, careering through the bush chasing logs and gullies. These days I'm happy with a shorter gumpy horse, despite his lack of foot sense and jumping experience. We walk and trot along bush tracks taking it easy and enjoying each other's company. Real logs now stay unvanquished in my middle age.
posted by Kerasia at 10:11 PM on July 9, 2012

(and no folks, R&T is NOT easy.)

When I first went to a long distance endurance event (to watch only) I was amazed at how many riders ran a significant amount of the 100 mile course next to the horse. Coming from an event/ hunter trial/ hunter pace background that was a big wtf? Then people started running them without horses at all and that's when I was convinced all endurance people are bats.

Well, that and the outfits.
posted by fshgrl at 10:41 PM on July 9, 2012

...the man is 80+ years old...
In researching the links for this post, I ran across an article in Event Nation or somewhere where Jimmy Wofford made some offhand remark that one of the ladies riding Rolex this year is "62 years young" and I was like ...o_O

Red on right, white on left, and insanity in the middle, indeed.

For those who made mention of what a lovely rider Doug Payne is, I absolutely concur, and that is in part what really makes that a special video ride.

it is maybe worth noting that he is relatively young/new to all this; this was his first ever Rolex ride, and he is considered still kind of a rookie at this level. He is an amazing rider nonetheless and shows the same rapport with other horses he rides. I like that he is documenting his progress and experiences in this fashion; he is good with answering questions on his blog and YouTube channel as well. I get the sense from his comments and soforth that he is as much of a hopeless horse nerd as anyone out there.
posted by lonefrontranger at 6:58 AM on July 10, 2012

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