Eventing in the 1970's O_O - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-09-2012, 08:34 AM
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The 70's was my time. The hair and clothes look pretty normal to me. I did have big hair in the early 80's though.
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-09-2012, 08:47 AM
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The funniest thing about that first video. Was at 28:20 on the first video the announcer says "You need a good seat for that one" right after a horse goes over a fence and then the camera zooms in a fat ladies bum. ha ha

I look back at most old photos of myself and hiss at the stupid styles. I had the BIG hair in the 80's as well and would get up an hour early every day to curl it perfectly and then spray enough spray to hold it. ha ha Now, I rarely put anything in my hair. What was I thinking back then?

I remember having a mild crush on Tad Coffin. Good rider, looked nice in his britches. ha ha
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-09-2012, 08:53 AM
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I was at summer camp with Tad Coffin. He was much older and all the little girls oooohed and aaahed over him. He didn't even know we were there.
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-09-2012, 08:54 AM
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78 Rolex was controversial for a lot of reasons, and the start of a lot of calls to change the sport.

The intent was to have a North American championship on the level of Burghley or Badminton so the American team was a better prepared for international competition. America had won the right to host the championship when Bruce Davidson and the US Team won Burghley in 74. It was supposed to be a tough *** track. (Yes, this was a only a ***, Rolex didn't become a **** until the 90s.) However, this was also when it was a 5 phase event, what is now called the classic format, with horses performing roads & tracks and steeplechase on XC day.

In 78, their was a late fall heat wave, and the temp and the humidity were brutal. I can't find the references, but IIRC, cross country day the temps were in the 90s with humidity at 80 percent. Shortening roads and tracks and steeplechase was considered but no one wanted the first NA championship to be less demanding than their European counterparts.

So what you see here are a lot of tired, distressed horses and riders trying to navigate a big, tough course.

Bruce Davidson, the winner, came under huge amounts of criticism, as the only rider to be both clear and under the time on Might Tango, but Might Tango finished the course exhausted and required IV fluids. I can't imagine how that would be perceived in today's animal rights environment, and with video appearing on YouTube within minutes afterwards.

It was widely agreed that those heat and humidity made the course insanely difficult. The European horses, who were not used to the weather in the American South, fared worse than the Americans

It's also worth noting that many of the fences on this video (Giant's Table, Fort Lexington) were fixtures of the course for years afterward and jumped successfully in competition hundreds of times.

I also find it interesting that while there are lots of falls, there are none of the horrific rotational falls that we have now, after revising the format and trying to make it safer.

And please note that eventing rules now require that you retire immediately after a fall, but that hasn't made the sport any safer either.

I wish that if folks (not specifically the OP) have the time and Google skills to find these old videos, that they would use those same skills to find some history and context.

Last edited by maura; 12-09-2012 at 08:58 AM.
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-09-2012, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by SueNH View Post
I was at summer camp with Tad Coffin. He was much older and all the little girls oooohed and aaahed over him. He didn't even know we were there.

Ha Ha I would have been one of the young girls oohing and aahing after him. I could totally picture him just ignoring me as well. ha ha For me, it was more about the shared love of horses then his looks. It was always all about the horses with most of my life. Odd, that hasn't changed.
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post #16 of 19 Old 12-09-2012, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for the history behind that Maura...very interesting to put it in to context.

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post #17 of 19 Old 12-10-2012, 10:39 AM
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As a person who was competing at the higher levels in eventing during the 70's I will say a couple of things. Yes, the course designers were under a LOT of pressure to build bigger and nastier courses on XC because the general perception was that the XC course should be the determining factor on which combination won. The fences kept getting bigger and harder, like it was some contest between the designers on who could wreak the most havoc. Finally, there really was a revolt in the riding community.

Yes, I fell....yes I had horses fall.....yes I remounted....but I never had a horse badly injured. I did, on two occasions, retire a horse on XC as I just didn't feel the horse was right after a couple of steps. It turned out that they were both determined sound by a vet when rested. To say that the riders DIDN'T CARE was an irresponsible statement. Anyone riding at that level worked years with their partners getting there and did not take falls lightly.

Today's rules do not allow remounting when a rider falls, and I disagree with that. There are many times when a rider falls and they are uninjured and could continue on. I do agree with retiring when a horse falls.

Today, the XC courses are much less difficult in the size and scariness department, but are far more technical. The angles are tough and the jump faces are ridiculously narrow. The new fad. The times are measured much tighter allowing the easy accrual of time penalties. More importantly, more people complete the XC courses. Now, the winners had better START winning in dressage. THAT is the place where they weed out the winners and losers now.

So, there became a big push to have more elaborate movers in dressage. The WB's (actually, mostly crosses) started becoming the rage. BUT, they had more trouble with the long format (oversimplifying here).

The long format was tossed for a number of reasons. Time, cost, the need for LARGE facilities. Somewhere, in the deep recesses there just might have been relief for those bringing the WB's into the game.

I miss the long format, personally. It REQUIRED riders to present a very fit horse and hours every day were devoted to getting my intermediate and advanced horses in the peak of condition. It was almost a science to peak the horse out at the crowning event of the season.

Now, I see much less fit horses competing since the short format has become the norm. As a result, I believe we are seeing MUCH worse accidents on XC as exhausted horses are unable to answer the questions asked. The falls, as Maura mentioned, are becoming more and more rotational falls (which were rarer in the 70/80's).
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post #18 of 19 Old 12-20-2012, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks every one for sharing their information and personal experience in those 70's times, i like comparing past and present and learning stuff.

The foolish reject what they see, not what they think,
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
-Huang Po
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-20-2012, 08:17 AM
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Tamarack Hill Farm - Strafford, VT - Local Business | Facebook

This is Denny Emerson's facebook page. He must have an entire room of old photos of eventing and endurance he posts regularly. Very interesting with his pics and commentary. He has pictures from the 50's on up.
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