In the latest episode of the Eventing Radio Show, cross-country riding specialist Lucinda Green talks passionately about why she believes that bringing the steeplechase phase back into the sport of three-day eventing would make the sport safer.
Read what Lucinda said about the steeplechase:
In my view it was a misguided effort cutting the roads and tracks and steeplechase to make the sport safer.
I don’t think that is the case it would be safer. I think it could be more dangerous because people don’t learn to ride at speed over fences that give, which is what the steeplechase phase gave you the ability to do.
It also gave your horse terrific get up and go and got the adrenalin working. It was a very different sport when you came to those mammoth cross-country fences after the steeplechase you were in the groove and your horse was mentally and physically in the groove.
You could tire your horse out if you didn’t teach him to run and jump if you were constantly pulling him up and balancing and hooking and trying to see a stride – you might have got the time but you would have tired him out.
I am also very aware that there’s less grind on the horses and I am very pro the fact that as the horses become ever better trained ever more professional in their own field that we want to preserve them and make them last as long as possible.
They are lasting possibly longer than before but whether that’s because of the shorter format or advances in medical science and care it’s hard to tell.
It is a lot less grind and I think the horses have to be quicker. There’s nothing like as many warmbloods at the top levels. I think people have realised they really need to turn a foot.
If I had my way I would like to see the steeplechase revamped, but not the roads and tracks.
Funnily enough year’s ago Jack Le Goff came and did a debate with me. I will never forget Jack saying we must not loose the steeplechase it’s a very important part of this sport and a totally different skill for the rider.
He wasn’t listened to and I think it’s a real shame.
They said it would be much easier to run without a steeplechase but just about anywhere there’s a three-day event there would be a space for steeplechase.
I would like to see steeplechase come back and I tell you why – in the name of safety.
Riders will learn to ride a horse at speed a horse will learn to jump at speed over fences that are forgiving. To make this sport safer we should bring back steeplechase.
The steeplechase transcends the dressage groove from the cross-country groove.