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We Are Flying Solo

November 21, 2010

Longer And Harder

That's what she said.

Ahhahaha, I crack myself up. But moving on...

Tonight, Flying Solo is coming to you live from the beaches of Maui, Hawaii! I only get to go on vacations when other people pay for them (thanks, mum!!!). But even in Maui, my thoughts always wander back to the rhythm of hoofbeats.

Because I was totally talking about eventing in the title. I don't know what you were thinking about, but that's just wrong. ;-P I am talking about the long format, i.e. what events USED to be and what USEA is trying to help us hold on to.  There is even a group (logo at left), formulated in the brackish depths of the Chronicle of the Horse forums, dedicated to just this cause.

I had several folks write in and ask just what do all the phases of a classic (long) format event entail? Well, tonight (ok, it's probably morning back home right now) your life's deep burning questions shall be answered.

I won't go into the detailed and controversial change from long to short format. That would be far too long a post for me tackle mid-jet-lag. But here's what the classic has that the short format doesn't:

Endurance day.

The true test of your horse's conditioning that I wrote about briefly here. So, here's what happens.

You get a ride time for each phase (A through D). Phase A is your first roads and tracks. It's basically a mapped trail ride over rolling terrain, where you follow a marked route. This should be done mostly as a nice, brisk trot, maybe a little canter -- you are warming your horse up for Phase B, the steeplechase. Phase B usually consists of 6-8 brush jumps taken from a gallop that is faster than your cross country pace.

Once you and your horse have both reached the top of your adrenaline peak on Phase B, you move on to Phase C, another roads and tracks. Much like A, it's a trail, but you go slower, cooling your horse out from his gallop on B. You need to bring his pulse and respiration back down because when you cross the finish flags of C, you enter the 10 minute box.

Once in the box, the vets take your horse's TPR (temp, pulse, respiration) and make sure he drops quickly back to normal levels (this is where your conditioning tattles on you). If all goes according to plan, your horse recovers and then hits the start box of Phase D, the cross country course.

Here, of course, you gallop your heart out, collect the bugs in your grin, and cross the finish line and know that you successfully tackled the true challenge of eventing and are all that much richer for it.

A summary then:

Phase A: Roads and Tracks I, warmup for steeplechase
Phase B: Steeplechase at speed
Phase C: Roads and Tracks II, cool down for XC
10-Minute Box
Phase D: XC

Sum Total: Complete Awesomeness (yes, I make up stupid words when my brain can't figure out what time zone I'm in)


  1. oh shoot, now you are tempting me...

  2. Someday, I so want to do that. It sounds amazing.

  3. Long format for the WIN. Seriously.

    Inavale does a T3D, and I was so jealous watching them this year. I really really want to do one.

    I doubt it's going to happen with McKinna, because we're eyeing a move-up to T in the middle of next season and THEN we'd have to get all our qualifying rides and THEN sign up for the T3D, which = lots of $$$. But it is absolutely one of my biggest goals to do a T3D or even a P3D sometime.

    I can't wait to follow you and Solo on the journey :)

  4. Thanks for the info! Sometime maybe you can explain (generally) how the scoring works in the long format.

    I really do so enjoy this blog!

  5. mm, I hear you -- I am going to be facing the same problem. Qualifying is a bitch and I have no idea how I'm going to pull it off. Creativity will be required!

    Amanda, scoring is no different from a short format. You can incur time penalties on Roads and Track, you can fall off, or your horse can refuse jumps in steeplechase, all of which would add to your score.

  6. Hahahaha, Frizz, you can ask -- I think she prolly has a bad taste in her mouth from being struck with me all these years!

  7. OT, but did I just see a certain shiny red pony on the Sunrise Halters website?

  8. SP, yes, yes you may have indeed, if by Sunrise you mean Sunset (one of those silly things the sun does)...Solo's ham habits know no bounds.

  9. Sunrise, sunset.... same thing... (insert slightly embarrassed face here...) :D