Just a thought, what about extra bonus for a clear round, so that you could actually make up ground in the riding not just lose or maintain your position?
That could work, but only if the course is difficult enough to weed out the less competent. Often, the problem is the course allows for too many clear or near-clear rounds, so that the standings aren't affected much by the riding phase.
I was talking to the Canadian national team coach this weekend and he was really pleased to see the riding be so influential at the Olympics.
I'll add here that this weekend, I did my part to improve the future standard of pentathlon riding. As one of the organizers of our national championships this year, I came up with the idea to let some of the younger kids ride, even though their age group doesn't require riding. We have a lot of good riders in our ranks, so why not let them experience the pentathlon riding format in a low-pressure situation?
We had half a dozen young (14-16) pentathletes riding on the pre-competition day. They rode the competition course on the competition horses. Our judge and timers were present and scored them as if they were competing. We mostly stuck to the 20 min/5 jump warm-up rule, except our goal was to make sure the kids were comfortable when they went into the ring. One rider had a more difficult horse and we talked about strategies and took an extra jump or two. Ride went beautifully as a result.
IMO, this is the best way to raise the standard going forward -- get the kids riding in the pentathlon format as they develop in the other phases. This keeps the kids who love riding interested in pentathlon, and it gets the kids who love running/swimming/fencing/shooting motivated to improve their riding skills. That said, most of our kids love to ride, and don't need any prompting to get on a horse.
...actually, I'd say that JER has been very level in parrying comments, in spite of there being a lot of mis information out there and has tried hard to show a different point of view, more in line with the facts. Knickers - this is a hate-on for a very legitimate Olympic sport sponsored by a few loud voices -they are the ones all tied up.
Pentathlon is one of the most popular sports at the Games and in Europe in general, tickets are hard to come by.
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