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Hi all

I'd like to throw in my 2c worth here.  I'm the secretary of our club and as such am involved with organising our annual ride in March.  I have been involved with organising our club ride now for 2 years as well as the one FEI sanctioned ride in October last year - that one was a joint effort by 3 regional clubs.

If I have to compare the problems experienced at the club ride and those at the FEI ride, I can genuinely say that there hadn't been very much difference.  We had 200+ riders at our club ride and if I recall correctly, we had about 150 at the FEI ride.  This was made up of LD riders and 100 milers and I personally did a 30km at that ride as well.

Yes, the rules were new and very, very different and lots of people had, what were to them, major problems.  They didn't like the vetting; they didn't like the way their horses were segregated ..... sound familiar?  And this is out in South Africa!  As a part of the organising, I took it in my stride and my argument was "If we want to compete internationally, we have to abide by the rules" although it was much more work for us.  Also as a rider, I could find no fault as the rules were there for the horse.  Granted, we did not impose the clothing rule - as far as I recall, but I might be wrong - and as far as I could see, no rule harmed me as a rider.  In fact, the vet that vetted me .... err my horse .... was a familiar face from many of our other rides.  I ride a stallion and it was his first ride and when we presented, his pulse was 96!!!!!  The vet smiled and told me to trot him up and down the marked off passage and took his pulse as soon as we came back - he was down to 38.  I'm not sure if she received special training or if she is just a very knowledgeable person, but I'm forever grateful to her for giving us the benefit of her knowledge and quick thinking.

The LD riders were subjected to the same FEI rules as the 100 milers - we didn't use the local endurance rules for the LDs and the FEI rules for the 100 milers and maybe that made our lives easier.  The same P&R rates, the same vetting area, approach to the finish line - everything was the same for all riders.

So the whole point to this is that we may be different in that a majority of our riders would just LOVE to ride internationally - or at least be given the chance - because of our isolation in the past and that is also maybe why our job would be a bit easier in getting the FEI rides off the ground.  However, we will still have the non-FEI rides on the calendar because of the cost and organisation involved in putting on a ride of this magnitude, so hopefully it will keep everybody happy - not likely, but hopefully.

On the politics issue - you will always have politics and hurt feelings where more than one person is involved with anything.  Endurance tends to attract and nurture hard headed people who have very strong opinions and that will of necessity create "feelings".

I would also like to point out that the people who complain the loudest are those who are the most quiet when volunteers are called for.


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