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Re: RC: Hunters/Jumpers (was FEI...)

 Whew....Kat, I THINK you and I even agree on something...but I need to
read it a couple of more times to be about "Filling in the
background with so many details that the foreground goes
underground".......... <grin> Just kidding!  Enjoyed your post.

Jim and Sun of Dimanche

"" wrote:
> It seems to me that much of the discussion/debate about the AERC/FEI
> issue could be fairly amicably put to rest if people came to the
> understanding that distance riding encompasses more than a single
> sport.
> International/FEI endurance racing bears as much resemblance to AERC
> endurance riding as show hunters does to show jumpers.  Though there
> are some obvious similarities (the horse and rider must negotiate a
> course in a prescribed sequence), there are also some obvious
> differences (which can pretty much be summed up in two ways: how you
> define the winner and some fairly superficial differences about dress,
> tack and equipment—which reflect the slightly different demands put on
> horse and rider as well as slightly different fashion statements that
> participants may want to make).
> Because (like in hunters and jumpers) the courses and the skills
> required of the horse and rider are similar, it may be possible to run
> both events at the same venue, but you are going to run into serious
> problems if you try run both events under the same rules.
> I think that it is long past due that it be accepted that the
> differences in the sports are acknowledged and accepted and attempts to
> reconcile them be abandoned.  So…here is my proposal:
> The AERC will keep and maintain its own rules that defines winning at
> an endurance ride as crossing the finish line, will continue to keep
> track of lifetime mileage, yearly mileage (and any bonus points for
> crossing the finish line in the top ten), best condition, etc. and will
> distribute awards based on such.
> The FEI will keep and maintain its own rules, the AHSA can continue to
> be the national organization within the US (or USET depending on how
> the two of those ever get their own differences worked out) that
> governs the sport that defines winning at an endurance race as
> completing each of the segments of the course is the shortest amount of
> time, and will distribute awards based on such.
> The AERC, the AHSA, USET, and/or the FEI can work together on whatever
> agreed common concerns that they may have (like trails preservation,
> shared development of veterinary research that applies to both sports,
> etc.), and can butt out of each other's sports otherwise.
> Ride managers (just like show managers of horse shows) can choose to
> run whatever competitions at their venues as they feel they have the
> resources and capability of successfully managing, and can defray the
> costs of doing so in whatever way they think will be successful.  And
> they may distribute their awards in whatever way they damn well please,
> and can keep their sanctioning from whatever governing body(ies) they
> choose just as long as they comply with those organizations' rules.
> Riders can choose to attend whatever competitions suit them and their
> own personal (or professional—more on that below*) goals and can pay
> for whatever they are willing to pay for and get whatever gratification
> that pleases them in whatever way they like, as long as they, too,
> comply with the rules of the sanctioning body(ies) of the competition/s
> they choose to participate in.
> As near as I can tell, this is exactly how the current structure of the
> assorted involved organizations (which also includes an assortment of
> regional CTR organizations, NATRC, the IAHA, and even the R&T
> association) is doing.  All that needs to be done is to consciously
> acknowledge and overtly state that this is the approach that both
> organizations are going to take.  That way, there will be no more
> bitching and moaning on the part of AERC members about how the FEI is
> encroaching on "our" sport and how "we" have to be sure to have a say
> in what "they" are doing.
> Endurance racing as defined and governed by the FEI has only
> superficial resemblance to the endurance riding that most AERC members
> participate in.  It is not the AERC's sport at all, it is the FEI's
> sport…let the FEI govern that sport how it so chooses.  If the FEI
> would like to avail itself of the experience of members of the AERC and
> what they have discovered in managing and sanctioning a similar sport
> and incorporate some of those lessons into their own rules, they can.
> And if the AERC would like to avail itself of the experience of members
> of the FEI and what they have discovered in managing and sanctioning a
> similar sport and incorporate some of those lessons into their own
> rules, they can.
> Then, people who want to participate in the sport of endurance racing
> can do so (if they can find ride managers to put on such competitions
> for them) under a set of rules designed to properly regulate and keep
> track of participants in a head-to-head competition race of 25 to 100
> miles.  And people who want to participate in the sport of long
> distance trail riding can do so (if they can find ride managers to put
> on such competitions for them) under a set of rules designed to
> properly regulate and keep track of the thousands of miles going down
> the trail over an over again with the same horse and/or rider.
> There is (as far as I can see) no reason that both of these sports (and
> any other events that an event manager wants to put on) cannot be held
> at the same venue, on the same day, on the same or similar course,
> sharing resources including some officials, etc.  And I see no reason
> that competitors cannot, if it suits their tastes participate in any or
> all of the events that may or may not be occurring at a particular
> venue (assuming that they as individuals can work out the logistics of
> doing so). Or participate in one sport at one venue and the other on a
> different day at a different venue.
> Other horse sports (such as Hunters and Jumpers) successfully do the
> same thing all the time.
> Personally, I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to participate in
> the sport of endurance racing as defined and regulated by the FEI, and
> if the AERC starts to change its rules to accommodate people that do, I
> will stop going to AERC rides.  But that is just a matter of personal
> taste.  I don't care for bowling either, so I just don't bowl.  That
> doesn't mean that I don't know people who DO like endurance racing as
> defined by the FEI and choose to expend their time and resources
> pursuing it (and I will even do what I can to support them if they
> happen to be personal friends).
> I am encouraged to hear from Maryben Stover and Barbara McCrary (both
> members of the AERC Board of Directors) that what may or may not have
> gone on at the Biltmore ride with respect to the FEI aspect of the ride
> and how it was managed was of absolutely no concern to the AERC.  As
> long as the participants in the AERC aspect of the ride complied with
> the AERC's rules, then it is none of the AERC's business what else
> those competitors may or may not have been doing or what anybody else
> may or may not have been doing at the event.
> Presumably it IS a concern of the ride manager to address and decide
> whether whatever caused displeasure in any or all of the participants
> is something that needs to be changed for future events.  And it is the
> concern of competitors to decide (if they were sufficiently displeased)
> whether to attend the same or a similar event in the future—no matter
> what their sanctioning or the cause of their displeasure.
> And as near as I can tell the only real fly in the ointment to this
> approach is AERC International being part of AERC (it should be a part
> of the AHSA…if the AHSA will have them).  If International endurance
> racing is the sport as governed by the FEI and by extension the AHSA,
> and has nothing to do with the long distance trail riding as governed
> by the AERC, then the organization that riders with international
> aspirations should join and petition is the AHSA, not the AERC.  These
> riders and ride managers need to work together with the AHSA to have
> their concerns addressed.  The AERC can then officially stand to the
> side rather than taking the obstructive role that it currently has.
> Currently, these riders and ride managers have to be members of the
> AHSA anyway, why should those that are ONLY interested in the sport of
> racing be required to support and participate in a sport that they are
> no more interested in than I am in theirs?
> People who are interested in both can join and participate in both.
> Just as people have been doing for years with respect to the IAHA,
> NATRC and (in my case) the California Dressage Society. :)
> Does this mean that participants with international aspirations cannot
> attend AERC rides and use them as training and participation for what
> they are really interested in?  No…just as I can take my novice jumper
> into a hunter class at a horse show because it is a great venue to
> train a prospect about the balance, form and control required to do
> show jumping.  Just as I can take my novice endurance horse to a local
> poker ride to teach it about being mindful in a crowd…or even just
> because I think poker rides are fun.
> It is long past time for participants to realize that there is more
> than one sport going on here, and that these two different sports need
> two different sets of rules.  Attempting to run both sports under the
> same set of rules will just prolong bickering among participants.  The
> AHSA has been dealing with the FEI with respect to other FEI
> disciplines for decades.  I can see no reason not to let them continue
> to do so. For the AERC to stick its iron in the fire as well would
> serve only to enmesh it in a quagmire that is of little or no interest
> to the majority of its membership.  And lest those people interested in
> international riding think that endurance will suffer at the hands of
> the AHSA if the AERC doesn't involve itself, I might remind them that
> one of the people working for the AHSA with respect to endurance is
> Mike Tomlinson, a long standing and well respected endurance rider and
> endurance veterinarian who is currently on the AERC Board of Directors
> and can keep both organizations appraised of what the other is doing.
> kat
> Orange County, Calif.
> p.s. With respect to the question of professional vs amateur, I would
> also suggest the same split.  The AERC should make a distinct point of
> describing itself as an amateur sporting organization that sanctions
> and provides governance for amateur sporting events.  The AHSA and the
> FEI are long standing professional organizations with multitudes of
> professional participants, with stricter rules in place necessary for
> governing a professional sport (and with the necessary lawyers on
> staff).  Since most of the membership of the AERC (especially if the
> AERC doesn't involve itself in international endurance racing) are
> hobbyists participating as amateurs and the sport of long distance
> trail riding does not particularly lend itself to professional
> participation anyway, there is no reason for the AERC to involve itself
> in the morass of any professional aspects of the sport either and leave
> the managing of professional endurance to the AHSA.  Personally, I
> think the AERC would do well to take the same approach as the WSTF and
> clearly state that participants understand that AERC is an amateur
> sporting organization that governs amateur sporting events and takes no
> responsibility whatsoever for the professional gains or losses of any
> of the participants.  So if Ride Managers want to run big money rides
> with large prizes that are likely to attract professionals, then it is
> the AHSA and/or the FEI that should be the sanctioning body they
> choose, not the AERC.  The AHSA has been governing horse sports with
> big prizes for years.
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Richard T. "Jim" Holland                 Phone:  (706) 258-2830
LANCONN, Inc.                            FAX:    (706) 632-1271
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