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Consistent rules, heart belts, etc.

I just got back from a trip and saw all this fuss about the Biltmore. I want
to address a
few points. But first I want to say the while all Southeast region rides are
top notch, the Biltmore
is the crown jewel of the southeast region. Ann did a wonderful job as usual
and I sure hope she isn't
taking all this bashing to heart.

Consistent rules: I saw no vetting rule or vet check flow which was not
consistent with what you normally see
at SE region ride. The 60 pulse is really the call of the vets and
management. While most SE rides are 64 (with 60 at the finish for LD's), we
do have rides where it is 60 - depending on the weather conditions or other
factors. For example the Longleaf ride - which is one of your "small family
oriented fun rides" was 60 last year. The vet check flow was the same we use
in the SE. We in the SE evolved to this type of flow as a way to better
manage the checks and to provide a level playing field for all riders. It
happened because of common sense and had nothing whatsoever to do with FEI.
The routing in and out of the crew area  was more for safety than anything
else as far as I could see. There were a lot of horses and not a lot of land
to use for crewing. That ride could have tuned into pure chaos if people were
allowed all over the area as others were trying to get into the gate coming
off the trial.

Also crewing on trail has never been allowed in at the Biltmore and crewing
outside the gate coming off the trail was again more a matter of safety than
any sort of "FEI rule."

Heart belts: I've been to rides where the head vet did not want the HRM
turned on when you went in. That's not a big deal, but it probably should
have been spelled out in writing on the entry (there is some AERC rule about
spelling out in writing). In general the pulse calculated by a HRM is more
accurate than that taken by a person with a stethoscope - unless the person
is very well trained. The crystal used to generate the clock used to measure
the pulse is the same that goes into most watches so the time reference is
the same for the HRM and the watch on the pulse takers wrist and the HRM
eliminates human error and judgment. On the other hand, that is assuming the
HRM is making good contact and is in fact reading. You will in general get
out of the P&R box a lot faster if the pulse taker just takes the pulse with
a stethoscope.

I agree that there are a lot of "silly" rules in the FEI, e.g., how is
wearing a shirt with a collar going to make me take better care of my horse,
for example? But only FEI riders had to deal with these rules. There are some
issues that need to be addressed - and hopefully they will. Rules have to
reflect reality and the FEI sanctioning needs to be able to fit into the AERC
ride structure in a harmonious way.  Hopefully, every one involved has
learned from this experience and this experience will be folded back in to
the next ride.

While the FEI riders are a minority within the AERC, IMO the AERC needs to be
the one and only organization that promotes and controls endurance riding
within the US at all levels. Granted that a minority dictating the rules the
majority ride under is like the tail wagging the dog and should be avoided,
but again IMHO we all need to be a bit more open to each others views.  The
FEI issue will sort itself out. I would suspect that when all the dust
settles with the number of riders that want FEI, you will see a few FEI rides
which people can use to get their FEI qualifications, and the large majority
of rides will not be sanctioned FEI. Hopefully we can arrive at equilibrium
point without doing damage to our sport and creating hard feelings.

I want to close by congratulating all the SERA riders who did well in their
demonstration rides. Karen, Nikki, Mary, (and all of you who I missed ), you
made us proud!  GO USA EAST.

President, Southeast Endurance Riders Assoc wrote:

> Obviously some people have their mind set, but others may think out of
> the box and see some sense in these rules.  Heart rate monitors are not
> infallible, nor necessarily the same from horse to horse, manufacturer to
> manufacturer.  It depends on how they are put on or positioned, how much
> hair, how well the contacts work, and an erroneous reading on a resting
> horse is going to be low.  If there were a chance it were going to be
> high, you'd never be agruing to use it.  It is not real time, it is an
> average, which in fact may not be to your advantage if the pulse is
> dropping.  But I doubt this is the reason for the rule.  First, you
> should not be entering P&R until your horse's pulse is down.  If it is
> down you do not need a monitor, and it gets in the way of the pulse
> taker.  Second, IMO, it is not the PULSE TAKER looking at the reading
> that is the problem, it is you!  If you see a reading on your electronic
> device that disagrees even slightly with the pulse taker, you are going
> to waste everyone's time agruing and trying to influence the pulse taker,
> hopefully to no avail, because the stethoscope is the most fair and
> accurate instrument.  If monitors cannot be used in the P&R area, there
> is no disagreement.  This isn't so important at an AERC ride, where the
> ride manager is going to tell you to move along, but at an FEI ride they
> have a ground jury that must take all complaints seriously.  It's fair to
> all to leave them off inside P&R.  I heard no complaints about the
> quality of P&R at Biltmore, and I doubt you will at any FEI ride.
> It's true that the need for security at Biltmore is minimal, no one is
> likely to steal or doctor someone's horse.  There will be no fire where
> there is no stable.  But the same regulations apply to the $! million
> Grand Prix jumper stabled in Belgium and the horses that will be
> competing for a $100,000 purse in reigning.  We had international riders
> competing at Biltmore, and just like a McDonald's in France may be
> expected to resemble a McDonald's in Georgia, all FEI riders should be
> able to expect international rides to follow the same rules and things to
> work recognizably the same. You don't have to eat at McDonald's if you
> don't want to.  You didn't enter FEI, you didn't have to surrender your
> coggins papers until your horse was released by the vets, or park you
> trailer within the control area.  Maybe next time you'll park closer than
> the FEI riders, it all washes out over the long run.
> >It's a minor point, but I resented not being able to use my
> >heartbelt.....the argument that someone made about "not everybody being
> >able to afford one" is stupid.  If you can pay to enter FEI rides, you
> >certainly can afford a simple heart monitor...and maybe that SHOULD be a
> >valid indicator of a horse's's real time and certainly more
> >accurate than a stethoscope. Just tell your pulse takers "Don't look at
> >it!" Maybe I could cover it with duct tape?
> >
> >This "having control of FEI horses so we put them all in the same area
> >is idiocy". I wonder if Biltmore FEI stewards put out picket lines and
> >"guarded" the horses all night? Hmmmm...probably was pretty
> >quiet.
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