Check it Out!
[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index] [Subject Index]



Angie said:

> Why do you speak as if the FEI
> riders aren't AERC people?

I didn't think I did.  In fact, I thought what I said was that there is 
no reason the riders can't choose to participate in one or both of the 
disciplines and that that should make no difference whatsoever to the 

> Does the fact that I did one FEI ride
> suddenly nullify all my AERC miles and keep me from competing in my
> weight division for year end awards?

Sigh :(

No, that isn't what I was saying at all.  In fact, what I was trying to 
say was virtually the opposite.  That choosing to participate (or not) 
in a different discipline with a different set of rules (i.e. an FEI 
ride with FEI rules) does not change at all if or whether you 
participated in the AERC ride as long as you complied with the AERC's 
rules.  What else you were doing was nobody's business but your own.

> I don't understand your logic at all. 

I suspect that I have been misunderstood because I made the assumption 
that people are familiar with the sports of show hunters and show 
jumpers and could draw the same parallels that I did.  Let me explain 
(although I suspect that I may be equally as misunderstood :( ).

In the sports of both hunters and jumpers, the participants do exactly 
the same thing:  They enter the show ring, jump the fences in the right 
order, and leave the ring.  

But just because the horses and riders are doing exactly the same thing 
(jumping all the fences in the right order), it would be a mistake to 
think that hunters and jumpers are exactly the same sport.  They are 
not, mostly because there is a difference in how the winner is chosen 
(and some fairly insignificant rules about appointments).

Yes, in hunters and jumpers, both the riders and the horses are much of 
the same type, have much of the same skills, are trained in much the 
same way and many of the riders and horses compete across the 

It is because of their similarities that these two disciplines are 
frequently staged at the same venue (even to the extent that 
Hunter/Jumper is used as a single word).  By staging them at the same 
venue, people who want to cross enter, can do so easily, officials and 
equipment can be used for both disciplines, and participants can stand 
on the sidelines and watch the others and learn about their own sports.  

This can happen because all the participants (competitors and officials 
alike) can recognize both the similarities AND the differences, 
acknowledge that they exist, have two separate sets of rules (and many 
which they share) so that people who wish to participate in one but not 
the other can do so without having to argue about which rules are 
"better" (there is no better, just different).

The FEI and the AERC can do exactly the same thing (and as near as I 
can tell, both of the organizations have officially taken this 
position).  AERC and FEI rides can be held at the same venue by any 
ride managers who want to do so, and riders can go or not go to these 
rides as suits their tastes (and to the extent that the ride managers 
are successful and managing the logistics of a multi-discipline event, 
but since ride managers have been doing this for years already by 
managing rides that include the IAHA, ECTRA, UMECRA, SERA, and the Ride 
'n' Tie Assn. among others it shouldn't be TOO difficult).

BUT, this can only be done if the differences as well as the 
similarities are acknowledged and accepted.  To let those differences 
stand, to let them be codified in the different rules and for each 
organization to butt out of the other's business when those differences 
arise, rather than trying to pretend that we are all just the same, 
have exactly the same goals and therefore should be governed by exactly 
the same rules.

As I said, it seems to me that this is the official position of the 
organizations involved, and that much of the animosity that gets flung 
around could be easily put to rest if all the participants just 
accepted that AERC and FEI have the same types of differences and can 
have the same different sets of rules as has long since been accepted 
by the Hunter/Jumper crowd that just codifies the rules for both 
disciplines and lets riders and show managers participate in and put on 
whatever events they like as long as they comply by the rules of the 
discipline(s) that they choose.

I have been to many a hunter/jumper show where the hunters were run in 
the morning and the jumpers were run in the afternoon in the same ring 
using the same jumps, and I was riding the same horse (yes, I took my 
coat off for the jumpers and they changed the poles on the jumps from 
the plain brown ones to the brightly colored ones). Some other people 
competed just in the hunters and some competed just in the jumpers (and 
I have done that myself on different days with different horses—and on 
those occasions I don't go to the trouble and hassle of braiding my 
horse's mane), and you get to just watch and enjoy the rest of the 

There is no discussion of better or higher level (there are, of course, 
assorted opinions from proponents of both disciplines about what each 
thinks the other is doing wrong ;) but since people who prefer hunters 
don't have to ride to the jumper rules, and people who prefer jumpers 
don't have to ride to the hunter rules the animosity just isn't there), 
it is just different.  There are, of course, some hunter riders who 
think that jumpers are a just a bunch of nervy hacks with no form or 
style who gallop their horses at fences and just hang on for the ride; 
that hunters requires greater skill and schooling.  And there are, of 
course, jumper riders who think that hunters don't even jump "real" 
fences, that it is prissy and silly to pick winners based on how far 
your shirt sleeve hangs below the end of your coat sleeve and that the 
real skill comes in putting your horse to big fences with tricky 
striding differences.  Personally, I refuse to weigh in on which 
requires more "skill."  They are just different disciplines.  I have a 
personal preference for jumpers (probably as much because "nervy" is a 
better word to describe me than "prissy" :)), but that doesn't mean 
that I think that jumpers are better or a higher level of riding 
horses, but just that that is what better suits my taste.  And I 
appreciate the fact that both disciplines exist…so that I CAN choose 
the one that better suits my taste.  If hunters and jumpers tried to 
reconcile their differences and govern a single sport of "riding horses 
over fences" with a single set of rules, then NOBODY would be happy and 
there WOULD be incessant bickering, back biting, substantial animosity, 
and arguments about whose rules are better.

"Riding horses long distances" is no more one single sport than "riding 
horses over fences" is.  Separating the rules does not mean that we 
have to separate the riders, the rides, or anything else.  
Acknowledging that there is a difference between the sport of 
international endurance racing and the sport of national endurance 
riding (and even regional differences) should not be a divisive issue, 
but a unifying one.  The AERC has long since acknowledged (by allowing 
individual ride managers to apply their own rules for their own venues) 
that rules do not come in a "one size fits all" package.

Does that mean that I think that ALL endurance rides should have both 
an AERC and an FEI division?  No, it should be up to the ride manager 
to decide what events they want to put on at their venue, and it is up 
to the rider what type of "show" they want to go to.

With respect to FEI and AERC endurance.  If you like FEI endurance, go 
do it.  If you like AERC endurance, go do it.  If you like both, do 
both; if they have them at the same venue, you can do both at the same 
time.  And go do it with the people you can find who like the same 
things you do and leave the people who don't like what you like to do 
what they like without interference, even if they are at the same 
venue.  But don't try to run one sport with the other sport's rules, 
because if you try to do that (just like if they tried to do it at a 
hunter/jumper show) you are gonna piss of just about everybody.

By acknowledging the differences and accepting them, both sports should 
be able to exist in peaceful harmony.  If you paper over the 
differences and pretend they don't exist, they will constantly be 
biting you in the ass.  It is the silly idea that we are all one big 
happy family and have no differences (no matter how superficial the 
differences may seem on the surface) so "why can't we all just get 
along?" that leads to discord and animosity. (This, BTW: is true in 
families as well, and families, presumably, because they have shared 
DNA and shared upbringing/experiences, will have more in common than a 
bunch of people from diverse backgrounds that cross national borders.  
Even big happy families have to identify and acknowledge their 
differences if they are to peacefully co-exist).

The AERC could (IMO) easily put to rest all of the animosity that the 
FEI issue raises virtually every time that there is an FEI endurance 
ride with Americans in it by simply stating, "The AERC has nothing to 
do with the FEI," and repeating the refrain every time anybody asks the 
AERC to do anything with respect to the FEI, FEI endurance rides, and 
FEI endurance riders.  This doesn't mean that individual members of the 
AERC (even if those individual members happen to be on the AERC Board 
of Directors) cannot do what ever they like. Nor does it mean that the 
AERC and the FEI cannot work together on their shared concerns or that 
they cannot learn from each other.

The AERC should not have anything more to do with the FEI than it does 
with the Ride 'n' Tie Association.  Yes, there are people who are 
members of both, who participate in both sports, and rides that put on 
both sports at the same venue.  Yes, there are shared interests and 
concerns that the organizations can work on together.  But neither the 
AERC nor the Ride 'n' Tie Association meddles in the internal workings 
of the other.

Does that mean that just because I go to one Ride 'n' Tie "suddenly 
nullify all my AERC miles and keep me from competing in my weight 
division for year end awards?" 

No.  It means no such thing.  All it means is that I participate in 
more than one horse sport.  

With regards to this issue, the AERC can do one of three things:

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

The FEI isn't going to be led by the AERC.
The AERC isn't going to follow the FEI (I hope).

So let's just acknowledge that what the AERC needs to do is to get out 
of the way.

And this goes for the FEI too.

Orange County, Calif.

p.s.  The professional vs. amateur issue is a separate issue--except to 
the extent that the AERC is no more equipped to be the governing body 
for a professional sport than it is equipped to be the governing body 
for an international sport--and I am sorry if I confused some people by 
mentioning it at the same time.

    Check it Out!    

Home    Events    Groups    Rider Directory    Market    RideCamp    Stuff

Back to TOC