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Washoe and FEI/AERC differences

I took part in the Washoe ride last weekend and wanted to add my 
comments to the FEI/AERC discussion.  

It was a pretty large ride - 44 in the LD, 103 in the 50 mile 
portion, and 38 in the 100.  Of the 38 - about 18 were in the 
FEI part of the 100 mile ride.  Nancy Elliot was head vet with 
Kerry Ridgeway and 4 other vets assisting for a total of 6.

I was in the 50 mile portion and other than a few minor items -
found no significant differences for me compared to many other
AERC rides I have taken part in.

In fact - I found it more interesting because I was able to spend
time watching the 100 mile portion of the FEI ride after we finished
the 50.  In addition - the ride management had this scale available
to weigh riders and horses before and after the ride that showed
my horse lost 20 lbs during the ride and I lost 5.  Everyone I
asked questions of were happy to talk about the FEI portion.

Although I have not done this ride before - several people who had - 
said that the flow through the vetting area was better than in the 

Differences I saw -

1.  Separate parking area for FEI.  There was but it was not any better
than the spot we got arriving on Friday afternoon. 

2.  Signs out on the trail in miles and kilometers.  I liked this because
I had an idea of how far to the next vet check.

3.  Separate P&R areas for the 100 and the 50.  The AERC 100s used the same
P&R area as the FEI.  And actually during the ride - no one was really 
picky about which one the 50s or the 100s used. I used both at one time 
or another during the ride.

4.  No courtesy P&R checks.  You had to go back out of the box if you
didn't meet criteria.  It wasn't a big deal in many cases because 
there was seldom a line for P&R.  Besides - a rider should know when 
his/her horse is down. In AERC rides - I have seen riders told to 
turn off their HRM so the P&R staff don't have to argue with a rider
on differences.  

5.  FEI horses had to meet criteria by 30 minutes at the finish while I
believe the AERC riders had 60 minutes in the 100. I am not 100% sure on 
this as I didn't ride the 100 but seem to remember a discussion of it 
during the ride meeting.

6.  There was a person at the end of the P&R area telling us which vet
to go to next.  I sort of assumed this was due to the almost 200 riders
but from the other posts - see it could be related to the FEI portion.
I think it helped.

Other than the items above - the ride just seemed like a big well organized
AERC ride to me.  The parking and camping areas were excellent and such
that there was no real difference between the FEI and AERC portions.  I 
actually thought the FEI group was in a more cramped area than we were.
There were no restrictions for clothing and equipment that I saw that
would make an AERC rider unhappy in the AERC portion of the rides.

One thought I had on reading some of the comments concerning the Biltmore
is that if you are up front pushing for the top placings - every little 
difference gets magnified when you worry about it costing you a little 
time.  Once you get used to the procedure - I would think it could
help move everyone thru the vetting area faster.

I enjoyed the ride - excellent views - very well marked trails, and a very
nice completion ratio for the LD/50s of 93%.

I believe that if the RM and volunteers don't get too rigid about rules 
and the differences - then both the FEI and AERC needs can be met easily.
In fact - I suspect that there are likely to be additional volunteers
and perhaps even vets at FEI rides - that improve the conditions for the 
regular AERC rider.  My assumption is that when possible - those extra
people would assist the AERC side of the ride.

My experience as a volunteer at the Shine and Shine Only ride several
weeks earlier was the same.  I didn't see any real differences. RM
and staff were pretty laid back about the FEI portion.

Bottom line for me is that I certainly would not hesitate to attend another 
joint AERC/FEI ride.  I certainly plan to do that at the Swanton Pacific
ride later this year.

Mike Maul
W/CT Regions and Director at Large

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