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Re: Thoughts on our history... long

Honestly, I don't usually get involved in these discussions, but
Matthew M. Smith's artical in the Endurance News specifically asked
us to begin discussion and thought about our future, and in light of
recent occurances (spooky timing) I think it is neccessary that we
look towards the future of our sport.

Personally, I don't want to have to see us change the awards system
entirely.  I worked for several years to get my 600 miles and had my
first top 10's last year.  I had no intention of top tenning either
of the two rides where I managed to do so.  I just had done my job
appropriately prior to the rides and went out and rode my ride.  I do
have to say it was a thrill!  Mostly, because it was unexpected and
my horse came through in outstanding condition.  I am very proud of
those placings.  I personally don't want to loose recognition for my
accomplishments due to someone elses ignorance and stupidity.

However, I have seen too much (not a lot, but any amount is too much)
over riding in our sport (or just very poor preparation), and it
disturbs me.  So, that said I don't want to loose our sport because
of these riders.  

I personally feel instead of changing the way we reward riders for a
job well done there needs to be harsher consequences for the riders
that continue to over ride. I think we should look more closely at
the way other Countries are controlling this.  My understanding of
Australia's rider log/book is that it is a "life time" book that is
required to be presented at every ride.  In addition they ban riders
and horses for X number of disqualifications, etc.  I believe they
require certain qualifications to enter rides (i.e. starting out at
one level and moving up, as Anne suggested for new riders).  I would
think these kinds of regulations would get riders thinking more about
their horses then their placing... maybe not, but then you ban them! 
I personally intend to get on the AERA website and read more about
their rules.  Perhaps what AERA is doing will be too stringent for
us, but I think we can learn from what is working for others and come
up with some good compromises that benefit our sport locally for the
long haul.  

Some other thoughts...

Perhaps it isn't the number disqualifications that bans a rider, but
the number of "treatments". The amount of treatments I see being done
worries me the most.  

Maybe we need to implement that you must show your horse to the vet
right after completion and a second time at least one hour completion
(regardless of whether you want a completion or not) You can't leave
camp period until you have touched base with the vet!  Not sure how
you manage this... they can't under good AERC standing enter another
endurance ride, or we hold $$ deposits that aren't returned unless
their vet cards are returned with this final vet check... Just
thinking out loud.  

I think there is a lot to think about and discuss on this topic.  I
don't think blame holds a place right now.  Not until we set some
regulations to manage the problem (as long as the majority feels
there is a problem).  I don't feel the vets are responsible for our
horses... they could better do their jobs to help the horses if the
riders were required to provide them with history (horse and riders),
etc.  How at this points can the vets know it all??  How do they know
if you are a begining horse and rider, or have 100's of miles with no
pulls.  I would think if they were on the fence about making a
decision this would enlighten them a lot.  

I fully understand that managing this on AERC's end would likely cost
a great deal more.  If it means I pay more to maintain our sport with
healthy public relations, and healthier/happier horses I am all for
paying it.  Others may not be... the body has to decide.

Food for thought as MMS asked for!!  

Jennifer Layman West Region, soon to be Mountain.  

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