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Australian System

In a message dated 6/25/01 4:01:25 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> Are we seeing more treatments because owners and vets don't want to
>  take any chances...  Maybe we are treating more as we are actually
>  more aware and cautious.  Keeping the ball rolling...

This is most likely quite true.  We treat on the side of caution, for the 
horse.  And, maybe, most of them would be fine, without the IV.  It's just 
the fastest and safest way to hydrate a horse who needs fluids.

I think that some ridecampers might be overreacting to a few posts, and want 
to fix the problems mentioned with one rude rider in Malibu and a possible 
dead horse from that NASTR ride (has anyone acutally validated this rumor 
yet?).  Personally, I don't think AERC is broken; and it it's not broken we 
don't need to try and fix it.  Trying to fix something that's already working 
usually makes it worse.  Just ask my lawnmower, that used to run before I 
tried to make it run better.  It's now in 50 different pieces, scattered 
throughout my garage, where I used to park my truck.

Most vets I've seen in the Southeast will not be persuaded to let a horse 
continue by an argumentative rider.  I've seen just the opposite happen.  A 
friend of mine started questioning the vet, when the vet said her horse was 
lame.  The moment she got in his face about it the vet upgraded the degree of 
lameness and her horse got pulled.  If she would have kept her mouth shut she 
would have been allowed to continue.  Kind of like the coach arguing with the 
umpire at a ballgame. "You're out of here."  haha.

Our system seems to work quite well.  Sometimes a rider, ride manager, or 
even a vet can muck things up; but this is unusual; not the norm.  Even I 
have learned not to argue with the vets; and if I can make this adjustment to 
my anti-authority personality, anyone can.  I don't question their decision 
with my horse's status  anymore and, if they pull us, I thank them for 
letting me get a beer and take a nap earlier than planned (the expression on 
some of their faces, when I say this to them, is priceless).  If in doubt, 
pull us out.  

One of the many differences, for me, concering FEI and AERC (you knew I ws 
gonna slip this in somewhere), is that most FEI riders are there to compete, 
and to compete seriously.  Their training is serious and their event is 
serious.  And they don't call it an endurance run; they call it a race. Cause 
that's what an FEI ride is.

AERC is not like that. With AERC you have an option.  You can race, and I 
don't think we should try and eliminate this option, but most riders just 
want to complete, and those riders make it a run.   Sure, we have our serious 
competitors, and they usually will top ten.  And the super riders, with their 
super horses, will enter FEI sanctioned rides at every opportunity.  This is 
called life, and life is competition. The cream always floats to the top, 
when separated.

My point is (do you have one here?) that adding more rules because of a few 
inexperienced riders who race, when they should be just "running," is silly.  
The process will thin them out soon enough.  They'll get pulled early, people 
will get in their face about their behavior (I really believe in this one), 
and they will either leave the sport or find another way to abuse their 
horse. And life will go on.

AERC has come a long way.  The stories I've heard about the "good ole days" 
were not so good for the horse.  The sport lost a lot of them back then; the 
numbers were high.  We've learned from that.  And I think we've learned quite 
a bit.  We have decided to put this spotlight on ourself, and it's a good 
thing to do so. If our sport does enter the Olympic World, that spotlight 
will be much brighter, indeed.

Like I said, I'm not all that worried about other animal rights groups.  We 
are the animal rights group, as far as endurance horses are concerned.  We 
are already policing ourselves quite well. Read a few of the protests in 
Endurance News.  It tells you how we're doing.   I don't think any more rules 
will improve that; let's just enforce the ones on the books now.

Howard (book em, Dano)

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