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Re: RC: Re: The Way We Win
In a message dated Tue, 31 Jul 2001 1:34:39 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Jim Holland <email@example.com> writes:
> Yes.....I support ALL that....whatever is required.
> Bob Morris wrote:
> > Now, FOR THE BIG ONE!!!! What would you say if the AERC, as the Sanctioning
> > Corporation, stated that they would levy charges, under cruelty to animals
> > statutes, against any one guilty of having a horse die at a ride? This would
> > be dependent upon the results of a mandatory necropsy. If exhausted horse
> > syndrome, or any related symptoms were observed the suit would be
> > aggressively pursued. If no such symptoms were determined then no suit.
> > Necropsy would be by ride vets at the expense of the rider/owner.
> > Comments on that? But Remember EDUCATION IS THE ANSWER. Are you all willing
> > to support the Education Committee to the utmost?
First, let me state that I'd like to see folks who abuse their horses (be it by overriding or whatever) strung up by their guts. Second, I would add that of the horse deaths I've seen at rides, the majority HAVE NOT been due to overriding. Third, necropsy is not so cut and dried (no pun intended) that one can always separate overriding from other causes.
Those things said, let me relate two cases:
Case 1: Horse is an experienced and well managed endurance horse. Presents at pre-ride in great shape, good flesh, bright, alert, no problems. Owner rides horse for first loop (30 miles) of a 100 and just "has a feeling" that horse is not doing well. Horse is running about 2 groups back from leaders, which is normal position for this horse. Pulse recovery is rapid. Nearly all parameters are A's. I think gut sounds may have been a B--but that is not an unusual finding after the first loop. Owner opts to pull horse, despite absolutely NO veterinary parameters that indicate that horse has a problem. Four hours later, horse crashes--and I mean BAD. This is not just horse on IV's--this is horse on ground, in shock, eyes rolled back in head, almost lost the pulse. Horse is revived, and when sufficiently stable is shipped to a very competent equine hospital where she spends several days. Had it not been for EXTREME efforts on the part of two veterinarians and a great many!
caring lay people, this horse W
OULD HAVE DIED in ride camp. I can guarantee you that if she had, EVERY indication on necropsy would have pointed to "exhausted horse syndrome" or overriding. The ONLY thing we could figure, in retrospect, was that a) some significant pre-ride dehydration had occurred when the owner was stuck in construction on a hot day enroute to the ride, and b) this particular horse's gut was EXTREMELY sensitive to this sort of thing. (In retrospect, this mare subsequently had similar problems at a number of later rides and was eventually retired.) Was this rider "guilty" and in need of severe sanction and charges filed by AERC? You be the judge.
Case 2: A family with very little endurance experience shows up at a ride at the last minute. They unload the horse, and the husband takes the horse straight to the vet while the wife goes to the ride office to register. Horse has very little conditioning. Vets assume horse is going 25 miles, but when wife emerges from ride office, horse has been signed up to do 75. We don't know these people, and the assumption is that the husband who vetted the horse in is the rider. But no! A hung-over teenage son (just old enough not to be a junior and need a sponsor) emerges from the camper and is thrown on the horse after husband has tacked horse up, and disappears down the trail in pursuit of the 75's which have already left. (If this happened now, I think I would have the guts to intervene...) Husband consequently brags to everyone in camp how the son is going to win the ride. As it happens, the hung-over son is not particularly enthralled with the idea of riding 75 miles. I!
n fact, he does not even make it
to the first check. Instead, he asks a radio operator how to take a shortcut to the first check so that he can pull. Radio operator gives him directions, and then becomes occupied dealing with a human injury requiring an ambulance, so does not watch to see where rider goes. Rider does not ever appear at VC1. In fact, as the day wears on, a rather extensive search is launched to look for horse and rider, involving half a dozen or so ATV's and dirt bikes, several people on horseback, and two small planes in the air. At one point, the rider of an ATV reports horse tracks on top of his last set of bike tracks up a trail up a canyon. Rider is eventually found walking down a mountain with saddle in hand. Horse is atop a mountain quite distant from the course with a shattered cannon bone. Rider did not want to be found as he did not want to face father's wrath for not winning 75, and hence was doing his utmost to elude searchers all day. Horse literally cannot be removed fr!
om mountain top in any humane wa
y. Another ride vet makes the journey up the mountain in a 4WD to euthanize the horse. I would seriously doubt that this horse would have presented any particular signs of "exhausted horse syndrome" or overriding on necropsy. I'm quite sure that death would have been ruled due to euthanasia done because of an inoperable fracture. Was this rider "guilty" of horse abuse? Should this family have been charged by AERC? You be the judge.
Yes, we need to aggressively pursue why horses die at rides, and do what we can to curtail deaths due to endurance-related causes. However, simply passing rules requiring sanctions and charges against people who lose horses that present a particular set of necropsy results is not the answer.
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