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Re: More Dead Horses

Title: More Dead Horses
Kathy, Angie, Heidi, and Maryben (and there have been others):
Your posts on this subject have been so sane and sensible; I just want to thank you all for speaking out for the rest of us who agree with you but haven't said anything.  I've e-mailed a couple of you privately but I just can't keep quiet "publicly" any longer.
One of the things I love most about this sport is how it teaches humility, if you stay in it long enough.  When I first started, I thought--since I was such a great rider, loved my horse so much, and knew so much--that my horse would never suffer at a ride.  I assumed  that if a horse died or had to be treated at a ride, it was because the horse's rider was either uncaring, ignorant, or both. 
Well, I sure know better than that now, and I learned it the "hard way. " In fact, over the years what this sport has taught me is how stupid and ignorant I am.  There are just too many possible causes out there for a horse to get in trouble on a ride, to be able to say "it will never happen to my horse."
As for "uncaring," I've also learned that, for just about every endurance rider I know, noone could punish them as much as they punish themselves if their horse gets in trouble
The very few horse deaths I have seen at rides were not, that I have ever been aware of, from overridden horses. (But the riders I have known in that situation suffered agonizing guilt nonetheless.)  Even where the cause of death was not determined, based on the horse and rider history, and the way in which the race was handled, it was clear the death was not due to the horse being overridden.
I do not believe, from what I have seen, that there are endurance riders out there who are intentionally or maliciously overriding or otherwise knowingly hurting their horses.   While riders, like their athletic horses, may get "carried away" in the moment of competition, the vast majority are really trying hard to take good care of their horses and learn from their mistakes.
Dabney Finch

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