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2001 Tevis Cup Ride

I grow weary of the post-ride bashing of the Tevis Cup Ride.  I think recent 
posts impugn the reputations of 20 of the top veterinarians in the country. I 
think it implies that the riders are not caring or loving of their horses. I 
think, by implication, ride management and 600 volunteers are being hung out 
to dry.  

 91 horses out of 225 completed the ride.  How come more did not complete?  
Because you had a ride supervised by veterinarians who took their job so 
seriously that they pulled any horse that was the least bit questionable.  
You can be sure they wanted a higher completion rate.  They chose to protect 
the horses instead. 

I have stabled horses at the Auburn Fairgrounds for many years.  I have never 
seen a "huge rock" in a paddock or stall.  It is a first rate facility.  

Tired horses? You bet. They have been awake well over 24 hours and, when the 
time comes to take a snooze, they relax their ears and their lips and their 
eyes look sleepy.  I do not think a tired horse is a crime (I am tired at the 
end of a day). An exhausted horse is a crime. I am not saying there were no 
exhausted horses (although I saw none), but I will stick my neck out and say 
there were very few.  After one Tevis Cup Ride I was told at around 4 o'clock 
in the morning that my horse was in trouble, that he was lying down in the 
paddock and not eating. Well, they were partially right. However, the horse 
was not in trouble.  He finished the ride at 1 a.m., ate for an hour and a 
half in my presence, and then decided it was time to take a nap. But somebody 
told the barn manager the horse was too exhausted to stand. 

I will be happy to walk the barn area next year on the morning of July 21st 
(the ride is July 20) with whoever cares to accompany me.  I think that they 
will see, as I will, that the horses are "blinking, moving and breathing" 
quite nicely.  Following the ride, the barn is patrolled by members of the 
veterinarian committee to be sure the horses are okay.

The top ten horses looked great!  If I remember correctly, there were two 
that were a bit off, not dead lame in any way.  One went with his ears back 
and really wished he didn't have to trot out, but he did. I thought it was a 
great group. 

People complain about the cost of an entry.  I do not know what was spent on 
that trail during the past year. But even with volunteer labor, I know one 
year the figure was $130,000. 

It takes 600 volunteers to put on the ride. That is one for about every 3 1/2 
horses.  They are spread out from the start line to the finish line with some 
covering more than one post in the course of the day. They are there because 
they love horses.  I doubt if many of them would be there if they thought 
they were encouraging cruelty to animals.  

It takes a good horse to complete the Tevis Cup Trail. It does not take a 
super horse. It takes a conscientious and caring rider, not a super rider.  
When you can point to records of horses who have completed it 12 and 13 
times, to horses that have completed it in their mid-20's, to a horse who won 
it six times and lived to 34 years, it is a doable ride with horses finishing 
in excellent condition.  To my knowledge, (and I think I am right on this, 
but if you are curious you can check) there has not been a fatality at the 
Tevis Cup Ride in 20 or 25 years.  

As for the stolen articles this year, I suppose that is a sign of the times 
and I will be a little more security conscious in the future. 

My hat is off to the Tevis Cup management, the volunteers and the 
veterinarian staff who put on a great ride with great care and consideration 
for the horses and the riders. 
Julie Suhr

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