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Fwd: RC: What we want and expect from the sport of Endurance

Hi Bob: I would DITTO EVERYTHING you have said in this message. God bless 
you for your honesty and forthrightness. Nobody can say it like you can. 
Sincerely Hope Lundquist

>From: "Bob Morris" <>
>To: "Barney Fleming" <>,        "Becky Hart" 
><>,        "Dane Frazier" <>, 
>        "Dean Jackson" <>,        "Gail Williams" 
><>,        "Hikryrdg" <>,     
>    "Jim Baldwin" <>,        "Lem Beason" 
><>,        "Lousie Riedel" <>,   
>      "Maggie Price" <>,        "Merryben Stover" 
><>, <>,        "Randy H Eiland" 
><>, "Steph Teeter" <>,        "Terry 
>Wooley-Howe" <>,        "Vickie Rutter" 
><>,        "Vonita Bowers" <>
>CC: "Endurance List" <>
>Subject: RC:  What we want and expect from the sport of Endurance
>Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 16:33:29 -0600
>Let us explore this, what we want and expect from the sport of Endurance, 
>a planned and methodical manner.
>First a bit of the history of Endurance Competition in the US. It was, in a
>manner, a military event constructed to determine the suitability of
>particular breeds of equine for extended field use. From this, as it became
>an almost annual event, we extend to the concept of it being not only a
>strictly military event to one including civilian personnel. The 1940's saw
>the demise of all but a token military equine contingent and thus the
>lessening of interest and sponsorship by the Federal Government to one of
>private individuals.
>Over the ensuing years various uncontrolled events took place with varying
>success. The lack of control brought some dissatisfaction with the sport
>from certain humane organizations.
>The beginnings of organization and control were forthcoming with the advent
>of the "Western Sates Trail Ride" (the Tevis) and a small group of horse
>aficionados in California. These people, whom most of us are familiar with,
>began an organization to promote the sport and from that it grew into what
>we have at the present time.
>OK, history out of the way. Or should I say ancient history out of the way
>as we need to look further into the history of Endurance Competition over
>the past twenty years.
>Endurance Competition, when we started  in the mid 70's, was an exciting
>sport of one horse/one rider. Most competitors only owned one horse and the
>team was very close. Only those persons who had "fortitude" really entered
>those competitions. I will admit the sport was clearly dominated by the 
>contingent at the time. Ride entries were seldom in the upper double digits
>with 30 or more riders a large ride. There were a few exceptions like the
>Tevis. Most riders camped out and slept near their horses. Crews to take
>care of the horses during and after the ride were the exception and
>generally consisted of close family like husband or wife. The welfare of 
>horse was of paramount concern and in the development of the care for
>endurance horse, many mistakes were made. For some reason drastic medical
>intervention was virtually unknown and the loss of a horse was cause for
>extreme concern. To have a horse treated was almost sinful, expressing 
>neglect on the part of the rider. Let's face it our vets were learning 
>with us.
>As our knowledge expanded and the enjoyment of the sport became a bit more
>wide spread, more people entered the sport. The incursion of a lot more
>people wanting to ride brought additional problems along with the equine
>physiological ones. The administrative problems developed into a full time
>office staff, the necessity for computerization of records and the like.
>Other problems, much more insidious, were developing that the "old timers"
>did not envision. We have found that many of the more recent competitors
>want to START at the point we had taken some years of development to reach.
>The years we took learning about our particular horse and how to care for
>it. We have found that many of the more recent competitors do not expect to
>develop "fortitude" but expect to have crews to care for them and their
>horse. Providing the best, the newest and the easiest way to the finish
>line. They expect to "save time" and start out with a fully trained horse
>(not, of course trained by them) all the latest tack, the ultimate in feeds
>and don't forget the supplements.
>Into all this we then add the ingredient called International Competition!
>Now I am not sure when International Endurance Competition started. I have
>asked around but gotten no definitive answer yet. (I am still trying) Seems
>I saw something on the FEI web page that stated the FEI recognized
>International Endurance Competition in the early 50's but I cannot verify
>this yet.
>Any way the first real US International Competition under the FEI was
>Davenport CA. 1986 The first North American Championships. (I was there )
>The AERC International Committee was formed in 1987 and it was stated that
>"the FEI will not influence AERC Policy" (AERC Board minutes). Little did 
>realize or know. We have some place in the low 300's for AERC International
>membership out of some 5000 AERC general membership. That means that 6% or
>less of the membership is concerned with the FEI scene. Now comes a 
>of the AERC Board of Directors currently seated I find that well over 50% 
>the Board are associated with International competition in one way or
>another. Could this be swaying the decisions of the Board of Directors away
>from the traditional AERC venue towards an increasing International (FEI)
>type of competition? I would not say directly, but if a decision has to be
>made, I am sure which way the pendulum would be swinging the most. IS THIS
>FAIR TO THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP? What does this mean to the general
>Well, in my not so humble opinion, it means that there is soon going to be 
>definitive schism with in the AERC if the general membership does not wake
>up and make their voice heard. If the general membership sleeps through 
>it will be their own fault. They must get some ACTIVE proponents of
>ENDURANCE THE AMERICAN WAY on the Board of Directors. Directors that will
>listen to the membership and not the money or big egos. Members who want to
>keep American Endurance Competition American. Members who want to see
>endurance riding not endurance racing on a prepared track with service to
>the riders at all times. Hell, 15 years ago I proposed the Le Bois 75 here
>in Boise ID. We have a local race track 3/4 mile round. I proposed a 100 
>race, water available at all times, perfect footing, Vet stops every ten
>laps, bleachers for the spectators and awards in the clubhouse. That is 
>the FEI rides are offering now, especially in the UAE. My down fall was I
>did not have million dollar purses. But for all that, our endurance rides
>are being turned into flat track marathon races. I AM AGAINST THAT. (guess
>that is why I cannot get elected to the AERC Board)
>received every thing I have wanted and expected to get as far as my 
>desires are concerned. I believe I have seen the BEST OF ENDURANCE. 
>in my retirement I have wanted to keep active in the sport and return to it
>something for what it gave me. I have tried hard and will continue to do so
>even though it is becoming rather difficult. I would like to see Endurance
>in America returned to the general membership of the AERC. I would like to
>see considerable attention paid to education, trails and the advancement of
>veterinary research.
>The AERC International Committee was developed to be an adjunct to the 
>I would like to see this Committee returned to its Committee status. I
>noticed on a certain web page that the AERC International Committee is "The
>AERC liaison in the USA for FEI International Equine Endurance Rides". Now 
>was under the impression that the USA Equestrian , Inc. (AHSA) was the
>liaison for all equestrian events with the FEI. It is time to bring the
>International Committee back into the AERC fold of committees and work
>through the proper channels.
>I expect to see leadership within the AERC Board of Directors. In that I
>would like to see open and on going dialogue between the Board members and
>the membership. I would like to see a meeting agenda from the BoD for each
>and every meeting they have, well in advance of the meeting. (at least 30
>days prior) How else can the membership convey their feelings to the
>Directors? I would go so far as to institute term limits not only on Board
>members but on Committees. We have members who have been on the Board for
>generations. It is time for new blood.
>Above all I want to see America Endurance Riding kept American.
>Bob Morris
>Morris Endurance Enterprises
>Boise, ID
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