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The Great and Mighty Duck

Cindy Collins
After reading most of the posts, it looks like there are plenty of us out there to defend Dave's honor (not that he would want or expect it).  I have ridden 6,500 miles in endurance in 5 regions and have never ,ever felt safer, or more confident that my horse's welfare would be the #1 consideration, than when Dave Nicholson was vetting a ride.  Dave pulls no punches and doesn't care whether you are a rank beginner or one of the top riders in the nation on a Hall of Fame horse.  He will treat you all with equal disdain if he feels there is ANY chance you might over ride your horse.  I agree completely that real endurance riding is a 100 mile course over rugged terrain with a single loop or point-to-point.  That does not mean I don't think that novice 25 mile rides (which should never give out placings) or 50 mile rides or multi-day rides or loop rides aren't a lot of fun and necessary to our sport.  I think he is absolutely correct to place the primary responsibility for the horse on the rider's shoulders.  The vet (unless you are blessed to have Dave riding along side you on his motorcycle) only sees your horse for a few moments at the check.  He, also, only knows what you tell him and we've all seen people lie to vets in the heat of competition.  So, while we're all allowed our opinions and we've all made mistakes during rides, I'll take Dave as my vet of choice any time, any ride...and be thankful.  Give 'em hell, Duck.  CC

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