From: Jim Holland
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2002 7:06 AM
Subject: Re: [RC] OD (Long)
IMHO and given the variations in gate between horses, sometimes it's hard enough enough to get agreement with two vets. Adding a third and a "peanut gallery" of three more doesn't sound like a step in the right direction! <grin>
I really didn't like the "concensus" approach....I don't think that did anything except make the evaluation procedure more difficult and all that "firepower" may have overwhelmed some riders. I have no complaints, tho...they gave me the benefit of the doubt. They were all great, easy to work with, and obviously knew their jobs. However, I think that approach MIGHT have prevented a timid rider that didn't speak up from
starting. I don't know that for sure. I know of at least three 50 milers and one 100 miler who were "rechecked" for lameness and finished in fine shape...Flinn was one of those. Not all riders "know" the horse they are riding that day the way I know Sunny.
This is a touchy subject with me, since I seem to get pulled quite often. I'm beginning to believe, in my paranoid delusional world, that the "vets" all have it in for me, personally, because of something I wrote here on Ridecamp. haha, jk.
But, quite frankly, I have noticed a tightening up of the "rules" in the three years I've attempted endurance and I have a theory as to what is behind it all. I'm gonna catch hell for saying this, but, hey, what else is new?
My theory goes as follows, and it's really quite simple: The fewer horses you have competing, the less the odds become that one of them will get into serious trouble at a ride. I believe that most head vets fear this as much, if not more, than the rider. They do not want a horse standing under a tree hooked up to an IV at their ride, so to eliminate the chances of that happening, any horse that comes into the vet check that has anything wrong, or appears to have anything wrong, is going to get pulled, and this does include horses that, technically, are "fit to continue" using AERC guidelines. One of the many subjective areas where the vets can "thin out the herd" is with the grade one or two lameness, or using the CRI, whenever the second number is higher than the first, even if the first number is in the low 40's. And, the list goes on and on and on. Reduce the number of horses competing and the chances of a really big problem occurring decrease dramatically.
I will not argue with a vet. I might try and persuade him or her that this particular horse has a club foot or a "funky" gait, but, their decision is final, and I really don't mind going back to my campsite with the most healthy horse in camp. Healthy, because they did not do the entire 50 miles, and there is nothing really wrong with them.
There's one ride I've been to where the pull rate was so high one year, that particular head vet was never asked to return. The vet went overboard, and the Ride Manager knew this. It does happen! Sometimes, in our efforts to save the whales, we end up draining the ocean. The pendulum does swing, and it's currently traveling in the opposite direction from where it used to be 20 or so years ago in this sport. We need to bring it back closer to the middle, where it belongs.
Howard (Bob is probably gonna tell me it's those 600 dollar horses that I buy, to make myself feel good, that's the problem; or it's just me)