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    RE: [RC] IntNewsGroup: Jerez WEG Endurance Postride Report - Steph Teeter

    Howard -I don't think you quite understand Dane's message. The decisions on loops and vetgate holds were not made by FEI (officials and veterinarians). They were made by the event organizing committee. Dane states that all members of the FEI veterinary commission were opposed to the format, but the OC - the individuals who organized the event, set the format. This is not about FEI making poor decisions, it is about a select group of individuals who made up the OC making a poor decision, for whatever reason. The Vermont PAC had many holds (maybe 8?) and the completion rate was high, the horses benefited from this format - but this decision was not made by FEI officials, it was made by the PAC organizing committee. Maybe the problem is that the FEI officials do not have enough 'power' to control the standards in an event that they (especially the veterinarians) feel is less than adequate in terms of welfare of the horse. If you're going to start firing shots, make sure you know who/what the target is.
    The FEI is the international governing body for Eventing, Dressage, Vaulting, Jumping, Reining, and Endurance. The FEI grants sanctioning to Endurance rides (and other discipline events) based upon requests made by individuals or organizing committees. The FEI has a presence - stewards and veterinarians - at these FEI sanctioned rides to ensure that rules are followed. They do not define the course, they do not promote the sport, their job is to ensure that the sport is conducted in accordance with their rules.
    At the International (FEI) level the awards, rewards and incentives are greater, the competition is keener, the opportunity to be swayed by power and money is greater, and the horses are being pushed harder. This I'll agree with. But this is not because of action on the part of FEI. This is because a lot of money is being poured into the sport, and new nations (w/o a history of training and competing endurance horses) are being recruited in order to make it more international, and high performance horses are demanding incredible prices, and many individuals are being swept up in the glory and excitement.
    I actually think all of this anti-International sentiment is not a bad thing, certainly it's a natural reaction - the sport has become a different creature at this level. It lacks the depth that we have nurtured here in the US. But - don't forget that we also have our problems - seven? ride related horse deaths this year in the US? And this really has nothing to do with International, it's not a new thing. Endurance is a tough sport - probably the toughest horse-sport that there is. We need to start thinking about how to better protect our horses, and our sport - here at home - rather than worring about what the rest of the world is doing.
    -----Original Message-----
    From: ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Howard Bramhall
    Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2002 10:34 AM
    To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; rkld.stewart@xxxxxxx
    Subject: Re: [RC] IntNewsGroup: Jerez WEG Endurance Postride Report

    This is an exceptional letter written by an exceptional man.  I urge everyone to read it again and again.  The paragraph where Dane stated that "(Not a single member of the veterinary commission was in favor of 4 vetgates and all felt that the trot by examination was next to worthless for metabolic assessment). It was the members of the Toulouse Group that pressured the imposition of this control without input from the rest of the world out side of Europe. The USA, the Australians, the Malaysians, etc. were not asked their opinion, " got my attention, immediately.
    I've never been a big fan of the FEI aspects of endurance and this sort of experience isn't going to change my views except to make me want even more to ask the question, "Is this the direction we want our sport to travel?"  I know a lot of  you are saying, "Hey, Howard, I just go to the AERC rides and this has absolutely no affect on me, whatsoever."  My answer to that statement is, "It does affect you more than you know, especially when you find yourself with a group of non-endurance horsemen trying to explain the deaths of horses in your sport."  I don't know about you, but I am proud to be an endurance rider and I really don't want this group of Foreign Endurance Idiots (FEI) taking that away.  I bet you don't either.
    Howard (who wishes we'd consider boycotting all FEI rides in the states until they get their act together) 

    Re: [RC] IntNewsGroup: Jerez WEG Endurance Postride Report, Howard Bramhall