[RC] The Way We Win - Roberta Jo Lieberman
<....and it is never safe to race on a 100. ... If there is no other goal but
to win, horses will keep dying no matter how strict the vet control is.<
>....get us to the place where stewardship
over time, with the speed entirely at the discretion of the rider, is the reward
for both superior and elite performance<
Nobody is proposing to change the sport of endurance -- there are no speed
limits or rules imposed -- only the rewards would change. Rewards shape
behavior. And isn't that what we're trying to change -- the win-at-all-costs
Think about it in a different light for just a moment.....
If the federal government, after intense lobbying by animal rights' groups,
ordered us to come up with changes in 48 hours or *they would do it for us*,
what plan would you propose? If it was a choice between NO ENDURANCE at all or
something that we had a chance to design that arguably would spare the lives of
horses, what would it be?
And then consider.....are we having this conversation because we don't want to
be shut down by PETA....or because it's the right thing to do? What is more
important to you, personally: preserving the right of someone (maybe even you)
to race for the win and all of the attendant risks that involves....
...and to revisit Susan G's statement:
"Part of the problem is that we still don't have a perfect system of
accurately evaluating horses during vet checks. We've all seen or heard
about horses that finished a ride with acceptable vet parameters under good
vets and yet crashed later that night, or the next day or whatever. That
wouldn't be happening if a) they were not significantly metabolically
stressed (which they are); b) if we had a timely and comprehensive method to
precisely assess the horse's metabolic status (which we don't) and c) if we
really understood exactly WHY crashing horses were crashing (which we
don't). Hell, we don't even have a really good handle on what all the risk
factors are, though we're getting better at that."
....or the peace in your heart that comes from knowing that you made a
difference in the lives of thousands of horses? Because it's not just the
high-profile horses who are lost that are at stake here, but the untold numbers
of competitiors who experience shortened careers or a premature demise due to
chronic overriding. Only when stewardship is rewarded over recklessness will the
balance shift to include *both* members of the team on equal footing.
We have a chance to be bold here and make history. Endurance riding (and AERC)
would become known as *the* equine sport that took a stand for its equine
partners....we could become a model for change in the competitive horse world.
(I've spoken with dressage and hunter-jumper folks who would leap at the chance
to make a comparable shift in their sports, which often exact a cruel toll on
their horses--all in the name of winning.)
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