These are words of wisdom here. The sad truth is, it can happen to anyone, no matter what speed they travel, no matter how they prepare for the ride. Even though I don't know much, this is one thing I've learned the hard way. Trust me, it can happen to your horse.
Not all these folks who end up with a horse in trouble are evil or are running for the "win." Sometimes, it just happens thru ignorance (me) or inexperience (me) or having the wrong horse for the sport (me).
It's a tough sport and some of the folks in AERC who have gotten their horses in trouble find out soon enough, that you never know enough about the sport to make it completely safe. It can happen to any of us, even yourself. I do think it's important for all riders to know that it can happen to them. To think otherwise is deluding yourself and not taking into consideration that we do approach that "edge" in endurance, no matter what speed we travel.
This is where "to finish is to win," needs to be understood for what it really means. It doesn't mean not to finish infers you, or your horse, are losers. I'd rather our motto be "the horse must always come first." No matter what. I do believe that's all Jim was talking about; it's an emotional issue and I'm sure most folks will blame the rider if a horse gets into trouble at a ride. But, when it happened to my horse, if you had gone over to my campsite to yell at me or to tear me a new one, once you saw what kind of shape I was in, I doubt if you'd be able to follow through on your initial reaction. I was feeling as bad as the horse. It was one of the worst nights of my life, and I've had some bad nights.
Please, keep this is in mind, as you compete down that endurance trail. NOthing, absolutely nothing, is as important as your horse. And, if something seems amiss, do not be afraid to pull your horse on your own, so your guy can live to try it again another time. There is an edge to this sport, and it's important to be aware if you take your horse over that edge, you might not be able to bring him back.
Howard (who knows for a fact Jim's heart is in the right place)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2002 10:34 AM
Subject: [RC] Thoughts
People who complain about lack of information disseminated by the AERC should
learn that they have to do a little work on their own and that means taking
the time to sort through the minutes, find the issues they are particularly
concerned about and then delve into them in depth and make their judgments
known. Board meetings are open to the public. Attendance at just one might
earn our directors the respect they deserve. Do I always agree with them? No.
I am against weight divisions. I am in the minority. Majority rules.
In regard to horse fatalities, to paint everyone with a black brush who has
lost a horse is being incredibly blind. Anyone who thinks it can't happen to
them, in total absence of abuse, is living in a fantasy world.
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