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    Re: [RC] Flames and motifvation - Heidi Smith

    > It's strange how a concern for children's welfare is attacked as being
    > against children.  I'm talking about the charges that I'm trying to
    > spoil it for the kids.  As I see it, a mimimum age requirement is FOR
    > the children.  It says that letting them grow enough to do the rides
    > safely is more important than instant gratification.
    Joe, there is no doubt in my mind that your heart is in the right place
    here.  Endurance is hardly an "instant gratification" sport, and that isn't
    what we're talking about here anyway.  We're talking about allowing parents
    to treat children as individuals, and to let them develop in their own time
    and in their own way.  The people who are in the best position to judge this
    are parents.  I just flat don't see much "little league" parenting with
    junior riders in our sport.  Parents make, for the most part, VERY wise
    choices about how far and how fast their kids are ready to go, and rarely
    push them.  They make painstaking choices about which horses are reliable
    for them to ride, and what tack is safe for them.  And parents are still in
    the best position to judge what is or is not right for their INDIVIDUAL
    child--far more than AERC or any body governing our sport.  The sorts of
    people who do this sport do not tend to be indigent or neglectful--they tend
    to be thoughtful, conscientious sorts of people.  Just look at how much
    better they care for their horses than almost any other segment of the
    equine-owning population.  They tend to be the same way about their kids.
    Holding a precocious child back is just as damaging as pushing a
    slower-developing one into something for which he is not ready.  There
    simply is no arbitrary age that is fair to all children.  And since we don't
    see parents abusing this (sorry, I disagree with you about the Lewises and
    the very few others who have kids riding that young) ability to choose, it
    simply is a non-issue to try to put a rule in place that will deprive
    precocious kids from participating--these are the very kids who NEED an
    outlet.  It is SO frustrating seeing the most talented, the smartest, the
    fastest-developing kids "brought down" to some mythical average--sort of
    like the "dumbing down" of America that goes on in our school systems....
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    [RC] Flames and motifvation, Joe Long