[RC] WEG letter from Aussies - terre
Did you all take note of this paragraph:
"The FEI should insist that all NFs that want to be affiliated with the FEI
have a suitable Rider Qualification Procedure and Horse Welfare monitoring
system, and that this be maintained and subject to ad hoc inspection by the
"Horse Welfare Monitoring System", eh? (sorry, I'm Canadian).
Do you all think that we are in compliance with this concept?
AERC (BOD/Vet Committee) has been trying for some years to implement
something of this nature; there have been various problems implementing the
rider survey forms, veterinary report forms, etc--but the attempt is being
made. The biggest obstacle? Us, the riders.
We all like to brag about how concerned we are about horse welfare, how
much we want to protect the horses from (other people's!) abuse, etc. But
time and again, we see posts or hear reports from people who would move
heaven and earth to get their pull listed as RO rather than M or
L. Various riders, some of them extremely experienced and respected
competitors, have openly reported that horses they have ridden have had
metabolic problems (crashes, thumps, tie-ups etc)--these are the people who
are both honest, and confident enough in themselves to risk the response of
the public. Some riders have been, frankly, attacked in print when they
posted similar reports.
But until we--and I mean you and I, brothers and sisters!--are willing to
be 'up front' about problems experienced by our horses, any claim to a
'horse welfare monitoring system' is a joke. We need to: honestly report
to the ride vets any problems we perceive, and allow them to be accurately
reported in the results (even if the decision to pull is the rider's).
We need to: be up front with the ride vets about problems our horses have
experienced in training--especially colics and tie-ups. If such disclosure
causes the vets to pull us, then maybe that is what has to happen.
The BOD/Vet committee is, I understand, trying to lay out a framework for
following up on horses treated at rides, and also for establishing a forum
where riders can report problems that occur within a few days of a
ride. We need to be energetic and accurate about responding to these queries!
It is my belief that for every equine fatality (at home or in FEI) there
are many "near misses". Until we can analyse the factors that contribute
to these less-serious 'failures', we will never be able to prevent
disasters--only wring our hands in sorrow and cast blame liberally around
after the event.
I know what you're thinking--that "new riders", that "abusive riders",
that "other people" won't report their problems honestly, so why should
you? But in this life, you can never control what "other people" do--you
can only control yourself. So how many of us are ready to do what it
REALLY takes to protect our horses?
Terre O'Brennan (AERC #2548)
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