If as an organization you promote completions as success, then it is only logical to believe that getting pulled is a failure. In my opinion, a RO, FTC, (Ride Option, Fit to Continue) option would lessen the negativity attached to voluntary pulls on horses that are "fit to continue".
I really like this idea. First of all, it says plain and simple...the horse was declared “fit to continue” by the vet. For whatever reason, the rider decides not to push the horse and *they* choose not to continue with the ride.
When I see something listed as a Lameness pull, to me that say the horse was a definite 3 on the lameness chart...not a 1 and the rider didn’t want it to go to a 3...the horse WAS A 3!! I think listing something as RO, FTC would encourage more riders to pull their horses before they get worse (considering that the problem may or may not get to that point of having the vet pull the horse.)
And yes...there is definitely a stigma attached to the vet pulls, whether people want to believe it or not...and people do talk. I personally don’t have an ego that would get terribly damaged by an honest pull (horse found rock with his name on it, and so on) since those who know me know I am probably one of the most conservative riders out there and sometimes sh** happens. I *do* have a problem with a rider pulling my horse (that he is riding) when it’s a grade 1 (and we don’t want it to become a grade 3) and having it labeled as a Lameness (Grade 3 cuz that’s what you’ve got if the vet pulls you) Pull. If a Grade 1 lameness is enough for the horse to get a Lameness Pull categorization and the rider not be able to take an RO (when clearly it *is* the rider who is making that decision -- taking that OPTION), then how can they honestly give completions to horses who have more than a Grade 1?? Calling a Grade 1 lameness that a rider opts to quit with a “Lameness” (hence, Grade 3) is doing more to skew the statistics than just calling it a RO.
So I’ll have to vote in with the RO, FTC. And...another suggestion here...ROs (when they concern a horse related issue) should only be allowed *if and when* the horse has been cleared by the vet as FTC FIRST! None of this coming in with a grade 3 lameness and saying “Pull” before the vet does (so that the rider chose first.) The horse would have to be declared FTC and *then* the rider could use the RO, FTC option (or RO,L...or even just RO.)
"Live as you will have wished to have lived when you are dying."
- Christian Furchtegott Gellert, German Poet and Writer
ARICP Certified Riding Instructor
Recreational Riding and Dressage