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Re: RC: national championship/qualifications

DreamWeaver wrote:
> At 04:06 PM 2/6/02 -0800, wrote:
> >Duane barnett
> >It is funny how some of the "westerners" think that the ride in KY last
> >year was a joke(an easy trail and easy competition)I challenge any of you
> >who think that you can handle it to just show up and try. I seriously
> >believe that regardless of the qualifications most "westerners" will not
> >show.

>  If the trail is so
> difficult that it trashes horses, why would I haul 2000+ miles to do
> it?  In the 50 miler only 65% of the riders finished, and boy look at all
> the metabolic pulls -- now *why* would anybody think that this would be
> attractive to a rider from a great distance away?  I haven't seen that many
> metabolic problems combined in the last 60 or 70 rides that I've done.

Hmmm...perhaps the completion rate has something to do with the
experience of the riders who competed.  I don't think there were a LOT
of metabolic PULLS, but I suspect a lot of the lameness may have been
due to "tired" horses negotiating difficult terrain. I have no stats on
this, but I bet when the trail is challenging, the weather is marginal,
and rider/horse experience is low, this kind of thing happens,
especially if the rider lets the desire to do well override good
judgement regarding their horse. The more miles a rider has on a
SPECIFIC horse over a wide variety of trails and conditions, the better
the rider knows the horse's capabilities, and the more likely they are
to do well.  Some horses do well on a flat track, but have difficulty on
steep terrain and difficult footing. In some cases, this may be due to
the fact that they don't train for this environment. (Rocks, mud, sand,
etc) I know riders in the SE who will not attend difficult rides.  

Horses are all over the scale on metabolics and recovery.  I have
several friends whose horses can go forever if you maintain the proper
pace, but if you push them are slow to recover and don't do well. 

Like OD, knowing the trail at the NCS was a big advantage.  Summer
Breeze is also over that trail, and some riders had done that, which I'm
sure helped.  There are a lot of factors involved here and I don't think
there is anything that can be "fixed".

Why would someone travel a great distance to attend this ride?  Because
of the challenge.  For me, that's the name of the game...Endurance. It's
"Me 'n Sunny against the trail", the weather, the heat/humidity/cold,
and ourselves.  I seek out the hard rides to challenge myself and my
horse. One of these days, I'm gonna "pick" a ride out WEST and make it
my "goal" to attend. Would love to do Big Horn, for example. If all the
trails were flat with good footing, I wouldn't be doing this sport. In
the ride results it shows up exactly the same whether the ride is tough
or easy. However, there are 50 mile rides which are much harder on horse
and rider than some 100 mile rides. If those of you from the SE who rode
the NCS think that was hard, try the Leatherwood Extreme Challenge 50. I
wouldn't miss of my favorites. To Top Ten a butt-kicking ride
that exercises all your skills and those of your horse is an
unbelievable high to me. Tailing the hills, running alongside your
horse, muscles burning, both of you hard breathing in sync, mixing your
sweat, followed by the sweet tired/sore/relaxed feeling at the end.
After the ride, leaning against the front legs of a drowsy relaxed horse
drinking a cold beer.

But I digress...

OK, all that said, I am FOR increased requirements for the NCR. It
should be a goal that all members can achieve without changing their
riding styles, but you should have to work at it. I was pleased that the
BOD increased the requirements for 2002. I understand the concerns
regarding attendance, but I honestly believe that the OUTSTANDING
success of the ride last year will tend to boost attendance in 2002. As
Mike Maul pointed out, a whole new class of riders will be able to
attend...those who have 1000 miles on the same horse.  I'm sure there
are outstanding riders all over the country who have many miles on the
same horse, but seldom Top Ten a ride...they just complete everything.
We NEED those people at the NCR.  Please, BOD, at least keep that. 
Although I am a strong supported of LD rides, I am opposed to allowing
LD miles to be used to meet qualifications for the NCR. LD is not
"Endurance" by AERC definition.

Karen, why don't you come visit us here in the Southeast? You can stay
at my place and we'll go do Leatherwood or the OD...or even the NCR.
Joan will crew for us and you can get a "firsthand" experience to share
with the rest of the "Westerners".  Surely your credit card has a little
room left? <grin> C'mon and make Duane "eat crow". (We have lots of them
here....need to get them out of my garden anyway!) We'll even take
Truman along if you'll promise not to whack him with an Easyboot!

Jim and Sunny.....still recovering from the flu and trying to get to a
ride.  Truman, did you give me this stuff at SERA?

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