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[RC] racing too young/ was Racetrack trainer CA - Jonni Jewell

A certain 6 year old was pulled at Foresthill at Tevis after being about
raced to death.  100 miles at a racing pace at 6? It makes me want to
puke.<<<

The above mentioned horse was raced in it's very first  ride (and only ride
it has finished), to 11th place, (about a 5 1/2 hour 50 miler) Got pulled on
the second day (it was a multi day ride). That was Dec. 2002.  Next ride
(and it's 3rd to start) was  in  Tevis this year. The horse was indeed
"raced" at Tevis as it was in the top 5 horses coming into all the stops
before it was finally pulled at Foresthill.  One would hope that a rider who
has almost 5000 AERC miles would know what is best for ones own horse, and
know what performance it is capable of, and READY for out on the endurance
trail. They have done the conditioning and should know what kind of pressure
the horse is prepared to handle during a ride. But, I think some riders are
still too competitive, and let that take over their mind as to what might be
best for the horse. I think most would agree, that pushing and really racing
a horse that is younger (and I think 6 is still very young to even be DOING
a 100 mile ride like Tevis) will often have the horse used up at an early
age.  But, some owners do not look at the long term. Just like the race
horse industry, they do not look for the horse to last and last on the track
year after year. And maybe some endurance riders do not look for a horse to
last year after year, going down the endurance trail. They want to WIN now,
as much as they can, before the horse is no longer able to do so. They look
at the sport differently than many of us do. We want a horse that will last
for years to come, and to not injure the horse by pushing it too hard,
especially too young. Many of us pride ourselves in starting a horse out
slowly, building them up in condition, not pushing them too early, and
sharing the trail with them years from now.  Awards are secondary to many of
us. The race horse industry has money to win, so they try to get as many
"wins" as they can. If the horse does not win, it is sent on down the road.
Endurance does not have monetary awards here in the USA, and I hope it never
does (but that is a whole issue that has been beat to death a few times)

I hear rumors that some of the middle east countries will pay big bucks for
some of our proven endurance horses...especially mares that they can breed.
I read an article in a local Auburn paper while at Tevis that last years
winning horse was sold over seas, and she fetched a 6 figure sum.
True???????? Who knows...can't always believe everything one reads. But, I
was wondering during this years ride, when I saw such a young horse getting
pushed to her limits, if that was going through the riders mind. Maybe hopes
of selling this young mare if she preformed well at the ride???????? Who
knows...just some random thoughts on my part, with nothing at all to back
them up.

When a riders goes to Tevis and wins, then it seems the next year, folks are
watching them more closely. Not just other riders on the trail, but
volunteers, spectators, and even non-horse people who live in the area and
come out to watch the ride. I see them "rooting" for that rider to do well
again. They almost put them up on a pedestal, like they can do no wrong. And
I do think, those new to the sport often look up to these riders that do
well and are in the lime light, and try to figure out what they are doing
right, and maybe learn something from them as they start in the sport of
endurance. But I do worry that when they see someone pushing a 6 year old
horse, that they might think that it is not to young to do so, and they
could even start their young horse and maybe have it ready for Tevis or some
other big ride next year.

I was in Foresthill volunteering when the said above mentioned horse was
pulled, and while many of the crews,volunteers and endurance folks who were
there waiting and watching were relieved the horse could now go rest, I
heard many folks walking around truly upset and disappointed that she was
pulled.

Sorry for the thoughts and bit of a vent....but the previous post reminded
me how irritated I was during Tevis, and watching this young horse giving
her all, and then some....with a rider I felt did not have the horses best
interest in mind.....

Jonni





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