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Re: [RC] Riding Cavalry (long) - Deanna German

on 1/20/03 3:40 PM, Heidi Smith at heidi@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
At an FEI level, there is plenty of opportunity to HAVE a crew, so I would
not say that the playing field is unlevel now.  As long as all can avail
themselves to the same things, that's level.

I thought the "team" in endurance is considered to be the horse and rider.

What about number of crew, quantity, skill and type of equipment? Does
everyone have the same numbers and same resources?

You reference car racing events as a comparison, I guess because they have
pit crews too -- carry that through (which I don't think you want to do) and
in CART and IRL, the group is a team and the driver is considered to be the
easiest nut to replace! (Heaven help us if we ever start comparing ourselves

Leveling the playing field was listed last in my earlier post because I
consider it less significant than the other issues that could be so neatly
addressed by simply going cavalry. Things would be so much simpler if it was
just about the horse and the rider. The team.

I personally kind of cringe when I see the FEI
riders being referred to as "jockeys"--they do a whole lot more than just
sit up there and steer.

Hmmmm.... thinking about the guy from Malaysia and the kid who won the last
WEC. I would never think of the US group, who as far as I know took horses
that they personally trained and conditioned and competed in every
qualifying event, in the same light.

Yes, I know they are planning to increase the restrictions on who can
compete based on number of miles and competitions with the horse and rider
team. It would be radical to make it all cavalry. But it's fun to think

Just because they have some help on the ground
doesn't mean they don't have to work every step of the way, evaluating the
horse, making decisions, etc.

On one hand, I see your point -- otherwise why would one horse do better for
one rider than another? But this could easily sound like a agreement that
the riders are jockeys cut from cloth similar to that of flat-track racing

Also, why do I feel so much less tired when I do an LD than when I do a 25
or 30 mile CTR? I don't have a crew for either, but dang, just being able to
buddy up with someone to tote water and supplies or have someone walk your
horse is great. I'm referring to all those random people Pat mentioned who
do the little things that make distance riding easier. It all adds up.

While it might be fun to watch,

Heck yeah! I want to see riders of that caliber using their horsemanship
skills, not standing back directing their skilled crew or even just turning
their horses over to crew. (Thinking of vet check photos I've seen of world

I don't think that a car race where the
driver has to pump his own gas and change his own tires is going to replace
Indy, either.  His pit crew does not take anything away from his ability to

Last I looked, car racing wasn't trying to make a bid for the Olympics.

Race car drivers aren't expected to be mechanics, although I think it would
be fun to see the drivers wiggle out of their cars and work at pit stops.

*I* expect international caliber riders to be horseman and I wouldn't mind
seeing that demonstrated. Isn't that one of the things that makes endurance
different from something like eventing or dressage?

But different folks have different priorities, and being able to ride to the
horse's capability without limiting him by the rider's own weariness at checks
is also a viable and desirable thing to do.

If the rider wears the medal and stands atop the podium waving a bouquet of
flowers, I say let the best weary horseman win!

Now, if FEI and international events ever shifts their focus to the horse
like our AERC events or even Thoroughbred racing (does anyone remember who
rode Secretariat?), I'll change my tune on this. At the distance riding
events I've been to, the horse is given at least equal billing and the horse
is celebrated at year end events. Not so at international events.

Good discussion!


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Re: [RC] Riding Cavalry, Heidi Smith