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[RC] It's not the distance... - E.L. Ashbach

I can't stand it anymore... =:-o All this talk about starting out with a year of LD has driven me out of hiding... It's not the distance, people - it's the speed. I would be interested to know if it wasn't Dane Frasier's point that, it's not that a year of LD is necessarily in the best interest of the horse, a year of slow rides, not races, is in the best interest of the horse.

It does not matter if you are a smart and experienced endurance rider with a new horse, and the horse's first ride is a 25, 50, or 100. (WARNING - Oversimplifications Follow, Literalists stop reading now.) For the horse, what matters is their physical preparation for, and the SPEED of, the ride. Similarly, if you are NOT an experienced rider/horse team, it makes no difference whether your first ride is a 25 or longer, what matters is preparation and SPEED.

Preparation will always exist in the realm of "rider responsibility", and only through the pre-ride vet check do we have any control over who starts an endurance ride. The speed at which the horse is being asked to travel WE CAN AND SHOULD MONITOR AND CONTROL, ESPECIALLY for horses and riders who may not know any better.

I think that we should impose a minimum ride time for each distance for the novice horse, and for the novice rider. Let's call it the "Rookie Rule", it goes something like this: "Any horse or rider who has completed fewer than 200 miles shall be considered a "Rookie" according to AERC and shall additionally be subject to the following minimum ride times (including holds): 25 miles- 5 hours, 50 miles, 7 hours, 100 miles, 18 hours. Failure to comply with the minimum ride times shall result in disqualification. Rookie riders and horses are eligible only for completion awards at AERC sanctioned events."

I don't know if this means 2 rides or 10, or 100 total miles, or 250 total miles, or what the specific details are (that is for the BOD and Vet Committee to decide, imo), but I do know that I didn't know nearly enough to rate my own horse for the first five or so rides I went on (both LD and 50s - and yes, I've raced LDs- you bad girl, you.) Hell, I didn't really get smart with my horses for several YEARS; thank goodness nothing bad happened. The smart riders, vets, trainers, etc... all know to start a new horse on slow rides of whatever distance anyway, so no problem, right? It's like a trial period. Don't the Aussies have something like this? We could allow CTR rides to substitute for most of the AERC novice rides - notice that CTR controls speed well, hence, it's a good training ground for people. Yes, this would mean more paperwork and administration by AERC and ride managers, and I'm all for it. Raise my dues to pay for it... I'm sick of riders blowing by on stressed horses gloating about their first ride going so well, or how they've top tenned this horse's first 3 rides... It's silly and irresponsible...

Let's stop pretending that we Americans are all cowboys who know everything about horses and personal freedom and make this sport harder to RACE, until you've proven you might have enough sense to do so. I realize a rule of this type does not address every issue relating to the welfare of the horse and recent horse deaths, however, at every ride I am struck by novice horses and novice riders going WAY TOO FAST. Why isn't it our responsibility to slow new folks and new horses down? We're sanctioning the events through our organization, aren't we? Let's have ample personal freedom and responsibility, for those who can use it responsibly...

Back to lurking... :-)

I feel much better now...

Lisa Ashbach
Mtn. Region 18328


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