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[RC] [Guest] distance between vet checks & speed - Ridecamp Moderator

mollie Krumlaw-Smith mkrumlaw@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Just my humble comments on a few issues circulating around ride camp...Sort of babbling but there is a point or two in here somewhere....


I've been riding endurance since the late 80's, joined AERC in 1990 and have been managing at least one endurance ride a year if not two since 1992. Though I only have about 2,600 miles of endurance I have another 5,000 miles of CTR and have seen related horse stress in BOTH sports.

As both a rider and a ride manager I have to agree with Sue's comments about distance between vet checks, speed, and some responsibilty on vet control and mangement to help the horses.

When I started this sport there were two rules that were drilled into my head by the "old timers"...

Rule number one was NEVER call it an endurance race. It's an endurance ride.

Rule number two was that it's not the miles that kill it's the speed.

This tells me that even when we were all sleeping in tents and riding in jeans and bicycle helmets we had some idea that speed "was bad" until the horses were properly conditioned.

As a rider I can feel the difference in my horses when they hit the 18 to 20 mile mark of a loop with no checks. They feel so much better when the checks are between 13 to 15 miles, and they recover so much faster from a ride, even when ridden at speed. IMO 20+ miles is just too far.

Another concern I have during some of the rides is the lack of available water on the trail for these long loops. I've ridden rides where there is no water for 15 miles. When it's hot and humid I feel this can be as hard or harder on the horses than the speed. Something I appreciated when I lived in New York was the ECTRA requirement of water every 5 miles for the horses. When I moved back to Ohio it's something I started trying to provide when I manage a ride.

As a ride manager I can almost predict when "we're" going to be treating horses if we don't control the ride. When it's very hot and/or humid we lengthen the holds from 30 to 45 minutes and lower the pulse requirements from 64 to 60. If there's been a change in the weather, usually a cold front, we seem to notice more early metabolic issues and I'll run the shortest or flatest loop first on the ride to try to get the horses into a vet check to prevent any major issues.

Every once in a while you're still going to have to treat the horse whose owner did everything correctly, but the horse just wasn't 100% that day.

Just my comments on requiring a year of 25 LTD's...

As a rider I assume the responsibilty of pacing my horse. It doesn't matter if it's a 25, a 50, or a 100. I'm the parent, or the brains of the team. I set the pace for that particular horse, for that particular ride, and for that particular day. In my mind I've always thought that's what this sport was about.

Even if there were rules that limited a horse to 25 miles it's first season, it still doesn't change the fact that the horses need to have a solid base before you add the speed component. I've seen just as many horses get into trouble on LD rides as in the 50's & 100's. Don't punish the riders that do their homework.

Mollie Krumlaw-Smith #8945


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