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Re: [AERC-Members] [RC] It's not the distance... - Trailrite

       After being around at rides so much over the last years, I find it hard to say that what I see out on the trail and in the checks is that riders are just plain going to fast for their horses conditioning level.  Then, we try and have more rules, more vet checks, just to keep horses from crashing.  What is wrong here is speed.  Nothing else.  Riders are not paying attend to the well being of there horse during the ride.
       All horses will show signs of stress during competion if the horse is ridden over and above their conditioning level, for that dya or that ride.  Signs can be slight like bobing a head, or not pulsing down within their normal time at a vet check, not eating or drinking when they normally do.  Whatever, it's there!  I've seen riders come in to a vet check, pour gallons of water over their horses, get the horse to come down to meet the pulse rate, vet in and then watch their horse just stand there not eating or drinking, get ready to go back out...and GO at the same speed they came in at.  Next vet check...horse is harder to get the pulse down, still not eating and still GO out again at same speed.
       My opinion is this is cruel to the horse.  What is it that riders feel they are getting out of this?  Fame, money, boost to their ego?  What?  Riders need to just plain ride a smart ride, for that ride, that day and end up with a horse that is also happy and still has the energy and happieness to go back out again within an hour.
Someday when your at a ride....look around the base camp after a ride.  How many really happy alert horses do you see?  Whats the point here?  Whats in it for them?
       Don't get me wrong here...I know sometimes things just aren't right with your horse that day and sometimes things can go down real fast with a horse.  It happened to me at the PanAm ride.  My horse started "not so right" that morning.  By second VC I knew it and was pulling my horse no matter what.  He had caught a virus and was sick that day.  Someting rare, but I knew it because his heart rates were running higher than normal for him.  He wasn't eating his carrots or his cookies at the water stops.  But bottom line...I knew it and walked 5 miles to second VC to pull him out of the ride.  Funny thing, he had passed both Vet Check inspections but I knew he wasn't right and 20 minutes later he coliced slightly.  If I had went back out...well he might not be here today.
Tammy Robinson #12311