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Re: [RC] Distance between vetchecks - k s swigart

From: "Jim Holland" <lanconn@xxxxxxx>
This is not very practical for most rides, at least
in the SE, unless
you know the trail, have pre-rode the trail, and
planned where you are
going to "rest" your horse. There is usually
a continual parade of
horses flying by since we typically have
repeat loops with 25 milers and
50 milers on the same trail.

My initial response to this statement was, "Well....that
isn't a very well laid out trail." And thought to myself,
that rather than providing a mandatory rest stop early in
the effort, ride management would have done better to lay
out the trail in such a way that people who don't want to go
the same speeds aren't running over each other.

But then I realized that I suppose it is possible that the
limitations of the logistics of the available trail, vet
check locations, and available staff are such that there
really is no other way to do it.  That the choices are: have
a ride where people are running over each other, or don't
have a ride at all.

Which is not all that much different from the choice that
was faced on day 1 of the old Outlaw Trail: don't have a vet
check until 45 miles into the ride, or don't have the ride
at all.

So I will make a deal (because Jim said):

I would support a mandatory vet
check within the first 15 miles, even if it was
a 20 minute rest...then
a fly-by. Even if the vet check had to be
held at 5 miles, that would be
preferable to no check for 15 miles.

I agree not to support a rule saying that ride managers
aren't allowed to lay out a course that has people going
faster coming up behind people going slower, if you don't
support a rule that mandates a vet check within the first 15

I for one, would not even consider this,
particularly on the first loop, particularly on an
inexperience horse.
On an experienced horse with many miles, maybe.

Although I must confess, I find myself somewhat disturbed by
the sentiment expressed above (and in a bunch of other
places including Stagg Newman's account of PAC this year, so
it ain't just a "newbie" thing, and "inexperience horse"
thing, or a "SE region" thing).  There seems to be something
of a collective mentality saying that we need to do
something to accommodate the fact that, of course, everybody
is going to gallop their horse to the first vet check (no
matter how far it is) because nobody (even Mr. "one rein
stop perfectly trained horses" Holland :)) has any control
the pace their horse goes before there is a mandatory hold
where the vets and the pulse criteria can sort things out.

This is NUTS! :)

If we are to have any success in stopping people from over
riding their horses at endurance rides, we don't need figure
out something to accommodate this mentality.  We have to
CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!! this mentality.

And if we can't do that, we are doomed.

The only way I would
"rest" in this situation is to get off and walk..but
you better be sure
you do it on a road where people can pass...or you
just might get run
over in the woods on single track.

How would YOU do this? Just curious..... <grin>

I have done this in a lot of different ways:

The first and foremost, of course, is to try to avoid
bringing a horse to a ride before I, at least, have some
assurity that it is sufficiently well trained to pay
attention to me anyway, and if I know it is a ride where I
am constantly going to have faster horses running up behind
me, I would find some other venue for that horse's first
ride (which is, I contend, why I like to start horses at
multi-day rides...point to point multi-day rides are the

However, other strategies that I have used on novice (or
over eager) horses

When I find a wide enough spot in the trail, I get off and
stop, and feed the horse some of the ~5 lbs of grain that I
bring along with me on virtually every ride (having, of
course, already taught the horse at home to "go for the
food, it's a sure thing.").

Don't even start the ride until 1/2 hr to an hour after the
front runners.

Bring along (or, barring that, find) another horse that is
already sufficiently well trained to be ratable that is
going to go along at about the same place that I think I
might like to go and have somebody else ride that horse and
rate it, and then my horse can stay with that horse instead
of thinking that it should stay with any horse that happens
to come by.

If the horse just won't allow itself to me rated under
saddle, I get off and walk.  And no, the DOESN'T have to be
done only on roads.  If I get off and walk my horse, I can
walk just as fast as the horse can, so walking my horse in
hand is no "slower" than walking it under saddle, and it is
a total fallacy that you are only allowed to slow your horse
down (even to a walk) on trail that is wide enough to allow
anybody who is galloping up behind you to be able to get
around you without having to slow down.  If somebody comes
up behind me while I am walking my horse in hand on a single
track trail, they can do the same thing that they would do
if they were to come up behind anybody who is going slower
than they want to go.  They can let me know that they are
back there and would like to pass, and I will get off the
trail at the first opportunity.

In fact, I will do the same thing I would do were anybody to
come up behind me, no matter how fast I was going, which is
to ask them if they would like to pass...frequently, because
they had no control over the pace that their horse was
going, they say "No" because they are only too pleased to
let me rate their horse along with my own :).

[Re the Outlaw Trail] Known trail, everybody is stopped.
IMHO, irrelevant.  It basically IS a
Vet Check with everything but the Vet.
Rest, water, and calm down. This
is a unique situation, not typical of most rides.

Well..."respectfully disagree."  For several reasons.  The
first time I did the Outlaw Trail, it was not a "known
trail" to me.  Because I had attended the pre-ride meeting,
I knew that it was 45 miles to the first vet check, and I
knew, at least on the map and trail guide, where the "bail
out points" were (places where you could, if you felt that
your horse wasn't going to make it all the way to the vet
check that you could head down to the highway and flag down
a passing tourist), and I knew, at least on the map and
trail guide, where the "point of no return" was (the place
on the trail where, after you passed it, the next
opportunity for help was the vet check).

And I had sort of "hooked up" with somebody else who had
already done the ride (ironically because we had met at the
same rest area along the highway on the way to the ride
where we had both stopped for lunch) that I had already
quizzed about their intended ride strategy and had arranged
to kind of tag along on the trail with her because it
sounded like she was planning to pace her horse about the
same way I would like to pace mine.  But that didn't
keep me from stopping my horse in a meadow about 10 miles
into the ride and getting off and letting my horse graze and
eat some of the grain I had brought along with me and
telling her, "You know, my horse needs to stop here, you go
on ahead.  Maybe I will catch up with you, maybe I won't."

And despite the fact that I was riding a stallion, and she
was riding a mare, and that my horse would have LIKED to go
along with that mare, well...we didn't; we stopped and had a
graze and a snack.  I did catch up with them a little bit
later, and we did stop at Pear Lake and Meeks Lake together
(for as long as each of us thought was the appropriate
amount of time to let our horses rest, and refuel...not for
some amount of time mandated by ride management) and
probably a few other places as well also not mandated by
ride management.  And I did, actually, leave them behind
during the last ten miles after the vet check

....what do you do when you are riding at home and there
no vet or ride manager there to tell you where you need
rest? ? ? ? ? ? :)

IMHO, big difference between riding at home and
participating in an Endurance Ride for reasons obvious
to the most casual observer! :)

If the difference is so obvious to the most casual observer,
it shouldn't be all that difficult for you to explain these
big differences to me.

Because, quite frankly, personally, I approach every
endurance ride that I go to as being virtually no different
from any other ride that I do, not at an endurance ride.

For me, the only difference is that somebody else has laid
out the trail (and even some of the non-endurance trail
rides I go to, that can be said about).

I still remember the pre-ride meeting from my first
multi-day ride (Death Valley) when the first comment from
the head vet (the Duck) was: "I am assuming that all of you
have ridden your horses NOT at an endurance ride." (that is
an exact quote, from here on I paraphrase) "That all of you
have taken your horses out on the trail prior to this event
during your conditioning, and that for most of that riding,
it was not under a veterinarian's control...so, obviously,
you all already know how to take care of your own horses.
Since you obviously all know how to take care of your
horses, there is absolutely no reason that you shouldn't
just do it, without being told to do so by me."

So no, I don't find the differences obvious at all.

Orange County, Calif.


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