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Re: [RC] the sport? - terre

Maggie Mieske wrote:

Never said that. I said it's a harsh judgement to make.

Obviously it must have been the trail, or the weather, or, or, or. But it could 
never have been the rider who did not recognize that there might have been 
something wrong. Riders
have nothing but the welfare of the horse at heart and so it must be some other 


Thank you--that was pretty much my intention.
There are hundreds of horses going thousands of miles each year without major problems. The difference between these horses and the treated ones is not the sport, or the loop length, or the vets, or the weather--it's the management provided by the rider. Note that I am not saying all these horses are overridden--the problem may be related to feed, or worming, or hauling, or clipping/blanketing, or tack...but it is still a rider issue. When thirty horses win at a ride, and one horse needs treatment, the treatment is not due to the ride (trail, weather, vets, etc) but to the rider.
It is becoming almost a cliche to say "metabolic treatments/deaths can happen to anybody...". Well, like all cliches this is both true and a vast oversimplification. Anybody can have a previously undiagnosed pathology (like an aneurism) suddenly happen; but the majority of treatments are not like that...they are the result of mismanagement of some kind. By endlessly debating loop lengths, etc, (and especially the recent phrase "due to the sport") we are, apparently, casting the rider as an innocent bystander, or worse yet, a victim of a sport that is inherently "a killer". Well, treatments don't "happen to anybody"--they happen to horses, and they are usually caused by riders. And there is only one victim in these cases, and that victim has four feet and no internet connection.
Harsh? I hope so. Anybody can make a mistake that might result in their horse requiring treatment--I don't think they should be flogged to death for that. But neither should they be excused from all blame; extending sympathy only goes so far. To pat them on the back and say "there, there, dear--it wasn't your fault" is not likely to accomplish much in the way of improvement.
We--all of us--have a duty to make the sport as safe and humane for horses as we possibly can; and many people are working on this. When treatments happen, we need to provide education to the riders who need it. If they happen too frequently, we may need to provide sanctions to the very few riders who may deserve it.
No changes we make to the management of the sport will protect the horses if we absolve the riders of responsibility for their fate. The really ethical riders (which we all claim to be....) have no problem with this--in fact they are usually far harder on themselves than warranted, and do everything in their power to never repeat their mistake. It's the few who try to make excuses, and evade all blame, that I fear--for they cannot learn from mistakes they deny making, and they have no hope of changing.



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RE: [RC] the sport?, Bob Morris
Re: [RC] the sport?, Maggie Mieske