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Re: [RC] the sport? - Joe Long

On Thu, 23 Oct 2003 08:51:47 -0400, Truman Prevatt
<tprevatt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Our sport doesn't have all that a great reputation to start with. Many 
other people in the horse world see us as a bunch of yahoos running the 
snot out of our horses. I've heard it more than once. I think we may 
have gone a long way to overcome that last year at the horse fair, but 
all that I suspect would be undone if the fatalities were known.

There are some who see us that way.  There are some who believe the
very act of riding a horse 50 miles is cruel, no matter what the
circumstances, and they won't hear anything different.  I do not
believe that is the widespread view, though.

When I tell people about endurance who have not heard of it, or heard
much about it, I stress with pride the care that we take of our horses
and the protections the rides give the horses.

So we can pat ourselves on the back all we want, 

As we should.

we can talk about all  the progress on horse welfare 

Which we've made.

but horses still die at numbers higher  than in the past. 

I'm not convinced that is true.  With such small numbers a few years'
worth isn't meaningful even if they are up, it takes a long time to
know if there is really a trend.  They could double from one year to
the next, or be less than half as many as the previous year, neither
would mean *anything* regarding the efficacy of horse care and
protection.

I know we had a decline after gate-into-hold replaced flat holds,
pulse criterias dropped, and we adopted "Fit to Continue."  A decline
over a decade and more.  How many total have there been in the last
ten years compared to the previous ten years?

Doesn't matter if it's reporting, doesn't matter what 
the case it is fact - they are still dead. You can try to rationalize it 
all you want, you can talk about all the vet checks and "our horses see 
a vet more in a day than most in a year", etc.  but it is still fact 
that there are dead horses as a result of an endurance ride and it is a 
fact by which we will be judged by those folks outside the sport - many 
who think we push our horses too hard to start with.

If endurance gets a reputation for being a "horse-killer" sport, it is
more likely to come from excessive arm-waving and finger-pointing by
people within the sport, not from outside, IMO.  I really think a  few
people are a tad obsessed about this.

We DO have a problem with equine fatalaties at the International-level
rides, both due to their high numbers relative to number of
competitors, and the high visibility of those events. IMO we need to
look more at how to improve that situtation rather than tar endurance
riding overall as "the worst thing you can do with a horse."

-- 

Joe Long
jlong@xxxxxxxx
http://www.rnbw.com


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Replies
[RC] the sport?, terre
Re: [RC] the sport?, Howard Bramhall
Re: [RC] the sport?, C. Eyler
Re: [RC] the sport?, Howard Bramhall
Re: [RC] the sport?, Truman Prevatt