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Re: [RC] Just Guessing - Howard Bramhall

There are some good guesses in there, Kat.  The thing is, I kind of disagree with your final conclusion.  I do think there are some excellent ideas out there that would help reduce the number of endurance related equine metabolic deaths.  I have a list:
 
1)  The pacer/mentor program, for newbies, is an excellent idea.  This is how we pass on the valuable knowledge that our experienced riders have to give to others.
 
2)  The "horse holiday" idea is another good one.  30 days is not a long period of time and if your horse is pulled at a ride, for metabolic reasons, that period of time is something a rider should do on their own anyway.
 
3)  Less distance between vet checks.  That one is a no brainer.  If a horse travels in our sport more than 20 miles before seeing a vet, we are just asking for trouble.
 
4)  We should develop a tier system (novice, intermediate, beginners) for both riders and horses.  A rider should not be allowed to go and do the TEvis ride, for example, without some prior completions and proven ability with a horse.  And, speaking of Tevis, if a ride is not forthcoming with the required information that the manager must pass on to AERC (which includes horse deaths and metabolic treatment) that ride should lose AERC sanctioning.  We are pussy footing around with Tevis because, it seems to me, we need them more than they need us.
 
5) Dr. Mackay-Smith has some valid ideas and reducing the time allowed for a horse to meet the required pulse (and this number should be lower, also) would require the rider to change their mindset if they plan on hot hoofing it at a ride.
 
6)  All AERC vets should have a valid license when practicing at an endurance ride.
 
7)  Horse log books should be a requirement.   I recently received an AERA horse log book and will go into detail of it's contents in another post.
 
I disagree with Kat's final conclusion in her post.  She's correct that we cannot stop horses from dying at our rides totally, but, I really do believe we can reduce their numbers.  Using any of the ideas I've listed above certainly won't increase their numbers and, unless we ever get the courage and say this is worth a try, make an attempt on our part, for the horse, we'll never really know if it would have changed a thing.
 
The basic thought behind some of those ideas is that the new rider will soon realize this sport is not a walk in the park.  We teach them everything they need to know before they attempt their first 100 miler.  We put them, and their horse, through a program that enforces the belief that the horse must be put ahead of any personal goals or achievements in the sport.  And, the fact, that they both have to earn the right to be called an endurance rider and an endurance horse (like the horse cares what you call him). 
 
I realize we have some of those words stating how much we care about our horses in writing, somewhere, but, the fact of the matter is we need to reinforce those statements with actions.  I don't want to see endurance become Competitive Trail, but, I sure would like to see our metabolic death totals come close to their numbers.  Take a real good look at some of the ideas floating around concerning this topic before you totally discount them.  I'm convinced we can do better.
 
cya,
Howard
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2003 3:10 AM
Subject: [RC] Just Guessing

Let me preface what I am about to say here with a number of caveats.  I
do not know Howard; I have never met him; I wouldn't know him if I
tripped over him in the dark, or in the daylight for that matter; the
extent of my experience with his is through e-mail, those public ones
that he has sent to endurance mailing lists over the years and a few
private posts as well.  There are obviously people who know him better
than I do, and, I suspect that virtually everybody who has spent any
time here knows him just as well as I do....which is to say, hardly at
all, especially since he has on at least one occasion (if not more)
confessed to, shall we way, embellishing his stories; so the wise person
will take everything he says with a grain of salt :).

Hence the subject line of this post, everything which follows is just a
guess.

So while it seems to me that Truman has signed up for the cause of horse
welfare and the need to make more rules about the current state of
affairs because he wants the AERC to stop other people from riding their
horses to death, the source of Howard's adamacy about the cause is quite
different.  He wants the AERC to stop HIM from riding his horse to
death, and he is sure that the AERC needs to change its state of mind
and improve its rules because HE has had a couple of close calls with
his own horses at endurance rides....while he was riding completely
within the bounds of the rules.

His attitude seems to be, "if somebody like me, who loves my horses more
than anything can ride my horse/s to the brink of disaster while at the
same time being completely within the rules, there must be something
wrong with the rules."


Replies
[RC] Just Guessing, k s swigart