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[RC] [Guest] Horse deaths and preventing treatments - Ridecamp Moderator

Arthur B. King DVM arthur.king@xxxxxxxxxxxx

In a recent post a rider stated that I had implemented one hour holds in the the first 12 to 15 miles. That is not true.

As far as what I would do if it were up to me - education and rules.
rider education - there are still too many riders who do not use electrolytes properly. There are too many riders who fail to recognise the early signs of trouble - lack of thirst, lack of appetite, delayed recovery at checks, etc
ride manager education - managers need to plan the ride so that there are sufficient opportunities along the trail for vet checks
and hire enough vets so that the vets can examine the horses frequently and completely
veterinary education - vets need to know that they have to examine the horse completely to see if it is fit to start, continue and complete. Vets need to use the CRI and use it properly. Horses need to be examined at least every 15 miles and have at least 90 minutes of hold in a 50 mile ride and 3 hours in a 100 mile ride. there are rides where there are too few vets, they check the horses too few times and when they do check them they only do a half assed job of it. That has got to change!

Rules - no more than 15 miles between vet checks.
At least three vet checks in a 50 and at least 6 in a 100 mile ride. At least 90 minutes of hold time (3 - 30 minute holds) in a 50 mile ride and 3 hours in a 100 mile ride. The holds can be shorter towards the end of a 100 if they are longer near the first part of the ride.

It is not rocket science. Gaykle Ecker's research showed that horses need to rest every 15 miles at least and that losses occur early in the ride so you need rest stops early in the ride.
Every ride where horses die or require extensive treatment has had one or more loops in excess of 15 miles and fewer than three checks per 50/6 checks per 100 miles.

I am appalled by the horse deaths and the fact that AERC BOD as a whole is completely ignoring them as evidenced by their silence on the subject, failure to respond o enquiries from the membership and failure to act in any substantive way to prevent these deaths. There were two deaths at one ride last February and one ride manager has had at least 5 deaths at his rides over the past few years.

In the spring of 2002 I sent several messages to the AERC Board. While there are several on the BOD who do want to see some change occur, they apparently are not in the majority, otherwise there would be some action. Their lack of action makes me wonder if the Directors take their responsibility any more seriously than the corrupt Directors of ENRON.

As for the AERC convention, I will have some strong words for the BOD. I have a lot of support from some Directors and some AERC members. We need to stop these deaths before some animal welfare organization shuts us down!!

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