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[RC] Response to Ms Fager - Linda Hedgpeth

From: Maureen A. Fager
Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2003 12:40 PM
"Linda Hedgpeth said "Bingo!  Come to NE CA and NW NV...........they
regularly have 50 milers here, where the horses only see a vet after
miles and then again at the end of the race.  There was talk of change
a mare died at the NASTR race in 2001.........but it was just talk."

"Linda, please quatify this statement with facts, or qualify it as
opinion only, ie, what rides, how many and where were they?  What
rides did
not make changes?  This statement is wrong, as another VC was added at
NASTR ride last year.  This rant was written by a person who has
NEVER ridden a 50 mile ride and WAS NOT EVEN AT THE NASTR RIDE
mentioned (or
the one a year later.)"
Dear Ms. Fager,

I applaud the fact that last year another VC was added to this
particular race.  Is it because of Nashua's death?  Did all the
northern area Nevada rides also add another VC on their 50 milers that
previously only had one?

When I said that there was talk of change, I meant there was talk of
implementing a rule regarding it at the BOD level, not with NASTR
specifically.  This was on the list of things to be brought up at the
upcoming meeting.

I'm sorry you feel that I was "ranting".  *I* feel that some of you
"big dawgs" who *were* there all those hours this mare suffered should
have felt compelled to take action......so that this sort of thing
might never happen again.

I also see that you are one of the "mileage checkers".  Tell me what
does that mean?  Are you saying that because I have never done a 50
mile race (and yes, they are races) that I have no right to be
incensed over the needless death of a mare that didn't have a say in
the matter???   In your eyes I am nobody.....just a low-life-pondscum
"ranter" that shouldn't have an opinion because I have never done a
50?????  So be it, but Nashua is still dead.

No, I wasn't there, but I know people who were and I heard the same
story from all of them.  Before I filed my protest, I spoke with one
of the leaders of your organization.....who was also there.   This
person made a statement to me that I found rather disturbing.  It was,
"You know, horses have been dying in endurance for years and they
still do.  My horse could die in the pasture today.  Horses die all
the time."   Comparing a horse who dies in the pasture to a horse who
dies from being overridden in endurance is vastly different.  It was
this very casual comparison that spurred me to do something.
"Guess what, Linda, I was there (for both rides) and I saw what
Did you know Linda, that NASTR had supplied six hay and water stops on
course? Oh, I forgot, you don't know the facts, you weren't there."
Yes, Maam.  I do know the facts.  I gathered them before I submitted
my protest.  Why is "being there" such an issue with you????   Nashua
is still just as dead.  She suffered for *32* hours before finally
dying Sunday.  Just another dead horse......life goes on, right?   I
would like to know why NO ONE who "was there" spoke out in an official
capacity for Nashua.  There wasn't a word about her death anywhere.  I
waited a long time before submitting my first letter and
check.......silence.  Why wasn't a horse fatality report submitted
right away?   We were assured here on ridecamp, when it was eventually
was discussed, that the matter was being investigated by the powers
that be with AERC.  Although, when I started checking around, I found
out differently.  I was told by Barney Fleming and Duane Barnett that
an official protest had to submitted for there to be an
investigation.......so I did.
If you were there and watched the whole thing unfold, why didn't you
protest, Ms. Fager?
"The AERC allows anyone to enter an endurance ride, a ride defined as
50 to
100 miles in one day.  So, anyone can enter their first ride without
experience at a endurance ride, without even have being to a ride or
seeing one.  The horse qualifies by being 5 years old, it does not
need to
have any prior experience either.

Perhaps it is time to propose some qualifications to enter endurance
For discussions sake, how about, to ride a 50 mile ride a person must
ridden two LD rides within two year period prior to entry.
For a 100 mile ride, a rider must have at least two 50 mile rides on
record.  What qualifications would be apporpriate for equines?"
This is an issue with me as well.  In my protest, one of my
suggestions was that AERC implement *something* to protect other
horses from this in the future.  Australia and (I believe) the UK have
a program where first timers have to start out at a lower level and
shorter races.  They are tracked and have some sort of logbook method
where each race is signed off.   This has been talked about and talked
about and nothing is different.   We still allow first time horse and
riders to race in 50 milers....and when the 50 milers only have *one*
midway vet check, it is asking for trouble.....especially in the heat
of the summer.
"What is important about Linda's ranting in my opinion, is the danger
uninformed people can cause in this sport.  Outside opinions that do
research all of the facts or speak from direct experience can
cause much grief."
There you go calling me a "ranter" again when you don't know anything
about "how" informed I was.  You don't know "how much" I researched
before submitting my protest.  You have no idea, yet you seem pretty
comfortable shooting from the hip here.  It is you who is uninformed.
Perhaps my opinion is an "outside" one.  I wondered for a long time
why none of you "insiders" never said anything about this......why
none of you protested this.  I was not there, yet just the thought of
this mare suffering all that time before she died made me sick at my
stomach.  The fact that she lost her life because of ignorance and
what...........sport?  How noble.  She could not speak out and choose
for herself.  Who spoke for her?  You?  You say my outside opinion can
"unfortunately cause much grief".  How much "grief" do you think
Nashua felt while she was dying?

Perhaps someone needs to "rant and cause grief" so that no more of our
precious horses have to lose their life for the sake of sport.  My
main problem is with the governing body that "could" bring about
change to better safeguard the horses who don't have a vote.  It's too
bad that AERC didn't take my protest seriously enough to keep from
losing it.  They even tried to tell me that I had failed to mail it to
them, but I have documented proof of their receipt along with check
#'s and carbons....in fact I have an entire file on this incident.

I will continue to speak up for horses who are ruined for life, or die
because of ignorance, when things could be done to help protect them
even more in this sport.  If other countries can do these things why
can't this one?  Is it that we don't care?  How many more Nashua's
need to die?


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