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[RC] AERC Reply to Request of 2002 Horse Death Info - Jim Holland

I am gratified by the positive response from AERC members, others, and
SOME members of the BOD regarding my ongoing issue with horse deaths at
AERC rides, both privately and publicly on Ridecamp.  I have also been
"chastised"  :) for submitting an "inappropriate" post to Ridecamp
detrimental to AERC because of the "sensitive" nature of the subject.  
I strongly believe that the AERC membership is generally uninformed on
this issue because of the AERC BOD's reluctance to address it and
provide information on horse deaths.  Meanwhile, horses continue to pay
the price for their inaction.  I also believe that the discussion of
this subject on Ridecamp is entirely appropriate. Do we have something
to hide?   

I strongly support Art King's proposal regarding Vet Checks.  (Art, have
you been chastised yet?) You can have the best Vets in the world, but if
you don't put the horse in front of them, they can't help the rider. 
IMHO, inexperienced riders/horses, combined with not enough Vet Checks
tips the scale toward dead horses.  The WEG is a prime example.  It
takes TIME to learn this sport.  Yes, it IS the rider's responsibility
to care for their horse, but in the beginning, they simply don't have
the experience or knowledge to do so, and sometimes the "spirit of
competition" overrides their good judgement. The more vet checks we run
them thru, the more they learn....and it provides a safety net for the

Thanks to Stagg Newman for starting the thread on preventing treatment. 
Good stuff from lots of people in this thread.. 

It's interesting that although I can't get any specific information on
deaths and at what rides and which regions they occurred in, I DO know
that the SE hasn't had a metabolic death since 1996.  (We did have a
horse put down from a kick this year) We ride in the deep sand of
Florida and the mountains of North Georgia and North Carolina.  We deal
with heat, humidity, flies, mud, rocks, clay, and sand.  NO region has
the wide range of terrain and weather conditions present in the SE. Yes,
we have horses treated but NONE have died from metabolic problems. The
REST of the AERC had 8 THIS YEAR! Wonder why? That alone is worth
consideration. Could it be that: 

Just about all our rides have 3 vet checks in a 50 and 6 in a 100. 
Our Ride Managers encourage the Head Vet to protect the horses, whatever
it takes. Many ride flyers state that the final criteria will be
announced the the Head Vet at the ride meeting. 
Our  vets adjust the pulse criteria, the hold time, and even the number
of checks on the fly. 
They have, as Truman says "Teeth"....when in doubt, you're out! And I
applaude them for it. 
(It only takes ONCE for Ann Stuart to get on your case for you to find
religion! : ) <grin> 

IMHO, if a ride, for whatever reason, cannot provide 3 vet checks for a
50 and 6 for a 100, there should be an "experience qualification" to
participate in that ride.  Tevis is doing that this year.  I don't think
it is rigid enough, but it's a start. 

I have also been asked to post to Ridecamp that AERC did, finally,
respond to my request for infomation.  The jury is still out on what the
response means, but I'm working on it. Here's my reply, with the AERC
response below.  I would be interested in your comments on this, either
publicly on Ridecamp or privately.  Do YOU think this was appropriate?
Would YOU go to California based on this response? 

I hope ALL of you will speak LOUDLY for the horse and I hope the BOD
will listen..... 

Jim, Sun of Dimanche, and Mahada Magic 


Ms. Henkel: 

Thank you for your note.  I know the wheels of bureaucracy turn slow
(after all, I DID work for IBM for 30 years) and I am much relieved that
my request was not totally ignored. However, my request was for specific
information regarding horse deaths in the year 2002. I am not interested
in " copies of the board meeting minutes and/or accounting books and
records" unless they contain the Veterinary Committee reports on horse
deaths in 2002.  Considering the attitude of AERC and the BOD regarding
this information, I would not be surprised if the information I seek
was, for some "valid legal reason", not available.  Please advise. 

Thank you. 

Regards, Jim 


Richard T. ?Jim? Holland
175 Hells Hollow Drive
Blue Ridge, GA  30513

Dear Mr. Holland: 

This letter is in response to your email of October 11, 2002 and letter
of January 3, 2003 pertaining to your request to receive information
regarding equine deaths at AERC sanctioned rides. 

Pursuant to the California Corporation Code, the accounting books and
records and minutes of the Board of Director meetings are open for
inspection by the membership at any reasonable time. You are more than
welcome to come to AERC?s corporate office in Auburn, California, and
inspect copies of the board meeting minutes and/or accounting books and


Kathleen A. Henkel 
Executive Director

cc:        Dr. L. B. Fleming, DVM 

           John Parke 
           Chair, Legal & Bylaws Committee"

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