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[RC] AERC Convention - Jim Holland

Had a great time at the Convention.  This year, I decided not to attend any
sessions.  Probably should have....everyone said they were all great.
However, I wanted to attend the "Hot Topics" sessions and have more time to
shop and just talk with people.  First thing I discovered was that if you
were not attending a session, you didn't get a name badge.  I thought that
strange.  Helps people to put names with faces.  Badges for everyone next
year, please?

The "Hot Topics" sessions were again hosted by John with the assistance of
Jim, Laura, and Mike.  These were well attended.  There were over 100 people
on the first day, almost that many on day two.  Each horse death was
discussed and additional detail and insight provided by the HWC as to the
circumstances.  A LOT of hard work and persistence here by the HWC! Much
more data than published in the EN article was actually collected.  However
only the data VERIFIED as accurate by the horse owners was published.  Jim
Mitchell provided a copy for me...Thanks, Jim!....and I could see nothing
that just "jumped out" at me that was common to all deaths.  There were no
long distances between vet checks, the number of checks and holds seemed
adequate.  CRI was used in all but two of the metabolic cases.  During
conversations with members from other regions, I was somewhat surprised to
learn that a "standard" AERC Vet Card is  not used at all rides.  In fact,
some rides don't have vet cards, and at some that do, ride managers don't
return them to the rider.  Several riders mentioned how important vet cards
are to "track" problems and the progress of your horse.  For example, if
your horse consistently gets poor grades in "gut sounds", then you need to
concentrate more on "improving" that.  If we ever expect to collect any
consistent data, I certainly hope the BoD standardizes the Vet Card.  For
the first time I heard some discussion regarding the number and
qualifications of ride vets, treatment methods, fluids, etc. There were lots
of good comments and suggestions from all who attended, in fact a "waiting
line" at times to speak.  It seems that openly discussing horse deaths and
what we can do to minimize them has become a very positive direction for
AERC to take instead of a liability as some thought it would be and as a
result, the membership has become more conscious of their responsibility to
care for their horse. Over the last year, there have been many columns and
articles devoted to this issue. Perhaps it's time for the HWC to become a

Some things of interest from my notes at "Hot Topics":

Only about 20% of metabolic reports are filed.  There were several
suggestions as to how to solicit the cooperation of the membership and
improve the collection of data by making the forms more available (online?),
and evaluating which form should be used for what data, etc.

Suggestion to collect a "feed profile" for metabolic cases as a possible
contributing factor.

If a horse dies (or even treated for metabolic problems) that was in any way
associated with an Endurance Ride, we should look at it in the hopes that it
will provide information of value.

There was some discussion regarding the possibility of not allowing new
horses to race for some number of miles.  A couple of the horses that died
would probably have benefited from this.  Problem is, we would need some way
(such as logbooks) to track this.

During the discussion of statistics, Jim Mitchell commented that: (Jim,
please correct these if I missed the exact numbers)

If you enter an Endurance Ride, your horse has approximately a 1 in 1900
chance of dying in two weeks.

If your horse is pulled for metabolic reasons at a ride, he has
approximately a 1 in 88 chance of dying in two weeks.

Before you decide not to have your horse treated when he is in metabolic
distress, think about what his chances of dying  are under THOSE conditions.
Err on the side of the horse and forget about your ego!

I had several questions I wanted to ask, but the majority were addressed
before I got the chance.  All Vet Committee reports have not yet been
published in EN, but John assured us that all will be, so look for those in
the minutes if you want more detail on each death.  Dr. Jim Baldwin "calls
'em as he sees 'em", which is a good thing.

There was a great deal of interest in logbooks and I have received a number
of personal emails requesting "copies" of the AERA logbook Anne Jones sent
me.  Actually, it was not at all what I expected.  It's basically a book of
sequentially numbered "Vet Cards", with some info about the horse and rider
in the front of the book and a "history" page in the back.

I suggested at one of the sessions that AERC develop it's OWN logbook using
input from members. Not to make it mandatory, but to give riders a "tool"
they can use to better care for their horse. It could be another item you
could order on the AERC web site. Could even charge a couple of bucks to
cover printing.  Who knows? It might become so popular that we just "evolve"
over the years into using those instead of Vet Cards.

Spent almost an hour talking with Dr. Dave Nicholson....very interesting
guy....he is certainly a "horse, er I mean "duck" of a different color".

Got to meet Bob Morris and Karen Chaton, but would have liked to have spent
more time picking their brains on lots of stuff. <sigh> Maybe next year?

Met Dr. Kerry Ridgeway......

Got to pal around with Penny Sharpe and Sue Brown's gang.  Dang, Penny gets
better looking every year! How does she DO that?  Looking forward to riding
OD with Penny this year.

Drank a lot of Margarita's with Carmi and the rest of the Reactor Panel
girls down at Gecko's.....now THERE is a fun bunch! :)  Carmi taught Joan to
play Video Poker and she won 25 bucks!

Anne Ayala was dancing on the tables at the party....It's true! I have

SE rider Sarah Engsberg needed a U-haul to get home all her awards!

Trilby's attire was awesome!

Jerry Fruth showed up at the banquet in his "Gambler/Gunfighter"
outfit.....all he needed was  "six shooters".  <grin>

Get a copy of Steve Elliott's new book.....GOOD stuff on CRI and Heart
Monitor usage.

Wonderful trailers with living quarter there..... <sigh>

Funniest thing I saw was a thing called a "Bizzy Ball".  It's about the size
of a softball, made out of what looks like hay and maybe some other stuff
stuck together....a little sticky, so probably some molasses. Very hard,
with a string thru the middle. You hang in the stall for the horse to "play"
with.  They had a hysterical video of a horse "in action".  Would love to
have bought the video!  Anyway, I couldn't resist buying one just to see the
reaction from my guys.  Hung it up for Magic, who bumped it around for a
while, and finally decided he wasn't getting enough results for his efforts
and just ignored it.  The next morning, I hung it in Sunny's stall.  Went
back that evening and he had worked up a sweat chasing the thing. He was
covered from his mane to his nose in "sticky" stuff where the ball had
bounced off him.  I could have used him for fly paper! Took three days to
get it all off.  So much for the "Bizzy Ball".

Jim, Sun of Dimanche+, and Mahada Magic

...but then, I do ride my horses a lot more than most people 
~  Karen Chaton

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