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[RC] LD/Endurance/BC - terre

I think one of the problems with this perennial debate is this: posters keep repeating "AERC defines endurance as 50 miles"...and many of those who ride exclusively LD consider this definition arbitrary and elitist. "Arbitrary" because if AERC defines endurance as 50 miles, they could just as easily pick another number--for example 25. "Elitist" because they believe the resistance to doing so is probably rooted in a desire to retain somebody to look down on as inferior. In fact, though, this dividing line is more than just a matter of semantics. There really IS a difference; the oldtimers (sorry Joe, Maryben, Louise, etal) who drew the line at 50 knew this empirically based on their experience with many different horses and distances in a time when we had fewer tools (lytes, hrms, etc). Recent research has validated their opinion.
The extensive work done by Gayle Ecker and others at a large number of ROCs, WECs, WEGs, PACs, and the Tevis all indicate that by far the greatest losses of fluids, electrolytes, etc occur in the first 25 miles of the ride. How the horse fares in the next 25 to 75 miles is determined by the degree of these losses, and the horse/rider management of them. When the horse stops at 25 miles, he never faces this challenge. In other words, we see "endurance" as the ability to recover and continue on. When 'completion' is based on recovering, but NOT continuing on, you have another sport--a valid and legitimate sport, but not "endurance", per se.
What does this have to do with BC? The AERC BC form is designed with emphasis on the "vet score" portion, to allow the vets to select the horse that really is in superior shape. When the ride ends before the horses are subjected to the above challenges, it is much harder for the vets to 'separate the field' according to parameters. The time differences among the top ten horses in an LD ride are similarly likely to be insignificant. That brings it down to pretty much a matter of the heaviest rider. That isn't really what the "BC award" is intended for, is it?

terre (#2548)

We are talking about all the tools we can use to keep our horses safe and
alive at the rides. Training/conditioning is one of the best tools
available. It makes us better horseman and women, it benefits our horses
and could quite possibly be the key to preventing most crashes.
~ Lisa Salas - The Odd Farm

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