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Re: [RC] [RC-Digest] Vol: 03.1821 Another newbie wonderingout loud - Lif Strand

At 08:11 PM 9/2/2004, Truman Prevatt wrote:
One of my neighbors buys horses at killer prices frequently, puts some training and miles on them and some TLC. He may do a ride on them or he may not. He usually sells them to a good home at reasonable prices and he sitll makes money.

The sale of horses to "good homes" that aren't endurance homes is a wonderful thing, but the only numbers for your neighbor that I'd be interested in are total horses bought compared to those that become successful endurance horses (= horses with high rate of completion for multiple endurance rides for more than one season).

It is so very discouraging for me to think that so many people support the idea that any old nag that looks like it has decent bone structure is worth trying as endurance horse. I guess people like it because of these sort of wonderful "rags-to-riches" stories we keep hearing, with an egalitarian twist to it. We're fond of those stories: Cinderella makes good. Little rag boy wins the Olympics.

There's a reason they're called fairy tales.

To me the notion of finding the diamond in the rough at killer sales is right up there with the outsider perception that that you need a wild beast that wants to run all the time. It happens - but the odds don't support it happening in real life.

What it also means to me is that the sport of endurance riding is still just one step above being a trail ride. This is dangerous thinking. Endurance is not simply a faster trail ride. It is a physical and mental effort requiring skills and preparation, with a real risk of injury, metabolic breakdown and even death. The casual attitude that so many people have for endurance and selection of their horses is astounding to me (especially compared with the intense hunts for the perfect tack, electrolyte, trailer, etc).

And then there's the additional issue, the fact that the ultimate cost of *pain* and *death* is not paid by the human, but the horse. Until the bar of understanding of what the sport is about is raised, the ultimate cost of our ignorance will continue to be paid by the horses. No one will ever convince me that a difference in price is an acceptable justification for the potential for pain, suffering and death by a being that did not get to choose. We all may think it's wonderful to save a horse from the killer, but to save it for the possibility of suffering in a sport it was not bred or raised for is not my idea of good thinking.

I've said it before and I still believe it: The making of an endurance horse doesn't start the day the rider decides to do an endurance ride. For the horse, it starts generations before (genetics). The making of that endurance horse continues every day from the moment it is conceived, throughout the time the horse is growing up, and future success depends on how it is cared for and trained as well. Finally - and often only at this point - the endurance rider steps in and begins conditioning. Conditioning and sport specific training is only the tip of the iceberg of what an endurance horse is! Everyone in every other competitive equestrian endeavor understands this, but we in endurance still don't get it.

I'm not saying you can't get a great endurance horse from the killer auction, but let's stop citing how many killer auction horses make good if we can't say how many didn't. Let's not encourage making the exception the rule. We all know that the realities of the endurance trail call for more than dreams and fairy tales.

________________________________ Lif Strand fasterhorses.com Quemado NM USA

Re: [RC] [RC-Digest] Vol: 03.1821 Another newbie wondering out loud, Chipnml
Re: [RC] [RC-Digest] Vol: 03.1821 Another newbie wonderingout loud, Lif Strand
Re: [RC] [RC-Digest] Vol: 03.1821 Another newbie wondering out loud, Barbara McCrary
Re: [RC] [RC-Digest] Vol: 03.1821 Another newbie wonderingout loud, Lif Strand
Re: [RC] [RC-Digest] Vol: 03.1821 Another newbie wondering outloud, Truman Prevatt