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[RC] 2006 COC - KimFue

   You know I agree with you 100% on the USEF lowering the competition age requirement from 8 years old to 7 years old at the same time the COC qualifer became more difficult.  But at this point, I feel there is no reason to even discuss this as it is a done deal for 2006 and when I raised this point earlier, before it was a done deal, very few felt it was an issue worth discussing so I can only assume that most involved don't care or don't think it is a bad decision.
Although some thought my post was a joke and perhaps some was written TIC, I believe I do make some valid points IF qualifying a large number of US horses is the primary goal.  It makes sense to me to have the largest pool of horses to choose a team from.  If FEI remains rigid on the COC time then it is up to the US international community to create an environment to qualify more horses.  That may mean creating more  "qualifying" rides in each region or time zones.  My suggestion of a 14 mile course is based on the fact that 100s are difficult to stage for a variety of reasons...one being adequate trail to create a 100 AND the enormous amount of volunteer and staff needed to cover that distance.   Why make qualifying difficult if there is no exception made when weather conditions or unusual conditions effect a ride and slow down the completion times.
I really don't think that making a COC qualifer easy is a bad thing.   It does take a lot of pressure off when conditions like footing, weather, etc. do not HAVE to factor in.  It may mean that the pool of qualified horses are not ALL the cream of the crop but that pool of horses WILL include the cream of the crop.  It gives some leeway to good horses and very good horses that may not be able to qualify on a moderate to difficult course when unforseen circumstances occur.  It gives a little more leeway when one encounters a little bad luck on a ride, like having to slow down because of a lost shoe or staying a little longer at a check to let your horse eat and get better gut sounds.  Honestly, are the horses choosen for the squad picked because of their COC qualifying ride??  Certainly other rides could be used in evaluation where the PRESSURE of the 13.20 completion is not looming over the riders head.
I think the 2006 changes to the COC are far too rigid to include all nations that ride under the FEI.  BUT until exceptions are made to the new COC or until the COC is changed, one must work under those "rules".  So make the "rule" work to your advantage.....create a number of courses in which an average horse can finish in 13.20 hours.  It doesn't mean the average horse has to be picked for the squad but it does mean that the horses that are eventually choosen for that squad do not have to work as hard to qualify.