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RE: [RC] Racing and LD BC - heidi

 I think we need to commonly define "racing" as it pertains to our 
sport. Certainly it doesn't mean coming in the last 1000 yards at a 
sprint. It describes the average, overall speed maintained over the 
course of the entire 25 or 35 miles. This tells the story of how much 
energy the horse has expended, not what speed he was going a few minutes 
before his final pulse criteria is to be met.

OK, let's look at how one "races" an LD.  If one goes too fast, the
horse's pulse does not come down quickly, and one is frequently
"beaten" by those who went slower and brought in horses at or near
criteria.  While it is true that a given pulse is not a sure-fire
guarantee of a healthy horse, it is nonetheless a good indicator.  So
in order to "win" one often has to manage one's horse better than the
guy who came across the line first.  I've been at rides where the guy
who crossed the line first didn't even make Top Ten.  So the pulse rule
indeed puts a whole nuther face on "racing."

That said, the LD BC is one of THE best learning tools that the vet has
for communicating to the riders who tend to travel the course more
rapidly than others.  I DO miss the full-page BC sheets that AERC used
to use, though--they were terrific for providing the rider with a
written critique, so to speak.  At any rate, the way I always did BC
was to put precisely on each form where each horse lost points, so the
rider could see.  If need be, I added additional written comments. 
THEN, when awards were handed out, I would stand up and read off ALL of
the scores, from bottom to top.  Believe me, there are not many folks
who don't get the picture when you read off "Joe Blow riding Ibn
So-and-So, 450 points," when the majority of the riders are up there
with scores in the high 600s and 700s.  Not much more has to be said...

In addition, I also always pointed out who got high vet score--and many
NW rides did and still do award a special award for that.  VERY rarely
I had horses with perfect vet scores--and I REALLY made sure that those
riders got lots of atta-boys at the awards ceremony.

All in all, used properly, the LD BC is a tremendous educational tool. 
I really have trouble understanding why some vets in some regions are
not willing to use such a tool to help promote good horsemanship at our
LD rides.



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