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 No matter what distance you ride, you will have some one who will over ride their horse. I saw this happen at a ride not long ago. ( a 50) There will always be those who have to "win", even if they don?t' have the horse, or the conditioning on their horse to do it. There are more of us, however, who simply compete against ourselves. As long as my horse is happy, and I still have the strength to try to hold her back, each ride we try to do a little better. Experiment on how to improve that nasty B on gut sounds at the first vet check, how to cool her faster, get her in getter shape, then improve on the last ride time a little. Slow but steady progress.
 No matter if you judge BC or not, you will still have horses over ridden. I would think those concerned about winning BC would slow down, especially the last 5 miles to make for a faster and better recovery. I was introduced to the notion that it is better to finish top ten and win BC than it is to win. I don't think having a BC or not will cut down on the "racers" or "ya-hooers" Some of them decide to try a ride that is where they usually train, and they just "have to show those Arabs somethin'. Usually at their horse's expense.  However, I think those of us concerned with lifetime mileage are in the majority. You can't legislate away stupidity. No matter how the ride is held, what distance, BC or not, you will still occasionally have horses that are over ridden. Sadly, to some, having a top ten on their horse's record is more important than the horse.
 Also, I know at the larger rides, it would take extra time at the awards ceremony to announce the horse's name also, BUT since she did carry me on that ride, she should at least get half the recognition.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 9:21 PM
Subject: [RC] Ghost Horses

   Okay, Peggy. I guess I'm not done with the LD thing yet. I have,
until now, let slide the comments about "ghost horses", which insinuates
that there are no horses really being overridden in LD rides. T'aint so.
In over 22 years and 7000 miles I have personally witnessed many
overridden horses in LD rides, as well as the other distances. A common
scenario that I have experienced many times is to be passed by
fast-moving LD riders on the same trail I'm riding on the 50 miler, with
a 30-60 minute lead, and well before the first vet check. The horses are
often drenched in sweat, and the riders often travel in groups , not
wanting to let each other out of their sight. This is a common sight,
not a rarity, in my experience.
  At the Californios ride last year, a couple of real cowboys entered
the LD ride and they galloped much of the ride, passed us  near the
finish at a blistering pace, and at the finish line one of the horses
promptly slammed himself to the ground, harder than I have ever
witnessed a horse go down in my not so limited career. Dr Fred Beason
then ordered the saddle be removed while the horse was down and
proceeded to save that horse's life. Call Fred and ask him about that
experience. I'm sure he'll recall it.
 Dave Nicholson, who has 14 Tevis buckles, is in the AERC Hall of Fame,
and is probably the most prolific ride manager in the country in terms
of the number of rides he puts on, refuses to put on LD rides. I have
heard him say on more than one occasion that it is much easier to kill a
horse on a 25 than a 50. And that's why he won't put one on.
  Finally, AERC currently has 8 protests posted on their website. Two of
the protests assert cruelty to horses due to the speed they were being
ridden in LD rides. They were both upheld.
   Now, I'm the first to admit that by far the riders in LD's are
knowledgable responsible horsepeople. And that things usually go well
for most horses. But to assert that things CAN'T go wrong because things
AREN'T going wrong in LD's  is not representative of reality.  Let's
make sure we have a clear view of the facts as we form our opinions
regarding LD/BC or any other policy that affects our sport, and our
horses, for that matter.   Respectfully, Bruce Weary


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[RC] Ghost Horses, Bruce Weary