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Re: [RC] AERC NC & FEI - heidi

I am not, nor ever was, a candidate for any championship at all.  I WAS
on the AERC board for about 20 years, and was present when we voted for
the one-ride-take-all championship idea.  We had heard that lots of
riders WANTED that sort of head-to-head competition.  We established
this concept, and I'll have to say that I am disappointed in the
outcome.  There are too many champions, too many weight divisions, and
many of us don't remember who was the champion of what 5 minutes after
we walk out of the awards program.  This was all brought up when one
rider, riding slowly but covering huge numbers of miles in one year, was
proclaimed the National Champion.  A lot of us didn't like that.  We
thought the NC should have at least ridden a little faster.

And therein lies the problem--AERC sold out on the notion that "to finish
is to win" right then and there.  Our whole point structure was put
together in such a way that if one finished enough miles, one could beat
the racers.  When I hear the complaining about the FEI racing mentality,
and then hear the same folks trying to talk up the AERC NC, the word
"hypocrisy" comes to mind...  We tout the concept that "to finish is to
win" and then have a head-to-head race and call that our "championship."
That dog don't hunt, in my book...

Additionally, anyone who rode was a contender for a National Top 25 under
the old system--I achieved that once, and never had to leave my home
state.  I had a mare that Top Tenned quite a bit, but did not win--but we
did enough miles to turn those few extra Top Ten points into a National
placing.  The old system encouraged people to get out and ride--and ride
often.  I think I rode something like 17 rides the year I placed.  THAT
was endurance--and required that I keep my horse "fit to continue" for a
whole year.  What a concept!  The new system tells people that you can
place in the National championship without having to do much at all.  If
you can make the very minimal requirements and then hang on and complete
the championship, you're just about a shoe-in for a placing.  Not very

But I have
come to regret our decision to change the format. Like Kathy in her post
below, I think there are many who couldn't care less about the current
NC ride, or even who won one of the numerous categories.  Whatever AERC
chooses to do, now or in the future, won't affect me at all, but I'm
proud enough of our organization to want it to be as great as it can be.
 While the previous NC format, based on points, had it's flaws, I think
it was less flawed than the one we now have in place.  Others may
disagree, and that's their right, but this is my opinion.

Well, I share your opinion, Barbara--and I held the same opinion when the
change was made.  I still look at that change as one of the sorriest days
in AERC--it was the camel's nose in the tent that took away the mileage
rider's ability to be competitive in the general scheme of things. 
According to the NC format, to finish is no longer to win--to win is to
win.  And it is for that reason that I do not support it.  I have no
trouble with FEI, since they make no bones right up front that "to win is
to win."  But AERC is NOT the sport of the elite--at least it wasn't
supposed to be.  It was supposed to be the sport of those who wanted to go
ride, and ride, and ride some more.  And the ultimate goal was
completion--so the horse/rider team put on the pedestal each year and
called "champion" should HAVE to demonstrate that they can finish, and
finish, and finish again.  The NC does not do that.

Kathy, you want us to CARE??  Well, I cared passionately about the notion
that "to finish is to win" and cared passionately about the concept that a
horse and rider had to do a whole lot of finishing to be champions.  I
find it impossible to care about a so-called "championship" that does
nothing to represent and reward that core value of our sport.  I still
care passionately about the concept--and it is because I do that I will
NOT support the NC, even though there IS a possibility that I might be
looking for an FEI ride in June--I dearly love the Ft. Howes trail, and it
is a whole lot closer to me than Californios, but I will vote with my feet
and my diesel dollars...



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Re: [RC] AERC NC & FEI, Magnumsmom
Re: [RC] AERC NC & FEI, Barbara McCrary