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[RC] FEI vs. American endurance riding - A False Dichotomy - Stagg_Newman

There are many different styles of FEI rides and American Endurance rides.
So lumping all of one into one category and all of the other into another
category is a false dichotmy.  

For example I participated in the AERC Carolina Classic 100 mile ride one year
(but personally did not finish) when the first 4 horses across the
finish line were all under 8 hours (and all were fine).  And the fastest
100 I have ever heard of was an AERC 100 won by R.T. Muffin (aka Muffy)
in under 7 hours in the high desert in Oregon.  I participated in
an AERC 50 mile race in New Jersey where Maggy Price won in just over
3 hours.

On the other hand the first FEI ride I ever participated in
(as crew for for the Swiss) was a World Championship
essentially on the Old Dominion Course.
I do not remember the winning time but am fairly confident the Becky Hart
and Rio finished well after dark.  In 1991 when I was doing P&Rs at
the North American Championship my memory is the first two horse,
Rio and Muffy finished after midnite and were over a hour ahead of the
next horse.

The 1993 FEI North American which I did ride in was held in the Canadian Rockies
over a tough mountain course.  The 2001 Pam American Championship was held
in Vermont over a course very similar to the Vermont 100, again a tough course
with lots of climbing and the 2003 Pan Ams was held on a challening cours
on the shoulders of Mt. Adams in WA.

So from the above evidence one AERC certaily has flat fast rides and
FEI has rides that are on tough mountainous courses.  

There are many different types of rides over different terrains in
both FEI and AERC.  

There is at the championship level a different
emphasis and in FEI, that emphasis is more on winning.

What in my opinion is important is that we provide opportunities
to enable people to enjoy and participate in our sport in many
different ways from the grass roots level to the championship
level.  AERC is particular needs to support the grass roots level,
the riders who are focused on recreation, and the
riders whose ambition is "to finish is to win".
We should also facilitate those who want to compete at the international
level.  I believe we can all work together to do this.

I do think we in America should be an advocate for more FEI championship
rides on challening technical courses.  

I will note that vast majority of the time and energy of the AERC office and
the AERC BoD is focused on the local AERC rides as is appropriate.

Stagg Newman
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