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Re: [RC] lowered age limit - KimFue

In a message dated 06/23/2006 10:40:36 AM Pacific Standard Time, ranch@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
If the only goal of international competition is to "win the big one", and
to do well internationally, for your country, is the major goal of your
local endurance organization, this attitude is almost a forgone conclusion.

This has never been the stated goal of the AERC, and surely is not the goal
of 90+% of AERC members*. 
Ed what you write is probably true but I would like to add that I am not sure that this is the goal for the majority of AERC I members (who may also be USEF members) that support International riding.  I was a member of AERC I for 10 years and USEF one year and never felt that way.  Many of those AERC I members I have spoken since dropping my AERC I membership don't come across having this attitude.  In my opinion, it is a very small minority but it seems that this minority makes the decisions. 
I don't believe that it is necessary to run through horses and create one race wonders to WIN in this sport.  And in this instance, win means coming in 1st place.  I think there are enough proven endurance horses that do have long careers and can win or place well at high profile rides.  What I do believe is that balancing longevity and "going for it" at specific races takes a lot of planning and strategy and most definitely is NOT the most cost efficient way to go.  But for those that want to race, I think that giving horses time to mature before "racing" will give the horses the best opportunity to have long careers and still be able to handle speed during competition. There are no guarantees but I do believe that this approach does put the odds in favor of lasting more then a couple years.   But again, I think this all goes back to whether one leans towards horses being a commodity or horses being partners.
Personally, I would like to see organizations I belong to support the philosophy I think is in the best interest of the horse while balancing the goals the organization sets forth.  USEF/FEI is just widening this gap.  First by the FEI mandated a COC minimum time requirement and then immediately USEF lowers the competition age.  Yes, USEF by using high vet criteria, at their rides certainly does look out for the welfare of the horse at the individual competition but they are seriously lacking when it come to promoting any type of longevity.  When you look at the competition/awards structure there is no incentive for riders to keep the same horse going year to year or even competition to competition.   Lowering the competition age falls in this category also.
If USEF wants the support meaning financial support from all endurance riders (even AERC/non USEF members) by joining USEF and donating funds to the endurance division/program as well as physcial support in the way of (support crews at USEF events, ride managers, riders, cheerleaders) they should at least try to follow a policy that 95% of AERC members STRONGLY support in regards to philosophy.  Right now I see USEF, as an organization, aligning itself more toward the flat race track values not values that AERC deems most important.   In the end, it is going to hurt the individual rider with aspirations to be on a Pan Am Team or a WEC Team.   But, unless changes can actually be made at the decision making level of USEF, I really do not see any way that this widening division between philosophies can be stopped.
Kim Fuess