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Re: [RC] attracting new riders to 100s - Ibiteraaarr

Seems like you're the first person to really hit on the root of the problem. Trying to figure out what the reason is for the decline in 100's is imperative to rectifying the situation. Time and cost are probably major factors. Time is mine. My goal is to make a 100 mile horse out of Loki. But I would like to get a handful of 50's under my belt (and his) before moving to that point. Perhaps there are many others that feel the same way.
I think recruiting for this sport is difficult though. Advertising might work, but how would you go about ensuring that the random equestrian who stumbles over an endurance ad in Equus would prepare well enough? A massive influx in numbers for endurance rides (and 100's) would mean nothing if the people coming in were ill-prepared, whether out of ignorance, overly ambitious, whatever. An increase in treated horses or horse deaths would be catastrophic for us given how much endurance riders as a group tend to pride themselves on their first-rate horse husbandry, which I completely agree is unrivaled by participants in so many other horse sports. I am constantly surprised by people's reaction when they ask me what endurance riding is. Even after explaining that it takes months if not years to bring a horse into that sort of conditioning, I am commonly met with a reaction that the individual has a horse that could probably do that no problem. Getting them to understand about the horse's physiology and limitations, nutrition, electrolytes, precarious digestive nature, vet check perimeters and so forth nearly fall on deaf ears as the person I'm talking to is CERTAIN they could bring their horse along and do just fine. How do you combat that sort of mentality without letting them run a horse into the ground when they learn the hard way that horses don't possess the natural ability to run lengthy distances. Hell, a woman last night who asked me about it insisted her sister had a horse who could hold a 12 mile an hour trot for 50 straight miles non-stop. I don't want this woman showing up with an unready horse at a ride because she believes she's right, for the sake of generating interest and recruiting more participants.
How then would we as an organization ensure that the people we bring in have done their homework? How do we grow the numbers without the exponential risk? I'm all ears on this one, because I don't know how to counter people who are interested, but don't understand and/or listen.
Liz Dorner
SW Region