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[RC] Do words matter? - Joe Long

I'm sure some folks wonder why I bother to continue to write about the
meaning of "endurance ride" and "endurance rider" each time this
subject comes up, as it does at least a couple of times every year.
And some have dismissed the whole issue as "nothing but semantics" or
"who cares what somebody calls themselves?"

OK, there are several reasons why I do it.  These are the two biggest:

1.  An endurance ride is not a trivial thing.  Riding one horse 50
miles or more in one day may seem like no big deal to some of us "old
timers," but it is quite a big deal to most people.  It's not
something that a person can just up and decide to do one day, grab ol'
dobbin out of the pasture, and succeed.  It is a genuine challenge
that requires not only the native ability, but preparation and
dedication.  We properly recognize and reward success at that effort.

Frankly, I don't like it when people who want everything "easy" want
to have that recognition, and those rewards, without doing what it
takes to EARN them.  Instead of showing the dedication, and doing the
preparation, and putting forth the effort to RIDE an endurance ride,
they want to ride half the distance and still be called "endurance
riders."  I object to that, and I will continue to object to that.  It
may be the modern "American Way" to just give everyone "recognition"
without their having to work for it, but it's not my way.

I'm sure some folks just think I'm a mean old curmudgeon because I
won't go along with LD riders (or CTR riders or "fun run" riders)
being considered to be "endurance riders."  Well, them's the breaks.
I'm not in a popularity contest.  I will continue to defend the idea
of setting a goal, then WORKING to achieve it, rather than just saying
you did it to feel good.

2.  The AERC properly keeps endurance miles and LD miles separate.  If
we did not, no one could tell from a horse or rider's mileage stats
how much was endurance miles, if any at all.  We can keep the miles
separate because the AERC Bylaws define an endurance ride as 50 miles
or more per day.  If we change the definition of an endurance ride to
25 miles or more per day, what rationale will we have for not counting
25 mile rides in the endurance totals?  We will have further cheapened
the sport, to where the mileage records will no longer mean much.

IOW, if we don't defend the language, if we don't defend the
definition of an endurance ride, we will be giving in to the "I want
it easy" crowd and we will have lost something that was once quite
precious.  I think that's worth defending, even if we have to do it
over and over again.

Joe Long
Distance Rider, Endurance Rider, and Marathon Runner.


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