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Re: Is 100 miles in one day too much? RE: [RC] WEG 2006 - kimfuess

Steph,
Are you basically saying that the format of the WEC should change from the 100 mile distance (I believe that this has been the FEI championship distance since 1986 or so) because now horses can not hold up to the 100 mile distance at the speeds riders CHOOSE to compete at?


I would hope that changing the competition DISTANCE would be the last resort. It seems much more logical to try different ideas (like what Kat suggests) to motivate riders to strive to complete before striving to win before changing the traditional format of the sport.
Of course, if the goal is to make endurance more spectator and media friendly, get the sport into the Olympics, and allow riders complete shorter courses even faster, then your suggestion for shortening the 100 mile championship distance is probably the best way to go. I am not sure if this will actually improve completion rates overall as you have done nothing motivate "completing" and only made the distance shorter so horses can go faster. If the above is where this level of endurance is going, then I suggest that the "marathon" distance just be adopted. A very fast 25 mile race would fit nicely as a spectator event as it would be quite short, it would also require less mileage as far as a course goes so it would be easier to find venues to host a WEC event, it could create a similar situation as the triathlon in the Olympics which features a much, much, shorter event than the Iron Man event. I bet there would also be much better media coverage for an event that would run around two hours. The public could relate to a "marathon" distance much easier as most of the general public knows about the human counter part of the same events. It would be easy for the public to understand that aid stations with papercups full of water are the equine counter part of a vet check where crews are throwing water on the horses..... And there would be the excitement of horses galloping and cantering along the course instead of steadily trotting....not so boring for TV :)
So yes, there are certainly advantages of making this event a short distance. I am not sure that these advantages will be for the benefit of the horses or benefit the spirit of endurance BUT it certainly will benefit those that are more interested in packaging, marketing, and promoting this sport as "mainstream".



----- Original Message ----- From: "Steph Teeter" <stephteeter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "k s swigart" <katswig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2006 9:33 AM
Subject: Is 100 miles in one day too much? RE: [RC] WEG 2006



Perhaps this is heresy... but is it possible that 100 mile horse races are
simply too hard?? Perhaps it might be better if our sport embraced a shorter
version (or perhaps a 2 or 3 day version) for championship level
competitions? Certainly 100 miles in one day is the ultimate challenge, but
if the sport has become a 'last man standing' sport, then perhaps we don't
have it right yet. After seeing the last two Presidents Cup rides finish
winners in just over 7 hours, my thought was that this is simply not a
sustainable sport - horses are simply not mechanically or physiologically
capable of sustaining those speeds over those distances. We are seeing a
sport where only a few incredible athletes - the freaks - are able to play,
and the majority can't even finish the course.


In human sports there are 'ulta marathons' but this is also an extreme,
freak, sport- and if the Olympics embraced a 100 mile human race, we would
probably also see a 'last man standing' sport, where at least half the
competitors had to retire before they completed the course. And I don't
think the public would approve. I think the comparison between human
distance races and horse distance races is valid given the athletic ability
and capability of the two species. Humans can also run 100 miles, and it is
a valid challenge, a valid sport for the 'ultra' elite athlete, but it is
not a mainstream sport and therefore has limited appeal to the International
community. why is that??


It's easy to say 'well, just throw in rocks and mountains to slow them
down' - but this is not a solution that is available to most of the world.
And in a true race situation (e.g. International competition) an Old
Dominion type course would result in an unacceptable level of injury on race
day.


Give the current format of Endurance the only way to reverse the 'last man
standing' trend of International competition is to make people slow down,
which is a difficult concept in a true race format. Kat - your idea is as
good as any I've heard. But we'd still see 100 mile races around the world
(and in the US btw) where 50% completion rates are not unheard of.

But if we were given the opportunity to change the format (currently 100
miles in 1 day, speed is everything) of FEI Championship Endurance ... any
ideas? How can we test our own horses' endurance against the rest of the
world's horses' endurance and still reward skill, training, athletic
ability, sportsmanship - and still have a sport that we feel good about
doing??

Steph

-----Original Message-----
From: ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of k s swigart
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2006 8:35 AM
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [RC] WEG 2006


Steph Teeter said:


...the press and other disciplines weren't critical
of the Aachen course, they were critical of the sport.
Most of the rest of the Equestrian world never sees
Endurance unless it is held in conjunction with a WEG.
...
But still, when less than 50% of entries can even 'get
around' without some level of metabolic distress or
lameness... that simply doesn't look good.

Not only does it not look good. It isn't good. What has pretty much been consistently demonstrated at the World Endurance Championships is that less than half of the world's best (presumably) endurance riders riding the world's best (presumably) endurance horses know how to ride their horses within their level of fitness, or if they do know how, they choose not to at the championship events because winning is more important than riding the horse within its capabilities.



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Replies
Is 100 miles in one day too much? RE: [RC] WEG 2006, Steph Teeter