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RE: [RC] [RC] Dr. Miller - endurance riders and their horses - Jennifer Adam

he apparently believes that some endurance riders are more interested in
winning than in the welfare of their horses

I had the wonderful opportunity to be at Tevis last year as a crew helper for Tom Noll. It was the first endurance race I had ever attended and I wasn't sure what to expect. It was an incredible experience and most of the riders I saw or met obviously loved their horses and took good care of them. Tom especially impressed me with his concern for Frank's welfare.

However, I did see two riders in particular who had clearly over-ridden their horses. I may be new to endurance, but I have been around horses for most of my life. These horses were - to my eye - too thin, completely lathered, blowing hard, and one had a very clear lameness. The vets requested a trot-out three times - and finally passed both horses. I was shocked, and the people around me told me that these riders were "big names" in endurance and tended to get "the benefit of the doubt." It was eye-opening, disappointing, disillusioning, and disgusting. It made my stomach ache to see these struggling horses being forced on their riders' ego trips.

Seeing that made me question my interest in endurance - I do not want to participate in a sport that rewards such abuse of a horse. But when I realized that most riders put their horse's well-being above and before their own, when I saw the partnership and friendship that exists between a rider and the horse they have ridden thousands of miles, when I saw the trails and felt an irresistable desire to explore them, when I watched the horses canter or trot into the stadium in the middle of the night - *that* made me want to do what you all do and be an endurance rider!

It is important to recognize that there *are* ego-driven people in endurance - just as in every horse sport (and every aspect of life) - *but* the sport of endurance - though not perfect - has at least taken very real steps to prevent these folks from taking over the sport. And it is up to the rest of us to make sure they do not by showing people how it should be done! :)

Just my very humble observations -
Jen Adam (and her spoiled horses)

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[RC] Dr. Miller, Smith, Dave