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RE: [RC] LD - David LeBlanc

Being a subversive, I'm going to object to a lot of these points. I really
don't have much skin in the game myself - I tend to do 50's and further, and
my current goal for recognition is along the lines of lifetime horse and
rider miles. I don't think I've ever been recognized, or even close to
having been recognized, for anything I've done in LD. I've only done 3 LD
rides in the last 5 years.

Bruce said:

All right, here's the deal.   In all of the discussions I have seen 
and heard regarding LD riders feeling mistreated and "looked down upon," 
I have yet to see one instance where the perceived insult didn't extend, 
not from how they are actually spoken to and dealt with at a ride, but 
rather as a result of that rider being miffed in some way about the 
level of awards and recognition they could or could not garner for 
having ridden an LD vs. an endurance ride of 50 miles or more. <snip>

I've seen plenty of counter-examples. Right here in this forum, about 8
years ago, I got soundly flamed for having been proud of nearly missing BC
by running 10th in an LD with a 4 hour ride time (those "racing LDer's" you
know). I've seen all sorts of derogatory remarks here, some of which you're

Those who want "more for less," and by that I mean wanting more 
opportunities for winning, BC's, points, recognition,  their name in 
lights, bragging rights at the water cooler at work, etc., 

Sorry, but this is really nonsense. What I think is really the problem is
not being treated as a full member of the community. Imagine showing up for
a 50, and being told that only 100's get placings, and you can only ride for
completion. A BC exam is a learning experience, and we somehow object to
that for LD riders in some parts of the country. I don't need any more
opportunities for recognition, yet I object to unequal treatment when it
isn't in the interest of the horse (completion criteria is a difference that
makes sense). It's a straw man argument - paint everyone who disagrees as a
bunch of whiners who don't want to work for what they get. Instead of
attacking the person, how about arguing the actual point?

recognition and praise are generally in proportion to the 
effort given.  The same is true in our sport. 

That's not true. We award 2 50's the same as 1 100 in terms of miles. The 1
day 100 is a lot harder. 2 50's is, IMHO, easier than a 75. I've done 2 50's
this year that were wildly different in terms of challenge - one was truly
hard, the other was so easy it was boring.

It's also true whether you 
have limited resources, PTA meetings, bad knees or you work weekends. 
Our personal challenges that make it difficult to participate or succeed 
in endurance riding are not good reasons for "dumbing down" the sport, 
so that awards and praise can be more easily obtained with less effort. 

There you go with the straw man argument again. How about just treating
people equally? I've always found it ironic that someone can be a member of
the American _Endurance_ Ride Conference, show up for rides, and complete,
and still not be an "endurance rider". I understand the history, but
meanings change.

I, for one, object to such an idea.  If this seems unfair, I suggest you 
run a 10k at a long distance running event, and  then demand a "marathon 
runner" medallion at the finish line. 

Well, actually, this is a very bad example. You wouldn't get recognition for
a 5k, either. That sport treats _every_ distance, from 100 yards to 100
miles as a different category. We're not consistent.

Tell me what they say. When they 
refuse, tell them you are a runner, just the same, and you feel insulted 
and looked down upon. Tell me what they say.

I'm sure they'd be very puzzled, since they're at least consistent about
treating _every_ distance differently. They probably wouldn't understand why
we're not also consistent.

The point here, folks, is that our tiny little group of some 7,000 
members are a rare and fortunate breed. 

That's part of my point. We're a tiny group, and it isn't good for us to
discriminate. Why give people starting out a bad taste? Maybe we'd be a
slightly larger group if we treated people equally.

So the next time you mount up and enter a long distance riding event, 
ask yourself, "What am I really here for? Personal recognition and  
glory that is really earned 95% by my horse, or the chance to see some 
pretty country with like minded riders, and the spice of a little 
competition thrown in?"

I'm out there to have fun, but I think recognition is completely beside the
point. It's really more a matter of equal treatment. What I think the
argument really comes down to is that the people on your side of the fence
don't want the character of the sport to change, and feel like treating LD
equally would cause undesirable change. I believe that the sport has
changed, and wishing that it had not isn't going to get anyone anywhere -
and I think that being more inclusive will help the sport grow.


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[RC] LD, Bruce Weary