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Re: [RC] Surveys - and what they mean - Diane Trefethen

Hi Mike,

Michael Maul wrote:
The problem with unequal distributions is that some divisions are much larger than others.

Whenever it is proposed to "layer" on a current procedure, it is instructive to go back to the original rationale for that procedure. This is usually not done and boy do we have a lot of problems across society because of that failure. In this case, why were weight divisions originally instituted? Wasn't it because heavier riders felt that the lighter weight riders had an unfair advantage when it came to winning awards? So wasn't the logic that it would be more fair to break the riding membership into "most riders" and those who "weighed a lot"? That would give the heavy riders a chance at going up to the podium at the annual banquet. (OK, that was a bit cynical... but true?)

Well, if that was the original rationale, then clearly reclassifying weight divisions based on sheer numbers is the antithesis of that concept. If that was the original rationale, then it was based on a concept of fairness with respect to weight only, not with respect to what was fair in terms of the number of participants in a weight division. Remember, originally there were no weight divisions. You either outperformed everyone else in a given year or you didn't.

So if instituting weight divisions was originally an attempt to allow heavier riders a crack at year-end awards, then the question to be answered is, "How much fine tuning do we want to do with respect to weight?" not "How much fine tuning do we want to do with respect to the numbers of folks in a weight division?" If it ticks people off that the "heavy" weight division is smaller, well, tough cookies because, if that was the original reason for weight divisions, to give some awards to the heavy riders, then it is what it is. What's happened since is that there were *so* many people who weren't "heavy", it seemed unfair (to them) to have only one award for all of them and another award for such a small group (the heavies). But hey! Wasn't that THE REASON FOR THE WEIGHT DIVISIONS IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Do we want to say that pretty much a horse and rider, irrespective of weight, needs to compete on its own merits... *BUT* we are willing to concede that some horses are asked to do *SO* much more that they deserve special consideration? Well, if that is what we believe, that all teams are created equal except some riders are too heavy to have much of a chance at Top Tenning, then that is a weight consideration ONLY, not a numbers consideration.

Best always, Diane
AERC # 2691

PS: It is interesting to note that "back in the day" there were some heavy weight riders who did quite well, despite their apparent handicap. Given what we have learned since then, it turns out that the body weight score of the HORSE is extremely important. If two riders, one 114# the other 214#, compete against each other on horses whose body weight score is TOO LOW (as was often the case, "back in the day"), the heavier rider is totally SOL. But if a light weight rider on a low score horse competed against a heavy weight rider on a solidly fleshed animal, the result was often that the more heavily weighted horse would finish in much better condition. This was especially apparent on 100 mile rides.


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