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[RC] Fw: LD BC - Renie

I am posting for a good friend and ride manager of the Whiskeytown Chaser Ride, Bonnie Sterling.   Renie Burnett

Hi, Renie.  I can't get this sent.  I'm still trying to sign up, but so far it's not working.  If you could possibly forward this email to RideCamp or wherever for me, I would be grateful. 
Thank you, Randy Eiland.  It is so very nice to hear from someone who actually understands the importance of this issue.  As an RM, an LD and a 50 miler competitor in the West Region, I have written to AERC a few times about the LD segment of AERC receiving equal recognition.  I have also voiced my concerns to numerous  endurance vets and other riders.  I started off in this sport doing 25 milers and quickly moved up to 50 milers.  A few years ago I retired my horse back to LD's because of her age and a stifle problem which does not flare up if we stick to LD's.  So I have competed in both segments of endurance and have personally experienced the differences in the way I have been treated.  To travel to a ride, to many times pay the same entry fee as the "endurance" riders and then to be lectured at the ride meeting about how the LD ride is a "training" ride is extremely demeaning and can quickly take the "fun" out of the sport.  My 19-year-old "endurance" horse  Rosie consistently placed in the top 10 and received a few BC's as a 50 miler.  She also does the same in LD's, where there is a BC given.  As a rider, yes, I do this sport for fun but also for the competition and, yes, even for the recognition I may get for my horse who puts her heart and soul into every ride.  Best Condition was always the award I coveted as a 50 mile rider, and that has not changed as an LD rider.
We all know there are numerous reasons for competing in LD's ranging from horses/riders aging up to rehabbing a horse/rider or some riders working full time and not having sufficient time to condition their horses for longer distances.  Moreover, the majority of these reasons are geared towards protecting our equine partners.
As I have read through many of the RideCamp messages concerning this entire LD BC issue, I was actually amazed at the semantics used.  I had no idea my horse was merely a horse and not an equine in the language of the rules, although I'm not exactly sure what the difference is.  When I started this sport of  "endurance" riding, that's what I thought I was doing whether I was riding 25, 30 or 50 miles.  That's how it was referred to, not as an "LD" or "endurance" ride.  I have been very enthusiastic and vocal about this sport when I meet other trail riders and am always attempting to recruit new members because of the love I have for the sport. 
Although AERC might not be hearing a lot of complaints concerning this issue, I have heard many, even to the point of riders not attending or returning to certain rides because of the "training" philosophy or inequality in treatment.   Although I was not able to participate in any Oregon rides this year, I definitely favor their rides and the PNER rides because of their fair and equal treatment of all distances.   
I noticed the comment that "all politics are local" . . . "start at the local level" when referring to this LD BC issue.  When I joined AERC, from reading the Endurance News and seeing the regions listed which covered the entire U.S. including Canada and the name itself, American Endurance Ride Conference, I assumed this was a national organization.  When I read the rule book, I do not see rules which are specific to any particular region but to all regions.   Since this is a national organization, I do think the problem needs to be corrected by them nationally even though this whole problem of LD BC's and the attendant problems stem from the fact that the West Region decided not to conform to the policies of AERC.  As Randy Eiland stated, "when the requirements of sanctioning and membership is coupled with regional and national awards, the organization effectively welcomed and incorporated LD as an equal and equally important part of AERC with the full rights of all dues paying active members of the organization."
In these economic times, I know as a ride manager how important LD riders are to the economic success of any ride.  I hope AERC does initiate the proposed rule changes concerning LD BC's.  I also believe, however, that until all competition distances -- 25, 30, 50, 75, 100 -- fall under the umbrella of "endurance riding," problems will continue.
Bonnie Sterling