ridecamp@endurance.net: [endurance] AERC Rules, and my opinions

[endurance] AERC Rules, and my opinions

Lari Shea (larishea@mcn.org)
Fri, 12 Jan 1996 21:54:42 -0800 (PST)

Hi Frank,

I've been waiting to see if someone more knowledgable than I re. AERC rules
answered your questions, but haven't seen a posting, so here's my
*opinions*...only that!

.....if the US-riders are happy with their rules and regulations and maybe
give us
some tips:

1. Are there further rules for endurance rides which are not mentioned in the
AERC rules (found in AERC-homepage) for the different regions/ different
types of rides ? What for ?

We do have regional associations, ie, the Pacific Northwest Endurance
Riders, the Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Trail Ride Association,
etc, which have their own end-of-the -year awards programs, etc. However,
for a ride to be sanctioned in the US, it only has to follow the AERC rules.
I am a ride manager, and can make additional rules for my own ride, as long
as they do not contradict an AERC rule. For instance, on my ride, no one is
allowed to smoke cigarettes on the trail. Dogs are not allowed on the
trail. Camping is only permitted in designated areas. If someone breaks
these rules, as ride manager, I could kick them out of the race. However,
I don't think anyone ever has disputed a ride manager's ability to enforce
his/her own rules, so I don't know what would happen if a protest were
lodged against non-AERC rules for an individual ride.

2. Final vet examination.
Today on long rides (50 miles and more) in germany the vet exam for
completion is 8 hours (next morning) after the ride, which allows the vets a
good judgement especially of lameness and saddle soreness.
>From 1996 on, ride manager can select the time of final vet exam either 8
hours or 30 minutes after the ride.
What is your experience with the early final vet exam ? Do it increases the
speed of the rides ?
It's more difficult to make a final judgement about the soundness of the
horses so early after the ride and not fail to notice a major issue. What
should the vets do or the ride manager do for a good protection of the
competing horses when they have a early final vet exam ?

All really good questions!!!! In the Western US, where I compete, we
usually require the final vet exam 1 hour after the completion. However, a
rider may elect to show his/her horse for the final vet exam at any time
within that hour. So, if your horse's parameters have come down within, say
15 minutes, you may elect to have the final exam at that time. Knowledable
riders do try to have the final exam as soon as possible, so that their
horses do not have "time" to stiffen up. If your horse's metabolic
parameters are not great, taking the full hour is sometimes necessary.
However, most horses recover within 10-30 minutes of a 50 mile race, and
most riders choose to have them vetted then, so both can rest and not worry
about coming back later. I'd bet a significant number of horses would look
worse 8 hours after completion than they do 1 hour after the fact, in terms
of lameness. Metabolics should be good either way, for those ridden
"within" themselves.

100 Milers are a different story. Most of them ask for a post-ride vet
check within one hour, and many horses actually take that hour before being
presented. My personal experience is that a horse will show any serious
problem one hour after completion, and should be granted completion if he
passes exam one hour after a race. Waiting 8 hours allows for many other
complications. Needless to say, a horse that has done 100 miles has
incurred some stresses. The top atheletes look like they've hardly been
ridden the next morning, but the average-ran looks pretty tired.....as does
his rider.

3. best condition awards.
Some of us do think, a good way to protect the horses on long rides is an
additional examination for best condition award next day. Today B.-C.-awards
are not common for endurance rides in germany.

Every AERC ride has to offer a Best Condition Award. It does not have to be
presented if no horse earns the right to it. We treasure the B.C. even more
than the first to finish award.

Is the B.C.-exam always next day after the ride, or is it together with the
completion exam ?

On 50 Milers, it is usually judged when most or all of the ride
veterinarians are back in base camp, usually about 4-6 hours after the first
horse finished. On 100 milers, it is usually at 9:00 or 10:00 AM, the
morning after the ride.

How many horses will be examined for B.C., for example if 40? 20? 6? horses
finished the ride ?

Horses judged for Best Condition are the top ten horses, no matter how many
finish. A horse must be "sound enough to continue" in order to be judged
for B.C.

Is it difficult to determine the B.C.-winner ?

Yes!!!! But we now have relatively quantifiable criteria.

Who will judge B.C., the vets
alone ? Is this strictly regulated, or not ?

The vets alone judge, according to written, regulated criteria. Now that
AERC is on-line, you could email to Miki at AERCMIKI@aol.com and ask her for
a copy of the AERC Best Condition Form. The criteria call for evaluation of
ride time, rider's weight, and veterinary evaluation, with the most points
going for veterinary concerns. It is not a perfect system, but it works
pretty well. (I'm a feather weight rider, and I'm judged "against" for Best

What kind of judgement-criteria would you prefer ?
Are you happy with these rules, or is it possible to make something better ?

Boy, is THAT an area for discussion!!! In the old days, it used to be
determined by judging that if you were found in bed with your best friend's
spouse, which horse would you jump on to escape!!! Talk about value

Hope other folks give their opinions.....


Lari Shea: Riding Vacations; Akhal-Teke & Russian Orlov horses.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch http://www.horse-vacation.com
24201 N. Hwy One;
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
ph707-964-7669/fax 707-964-9669