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WEC (long)

Okay, I cannot stand it anymore.  Those of you picking from the outside
about the selection process for the WEC (and it is WEC not WEG) need to
educate yourselves on the process.   As someone intimately involved in the
process, I can state that that I was not required to go through any secret
ritual, there are no secret passwords or handshakes, there is NO mystery to
the selection process!!!

First - the NOMINATION PROCESS IS OPEN TO ANYONE!  There is certain criteria
that must be met to be eligible to nominate, however, it is NOT  restrictive
or secret.  As was stated elsewhere, we want to win the team gold medal.  To
accomplish this you need horses and riders that have shown superior
performance as well as consistency at one day 100 mile rides.  Information
on nomination is available on the AERC website, as well as on the USET
website.  Or you could contact your Zone Rep, they are listed in the front
of the "Endurance News".

As to Carlos's statement that the selection of "mountain horses to race
against desert trained horses", Carlos, have you really looked at the list?
My Flikka was bred, born, raised and trained and raced in the Mojave Desert.
She won the 20 Mule Team 100 (Desert ride) by 3 hours, she won the Oregon
100 (very flat&deserty) with a ride time of 8hrs. 45mins (that is 11.5mph).
Shirley Delsart's fabulous Dusty has shown on many occasions his awesome
ability at top races (Gold medal at PanAm for one).  Additionaly among
Dusty's wins is the 20 Mule Team 100 (flat desert).  Have you ever seen
Darla's RamsZ?  He is a tall, leggy rangy fellow, and he has also shown the
ability to race successfully (i.e. go fast, win) in flat territory. Ona's RC
is another tall leggy distance eater who has shown the ability to race a
flat course successfully, and he looks great at the finish.  RC is also
currently leading the National 100 Mile Championship.  All four of these
horses are FAST!

Now I have never seen the Eastern horses, but I do know they have great
records and they have smart riders.  Additionally both Valerie and Patty
have ridden in the UAE.

What "Secret Society"?  What a ridicules statement!  Secret to who?  I can
state honestly that this is NOT TRUE.  Again nomination is open to anyone
who so chooseths to compete at FEI competitions.  Also, as a long lister you
know what you need to do to have the best shot at a spot on the squad.  We
do not live in a vacuum, as a rider you know the strengths and weaknesses of
your horse and what will be required of you to show your horse and yourself
as worthy of selection to the squad.

During the course of the evaluation period I was able to meet each of the
selectors.  They were all honest, forthright and very conscience about the
job they had taken on.  They were not secretive, they were open and honest
about their evaluation of my horse and my performance at the ride.  Did they
share their opinions with me about the other long listed riders? No, they
did not!  The information would not be relevant or appropriate to me.

Carlos stated that a mandatory race would be a more appropriate way to
select the squad.  Although there were no designated races, members of the
long list did compete against each other.  There were six long listed riders
at the Oregon 100, and four at the Swanton Pacific 100.  The Eastern riders
also competed against each other at several rides as well.  After being
intimately involved in the selection process, I strongly believe that a one
time all out race would not be the best way to select a squad.  To many
variables come into play during 100 mile rides to make an all or nothing
race a smart way to go. 

Again I want to stress that ANYONE can nominate for the WEC.  There is no
special "club"  there are no secretive rules.  What it takes is a goal and
then the desire and the willingness to work VERY hard to achieve that goal.
I am no different than any one of you, only that I had a dream to ride for
the United States and I was willing to put forth the huge effort and
commitment it required to chase that dream.  There is no magic potion, no
fairy godmother waved a wand and put me on the squad, it was five years of
commitment and hard work that made it possible for me ride for the USA.

I would encourage any and all interested to become involved in AERC
International, it may open your eyes and your mind to another aspect of
endurance riding/racing.

Wendy Merendini 
(an extremely honored 1998 WEC USA Squad Member)

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