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Re: Vet check question.

On Thu, 23 May 1985, Linda Parrish wrote:

> At TERA sponsored endurance rides, we care about the welfare of the
> horse.

Believe it or not, here in California we car about our horss too.

> If any of our ride personnel think a horse may be in trouble, we
> encourage them to contact one of the ride vets with this information.
> All of our vets are in agreement with this type of action. We mostly
> have very knowledgeable pulse takers, so the vets are not bothered with
> very many false alarms.

Th "knowldgability" of the pulse takers at the rides I have been to varies
all over the map.  SOme of the me can't even find my horse's pulse (it can
be difficult) and then feel that they have to take it again or that
something is wrong when he comes into the vet check at 48.  It is also
quite normal for him to have a "pause" in his heart rate.  SOme don;t
understand that it is normal for a stallion (if they even notice) to have
it's heart rate speed up when another horse walks by (especially a mare)
and then drop back down.  If they have to take his respiration rate too,
the comedy gets even more interesting since his normal resting breathing
rate it between 4 and 6 (that's per minute, not per 15 seconds) which can
drop to about 0 if he decides he want to "puff up" because of the
proximity of another horse (usually a male); and depending on the
closeness of another horse will definitely become "irregular"

The other horse that I am currently riding (a little pony mare) also has
some "irregularities" in her heart rate.  Everything is interesting,
exciting, or distracting to her, and her heartrate will change depending
on what catches her eye at any particular moment.

> Any rider who cares about the welfare of their
> horse would appreciate this type of help, IMO. 

The last thing in the world I need at an edurance ride is to have a P&R
person escorting me to the vet based on a 15 second evaluation.(Which, to
be honest, has never happened to me.  Most of them just do what they are
supposed to do...count the heart beats--although it usually takes them
longer than 15 seconds; and some will admit that they are a bit baffled by
what they are hearing, or they will notice that Saber is a stallion or
WIndy is a ditz, and put it down to that--or I can tell them.  I even had
one "lose" his heart beat after a few beats, search around for it for a
little while, recongnize that this was a race and that clearly the horse
was not in any metabolic distress since the ones that they did find and
count were few and far between and state "he's down" and pass me out, and
leave the actual finding and evaluating of the heartrate to the
vets....who are much better at that sort of thing). 

The P&R station is a gate (as in "gate into a hold"), and horses that meet
the stated criteria for the gate ought to be allowed to pass through it.

I have no problem with P&R people writing down on the vet card any
odditites that they notice, nor do I have a problem with them telling the
rider about it, providing the rider with information that they may not
have because they don't have a stethoscope.  I guess I also wouldn't mind
being asked, "Would you like me to help you find a vet?"

> Bottom line - the Vets always have the final decision as to which horse
> is fit to continue and ride management stands behind them. We just do
> not want a horse in trouble to have to wait in line before a vet sees
> them.

If I, as a rider, think that my horse is in trouble and needs to jump the
queue for the vet, I can ask ride personnel for that kind of help. I, as
the rider, having been on the horse not only for the past hours, but also
for all the conditioning miles too, am in a much better position to
evaluate whether my horse is in need of immediate veterinary attention
than a P&R person (of verying levels of experience) who has seen my horse
for 15 seconds.  If the P&R people are seeing the horse for more than 15
seconds, they are not doing their job...which is get riders through the

Nor, I might add, do I think it is the responsibility of P&R people to
make sure that irresponsible riders do not try to hide things from the

Orange County, Calif.

p.s.  As a total aside, I have yet to see any horse at any endurance ride
that was in such serious distress that seeing a vet 1-15 minutes sooner
would make any difference.  Also, horses that are in such serious distress
that 5-15 minutes is going to make a difference are in such obvious
distress that the rider would know it.

Has anybody ever heard of any horse dropping dead while standing in line
for the vet?  MOst of the horses that I have seen/or heard of dying at
endurance rides (not counting the one that died of a heartattack on the
trail 3 miles into the ride), do so hours after they have already seen the
vet.  I just don't see how P&R people escorting riders and their horses to
the vet without being asked has any bearing on the welfare of the horses
at endurance rides.

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