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Vermont 100

Whoa there guys, I am amazed that anyone would offer an opinion 
about a ride that they did not attend.  Only one post was from 
someone who was there, and understandably, they saw some not 
good stuff.  Conditions were as bad as it gets, I was sweating at 3 
AM!  However, I have ridden in just as tough conditions, such as 
1997 and 1999 Festival of Champions in New Jersey.  Cosequin 
last year was just as bad.  Horses were treated on all of these 
rides, some were pretty darn serious.  
Ride management and the vets at the Vermont 100 offered every 
100 mile rider the option to drop down to the 50.  Several did, one 
rider actually went from the 50 to the 100.  Riders were cautioned 
about the weather, hey, it was just as hot the day before so I am 
sure they noticed.  The vets were extremely watchful of the horses 
and did a very good job.  We had a super vet staff of seven, 
including Nancy Loving, Anne Stewart, Don Kiefer.  
Vermont terrain is TOUGH and deceptive.  Horses were in trouble 
at 18 miles, BEFORE the tough climbs.  The lead horses were 
going 10 mph for the first leg, many of the horses that had 
problems were going less than 8mph.  Some were going CTR 
speed.   Were they over riding?  Well, only the rider knows what 
his horse is capable of and some might have misjudged.  Most of 
the metabolic pulls were at 14, 42 and 60 miles.  The later pulls 
were lameness.  

Don't think for a minute that the vets and management were not 
concerned about the horses.  I rode the fifty, in fact, I won it, and I 
cannot tell you why my horse did not have a problem when others 
did.  I saw the front two finishers of the 100, Lucy Snook and Stagg 
Newman and their horses looked terrific!!  

This leaves us all to ponder why some horses can perform in such 
tough conditions while other, seasoned and fit horses, can not.  
Both of Valerie Kanavy's horses were pulled, yet two rookie horses 
finished the 100.  

As to what people saw when riders went by, that responsibility lies 
on the rider - period.  We all see riders who appear to be pushing 
their horses.  Unfortuately, our sport rewards some of this behavior 
in the way of a win or top ten. Who knows what any of us look like 
to a bystander.  I do agree though that many riders need to take a 
long hard look at what they are doing with their horses.   

The Vermont 100 left the vets, riders and management wondering 
what they could have done differently to have avoided the problems 
they encountered.  Of course, any time horses get into trouble, the 
same questions are asked.  Answers can only be obtained through 
continued interaction between vets and riders because there is still 
a lot we don't know.
John and Sue Greenall

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