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Back from the Manzanita ride in San Diego - where I was again a volunteer,
not a rider with a couple of oberservations:

1. We have had unseasonably high humidity (and temps up in the 90's and
quickly back to the 70's) here for the past several days, although race day
WAS more like normal weather.  The vets were treating horses for colic as
they Came Off the Trailers.  Yes, sir, we are talking BEFORE the race ever
started!  Enough so that they were commenting on how unusual it was.  It
only got worse.  A front runner pulled at vet 1, his horse in distress.  I
heard that several more on the 50 were pulled at vet 2.  We were at vet
three where 3 horses were treated for colic/metabolic; 1 more that was
thinking about not feeling good and 2 more pulled themselves or pulled for
overtime that were darn close.  I forgot to ask if, of those who made to the
finish, if any more had trouble.

We (Southern California riders) don't train in humid weather; we don't have
any!  It showed.  The riders were all very good about the pulls and more
concerned for their horse than anything.  But darn it, a couple riders
commented that their horses had just started eating at Vet 3.  If it was me,
I'd have pulled at lunch if my horse wasn't eating.  Too many horses IMHO,
went back out after lunch that shouldn't have.

Which leads me to observation #2.  I still consider myself a relative
newbie.  Before I ever did a ride, we conditioned for 9 months (OK so I
overdid it! <G>.  I lurked on ridecamp and asked questions for a full year.
I will be the first person to say that I am still learning!  I will also say
that there are way too many people out there who haven't a clue about what
they are doing and not all of them are riding 25's.  Some are doing 50's!
Several of the vets made the observation that rider education really needed
to be addressed.

Ok, this is the gist of the observation......RM's, how much harder would it
be to have someone give a 20 minute presentation after the ride meeting on
Friday night?  Some of the topics the vets thought were important included,
feeding an endurance horse, conditioning schedules, saddle fit, developing
an eye for problems, hydration issues.  I think we could include feeding and
watering the rider, as an alert rider will take better care of the horse.  I
saw too many exhausted riders too! I'm sure there are more pertinent topics
that could be added.  Riders, would you stay for such a presentation?  Is
this something AERC could address in a series of presentations that RM's
could use as a step off to creating a presentation easily?

In conclusion, let me say that Terry Woolley-Howe put on another wonderful
ride! (Actually that's part of the problem.  These rides are so great that
total newbies keep trying them, because their more experienced friends keep
mentioning how much fun they are having.)  there were 85? (pretty close
estimate) on the 25 mile ride and I believe 57 started the 50.  Not to
mention the 75 the 80 and the 100.  Since I missed the awards ceremony,
someone else will have to tell you who won.

Alison Farrin
The Hirsch Company/Innovative Pension Design

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