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Re: RC: Various thoughts/recent posts

Boy this thread sure went downhill fast after the next few posts. I's like 
to make one more stab at this 2nd class thing. What I was getting at is that 
it is a label some people have taken onto themselves, not one that is given 
them by the sport. The definition of endurance is 50 miles or more. Just 
like bases are a certain distance apart, hoops are a certain height, & 
marathons are 26. something miles long. Legitimate sports have to set 
defining parameters somewhere. No one would claim that 50 miles is a magic 
number that is so much harder that 49, or 45, whatever. Accept it as an 
arbitrary cutoff if you will. Limited distance rides are held in conjunction 
w/endurance rides as an opportunity for people to participate & learn what 
endurance is about. Yes, you can learn so much, maybe more by watching & 
helping at your first ride. But folks you enjoy sports like endurance are 
pretty much hands on people, not spectators. They'd really rather jump in & 
Back to LD. Actually, the idea is if you start someone out at a shorter 
distance that they can successfully complete, they will be encouraged to 
come back & ride again. Maybe they will eventually ride 50's & 100's, or 
not. They're being rewarded for what they have accomplished, even if it 
doesn't fit the definition of Endurance (as this internationally recognized 
sport is defined). Can you believe it is meant to ENCOURAGE people, NOT 
denigrate them?
So, if you want to be an endurance rider, you have to ride endurance 
distance. If you choose not to do that, that is your choice. It has nothing 
to do with class. At a real ridecamp, who can tell (or care) what distance 
you're in? As someone who rides both LD & Endurance (and as a ride manager) 
these largely self imposed slights are really puzzling.
I'm leaving for a ride in a few minutes. Do any of you really care what 
distance I'm riding? I really hope not, cause I'm doing what's right for me, 
right now. And, I know I'll have loads of fun meeting new people, seeing new 
sights, most of all riding.
If you can come up with one size fits all answers to your questions you will 
retire a rich man. The best I can say is observe all the different ways you 
can, then take what works for you.
Respectfully intentioned,
Nancy Mitts
Central Region
Headed to the Southeast, REALLY hope I haven't pissed you people off! ;>

>From: David LeBlanc <>
>To: "Nancy Mitts" <>,
>Subject: RC:   Various thoughts/recent posts
>Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 12:12:38 -0800
>At 09:00 AM 11/2/99 PST, Nancy Mitts wrote:
> >The posts over the last couple days have left me with these impressions:
> >Why do some people just insist on wearing the terms "Newbie" &/ "LD 
> >like hair shirts?
>[snip - essentially, why don't people listen]
>As a relatively new rider, I think I can answer some of this.
>First problem is that too much of our 'knowledge' is based on handed down
>information, and too little of it is based on scientifically valid
>research.  When I go to ask 3 different experienced riders the same
>question, I usually come up with 3 very different answers.  How am I to
>sort out who is right?  It is normally the case that none of the people can
>actually support their answer with anything better than "Works for me".  If
>I'm lucky, 2 of them will agree and then I've got some reassurance that it
>might be right.  Something we really need is more research, so that we've
>got valid answers.
>As a case in point, last year I'd been riding a 26-year old quarter horse
>all summer on very strenuous and long trails.  He was extremely fit, and
>the person who owned the land we were keeping him on (another endurance
>rider) suggested that Skipper might be OK to do a 25 if I took it easy.
>Another friend who keeps up with all sorts of reading insisted that I'd
>kill him.  End result was we came in about the middle of the pack and
>passed both vet checks with straight A's.  Which of these old-timers should
>I listen to?  I can also cite instances where the friend who was worried
>gave better advice.  I also see "old-timers" putting up with nutso horses
>I'd never go near.
>You're also dealing with plain human nature - people usually don't listen
>very well to unsolicited advice of any kind, and they often don't listen if
>you're telling them something they don't want to hear.  Sometimes they have
>to learn for themselves.  It is indeed a shame that sometime people and
>horses get hurt because of this, but there isn't much we can do about it.
>Something else I think would help would be a change in the rules - why
>treat anything less than a 50 as second-class?  The reality is that's where
>people and horses need to start out.  By setting up the rules so that a 50
>is the minimum to be a "real endurance rider", we're encouraging people to
>go to the longer distances before they are ready.  Denegrating people doing
>less than 50 miles is just plain wrong.  Bad for the sport, and bad for the
>I've also got a suggestion - encourage a new rider to crew at least once at
>a big ride, and set them up where they can watch the horses trotting out.
>I crewed for Robin Oscar and Jennifer at JD's last year, and got one heck
>of an education watching who got pulled and who didn't.  I look at it as a
>course in lameness 101, too - I'm a _lot_ better at being able to spot
>lameness now, and I also recognize what a too-tired horse looks like.
>Robin told me I'd learn more by crewing than by riding, and he was
>absolutely correct.  When you sit there and watch 100 horses trot out, see
>who gets pulled and who doesn't, you get a really good feel for what "fit
>to continue" means.  Something I want to do sometime to get versed in
>lameness 102 is to go be a vet helper at a ride.
>David (not Jennifer)
>David LeBlanc
>Ridecamp is a service of Endurance Net,
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