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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

August 16, 2013

Lots of Organizational Hoopla

If I understand correctly it will come to a vote before the BOD (AERC) if LD rides will be judged for BC consistently across the regions.   (Granny/Opinion: I feel strongly that LD riders should be treated consistently from region to region.  Just make the rules...let everyone follow them, and go ride your horse).

There will also be a vote that proposes an LD rider be allowed the "option" of purchasing at their own expense a jacket that combines all of their ride miles.  (Granny/Opinion:  I don't think this proves anything.   Nor do I think it will bring more riders into the fold, or necessarily grow the sport.  If someone wants to sew their patches onto a stylish jacket, nothing is stopping them now.  The greater issue is the feeling of disconnect some LD riders feel from their sanctioning organization.  I don't believe that a jacket at owner expense will make a rider who's distance of choice happens to be 35 or less miles feel any better when someone looks down their nose at them, or disses them on some public forum.   It is just a feeling of acceptance that some people want, and others...they just ride their ride and don't give a rat's pahtootie what the rest think).

There is some really loud cage rattling going on in the distance forums over this proposed change.  A well known rider who sat on the committee in opposition considers it nearly the "death" of endurance.   Seriously?  The death of the distance sports here in the USA will more likely result from out-dated ideas, and being "stuck" in the past.  Endurance is growing in places like Great Britain, France, and other places across the globe so I hear.  Their aging riders don't represent the body of their organizations.  What are they doing right?  They have a fairly young rider demographic, and sport that is not top-heavy with seniors (as in getting "old" riders).  Perhaps the youth in this country have been so instantly gratified that they find it difficult to "endure" in a sport that challenges them mentally, physically, and takes a lot of time and effort to do well.

I am however not in the camp of LD is endurance.  It isn't an elitist view.  Or a snobbish view.  It is like comparing a 5 K to a Marathon.   You really just can't compare them.  Same goes for 50 miles vs. 100 miles.  They are different events of the same overall sport.  Many breeds and types of horses can manage an LD successfully.  Horses get quickly weeded out under the microscope of higher mileages.  I've wondered since I found this sport why LD does not have its very own committee, and BOD, and voting rights over what happens within.    Perhaps the most amazing thing of all for me though is to hear all the clammering that LD will become a race.  Really?  You think so?  Where have you been sister?  There has been a race for top ten in EVERY SINGLE RIDE I'VE ATTENDED, and EVERY SINGLE RIDE THAT IS RIDDEN BY AT LEAST A HANDFUL OF RIDERS.    Endurance riders hyperventilating about 25 milers racing?  What do endurance riders do? Only they do it for 50 or more miles!    Honey, the emperor has NO CLOTHES.   Some people are naturally competitive.  In fact did someone not just win a famous ride called the TEVIS?  I think he raced a 100 miles.

It really boils down to this... Welfare of the Horse.   Is the rider competent to condition the horse properly for the task at hand.  If so, everyone should be happy at the end of the day.  If your horse isn't up to the challenge and you did all the right things, then maybe it just isn't the game for the horse. 

But you know what?   I read the forums these days and kind of feel sorry for these people having such a fit about what LD might, or might not do.  Just ride your horse and be happy if you can.   I'm proud of my measley 250 LD completion miles.  Those were hard for me.  I'm proud of my two probably not "suitable" horses that carried me those miles and what the training rides to get those miles meant in my personal learning curve to be a better steward of my horse.

It will be interesting to hear the outcome, and see who actually walks away from the sport because some LD'er from out west gets to stand their horse for BC.  I'm thinking nobody will leave.  It is all a bunch of silly chain rattling and gnashing of teeth.  I also do not believe (any longer) that those vocal people on RideCamp and AERC forum are the "voice" or consensus of the sport.  Wish I'd have figured that out a few years ago so as not to have got so discouraged about my place as a finisher rather than a competitor. At the end of the day people it is not how high we jump or how fast we is how straight is our personal path (in life).

Weather will be great this weekend.  The Spotted Wonder and I have a goal to meet ☺


  1. I feel like all of these discussions operate on an assumption that WE are smart and responsible but that THEY cannot possibly be trusted to know their stuff and show good judgment. For varying values of WE and THEY depending on who exactly is doing the talking...but every conversation seems to start from a position of bad faith. Which is a pretty terrible way to get much of anything done, but that's humans for you, I guess.

  2. You have a bunch of posts that interest me this Monday morning! I'm 100% in agreement. LD is not "endurance" like 50/100 is. 5K runners and half-marathons look up to full marathoners as the elite of the sport, they know there's a whole level that they may never be able to achieve, and horse endurance is the same. However, LD in itself is a challenge and deserves to be respected for what it is. This brings in lots of people who do not own the Arabian with a resting P/R of 9/2. And HELL YES LD is a race. I don't know what these people are smoking, it's always been a race in the Midwest! To place in an LD you have to canter the whole dang thing. If anything LD encourages racing simply because it's easier to race 25 miles than to race a full 50 miles. So you walk in the last half mile to reach criteria for your official time... BFD. You still go balls out the entire rest of the way.