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

May 4, 2014

Equine Welfare Reform: Do we need it?

Here is the proposal for rule changes for horse welfare reform:  HERE

The short version follows with my argument for or against:

Proposed Motion

1. Initial triage and treatment availability at all rides, including intravenous fluid therapy.
**** This is a no-brainer. Of course treatment should be available at all rides.  We are asking our horses to push their physical boundaries to the limits, sometimes in hot/humid conditions.  Further, there may be inexperienced horse/rider teams at any given ride, and though personal responsibility does end with the rider, well---shit happens.  And it isn't "always" the newbie.  In the case of needed treatment, that horse should be given priority over everything and everyone else.
2. Thirty minutes to meet recovery pulse at the finish line, with exceptions where needed for rides
with finish lines far away from final checkpoints.
****Just set a time, and stick with it.  Don't be wishy-washy with ifs, buts, or maybes...the rule should be concrete and it should be the rule.  I applaud the 30 minute rule personally, but if there will be reasons for exceptions then it isn't really a rule then, is it?  

3. Recovery pulse rate at the finish lowered from 68 bpm to 64 (or less) bpm.
**** Yes.  A pulse rate of 60 bpm, even in the hot/humid midwest and southeast.  It will be a good leveler of participants who want to push their horses in less than optimal conditions.  It would also make the finish much more interesting ☺

4. Horses must be six years of age to start a 100 mile ride.
**** Yes.  I could even support bumping it up a bit higher.

5. Horses shall have Body Condition Scores of no less than 3.0 and no greater than 8.0 to start an
endurance ride.
**** This should be a given.  No more skeletal competitors.  Sad that we need a rule to say your horse is too emaciated, but if people are really that stupid, give us a rule.

6. Exams on all equines by a control judge before they leave the ride site, but no sooner than two
hours from when they cross the finish line.
**** I like it in concept, but I can see where it could be problematic for some folks who are time-crunched.  Mostly I want to say yes.  Seems that in the past I've gotten through a vet check just FINE only to discover on the way back to the trailer I had an issue.  That would be a really sick feeling to load up, haul home, and open your trailer door to a disaster.  The funny thing about horse welfare is that it isn't about "our" convenience it is about the WELFARE OF THE HORSE.   Once you wrap your brain around that idea, open your eyes, and look at it from only that perspective it is easy to say YES.

7. Standardized control judge ride cards should be used nationally, with sections added for BCS
scores and graphs for each quadrant of the gastrointestinal examinations.
**** Probably a good idea that everything be STANDARDIZED within AERC.  A member should be able to go anywhere in the USA and compete and know how their horse's condition is being monitored, what the rules are, how the trail is marked, etc.  So yes, let all the ride cards look the same, whatever you decide to put on them.

8. Rides should have at least one hold on distances of 25 miles or greater.
**** This one shocked me.  I assumed that all LD's had a check in the middle.

9. Rides should have at least two control judges, one of whom is able to provide treatment as
required by number 1 in this proposed motion, with exceptions where needed for wilderness rides.
**** A horse that needs treatment should be able to get it.  The horse didn't sign up for this gig.  Put the horse FIRST.

No surprises here really.   Just mandate that it happen and GET ON WITH IT.  I find it difficult to believe that anyone would be opposed to our horses having generally a better outcome possibility.   In that respect I feel that  the CTR people have it right.   It doesn't matter to me how it effects placement.  I figure that is on the get their horse to the finish in the best condition they can, and then let the chips fall where they may.   It wouldn't be the first time that someone lost the win in the pulse box.  It won't be the last. The funny thing about rules is that they actually address all of us.  ALL.OF.US.      At the end of the day there's no money in this (thank God), only a t-shirt, or a bucket, or ....all that leaves is our big FAT EGO.  This particular proposal shoves ego aside and puts horses first. About time.

To communicate with the Board of Directors on this issue:

The following is the list of email addresses: (Tom Bache) (Olin Balch, DVM, PhD) (Duane Barnett, DVM) (Michael Campbell) (Connie Caudill) (Monica Chapman) (Randy Eiland) (Susan Garlinghouse, DVM) (Andrew Gerhard) (Peter Hommertzheim) (Terry Woolley Howe) (Susan Kasemeyer) (Sue Keith) (Skip Kemerer) (Nick Kohut, DVM) (Mollie Krumlaw-Smith) (Paul Latiolais) (Julia Lynn-Elias, DVM) (Mike Maul) (John Parke) (Lisa Schneider) (Forrest Tancer) (Roger Taylor) (Stephanie Teeter) (Rusty Toth) (Bruce Weary DC)


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