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

October 28, 2015

Sport vs. Horse

What we as humans do with horses is an ongoing internal dialog that I face almost daily.   My horse in her natural state would graze, and mosey along, sprint to outrun a predator.  No self-professed horse will go strap on a saddle and run more or less 25+ miles just for the heck of it.  It goes against nature.  We in all horse sports seek something from the backs of our horses.  Do we seek fame?  Personal accomplishment?  Prize money?  The sale of an animal for profit? We each have to decide what is reasonable and safe activity for our horses.   Sometimes the line between performance and abuse is very fine. It bears contemplation.  It really truly does.    Look at the UAE.   If you watch the upper left hand corner of the screen in the first few seconds of the video, you will see a horse collapse in a race that about 81% or so did not complete.   No doubt that horse did not plan to die, or to run flat out for 60 miles (or whatever distance).   It is a responsibility each of us has to be good stewards of our animals.   Maybe this is why as an organization that AERC should separate itself and sever ties with FEI/ UAE (region VII) endurance racing.  Our organization has paid lip service to change.    It is time that we draw a line in the sand.  To Finish is to Win is the about we stick to that principle? That our affiliation with UAE and this kind of racing be severed in total.  If that means cutting ties finally with USEF / FEI international racing here in the USA then so be it. Shouldn't animal welfare be paramount within a sport that asks what we ask of our horses?   Quite simply, the answer is yes.

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