Friday, April 20, 2012

Like short rides? Go somewhere else.

I posted what yall said - that 20+ people would be interested in short rides - and the mailing lists exploded with hatred for the idea. (And for the record, it wasn't my idea to begin with, and I'm not a RM so I wouldn't profit from it!)

I don't understand the LD hate. 25 mile rides are not endurance. Nobody inside the sport currently tries to say they are. (Maybe they did in the past?)

The thing is, I don't see it as a zero-sum game. If I spent the next 20 years doing nothing but LDs, that's not going to decrease the accomplishment of anyone else's 20 years of doing 50s, or 20 years of doing multidays, or 20 years of doing 100s, or 20 years of FEI racing. But that's not how many, many people in AERC see it. They insist that LDs are a threat to the very foundation of endurance. Shorter rides are the barbarians at the gate.

What gets me is that those same people say they're deeply concerned with the decline in membership. Apparently they only want new members who are committed to riding 50s on Arabians. I was so excited to try endurance ON MY HORSE. Doing it with the horse I already had, in the breed I preferred, was a huge draw for me. Knowing that if we couldn't hack it at Real Endurance (tm), we could still participate in the lower levels of the sport in LD rides was the icing on the cake. I totally fell for the bullshit about "almost any horse of almost any breed can complete 50s."

If the only real goal of the sport is riding 50s, and my horse can't do 50s, am I no longer welcome?

I'm not giving up, but I'm really disillusioned. The furious posters I read today are not the endurance riders I've come to know online and in Nevada. Maybe the other Nevada riders DO feel that way, but they're nice to my face. I'll tell you this much: I vote with my wallet. I didn't like that FEI ride and I won't go back. If I go to a ride I haven't been to before and get the feeling that LDs or non-Arabs are second class citizens, I won't go back. But I will keep going to rides. I will keep riding my own ride, and when I finish, I will have won. That's the motto, and until they change it, I'm living it.

Hopefully this is the most emo blog post I'll ever put up!

38 comments:

  1. Well screw them! Someone should tell them that those of us who might not want to take our horse on a 25 miler right out the gate might be the same people who start with a 10 mile ride and end up loving it so much that we start training for the LD rides.

    I don't understand the people who complain about declining interest in a sport and then poo poo all over new ideas. You mentioned that TWENTY plus people would be interested in short rides and they still gave it a giant thumbs down.

    I see that a lot in the show world too when people suggest adding different classes (like miniature horse classes). Then don't complain if you're not going to be open to new ideas.

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    1. Makes you wonder what they'd do if all the LD riders started a LIMITED DISTANCE organization of THEIR OWN, hmmmmmm....? With a ten mile distance, twenty mile, twenty-five, thirty, and thirty-five competition levels with scoring on pace and condition, and the top ten based on CONDITION at FINISH. Not CTR, but definitely a breeding ground for properly started horses, then later competitive horses. You qualify at 10 miles first, then option to move up to twenty. Qualified at 20? Option to move up to 25, etc.

      Or hell, just do it as it's done and build a Limited Distance organization with the $. I'm thinking they WOULD NOT LIKE THAT.

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    2. That's a fantastic idea! I like the idea of starting small and qualifying to move up to the next distance... I might have to do some research!

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  2. Bravo! Thanks for standing up for the second-class/LD rider. I tried to say something, which was buried in hatred. Do people even read the words or just gut react to a possible new idea? Very welcoming. I just paid the same price as the 50 for my upcoming piddley little LD...

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  3. Definitely got some irrational fearful reactionary stuff going on in RideCamp. I just view those folks as having a self-esteem problem if they feel personally threatened to potentially be grouped into the same genre of "gasp" trail riders. Who, really, in the big wide world cares...except maybe them? I still say they're shooting themselves in the foot. Well, maybe those folks are well off enough financially to pay $200 to $300 ride fees if they think they need to not be contaminated by the meat and potatoes small fry wimpy Limited Distance and the oh so scary Fun Ride Chihuahuas who are more than willing to subsidize real endurance [tm] rides [we're going to have to split the proceeds on that trademark LOL] Ah, heck, maybe some of us should just branch off and have fun all by ourselves and call ourselves Really Awesome Trail [tm] riders. Better a rat than a dinosaur. Truly though, I think it is just a few being ridiculous on the Ride Camp group; most endurance folk I know are great people who do not hide behind a keyboard and fire off doleful laments of how horrid it is to be besieged by rats...

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    1. Yup. When I choose do to an LD, I pay 90% of the cost for 50% of the ride. It's not Real Endurance - I honestly agree - but it's a worthy pursuit.

      I don't want to branch off. I want the tent to remain big and welcoming for everybody. 25s to 100s, racers to turtlers. That's the AERC I joined!

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  4. Hear Hear! How DARE they. I have a whole list of profanities for you.
    Seems like the 'dressage queens' have contenders:
    'Endurance queens'.
    I may not do endurance (or have any REAL idea of what it's like) But I admire you for doing LDs. I definitely don't think its something to 'poo-poo' at.
    I mean, 25 miles is FORTY kilometres. The most I've ridden in one ride is 10km. (6 miles). And I know that my horse had to be fit to to ride those 6 miles.
    Mega thumbs down to the endurance queens.

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    1. Yeah, it's DQ-dom. It's something I was hoping to avoid!

      Australia actually has a totally different endurance system - with a particular horse or rider, you MUST start out doing 40 km ride, then move up to 80 after you've accomplished some 40s in good form, then if you do well at 80s you can move up to 160s. It's got its pros and cons.

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  5. Truthfully, I've never felt anything other than welcomed at rides, no matter what distance I ride--including my VERY FIRST RIDE, 12 whole miles, as the "intro ride" at the 1998 Bully Wully. At that first ride, the ride managers, vets, and volunteers *all* appeared to be delighted to meet me and my (non-arab) horse. They welcomed me to camp and to the sport...and I've never left.

    All this time I've been reading about how mean riders and managers are to LD riders, how they are treated as second-class citizens, how there is NO LOVE ANYWHERE for folks who do less than 50's.

    I'm standing up to say it ain't so in my region. Not now, not ever. And if anybody says different, I want to know specifics: what person , said what words , at what ride in what year and who else witnessed it.

    These generalized "nobody loves me" statements aren't working for me. Ridecamp isn't real life. I'm not convinced that some of the "people" on ridecamp actually exist in real life, because the riders I've met in real life are nice people. The mean ones somehow never show up to rides and introduce themselves to me. Coincidence? I'm thinking maybe not!

    I repeat my offer: if you want to ride mini-durance and want help, contact me. I will help. I don't care if you ride a three-legged donkey, I don't care if you ride bareback, I don't care if you ride naked. If you want to ride and you want help, speak up and I will help.

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    1. Me too. I've met nothing but nice people and gotten nothing but neutral or encouraging comments on EVERY aspect of my endurance journey. But here's the thing: when I lived in Memphis, and I was just hoping to maybe one day do endurance, Ridecamp (and the Old Dominion guide) were the ONLY connections I had. What they say matters to potential new riders. It's not cool.

      And me too: I'm happy to ride a training ride, an intro ride, an LD, or a (slow!) 50 with any newbie. I don't know much - but I remember how nervewracking it was to start out.

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  6. Yes, hell yes! I rambled about this on Trails & Trials blog. LD recognition--OOHHHH EVILLL. Like, really? I love 50s and am hooked now but I AM bitter my 130 miles of LDs on Blaze last year shows up as a big old zero. Give the old man some credit! Haters hating, not the endurance folks I like.

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    1. :P HAH! I've got a hundred and forty worthless no-count LD miles! ;)

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    2. I finally got my 500-LD-Mile patch! It took more than 10 years, but I did it. :-)

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  7. Last ride I went to they spoke about trying to get new people into the sport and when asked a crowd of over a hundred riders who had been an AERC member less than three years I was one of three people to raise my hand. I don't understand the rabid "LDs aren't real" riders. Yes, if I wanted to go big time and ride FEI and nationals maybe I'd care more but look around, the sport NEEDS new riders and having a bunch of people telling you that you can't do it for whatever reason when it's already daunting to start is not helpful. I chose and joined this sport because both myself and my horse found we liked doing things similar to it and because I watched the Black Stallion and Hidalgo too many times. Yes, I have an arabian, but that's just a product of happenstance. I LOVE non-arab riders. I think it's cool as hell to be riding down the trail and gossip with them about the differences in conditioning and it just tickles me pink to get behind a gaited horse and watch them shuffle on. Plus, as I said on facebook, good motivation for Rose. She gets so mad at being passed and you guys are normally faster. I go back and forth if my next horse will be a Rose baby or a Gaited Pony.

    PS. 125 non-counting miles and planning for at least another 50-75 before the year is done. Got my eye on a moonlight ride in July. Sounds cool or what??

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    1. Moonlight summer rides are awesome! I think Nevada Moonshine was my second LD. DO IT!

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  8. That's really discouraging. To anyone new that would be considering it to see that they would think "well hell if I can only do LDs to start with and those are so frowned upon..."
    Really everyone has to start somewhere, even if the "little" 10-25 rides were for training and intro.
    Maybe someone needs to start up Minidurance for reals? Something else I was thinking of, not everyone has TIME for the real deal. I know that with my previous work schedule there was no way I'd have time to go to that long of a ride let alone have my horse in that condition. A 10-25 I might be able to swing though.

    Oh, and I looked and looked, this is the only info I have for "endurance riding" in my area (its pretty sad):
    http://www.sasklongriders.com/index.php

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    1. Yeah, there's not much endurance riding in central Canada. A bit more in the northern US great plains, but it's still a huge haul.

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  9. That's quite the cluster they've got going on over there, yikes! I thought of giving my experience with the sport but I've only done LDs so apparantly my opinion won't matter anyway. That is discouraging stuff.

    I'm in the same region Aarene is in and I also have not witnessed this negative attitude towards LDs around here, part of what kept me coming back after doing one of the "fun rides" at Klickitat Trek a few years ago was the fun and friendly people I met!

    I try not to take the Ridecamp stuff too seriously after reading that Kat persons post last winter where she said things would be so much better if they'd just ship all the OTTBS straight to the slaughterhouse, WTH? Now THAT got my hackles up!

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  10. Yes, just wait until those "respected" endurance people start dissing you on public forums such as FACEBOOK. See how "welcome" to the sport you feel then. ~ E.G.

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  11. I'm on some local listservs and find those with the biggest mouth or the high drama queens are those whose horse never leaves the farm. But let me tell ya.... they know it all.

    A sport doesn't necessarily need to be reinvented but perhaps expanded upon like what was suggested to get people interested. And from those who dip their toe in the water, perhaps they will be interested in the next level at some time. But if groups won't look outside their box, they will continue to complain about decreasing numbers. With the price of gas poking us in the ass every 3 years, numbers are going to continue to decline and groups like ACTHA who are thinking outside the box are going to claim those riders.

    Keep doing what you are doing on your Dixie mare. We'll be here sticking out our tongue at those neigh-sayors when you cross the 50 finish line on your gaited non-arab mare. ;)

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  12. Okay, it looks like it's time for you to start a new organization for "Not Endurance, But Still A Pain In The Arse Rides". The NEBSAPITAR.

    You can use your blog to drum up membership like I did with my horse registry.

    http://allensparklodge.blogspot.com/2010/07/north-american-grade-horse-registry.html

    Although, I haven't had any takers. Marketing isn't my strong suit.

    Bill

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  13. This is one very good reason why I don't participate in organized horse sports any more. There will always be those ass--- (as I said in my comment on your post on this subject) who are only interested in winning. And these particular ass--- apparently only want to defeat what they perceive as legitimate competition. Absolutely no clue that it would be better for their sport if LOTS of people on all kinds of non-Arabs were paying entry fees to ride short distances and paying membership fees and supporting endurance. Not to mention it would just plain be NICER. Even though endurance is not about winning per se, those ass--- who responded like that to you are all about that "competitive" attitude I hate. Does this make me a hater?

    I understand that both you and Aarene have met mostly nice, supportive endurance folks in real life. And endurance, in general, sounds like a great group. But Funder, you are so right that if someone is just getting involved, and the first experience they have is snobby put downs on the internet, they are going to feel very intimidated. When I first started going to cuttings on a horse I’d trained myself, I was the ONLY two-horse rig in the parking lot, and the only non-pro who didn’t have a trainer. Nobody spoke to me. Yes, it was very discouraging. I persisted, but only cause I’m stubborn.
    On Apr 20, 2012, at 7:54 PM, Elizabeth Funderburk wrote:

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    1. I figure, the folks on RC aren't riding...so, OF COURSE they're grouchy. Whereas the folks in camp ARE riding.

      It doesn't take me very long at all to figure out what kind of folks I want to hang with...or be...

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    2. Aarene,
      If I were to take up a new organized horse activity (which I've no inclination to do--not being an organized group sort of person), I'd try endurance. On the whole, it sounds like one of the most fun horse sports I've heard about. And I'd get you and Funder and Mel to help me learn the ropes, cause you all seem like great people.

      I've still got to say that in my opinion there is a more relaxing sort of trail horse fun to be had in non-"organized" trail rides with a few friends, and camping with horses is more fun done at solitary mountain lakes and meadows (see my Slickrock book for descriptions of how fun horse packing can be), instead of in a crowded "ridecamp". But I am not a group person or a joiner by nature.

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  14. I'm in favor of ANYTHING that gets people involved with their horses.

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  15. I've just been a whole fifteen miles around a nice little circuit actually having to navigate. It wasn't quick however it was self-sufficient and fun. Not "proper riding" in some people's book, however I can find my way across more or less wild terrain without a paint mark every hundred yards, and that is more than the endurance crowd seem capable of. Fast, efficient riders they may be, but capable trail horsemen and women they are not. In part I think that the endurance queens are envious. We can do something that they can't.

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  16. I don't get the HATE. I mean... I don't like the idea of shorter short rides, but it won't keep me from riding or supporting AERC if they make them. As long as the horses and riders are safe and having fun, I don't care. Every experience I've had in the endurance world has been welcoming and educational and brilliant. I want that to continue. I think 10-15 mile rides sort of miss the point of endurance, but, hey, if they introduce them, I can go back to competing Ozzy :-P

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  17. The posts I've been reading on this subject on various blogs have been really excellent. Even though I don't do endurance, or any of the variations on the theme, I'm starting to have an urge to blog my 2 cents worth too. Because I think this sort of thing isn't unique to the endurance world (unfortunately). It seems like it's getting increasingly hard to find any sort of competition that is both sanctioned and friendly to people starting out (the AQHA seems to be the only association putting much into that...of course I don't have a QH). And non-sanctioned competitions (in whatever flavor of riding you like) are getting fewer and further between because the organizers can't afford to run them. So where do you go? Nowhere it seems.

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    1. I agree, and I think this is an area where barrel racing was ahead of the time by developing 3D and 4D (and some 5D) events.
      It makes it much more welcoming to those that are starting out, or starting a new/young horse.
      (I have to admit I also like it because it's me, my horse & the timer so your results are pretty darn honest) ;)

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  18. For the record I don't like FEI rides either. And yeah, I feel like people that have never ridden a non-arab in an endurance ride have really strong opinions about what rules should be passed that favor arabs strongly.

    It's important to realize that ridecamp is made of a number people that are NOT AERC MEMBERS but have big mouths. They certainly don't represent the membership as a whole, something that's been pointed out more than once by people on the list when something like this happens.

    Yep - vote with your wallet. There are 2 local rides that I will no longer support because of how the ride was run and poor management/choices by management.

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    1. Ditto what Mel says, and more:
      I discovered years ago that FEI Endurance looks like the sport I love, but it isn't the same...in the same way that carob looks like good Swiss chocolate but isn't even vaguely similar in the most important respects.

      Also, she mentioned that RC has a lot of folks who aren't AERC members. There are also a lot of loudmouths who don't ride, or don't ride much, or don't ride much anymore. I recommend that before you go takin' anybody's word as gospel, check the AERC page and see how many rides they've done in the last 5 years. (It takes me 2 years to leg up a new horse, so gaps of a year or two don't necessarily mean to me that people are staying home...but gaps of 5 years or more probably do mean that).

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    2. I have no doubt this is true. It seems to be the case for so many forums. They get dominated by a vocal minority, and the impression gets to be that this is how everyone feels. The way I've always tried to think of it is that the happy majority are all out participating while the grumpy minority sit at home on forums.

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  19. What a shame people lose sight of the point - encouraging responsible horse ownership, good health and having a good time. My mare couldn't compete on even an LD, but she's a great trail horse and I'd gladly pay to ride drag or do a pleasure ride on the trails. That keeps costs down for the serious riders and certainly does nothing to minimize their accomplishments.

    Ego is a difficult thing.

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    1. Ameennnn! It's all about EGO. About what was, and what might have been. And it should be about encouragement and comradeship in the face of an often challenging sport! So frustrating.

      It sounds so cliche but LIFE IS TOO SHORT for infantile, egotistical behavior. Let's all just ride and encourage one another to stay in that saddle against all odds.

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  20. it seems pretty ridiculous that while probably 98% of us Endurance riders, and I'm including ALL distances, from 100 miles to 25 miles, enjoy the essence of the sport, which is GET OUT AND RIDE, 50% are welcoming and give off the happy vibes online, and 50% are not welcoming and give off the Snarkies online. I *think* I'm understanding that the 'Snarkies' are not threatened by you enjoying yourself doing your own thing but they are afraid that fun trail riders (that might become attracted to trying endurance, if they try a trail ride and see what endurance is and how well we take care of our horses during a ride) might actually have no intention of trying endurance, but will come in floods to join AERC and take it over and, uh (I'm grasping at straws here, but I got that from some of the posts) vote out the 100 mile and 50 mile rides and vote in 5 and 10 mile rides...?
    Anyway, with People Like Me (which I assume is good in some circles and bad in others), you are most welcome, I'm happy you are showing up at rides at whatever distance you like to do, because you have accomplished so much with your horse, and I'm especially happy you are showing up at endurance rides in your Happy Pants. Maybe if everybody else bought a pair of these tights from Evelyn, they wouldn't be so unhappy!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

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  21. Wow, just bumpted into this site looking for a review on the Klickitat Trek endurance/ld ride - it is to be my 1st attempt at a 50 - very scared and not sure were ready - plan to go slow - my husband will continue with LDs - don't think I would be still doing this if I had had to start with a 50 - really. But so far everyone has been real nice but a little bit of attitude about dumb newbies -I am a little offended - even got some attitude by a vet at my last race, who I had to pump for explanation on his remarks - he is also a veteran endurance rider - ignorance is supposed to be bliss I thought - this is our seond year at this and overall we have had a blast - but learning the hard way - by mistakes - but have completed all rides soundly so far - thumbs up.

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