Archive | AERC Convention Reno, NV March 8-9, 2013 RSS for this section

AERC Aarene Storms and her book Endurance 101

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, and I will remove any spam, flame, or non-productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.
In addition, I am thinking of myself as a *connector*, So, if you have questions about the content, do contact the person who did the presentation.
I will provide as much information about contact info as I can.
Endurance 101 written by Aarene Storms, illustrated by Monica Bretherton. https://www.facebook.com/Endurance101/info?ref=ts
Aarene’s personal blog http://www.haikufarm.blogspot.com/
Her book: Endurance 101: A Gentle Guide to the Sport of Long Distance Riding, by Aarene Storms with photographs by Monica Bretherton Description: *Endurance 101* is the first book about long-distance competitive riding written specifically for beginning endurance riders, told in a comfortable narrative style with plenty of stories and photos. Gain the skills you need with the horse you have, and learn what endurance riders mean when they say that “To Finish is to Win.” here is the website to the book: http://www.endurance-101.com/
Aarene’s email is: bookings@endurance-101.com or aarenex@haikufarm.net

Aarene ( pronounced Erin) is an engaging, informal, interactive presenter. She started us off with the admonition that *help is not always helpful and in fact it can be disastrous, she said, (no catastrophes, please*.
She wanted her session to be interactive so she set it up so that audience members would ask questions and other audience members would answer; along the lines of Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre whereby it is better to have a good question than an answer.

Then she asked us to come up with the 30 second, elevator ride, and recruitment blurb: * how do you recruit people to this, our beloved sport? That was entertaining.
She then said that when she got the idea for her book she asked everyone she could think of the seminal question * what do you wish you would have known when you started this sport?* those answers of experienced veterans of the sport are included in her book.

Then, we talked about our preconceived ideas, and misconceptions about the sport. E And we all wondered where we could all get a GOOD mentor, that is still a little intimidating to all of us….. she encouraged us to ask questions, lots of questions, and to treat every answer as *right* until we tested it with our horse and program. THINK, she said, * will it work for me and my horse?*. Hmmmmmm
Please, she said, do share all of your mistakes OPENLY, so we can all learn from each other. She did!

Then, she showed us a stick horse vet ck trot out, see the video clips.

I got the sense that Aarene is all about education, pass the word, share ideas, educate educate, educate.
I was reminded of the latest BCHW meeting I attended wherein my seat partner declared that * if I was an endurance rider, I abused my horses*. Hmmm, author tapping finger on chin, choosing her battles, deciding how to approach this topic for the betterment of all involved. Aarene sweetly offered to come do that, if we could do that during the winter, just shoot her an invitation; Ok, I likely will. She did say she would come to Olympia, WA.
The other prong of Aarene’s seminar was to get the word out to everyone in the community; example—pass cards out at local businesses about endurance. She has taken on the *recruit some younger people* seriously. She also said, that teaching the skills we use in endurance will stand a kiddo in good stead in much more in life…. So why not take this show into local middle and high schools? She said that all of the vet ck things can be performed on a patient dog (stethoscope, heart rate, capillary refill, trot out; and you can always use a stuck horse as she did at our presentation.
Here is a link to some cute clips from the presentation, enjoy!

AERC Dr. Jeannette Mero on Tying UP Part 2

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, and I will remove any spam, flame, or non-productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.
In addition, I am thinking of myself as a *connector*, So, if you have questions about the content, do contact the person who did the presentation. I will provide as much information about contact info as I can.

Tying Up—Unraveling some of the mysteries surrounding this syndrome. Dr. Jeannette (Jay) Mero, DVM, AERC # 15049, 2,560 sanctioned endurance miles, (yes, I looked her up), Chair of the AERC Veterinary Committee, has her own veterinary clinic @https://www.facebook.com/Mariposa.Equine and in searching for contact for her I also found this: DSLD research

Best to read Part 1 first, but, I brought forward the different categories of Exertional Rhabdomyelosis from Part 1:
There is Extrinsic ER ( Exertional Rhabdomyelosis) and Intrinsic ER; Extrinsic means likely we can cause it and manage it; the causes and solutions are under our control. Intrinsic ER means that the causes are not under our control but we MAY be able manage it.

Extrinsic ER: under this heading is something vets call *Sporadic ER*— the horse gets it sporadically or intermittently

Intrinsic ER: under this heading are the genetic causes: Recurrent ER, Malignant Hyperthermia, Idiopathic causes (meaning we don’t know the cause) and a Chronic ER — under Chronic ER the causes are PSSM1 and PSSM2.
In case you want to know: PSSM stands for Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy. And PSSM 1 and 2 refer to inherited dominant genes for this syndrome. Here are some FAQ’s to refer to about the PSSM. http://www.cvm.umn.edu/umec/lab/PSSM/home.html

So, if a horse with Sporadic ER starts presenting with it more times despite good management, the category is changed and those horses now have Recurrent ER which likely has a genetic component.
This genetic component is a gene mutation that has been found in TB’s, Standardbreds, and Warmbloods and is suspected in Arabians (although in Arabs the genetic component is now suspected to be different/ perhaps a combination of genetic components; hence the ongoing research on this in Arabs; especially arabs who are endurance horses.).
In horses with Recurrent ER (RER) it seems that there is/are (a) trigger(s) to the event, especially in nervous excitable animals; some event triggers the tie up. Example: the start of an endurance ride, fighting them for 10-15 miles ( Yep, that happened to me at Klickitat ride 2012!, my horse did not tie up, but his heart rate was erratic and did not pulse down in 10 min! He usually drops down very quickly, but then we fought….. arghh!
The event that happens inside the muscles is something to do with Ca+2, Calcium ion, the calcium channel, the calcium ion goes in but cannot get back out.

Management of Recurrent ER entails: decreasing stress levels, maintain routines, don’t do anything out of the ordinary, the position of their stall needs to stay static, their work schedule needs to be regular, regular DAILY exercise, and low sugar, high fat diet should lead to a calmer temperament in order tl balance the Ca+2 pump in the cells.

It has been shown that an equine diet of higher calories, higher starch does lead to higher anxiety levels. 10% of the diet needs to be fat—LMF Gold, Rice Bran, and Ultium were mentioned as possible products for horse dietary issues in management of horses with RER.
Here is an excellent website for RER FAQ
http://www.cvm.umn.edu/umec/lab/RER_new/home.html

One indicator of the level of and confirmation of muscle damage is CK level as a biomarker in the blood. CK-Creatine Kinase. See this website for more info
http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/fieldservice/Equine/EQCLPATH.htm
http://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/clinpath/modules/chem/ck.htm
http://www.gateway.net.au/~mcvc/horses/enzyme.html

Normal CK levels are 95-565 U/L ( units per Liter). A horse with ER levels can reach 2000-200,000 U/L
Dr. Susan Garlinghouse has an article about blood panels herehttp://www.quia.com/files/quia/users/medicinehawk/2407-Vet/labs.pdf

1992 onward, we have known about PSSM1 or the possible existence of genetic mutation as far back as 1979, but have pinpointed the exact mutation from 1992 onward. This genetic mutation enhances storage of sugar/saccharides, glycogen, and polysaccharides in the muscle. You can see this upon differential staining of a muscle biopsy; the stained normal muscle cells are a lovely pink, but muscles with excess polysaccharide stain a bluish where the excess packets of polysaccharide are stored.

You can do and probably should do this test upon pre-purchase; Dr. Mero sounded as though this becoming a routine test. Hmmmmm, author stops, taps finger on chin… all the things I SHOULD have thought about before buying the two Arabians I have now. I have 9 pages of mistakes I wrote down so I could learn, this will be added. My veterinarian did not mention this upon prepurchase, and my vet is a stellar vet who works on performance horses (Polo ponies, Dressage and endurance horses consistently). Hmmmmmmm

The gene is called GYS1, Glycogen synthase. It is a Dominant trait, which means that if you cross a quarter horse who has it with an arab who does not the baby will have the genetic mutation. (yeah, nutshell genetics). Mostly this affects draft breeds, and has been ID’d in a large list of horses: American cream, gypsy vanner, Belgian, percheron, shire, quarter, paint, appaloosa, morgan, mustang, Rocky mt horse, TWH and mixed breeds.
The genetic test for this gene, which is the PSSM1 mutation, NOT PSSM2, make sure you tracked that…. is done by pulling mane hair, with hair bulbs (follicles attached) and sending the sample in.
Here is exactly how you do that: and the cost $65
http://www.cvm.umn.edu/umec/lab/Advances_in_PSSM/home.html

Holy COW! Or is it Holy Arab CROSS!???? LOL! My head is getting Full, this is a lot of information but it is excellent information for us endurance riders. Especially those of us who ride crosses— Quarabs, Half arabs, etc.  raise your hand if you ride an affected breed or a cross with an affected breed…. Yeah, my hand is up, too. I ride a Half arab, his sire was Custody, a paint stallion. Dr. Mero did go on to say, thankfully, somewhat, that this PSSM1 mutation does affect pleasure riders more than endurance; BUT, there may be something else going on with our endurance horses; that we may notice a lower level of ER, our horses such as: * a bit crampy, less energy, less willing to go down the trail, a bit stiff* Pay ATTENTION, there may be some muscle damage going on that we don’t know enough about, yet ( hence research, yay for science and the scientific process). Horses with PSSM1 tend to be calm, sedate horses, halter/pleasure horses not animals involved in speed events and has not been found, yet, in racing QH lines.

She noted, also, that horses with PSSM1 may also have some insulin resistance leading to even more excess sugar storage, and that PSSM1 is the likely cause of Monday Morning disease or Holiday disease; see Part 1.
Symptoms: tucking up, stiff muscles, swearing, trembling flanks, reluctance to move forward. Chronic signs: lack of energy, poor performance, poor work ‘tude, back pain, rarely develop kidney disease.
Muscle biopsies are the best way to determine whether your horse is storing excess sugar. The cost of a muscle biopsy is $105, much more info is here
http://www.vdl.umn.edu/ourservices/equineneuromuscular/equineneuro/home.html

On to PSSM2: no GYS1 gene identified, no gene mutation, we have no genetic marker yet; however, a combination of genetic markers are suspected. Horses with RER, suspected of PSSM2 are not calm and sedate’ this is much more prevalent in high performance horses: Arabs, QH, TWH, STB, Morgan and WB’s.
These horses present with similar clinical signs lameness in hind, chronic poor performance, potential muscle atrophy.
If after reading everything and looking at your animal, Dr. Valberg’s lab is the only lab that is doing these tests on muscle biopsies so you can do two things with sending a muscle biopsy (have your vet do that actual biopsy, this is REALLY a DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF kinda thing ) you can find out if this is something your horse has and lend your horse sample to the growing body of research on this syndrome. First, though, best to submit a mane hair test to rule out PSSM1. Dr. Mero did say that she was facilitating Dr. Valbgerg’s collection of muscle biopsies of endurance horses to try to more quickly isolate the genetic component of PSSM2, so stay tuned, she will be sending out notices about that collection of samples; Stay glued to AERC website/ Endurance news publication! Nice, that, they will send a team to come GET them just like Lissa Fiedler did with her CK study…. In 2010. I doubt they will show up at rides because of the moderately invasive nature of biopsies, more likely to come to an area… idk, stay Tuned and do contact Dr. Mero for more information.

This PSSM2 syndrome is similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans. We want to have less sugar in blood stream and to encourage the horse’s muscles to burn fat for energy rather than sugar. Hmmmm, I did not know that could be done; Learning has occurred. It takes a while for muscles to become trained to do this. Thus, it sounded like this PSSM2 is controlled by diet, exercise; management is KEY here for these horses. These horses CAN be your average AERC horse, but they are not likely to be a competitor for top performances in endurance. Remove all grain and sweet feed from the horse’s diet, Balance calories first, then low starch, then add in the fat supplement 15-20% DE Fat. I did not catch what DE fat meant…. And when I type it into a search engine I get *defat*. Sorry, if someone knows, please comment…
Dr. Mero was pretty adamant about the regimen of managing these horses for successful lives; she said these horses need free movement, turn out, regular exercise, grazing muzzles if needed during the spring when grasses are full of sugar. She recommends DRY LOT in the spring.

She recommends stabilized rice bran for the fat content because of the balanced Ca and P ratio ( calcium and phosphorus). She recommended stabilized rice bran added to beet pulp but beet pulp without molasses. These horses need exercise EVERY DAY! For at least 10 minutes to maintain fitness these horses do not do well with time off; there should be NO break in training regimen for these horses. And, they may need more treatment at rides, here is why:
What is happening inside the muscle when ER is there? Muscle cells are dying and dead, and that is a DEHYDRATING event. REALLY? My brain said as well, recall, myoglobin is toxic to the kidneys so fluids and more fluids would be a good thing. What we see at a ride is on a continuum of slightly crampy to full lock and all levels in between, yes? This also happens early in a ride or late in a ride, dark urine. Whatever the level, though, EVERY time a muscle is damaged it is an insult to the kidneys and Dr. Mero said that she and her vet colleagues have statement that 20L of fluids can cure EVERYTHING . So, IV fluids immediately….. remember me, at age 17? Blue Mountain ride? We would have given Suzy Q fluids IMMEDIATELY!! But, AERC was started in 1972, and those rides were not sanctioned, yet, so we had volunteers, I doubt if there was a vet present… I don’t remember.. anyone remember? I just remember praying my darling mare was OK and would *get over it*. Now? Dr. Mero is making a strong statement about having a treatment vet there at the ride with IV fluids available to help these horses that show any kind of symptom on the continuum of ER possibility so that their bodies can be moved past the insult more swiftly. Yay, science! But, DON”T WAIT, treat your horse immediately. And get them all kinds of support: rugs, warmth, remember the Back on Track heat reflective blankies? Yep, those! as well as frog support, and attentive care of horses that are down.
Now, the next section is very important and was a steep learning curve for me. in an event of ER, Tying Up, your horse should get fluids FIRST with sedation. Recall or know that Bute and Banamine also effect kidneys AND interferes with veterinarian evaluation, so do NOT give those. Best to wait 2-3 days to give Bute or Banamine ANYHOW, due to the effects on the kidneys with dehydrated horses, which, folks are ALL of our horses, with or without signs and symptoms of ER.

Dr. Mero uses DMSO because it helps kidney perfusion, regardless of how it makes her smell… 

DO NOT WALK a horse that is showing tie up symptoms, that leads to more muscle damage. If you are on a ride and on the trail, stop, get off, tack loose, send word via other riders. ONLY walk your horse slowly IF you have to and you are by yourself and have no support. Cell Phones…. For support. TRY NOT to MOVE your horse at all.
In Summary: Exertional Rhabdomyelosis is a primary muscle disorder. Repeat episodes should be investigated (management? Genetic and management?)

If genetic, management CAN work, low sugar, high fat, and lots of exercise. Fluids treat everything
Apparently also, Joe Pagan, sp? At Kentucky Research is investigating whether there are Omega 3 and 6 issues with this disease.

WHEW!

Remember, I am not a veterinarian, I am rider, like you… and love my horses; this reproduction of Dr. Mero’s talk is an act of love for my horses and riding buddies all over. I do not KNOW this content, I am learning it like you; from the bottom up. You will notice that I did not address the Chronic ER under the Intrinsic label at all; I was unsure of where that fit and when a horse tips into that realm. Perhaps someone can add to this and /or please direct your questions about more about the content to Drs Mero and Valbgerg– the EXPERTS on this syndrome– and then as you learn more, share here for us all.I look forward to corrections to MY comments, and comments about this as we continue to learn.

AERC Dr. Jeannette Mero on Tying UP Syndrome Part 1

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, and I will remove any spam, flame, or non-productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.
In addition, I am thinking of myself as a *connector*, So, if you have questions about the content, do contact the person who did the presentation. I will provide as much information about contact info as I can.

Tying Up—Unraveling some of the mysteries surrounding this syndrome. Dr. Jeannette ( Jay) Mero, DVM, AERC # 15049, 2,560 sanctioned endurance miles, ( yes, I looked her up), Chair of the AERC Veterinary Committee, has her own veterinary clinic @https://www.facebook.com/Mariposa.Equine and in searching for contact for her I also found this: DSLD research

This seminar was a history lesson as well as the story of the progression science has made with this disorder since circa 1600! This is a very detailed seminar with Loads of information so I will do this one in two parts.

Another comment is that I am a scientist, and I teach Research Methods for graduate students; I have a scientific state of mind most of the time; science and I get along, regardless of the stress in my life; I apply a skeptical mindset most of the time. I LOVE it when presenters show me the science behind findings and practices. However, from teaching Research methods, I understand that *thinking like a scientist* is not in everyone’s toolbox right now. To those in this latter category I offer to you what I offer my students— a scientific mindset is one where the information is tentative, changeable, and mutable with new information over time; that is how science works. A scientific mindset can be also thought of as an *add on tool*; whereby you do not have to excise your regular, comfortable way of thinking and processing information, but that you CAN learn to also think scientifically. I tender the invitation to my research graduate students about every two weeks as we progress through the class. In addition to that state of mind, a skeptical, tentative state of mind, I also offer that scientific findings must be tested in the field to see if they work on your horse, your herd, your life. Skeptics are not cynics; Skeptics are people who say, when confronted with an assertion, *show me the data*; while Cynics negate all ideas uniformly.

Ok, back to the topic at hand: Tying UP!

    WHAT is it?

Medical definition of syndrome: *a set of symptoms occurring together*. Retrieved March 11, 2013 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/syndrome

Tying up syndrome is a muscle disorder that has been known in equines since the 1600’s. There has been lots of science since then to focus more clearly and precisely on thus syndrome and tease out exactly what is going on.
Symptoms: Stiff limbs, trembling muscles, locked up muscles, horse does not want to move, spasm-ing, stiff travel, coffee colored urine. Back in the 19th century it was known as Monday morning disease, or Holiday disease because horses not worked all weekend would be taken out to be worked and *Tie up*. Unfortunately, back then, there was a 50% death rate due to this syndrome.

Side note—Dr. Mero started her practice on draft horses in Amish country back east and drafts have a propensity to this disease, I understand she saw a LOT of it when in practice back east. In the 20th century, the syndrome got a new name * Exertional Rhabdomyelosis*, Myositis, or Muscle cell death whereupon myoglobin is released from muscle cells and myoglobin is toxic to the kidneys.

    WHY does it happen?

It happens more to fillies and mares, across different ages and breeds and geographies ( I think that is what my notes say). From 1980 to now there has been an explosion of science and information about this syndrome due to the research, the equine genome was mapped, muscles biopsies, equine treadmills were created, and it affects lots of horses so there was/is lots of interest in this syndrome.

First, there was some establishment of normal physiological parameters. Dr. Mero credits a Dr. Stephanie Valberg and her work on this syndrome for the new research and ongoing research that is informaing equne enthusiasts and veterinarians about this syndrome. Here is a website about Dr. Valberg http://www.vdl.umn.edu/aboutVDL/staff/valberg/home.html

Dr. Valberg was honored by being the first female lecturer to give the prestigious 2012 Frank J Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture in 2012, becoming the first female practitioner selected for the honor. This lecture was given Dec. 3, 2012 during the AAEP’s 58th Annual Convention in Anaheim, Calif. Here is a link to that information http://www.aaep.org/press_room.php/images/press_room.php?term=2012&id=484

So, yes, Dr. Valberg is the person to know when talking about dealing with the syndrome of tying UP! Her research is ongoing and I understand from Dr. Mero’s seminar that she, Dr. Valberg, facilitated by Dr. Mero, is seeking participants in endurance, who ride Arabians, to participate in research on this syndrome by allowing Dr. Valberg’s team to biopsy their horses. Do please contact Dr. Mero about this since she is facilitating this. The search for a possible genetic, or cluster of genetic causes of this syndrome is oingoing. We can help the equine community by participating.

I understand that a muscle biopsy is somewhat invasive, but horses routinely return to full work in a week. Dr. Mero is the one to contact about that information.

As a scientist myself, and an educationist who teaches research methods and facilitating a scientific mindset, I would like to urge everyone to get involved, because the more data we have, the faster we can possibly isolate what is causing this syndrome in our horses.

I have not had a horse tie up at endurance ride since 1970; but, in 1970 my mare Suzy-Q tied up at the Blue Mountain ride in California. It was hotter than the bloody blue blazes in those canyons; I was a teenager and my horse was a backyard horse, someone got me started in endurance after watching my horse go. It was scary…..and I don’t remember exactly what we did except wait and watch what happened, and pray. Science can help us do better than that, now.

    What we have learned to-date.

This is one of THE most misunderstood syndromes, it is NOT lactic acidosis, it is not one disease, but likely several diseases happening at once and is due to different causes.

Here is where it gets really interesting as well as possibly REALLY confusing and where I more than likely will get something incorrect, so I am relying on folks who also attended to set the record straight.

There is Extrinsic ER ( Exertional Rhabdomyelosis) and Intrinsic ER; Extrinsic means likely we can cause it and manage it; the causes and solutions are under our control. Intrinsic ER means that the causes are not under our control but we MAY be able manage it.

Extrinsic ER: under this heading is something vets call *Sporadic ER*— the horse gets it sporadically or intermittently

Intrinsic ER: under this heading are the genetic causes: Recurrent ER, , Malignant Hypothermia, Idiopathic causes ( meaning we don’t know the cause) and a Chronic ER — under Chronic ER the causes are PSSM1 and PSSM2.

In case you want to know: PSSM stands for Polysachharide Storage Myopathy. And PSSM 1 and 2 refer to inherited dominant genes for this syndrome. Here are some FAQ’s to refer to about the PSSM. http://www.cvm.umn.edu/umec/lab/PSSM/home.html

Dr. Mero talked about Sporadic ER first as it is predominant in our sport. If a horse has ER the first time, it is labeled *Sporadic ER*, Treated with appropriate rest and attention to and management of causation events. Usually this is caused by overexertion, horses are just not ready yet for the work they are being asked to do. The etiology is usually: electrolyte imbalance, diet imbalance, Vit E and Selenium deficiency, high sugar diet. Dr. Mero was very clear in that WE control all of these causative factors.

To be continued in Part 2

AERC Dr. Hassan Hoof Balance and Lameness Issues

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, and I will remove any spam, flame, or non-productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.
In addition, I am thinking of myself as a *connector*, So, if you have questions about the content, do contact the person who did the presentation. I will provide as much information about contact info as I can.

Hoof Balance and Lameness by Dr. Karen Hassan, DVM, DAVCS. She practices @ Eastern Sierra Equine LLC in Carson City, NV. 3550 Shawnee Dr, Carson City, NV 89705 775-267-4630. Looks like she is on FB… @ https://www.facebook.com/karen.hassan.dvm.

This Veterinarian sounded as though she is a control vet/judge at endurance rides because she gave us examples of hoof issues she saw at endurance rides. I don’t know her riding history or whether she does endurance riding herself because that was not included in her bio.

I was very pleased to hear Dr. Hassan say that she saw the same issues in horses who were barefoot, in boots, or in shoes; that it all came down to trimming the hoof appropriately for whatever the horses were going to wear or not wear. This information is for all horses, regardless of their footwear.

I was so impressed with this person’s poise and handling of boisterous audience members. She is calm, cool and in control at all times; and she always went back to the current literature and studies to answer a question posed. She keeps current in her reading and does research on hoof issues.

Her Bio says *90% of all equine lamenesses occur in the lower limn and of those, 90% arise in the hoof*. Ok. That says is very strongly and gives us something very concrete to pay attention to. She went on tell us that lameness in the hoof is due to hoof imbalances.

She started with the idea that we need to time our hoof care with our ride plans. Well, I do that, and have done that for the last 3 years; so much so that my farrier NOW asks * when is your next ride?*, so we can plan the farrier schedule accordingly. The best is to time your hoof care so that your horse’s hoofs (ves) are IDEAL.
I asked, at that point, if she would be willing to talk to farriers and she replied she has plans to do just that. I THINK she said she would be talking to farriers March 18 in Roseville. I could be very wrong about that, and I don’t know what Roseville she is talking about (CA or NV), so my best suggestion is that if you want to tell your farrier about this you send her an email, message via FB, or call her and ask about this. Because, folks, it really is a team effort between our vets, our farrier, and expert vets in hoof care like herself, and us as owners yes? YES, Continuing education for farriers is a BIG DEAL!

She told us that MOST of the time, there are external noticeable signs to an internal hoof problem; she had great examples and great slides; which are not reproduce-able herein because they were really all her intellectual property and she is the one who needed to explain what we were looking at. I highly recommend attending a clinic or visiting her or sending her hoof images, or….. seeking her counsel about hoof issues.

One of THE most common problems she sees at endurance rides is too long of a toe, and under-run heels.
Why is Hoof Balance so difficult to achieve? She actually said that while there are ways to do it right, the fine tuning, getting to know a horse, getting to know our own horses, sharing how the horse’s go is an art form. Yep, she said that. and I was very glad she did because I have noticed that with my farrier.

I have the BEST Farrier ever, he has been my farrier for over 5 years. He fixed my older Arabians feet after he was almost ruined by a bad farrier and he watches my horses move, and he listens to me, but he also knows his stuff inside and out. He knows how horses are supposed to travel and he also knows the consequences of changing a horse’s hoof as the movement the carries up the leg into the horse’s body. Yes, I am willing to share his name and # with anyone in my area (Olympia, WA) just send me your email address. He and Sue Summers trained together at Farrier school and if asked Sue always gives him a big thumbs UP. One example of this listening to me was my gelding had been stumbling a bit too much, my farrier listened and we tried some small things, then we tried something a little different, and the last small change has made all the difference and no more overly stumbly horse. Small changes, watch, wait, try it and see. No big overt changes, keeping his hoof balanced all of the time. It truly is an art form my farrier uses to fine tune my horses shoeing and hoof work.

Again, the basics are that your farrier ( or as my friend says * her blacksmith*) , your vet, and you are a team and the whole team needs to talk to each other and be clear about what is best for the horse at all times. We should ALL always advocate for the horse.

She spent quite a bit of time on improper heel support. She gave us all kinds of measures about what to look for in the hoof. She stressed we really need to get down and LOOK, really LOOK at our horse’s hooves, measure them, watch them for changes, be aware of wear patterns, do the heels match? Are the walls similar in thickness?

I always look at my horse’s wear patterns in their shoes at every shoeing so now I am familiar with how they wear, which direction, and where the patterns are so I can talk intelligently with my farrier about these patterns.

She stressed that imaging the hoof ( ves) helps a lot; lateral imaging so the farrier and you the owner can actually see how the foot is balancing or not with and without shoes, I would imagine.
She was adamant that the statement * My horse just grows that way * is NO excuse for letting a horse have imbalanced hooves; even IF they grow that way, they can still be balanced.

She also stressed that Arabians are a tough breed so their tolerance for lameness/hoof issues is high, thus we may not see issues in outward physical signs because of this toughness. Thus, we REALLY need to know our horses and when they are *off*.

She also said * don’t mess with the sole of the hoof*.

One very clear message is that if your horse is pulled from a ride due to lameness? Give the issue 1-2 weeks to resolve, if it does not? Call your vet in for consultation.
Ok.

AERC Donna Snyder-Smith on The Biomechanical Partnership

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, and I will remove any spam, flame, or non-productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.
In addition, I am thinking of myself as a *connector*, So, if you have questions about the content, do contact the person who did the presentation. I will provide as much information about contact info as I can.

Achieve greater speed, distance and soundness w better rider biomechanics. Donna Snyder-Smith. Donna Snyder Smith endurance guru.

March 11, 2013 @ 12:26p IDK why the links are not showing up…. am working on that… they are here, inserted correctly. Feel free just to look up the products on your own.

I saw Donna Snyder Smith ( DSS from hereonin) at PNER convention one year and just was flat out impressed. How about that idea of ensuring that you are balanced and fit and ready to be a partner for your horse? What a concept that us as riders being *sided* can lead to unsoundness in our horses? Yeah. Well. That.

A small bit of history of mine that may resonate with allaya’ll… I was fit and happy and going to the gym in March 2010. Then, my stepmom *Rock* was diagnosed with lung cancer and my beloved dad Harry (civil engineer extraordinaire) with dementia (actually he had had it for 3 years prior, but my stepmom was taking care of him and them). My whole life turned upside down as I started spending more and more time in California, with them, trying to forestall the inevitable but also just making sure I got my time with them as we were very close. I don’t live in CA, I live in WA state. I also have a husband, horses, cat, godchildren, a job, students, and responsibilities to handle here at home. My life went tipsy topsy turvy and what was not included in the next two years until they both passed away within 3 weeks of each other, was exercise for me. Grief and stress really took a toll on my fitness as well as my drive to be more fit. I gained weight and am less fit. I hate it but there you go. This year, 2013 I am just now starting to feel as though I should try to get my life back in order—Gym regularly, Zumba perhaps? I need to be more fit.
So, here I am feeling guilty for stressing my horses out already and here comes Donna Snyder Smith. I know you all know that when you are fit and happy, information hits differently than when you are overweight, unfit, sad, and just feeling a lot less like yourself. The latter is me; but hopefully am coming out of that funk now with renewed spirit and vigor albeit 2 years older, now…..

DSS has a world of experience, years and years and YEARS of it, she says to us, * most of what I am going to share with you comes from 1990 onward*  Ok…. AND two pieces of information came from her that bear listening very hard to: 1) She is considering herself retired now and 2) she said we all need to start paying real close attention to someone named Michael *Beasely*— read his work, get ourselves to a clinic…. She emphasized that REALLY strongly. OK then…. She is retiring but she has passed gospel on someone newer, younger, and someone SHE respects. That’s GOOD! However, my hard of hearing says she said Michael *Beasely*, however, that is a basketball player. I THINK she may have meant Michael Peace? But, I have emailed her for verification and will edit this post when her reply comes in. Michael Peace is in the UK, hoping there is someone closer….

One of the many many many things I so enjoy about DSS is her use of audience volunteers as models for what she is talking about. Her presentations are interactive, lively and ring true, and work!
Her talk could also be called *taking care of horse AND rider*, or *Endurance is a sport of partnership, because of the distances we go with our horses*. If we neglect our half of the partnership we may have issues such as lameness, being pulled from rides, non completion. She had a quote of which I lost the last word…

*Dead Last is greater than did not finish and did not finish trumps_____* anyone catch that last word? LMK please!
Donna Snyder Smith, AERC convention, March 8-9, 2013 Reno, NV.

She then went on… it is best to ride by balance, we learned this via interactively partnering up and using *grip* vs *balance* to ride whereupon you and your partner are variously the horse and then the rider, using your cupped hands on each other’s rib cage, guiding as though you are riding. It actually *hurts* to have someone GRIPPING your rib cage. Well, yeah, and I have personally been told by my trainer that I have very strong adductors so if I grip, I am saying GO GO GO and sending my horse down the trail fast and all spun up, rather than relaxed. If I reflect on two starts in two different races— I had just had a lesson and was practicing at the start of one race and me and my very high energy gelding started smooth and relaxed, whereupon, I did not do that at the start of another race and he worked himself into such a tizzy that his heart rate did not come down for 30 min at the 25-30 mile vet ck. He was actually OK, I was just riding HORRIBLY. I am still learning, and am learning to ride all over again, which is why I am taking centered riding lessons, it really helps me with my high energy horses. RIDE BY BALANCE, NOT BY GRIP!
DSS then used audience participation to illustrate the horse, its’ back, the biomechanics of horse movement, and how we, as riders, can interfere or help our horses move more freely. Horses are really NOT designed for riding, thus we add weight to the horse’s back, and we must also ask the horse to carry us correctly by asking our horses to lift their backs, by talking to their belly muscles. We must ask the horse to use its’ back correctly to carry us to strengthen their back muscles. Which means if we are riding correctly and doing the best with our half, our horses backs will strengthen, backs will widen as back muscles develop. My pea brain went * Duh, SADDLE FIT!* I have been having saddle fit issues, my horses both have backs that are wide, but, the saddles that fit last two years do not fit anymore. Any of you in saddle fit hell?

As riders, we need to think proportionally. We need to ride in the middle of our horse, but there are two axes upon which to measure the middle. Longitudinally (head to tail), and side to side. Therefore my own body needs to be in alignment and developed on both sides. (See personal note, above, again, I used to be better).
You can run a test on yourself: here is how: stand square in front of a mirror, in a relaxed position, are my shoulders level? Can I place a carpenters’ level shoulder to shoulder in front and have the level be level? YES? NO? Usually we all have a side that is tighter, due to pelvis alignment or drop or tight muscles or pelvis rotation. This results in differential weight on the horse and in the stirrups. Visualize this, I am sitting on my horse with my rotated pelvis moved back, right hip back, left hip fwd. This results in fatigue, and preferring one side (have we ever wondered why it is so easy to post in one direction? Yeah, well….. go do that leveling exercise). This off positioning of our body can result in the horse adjusting to us, causing spasms in the back, because we are choking the horse’s movement on one side; short stride on one side, regular stride on the other— over 50 miles? UGH! Attention Endurance riders: A thought….. a shortened stride adds to completion time and wears our horses and us out….. YIKES!

DSS gave us a prescription: YOGA is imperative to open our groin areas and get elasticity. GO TO THE GYM, GO DOO YOGA, Do not use your horse as a GYM machine. oops…Ok. Yes. I should do that. I know that. I should do that. I am not holding up my half of this partnership.

Best to push a little bit, and back off and then push a bit more the next day, you will get more stretch. Pay NO attention to the No Pain no Gain. Pain causes your body to say * uh uh, no way, no more, and back off and do less because pain is the marker that says STOP THAT, you dullard*

We all need to build core strength. You can measure or diagnose your core strength by two exercises:
a) on the floor, all fours, stretch opposite leg and arm out until you shake… the side you shake less and can hold longer is your dominant side.
b) Using a mounting block, or steps, stand next to the step sideways to the step, life that leg, place it on the step, and lift/stand straight up—what happens? Do you tip? Do you protect something? Can you do it strongly and straightly? Now try the other side, and then repeat using a higher step.

Another DSS prescription: we need to test ourselves like this 3-4X a year to see how we are doing and what we need to work on.

Also, and just as important, if we ride off balance, we can impact our horse’s mental state, as well as physical state. Uh oh….. I am really paying attention now. And, she says, the more sensitive horses are impacted faster so do pay attention.

Newsflash from DSS— about riding correctly: Stirrups are not meant to stand in!!!!!! You wait for the horse’s motion to throw your pelvis up; don’t sit back down before the horse’s front foot is UNDER you. Keep your knee joint loose, ankle joint flexion unlocked, (slightly turned in). Post LIGHTLY, 1/3 of your weight in the stirrups and 2/3 on your inner thigh with NO TENSION. DSS said during rising trot she should be able to come over and poke her finger in your inner thigh and go easily all the way do the bone. WOW! I can see myself trying that….. and my friends putting the video on FB! LOL. Here’s an exercise for ya: tap your stirrup with the ball of your foot DURING the rise at the posting trot. Let’s Go do that and report back allya’ll 

DSS took a break in the middle for some commercials  awesome….. she said when she was in the peak of her career and had a barn full of horses she could use her barn as a *test barn* however, she no longer ha that so she passed on some of the items that she would have tested at her barn and is recommending we test them/go explore them because they sound good to her:
1. Rice bran has a been a real boon to our sport and there is a new product that has coconut and flax added called RenewGold™ website of The Phoenix company that makes it

2. EquineClot® Trauma Gauze ™ this product is said to stem arterial blood flow in 2-3 minutes. It is hemostatic gauze; go read about it and get some for your trailer and trail first aid packs. Website here:

3. Purina® Hydration Hay™ Retrieved March 11, 2013 from Purina Mills

Purina folks said it should take about 10 minutes for the block about 4x2x6 inches block. IF your horse cannot have alfalfa at all, you cannot use this product. BONUS for us endurance riders is that this is hay that holds water. The people at the Purina booth were inundated after DSS’ talk and after one lady held her FREE SAMPLE up for us all to see. We were thankful they were there, They were thankful for DSS’ endorsement, Thank you Purina People for the free sample, cannot WAIT to test it and see if my horses will EAT it. NOTE: They, my horses, Bella and Chance, were less than impressed with the compressed weed seed free hay horse triscuits we bought for a Mt Adams ride. I would LOVE it if they will eat this product!

4. On to another topic, and another new product—of which we need to test 3-4X a year, is equine ulcers. Studies show (she did not provide those studies) that 70-90% of horses trailered have ulcers; there is now an at home equine ulcer diagnosis for hind gut and GI tract ulcers. However, the Treatment still needs to come from your veterinarian 

And lastly
5. Back on Track® has a new fabric with a ceramic element that retains and reflects heat; I think it is called Welltex fabric. DSS was envisioning us using the products i.e. butt rugs and blankets to help cold muscles retain warmth and stay flexible. Here is the link to Back on Track®
Back on Track therapeutic mesh sheet

The conclusion of DSS’ presentation was * ok, back to the humans*:
Summary:
It’s a partnership…..Go down the trail, stay in the middle remember your horse will form a mental and physical state due to our balance or imbalance, and physical discomfort.


My own resolutions: Back the gym try Zumba classes ( Grand Sierra had walk in gym classes and I tried Zumba for the very first time and am thinking it might be for me because it is more like dancing to sexy music along with cardio and muscle strength) and YOGA! Yeah…. I massage my horses and do yoga with them, why not pay attention to me as well?

AERC Dr. Dowling Drugs and Ethics in Performance Horses

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, and I will remove any spam, flame, or non-productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.
In addition, I am thinking of myself as a *connector*, So, if you have questions about the content, do contact the person who did the presentation. I will provide as much information about contact info as I can.
Blind Ambition: Drugs and Ethics in Performance Horses by Trisha Dowling (Dr. Dowling is a rider and a veterinarian and a researcher) is that a Double Dr? DVM, MSc, DACVIM (LAIM), DACVP A very rare combination. She works at Western College of Vet Med, Saskatoon as a Professor of Pharmacology. Dowling, Trisha Professor, Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology
Veterinary Biomedical Sciences Phone: 306-966-7359 Email: trisha.dowling@usask.ca
This woman got my attention right away, not only did she say she wanted Lance to be innocent, she gave us HOMEWORK. A scenario about drugs and a performance horse; asking us to comment on which of the characters in the scenario were the least ethical. That was fun, and she collected our work and she said she will compile it and get the results back to us in some fashion. She shared that this is not REALLY horse story, actually, it is more about people  and is all about learning to play within the drug rules of our sport, which we all SHOULD KNOW! Fun, huh?
She started her talk with the issues with *zero drug rule, *0* detection. In fact, she said *the zero moves*. IF your organization decides to have a zero drug rule, you are allowing an analytical chemist to be in charge of your medication. Huh, really? Tell me more…. Drug rules and policy are typically *guilty until you can prove yourself either innocent or not at fault.
Here is why zero moves: We, well, analytical chemists, can detect the metabolites or presence of drugs/substances down to the parts per billion, or nanogram levels BUT, we are fast moving towards being able to detect at the parts per trillion level; SOME labs can detect at the parts per quadrillion (is that the word?) right now. Therefore, since we are soon to be able to detect if a horse has EVER had a drug and even sometimes when that horse has been given the drug; we really need to set some tolerance levels because being able to detect at that level does NOT mean that level of substance is *performance altering*. Thus, then we are in charge of violations and violations would ONLY be if we exceed the tolerance levels. Wow, color me impressed! And yeah, what Dr. Dowling said…. Knowing chemistry like I do….. and knowing technology, being able to detect a molecule of something does not mean it will enhance or hinder the performance of my animal. Thank YOU Dr. Dowling.
Setting tolerance levels involves science, well yeah, I should hope so! The basic process is a dose titration measuring a horse’s activity on increasing amounts of the substance. That enables us to draw that line between performance altering and non-performance altering levels.
Dr. Dowling told us stories, too, wonderfully scary, awe-inspiring stories. She said sometimes, it is difficult to protect you and your horse from having banned substances in their blood or urine. For example a substance called clenbuterol, a β agonist which increases muscle mass…and enhances performance, or Ractopamine, a muscle mass enhancer given to food animals (beef, turkeys, and pigs. Dr. Dowling told us a scary story of a person who won a big show, her horse test positive for ractopoamine, she suffered all of the ill-effects of that finding; BUT, it turns out that ractopamine is added to food animal feed manufactured with the same machines as makes horse food and it is possible for banned substances to end up in your horse without your knowledge, but you have no knowledge about it. It will cost you, to get your name cleared. It is very difficult to figure out how to protect yourself and your horse.
When asked if there was a human consumption issue, Dr. Dowling replied that it is not a human safety issue in terms of human consumption.
Basically we then came back to the issue at hand here… * who is the person responsible for a drug violation?* Owner? Rider? Parent of a minor? Trainer? Veterinarian? Groom? Who?
AERC rules are very clear: Retrieved March 10, 2013 from AERC Rules
13.5 Enforcement Procedures:
13.5.1 Any equine and rider violating this rule at an endurance ride shall forfeit any completion or placing for the ride. The AERC may impose additional penalties for violation of this rule on any person responsible for the violation. Normally, the rider of the equine and its owner shall be considered the persons responsible for its custody and care at a ride. Accordingly the rider of the equine and its owner shall avoid liability for additional penalties for violation of this rule only by showing by clear and convincing evidence that: (a) some other person outside of the rider or owner’s control was responsible for the violation and (b) the rider or owner bore no fault for the violation.

Dr. Dowling then proceeded to ask us questions about * what if* and present stories that set the rules on their ear, sometimes when the rules were about a different organization, thereby showing that rules are very easily malleable given certain situations, laws, politics, etc. Quite wonderful…. I pretty much sat with my mouth in an *O* while scribbling fiercely! Sounds as though the rule setting committee needs to consult with Dr. Dowling on a regular basis—- to get her *what ifs* and see if we can cover as many as possible, eh?
Note to self: please please please ask these people to provide handouts! It is an educational necessity…… all presenters MUST provide access to power points and handouts that summarize their talks especially if they want their material to be taken home, digested, and USED. End, note to self. Yeah, I am in education….. in addition, do teach people HOW to make public presentations, how to speak into microphones, how to engage audiences, how to assess whether people have gotten what they talked about and what they will use, year after year. That makes the convention sustainable. Rant, done. but, really, this would be for the good of the organization…. Yes?
So, back on track—– what happens if the *person responsible* is a child, say or a VIP? Wonderful stories about a parent who is not a member of the club, a child who is a member of the club, a sheikh (a sheikh I knew, or met! While I was visiting Dubai way back in 1990 with my friend Lindsay) and his grooms; grooms drugging horses to retaliate and compete against each other. Oh lordy lordy lordy!
And then, she told us a story about a horse eating the straw bedding, urinated in by his person @ least 20X a day the owner peed in his pony’s stall, pony ate it and tested positive for naproxen… OMG! 
Bottom line, take home message? Know your drug rules, and protect yourself and your horse, and gather the stories.

AERC convention Friday March 8 John Parke on Liability Issues

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, I will remove any spam, flame, or non productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.

Friday March 8,

Hot Topic, Liability Issues on Endurance rides. Holy crap, Ride Managers ROCK…… read on…. You will emerge possibly with an even more enhanced appreciation for our RM’s and what they take on on our behalves!

John Parke, Regional Director, AERC southwest region and legal counsel to AERC. John Parke Solvang, CA, office: 805-963-8611; office fax: 805-962-1940 E-mail: jparke@aklaw.net

Fun, Funny, he rides, has managed rides, and is smart!

First session on Friday brought on all kinds of learning—boy of this convention holds to that standard? Gonna be great! I walked out of this first session with my head buzzing. John Parke is funny and a fun moderator with lots of stories to support what he is saying.

This session, he really had an agenda; he wanted to hear from Ride Managers about the pressing issue of big claims against AERC due to injuries at Endurance rides. He started with the basic process and structure of an injury claim so we would all start the session with the basic understanding of *how these things work*. Then the session topics were 1) prevention of injuries on rides, 2) good Samaritan laws, 3) liability releases we sign at rides and do/ how do they work and …. Well there may be another topic but I did not write it down, oh yeah 4) some suggestions about how to make yourself less liable as an RM.

Why is this important? If there are major crises/injuries on rides neither Ride Mangers nor landowners will want to put on or host rides. There goeth our sport, eh?  In addition is the decision of AERC to be the *primary insured* on the Equisure policy; RM’s are not the primary insured; AERC provides RM’s the insurance coverage  to protect RM’s as club members and allow  them to put on rides by assuming the risk.

I also learned, I think I have this right, that AERC offers a *personal excess* insurance when you renew your membership; Dianna Chapek told me…. I think that was her. And that insurance, when purchased will supercede your personal homeowners insurance, at equine events. WOW! Nice, that?  All insurance questions should be directed to Dianna, she is extremely knowledgeable about this stuff.

The basic process of an injury claim, according, to John goes a bit like this: an injury happens at a ride, the person or persons wait a bit to see what develops taking into consideration the statute of limitations, current and future medical costs, whether or not the injury was really connected to the ride, current and future pain and suffering and loss, and how much $$$ they might get in a settlement from AERC. Taking all that into consideration, a claimant may decide to get an attorney and make a claim, which then goes to whoever is named in the claim: Ride Manager, then AERC since AERC insure RM’s via Equisure provided by Lloyds of London.  90-95% of claims are settled via negotiations between attorney and insurance (as I understand it Equisure *defends* Ride Managers with the attorney of the claimant) which is why RM’s get insurance for rides to be able to put on rides, for us!

The other concept John paid out really clearly for us was the *conversation nee argument* about legal definitions and distinctions between the different levels of negligence. Believe me people, I was listening with both ears and my whole brain….. Apparently there is *ordinary negligence* and *gross or reckless negligence*. And, that this decision can ONLY be decided by a Jury… that spells *trial in court* to me. This came up because of a case John shared with us about RM wanting to provide a first aid kit to drag riders at a ride presumably so they would have some tools to deal with situations they might find on the trail. The decision was made to NOT give the drag riders first aid kits because then if the drag riders did something wrong—not being trained medical personnel– resulting in/more injury then RM would be liable for decisions made by drag riders. Which then brought the idea, from the audience, about Good Samaritan rules/laws.  So, what I understood John to say was that typically Good Sam laws provide you with immunity if you enacted ordinary negligence, but NOT if you enacted gross/reckless negligence, which, repeat after me * can ONLY be decided by a Jury*.  Everyone, run out and find and read your state’s Good Sam laws…. But then John said that in his opinion it is better for a Ride Manager to decide * how they want to be perceived*– a) as someone who acknowledges that *things* happen on a trail/at horse events, or b) not. It is RM’s decision.  Ok, I am REALLY listening now… REALLY learning and REALLY thinking about *tuff* here, the audience was totally engaged.

The next issue to come up, bolstered by a story shared by John, wherein he was in a cast, chatting with a non rider, with a 3 year old child, somewhat near the finish line of an Endurance ride….. when a rider who had been racing in came off a horse and the horse, hell bent for leather is now charging, riderless, directly towards John, chat partner, and child. EEEEEEEEGADS! Thus, John, even while acknowledging that finish lines in camp allow us all to watch and help, went ahead and made a very strong recommendation that RM’s put the finish line away from camp and away from car and horse highways. Seems that finish lines in camp are accidents and liability issues for RM’s waiting to happen and quite easily fixed, perhaps.

The next issue was that because endurance is a business for some (breeding, training, riding, campaigning, selling horses) that at some rides in some areas businesses and people who have businesses lease their horses to people who don’t know endurance, don’t know the horse, and may or may not have the maturity to pick it all up in 50 seconds on the trail or at Ride meeting. John shared a case where such a novice on a leased horse crashed into a mt biker resulting in injury.  Yes, there is an assumption of risk when participating  in horse events, however, according to John,  while most equine liability laws do require a higher standard of proof in injury cases but the equine liability laws do not make these cases * go away*.

In a related issue, John brought up the issue of *protecting the integrity of the trail* which, as I understand it is keeping others not in the race off the trail during the race, unsafe trails, weather issues, and inadequate containment of animals not in the race.  All are serious issues and need to be considered in a serious fashion because the RM is squarely in the sights and the question of * who did something wrong and could it lead to litigation?*  One decision RM’s have to make is whether to let riders ride on unsafe trails when the trails become unsafe at the last minute due to weather, or……. Here is a great story:  One RM shared a REALLY creative way of cancelling a ride due to weather issues; apparently the trails the ride was to be held on became really unsafe due to rain all night ( yeah we have that too, don’t we here in the PNW). So, RM cancelled the ride before 6am and then offered riders to have a refund, or participate in a Fantasy ride where in the riders donated the ride fee to the organization, sat in the hot tubs, I think she said they voted on BC and other awards, she reported that most people stayed and said it was the *best ride ever*; well yeah!  It would be wouldn’t it?  Love that solution.

Ride Managers ROCK!

So, what about those liability releases we sign at rides?  Do they work? John said * they are useful* depending on some elements. (I think endurance ride law classes should be mandatory, now, @ ride meetings; a reminder would be nice as well as some words about Good Sam laws to be included on ride fliers, thoughts about that?).  One element is type type of the activity; the more recreational and less of a necessity the activity it is, the more likely the release will be likely to work.   Another element that is crucial is plain language so that the regular person can understand what they are signing.  And, again, here is the ordinary vs reckless negligence language important.  The more *ordinary* the negligence the more likely the release will work….. Liability releases are NOT a panacea, but they help.

Yes, AERC has a *claims history, we ( AERC) have had 12 claims since 2005, no we cannot all know what those actual claims are due to confidentiality agreements entered into when the settlement happens as well a conversation about whether we should know, or even RM’s should know. The worry is that once the claims are known, they can be used as copycat claims, a *how to* manual if you will about how to get $$$ from AERC. That would help no one. Yes, the BoD is discussing it.  This was not said, directly but…..  I am inferring that the strong recommendations made in this session can be read as *lessons learned* from these claims, yes, I can be wrong.

 

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…(\…)\..A lovely horse is always an experience…it is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. -Beryl Markham

 

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