I see a different AERC than you are describing, Truman, with your misleading quote: "Oh, if your horse goes down - don't worry we'll just plug him in to an IV."
That is not the message being sent, nor it's intent, and you are well aware of that. I see an AERC that says: "We care enough about your horse that we certify our head vets. We have educational materials galore, available on our website and in our Endurance News publication regarding the safe conditioning and campaigning of the endurance horse, as well as veterinary articles and newsletters addressing common health concerns. We require our vets to inspect your horse before, throughout and after every ride to assure his continuing health and safety.
We will not sanction a ride that does not require these inspections to be done. Our vets are prepared to offer heroic life saving treatment when emergent situations arise, and we advocate early treament to all our members when those unfortunate circumstances present themselves, for whatever reason.
Our motto is "To Finish is to Win," and we are a peculiar sport in that while endurance riding is a timed event, we encourage conservative riding, long, high mileage careers, and offer coveted Turtle Awards, all in the interest of the welfare of the horse.
We have rules against animal abuse, with a fully developed Protest and Grievance committee to rule on protests against abuse and mete out appropriate punishment for offenders. We have our Veterinary Committee investigate and report on every horse death that occurs at or as a result of a ride, and our Welfare of the Horse Committee attempts to gather and collate as much useful information as possible and make it available to our constituency.
Our most coveted award is the Best Condition award, which focuses primarily on good horsemanship and riding within the healthy parameters of the horse. We recognize that horse deaths most often offer a degree of mystery, and we provide funding for post-mortem studies to turn each tragic death into a learning opportunity so that other horses and riders do not suffer the same fate."
I could go on, but clearly, AERC is not conveying the flippancy contained in the your sentence above, Truman. Bruce Weary