Preparing for Your First Ride

Below, find educational articles to help you prepare for your first ride.

YouTube videos from AERC — learn the basics of arriving at camp, horse camping, packing a crew bag, the control check exam and how to stay on trail

Endurance Basics by Genie Stewart-Spears, reprinted from Arabian Horse World

Getting Started: Beautiful Trails and Competition from Equine Canada HorseLife Magazine

Getting Started: Q and A from Equine Canada HorseLife Magazine

Using a Stethoscope video on Youtube will give you an overview of stethoscope use for endurance riders

Saddle Fit:

Fitting the Saddle to the Withers by Kim and Karin Baker, from

The Nine Points of Saddle Fitting by Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore, from Dressage Today magazine

Check for Back Pain and Saddle Fit by Joyce Harmon, DVM, from Practical Horseman magazine


Bridles, Bits, Hackamores, Breast Plates and Cruppers:

The Bit Gallery, from

Cruppers, from

Martingales, from

Hackamores, from

Preparing your horse for the (crazy-fun) sport of endurance riding (pdf), by Jeanette (Jay) Mero, DVM

Assessing Your Equine’s Overall Fitness by Terre O’Brennan

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Ride? by Deirdre C. Monroe

Is Your Horse Fit? The Physiology of Conditioning, from the Alberta (Canada) Ag-Info Centre, via

The Art of Pacing the Distance Horse (pdf), by Sue Greenall

Pacing In Competition from the AERC Rider Handbook (Chapter 10)

(Note: these are only opinions and every horse requires individual adjustments)


Training for Endurance by Jim Holland, from

Tips and Hints on Endurance Riding, from

Right on Schedule: Trailer Maintenanceby Sharon Biggs, from

Trailering Articles from

Horse Trailering Information from the Ontario (Canada) Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Long Distance Trailering Webinar: How to safely transport your horse long distances. Thank you to the Southeast Endurance Riders Association for sharing this webinar, filmed in 2021.



Arabian Horse Distance Riding Association (Midwest Region)
Promotes and encourages the use of the Arabian horse in distance riding and the activities of endurance riding, competitive trail riding, and pleasure trail riding, sports in which the breed naturally excel. Affiliated with the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) and the Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Riders Association (UMECRA).


Arizona Endurance Riders Club (Southwest Region)

The Arizona Endurance Riders Club is a Nonprofit 501c3 formed for the purpose of promoting endurance riding through the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) within the state of Arizona, offering education, social events, ride support, and a welcoming group camaraderie.


California State Horsemen’s Association (Pacific Southwest & West Regions)
California State Horsemen’s Association was formed and incorporated in 1942 to promote horsemanship and the interest of horse owners in the state of California. CSHA’s Endurance Rides Committee, formed in 1971, promotes organized endurance rides and distance riding horsemanship. There were founders of the AERC on that first CSHA endurance committee. Wendell Robie was a member/supporter of CSHA. The CSHA State Endurance Program provides education, mentors and awards, with buckles for the 1st place high point winners in each weight division and the junior division. There are also awards in each division for 2nd-5th and a participation award for all enrolled in program. CSHA also has regional endurance programs that also provide education, mentors and awards. All California residents are eligible for membership.


Daniel Boone Distance Riders (Kentucky & Indiana: Southeast & Midwest Regions)
The Daniel Boone Distance Riders are a nonprofit organization formed to promote distance riding in and around the state of Kentucky.


Distance Riding Association of Wisconsin (Wisconsin: Midwest Region)
DRAW promotes distance riding in the state of Wisconsin, and also sanctions rides with UMECRA.


Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association (Northeast Region–Maine to Virginia)
ECTRA (Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association) is a regional organization, encompassing the states between Maine and Virginia. We are a competitive distance riding organization which sanctions CTR (competitive trail rides) in distances ranging from 10 miles up through 3-day 100-mile rides and co-sanctions AERC endurance events. This enables us to track and award not only your CTR miles but also AERC endurance miles. We have a different set of rules to follow but the end result is the same, a way to enjoy those long distance miles ridden on your favorite equine partner and to meet new friends. Please check out our website,, to learn more about ECTRA and CTRs. Please also visit the who’s who section and feel free to contact any of us for more information.


Gold Country Endurance Riders (Northern California: West Region)
GCER started in 1980 in Auburn, California. Membership includes endurance riders, social riders and non-riders. Gold Country members enjoy camp-outs and many social rides throughout the year. Annually GCER puts on the Gold Country 30/50 Endurance Ride. Other activities include helping with the Western States Run and the Western States (Tevis) 100-mile ride, as well as building and/or repairing trails.


Great Lakes Distance Riding Association (Michigan: Midwest Region)
GLDRA is a distance riding organization that encourages trail rides in the state of Michigan. The distance rides in Michigan are sanctioned by the Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Ride Association (UMECRA).


Green Mountain Horse Association (Vermont: Northeast Region)
The Green Mountain Horse Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1926. The group’s goals are to promote the use of horses, provide facilities for horse shows and activities, and develop and maintain bridle trails in Vermont. GMHA has held a significant place in the development of horse sports in the United States.


Middle of the Trail Distance Riders Association (Central, Midwest and Mountain Regions)
MOTDRA was founded in 1990 by a group of people who enjoyed competitive trail and endurance riding. They wanted to create an organization to sanction both types of rides, with enough rules to make the competition fair and fun, but without making the rules onerous. They wanted a club where people could learn about distance riding in a friendly atmosphere. Most of our members hail from Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma but is open to all.


Minnesota Distance Riders Association (Minnesota: Midwest Region)
MnDRA was formed to promote distance riding in the Upper Midwest, giving recognition to horse and rider teams. Events sponsored in Minnesota are competitive, limited distance, and endurance. MnDRA also sanctions with UMECRA.


Mountain Region Endurance Riders
MRER is the regional endurance riding organization for the Mountain Region. Members participate in an awards program and receive a bi-monthly newsletter.


Nebraska Endurance and Competitive Trail Ride Association (Nebraska: Mountain and Midwest Regions)
NECTRA promotes the sport of distance riding. Members meet 6 to 8 times per year and spring through fall. Most of the emphasis is on CTR, but the group members also give back to the community by participating in trail cleanings and clearings, donating to state parks for special projects and volunteering with the Nebraska Horse Council and North American Trail Ride Conference to promote trails and serve the horse community.


Nevada All State Trail Riders (Nevada: West and Pacific Southwest Regions)
The Nevada All-State Trail Riders, Inc. (NASTR) was organized in 1968 for the purpose of preserving historical trails in Nevada by sponsoring and promoting horse back riding on these trails. In 1991, NASTR purchased and built a mile of the Tahoe Rim Trail, and formed an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service in 1993 to provide maintenance on the Jones Creek/Whites Creek trail in the Mount Rose Wilderness. NASTR has celebrated every National Trails Day, the first Saturday in June, by working on this trail.


Ohio Arabian & All-Breed Trail Riding Society (Ohio: Midwest Region)
Oaats, Inc., is the endurance, competitive distance, and pleasure trail riders club for Ohio and surrounding areas.


Old Dominion Endurance Rides (West Virginia: Northeast Region)
The Old Dominion Endurance Rides Inc. was formed in 1973 to promote and support the sport of endurance riding. Membership comes from all over the country. The group hosts the No Frills, Old Dominion and Frt. Valley endurance rides, as well as ride & tie competitions held in conjunction with the endurance rides. The organization focuses on competition and training, education and trail preservation.


Ozark Country Endurance Riders (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma: Central Region)
OCER is a regional club which sponsors limited distance and endurance rides in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, & Oklahoma.


Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides, Inc. (Northwest Region)
PNER is an organization composed of people interested in endurance riding in the Northwest. Membership in PNER offers fun, social, competitive, and educational benefits: regional awards, team competitions, an annual convention, regional officers, and a monthly newsletter.


Quicksilver Endurance Riders, Inc. (California’s Bay Area: West Region)
The club originated in 1979 as a group of friends with a common interest in endurance riding, and grew to become Quicksilver Endurance Riders, Inc. Now the club puts on endurance rides, ride & tie rides, poker rides and other fun activities. The group has regular meetings, publishes a newsletter, a yearbook, and holds an annual banquet. The group is actively involved in community affairs involving horse trails, both to protect old trails and to open new ones.


Redwood Empire Endurance Riders (Northern California: West Region)
Redwood Empire Endurance Riders is an endurance riding club based in Humboldt County in northwestern California which hosts several annual endurance rides on horseback in the redwoods.


South Eastern Distance Riding Association (Florida: Southeast Region)
SEDRA is an organization dedicated to the distance sports of endurance, competitive trail and competitive driving and to the owners of equine athletes. Its purpose is to encourage the growth and popularity of distance-related equine sports throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. The group sanctions distance events and maintains records for the benefit of its members — recognizing annual high point athletes and lifetime mileage accrual awards for riders and horses. SEDRA actively provides a wide variety of clinics to improve the horse/rider team and dedicates funds and volunteer hours to trails, trail cleanup and preservation.


Southeast Endurance Riders Association (Southeast Region)
SERA is a non-profit organization designed to promote endurance riding, encourage better care of endurance horses through rider education and assist ride mangers in producing quality competitions. SERA uses the rules for endurance riding as set forth by the AERC, and is committed to stewardship of lands they use by fostering land ethics that harmonize the relationship between equestrians and these lands.


Southern California Endurance Riders (Pacific Southwest Region)
This Facebook group gives Southern California endurance riders the opportunity to network and share information on local training and conditioning areas, trail issues, horses and tack for sale, endurance events or clinics being held in the region, and AERC issues that directly concern the PS region.


Southwest Idaho Trail and Distance Riders (Northwest Region)
Facebook page for SWIT&DR, a group of approximately 100 horsemen and horsewomen from southern Idaho and eastern Oregon who enjoy distance riding sports. The club, incorporated in 1979, sponsors monthly meetings, a monthly newsletter, and a year-end awards banquet. Each year, the group sponsors a summer moonlight trail ride and endurance rides. People and horses new to distance riding can enjoy shorter pleasure rides offered in association with longer competitive events.


Texas Endurance Riders Association (Central Region)

Do you love to ride the trails and camp with friends, but are looking for something a little more competitive or adventurous? TERA is an information source for endurance riding in Texas. TERA holds ride manager clinics, rider clinics, and sponsors many Texas rides. TERA publishes a newsletter with Central Region rides listed. The association’s year-end awards are given to acknowledge high point earners as well as those who help the sport. Come join us and try the exciting, challenging sport of endurance! Questions: Contact Form


Upper Midwest Endurance & Competitive Riders Association (Midwest Region)
UMECRA was formed with the goal of promoting the sport of endurance and competitive riding and good horsemanship under the direction of qualified veterinarians. The founding ride managers standardized a set of rules for the various rides to reduce variation in the way rides were managed, to coordinate ride dates, to tally points, and to present year-end awards at an annual banquet.




Distance Riders of Manitoba Association (Midwest Region)
The DRMA, which is associated with the Manitoba Horse Council, promotes endurance riding in the province of Manitoba and brings together equestrians interested in the sport. Several supervised rides are sanctioned every year, open to both members and non-members. Benefits include a mileage program, annual awards, and a newsletter.


Saskatchewan Long Riders (Midwest Region)
The Saskatchewan Long Riders is the provincial nonprofit organization dedicated to the endurance riding and equine welfare. The mission of the club is to encourage the growth and popularity of long distance riding with the motto of “to finish is to win,” while keeping the welfare of our equine athletes in mind. (Find the group on Facebook too.)


Endurance Riders of Alberta (Mountain Region)
Endurance Riders of Alberta (ERA) is a sanctioning and record-keeping body for riders and horses competing in endurance events in Alberta. ERA has rider and horse distance programs and year-end awards for in the Senior and Junior divisions for top horses and riders.


Endurance Riders of British Columbia (Northwest Region)
Each year ERABC awards mileage awards, high point horse and rider and high point B.C. awards as well as awards for consistency at the association’s general meeting. There is a bi-annual ERABC newsletter. ERABC hosts informative endurance clinics. ERABC members competing internationally are supported by the association.


Equine Canada
EC represents all equestrian disciplines and equine activity in Canada. In addition to a system of over 600 competitions across Canada, the disciplines offer athlete development and high performance programs to provide support to those progressing through the competitive system. Equine Canada is currently developing a Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTADM) to provide athletes and coaches with tools and support to progress from beginner to the championship podium.


Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association (Northeast Region)
OCTRA sanctions endurance rides, competitive trail rides and ride & ties in Ontario. Formed in 1968, OCTRA now offers moe than a dozen competitions each year, and has more than 300 members in Ontario and Eastern Quebec.


If you would like to suggest additional links to be added to this page, please e-mail

AERC Educational Videos

Updated 8/31/21

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