In 2019, the AERC Board of Directors voted to disaffiliate with the United States Equestrian Federation. Beginning with the 2020 AERC ride season, FEI rides will no longer be co-sanctioned with concurrent AERC rides.
The AERC-I Committee represent members and acts on matters pertaining to international equestrian endurance riding, and is made up of elected representatives.
AERC International Committee Report
Presented at the 2019 Midyear Meeting of the AERC Board of Directors
by Meg Sleeper, VMD, AERC-I Committee Chair
In light of the disaffiliation of AERC from USEF, the International Committee is in the process of editing and updating the International Committee Charter to include an updated vision of what its function will be in relation to AERC as a whole while supporting the International/High Performance component. A subcommittee has been tasked with preliminary edits to then present a draft to the Committee for comment. They are in their first draft of revisions and expect to have a working draft for the August committee meeting.
The International Committee would like to foster international USA team riding, international exchange riding opportunities, high performance riding clinics and education. Historically it has taken AERC members with exceptional horseman skills and very athletic horses to compete at the international level. AERC as an organization has numerous committees supporting Green Beans, Youth/Juniors, those starting in endurance and awards for those who have progressed in endurance riding. However, there is no other area in AERC that supports High Performance riding and competition. Therefore the AERC-I Committee has in the past and desires to continue to fill that niche.
To condition, maintain and compete horses at the international level, it requires individualized attention to the horse and rider as well as education. Last year the AERC-I Committee was involved in providing educational webinars on topics useful in producing world-class endurance athletes (both the horse and the rider). While all members are happy to spend time on the trail, AERC-I wants to help riders works on their own fitness and ability in conjunction with conditioning and fine tuning the horse. All facets are considered such as rider fitness, horse fitness and soundness, equitation and riding ability, nutrition, saddle & tack fit, as well as hoof and veterinary care.
To truly facilitate riders at this level requires an individualized and interactive approach. Therefore we supported our first Northeast Young/Junior High Performance Clinic in Virginia that took place July 10 to 13 involving eight youth. The small group included some international riders, one starting her journey in advanced endurance riding and others graduating from the program this year to compete as adults. The Youth were encouraged to bring their own horses and the clinic involved lessons from a world-renowned clinician, farrier consultation, veterinary assessment with hoof x-rays to evaluate hoof balance, equine nutrition, saddle fitting, pacing in a group over trail, and team building exercises where the youth were paired to provide a meal for the others and to report on learned objectives. The young riders were also tasked with writing a report of what they learned.
The International Committee will use this clinic as a template and encourage other clinics to be hosted in all the zones and feels that these type of educational events help to build better riders, better horses and sounder competition. In addition, it supports horse-welfare through one-on-one education of the participants building awareness of health care and competition subtleties that come to light at the higher competition level. In addition to education through clinics, webinars and EN news articles, the AERC-I committee will explore opportunities involving international team competition and international exchanges with other endurance countries. We hope through education and example, our committee can help both Senior and Youth athletes aspire to ride at the highest level in the USA and abroad.
On a final note, it is gratifying to note that AERC-I input into FEI has had a positive impact whereby our suggestions have been implemented through the FEI Temporary Committee and we expect rule changes in the new year to reflect that influence.
Interested in supporting AERC International? Contact the AERC office for details or add a donation when you renew your membership.