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Endurance News -- August 2017

President's Letter
Vice President's Message
Junior/Young Rider News
Classified Advertising

President's Letter: Summertime . . .

by Paul Latiolais, AERC President

And the livin' is easy. Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high . . . ("Summertime," lyrics by George Gershwin).

We have now begun the hottest month of the year. I hope you are all taking it easy while riding your horses.

It is so hot in some regions that no endurance rides are even scheduled. In other regions, like in the Northwest, it is the height of ride season with rides just about every weekend. Riders are engaging in multiple strategies to get their horses through the hottest rides of the year. Whether you are getting your horse through a hot endurance ride, or just going for an early morning trail ride before the real heat hits, are you taking care of yourself, as well as you are taking care of your horse? If your horse is prepared for the weather, but you are not, that is just not going to work.

Most of you probably know many of the tricks to staying healthy in the heat, but it does not hurt to be reminded. (And be sure to read the article on pages 19-23.)

Appropriate clothing is the easy part. Some like Cool Medics vests. Others prefer high-tech, breathable long-sleeve shirts, while still others prefer wearing as little clothing as possible with lots of sunscreen. Do whatever works best for you. If you use a cooling bandana around your neck, don't forget to bring it.

Hydration, electrolytes and food

The other important parts of preparing yourself for hot weather that people tend to ignore are hydration, electrolytes and food. These are the things we tend to obsess over when dealing with our horses, but forget about for ourselves.

Rule #1 for riders is the same as for horses: Don't do anything new at a ride. Anything that you plan to consume at a ride should be tried at home first, be it electrolytes, beverages or food.

Rule #2: Pre-hydrate. Put beverages (plural) in the truck cup holders for the drive over, and make sure they are empty by the time you get to ridecamp or the trailhead. Never mind those extra rest stops. It will be worth it.

Rule #3: Electrolyte yourself. This may be easier than you think. Some people like to put powdered electrolytes in their Camelbaks. If you like that, fine, but how about just eating something salty? Jerky is a fine source of salt, as are salted nuts. I would not try eating potato chips while riding. They likely would not survive the saddle bags, but they are fine to eat on the way over, if that is something you regularly consume. Also, there are some new nut bars that provide plenty of salt, e.g., Kind bars or those new Nature Valley Sweet & Salty granola bars. But remember, try them at home first.

Rule #4: Put real food in your saddle bags and eat it while you ride. The trick with any food in saddle bags is survivability. Will it stay intact? For example, bananas are not recommended, nor any other soft fruit. They make a mess. I once put a couple of plums in my top shirt pocket while heading out for a conditioning ride. When I put my hand in my pocket an hour later, all I found were plum pits swimming in plum soup. Sticky and not edible.

Jerky, nuts, trail mix (commercial or homemade), apples, oranges, carrots, and some granola bars are examples. The chocolate Kind bars tend to melt, so not ideal. The advantage to apples and carrots is that you can share them with your horse. My horses like nut and honey granola bars, but I don't eat them. Be careful not to consume too much sugar in one go. It can cause an energy crash later in the ride. You don't need a rider option on your record.

The bucket trick

If it is a really hot day, one trick that a heat researcher passed on to me is that during your vet hold, put your feet in a bucket of cold water. That will cool you off faster than anything else I know, other than standing in a deep freezer, but those are not typically or practically available at vet checks. By the way, that works for your horse too, although it is easier for your horse to just stand in a moving stream. I don't know about your horses, but my horses would not stand with their feet in buckets.

Take care of yourself and your horses in this heat. And don't forget to have fun. That is what this is all about, right?

Vice President's Message: Time to share your opinions

by Susan Kasemeyer

Recently I received a letter in the U.S. mail (that's unusual these days) with a one dollar bill in it. It asked that I answer a couple of survey questions and promised to send me five dollars if I responded. I thought "what the heck?" and answered the survey and returned it in the self-addressed stamped envelope.

Imagine my surprise when I really received a five dollar bill a few weeks later with a note saying they might ask me other questions some day. As long as the money is flowing, I thought.

I cannot afford to send any money out to you but I decided I have given my opinion too many times in this space in the last few columns and needed to give you a chance to give your opinions on several subjects.

Some of the ideas I will ask about are mine but most were started by others and are just being passed on by me.

1. Do you think AERC should consider some type of "non-competing" membership at a reduced rate? Maybe as a thank-you for ride managers who don't ride but give the rest of us opportunities by putting on rides? Or maybe for the wonderful friend who comes with you to a ride to crew or just hang out but really thinks we are nuts for riding that many miles -- however, they would like to read all about us crazy people and also support AERC. Just not $75 worth of support.

We also have several volunteers in the Southeast Region who show up at most rides to pulse, time or scribe or prepare food and I would love to see them in our membership lists. What do you think?

2. What are your ideas to create more participation in our AERC National Championship ride every year? I remember one of the most popular awards at the Race of Champions was the regional competition. An award was given for the fastest time for a regional team using the first placing three or four riders. An award was given for the regional team with the highest percentage of finishers.

It was a real competition and raised regional pride and caused lots of good things, like group crewing. It was possible for anyone to win these. What do you think?

3. Should we make more awards be for combined distances? The wonderful longevity pins, part of the Equine Longevity Program instituted by Terry Woolley Howe, awards years in our sport and recognizes limited distance and/or endurance mileage. What do you think?

None of these questions are to take the place of the wonderful surveys put out by the committees. I just want you to think about them. Please send your responses to or fill out the quick online survey at

If you feel strongly either way on any of them you could talk to directors or send them to the appropriate committees. Join us August 12 in Chicago for our mid-year meeting. Susan

Junior/Young Rider News: Giving kids a 'free pass'

by Steph Teeter

Keep the kids riding! As a ride manager, I've found that the best way to attract juniors to the sport, and to keep them coming, is to let them ride free. Think of the average family with two or three kids: They have horses or ponies, they want to ride, they love to hang out with other kids, they like the friendly competition -- but when it costs their parents close to $500 to attend a ride (fuel, parent riding as sponsor, food, etc.), that's a huge amount of money that is hard to justify these days.

At the rides we manage, we've always given kids a discount of 50% but recently we're letting Juniors Ride Free (JRF) and it's making a huge difference. Some of the families have older kids (18+) who can now sponsor the younger ones so it's perfect for those families whose parents don't ride.

We now see more kids riding, especially the large families.

But it's a bit of a strain on a ride manager's budget. I strongly believe JRF is the right thing to do, but we're exploring ways to make it easier. There are actually many riders who are happy to help the JRF movement by donating ride entry discounts or dropping some dollars in the JRF jar.

I'm thinking of actually adding a little JRF "tax" onto ride entries. Doing the math, I could raise rider fees by $1 -- no great burden -- and if I get 50 entries that's $50 and that would at least pay for the awards and meals.

Maybe we could have a little JRF raffle, raise $100 or so on old tack items . . .

The point here is that I strongly encourage other ride managers to join the JRF movement. We are an aging sport -- more than half of our membership is over 50 years old.

The more these kids ride, the more likely they are to keep riding -- or start riding again once school, family and life permit. The youth are our future -- let's do everything we can to ensure it!

Juniors and Young Riders: Have an endurance story you'd like to share? Send to

August 2017 Classified Advertising



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