To Finish Is To Win

American Endurance
Ride Conference

no content
no content
no content
no content

Endurance News -- December 2015

President's Letter
Junior/Young Rider News
Member Heart Rate Study
Trails Post
Classified Advertising

President's Letter: AERC and Transparency

by Michael Campbell, AERC President

It's December. Time to renew your AERC membership and plan the next ride year. Which rides will you attend and what distances will you attempt? Which horse for which ride? (Remember to plan your ride and ride your plan.)

We're all making a wish list for the coming new ride year. It's an exciting and festive time with high hopes and fond dreams for the coming year.

If you could still sit in Santa's lap and give him your Christmas list, what would be on it? For some, maybe new tack or trailer would top the list, or maybe a new horse. (You could always use another horse.)

Maybe you would like to complete your first 50 mile ride or even 100. Maybe there is a particular ride you've always wanted to attend. Maybe you'll get your first win or best condition.

For those of you more farsighted riders with longer term goals, perhaps you want to improve your completion rate or complete the last year of the Decade Team Award for your favorite pony or simply rack up more miles.

Whatever your goals, the hay is stored in the barn for the winter and a party atmosphere pervades the country in December. We all relax a little and attend school, office or neighborhood parties to celebrate the completion of the year and our various religious commitments.

When I was a little boy, cowboys were my heroes and I often wished for a horse. I never got one, but I rode just about every horse in the county. My dad told my wife Dianne that he just thought it was a phase that I would outgrow. She told him that he could have saved her a lot of money if he had just bought me a horse when I was 10.

One of my local heroes was a (real) cowboy named Suckerrod. A sucker rod is part of an oil pumper in the oil fields and that must be where he worked and how he got his name. I never knew where he lived, but he rode into our little town most weekends on a bay mare named Lucy Lightning. He would let me hand graze Lucy while he went into the Domino Parlor for a couple of hours. He was always at the rodeos, usually moving the stock about and prepping them for the various events.

To us kids, he had the most carefree life imaginable. Most of the adults I knew didn't seem to have a high opinion of Suckerrod because of his seemingly itinerant status. But he worked, paid his bills and had a horse, and I couldn't imagine a better life than what he must be living. In my mind, every day was Christmas for Suckerrod.

Maybe that's why my parents didn't think I needed a horse. I once overheard a rancher comment that Suckerrod was so lucky that he would throw up a nickel and it would come down a dollar. Ah, Christmas dreams of the past.

I have a long wish list for this Christmas season. My cousin, Jane Jaroe (who was Miss America 1967), might tell me to include peace on earth. But for AERC, I wish for more members, a safe ride year for all horses and riders and the wisdom for each of us to succeed in the care and riding of our horses.

It would also really be nice if we all completed every ride we entered and none of us ever got pulled. And that all our trails be flat and smooth. And that our horses eat and drink at every stop and respond correctly to every cue. And that our clothes and gear never chafe. And that we never forget anything we need to bring to a ride. And that none of us ever fall off into the cactus.

I still have that goal of a carefree life. But I have come to believe that it depends less on any specific lifestyle or circumstance and more on my attitude.

So, if Santa or some other spirit of the holiday season is really out there (and I have faith that such dreams are real), then at the top of my Christmas wish list I would put a carefree holiday time with the knowledge that we are here for only a short time and there is a lot of fun to be had with each other.

For all AERC members, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist or anything else, I wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.

Junior/Young Rider News: Holiday Horse Traditions

by Terry and Nalisa Bradley

Holiday Hero

It snowed over ten feet that year,
And the mountains got even more.
It was time to decorate the Christmas tree,
But finding one was proving to be a chore.

Blistering winds and deep, deep snow, oh, it was so very cold.
Our poor little truck's putt-putt-putt could not pull us through the snow.
We needed something powerful; we needed something strong.
We needed something with heart that would not steer us wrong.

So out to the barn we trudged, the weather was a scare,
But strong and faithful was our trusty little mare.
With saddle and bridle in our hand,
We trudged out, knowing this adventure would be grand.

Even though the weather was so crude
This could not dampen our mood.
Upon her back we jumped, with ropes and saw in tow
And up the mountain we went, plowing through the snow.

Mother Nature is no match for a determined little horse with heart.
This horse had a job to do, and she was going to do her part.
So through the snow she plowed, not lacking any try.
A Christmas tree we needed to find, for Christmas was drawing nigh.

Cheers of joy was the frosty sound,
For a Christmas tree had been found.
Our little mare had saved the day.
And guaranteed a very merry Christmas day.


Holidays are filled with tradition, and many of those traditions are fulfilled with help from our four-legged friends. Like the poem above, we almost always search out that very special Christmas tree using the ponies to maneuver the icy mountain slopes.

How many of you spent Thanksgiving day on the back of your horse? A Thanksgiving ride before the great feast is a wonderful tradition that can fill your heart with gratitude for such magnificent animals, who travel over so many miles, not only carrying us on their backs, but caring for us as well.

A long-time endurance rider and friend shared one of her favorite horse traditions with me recently. Beverly Gray lives in Park City, Utah, where snow is a big part of their tourist economy. Beverly likes to take her horse out on Valentine's Day and ride a big valentine heart for her husband, Bill. Nothing better than a giant greeting card created out of hoof prints!

The holiday season is a great time to start the endurance year with a bang. Several rides are scheduled in locations where the weather isn't such a scare.

There was the Gold Rush Shuffle Pioneer in Northern California, the Season Finale in Oklahoma, and the Carolina and Etoniah rides in the Southeast -- all held over Thanksgiving weekend, giving you a chance to ride off those extra calories.

How about ringing in the New Year with the Death Valley Encounter four-day Pioneer ride, held between Christmas and the New Year in the Pacific Southwest Region? Who knows? This might be the start of a neat, new tradition for both you, your family, and your horses. Happy New (Ride) Year to all juniors and young riders and their families!

AERC Member Welcomes Heart Rate Study Participants

by Jerry Zebrack, MD

In the October issue of Endurance News there was a notice on page 17 discussing a study I am starting to do on endurance riders and their physical exertion. I have written several articles in the past stressing how physically challenging an endurance ride can be.

During the last five or so years numerous articles and posts have argued whether marathon running is or is not harder than bicycle riding a "century" or 100 mile bicycle race. For both events the average percent of maximum heart rate for each individual is about the same (see below for details).

Running is much harder on the muscles and joints although a marathon does not last as long as a 100 mile bike race. An average middle-of-the-pack runner will take about 3.5 to 4.5 hours to finish the 26.2 mile marathon course. The average bike rider will take about 6 to 8 hours to finish the 100 miles.

As you know, an average 50 mile endurance ride competitor will take an average of 7 to 9 hours to finish the course -- and will have a lot more stress on their muscles and joints than the bicycle rider but less than the marathon runner.

In addition there is a significant increase in the emotional stress of an endurance rider, because of the horse. At the start of a ride, a green, excited, jumpy horse can add 20 or more beats per minutes to the rider's heart rate. And even when things are relatively quiet there is still significant extra stress to the rider because of their relationship with the horse.

What is not known yet is what is the average percent of the maximum heart rate of endurance riders during a 50 mile ride and how that compares to runners and bike riders. This is now a solvable problem and is what I intend to do with this study.

All the newer GPS heart rate monitors have the ability to directly calculate the wearer's percent of maximum heart rate over a given period of time. The answer is simply read on a screen.

Every person has a maximum heart rate as does every other animal, including horses. For people an approximation can be easily obtained by subtracting the age from 226 for females or 220 for males. For example, a 60-year-old male would have a maximum predicted heart rate of 160.

A marathon runner will average about 70% of their maximum predicted heart rate for an event. An elite runner will average about 80% to 90%. For the 60-year-old male, that would be an average heart rate of 112 bpm. The 60-year-old male bike rider would average about 65% or 104 beats per minute. The bike rider would not be working as hard per minute but will be doing it over a longer period of time.

Using the percent of the maximum predicted heart rate takes the variable of age out of the equation. It does not help with all the other variables such as weather, prior training, difficulty of the course, altitude, etc. However, numbers will help in averaging all this out.

Therefore, I ask you to help me out in determining how physically demanding endurance riding is. This is important as to how we should approach this sport. In addition this does improve the knowledge of the world. Remember, physical exertion is the second most important determination, after genetic inheritance, of your health and longevity!

Please send your data to

Trail Master Class: What to Expect

by Monica Chapman

"Once you've taken the AERC Trail Master class, you will never look at a trail again the same way."

This phrase has been uttered over and over again by most AERC members who take the AERC Trail Master class, taught by Mike Riter. The Trail Master class covers four areas of trail work: trail design, trail construction, trail maintenance and crew leader training. Since the class is a four-day course, each area is given a full day of attention.

Trail design, trail construction, and trail maintenance days are the focus of the first three days, with each morning spent in a classroom, learning theories and taking a written test. Each afternoon is spent outside putting what you learned in class to work. The crew leader training day is spent outside all day.

Trail design involves learning:

-- How to manage the different kinds of impacts -- natural or user -- a trail receives.

-- What is a fall line, and why a trail should not be built on a fall line.

-- How to handle volume and velocity (erosion) and how it affects your trail.

-- Using topographic maps and whether to design an out-and-back trail or loop trail, depending upon the available property.

Other items that come into play for trail design includes who is the trail for, where do they want to go, and what do they want from it? Terms you will learn that day include switchbacks, climbing turn, grade dips, 50% rule, and percent of grade. Participants will also learn how to use a clinometer.

Trail construction starts with a safety meeting on how to use all construction tools safely. The width and height of the trail needs to be decided. Proper tree trimming techniques will be taught. Which trail tools work best for your soil and terrain will be decided upon. Some terms you will learn that day are bench cut, contracting the tread, boardwalks, duff, Pulaski, and Macleod.

Trail maintenance day is spent using the term "re-route" over and over again. Most trail maintenance is needed because a trail was poorly laid out to begin with. Some trail issues can be fixed but many simply need to be moved (re-routed).

Controlling the flow of water is the key to most trail maintenance. The idea with trail maintenance is to fix the trail correctly so there will be minimal maintenance needed in the future. Some new terms for the day: tread terracing, berms, water bars, armoring, and alternative surfacing.

Crew leader training day is the day that everything comes together. A new trail is laid out and constructed. Each participant will spend a portion of the day leading the crew and being graded on new leadership skills.

It is a fun and exhilarating time. A real sense of accomplishment is felt once your new trail is completed. I enjoy riding the trails at Hillsdale Lake, Kansas, where I took my Trail Master class, and seeing how that section of trail we built is holding up.

The Hillsdale Lake Trail Master class also had a mechanized class attached at the end. AERC was fortunate that two trail machines were available free of charge during the mechanized Trail Master class. To be eligible for a mechanized class participants must have passed the four-day AERC Trail Master class first.

AERC is sponsoring two Trail Master classes in 2016:

-- April 2-5, 2016. Pedro, Ohio. Mollie Krumlaw-Smith,

-- July 21-24, 2016. Silverton, Oregon. Carlene Benson,

Please contact either class coordinator for more information about taking their classes.

If you would like to host an AERC Trail Master class in your area please visit or contact me:

December 2015 Classified Advertising



FROZEN SEMEN from Bold Soldier in his prime in storage at Amissville Reproduction Center, VA, for approximately 10 breedings. Entire batch only. Make offer. Email:


B.R. DE SOI HORSE FOR SALE. 15 year old gray gelding, 15 hands: B.R. Henry De Soi, 1460 miles. All the closely-related DeSoi horses have a total of 50,045 AERC endurance miles. 775-972-7301 evenings. Reno, Nevada.

CYPRESS TRAILS ENDURANCE HORSES. Well seasoned DJB horses and slow-started prospects available for sale. 40 plus horses to choose from! KM – the human electrolyte for sale. TX. for sale lists or call 1-800-228-8768.

RIDE BADLANDS-RAISED ENDURANCE/SPORT HORSES. Strong, dependable, sure-footed! Video available. or call Lynn, 701-859-3221, ND.

10 YEAR OLD PINTO 15/16 Arabian gelding. SportHorse Regional Champion and Sweepstakes nominated. 14'3 hands, big body with lots of bone and huge feet. Under saddle and on the trail. Sweet personality. Super endurance prospect! Esler Arabians, website:, 916-652-8937. CA.

2009 GORGEOUS DAPPLE GREY Mare, 15.1+, no competition yet but has dragged parts of the OD. (Bold Soldier x Browne R Missy.) Last of the breedings of these two who both passed on in 2009. Her training started at 2 for the race track. Easy to handle yet ready to do what's asked. Hard to let go but will to the right owner at an agreeable offer. MD. Email:


ENDURANCE CONSULTANT. Conditioning, racing, veterinary, sales. Michele Roush, DVM. 530-292-1902, CA.

NEWS FLASH!! After being out of production many years, these cool vintage events are now yours on DVD: 1986 North American Championship, 1988 N.A. Championship, 1989 N.A. Championship, 1989 ROC, 1991 ROC, 1992 ROC, 1992 AERC Natl. Championship, 1992 World Championship, and Long Distance Riding (training video with Darolyn Butler, vets: Dane Frazier and Matthew Mackay-Smith). Check out the full list of training videos . . . some great sales . . . visit or call 1-800-228-8768, TX

TAX SERVICE: Specializing in horses. Trilby Pederson & Associates. 408-997-7500, CA.


ADVANTAGE SADDLES: Let your horse move out like never before! Custom Mohair cinches, Perf-Eq Fit Pad., 1-877-979-5979. CA.

TNTtaps: Water-repellent Tapaderos, endurance & western. Lightweight, quick and easy on/off, compact, washable. Pagosa Springs, CO., 970-749-4494.

WWW.HALTERLADY.COM Marine rope halters, leads, reins. Flatbraid headstalls, reins, breastcollars, croupers. Sponge bags, books, miscellaneous., 866-203-4461.


4 HORSE 2005 SUNDOWNER, 8012 Sierra, 727 Sunlite with 12 ft. LQ & 8 ft. GN plus 4500 watt propane generator mounted on front. Very little use: winter in FL, a trip to CA, few to VA and kept under roof at West River, MD all other times and continuous for the last 5 years. New awning installed 8/15. Call or email for photos or delivery arrangements: 410-533-3289 or $30,000. MD.

FOR SALE: 2007 CIRCLE J GN 3-horse slant load trailer with LQ. Excellent condition. CO. Call Jim Lewien, 303-908-4362.


Year-round training and conditioning for horse and rider with 10-time Tevis finisher and 13,000-mile rider Janine Esler, who has just added another 3,000-mile horse and silver-level (7 1-day 100s) achievement for CR Abu Kumait to her accomplishments. Located 6 miles from the finish of the Tevis trail. I can keep your horse in top physical and mental shape for competition year round. Just show up and succeed. Problem horses welcome. Esler Arabians,, 916-652-8937. CA.


Spend the winter riding in Florida! All facilities and direct access to the best trails, near FITS ride location! Details: 352-486-8350.

Thank you for patronizing Endurance News advertisers. When you make a purchase, tell them, "I saw your ad in Endurance News!"

REACH 5,000 ENDURANCE RIDERS with an EN classified ad! Call for details: 866-271-2372.

How far will you ride this year? Join AERC and we'll help you count the miles!

Endurance News is published monthly by American Endurance Ride Conference. Endurance News is sent without charge to AERC members as a benefit of membership in AERC. Subscriptions are also available to non-members for $40 per year within the United States, and $60 in Canada and Mexico. For those in other countries, subscriptions are available for $80. Single issues are $4 U.S.