To Finish Is To Win

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Endurance News -- December 2017

President's Letter
Ride Manager's Forum
Virginia City 100
Classified Advertising

President's Letter: Peace on Earth (and the AERC trails)

by Paul Latiolais

Happy December, everyone. Now that we have all gained a few pounds celebrating Thanksgiving, we can turn our attention to the holiday season, and to the beginning of a new endurance year. This is the time of year that we are asked to be thoughtful and kind to others, and in general to think about how to bring about peace in the world.

And yet, when I am unfortunate enough to be at the mall this time of year, I see angry people rushing around, cutting people off in the parking lot, cutting in line at the registers, not being very kind at all. What is that all about? It seems that some people have lost the true meaning of Christmas.

Of course, it isn't everyone or even most people. It is really only a few people. Nonetheless, it makes you shake your head and ask, "What has come over these people?"

Similarly, I sometimes see people at an endurance ride, supposedly there to have fun, who are angry, rushing around, intensely trying to beat everyone they can, sometimes hurting their horses in the process. For what? It seems that they too have lost the true meaning of endurance riding.

It is not about beating everyone in your path. It is about being the best equestrian that you can be by helping your horse be the best she or he can be, safely, while having fun. If we do it right, our horses are having fun, too. Of course, it is not everyone or even most riders. It is just a few people who make you shake your head and ask, "What has come over these people?"

One recommendation that I regularly give to brand-new riders is to not try to top ten. First, they are not likely to know enough to protect their horses from injury at a top-ten speed, but also, the middle-of-the-pack riders are quite likely to be friendly. None of them have that race-brain which a few riders get when they put their posterior in that saddle. And to be fair, top ten riders are also more likely to be focused on a goal, so they tend not to make the time to chat to strangers.

Mind you, there are exceptions, many of them. For example, every time I see Christoph Schork, he has a smile on his face, whether he is winning or not. It is all fun for him. Christoph is just one example. There are many other top riders who exemplify what is good about this sport. They enjoy the experience -- win, lose or draw.

We need to encourage the attitude that they have toward the sport. We don't need spoilsports, because . . . well, they spoil the sport. If you have been around horses for a while, you surely have learned that if you get angry, you have lost the battle. You need to stop. Go do something else before coming back to work with that horse again.

Anger is a real problem whether you are trying to train a horse or solve a problem. When you act in anger, it is too easy to believe that those around you are either stupid or out to get you or both. I am not saying don't have passion or even don't get angry. That's not always something you can control. Just be aware that once you get angry, you have lost control of the situation.

Back up, calm down, and come at the problem later, when you have a clear head.

I have found over the years that the vast majority of people are doing their best. If they aren't doing what you think they should be doing, then usually it's you who does not understand the constraints they are in.

In his book "The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization," Dr. Peter Senge, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, explains that people in the same position with the same information tend to make the same decisions. So, if people are not making the decisions you think that they should, then perhaps you are not looking at the same information that they are. So give them a break. Assume that they are trying to do the best they can in a situation that perhaps does not have that easy solution that you just thought up. But if you think it is a good idea, let them know. Perhaps they did not think of it.

I am truly honored to work with the directors on the AERC board. They are a bunch of very bright people who are volunteering their time and money to make this sport better, safer and more fun for all of us. Wish them a Merry Christmas, peace and good will, then go ride your horse in the snow. It's fun.

Ride Manager's Forum: Don't go it alone: ride co-managing

by Louise Burton

Managing a ride can be a lot of work, not to mention stress. Some of us poor souls have been managing rides "forever" and it seems like there is a bit of a gap between managers and riders. In our region (Central), and most likely in yours, our ride managers are getting old (yup, hate to admit it) and maybe we have less patience and energy.

"Back in the day," we felt like we had to manage rides as our dues for riding rides.

Ride managers walk a fine line, and just one badly-behaved rider may tip the scales and guess what . . . no more ride! This brings me to my topic: consider co-managing a ride! There are a ton of things to do to put on a ride: marking trail, cutting trail, paperwork, awards, getting control judges and treatment veterinarians and staff, food, etc.

Ride managers will tell you: "I love putting on rides but I really don't like . . ."

Some people love to mark trail but hate the paperwork. Some love to get the awards, and don't mind getting the pre-ride meeting ready, but live too far to help mark trail. Some don't mind managing a ride on the day of the ride, but don't want to do the awards. We need to get these people together!

Ride managers easily get burned out when they do it all. We all have our favorite and least favorite things to do. Many riders would be very willing to help with a ride if they just knew they were needed and what they could do. As a ride manager, I am bad about delegating jobs. So, our club is going to start a public list to try to matchmake ride managers! Here are some suggestions:

- Ride manager (paperwork)

- Trails master

- Day manager

- Results/awards manager

- Manager of food and staff

Perhaps your regional club can start a list as well, and we can not only have more rides, but happier ride managers!

Hundreds: Virginia City 100

by Heather Reynolds

The Virginia City 100 is one of the oldest 100s in the USA. The ride has a lot of history and is staged out of the old mining town of Virginia City, Nevada. The town has a flavor of its own, with the "Old West" feeling. You ride down the main street multiple times during the ride. There are wild mustangs out on the trail and sometimes in the base camp. This year this 100 was won by a Mustang -- very fitting for such a historical ride.

Here is what Mark Montgomery had to say about his winning ride at the VC 100 with MM Woodrow:

"September is archery elk season when the bulls are going crazy bugling, fighting, and chasing the cows. The VC 100 and Triple Crown have always been on my ‘to do' list but elk hunting has always ranked higher on that list. This year, I decided to ride the first two legs of the Triple Crown and take a break from elk hunting to do the VC 100. I'm so glad I did. "About a week before the ride I gave myself a double dose of stupidity. First I had a beer and forgot to wash it off first. We were storing our beer in Beaver Creek and I got giardia from the can. Second I ate the wrong berries. I've eaten blue elderberries before and they were good but I found out the hard way that the red ones are toxic. Instant belly­ache. Now I'm sitting in my truck at a Colorado airport trying to decide if I can survive an airplane flight to Reno. Lucky I made it through the flight without embarrassing myself too badly.

"Debra picked me up from the airport Thursday afternoon so I had all day Friday to try to recuperate. The Nevada people are so helpful. One nice lady offered to share her Depends with me for the ride. (Woody has no patience for unscheduled pit stops on the trail.)

"Woody and I came into the 25-mile vet check in third place, 11 minutes behind first place. From there the trail went up the bottom of Bailey Canyon, a long rocky wash made even rockier by the heavy rains last winter. That trail was made for a Mustang. I gave Woody his head and, with his Easycare N/Gs, he flew through the rocks. The air was coming down the canyon in our face and I think Woody could smell the two horses in front of us. We passed the two riders halfway up the canyon and managed to stay in the lead for the rest of the ride.

"We came into the 51-mile vet check with an hour lead so on the next 25-mile loop we took our time. I let Woody have all the time he wanted to eat and drink along the way. He even found a girlfriend, a lone wild bay Mustang mare, who followed us for a while.

"At the 76-mile vet check, our lead had shrunk to 10 minutes. Second and third place were gaining fast. Woody's buddy Cody had just finished loop #2 when we were leaving for our third and final loop. Once I got Woody away from Cody, he moved out well.

"It is dark now and we are on common trail with riders finishing their second loop. The well wishes as we passed other riders were very encouraging. The final vet check was at about 90 miles (the cottonwoods). We left there with about a 15-minute lead on second and third, knowing that two horses can encourage each other and catch a single horse. I asked Woody to pick up the pace a little, which he gladly did since we were heading back to camp. We crossed the finish line at 11:36 p.m. in first place, 36 minutes ahead of second place.

"We could not have done it without our amazing crew: Deborah Wills, Shannon Constanti and her boyfriend Tyghe. Thanks to ride management for putting on an extremely well-run ride, and to all the veterinarians and volunteers."

December 2017 Classified Advertising



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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.

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NEWS FLASH!! 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.


Gorenschek saddle #234. In excellent condition. Matching breast collar. New sheepskin. $1000. Call for information. (California): 805-689-2218.

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ESLER ARABIANS HAS OPENINGS available for fall/winter training and conditioning. We specialize in responsive, fun to ride horses. Our emphasis is on longevity and careers spanning into their twenties. CR Abu Kumait, 20 years old, now has 4,000 endurance miles in 13 seasons and counting. GED, the Akhal Teke, finished the Virginia City 100 after placing top ten at several 75 mile rides. Ten Tevis buckles, 15,000 AERC miles, 38 years experience. Esler Arabians,, 916-652-8937.

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