To Finish Is To Win

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Endurance News -- July 2016


President's Letter
Vice President's Message
Trails Post
Classified Advertising


President's Letter: Why do we do it?

by Michael Campbell, AERC President

Almost every endurance rider has asked or been asked that question at some point in his/her career, usually in the middle of a long, difficult ride. The possible answers range from flippant to very serious. When the British mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously replied, "Because it's there." But such a flip answer will not satisfy most riders who have hours to consider the question as they ride on -- because as we ride, we are always thinking.

From one perspective, endurance riding is a repetitive, mundane activity and there is a restful quality to it. Like mowing the grass, you go around and around the yard and think. Your behavior is on automatic and your mind wanders where it will. Of course, during a competitive ride, you are watching ribbons and obstacles and monitoring your horse, but there are typically long stretches when no severe, conscious concentration is required and your subconscious mind explores odd and often undirected sequences of thought. You may analyze questions and conflicts that have troubled you for days or weeks. The satisfaction of competing a tough physical activity and simultaneously giving fuller consideration to the troubles of the world can be very rewarding.

It's pretty clear, we don't do it for money. How many jokes have you heard to the effect of, "You did that and all you got was a bucket?" Nope, you can always get more money, but you can't replace your time and effort. Like the guy who turned down a million-dollar offer for Man o' War said, "Lots of guys have a million dollars, but there's only one Man o' War."

From a more abstract and existential perspective, we might ask why does anyone (or any creature) do anything? Biologists have long noted that all animals need a job. That need probably originates with the need to survive and thrive. But even when all basic survival needs are met, we need something to do. Preferably something meaningful to do. Zoo keepers have seen that animals kept in small cages and fed regularly become lethargic and fail to care for themselves. Their coats become rough and unkempt. Their behavior becomes indolent. They need a job, and modern zoos provide environments with stimulation and challenges. The animals begin to thrive.

Humans also need something to do and the more we do it, the more we want to do it. The more time and effort we invest in any particular behavior, the more important it becomes to us. It doesn't even matter what the behavior is. It can be constructive or destructive. You have probably known people who spend all their time noticing what is wrong with others around them. They are invested in negativity and criticizing others. You have also probably known people who invest their time and energy noticing what's right in their world. They are upbeat and hard to discourage.

My wife and I once attended a church that always had greeters at the door. One Sunday, we were in line behind two older ladies, both widows. The greeter asked the first, "How are you this morning Mrs. J.?" The lady responded with a litany of all that had gone wrong in her life since her husband had died. When the greeter turned to the second widow with the same question, she responded, "Why just fine. And how is that pretty wife of yours and those kids?" At some point in their lives, each of these ladies had made choices about what they were going to attend to in their lives -- very different choices.

As long as we live, we will be doing something; attending to something. It will be our choice what we attend to and do. Some people choose to binge-watch a series on their weekends or spend hours playing online games. We choose to care for horses and prepare ourselves and our horses for strenuous competitive events. Rather than sitting or lounging, we choose to ride. We choose to move through space and time with our best friends, human and equine. We choose to protect ourselves and our horses from lethargy and boredom. We choose to attend to our bodies, the world, our horses and trails. We let our unconscious minds do their jobs unconstrained by the multivariate doubts of conscious concentration. We could have chosen something else, but we choose to ride.

George Mallory died on his last attempt to climb Mount Everest at age 37 in 1924. His body was recovered in 1999. It is unknown whether he reached the top or not, but surely he died content to be doing what he loved. Slightly over 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest. About the same number of AERC riders have completed over 1,000 endurance miles. Not many people have climbed Mount Everest and not many have ridden their horses over 1,000 miles.

This is a difficult, extreme sport. Not many people can do it. But you do it.

Perhaps when you consider the question, "Why do we do it?" you'll answer simply, "Because it's there." Or maybe you'll consider the choices you have made to bring yourself and your horse to this satisfying place in your life. It is a place you will never forget.



Vice President's Message: It's nomination time!

by Lisa Schneider

Every year AERC members have the opportunity to nominate outstanding individuals and equines for six special awards. The recipients are chosen by a committee that consists of all the AERC non-sanctioning directors and the vice president. The awards are presented at the annual national awards banquet at the AERC convention.

Nominations are requested by August 1, 2016, for the following five awards:

-- Pard'ners Award

-- Hall of Fame Member

-- Hall of Fame Equine

-- Volunteer Service Award

-- Ann Parr Trails Preservation Award

-- Also: Anne Ayala Scholarship (applications due 1/6/16). Each year a $1000 scholarship is awarded to an AERC member between his/her senior year in high school and age 21. The recipient must have a minimum of 500 AERC miles and an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0. Scholarship applications are due by January 6, 2017; forms are available from the AERC office or online at: www.aerc.org/2015Scholarship.pdf.

Pard'ners Award. A perpetual trophy is awarded to the horse and rider who are a true team in every sense of the word. Created in honor of Mae Schlegel and her horse, Pard, it epitomizes the horse and rider who have a bond forged by many miles and hours together on the trail. (See page 9 in the printed magazine.)

True horsemanship and sportsmanship are some of the important qualities the team shares and they usually end up having a great many adventures together.

Hall of Fame Member and Hall of Fame Equine. These two awards honor a lifetime achievement for superior contributions to the sport or exceptional performance. These awards are kept secret until the awards banquet. This honor started back in 1975 with Wendell Robie as the first member recipient and Donna Fitzgerald's Witezarif as the first equine recipient. Last year's recipients were Ann Nicholson and LV Integrity, owned by Joyce Sousa.

The AERC Volunteer Service Award was established to honor an AERC member who has devoted an extraordinary amount of volunteer effort, time and service on behalf of the AERC for many years. Without volunteers, ride managers would not be able to put on rides, trails would not be cleared, and our organization could not exist. We celebrate our volunteers! The 2015 recipients were Buck and Donna Shrader of the Northeast Region.

Ann Parr Trails Preservation Award. This honors the AERC member who has devoted an exceptional amount of time and energy to creating, maintaining, and campaigning to preserve our trails. Many endurance rides would not be possible if these people weren't out there advocating for our trails. This award is named in honor of the late Ann Parr, who worked diligently with the BLM, the Forest Service and other community agencies to ensure equestrian trails were kept open despite encroaching development.

At the 2016 convention, Dot Wiggins of the Northwest Region was honored as the trails award recipient.

Please send in your nominations by August 1 for the members and equines that you think exemplify these awards. There are usually many worthwhile nominees, so please include details regarding their accomplishments.

The committee will meet at the AERC Board of Directors midyear meeting on August 20 to review all nominations and choose recipients for these awards. All who are nominated will continue to stay in the system for consideration for three years.

The online nomination form is available at: aerc.org/2016Nomination, or you can send your nominations to me via e-mail to honeybear3371@adelphia.net (the AERC vice president serves as the chair of the Hall of Fame Committee). Nominations are due by August 1. You may also request a paper nomination form from the AERC office at 866-271-2372 or office@aerc.org.



Trails Post: What is a State Trails Advocate?

by Monica Chapman

The AERC Trails and Land Management Committee is updating the AERC State Trails Advocates program. The AERC program was started many years ago and has not been utilized to its fullest potential in the last few years. What is an AERC State Trails Advocate? The following is a current set of guidelines:

-- Must be a current AERC member.

-- Stay on top of trail issues in your state.

-- Make contact with all trail users in your state including AERC Trail Masters, AERC ride managers, BackCountry Horsemen's Association groups, mountain biker groups, hikers, state horse councils, etc., to coordinate trail work days and share information on trail issues.

-- Make contact with all land managers in the state where horse trails exist. Make sure that the land managers receive any applicable MOUs and ask to be added to the notification lists for their park.

The committee's goal is for AERC members to contact the AERC State Trails Advocate for their state when they have a trail issue arise that they need help with. The advocate will then be the point person for helping to solve the problem, whether they contact other user groups within their state or bring the problem to the Trails and Land Management Committee to investigate.

Since the advocate with be communicating with other user groups in the state they will be more able to quickly identify problems and solutions compared to contacting a committee member that may live 800 miles away from the problem. The advocate will provide the Trails Committee with reports to update the committee on problem areas or positive stories around the country for the committee to monitor. The reports will be beneficial to the committee to use when meeting with federal land agencies and lawmakers on trips to Washington D.C.

Ann McFarland, an AERC Trail Master from Oklahoma, has taken on the task of becoming the AERC State Trails Advocate Coordinator. Ann is enthusiastically tackling this job. She is working hard trying to line up an advocate for every state. Please check the front of Endurance News or the AERC website to see if your state has an advocate. If your state does not have an advocate and you are interested in becoming an advocate please contact Ann. If you would like to help your state trails advocate contact them directly and offer your help. I'm sure he or she will take you up on it.

Check out the AERC website (you'll find Trails under the "About AERC" tab at aerc.org) for updates to the trails pages. An interactive map with all the AERC Trail Masters and AERC State Trails Advocates is located under the Trail Experts tab.

You can click on the different pins and see who lives in an area and whether they are a Trail Master, advocate, or both. Beneath the map all AERC trail experts are listed by state with their contact information.

The Trails Grant tab also has neat updates. An interactive map with all trail grants is up and running. Below the Trails Grant map the grants are organized by the year the grant was approved, along with photos or stories associated with the grant. This page is still in the process of updating information as we get more pictures and stories. Only finished grants are on the page.

As your AERC Trails and Land Management chair, I traveled to Washington D.C. in February for the Hike the Hill event. Randy Rasmussen (BCHA Public Lands Advisor), Ben Pendergrass (American Horse Council Vice President of Government Affairs), and I met with numerous Senators and Representatives about Senate Bill 1110 and House of Representative Bill 845, the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act. In June I traveled back to Washington D.C. to attend the American Horse Council's annual meeting -- I am a member of AHC's Recreation Committee. I am attending meetings with more elected officials and federal land management agencies while in Washington D.C. In July, Trails Committee members Sue Keith, Ginny Grulke, Mike Everett, and I will be at the National Equestrian Trails Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Check out the website updates and contact your AERC State Trails Advocate to help them with anything they need.



July 2016 Classified Advertising



Classifieds

HORSES

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5 MONTH OLD ARABIAN, pure Spanish-Polish cross, with Numaa, Ali Jamaal and Desperado V breeding. Endurance/Sport Horse – train your way. Registration applied for: Jamaals Odisea, out of a Breeders Sweepstakes nominated mare. Turning grey. Likely to be 15-2+ hands. Owner injury necessitates sale. $3,000. Call for photos. Southern California. 760-953-7152.

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MISCELLANEOUS

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REAL ESTATE

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TACK & EQUIPMENT

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TRAILERS

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SELL YOUR . . . tack, horse, horse trailer, truck, etc., or advertise your services. Info: 866-271-2372 or endurancenews@aerc.org.


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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.