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Endurance News -- July 2019


President's Letter
Vice President's Letter
Classified Advertising


A midyear update for AERC

by Monica Chapman

The ride season is halfway over. Have you stayed on target with your plans? I have not. About March mine got shot out of the water. I am in the middle of regrouping and hope the second half will come to fruition. I hope your ride plans are panning out.

On July 20, 2019, the AERC midyear meeting will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. I hope those AERC members in the area will be able to attend and see how the AERC Board of Directors works. The AERC BOD has face-to-face meetings twice a year.

The other face-to-face meeting is at the AERC annual convention, usually held in March. In 2020 the convention will be held in Jacksonville, Florida. We are all looking forward to that. I hope we see a lot of new faces there.

I have had a few great phone calls from AERC members recently; there is concern about AERC staying sustainable for the future. Many are worried about the lack of rides in their region or the number of cancelled rides in their region.

I will say in Central Region we had three rides cancelled or rescheduled in the month of May due to flooded trails. The Central Region has a lot of rides in the plains where the trails are on dirt. Many of the rides are also around manmade reservoirs used for flood control. With the overabundance of rain this spring, some rides were cancelled due to flooded trails, muddy trails that are not sustainable when muddy, or inaccessible campgrounds.

There is not a lot ride managers or AERC can do about these issues. Rescheduling rides is an option in some cases but not in others. Most ride calendars are pretty tight during the desirable times of the year to hold rides.

In regions that are experiencing a lack of rides, this is where the membership can really step up and help out. Ride managers should let the sanctioning director know as soon as possible when they have decided not to have their ride the next year. This gives the sanctioning director and the regional clubs plenty of time to find a new ride manager for an existing ride (same location and ride date), completely new ride, or same management/new location.

The AERC members are the ones who put on rides, not AERC. So when there is a hole in the ride calendar, the membership needs to step up and fill that void. I know the sanctioning directors make many phone calls, emails, and text messages, trying to find new ride managers. If you have ever thought about it please contact your sanctioning director. They are happy to help you get going.

If you live in a region with regional clubs, they are a wealth of information and help. Many times the regional clubs have equipment to share between the ride managers and may have ways to help cover some expenses of managing a ride. If your region does not have a regional club, please consider stepping forward with your group of friends and look into starting one. It’s hard work but it will go a long way in helping the sustainability of AERC.

One of my plans for my presidency is to have AERC work more closely with the regional clubs so we are not all reinventing the wheel in certain areas. We can also learn a lot of what works and doesn’t work by talking with each other.

Right now rider starts are the big elephant in the room for AERC. Our overall membership numbers are not that changed for the last four to five years. Our rider starts have dropped dramatically. That means we have many members that do not compete any more or not nearly as much as they did previously.

If AERC and the regional clubs can get the ride calendar filled in with rides, that will go a long way in regaining ride start numbers. The Ride One More promotion is one example of how AERC is seeking to encourage members to attend more rides. (For information, visit AERC.org/RideOneMore.)

Green Bean Endurance is a great arm of AERC for new members to get involved and learn all about endurance riding. Please reach out to our new members and make them feel welcome at all rides. They are the future of endurance.



Vice President's Letter: AERC depends on awesome volunteers

by Nick Kohut, DVM

As a control judge, I spend a lot of time in base camps and at away holds. During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to observe one of the major reasons that our rides run as smoothly as they do. Of course, I’m talking about the ride volunteers.

In a very general manner, I can group most of these volunteers into four separate groups:

First are those who are immediate family to ride management. While I know some of this group is not there on a strictly "volunteer" basis and may have somewhat of a "guilt" pressure to be there (especially those below the age of consent), these are the ones that often supply the most behind-the-scenes work of any of the groups.

They are working long before the date of the ride and often long afterwards. They provide both physical and mental support for management and are most likely to receive nothing in return.

Second are those who would normally have been riding, but for one reason or another were unable to compete. They may have known this days to weeks in advance or only after arriving at the ride site.

This group is in essence "paying it back" to the sport. They may just be helping for the day of the ride scribing, driving the ambulance trailer or assisting the timers, or they may help before and after the ride marking/unmarking trail and setting up/cleaning up.

Third are those that came with a rider. They may be either friends or family. They are definitely only helping out for the day of the ride and mostly only while their rider is out on trail. They often help fill in those jobs that come up unexpectedly -- helping other riders setting up their camp or crewing area or helping crew other horses. They may possibly be trotting out horses for those unable to trot their own horses.

Fourth are what I think of as the true volunteers and are those people with no obvious connection to the sport. They don’t ride and they are not closely related to any rider.

Every region has those who fall into this group. They show up at ride after ride. They serve as ride secretaries, they time, they cook, they serve in all manner of ways at rides.

Regardless of which group they fall into, these people are truly remarkable. Through drenching rain, blowing snow, bitter cold, and scorching heat they man their posts. During 100-mile rides, they get up at the crack of dawn and stay up to the wee hours of the morning. They sit out in the woods getting eaten alive by mosquitos. They drive back and forth along bumpy dirt roads. They put up with tired and disgruntled riders.

And while I get some financial compensation for being out there, these people get very little in return.

My request to all of you who’ve taken the time to read this message: please deeply thank any and all volunteers you come upon and always show them the respect they so deeply deserve.



May 2019 Classified Advertising



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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.