To Finish Is To Win

American Endurance
Ride Conference

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Endurance News -- June 2017

President's Letter
Vice President's Message
Classified Advertising

President's Letter: Setting AERC's course for the coming year

by Paul Latiolais, AERC President

AERC is going in the wrong direction." Have you heard anyone say that? I have, more than once. When I ask people to clarify, they simply state, "You know."

Actually, I don't know. When pushed further, they either offer a vague comment about how things "used to be" or make a statement, often related to how the AERC board operates or what our last membership survey was intended to do, that I know to be incorrect.

There is no doubt that AERC has evolved far beyond its roots. Today, we have right around 4,500 members and an annual cash flow of well over half a million dollars. We're even more focused on safety, and with 30-minute pulse criteria, equine body condition requirements, ongoing training of control judges, a random drug testing program and the protest and grievance process, we act to protect both horses and riders. So, it is true; we are not the organization that we used to be. I would not want us to be.

For some members, AERC has become too broad in our function. After much prodding, they express the concern that AERC's leaders are trying to "water down" the sport, making rides easier for riders.

I'd like to address a misperception. These same folks point to our recent survey, saying, "See, you are trying to make LDs count as endurance." When I explained that this was just a question, not implying intent, the person responded, "You are just going to keep asking until you get the answer that you want." Again, no intent was implied. We were just asking the question.

A majority of those who completed the last survey felt that 25-mile and 30-mile rides should not be called endurance or counted as such. The majority has spoken (statistically, anyway). We will honor that.

As your President, I'm working towards AERC becoming an even larger and more effective organization. So is the entire board and everyone in the office. We're also striving to keep AERC stable, so we can ensure that riders and horses have fun, safely and to the best of our ability.

This is not egalitarian on my part; it is simple self-interest. I want to keep doing endurance for the next 15 to 20 years. I need a strong organization to make sure that safe, well-run rides are available to me.

When I hear some riders complain that limited distance is dangerous, because (fill in the blank), I look and see the same problems with some 50-mile riders. Some people override their horses, be it 25, 50, 75 or 100 miles.

My favorite distance is 50 miles. For me, it's twice as hard to complete as 25 miles, in terms of preparation for horse and rider, tack and effort. And, 75 miles is significantly harder than 50 miles. And 100 miles is a lot harder than 75 miles.

I tend to do more stupid things after being in the saddle for more than 60 miles. So, attempting 75 or 100 miles is quite an effort for me unless I happen to have a riding companion who counters any stupid ideas that I am likely to have.

When Wendell Robie and four of his best buds rode from Tahoe City to Auburn in 1955, creating the modern American sport we call endurance, they did not ride 25 miles. Nor did they ride 50 miles, nor 75 miles. Theirs was a 100-mile ride (or thereabouts).

One-day, 100-mile rides are the "Iron Man" of endurance. They are and should remain the pinnacle of our sport, even if many members hesitate to attempt that distance. In riding whatever distance a member chooses to ride, just as participation in any triathlon supports the concept of the Iron Man competition, he or she supports those few of us who are crazy enough to want to try to ride 100 miles in 24 hours or less.

As we set a course for AERC in the coming year, one of my top goals is to encourage more entries in 100-mile rides. I challenge all those concerned about our organization's future to share your ideas with me and the board as to how we can better support those ride managers willing to host 100s and those riders who compete at this distance.

Vice President's Message: Write it down

by Susan Kasemeyer

Some of you have taken the time to write to the AERC Board of Directors on different subjects in the past several months. I want you to know that I read what you have written and consider all viewpoints when we have a decision to make. Most of the time one member of the board or the office responds to the letters or emails to let you know it was received.

I would like to suggest that in the future when something happens at a ride, you write down what happened. Perhaps it doesn't rise to the level of an official complaint or protest but you feel "it ain't right." If you write or type it out, you will have a complete record of what happened and will not have to rely on your memories.

I have noticed quite a lot of difference when folks are reporting something that happened years ago.

Two years ago at a ride, two minor things happened. I wrote down what I witnessed and asked the person who was involved in the other incident to write down what happened. Since that time there have been some more problems with the same person and I have a written record of exactly what happened so if there is action, no one can say it's a "first offense." Makes it easier for any committee to come to a decision if they have lots of written facts.

Annual award nominations Now for some much more pleasant writing: I am reminding you that it is time to send in your thoughts on who should be honored with our greatest awards -- Hall of Fame Person and Equine, Pard'ners Award and also Trail and Volunteer awards. Please send them to the AERC office and the committee will meet and choose the winners at the mid-year meeting in August. Then the fun begins to try to keep it a secret until our convention.

Hall of Fame Person should be someone who has been involved for many years in our sport. I think all the original founders of AERC have been selected but there are many more "old timers" left to vote for. I received this award a while back and felt it was the greatest honor to be recognized among all these wonderful folks.

Hall of Fame Equine is usually also one who has been active for a long time and has lots of miles or wins or completions or all of these. The Pard'ners Award recognizes a horse-rider team who have a long history together and was created in memory of Mae Schlegel and her horse, Pard. A few of us have been around long enough to have ridden with Mae and she and Pard looked after each other and really represented "to finish is to win."

The Ann Parr Trails Preservation Award is one of our newer ones and is presented to someone who goes above and beyond the norm in trail work and/or preservation. Remember: no trail, no ride, no endurance.

The Volunteer Service Award has been around since 2011 and it is for someone, maybe not a rider, who steps up and helps whenever needed. OK, finished in time . . . I win. Susan

Trails Post: Two exciting projects from the Trails Committee

by Monica Chapman

On the April 2017 AERC Board of Directors conference call, the board passed a motion to allow AERC members to run approved trail projects through AERC so donations can receive a tax deduction called the Donor Approved Trails Grant.

AERC now has a way to fund trail projects in one of two ways. The original way to fund a trail project through AERC is to apply for a trails grant from the AERC Trails Grant Fund. These funds are predominantly made up from donations. Occasionally when there has been a surplus of money left over at the end of the year in the AERC General Fund, some money will be divided between Research, Education, and Trails Grants.

Additional trail donation method

The second and new way to fund trail projects is for donors to fill out a trails grant application just like when asking for funds from the AERC Trails Grant Fund -- even though they are not asking for any money from AERC. The reason why this is beneficial to a donor is that AERC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are eligible for a tax deduction based on IRS regulations for the related tax period.

The reason AERC wants an application filled out for the donor projects is so AERC knows what the funds are going to be used for. AERC must be careful to not approve or be associated with projects that could jeopardize our 501(c)3 non-profit status. Since AERC would be listed as the donor to the land manager on the project it needs to be approved as something AERC wants their name attached to, and supports fully. Stipulations on the Donor Approved Trails Grant include a financial plan and detailed project scope submitted with the grant application.

The Donor Approved Trails Grants must meet all current policy for an AERC trail project, and be approved by the AERC Trails and Land Management Committee and AERC Board. All funds donated will be cash (not materials) with a minimum of $25. Cancelled checks and credit card receipts may be used as supporting documentation.

Any donation of over $1,000 will receive a thank you letter from the AERC office stating the amount donated. All funds donated to a specific trail project must include the name of the project with the donation. Once funds have been donated, the donor has no right to further designate their specific use.

To find the AERC Trails Grant Application go to, click on Trails, then Trails Grants. You may also email Helen Koehler, trails grants liaison, at

Trails Work Hours Log is ready

The second exciting development from the committee is the new online Trails Work Hours Log. Land managers and legislators measure an organization's clout by how many hours an organization's members volunteer. These volunteer hours are then plugged into a formula that convents the hours into dollars.

It's great to walk into your Senator's office and hand them the sheet that states your organization's volunteer hours are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To find the new Trails Work Hours Log, go to, then Trails, and click on Trail Hours Log. Please fill out the form for each day you volunteer. Volunteer hours will be updated bimonthly in Endurance News, the AERC website, and on social media.

The top two volunteers in hours worked will receive a free AERC membership for 2018.

Some clarifying information in filling out the Trail Hours Log:

1. You must be a current AERC member. So please fill out your name, AERC #, and region. This information will help us track hours worked per region (we are working on some regional contests in the future). If we don't have your AERC number, you can't be eligible for the free 2018 membership.

2. State is for the state the trail work is in, not the state you live in.

3. Property type will make it easier to pull reports to present to the different land managers. For example, when I meet with the USFS, I can give them a report with the hours our membership worked that year for their exact organization.

4. Property name and district (for USFS, etc.) will make it easier to break down into even smaller reports. For example, Davy Crockett National Forest had 100 hours worked -- worth $12,000.

5. Date the work occurred.

6. Work hours, equipment hours, mileage and donation are described on the form.

7. Each day = 1 form. You will need to fill out an individual sheet for each worker on each day worked. I know this is somewhat more time-consuming than having a crew leader fill out one form for a whole project, but breaking it down this way will really help AERC verify the quality of our work.

8. The starting date is May 1, 2017.

Everyone get busy and get to work on your trails!

June 2017 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.