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Endurance News -- May 2021

President's Letter
Vice President's Letter
12 rules for pulse box safety

President's Letter: Travel wisely and know the requirements

by Nick Kohut, DVM

As I write this article, I still have over a month to go until the AERC National Championship rides begin at Fort Howes, Montana. As you read this article the championship rides may currently be occurring, or they may be over.

For those of you attending the event, I certainly hope your travel plans were less of a pain than mine. So far, the airlines have already changed my flight itinerary five times (and remember that I still have over a month to go, so who knows how many more times they will change). Needless to say, I am planning on not booking with this airline again.

For those of you who routinely travel across the country, I am confident that you already know of the various legal requirements involved in interstate travel. I receive a monthly email from my regional state veterinarian with various updates and reminders concerning veterinary issues within the state of Pennsylvania or disease outbreaks in the country that could become an issue here. In the most recent email, she reported seeing a significant increase in the number of livestock trailers being pulled over for DOT inspection with animal health paperwork checks this year. She requested that we remind our clients that there are both state and federal requirements related to the interstate movement of horses.

Federal requirements state that “Horses and other equines moved interstate must be accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other interstate movement document” unless they meet one of the following exemptions:

-- They are used as the mode of transportation (horseback, horse and buggy) for travel to another location and then return direct to the original location.

-- They are moved from the farm or stable for veterinary medical examination or treatment and returned to the same location without change in ownership.

-- They are moved directly from a location in one state through another state to a second location in the original state.

I had to look at a road map of the United States to actually see how the last one was possible. Please take note that traveling to a neighboring state to pleasure ride for the day is not a legitimate exemption.

State requirements most often require a negative equine infectious anemia test (Coggins) within a certain time frame. The specific EIA test requirements are determined by the receiving state and, in some cases, by the specific destination such as a racetrack.

Some states have additional requirements. Since these requirements are often subject to change, your veterinarian should check directly with the Department of Agriculture in the state of your destination. A helpful website is

Just a reminder to get your nominations in for the special AERC annual awards. The winners of these awards are determined at the AERC board's midyear meeting which will be happening virtually the last weekend in July. You may either write up your nomination and send to the office by mail or email, or use the online form: (See more information in the Vice President's Message.)

Vice President's Letter: Who in AERC do you admire most?

by Michael Campbell

Who comes to mind first when you consider that question? A rider? A horse? Maybe a volunteer who is always at the rides or working on our trails?

Every year at the mid-year meeting, the non-sanctioning directors and the AERC Vice President meet as the Hall of Fame Committee to consider the nominations for the most prestigious awards that our organization bestows. Start thinking now! The deadline is for nominations is fast approaching -- July 15.

These very special awards are as follows:

The Hall of Fame Person is someone with outstanding achievements and contributions to our sport. These are members whom we admire for a number of things such as riding ability, care for their horse, work ethic in preparing for our rides, leadership at rides and in our organization, good decision-making and setting a good example for all our members. Perhaps most of all, we admire these people for their character and determination to always do the right thing by caring for their horses, fellow riders and our sport.

The Hall of Fame Equine is the stallion, mare or gelding that exhibits the strength, willingness and perseverance to be persistently successful in our sport and responsive to the needs and demands of it. These horses are responsive under their riders, have a lot of miles and a high completion rate over many years. These are horses that any of us would be proud to own.

The Pard'ners Award is for the horse and rider that perform as a perfect team. Together they exemplify a spirit of friendship, enthusiasm and championship that makes us all glad we were at the ride. They take care of each other and always demonstrate good sportsmanship. This award was established in honor of the late Mae Schlegel and her horse Pard.

The Ann Parr Trails Preservation Award is given to the member who works tirelessly on our trails so that we all have places to ride. It is named for Ann Parr of Draper, Utah, who supported the Trails and Land Management Committee with her time and efforts on behalf of trail advocacy.

The Volunteer Service Award goes to the AERC member who has worked over many years on behalf of AERC through their time, effort and service. These awardees volunteer at rides, on committees and in countless ways that may not garner the publicity and attention that we give to our riders.

As you prepare your nomination, keep in mind that the nine non-sanctioning directors will be meeting as the Hall of Fame Committee to review and discuss all nominees. Your nomination should include the name and identifying information of your nominee and the award for which you are recommending.

A summary of your reasons for making the nomination followed by bullet points listing the accomplishments of your nominee will be most helpful. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for the Hall of Fame Committee to agree with your assessment that your nominee deserves the award. It may also be helpful to attach letters of recommendation from other members who agree with your choice for the award.

Send your nomination online: If you wish to mail your nomination, send to AERC, Attn: Awards, P.O. Box 6027, Auburn, CA 95604, or via email: Deadline is July 15, 2021.

When the Hall of Fame Committee meets, each member has a copy of each nomination. The members discuss the nominations and vote. Often, two or more nominees are nearly equally qualified for the award. The decision of who to vote for is difficult so your ablility to be clear and concise in your nomination may sway the one or two votes needed for your nominee to prevail. AERC is an elite organization. We typically have 4,000 to 5,000 members in any given year. Not many people have the grit and determination to train and ride a horse successfully for 25, 50 or 100 miles. So, all our members are unique and elite among the horsemen of the world, much less the general population who know little about horses or endurance sports. Thus, these special awards are the most prestigious of our elite group.

Now, once again, think. Who comes to mind?

Education Update: Preparing for the unexpected

by Tami Rougeau

So most of us are pretty good at preparing to get to a ride. We condition our horse, provide necessary vet appointments, perform needed maintenance on our vehicles, pack everything and then some for ourselves and our horses, prepare first aid kits for ourselves and our horses, let our families know where we will be and sometimes even get solid directions to ride camp. Then we blissfully head out for a weekend of adventure.

But how many of us put together an emergency or disaster plan? Some of us probably have some basic plans for what to do if our vehicle breaks down, a tire blows or a horse gets sick but what about things like weather, fire, floods or worse?

Make a risk assessment

The first step when developing an emergency plan is to conduct a risk assessment to identify potential emergency scenarios. An understanding of what can happen will enable you to determine resource requirements and to develop plans to prepare for your trip.

Start before you leave home by checking things like weather and road closures along the way. Don't just check where you are going, check along the way. Also check for before, during and after your event.

Weather can change quickly and dramatically in some areas of the country and you don't want to be stuck on top of the mountain in a blizzard without enough blankets, water and food.

You will also want to plan a primary and secondary route just in case your route is closed for some reason. While planning your route look for areas that have facilities like tire stores, mechanic garages, vet clinics, hospitals, overnight stabling and parking as well as fueling stations. Stay alert to changes in weather conditions along your way and give yourself plenty of time to get there.

So you arrive safely in camp like we most always do but what risks are in and around camp that you need to be aware of? Are you camped in a fire-prone or flood-prone area? What is the traffic flow in and out of camp? Is there more than one exit?

This is a good time to think about how you will exit. Backing in to park is always preferred. Backing out into traffic while other people are also trying to leave is a recipe for disaster. There is a reason emergency vehicles always back into parking slots.

Many of us like to unhook for any number of reasons. Make sure you are proficient in getting hooked back up quickly if you need to. If you have a crew make sure they know where the keys are, how to hook up and how to drive your vehicle.

Also make sure your horse loads easily. If you stay calm so will they. It is also a good idea to make sure your horse can load in a variety of trailers just in case you have to trailer out of a hold area or out of camp with another person.

Pack for preparedness

Packing with preparedness in mind is another good mitigation plan. Make sure you have at least 24 hours of water and feed for your horse or horses as well as yourself for both directions of travel. As a ride manager I am always amazed at the people who arrive in camp with no water on board for the horses. If they happen to arrive before camp is even set up then it becomes a very stressful event.

Getting stuck in traffic accidents, road construction or weather for several hours or overnight doesn't need to be stressful if you are prepared. Feed and water need to be easily accessible as well. You don't want to have to unpack your trailer on the highway to get to the hay bag and water jug you packed.

Thinking about potential risks before you head out and having a plan to deal with them will take the stress out of what could be a very stressful event. Knowing that you have already thought about how you will provide for the important things like food and water will give you peace of mind and help you to remain calm.

We cannot control things like weather, disasters like fires or floods, road construction or traffic accidents, but we can anticipate them and mitigate the impact.

Be prepared, stay alert, have a plan, stay calm and be safe! See you at ride camp!

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.