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Endurance News -- May 2020

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

President's Letter: From calm to the storm hitting us all

by Monica Chapman

What a difference a month makes. A month ago we were at AERC's national convention in Jacksonville, Florida, having a great time. The sun was shining, we were all learning from the seminars, and having a great time socializing. Now our world has turned upside down. I am writing this on April 1, 2020. By the time you read this I'm sure everything will be different.

I want you to know that AERC is working hard to salvage the ride season to the best of our ability while being socially conscious, financially prudent, and using common sense. The board of directors will be making some tough decisions: whether to cancel portions of the ride season, change up the awards, and deciding what to cut to save money.

It is imperative for AERC to follow all local, state, and federal government guidelines and moratoriums. As of early April, four AERC regions had not had one ride yet. Four other regions had nine ride days or more. One AERC region had two ride days. It is sad to think some of our northern regions will have a very short ride season once everything has started up again.

Having the cancellations of rides during our busy season means a major financial hit to our nonprofit organization. AERC will survive this year. But it will be imperative for AERC to get back on track for next year.

Some adjustments AERC has already made to lessen the financial impact:

-- cancel the face-to-face midyear board meeting and videoconference instead

-- Stop all unnecessary spending on conferences and other organization dues

-- cut out all committee spending

-- reduce AERC office staff hours.

Ideas that are on the table to save money are to publish Endurance News bimonthly and to possibly postpone the AERC National Championship until 2021. AERC is applying for a SBA 7A PPP grant. The grant could help with payroll, rent and utilities.

I understand many of our members are being hit financially, medically, and emotionally. Some members have lost their jobs completely, have been laid off, or have seen their retirement funds dry up. I also know some members who board their horses are not able to visit their ponies.

Hopefully few if any of our members contract the virus and those that do have a mild case. AERC will be here to support you any way we can. Please reach out to your fellow members for help also.

The AERC office staff started working from home in mid-March. (No, the state of California doesn't consider AERC an essential business.) The most important thing is for everyone to stay safe, respect your fellow members, and enjoy your ponies. I hope my June message sees the coronavirus situation over the hump of the flattened curve.

Vice President's Letter: Keeping AERC (and horses) healthy

by Nick Kohut, DVM

Because our articles for EN are due roughly one month prior to publication, I write this one with a great deal of uncertainty. Currently the United States is in the early stages of its battle with the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people confirmed positive with the virus and the number of those dying from complications of the infection are increasing drastically every day.

State and federal governments are either enacting or extending measures to control the spread of the disease. The economy is suffering, and unemployment is skyrocketing. At this point, no one really knows what things will be like after the next 30 days. However, there are some things I can say with utmost certainty. Spring will have arrived. The sun will be shining longer, and the days will be getting warmer. Once again, nature in all its magnificence will be abounding with new life.

Of course, that new life includes mosquitos (Equine Encephalitis and West Nile), mayflies (Potomac Horse Fever), horse and deer flies (EIA), ticks (Anaplasmosis), forage mites (tapeworms), and a whole host of internal parasite eggs ("worms").

Don't forget to take care of those vital tasks to keep your equines healthy. Make sure their immune system is up to par by getting them appropriately vaccinated. Have fecal exams done and deworm as needed. If not already done, get a Coggins test. Be alert for signs of ill thrift and have them evaluated by your veterinarian sooner rather than later.

AERC will be continuing to serve its members in the best ways possible. Committees will continue working hard to fulfill their missions. The organization will strive to be the leader in equine welfare. And plans will be under way for the board's midyear meeting (via teleconference this year) and the next annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Along those lines, it's time to be sending in those recommendations to the AERC office for the Hall of Fame/recognition awards: Volunteer Service, Ann Parr Trails Preservation, Pard'ners, Hall of Fame Equine, and Hall of Fame Member.

You may either send them in to the office by mail or email (see page 1) or with our simple online nomination form:

Please include as much information as is relevant for why your nominee is deserving of the award. Multiple recommendations from different members for the same person/equine are taken into consideration, so consider asking fellow members to join you in sending in their choices.

It is my hope and desire that by the time you read this article the world will be on its way to returning to normal. I realize that the AERC ride season still may not have begun, but hopefully a clearer picture for the season will have formed.

I leave you with this thought from author Jodi Picoult: "Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far."

Trails Post: Representing AERC at Hike the Hill 2020

by Monica Chapman

The annual Hike the Hill meeting was February 9 through 12 in Washington, DC. I attended the meeting as AERC Trails and Land Management Committee Co-Chair.

The Sunday meeting included informational speeches from the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service.

Jaime Schmidt, national trail program manager with USFS, talked about all the changes at the USFS. In 2018, 25,000 miles of trail were maintained on USFS property. In 2019 there were 29,000 miles of trails maintained.

The implementation plans for the 15 priority areas identified in the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act have been completed. The USFS plans on using fire crews more to help with clearing trails.

John Cannella, acting program lead of the National Trails Systems with NPS, discussed all the changes at the national level. There will be some grant solutions coming out this spring/summer to help with deferred maintenance.

Tim Fisher, acting division chief of National Conservation Land & Community Partnerships with BLM, discussed recent updates from the BLM. Their national office has been moved from Washington, DC, to Grand Junction, Colorado. Many high-level BLM employees will not be moving. The BLM is losing many years of knowledge that will be hard to replace.

American Trails Executive Director Mike Passo briefly discussed the Trails Move People coalition. Some of the principal ideas of this coalition:

-- More trails, serving all of the different types of users, in environments that are appropriate and protected

-- Trails that are well-built, enjoyable and well maintained

-- Common understanding of the needs of each trail user type

-- All Americans to realize the value of trails to the human experience

-- Adequate funding and political support for trail infrastructure

-- Resources to keep our organizations, agencies and clubs active and thriving.

The rest of Sunday's meeting covered what to ask the Senators and members of Congress when in their offices. Top asks:

-- To approve S. 1081/HR 3195 Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act

-- Provide adequate funding for USFS, NPS, BLM, USFWS.

I visited the offices of two of Kansas's officials, Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Ron Estes. While meeting with Sen. Moran's and Rep. Estes's staffers, we discussed the MOU that AERC has been working on with the BLM. The MOU has been stagnant since last September. Both offices will be contacting the BLM to move the process along.

I also had meetings with Julie Broadway, president of the American Horse Council; Bryan Brendle, director of policy and legislative affairs with the American Horse Council; Darrell Wallace, chairman of Back Country Horsemen of America, and Randy Rasmussen, advisor for public lands and recreation of Back Country Horsemen of America.

Trail time? Log those hours!

Logging your hours is simple and can easily be done from any computer or smart phone with internet access.

Start at and click on the "Trails" tab. The first option on the pop-up menu is "Trail Hours Log." That page asks you to fill in some information by hand but has boxes to click or drop-down menu choices for the majority of what is required. You even get credit for things like travel time and personal equipment used, so please fill out everything as completely as possible. You can record up to five different workdays and/or locations on the same form.

–Dawn Hilliard, Trails Committee Co-Chair

Classified Advertising


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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.