To Finish Is To Win

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Endurance News -- November 2015

President's Letter
Vice President's Message
Junior/Young Rider News
Junior/Young Rider News
Classified Advertising

President's Letter: What Have I Got Myself Into?

by Michael Campbell, AERC President

Ever ask yourself that question? I know I have and I'll bet that you have, too, and not just about endurance riding.

As the "luckiest man on earth" thanks to, and according to, my mother and my wife, I've been asked that question a lot, as well. Perhaps the first time was when my mom came to check on me after a period of suspicious silence and found me, and the kitchen, covered in Crisco and flour. Twenty years ago I came home after attending my first endurance ride in east Texas and declared my intention of doing that again. My wife responded with, "What have you . . . ?"

A few months ago, I was talking with a young soldier, a real warrior, who had completed four tours of duty in war zones in service to our country. He came to me with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder: anxiety, irritability, depression, poor sleep, etc.

We talked about his expectations when he first went to war. He had excellent training and preparation. He told me he expected to go fight bad guys, maybe kill a few, maybe get a medal, and come home with some good stories. But, he said, when he got into his first fire fight, mortars went off near him and bullets were flying all about, he thought to himself, "What have I got myself into?"

As we neared the end of our conversation, I told him, "Thank you for your service." He stood very straight and we shook hands. His eyes welled with tears for a moment and he quietly said, "You're welcome." We had a moment of mutual understanding that what he had gotten himself into was a life of service.

We all receive the benefits of the service of others every single day, all day long. The alarm clock that awakens you in the morning was built in service to you because you wanted to wake up at a particular time.

Your work environment is a service to you so that you can afford your lifestyle.

Your horses and all equine accessories, including endurance ride managers, vets, volunteers, etc. are all in service to you. The measure of quality of a society is the degree to which service is recognized and appreciated. That is also a good measure of all relationships -- between you and your friends, your family . . . and your horse.

You also serve. Whatever your line of work, you serve someone. At home, when you help your child with homework or your spouse with a chore, you serve. When you feed your horse, you serve. When you volunteer at a ride or help clear a trail, you serve. When you offer your honest, thoughtful input to your regional director, your advice is a service.

At your funeral someday, long in the future, your mourners will not speak of your big screen TV or the nice truck you drove, but of your service to each of them.

In the September EN, I offered to pay for the membership of someone if they would write a paragraph about why they wanted to be an AERC member. The first response I got was from longtime members Debby Lyon and Jeff Herten, who also offered to pay for memberships. Debby and Jeff, in service to others.

Next came a note from Karen E. hoping to get a membership and praising her riding partner for teaching her about horses and endurance riding. Karen's praise in service to another. Then I received a note from Lenie W. about the joy of riding, and closing with a plug for her three sisters and brothers to enjoy endurance riding. Lenie, in service to her siblings. Finally came a response from Mary B. requesting memberships for her and her daughter Casey. Mary, in service to her daughter.

(Because of Debby and Jeff's help, we are welcoming Karen, Leni, Mary and Casey with free memberships for 2016.)

The measure of power is not money or possessions, but the degree to which you have the power to serve others.

Service is a never-ending circle. By acknowledging the service of others, you serve them with your appreciation. Accepting the service of another is sometimes the nicest gift you could give and the greatest service you can offer.

As the holiday season draws near and we prepare to recognize Thanksgiving, let us all recognize that what we have gotten ourselves into is a life of service to others. Let us offer that service without expectation of recognition or recompense, but because we all find meaning in a life of service. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Vice President's Message: Endurance Family Thanks

by Lisa Schneider, AERC Vice President

Endurance people are a wonderful bunch of compassionate, helpful, kind, and giving human beings. Email lists and social media often have some very touching stories about how friends and strangers come together to help out each other. I am always struck by the giving nature of so many people, especially our endurance family.

This summer there were many wildfires all over the Pacific Northwest and West. Thousands of acres burned and, as of this writing, several of these wildfires are still not 100% contained. The fires took a huge toll on the people who live in these areas, as well as the heroic firefighters who risked their lives to save the residents and their animals.

Volunteers flocked to fire-threatened areas with horse trailers to help evacuations, donate feed, give gifts of food for people, provide veterinary care, and offer lots of help in a variety of other ways. There was a story on social media about a family who lost all their tack when their barn burned down. They barely had time to evacuate their horses so saving the tack wasn't even a consideration. A collection went around for donations of tack so this family can ride their horses again when they get settled. Very few of the donors even knew the family.

We all know the weather can be unpredictable and not always conducive to an endurance ride. Imagine the ride manager who put in hundreds of hours to put on a ride but then the weather turned nasty. It can be challenging to find volunteers to come out on a good day, but add rain, cold, snow, wind, extreme heat or humidity (or a combination of those), and most volunteers don't want to be out in those conditions. It can't be fun standing out in bad weather taking pulses or hauling water or marking trail, but they do it anyway. But they come out despite it all and help the horses and riders who braved the weather. (Be sure to read the Ride Managers' Forum on the next page.)

At rides, it seems someone always needs something like a piece of tack or a feed item. After an unplanned dismount, a rider might need an anti-inflammatory pill or an ice pack. You can always count on people to bring forth their extra tack or first aid kits.

At Tevis one year, a junior rider had the worst luck with sponsors because they kept getting pulled. Every time one sponsor was pulled, someone else happily stepped up to sponsor her so she could continue in her quest for her first Tevis buckle. She went through three or four sponsors and began to think she was a jinx, but people still volunteered to help her finish. She completed the ride and thanked a long list of people for help getting that buckle.

All these stories are examples of not just strangers helping out each other, but endurance people coming together to help out each other. I'm proud to be associated with a group of people who are so willing to literally give others the shirt off their backs. The holidays will soon be here and it feels good to belong to an organization that truly cares about its members, both the two-legged and the four-legged kind.

Happy trails!

Junior/Young Rider News: Beat the Chill

by Terry and Nalisa Bradley

With the holiday season around the corner, many of us hang up the bridle and give our stalwart pony a couple of months off with the chill of the season. Just because the snow begins to fly over much of Canada and the northern United States doesn't mean we can't train for and hit a ride or two in the warmer parts of the nation.

In fact, one of the highlights of our children's riding careers included traveling to California's desert and doing a one-day 100 at the Twenty Mule Team ride one February.

Being from central Utah, winter temperatures on some days never get above freezing, so how do you prepare kids and their trusty steeds to participate in winter rides? Hopefully we can give a few helpful tips that can help families be successful with winter training.

When asked about her experience with training in the cold as a junior, Heather Herman had some great advice. Being from Montana, Heather has plenty of experience with riding in the cold and addressed one of the most important issues to successful winter training: riding apparel to suit the season.

She stressed the importance of having a good pair of waterproof boots as well as a rainproof coat.

"Being cold is one thing, but being wet and cold is an entirely different ball game," said Heather. "It is important to start with more layers than one needs. As you warm up, you can always shed layers and tie them to your saddle."

Choose to wear moisture-wicking fabrics next to your skin so perspiration won't leave you feeling damp. Fleece is an exceptional choice, and fleece-lined riding breeches are golden for cold weather comfort.

Another nifty trick is to cover your helmet with a fleece helmet cover. A lot of heat is lost from your head, whether you're a kid or a grown-up. Helmets alone offer some protection from the cold, but a fleece helmet cover can make the difference between an agonizing freezing experience and a glorious winter ride.

Gloves are also a necessity. We as parents knew that if the kids got cold hands or cold feet we were pretty much done with that day's training. Silk glove liners usually complement any riding glove well. Silk is a natural fiber that is very effective in wicking moisture from the skin and adding warmth.

Now let's move on to the fun stuff. There is nothing better when you are chilled to the bone than a mug of hot chocolate. Kids, why don't you fill one or two of your water bottles full of some hot chocolate? Hot chocolate can be helpful in more than one way. It can warm you from the inside out, and it can add some extra needed calories to your training ride.

When riding in the cold, not only does your horse need extra calories to keep warm, but so do you. Make sure you take some healthy, fun snacks along.

Training your horse in the ice and snow is completely different than training through-out the sunny days. It is important to schedule your rides during the warmest part of the day, finishing the ride with enough daylight to get your horse's woolly winter coat dried out before the frigid night temperatures. Most of the time we would start our rides around late morning, and tried to be home by early afternoon, allowing enough time for our horses to cool off and dry off.

Winter training in the snowy regions usually poses the obstacle of challenging footing, and you may decide that your horse is trying the art of ice skating. It is essential that you slow your horse down with snow and icy conditions.

It is amazing how your horse can shed the winter pounds and get into condition just by walking through snow. Have you ever tried walking any distance in knee-deep snow -- it is a work out! Try it sometime and you will better understand what you are asking your horse to do.

When it comes to winter riding you don't have to do a whole slew of miles to get your horse in shape. It is more important to gauge your conditioning by the hours your horse is on the trail, rather than the miles covered. Remember to slow down and keep you and your mount safe.

I would like to challenge juniors everywhere to experience the exhilaration and great accomplishments of doing a winter ride this year. I think with a few adjustments you and your horse may discover a great adventure, and I would bet that your horse will thank you.

Juniors and young riders: Share your stories! Send articles about your endurance experiences or aspirations to

"I Want Youth!"

by Steph Teeter

Are you a young rider between the age of 12 and 21? Do you want to help AERC grow into the future?

AERC has a Youth Representative position -- an opportunity for you to attend board meetings, learn how AERC does business, and help the board of directors make decisions about the sport. Statistically, we are an aging organization, with a median age of 52 according to recent numbers. We need more juniors and young riders participating -- and you can help us figure out how to energize the sport.

 You should be willing to attend board meetings and take part in discussions. You will be encouraged to speak on all of the issues but will not have a formal vote. There are two board meetings at the AERC convention: Thursday evening and Sunday morning. Additionally the board meets every month by conference call and holds one midyear meeting.

 You should have ideas to share with the board about improving junior and young rider participation and keeping the board in tune with the younger generation. You will also become an active member of the Junior Committee.

 We would like to select a few individuals to qualify as Youth Representatives so that one person doesn't have to do it all. If you are interested send a letter by post or by email to the AERC office telling us your age, your riding experience, and why you would like to be an AERC Youth Representative. Please include a letter of recommendation from a senior AERC member. Deadline is December 1, 2015.

Get involved -- we need you!

November 2015 Classified Advertising



B.R. DE SOI HORSE FOR SALE. 15 year old gray gelding, 15 hands: B.R. Henry De Soi, 1460 miles. All the closely-related DeSoi horses have a total of 50,045 AERC endurance miles. 775-972-7301 evenings. Reno, Nevada.

CYPRESS TRAILS ENDURANCE HORSES. Well seasoned DJB horses and slow-started prospects available for sale. 40 plus horses to choose from! KM – the human electrolyte for sale. TX. for sale lists or call 1-800-228-8768.

RIDE BADLANDS-RAISED ENDURANCE/SPORT HORSES. Strong, dependable, sure-footed! Video available. or call Lynn, 701-859-3221, ND.

10 YEAR OLD PINTO 15/16 Arabian gelding. SportHorse Regional Champion and Sweepstakes nominated. 14'3 hands, big body with lots of bone and huge feet. Under saddle and on the trail. Sweet personality. Super endurance prospect! Esler Arabians, website:, 916-652-8937. CA.


ENDURANCE CONSULTANT. Conditioning, racing, veterinary, sales. Michele Roush, DVM. 530-292-1902, CA.

NEWS FLASH!! After being out of production many years, these cool vintage events are now yours on DVD: 1986 North American Championship, 1988 N.A. Championship, 1989 N.A. Championship, 1989 ROC, 1991 ROC, 1992 ROC, 1992 AERC Natl. Championship, 1992 World Championship, and Long Distance Riding (training video with Darolyn Butler, vets: Dane Frazier and Matthew Mackay-Smith). Check out the full list of training videos . . . some great sales . . . visit or call 1-800-228-8768, TX

TAX SERVICE: Specializing in horses. Trilby Pederson & Associates. 408-997-7500, CA.


ADVANTAGE SADDLES: Let your horse move out like never before! Custom Mohair cinches, Perf-Eq Fit Pad., 1-877-979-5979. CA.

TNTtaps: Water-repellent Tapaderos, endurance & western. Lightweight, quick and easy on/off, compact, washable. Pagosa Springs, CO., 970-749-4494.

WWW.HALTERLADY.COM Marine rope halters, leads, reins. Flatbraid headstalls, reins, breastcollars, croupers. Sponge bags, books, miscellaneous., 866-203-4461.


Year-round training and conditioning for horse and rider with 10-time Tevis finisher and 13,000-mile rider Janine Esler, who has just added another 3,000-mile horse and silver-level (7 1-day 100s) achievment for CR Abu Kumait to her accomplishments. Located 6 miles from the finish of the Tevis trail. I can keep your horse in top physical and mental shape for competition year round. Just show up and succeed. Problem horses welcome. Esler Arabians,, 916-652-8937. CA. 11/15

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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.