To Finish Is To Win

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Endurance News -- November 2016

President's Letter
Vice President's Message
Young Rider Division News
Classified Advertising

President's Letter: MHIP - Membership has its privileges

by Michael Campbell, AERC President

Coming up is Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the fun and excitement of the holidays—visits and parties with family and friends and, perhaps, workplace festivities. In the next weeks, we will elect a new President of the United States and observe the culmination of the years' campaigning. No matter who you support or vote for, you have a good chance of being surprised, disappointed and relieved all at the same time.

The next few weeks also signal the end of the 2016 ride year. There is no doubt that last year, however you planned your ride season, it didn't happen the way you hoped and expected. That's just endurance riding.

The next few weeks also signals the beginning of the 2017 endurance ride year. On November 30, your membership expires and you need to renew your AERC membership for new ride year, which begins December 1.

There are lots of obvious reasons to renew your membership. AERC keeps track of your miles, points and awards, and your horses' miles, points and awards. You receive Endurance News every month, with interesting and insightful articles by AERC experts in veterinary medicine, trails, ride managers and others. Most of these things we take for granted, but an extraordinary amount of effort goes into each one of these things, behind the scenes, to the benefit of us all.

AERC is a national volunteer organization and, as such, we assume that if we go anywhere in the country to enter an AERC ride, we can expect consistency in how the ride is conducted, the rules, the veterinary care and standards, the mileage and the spirit of comradeship in a common love of our trails and horses.

The Rules Committee, ride managers and sanctioning directors work hard to maintain consistency among the nine regions of our organization in the rules of our rides, mileage, points and awards so that our national awards really mean something and provide a fair comparison from east to west wherever you ride.

The Veterinary Committee also works hard to provide consistent guidance in the care of our hardworking horses. Along with the Research Committee, they provide guidance on the effects of various medications, medical treatment, transportation, weight loss and other variables unique to our endurance horses.

The spirit of comradeship may be the single most important reason that most of us choose to renew. Other AERC riders share our enthusiasm for horse and trail. Along with that enthusiasm comes a shared set of values and ethics. Sharing those values and ethics is a privilege.

We all love our horses and value their health and well-being. We share with one another our ideas about what went wrong, or right, and how to manage the unique strengths and problems of our horses. When I began riding endurance, another rider pointed out to me that my mare had been trimmed and shod with long toes and short heels, probably more consistent with her show ring background. I began to learn. Sometime later, other riders shared their ideas about training schedules and nutrition. I began to learn more.

Learning more about our horses and our sport is a value that we all share and it never stops as long as you ride endurance. We have a shared work ethic. We find the will and determination to ride hours upon hours and keep our horses sound. Most other hobbyists, and especially horse sport enthusiasts, are surprised to see women saddle, bridle and ride sometimes unruly thousand-pound beasts without the assistance of a man, not to mention loading, hooking and hauling multi-thousand-pound trucks and trailers for hours at a time before backing that trailer into a designated spot. Don't you need a man to help you with that, little lady? Not in endurance. We men sometimes struggle to keep up with you ladies, but we support and inspire one another through it all.

Communicating this shared spirit is what keeps new members coming back. It's easy to become so focused on setting up camp and preparing for the ride that we fail to notice the new rider parked next to us. But sharing with that newbie is important to continue the pioneering spirit of this sport.

We endurance riders may disagree on training schedules or how a particular rule should be interpreted or even which turn is correct on the trail. We probably disagree a lot on who is the best presidential candidate. But we all agree on the value of the horse and trail. As members of AERC, we share the ethics of hard work and fair play that AERC ensures us all.

It's time to renew. AERC membership has its privileges.

Vice President's Message: AERC supports youth with scholarships

by Lisa Schneider

Every year, AERC accepts applications for the Anne Ayala Junior/Young Rider Scholarship. This award honors the memory of the late Anne Ayala, who with her horse Overlook Nuryev ("Beau"), received the Pard'ners Award in 2000 and became a Decade Team in 2003.

A Southeast Region member, Anne was passionate about education and supported endurance in many ways, managing the Biltmore Challenge ride and working on the trail system there. According to Cheryl Newman, who campaigned to establish the scholarship in Anne's name, "I felt strongly that a scholarship would reflect a good many of Anne's ideals (she was a teacher and scholar both throughout her life), and that it went to young riders was a fringe benefit as Anne was a believer in the value of fostering juniors and young riders, particularly those that give back to the sport somehow.

"Anne brought her son into the sport and started with her granddaughter before her illness prevented her from doing more," continued Cheryl. "She always had a good entry-fee break for juniors at the Biltmore ride because she believed that the juniors/youth were the future of our sport and always made a big deal of the juniors competing and completing at Biltmore."

The applications for the scholarship are open to AERC members in good standing from their high school senior year through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of January 1 of the application year). Applicants must have a minimum of 500 AERC lifetime miles and must have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0. This scholarship can be applied to colleges and universities as well as technical schools and specialized training programs.

Members can donate to the scholarship fund on the annual renewal form so please keep this worthy cause in mind as you renew your AERC membership for 2017.

This year, AERC was very fortunate to have received generous donations such that more than one scholarship was able to be awarded. The funds might not always be there to support more than one award, but we thank all those members who have generously contributed to the scholarship fund and made scholarships possible for four worthy young people in 2016.

Applications were reviewed by the Junior/Young Rider Committee who sent their recommendation to the AERC Hall of Fame Committee for the final selection. We are thrilled to announce this year's recipients:

Jennifer Perryman is a West Region rider who has been riding endurance for seven years. She has ridden 3,095 endurance miles plus 75 limited distance miles, all on one horse. This team has completed five 100-mile rides in six starts and has an overall 95% completion rate. Jennifer has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

Jennifer said, "Two years ago I was a young rider advisor to the AERC International Committee. It was very interesting to learn about all the international politics. Although at the time I had plans of riding internationally I decided to focus my energy on the longevity of the partnership between my horse and me. I would enjoy working on another AERC committee someday.

"I truly love the sport of endurance. I hope that as an organization we continue to evolve and grow. I hope to continue competing in this sport for a long time, or at least the next 60 years. Endurance is such a unique and challenging sport­—there is nothing I would rather be doing than going down the trail surrounded by good friends and rocks."

Caroline Guy is a Southeast Region rider who has been riding endurance for five years. She has been awarded a $500 scholarship. She said, "Endurance riding teaches lessons that are valuable not only for riding, but in everyday life. First, success is earned with hard work and perseverance. Conditioning an endurance horse takes a lot of time and commitment but when you do it right, it pays off. I took over a year to slowly condition Comet for endurance and now I have a partner who gains energy as the day goes on. This approach applies to our daily lives. School and learning in general require you to work hard to be successful.

"Second, endurance has taught me to always be helpful. Whether someone forgot a bucket or the pulse box is backing up, helping out could ensure a new rider continues the sport or a ride manager can focus on more important issues. This applies in our day-to-day lives because you could make someone's day brighter, meet a new friend, or prevent a bad situation. The courtesies endurance riders use have inspired me to be more thoughtful."

Rhyne Maas is a Northeast Region rider who has been riding endurance for 11 years. She has been awarded a $500 scholarship. Rhyne said, "All the athletes and volunteers in this sport have demonstrated how truly and extremely important volunteering is. Endurance riding has strengthened the bond between me and my horse as well as my love for animals and my desire to improve their lives. I think this sport has been an incredible inspiration for me as I try to decide where to go with my future endeavors; I am going to attend SUNY Cobleskill in order to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Business. After I graduate, I would like to focus on creating a better world for animals by preventing the mistreatment and abuse of animals. My overall goal is to eventually create an organization that will fight animal abuse."

Barrak Blakeley is a Northwest Region rider who has been riding endurance for 11 years. He has been awarded a $500 scholarship. He has finished in the top ten at Tevis twice, earning the coveted Haggin Cup for best condition on his 17-year old Arabian gelding. Barrak is attending farrier school and said he "has learned perseverance, to keep going when the going gets tough. I have learned loyalty to my horses and naturally these qualities, as well as the many others, carry over to other parts of my life. I've learned grit, and zest, and respect, among many other things.

"I've been shoeing horses for about two years now, and I've put on shoes, pulled sprung shoes and trimmed horses for others in a pinch at holds. When we started riding endurance, we figured we'd only be in it for a couple of years, that soon the trails would get boring, and fun would start to fade, but the longer we are in it, the more hooked I am."

These young riders have all exhibited determination, perseverance, and dedication to the welfare of their horses. AERC is proud to support the education of the latest generation of endurance athletes. Happy trails!

Young Rider Division to debut in 2017 ride season

The AERC Board of Directors passed the Junior and Young Rider Committee's Young Rider Division motion, which was presented in articles in the February and July 2016 issues of Endurance News. This new division will take effect in the 2017 ride season and will be re-evaluated after a three-year period.

What changes you can expect: all riding members who are between the ages of 16 and 21 as of December 1, 2016, will be entered into the Young Rider division in the 2017 ride season instead of one of the senior weight divisions. (This also applies to juniors who have petitioned to ride unsponsored.)

Miles and points will accrue in the Young Rider division as they do for featherweight, lightweight, etc., and Young Riders will be listed as a separate division in regional awards.

There will also be a separate Young Rider division in limited distance regional awards.

This will make more young riders eligible for annual regional awards—usually an embroidered jacket or vest. Ride managers can opt to offer awards for this separate division also.

This will necessitate revisions in the AERC database, so expect that early 2017 standings will be in flux as the weight division issues are ironed out. Some membership cards for 2017 will have to be redone to reflect the new weight division.

Also, be aware that minimum mileage requirements will be in effect in the 2017 ride season—endurance teams must have at least 200 miles before they will appear in the regional awards standings, except in the junior division, where 150 miles are the minimum. (See page 4 of the October EN for details.)

The full motion can be found at

November 2016 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.