To Finish Is To Win

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Endurance News -- November 2020

President's Letter
Vice President's Letter
Classified Advertising

President's Letter: Carefully consider your DAL votes

by Nick Kohut, DVM

By the time you have received your copy of Endurance News, the U.S. national elections will be behind us. (Probably much to the relief of those who get tired of the politicking that goes along with these selections.) We may not know the results of all the elections, but the electorate’s role will be concluded. The same cannot be said for the AERC Director-at-Large (DAL) election—assuming your November edition actually arrives in November. Your votes will determine almost a third of the makeup of next year’s AERC Board of Directors. I implore you to take this duty seriously. Vote for the candidate(s) that you feel will bring the most benefit to the organization as a whole. We have a fairly large and diverse slate of candidates running for this two-year term. Almost all of the current DALs are running again. We have past board members as well as potential first-timers on the ballot. Eight out of our nine regions are represented. There are veterinarians, ride managers, farriers, riders, and long-time volunteers vying for seats. Some are fairly new members of AERC, while others have been active for decades. All of them are worthy of your consideration to become a member of the 2021-22 AERC Board of Directors. Your task is to vote for the candidate(s) that you feel will bring the most benefit to the organization as a whole. While there are eight open slots, you should not feel obligated to vote for eight individuals just because you can. It is important to really know about the people you are voting for in this election. Each candidate has prepared a brief statement, but if you want to know more about the candidates, you should not hesitate to reach out to them with questions. It is understandable that you will not have a personal relationship with many of the candidates who are spread out across the country and even over the border. This election should not turn out to be just a popularity contest with people voting for someone because they recognize the candidate’s name. Just remember to mail in those ballets in time to reach the office by the 30th of November!

Vice President's Letter: Thanksgiving in 2020: be thankful

by Michael Campbell

2020: a year that will live in infamy. Someday, you’ll tell your grandchildren about this year. In statistics, an outlier is an observation that is far outside the expected range of the distribution of data under study. Yes, 2020 is an outlier. So far, we’ve experienced a tumultuous year with issues of all sorts, from the pandemic to politics, from hurrricanes to wildfires, that have disrupted our lives, both daily and long-term. Just a few of the side effects of the pandemic include the cancellation of school, closing of businesses, wearing masks, disruption of our ride schedule, cancellation of the in-person AERC national convention (a fabulous virtual convention is in the planning stages), cancellation of AERC national awards and extra scrutiny of sanctioned rides to make sure they are safe for our riders and volunteers (thank you, Sanctioning Committee, and especially chair Connie Caudill for your work to sanction rides). Many rides were also canceled or postponed due the wildfires in the West. You rode some tough trails both before and after your best ride. A side effect of this political year includes the formation of an AERC subcommittee to insure that all AERC participants feel welcome. It is very likely that anyone reading this has been inconvenienced by many of the items listed above and others not listed. What more could go wrong? Well, we still have two more months of 2020. And the fourth Thursday of this month is Thanksgiving! But with all the injustice, tragedy, suffering and victimization of this year, what could we possibly have to be thankful for? A 16-year-old taught me an important lesson in gratitude once. In her young life, she had lived through many years of truly unimaginable torment and abuse at the hands of her own family. I asked her if there was anything in her life that she could value and appreciate. She looked down at her sandaled feet and said, “I kinda like my toes.” (She had beautiful self-pedicured toes.) She taught me how to notice even the smallest things that are right about life. By focusing your attention on what’s good and true about your life, you disempower the negative. Socrates taught “Nothing in excess.” The ancient Chinese philosophers, Confucius and Tao, taught that balance in competing dualities is an inherent value in life. In other words, the bad times make the good times better. This outlier year must surely be balanced by better years in the past and better years to come. Our culture is full of axioms that reflect these philosophies: “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” You rode some tough trails both before and after your best ride. So, there is hope beyond 2020. For AERC, the good news is that our organization is solvent. No other organization has the top-quality office staff that AERC has. The number of rides is increasing and our volunteer ride managers are working harder than ever to make rides happen. The number of members is well above 4,000. We’re riding our horses. How can you change a negative outlook by focusing on the true and positive things in your life? You control much of what you attend to, so make a list of ten things that you know are good and true about your life. On what, in your life, can you focus your attention to balance the negative? Start with the simplest and most obvious things. If you got this far in this article, you can be grateful for your ability to read and think. You survived this long in 2020, so your computer skills have probably improved (think virtual). If you’re reading this magazine, you have experience with horses—probably a favorite horse. What do you value most about your health, your family, your friends? What was the nicest thing someone ever did for you that you will never forget? What was the nicest thing you ever did for someone else without expecting anything in return? For what in your life are you most grateful? For what are you most thankful? Write down something on your list for Thanksgiving Day. Even if it’s just your favorite horse or . . . your toes.

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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.