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Endurance News -- October 2017

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

President's Letter: Ride food, for the rider

by Paul Latiolais, AERC President

Let's get back to the important subject, food. Quite a lot has been written about what to feed your horse before, during and after a ride. But little, if anything, has been written about what the rider should eat.

This column contains suggestions that have worked for me (note: I am a mathematics professor and not a nutritionist).

For horses, I strongly recommend that you read anything that Susan Garlinghouse, DVM, has written on the subject. And when you think you have absorbed it all, read it again. I have benefitted, more specifically, my horses have benefitted, from my reading and then re-reading those articles.

One of the suggestions that everyone recommends for your horse is to not grain your horse the morning of the ride. That recommendation holds for the rider too. Specifically, you should keep the carbohydrates to a minimum on the morning of a ride to avoid a sugar high and subsequent sugar drop during the ride. If you are one of the people who insists on having your frosted corn flakes for breakfast, you will need to keep that sugar level going by intermittent addition of other sugars during the ride -- not something I would recommend or try doing.

I do put sugar in my coffee before getting in the saddle, but that coffee also has heavy cream in it, which lowers the glycemic index of the sugar. No need to get crazy here. By the way, sugar substitute doesn't work either. I've read research that has shown that while you don't get the calories, you do get the same insulin from sugar substitutes.

A bowl of instant oatmeal also is not a good idea. However, real oatmeal with little or no sugar and lots of cream and butter works for some people, as does a banana with peanut butter on it. Same idea.

The marathon running websites suggest a high protein shake. That is just too high-tech for me. After reading Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, I avoid eating anything that my grandparents would not recognize as food. Well, that's what I say, but if someone my grandparents' generation would consider something food, then I may try it. I don't think my grandfather would try kombucha.

For me protein shakes fall in the category of no one living in the 19th century would consider it food. To me, they don't taste good unless you put a lot of sugar in them. I have a friend who is really into nutrition who is trying to convince me otherwise. I will keep you posted.

If I have the time, which I usually do not, I eat bacon and eggs before riding. I am now experimenting with high-nut-content bars, like Kind or Trio bars, as I can have them before or during the ride, depending on time. I am currently thinking of switching over to just nuts and possibly jerky. I haven't figured it out. I have only been at this sport for 15 years. These things take time.

What about the night before? Going back to the marathon runners' resource, they recommend complex carbohydrates and vegetables, i.e., quinoa mixed with kale. Seriously? Not gonna do that!

At the Western States Trail Ride, aka Tevis Cup, they serve spaghetti and meatballs for the night-before dinner.

I try to split the difference, with a good protein source (for me, typically a small steak, but sometimes meatballs or roasted chicken) with a nice salad and a little bit of complex carbohydrates, e.g., if it has to be spaghetti, make it whole-wheat spaghetti. A baked potato works too.

Back to the protein source, I do not recommend beans the night before a ride -- a great source for gas, which is unpleasant in the saddle. I also would not recommend spicy food. So chili is a bad idea for two reasons. Even if you are used to spicy food, dial it back the night before the ride. Save that habañero Tabasco for after the ride.

Remember, don't try anything that you haven't tried at home. And remember, we are doing this because it's fun. So go ride your horse and be sure to be fueled up as well as your horse, so you both can have fun.

Vice President's Message: Surveys and so on

by Susan Kasemeyer

First I would like to thank everyone who has responded to my little survey with a special thanks to the office for making it easy for folks to respond. (Here is the link: So far there have been many different ideas on the National Championship but, sadly, nothing new that the National Championship Committee has not already discussed. Keep sending them anyway please.

I noticed that some did not read carefully when I explained my idea of a non-competing membership . . . I meant folks like ride managers who do not ride but spend much time seeing to it that the rest of us can. They must by rule be members. Non-competing meant not riding any distance, period. Most of the ones who did understand answered “yes” but a few thought they should not get a break.

The combined distance thing was meant to replace awards that are already there, not add more awards. Pretty much even on that one with the yeas and nays. I do read every response and thank all for responding again.

On a side note, I can often guess who sent it as soon as I read the responses . . . guess I have been around too long.

Elections. Second, I would remind you that Regional Directors are up for election this year. Please vote and show your support for your region and your organization.

Write up your ride (or volunteer). Darn, another summer is almost over . . . time flies by faster the older I get. I hope you got to spend some great hours on a trail or two with your horse partner. I will be off to the SERA Benefit/Big South Fork ride this coming weekend [September 8-9]. My neighbors are the ride managers and I do what I can, which isn't as much now that I don't ride anymore.

This ride is unique as the Big South Fork is a national river and recreation area on the Cumberland Plateau. I think I have only missed this ride one time in all the years it has happened. Really enjoyed the trails as they are varied between mountains and flat stretches along the river and crossing the river.

If you have a favorite ride or one you have gone to for many years, I bet the ride manager would love for you to do a great write-up about it for Endurance News or the quarterly AERC Extra.

It would be even better if you could show up to help before, during or after the regular ride. You have heard this many times I am sure: No trail, no sport.

Midyear meeting. We held our midyear board meeting in Chicago in August. The minutes, approved on September 11, can be found on page 40 of this issue. Take a look to see what we accomplished there.

Flooding. We have all been following the tragic floods in Texas and hurricane damage in Florida. I hope by the time this column comes out, the water will have receded and folks can begin to try to resume a normal life. I think the folks who have traveled down to help rescue people and animals are so fantastic. (I wonder why the gas companies don't use some of their profits to help instead of upping the prices.)

We listen. I do want to assure you that if you take the time to write the AERC board,we listen. If one or more answers you, please be aware they are speaking for themselves and not for the entire board or AERC.

Personally I will say that if we get a bunch of letters that say almost the same thing, and seem to be someone's agenda that they ask their friends to support, I tend to not pay a lot of attention. Hope you are genuine in your letters and not just “parroting” someone else. Off my soapbox . . . Susan

Trails Post: My trails need help!

by Monica Chapman

At the time of my writing this, Hurricane Harvey happened last week and water is still flooding large parts of South Texas. Hurricane Irma has just been named a Category 5 hurricane and is heading for Florida. Many different areas in the West are having forest fires. Then there are the good old tornadoes and flash floods that pop up all over the United States. I could go on forever naming all the natural and manmade disasters our trails undergo. How does this impact trails and what can AERC and AERC members do about it?

Unfortunately many AERC ride managers and AERC trail bosses face a monumental task when these disasters happen just weeks or days before their competition. Many times the land managers close the trails and campgrounds ahead of time, trying to be proactive. They don't want to be responsible for the safety of the public out in the backcountry when they have not had time to check all the trails. It is also not responsible to put first responders in danger to rescue people participating in recreational activities when there are so many people still needing to be rescued in their homes, nursing homes, etc.

It is disappointing to riders to have a ride cancelled, especially when the natural disaster has not affected them. One could always go volunteer to help the affected areas those weekends when their rides have been cancelled.

So what can we (AERC/AERC members) do after the disaster has subsided and the trails are checked? If your local trails have a trails club, check in with them to see what the land managers have identified as the key areas to fix first. If your local trails do not have an organized group then you need to contact the land manager and find out what needs to be done and get on the contact list to be kept in the loop.

The next step is to contact your AERC State Trails Advocate (find their contact information on the AERC website under the Trails tab) and have them help you contact all the AERC members in the area of the affected trails. This is the perfect time for AERC to step forward and show how horse groups can be proactive in getting trails work done.

If you don't have many AERC members in your area please look for a local Back Country Horsemen of American chapter (BCHA) or other trail advocate groups to volunteer.

Even though mountain bicyclists are seen negatively by equestrians in many parts of the United States, this is never a time to dicker over philosophies when it comes to trail clean-up. The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is an organization that can help put you into contact with many bike groups who support trails.

Our public land managers are seriously overstretched with shrinking budgets and shrinking numbers of employees. A major disaster like this makes it very easy for them to shut down your favorite trail because they do not have the money or the manpower to clean up everything. We have to help them if we want to keep our trails!

Once an assessment and a game plan has been decided upon by the land managers and volunteer groups, this is the time to contact AERC about AERC trails crants! AERC does not have enough money to build miles of new trails. What AERC trails grants have been good for is buying gravel for parking lots, renting equipment, putting in new culverts, buying new gates, paying for NEPAs, paying for signage and buying solar water wells. You can go to the AERC Trails Grant page and see examples of what AERC trails grants have paid for in the past.

So where does AERC get money for these trails grants? AERC members. It's that time to start thinking about renewing your AERC Membership -- please consider giving to the AERC Trails Grant Fund. These grants help create a great relationship with land managers and since AERC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, your donations are tax deductible.

If you have a specific project you want your donation spent on, contact the AERC trails grant liaison, Helen Koehler. You will apply for an AERC trails grant; if it is approved, your donated money will go to that project. There are certain stipulations that go along with directed donations.

Here are some recently approved AERC Trails Grants.

Caja Del Rio Trail Grant request for gates, July 2017. The grant is funding a portion of the Phase II Caja plan by installing seven metal livestock gates in the Caja del Rio, USFS Santa Fe National Forest. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Funds approved: up to $3,000.

Restoration in Clark State Forest, Indiana, August 2016. Funds given to repair the orange trail creek crossing of the Dry Fork Trail System in the Deam Lake Recreational Area of Clark State Forest near Borden, Indiana. The project repaired erosion on the hills by removing berms and making rolling grade dips to direct water off of the trail leading down into the crossing, stabilized areas on hills with Geotextile fabric and gravel, hardened and stabilized the creek crossing with Geotextile fabric, fill rock and rip rap. The result: erosion control on the hills.

The Harden Creek crossing was one sustainably, reducing future maintenance costs and ensuring a safe crossing for the horses. The grant was approved for $5,066.

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