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Endurance News -- October 2019

President's Letter
Vice President's Letter
Rules Committee News
National Championship News
Classified Advertising

Get informed before you decide

by Monica Chapman

In this issue of Endurance News you will find an article about a motion that has been brought before the AERC Board of Directors by the Competitions Committee a few times. At the midyear meeting in July, the AERC board spent more than two hours discussing the motion, which would allow 40- to 45-mile rides. (See page 8.) I was very proud of the discussion held by the board on this topic. It can be a heated topic because there are some very strong feelings on it, depending on personal preferences as well as regional differences. My President's Message this month is not to give my personal opinion of what I think of the motion, how I would modify it or not, or how I would vote. My message is to discuss how a very diverse group of people can have a civil, productive and respectful discussion.

Your BOD is compromised of 26 AERC members from all regions of AERC. The BOD is represented by a range of ages, male/female, non-riders, veterinarians, LD riders, pioneer riders, 50 mile riders, 100 mile riders, ride managers, international riders, long-time members, new members, and members representing many different professions.

As the discussion moved forward, everyone listened intently to what others said they thought the pros and cons were. Most BOD members were speaking about the motion in the way their region's members felt about it. It's amazing that even though we all live in the same country how diverse the regional differences can be. I have had the privilege of competing in six of the nine AERC regions, so I have a ballpark idea of the basic regional differences. It was so cool watching the lightbulbs go on in different people's heads when they got why something may be a big deal to some members when they hadn't fully understood the impetus behind some AERC members' strong feelings about the motion.

Like I said, I'm not here to tell the AERC membership how they should feel about the motion. What I would ask of the membership is to please ask questions regarding why the motion was brought about before you make up your mind. Fully educate yourself to the facts before forming an opinion. Ask knowledgable people about the facts (I'd suggest a BOD member you know).

Getting your facts from social media is usually a very poor choice. Many times people commenting on social media don't really truly understand the subject. Ask yourself how the passing of the motion would really affect you or your region. Is it even going to affect you? If the motion really doesn't affect you, your region, or your riding, maybe it will help out another region.

Sometimes AERC needs to pass, change or remove certain rules or bylaws because it is beneficial to an area but a wash to the rest of AERC.

I ask for everyone to put a lot of thought and fact-finding into your responses to the AERC BOD when we post articles in Endurance News asking for feedback. Using the same old line of "that's the way it's always been" may not always be in the best interest of an organization trying to flourish in an ever-changing world. Around the beginning of November some regions will receive ballots for a regional director election. In regions that only have two people running there will be no election. When deciding who to vote for, ask the candidates questions like "How much time do you have to give to the BOD?" or, "Are you willing to serve on committees?" "Can you keep an open mind until all facts are presented?" These are just a few questions to throw out there.

Directors that seem to run based on one platform tend to burn out once their subject has come and gone. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Vice President's Letter: Do all you can to prevent accidents

by Nick Kohut, DVM

By this point in time, I'm sure all of you are familiar with the liability signs posted at equine facilities and events proclaiming the inherent risks associated with equine activities. Unfortunately, over the past several years I've seen exactly how often that statement comes true.

I've been at rides where people have been kicked and stepped on, resulting in bruises and broken bones. Others have jumped off their horses and twisted ankles or tore ligaments. Worse yet have been those who were bucked off, resulting in broken collarbones, cracked ribs, and concussions. Just recently one rider was injured while trotting out her horse in the vet check.

Injuries caused by horses have the highest likelihood of requiring hospitalization based on individuals visiting U.S. emergency departments with injuries caused by one of the 250 recreational activities tracked. The horse riding injury admission rate to a hospital is 16.6% higher than the next activity -- All Terrain Vehicles (ATV)/motorcycle riding at 12.0%. (United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2014)

Horse riding injury events have been found to affect approximately 35.7 persons per 100,000 population every year in the USA. (Thomas KE, Annest JL, Gilchrist J, et al: Non-fatal horse related injuries treated in emergency departments in the United States)

From the 2014 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data, the most common causes of head injury were a fall from or with a horse (63.9%).

A retrospective study taken from the Saddle Up Safely website found that the primary cause of falling were their "horse spooked" (n = 71), followed by "error of another human" (n = 41), "green horse" (n = 29), "new horse" (n = 28), "tack and equipment problem" (n = 25) and "error of another horse" (n = 25). (

Training. So, what can be done to help prevent these injuries? Horses, being prey animals, are known to be unpredictable and spook at numerous things. However, it is also known that the more a horse is trained, the likelihood of it randomly spooking is much lower when compared to green, less trained, horses. Environmental awareness. Being cognizant of your surroundings may help to some degree to lessen the risk associated from "error of another human," but it is difficult when the problem occurs from situations like these:

-- people who honk their horn or rev their engine as they drive by

-- spectators at competitions who display inappropriate behavior around horses, such as flailing of the arms, shaking loud plastic bags, opening umbrellas or running toward a horse

-- riders and new horse owners who do not know proper trail riding etiquette.

-- Check your tack. When it comes to tack issues, a pre-ride tack check is paramount for a safe ride. This will include:

-- making sure the tack fits properly (for both the horse and rider)

-- leather that is not frail (tack that is in adequate working order)

-- intact stitching

-- a girth that is tight enough (girth will tend to get loose a few minutes after the horse is tacked and starts to move, so it needs to be readjusted)

-- tack that is free of debris (including saddle pads and wraps)

-- correct bit or head gear for the specific horse. It is important to check and adjust the tack as needed.

Safety gear. As far as protection from injuries goes, much has already been said about the benefits of safety vests and helmets. While helmets will not prevent all head injuries nor protect from spinal injuries, they have certainly been shown repeatedly to diminish the severity of serious head trauma. Remember to always wear an ASTM/SEI certified helmet and replace it after any fall in which it touches the ground, or every five years, regardless.

In the words of Hill Street Blues' Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, "Let's be careful out there."

Trails Post: Steps to getting USFS permits

by Dawn Hilliard

Ask endurance riders what their favorite part of the sport is and you will hear how they love seeing new places from the back of their horse. Those places may be trails across private land or public parks. Many distance rides make use of established trail systems located in National Forests around the country.

Ride managers are required to obtain a permit (called a special-use authorization) from the U.S. Forest Service if any of their trails are used. This authorization is required as distance events are considered commercial ventures, as they have entry fees and often involve more than 75 participants and spectators.

A new ride manager would contact their local Forest Service district office to request the application. Often a pre-application meeting is required. This meeting will discuss the event planned, the proposed timing, potential conflicts with other scheduled park users, potential conflicts with area events, insurance requirements, and a review of potential environmental impacts. This is also the time to discuss park use fees and when those fees need to be paid.

While this seems like a lot of information to deal with before the application is even submitted, this process helps assure all park users have a good experience, as it is unlikely that a bird watching club would want to share trail with distance riders, and distance riders would not be pleased to find local roads closed for a marathon as they arrive or depart from camp.

Any commercial use of Forest Service property also requires an operating plan to be submitted with the application. This includes detailed information such as the base camp location and facilities, the date and description of the event, expected number of participants, a detailed map showing the proposed route along established trails, a sanitation plan, food and water availability, a medical plan, a parking plan, a communication plan, an advertising plan, and a cleanup plan. There is no application fee.

The first year of an event, the permit issued will be a temporary, one-year permit. After the successful completion of the event, a five-year permit may be issued for future events.

National Championship News: Trail tips for the National Championships

by Melissa Ribley, DVM

The 2019 AERC National Championship Ride on October 31 and November 2 in Ridgecrest, California (Pacific Southwest Region) will offer a variety of distances for every rider. The Championship 50 on October 31 will have an open 25 and an open 50 where qualifications are not required. The Championship 100 on November 2 will also have an open 35, 50, 65 and 100 mile rides where qualifications are not required.

The trail will consist of a combination of single-track and jeep roads. Footing is generally good with packed sand, however there are some areas of rocks and there will be some sandy washes. The location of the ride is the beautiful and Mojave Desert, so the only trees you will see will be Joshua trees, which interestingly are found nowhere else in the world.

The weather will be mild in the desert at ride time, with average daytime highs in the mid-70s and nighttime lows in the mid-40s. The desert is of course dry and, with an annual average rainfall of less than 2", the chance of precipitation at ride time is low and humidity will be very low.

If you have spent time in the desert, you have experienced wind. Fortunately, the fall season in Ridgecrest is typically much less windy than spring and summer. For those of you entered in rides on both October 31 and November 2, you will be treated to two completely different courses, each with its own unique sights and terrain. Here is a brief description of the two different courses:

October 31 - 25/50: Both the 25 and 50 mile rides are one big loop, with all checks out of camp. This provides the opportunity to see more country and also eliminates returning/leaving camp a number of times. Management will provide horse water/hay, human water, and will transport crew bags for those who do not have crew. For those that do have crew, access is easy by vehicle. The 50 mile ride will have two out vet checks and the 25 will have one out vet check.

The footing on this course is very good with very little rock; it consists mainly of packed sand. There are short stretches of soft sandy washes.

Wild burros and mustangs will be interested observers as you ride right by the BLM holding facility.

Most of the climbing is towards the middle of the ride as you climb up to the ridge above Ridgecrest. Views of the city and of the Eastern Sierra mountain range are spectacular from here. It is a gradual downhill from the last vet check back to camp.

November 2 - 35/50/65/100: The 35 and 65 mile rides are one big loop, with all checks out of camp. The 50 mile ride returns to camp for a vet check after 35 miles. The 100 mile ride consists of a 65 and 35 mile loop, with a vet check back in camp at 65 miles.

The footing for the 35 and 50 mile rides is very good with packed sand almost the entire course. The 65 and 100 mile rides will have areas of rock on the first 65 miles and appropriate protective footwear is recommended for those horses. The 65 mile loop will take you to remote and spectacular areas of the desert where you will pass by ancient petroglyphs. The 35 mile loop is largely within sight of the city of Ridgecrest, which will make for reassuring night time riding.

With those courses in mind, here are some trail tips for a successful ride:

Footwear. Because of the areas of rock on the 65 mile loop, pads or other additional protective footwear is recommended for the 65 and 100 mile riders. Climbs. Climbs. None of the loops have visually steep climbs, so the climbs that do exist are deceiving. As you are riding it may not feel as though the trail is climbing, but it only takes one look back over your shoulder to realize how far you have left the valley floor below. Keep in mind that your horse may be working harder than you think and give him/her rest breaks as you make these long, gradual climbs.

Water. Remember you are in the desert -- there is no natural water and the lack of humidity is desiccating to you and your horse. Take advantage of every water trough that is put out and give your horse ample time to drink. Carry plenty of water for yourself and drink often.

Sand. If your horse is not legged up and used to working in sand, be extra-cautious in areas of deeper sandy washes. Sand can be extra fatiguing to your horse and put him/her at risk for tendon/ligament strains. There are plenty of areas with good footing to make time, so don't make your move in areas of deep sand or on rocky stretches.

Night prep. For the 100 mile riders, your check back in camp at 65 miles is a good place to prepare for your nighttime riding. Pick up your flashlight, head lamp and glow bars if you use them. Carry a light jacket as the desert can get cool at night.

Night riding. The 35 mile loop that 100 mile riders will be riding after dark is not a technical trail, so you will be able to sustain a good pace if your horse is up to it. The lights of Ridgecrest are in view quite a bit on this loop which makes it more easy to not get disoriented and lost out on course at night. There will be plenty of glow bars to guide you.

Some later-pack 100 and 65 mile riders will be riding after dark as they complete the 65 mile loop. Be prepared for this, and carry a flashlight or glow bars if you use them.

Communication. The ride will have good radio communication on course. Cell phone coverage is good in most areas, so you will be able to reach assistance should you need it.

The National Championship 100 mile course is a proven course as the Twenty Mule Team 100 has been traveling over this trail for many years. It has proven to be a well-managed ride with good trail markings and plenty of water troughs on course. It is a safe course with very little technical aspect.

The National Championship 50 mile course was designed specifically to provide a scenic course with good footing and moderate climbing. It will travel over sections of the long-existing Fire Mountain Ride.

Both rides will provide riders a unique experience within the beautiful Mojave Desert. We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 AERC National Championship Ride!

For more information, visit the ride website,, or follow us on Facebook at:

Helpful links:

Ride website:
Desert Empire Fairgrounds website:
RV Park website:
Ride facebook page:

October 2019 Classified Advertising



CEDAR RIDGE RANCH ARABIANS: Endurance & Sporthorse Arabians for sale from young stock to finished. Customized riding lease options for 100 mile one day rides to multi-day rides all over the country. CO. Contact Kerry at 719-207-0121 or

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! or call Lynn, 701-859-3221, ND.


ENDURANCE CONSULTANT. Conditioning, racing, veterinary, sales. Michele Roush Rowe, DVM. 530-292-1902, CA. 12/18 NEWS FLASH!! 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


43 ACRES BORDERED BY THE GILA NATIONAL FOREST in southwestern New Mexico. Great training trails right out the back gate. Custom grid-tied solar home, barn, covered arena, round pen, greenhouse. 30+ acres fenced pastures. Year round riding and grazing with moderate summer temps, low humidity and minimal snow. Reduced to $1.17MM -- includes all farm equipment. Photos, details:, 575-536-3109, 575-635-1444 cell.


NEW PER-EQ FIT PAD! 100% thick soft wool fleece, with insert $175. Handmade Mohair cinches, USA Made. 1-877-979-5979. CA.

TREKK-ETT SADDLE BAGS! "So slim and snug you don't even notice!" Pommel, cantle and boot bags, 11 colors and a few prints. Holds two 20-ounce bottles and has a middle pouch, wool-backed. Quality and craftsmanship. Contact Jaime Ruff, 334-518-0322 / The Production Room on Facebook / AL.

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.