To Finish Is To Win

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Endurance News -- September 2015

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

President's Letter: Can't Feel My Face

by Michael Campbell, AERC President

It's a pop song: "I can't feel my face when I'm with you . . ." But it's the same feeling as when you're riding in synchrony with your horse on a beautiful day, at a brisk canter, when everything is just perfect. You can't even feel your face.

It's a feeling that's hard to describe, but you want to share it. Those of you reading this know that feeling. You get it when you train, and especially when you ride endurance.

The past few years, it's been tough to share that feeling. The economy and our membership has been down significantly. But, according to our AERC Treasurer and Membership Committee Chair Mollie Krumlaw-Smith, our membership is up about 7%. Last month, Executive Director Kathleen Henkel announced the 5,000th AERC member for 2015. AERC is growing at a strong, steady pace. We get to share that feeling with other like-minded horse people.

If you know someone who is thinking about joining AERC but hasn't, I've got an offer for you. But you have to read the rest of this letter to find out what it is because much of what follows is important for you to know about the people working on your behalf.

There are a lot of reasons for our membership growth. One of them, of course, is the fascinating and thoughtful people one meets at an endurance ride (like you, of course) -- not to mention the astounding amount of information AERC members have at their fingertips about horse health, welfare and behavior, and the beautiful trails we get to take care of and to ride. Also, the improving economy has helped tremendously. As my economics professor used to say, "A rising tide floats all boats."

Another reason is the many, many Endurance 101 clinics that the incredibly charming and knowledgeable AERC Secretary Susan Garlinghouse, DVM (she is also chair of the Education Committee), has been providing all across the country, often at her own expense. Many of our new members joined after attending one of Susan's classes.

This program was initiated by former board member Patti Stedman and provides an excellent introduction to our sport for riders who have only heard about it but think they might be interested. The clinics review what happens at an endurance ride, provide recommendations on conditioning and riding and detail the procedures of a vet check. (Much of this information is available via the videos on the AERC YouTube channel.)

Susan is not the only one providing these clinics. Several other members in regions across the country have also sponsored clinics. Interested parties are encouraged to attend and join AERC. The information materials at the clinics comes so hard, fast and exciting that you may not be able to feel your face by the end of the day.

And speaking of not being able to feel your face, Bruce Weary DC may be able to fix that on his treatment table and give you the benefit his leadership of the AERC mentor program as well. Many of you have followed Bruce's training blogs about his horse, Major -- a great way for new members learn a lot about preparing a horse for endurance riding.

Another big factor in AERC membership growth is the Green Bean movement, found on Facebook,, and at The Green Beans offer useful information and encouragement for anyone interested in endurance riding. Their comment sections are friendly and helpful. The participants ask relevant questions and encourage one another to grow in knowledge and ability as endurance riders.

The AERC Membership Committee is working on building AERC's relationship with the Green Beans into something that will be lasting and mutually beneficial for the future. The Green Beans are all eager to ride to the point of not being able to feel their faces.

At the convention meetings this year, the AERC Board of Directors agreed to hire Candace FitzGerald and her Dobbin Group of New Hampshire (of all places) to direct AERC's public relations efforts. Candace is a smart, hard-working horsewoman with the knowledge and experience to put AERC's best foot forward. She has facilitated national and international radio interviews and print stories featuring endurance riding activities and individuals. She provides input on press releases and assists in monitoring the AERC Facebook page. She recently edited a report to be featured in an equine journal on an AERC trails project. She is assisting in the promotion of AERC's participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade. In short, she has raised the profile of our sport in the media throughout the country.

In the fourth paragraph (above), I said I had an offer and here it is: If you know of someone who is interested in joining AERC, ask them to send me a paragraph about why they want to join ( I'll read them all and pay the membership dues for the best entry -- the one that makes me get that "I can't feel my face" feeling.

This is good for the 2016 ride year, so get me those one-paragraph essays by September 30, 2015. If any of you reading this want to sponsor one of these new members, I'll rank-order the essays and we will pay as many as we can. This is for new members only, since the rest of you already know how great this sport is.

Let's share that "can't feel my face feeling" with the rest of the equestrian world.

Vice President's Message: Adaptability

by Lisa Schneider, AERC Vice President

To succeed in any sport, it helps to have or develop a few particular characteristics. Things like determination, patience and focus are good, but one characteristic that stands out is adaptability. Being adaptable means "able to adjust oneself to different conditions."

In endurance, it seems like very little goes as originally planned. I suspect this must be because there are so many variables involved. There are injuries to horse and/or rider, family issues, tack issues, work issues, feed issues, rig issues, and the list just goes on and on.

We may start out with a ride schedule planned out for the whole season but, looking back at the end of the season, very little of the plan stayed the same. If you can be adaptable, rather than giving up your goals, then it can work out but just in a very different way.

This doesn't just apply to riders -- it also applies to ride managers. There always seems to be a ride management monkey wrench thrown in at the last minute regarding trails, volunteers, permits, bees, weather, trail-marking sabotage, etc.

I had the opportunity to talk with one rider and one ride manager who personify the characteristic of being very adaptable.

The rider, Nancy, is from eastern Canada and she wanted to participate in the Tevis Educational Ride. She knew the two-day ride occurs every other year, so she was determined to make it happen this year. She contacted people on the Western States Trail Foundation board, who put her in touch with someone who had a horse she could ride.

Riding someone else's horse is always a risky adventure. You don't know the horse owner, don't have time to get to really know the horse, you're usually not in familiar tack, and there are more things that can go wrong than right. Add to that mix that Nancy would be riding the Tevis trail, which is incredibly challenging on a horse you know and trust, let alone one you just met.

Nancy took it all in stride. She was to ride one horse for part of the first day and then switch to a second horse for the last part on this non-AERC ride. She would be on a different horse with different tack and would have to adapt to the whole shebang while going down into the Tevis canyons. Nancy was such a trouper. She needed her stirrups shortened and away she went -- talk about being flexible!

The next day the horse changed again. She was to ride the horse she rode first on day one. She adapted again when all the tack was switched again and away she went. She asked tons of relevant questions, completed both days with a huge smile on her face and was so appreciative to her mentors and horse owners. She even brought gifts for all.

Ride management requires some unique skills. You need to be a great multi-tasker, have a good memory for a million details, be very organized, assemble a great team of trained volunteers, and hire just the right number of vets. You also need to be a little wacky to do this for little or no money because no matter how many contingency plans you have, there are always stressful things that don't go right.

Debbie is a ride manager in the West Region who puts on a well-attended one-day ride in the mountains of Santa Cruz. The trail crosses state park land, UC Santa Cruz land and some private property. The parks and university lands are very popular hiking, biking and running trails and there are always tons of people out there.

As is the case with many rides in populated areas, trail sabotage had increasingly occurred and caused major inconvenience for riders and management. Debbie adapted by recruiting the local mountain bike club. This is no mean feat since large groups of cyclists love to fly down the beautiful single-track trails and the horses are just as big an inconvenience for bike riders as bikes are for equestrians.

By partnering with the biking club, Debbie was able to get the word out regarding which trails riders would be using and she also recruited several cyclists to patrol sections of the trail, carrying extra trail markings in case they had to be replaced. Debbie kept everyone safe and solved the sabotage problem by adapting to the changing conditions of multi-use trails.

Both Nancy and Debbie made great use of a personal characteristic called adaptability. Taking things in stride, not getting stressed when things change, and adjusting quickly with a positive attitude can all make the difference between a good ride and one that just isn't fun. So the next time you get into a situation where Plan A dissolves into Plan C, D, or M, remember -- you can adapt!

Happy trails!

Trails Post: Keeping Horses on Trails

by Conie Hoge

In the early '90s, rumors of a new rail trail began my involvement with the Centennial Trail Coalition -- a nonprofit volunteer organization, joining with Snohomish County Parks in Washington, to promote the recreational aspects of the trail for all users: hikers, bikers and equestrians.

The right-of-way corridor upon which the Centennial Trail travels was originally purchased and constructed by Seattle, Lakeshore & Eastern Railway, beginning in 1889, from the City of Snohomish toward Arlington, hence the name Centennial Trail. In 1892, the line was purchased from SL&E by Northern Pacific Railroad and from NPRR by Burlington Northern in 1970. Operations ceased on the rail line in 1972.

Snohomish County purchased the property from BNRR in 1990. In 1988 the Snohomish-Arlington Trail Coalition was formed by a handful of citizens and grew to a paid membership of 3,500 members through the next several years. Development of the trail began in 1989, during Washington State's centennial. In 1991 the first six miles were opened and in 1992 the Centennial Trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail.

My husband and I attended monthly meetings, voiced our opinion on issues involving horses on the trail and watched as it changed from unimproved (perfect for horsemen) to "improved" -- paved. (Some were of the opinion that spending additional funds to accommodate horses was a waste of money.)

Over the years, our lobbying effort for an adjoining horse path continued. Thankfully, it was included as a six-foot easement parallel to the paved portion. In November 2012, the final section of trail opened, completing the 30-mile span, which ended at the Nakashima Barn, just short of the Skagit County line.

At a cost of $1.5 million per mile, this trail (covering over 800 acres) was a huge undertaking, both logistically and financially. Soon, with the increased publicity and exploding population, more people discovered the trail. A strong local bike lobby began sending representatives to meetings, promoting their agenda, including large organized rides. I decided it was time for equestrians to make some noise lest they be forgotten.

Somewhere in the planning process it was decided that equestrians were excluded on the portions of trail that went through the towns. With that in mind, I made plans to ride the trail point-to-point. I wanted to demonstrate that horses could be as courteous as other trail users and draw publicity to equestrians, as a user group, on this primarily urban trail. Of the 12 trailheads, only three have trailer parking, which further limits access.

Late in March of 2013, as my husband followed with the truck and trailer, I rode the entire distance -- including the towns -- to finish at the Nakashima Barn. A few of the drivers who'd seen us at the highway intersections were waiting at Arlington's downtown park as we rode by. Everyone was so supportive and happy to see a horse in town! I was contacted by a reporter who wanted to do an article on how the newly-opened trail was being used.

The ride and resulting article became the catalyst for my increased level of advocacy. Elected in 2014 as the "equine representative" for the Centennial Trail Coalition of Snohomish County (CTCSC), I now had the platform to voice an equestrian's view on accessibility, the critical issue if we're to continue to have the right to ride on this and other multi-use rail trails in our state.

The timing was good; the County had a long-term plan to open another lineal trail, the Whitehorse Trail (a 27-mile corridor encompassing 458 acres) originating in Arling­ton and continuing east through Oso and on to Darrington. After the March 2014 Oso mudslide disaster, federal funding became available to push the trail forward well ahead of the original projected schedule.

A private funding donation was earmarked to deck each of the 14 bridges along the incredibly scenic length of this new trail. Without the expansive easement that the Centennial Trail enjoys, all users will have to share the existing width, which has made for some interesting discussions.

Having ridden open sections of the Whitehorse Trail for years, I'm now in a position to contribute suggestions, working with the County engineer as to the surface, bridge decking, non-slip surface materials and parking issues as they've come up. I'm also hopeful that we can convince the City of Arlington to designate trailer parking at Haller Park, near where the Centennial and Whitehorse trails converge at Resilience Arch.

My American Warmblood mare Farah draws attention wherever she goes with her unusual coloring and people-friendly attitude. We make it a point to make friends every time we're out on the trail. In February of 2014, when the acquisition ceremony for the CT Southern Extension was held in Snohomish, the County Executive and Council members were in attendance. Farah was included in the publicity photos and given the title of "Equine Representative" by the Council. I was amazed by the goodwill her calm and accepting presence generated during this event.

Today, we realize the reactivation of this old transportation corridor as a great recreational pathway system. The vision is that one day this great trail will extend some 45 miles from Skagit County to the north to King County on the south, ultimately linking British Columbia with Oregon and Puget Sound and points east toward the Rocky Mountains.

The old adage, "Use it or lose it," has never been more relevant. We need to keep our right to ride in the public eye. Local riders often ask, "Why bother?" In this year of unprecedented drought, with tree farms and private landowners closing their properties down to recreational use, there's no place to ride, right? Wrong. The trail is out there -- it's a place to ride and it's open to us and our horses! See you on the trail!

September 2015 Classified Advertising



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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.

Gorgeous 5 year old bay Khemisteetu son. Started under saddle. 15'2 hands. Deep body, strong loins, excellent bone. Ali-Jamaal dam line. Private treaty. Esler Arabians,, 916-652-8937. CA.

Khemistreetu daughter out of Genisis C mare. Very pretty, smart, beautiful head and neck. Started under saddle. Private treaty. Esler Arabians,, 916-652-8937. CA.

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

Tall bay Khemistreetu daughter. 5 years old. 15'2 hands and growing. Well started under saddle. Show champion conformation. Sweet disposition. Private treaty. Esler Arabians,, 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.

FREEFORM SADDLE. Classic Treeless 17" seat. Leather underside. Very lightweight and comfortable. $800. VT. 904-718-5256. Email for photos:

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

TWO LAURICHE SADDLES, both 18" seats and wide trees, $1800 each. 2 Solstice saddles, 1-17.5" seat, extra wide tree; 1-18" seat, wide tree. $1600 each. 1 JRD saddle, 18" seat and wide tree, $1800. 1 English Synergist saddle, 17.5" seat, wide tree, $800. CA, 909-633-0481.

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 Janine Esler. 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.

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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.