American Endurance Ride Conference


held via telephone conference call

September 13, 2005


President Stagg Newman called the meeting to order at 6:04 p.m.  Also on the line for the call:  Vice President Mike Maul, Secretary Jan Jeffers, Treasurer Patti Pizzo, Vonita Bowers, Mike Jaffe, Roberta Harms, Connie Caudill, Jan Stevens, Howard Kent, Stan Eichelberger, Gail Williams, Bob Morris, Terry Woolley Howe, Susan Kasemeyer, Duane Barnett, Randy Eiland, Roger Taylor, Nick Warhol, Barney Fleming, Jerry Fruth, Laura Hayes, Robert Ribley, Dinah Rojek, Mike Tomlinson, and Executive Director Kathleen A. Henkel.  Absent:  John H. Parke.


It was moved by Roger Taylor and seconded by Robert Ribley to excuse John Parke from this evening’s meeting (business conflict).  Motion carries.


It was moved by Laura Hayes and seconded by Jerry Fruth to approve the minutes of the June 6, 2005, conference call meeting as written.  Motion carries.


It was moved by Roger Taylor and seconded by Jan Stevens to approve the minutes of the June 27, 2005 conference call meeting as written.  Motion carries.


Sanctioning Committee Chair Vonita Bowers presented the 2006 Fun in the Sun Pioneer ride for approval from committee.  Jan Stevens is listed as the ride manager, SE Region, March 3, 4, and 5, 2006, a 25/50  25/50 and 35/55/100 respectively.  Motion carries.


Insurance Committee Chair Roger Taylor presented the renewal proposal from Equisure, Inc. regarding 2006 ride season liability insurance.  The committee approves of the proposal and moves the Board accept the proposal from Equisure for $32,682.20 for the 2006 season, based on 451 ride days, a change from last year’s 400 ride days.  Motion carries. President Newman thanked both Roger Taylor and John Parke for their diligence in working on the insurance proposal.


President Newman advised the remainder of the meeting would focus on the 2006 budget, with the board voting on individual line item dollar changes.


The International and Finance Committees were asked by President Newman to look into the manner in which the International Committee reports their income/expense item relating to the $8,000 loans available for FEI rides. 


The office was directed by President Newman to consider doing another calendar for AERC in the future.


The new member discount was discussed at length.


Randy Eiland interjected - "Stagg, Stagg, this is Randy, I'd like to say something and I want it on the record, in the minutes that I said this that this is not a very good way to do a budget and I, I just want that on record cause this is  too confusing, too many people talking.  This should have been done before midyear so we could have done a face to face budget.  We should have known what we were doing.  And I feel like we are doing everything after the fact and I'm very disappointed that we are working it this way. I want to make sure that is on the next minutes that we approve too."


President Newman advised the budget currently shows a deficit and it is his desire during the call this evening to make every effort to close the deficit.


Randy Eiland requested a roll call vote on each line item changed during the call.


Susan Kasemeyer moved and Stan Eichelberger seconded to remove the new member discount for the 2006 season unless AERC is able to obtain a new sponsor to support the new member discount, with the date of removal of the discount to be left to the discretion of the office. Discussion ensued.  Vonita Bowers called for the question.  Motion carries.


Roll call vote:  Mike Maul – No; Jan Jeffers – Yes; Patti Pizzo – Yes; Vonita Bowers – Yes; Mike Jaffe – No; Roberta Harms – Yes; Connie Caudill – Yes; Jan Stevens – Yes; Stan Eichelberger – Yes; Gail Williams – Yes; Bob Morris – Abstain; Terry Woolley Howe – No; Susan Kasemeyer – Yes; Duane Barnett – No; Randy Eiland – No; Roger Taylor – No; Nick Warhol – No; Barney Fleming – No; Jerry Fruth – Yes; Laura Hayes – Yes; Robert Ribley – No; Dinah Rojek – Yes; Mike Tomlinson – No.  12 Yes, 10 No, 1 Abstention.   Motion carries.


The Finance Committee was requested to send a rolling history of the budget vs. actual to the board covering approximately 4 years worth of figures.


President Newman requested the Board members send any expenses regarding reimbursement for the convention board meetings in March be sent to the office by September 30, 2005, and expenses for the midyear meeting in August be sent to the office no later than October 31, 2005.


Discussion continued regarding the budget with President Newman asking the board to express their feelings regarding the raising of fees to close the budget deficit.  Patti Pizzo moved and Stan Eichelberger seconded to increase the day member fee effective 12/1/05 from $10 to $15 per rider.  Roll call vote:  Mike Maul – Yes; Patti Pizzo – Yes; Vonita Bowers – Yes; Mike Jaffe – Yes; Roberta Harms – Yes; Connie Caudill – No; Jan Stevens – Yes; Stan Eichelberger – Yes; Gail Williams – Yes; Bob Morris – Abstain; Terry Woolley Howe – Yes; Susan Kasemeyer – Yes; Duane Barnett – Yes; Randy Eiland – No; Roger Taylor – Yes; Nick Warhol – Yes; Barney Fleming – Yes; Jerry Fruth – Abstain; Laura Hayes – Yes; Robert Ribley – Yes; Dinah Rojek – Yes.  17 Yes; 2 No; 2 Abstain.  Motion carries.


Treasurer Patti Pizzo moved and Stan Eichelberger seconded to increase the rider fee by $1.00 per rider per ride, effective 12/1/05.  Roll call vote:  Mike Maul – Yes; Patti Pizzo – Yes; Vonita Bowers – No; Mike Jaffe – Yes; Roberta Harms – No; Connie Caudill – No; Jan Stevens – No; Stan Eichelberger – Yes; Gail Williams – No; Bob Morris – Abstain; Terry Woolley Howe – Yes; Susan Kasemeyer – Yes; Duane Barnett – Yes; Randy Eiland – No; Roger Taylor – Abstain; Nick Warhol – Yes; Barney Fleming – Abstain; Jerry Fruth – Yes; Laura Hayes – Yes; Robert Ribley – Yes; Dinah Rojek – Yes.  12 Yes; 6 No; 3 Abstain.  Motion carries.


Connie Caudill moved and Randy Eiland seconded to have attendees at all upcoming Trail Master classes pay one half of their individual fee to participate in the class.  President Newman immediately remanded the motion to the Trails Grants Committee until the October 2005 conference call.


Vonita Bowers moved and Roger Taylor seconded to cut travel expenses for the attendance of board members at the convention meeting, with a cap at $500, beginning December 1, 2005, for the 2006 ride season.  Motion carries with Connie Caudill, Barney Fleming, Jan Stevens, and Gail Williams abstaining.


It was moved by Stan Eichelberger and properly seconded to adjourn the meeting at 8:24 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Jan Jeffers, Secretary


Committee Reports:


AERC International Committee

Report prepared by Kathy Brunjes, Chair



Conference Call meeting of August 29, 2005

Attendance:    Kathy Brunjes, Chair

                        Mark Dial, Vice-Chair

                        Art Priesz, USEF High Performance

Mary Lutz, USEF Endurance Director

                        Betty Baker, Treasurer - East

                        Linda Strelnik, Holly Ulyate - Mountain

                        Michele Roush - PacNorth

                        Amanda Taylor, Recording Secretary


Absent:                       Tom Johnson, Nat’l Chef d’Equipe

                        Stagg Newman, AERC President

                        Mike Tomlinson, AERC Past-Pres., USEF Technical Comm.

                        Grace Ramsay, Sue Phillips - Central

                        Julie Bullock – East

                        Carol Giles, PacNorth

                        Teresa Cross, Tinker Hart – PacSouth

                        Skye Priesz, Editor

Susan Kasemeyer, AERC Liaison and Educ.Comm


Items Discussed:  For informational purposes only – no action required by AERC BoD.

  1. Treasurer’s report:  The 2004 donation toward the WEC was never made.  Betty is working with Liz in the AERC office for a current debit/credit itemization.
  2. USEF update:  The High Performance Committee met on August 22. Two rides have been approved for FEI sanctioning in 2006:  Ft. Howes and the FITS (Fun in the Sun).  There are now three openings on the five-member FEI Committee:  Dane is not eligible to continue on the Committee, however the U.S. will go forward with nominating him for the 2007 Chair position.  In the meantime, the U.S. will endeavor to place Dane on the Committee in an advisory role for some continuity, since there are so many openings at this time.  2006 WEG selection trials and schedules are being considered at this time, with the Selection Committee taking geography into consideration.


The Technical Committee is slated to meet on Tuesday, August 30.  The AERC-I Committee will meet electronically to vote on a recommendation to replace Nancy Elliot, DVM on the USEF Technical Committee and forward this recommendation to the AERC Board for consideration at their September 12 conference call meeting.  Linda Strelnik reported that less than half of the WEG nominated riders at the Arabian Nights FEI/CEI*** completed their demonstration ride.  All who completed DID earn their CoC.  Colorama on September 15 (non-FEI) will be the last selection trial before the NAEC.  Mary will be updating the points earned by nominated riders, following the Arabian Nights ride, and this can be found on under the High Performance, Endurance links.

  1. Betty Baker and Mark Dial reported on the telephone meeting held August 10 by an ad hoc committee looking into the education of junior riders interested in competing internationally.  Jan Stevens attended the call; ideas on how to assist juniors were discussed, including a mentorship program, a monitored email ‘chat’ list for juniors, a Q&A section in EN (under the Junior Committee column of Endurance News), holding clinics for juniors in conjunction with the USEF national training clinics, a contest to help sponsor a junior to attend the 2006 WEG in Germany.  The AERC-I Committee will place this on the agenda for September, and ask for Board endorsement once a plan of action and ideas have been discussed further. 
  2. Holly Ulyate has reproduced the AERC-I logo for the website.  Discussion about linking Anne Ayala’s handbook for FEI ride managers took place; Art suggested that if a link is made, be sure to attribute who it came from.  A cover letter to explain the link and handbook will be looked into. 
  3. Zone Reports:  East has a squad of 18 riders to send to the NAEC; Central has not reported; Mountain will be sending a squad of riders, the last selection ride being the Arabian Nights, where four of their nominated riders completed.  PacSouth has not reported; PacNorth has a squad of 12 riders set for the NAEC.  Mary Lutz reported that USEF has made the ride entry deposit to the OC of the NAEC and she needs each Zone’s entries as soon as possible. 
  4. Open Discussion:  Canadians as advisors/liaisons on AERC-I Committee. After brief discussion, the Committee members present decided not to pursue this at this time.  It was suggested that perhaps there should be Canadian members on the Board, not the AERC-I Committee.


Mary brought up the vesicular stomatitis notices that have been issued by the USDA and American Horse Council, and asked Kathy to post this information to the Zone Reps.  Maryland will be requiring CVI identification permit numbers and a negative serology test within 10 days of shipping to the NAEC from VS positive states. 


Mary reminded all present that information on upcoming FEI rides, International events (i.e.: 119km CEI** event in Italy, October 28-30) and posting of updates concerning the 2006 WEG selection process should be obtained from the USEF website ( under High Performance, Endurance links.


Betty proposed that the AERC-I Committee help sponsor the Welcome reception at the NAEC and Kathy will ask for an email vote by the Committee based on the motion made by Betty and seconded by Mark. 


Item Requiring AERC Board Action:

At this time, the following recommendation is made to the AERC Board of Directors, for their consideration:  The AERC-I Committee hereby recommends that Heather Hoyns, D.V.M. be put forward to the USEF Board of Directors as a replacement for Nancy Elliott, D.V.M., on the USEF Endurance Technical Committee.


Research Grants Committee

Report prepared by Bob Morris, Chair



The AERC Research Grants Committee has in place as of this date four research projects:

1.      Why Do Endurance Horses Fail to Finish: A Pilot Study

2.       Can successful endurance performance be predicted by physiology?

3.       Are horses responsible for invasive plants in the eastern United States

4.       Do risks of potassium supplementation depend on speed?


These projects have established the AERC as an organization interested in research related to the welfare of the equines competing in endurance competition and in establishing the conditions associated with the conduct of this sport.


But what of the future? Where are we headed in the research field and how will we get there? A few matters associated with such research should

be established in order to formulate a concept of where we want to go.

  1. The AERC is new to the field of equine research.
  2. Research is expensive.
  3. Funding is minimal.
  4. Much research is theoretical and of minimal immediate benefit.
  5. In research of matters associated with endurance competition and endurance competitors, the return on investment is very low.
  6. Control is very difficult and expensive.
  7. The field of participants is small.


An understanding of these points is essential. The AERC made its first research grant in 2003. Since that time we have made an additional three grants. These grants were to investigators who were familiar with endurance competition and the AERC. We are still having some difficulty in establishing our credentials outside the immediate endurance community.


Much equine research is associated with commercial ventures even though being conducted by academic entities. These commercial ventures expect a fair return on their investment in the form of a product to sell. The academic entity reaps the publicity attached to a successful product on the market and in publication of the study in professional journals. We, in endurance can make no such offer. We, in endurance, require the subject to be associated with our sport and couched in terms that we, as lay persons, can readily understand.


The AERC does not have the seemingly endless funding associated with a commercial project. The AERC Research Grants Committee is funded by a percentage of the excess cash flow generated each fiscal year. 2005 brought us $24,735 which has been committed to projects. For the future years, in 2006 we will have $13,050. In 2007, according to the projected balance sheet for FY 2005 that shows a deficit, we will receive no funds for research. This serious matter could be some what alleviated by the release of accumulated excess drug testing funds to the research program as was originally intended. This would be an infusion of approximately $32,000.


There are always questions, “What do we want to research”. In the latest poll of our membership, as shown by the answers to the 2005 questionnaire, our membership was interested in:

  1. .Metabolic problems                          86%
  2.  Soundness problems                                     70%
  3.  Nutrition                                                        69%
  4.  Why horses do not complete rides   55%


I believe that we have our directions and our current programs do comply with some of these indications. These are all practical applications and our current projects are all on the practical side. These are not fields graduate students and researchers are fond of exploring. The rewards are minimal, other than a thesis subject. They are labor intensive and subject intensive. They require the access to a fairly large field of participants, and in endurance related research that usually includes not only the animals but the owner/riders as well.


With that back ground; on to the future of AERC Research.


Recently there has been much discussion regarding the AERC Rule #13. We know the inter-relationship of the more powerful drugs and how they affect the competitive endurance equine. We are, however, becoming more concerned with those substances the layman does not generally associate with the term “drug”. Those substances perceived as support for the “welfare of the horse”, joint medications, mood altering substances, digestive tract ameliorative and the like. Natural derivatives or homeopathic treatments also fall into this category.


Research in the use and effects of these substances is virtually limited to non-scientific, anecdotal reports. The controlled research available is often not directed towards the conditions met in endurance competition nor in the animal husbandry promoted by endurance competitors.


This leads us to a field of almost virgin research where our funds could open wide doors currently hidden. There are other fields of concern as expressed in the list generated by the membership. Very little work has been done on endurance horses related to lameness. Of course I can expect a loud disclaimer to that statement but it is a fact. Yes, research in race horses, show horses and performance horses, but endurance equines are completely different. We need to find researchers and participants, willing to take the laboratory into the field, a place where the variables exist. The tread mill and the arena cannot approximate the field. But who is going to be willing to commit their horses to such a program? A university cannot afford to field a string of horses and riders. If such research is to be done, the AERC membership must be willing to be the participants. It is to be cautioned, the returns on such a project will be minimal for the rider/owner.


Another very important bit of research I would like to see expanded is our current program concerning the equine/noxious weed inter-relationship. Our current program is limited to the Northeastern United States. I would envision the AERC funding research grants in each of the major geographical areas where competition takes place. In this manner, we will be ahead of the governmental agencies and we will be able to demand a place at the table during trails and trailhead discussions. Not the esoteric research like drugs but just as important.


For the FY 2006 I would like the AERC Board of Directors to consider extending the research program “Why Do Endurance Horses Fail to Finish: A Pilot Study” for an additional year. This program is acquiring valuable data and a better insight will be available with an additional year of information.


Research in the field of equine nutrition has received a fair amount of attention, BUT! The attention has been directed towards the production of commercial feed stuffs and not necessarily on the affects of the feed. Yes, we can get all the expert advice on how to get the energy from the bag into the horse, what supplements are needed and on and on. But, and here there is no commercial reward, what are these feeds doing to the horse in competition? What are the regional differences associated with these feeds? Since these feed substances are not “natural” to the equine, what is the ultimate result of long term use on the competing animal?


I have not addressed the subject of additional or alternate funding for research. There are avenues open for such funding such as endowments, assigned gifts and/or outside grants. To do so, on a single committee basis, would be detrimental to the over all programs of the AERC. I do not believe that AERC Committees, that make grants, should be in competition. Therefore, I leave the acquisition of funds through these processes to the AERC Board, knowing any such funding obtained will be fairly distributed


Questions, questions, questions, but very few substantive answers. And be assured, each answer produced by a research project will, with out a doubt, formulate additional questions.


To summarize; There are many possible research fields we need to approach. We are only limited by the practicability of our desired for knowledge, the willingness of the membership to make some sacrifice and participate, and financing of the projects.