American Endurance Ride Conference


held via telephone conference call

December 5, 2005


The meeting was called to order by President Stagg Newman at 6:00 p.m.  Also on the line for the call: Vice President Mike Maul, Jan Jeffers, Secretary, Treasurer Patti Pizzo,  Vonita Bowers, Mike Jaffee, 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, Barney Fleming, Jerry Fruth, Laura Hayes, Robert Ribley, Dinah Rojek, Mike Tomlinson, and Executive Director Kathleen A. Henkel. Absent – Nick Warhol, J. Parke.

New Board members on the Call are:  B. Waitte,  Joe Schoech,  Joyce Mocilan  Susan Horne, Tom Dean, Jennifer Nice, Jeff Trinkle. 

Melissa Ribley on the call for Veterinarian Committee presentation.




Approval of minutes from prior meetings.

Motion by R.. Ribley – second Susan Kasemeyer  to accept minutes of the Midyear Meeting – Motion carries.


Excusal of BoD members unable to attend: N. Warhol, J. Parke. Motion by B. Morris – Second S. Kasemeyer. Motion Carries.


Old Business


Finance Committee – Patti Pizzo with Kathleen Henkel

The most recent financial reports have been passed out, no action to be taken.  We will be running a deficit somewhere around $15,000 to $20,000; however, waiting on fees to come in from about 10 rides and a few outstanding bills.

Update on membership levels and renewal – Kathleen Henkel

Membership as of November 30, 2005 – 2,206 members so far for renewal. Year 2005 ended with 6,565 members.  Highest membership in 12 and a half years.  A lot of early renewals; a lot of new people joining for 2006.  No complaints about no new member discount. Renewals will be tracked monthly and compare to prior years. We will utilize our regional directors to encourage members to renew. 


New Business


Sanctioning Committee - Vonita Bowers


Draw IV Ride – Midwest Region - October 8, 2005 – sanctioned as a 50/30.   The mileage for the endurance ride was two 29-mile loops or 60 miles.   Riders were credited with 50 miles.  Motion by V. Bowers to allow riders who did the mileage get credit for  60 miles instead of 50 miles.  Motion Carries.


Special Sanctioning:


Strawberry Fields Forever  Ride – Mountain Region -  6/23/24/25/2006 – 55/25, 50/25, 50/25. A two-day ride in the past, now requesting a three-day pioneer ride. Motion  Carries.


Hog Wilder Ride  – PSW Region  – 4/14/15/16/2006 - 55/25, 50/25, 50/25, two-day ride in the past, now requesting a three-day pioneer ride. Motion Carries. 


Nicola Pine Railway Ride - NW Region – 5/20/21/22/2006 – in British Columbia.  30/50 30/55 30/50.  Saturday, Sunday Monday ride – holiday for Canadians.     Approved for 2005 but not held.   Motion Carries. 


A rule change proposal allowing the Special Sanctioning Committee to sanction Pioneer Rides without requiring board approval will be presented to the Board at the January or February Conference Call, to be voted on at the Convention Board Meeting. 


AERC International Committee – Kathy  Brunjes

Kathy submitted a written report (See Attachment A). No action required.


Veterinary Committee – Melissa Ribley

The Vet Committee believes it is important for AERC to consider qualifications for head veterinarians.  This is new for AERC, however, other equine disciplines require qualified veterinarians who are familiar with the guidelines and rules of the particular sport they are officiating. 


Minimal veterinarian qualifications  would include basic familiarity with the Veterinarian Guidelines Handbook and AERC rule book.  Written exam given based on an open book test.  See written report below (Attachment B).


Concerns from the Ride Manager’s Committee are, hard time getting vets to take exams, how long will the process take to qualify veterinarians, and  what kind of an emergency plan for a replacement qualified veterinarian if the head vet cancels at the last minute. 


If a  veterinarian has worked a ride as a head veterinarian within the past 3 years, they would automatically be put on the head vet qualified list. 


S. Newman suggested there could be two ways to qualify – exam and apprenticing with head vet.


The next step will be for M. Ribley to put an article in EN and C. Caudill will put an article in EN about some of the issues and concerns.  Elicit ideas from the membership. 


Straw poll was taken of the BoD to proceed with articles in the January Endurance News. All in favor.


Welfare of the Horse Committee – Laura Hayes

Written fatality reports – see Attachment C.


The Old Dominion report will be a longer, more involved report.  More lessons to be learned. 


8 deaths in 2005.  6 reports are finished and two reports to be published are done.  The vast majority have been autopsied or necropsied. 


Rio Grand LD Distance Motion – Randy Eiland

Motion to add 5 miles to the Rio Grande LD Ride held November 19, 2005 due to a change of trail at the last minute, making the sanctioned distance 35 miles instead of 30 miles. Did not change any placings in any regions. Motion by Randy Eiland, seconded by Roger Taylor.  R. Eiland abstained. Motion Carries.


S. Newman will put a response out to the membership on the Members Only List   that summarizes our insurance coverage, corrects all the misinformation that was put out by J. Teeter.  Underlying issue of J. Teeter is our coverage does not suffice for USEF.  USEF wants per event coverage and ours is aggregate for the year.  The response will also be put in Endurance News for the membership that are not on line.


M. Maul and P. Pizzo are working together on our long range planning  and will present their findings at the January Conference call. 


Megan Davis contacted S. Kasemeyer and stated that due to storm damage she will either have to cancel or postpone her ride. Susan offered her another date.


Explanation to new board members before going into Executive Session regarding Nicole Luck/Frazier protest/appeal. 


Executive Session begins (6:54 p.m. PST).


Motion to adjourn the meeting by S. Eichenberger, seconded by V. Bowers (meeting adjourned at 7:07 pm PST).


Respectfully Submitted,




Jan Jeffers, Secretary




 AERC-I Committee

Board Report

December 5, 2005


Conference Call meeting November 28, 2005

Attendance:    Kathy Brunjes, Chair

                        Mark Dial, Vice-Chair

Tom Johnson, Nat’l Chef d’Equipe

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

Sue Phillips - Central            

                        Betty Baker, Treasurer - East

                        Linda Strelnik, Holly Ulyate - Mountain

                        Teresa Cross – PacSouth

                        Amanda Taylor, Recording Secretary

                        Susan Kasemeyer, AERC Liaison and Educ.Comm

                        Jennifer Nice,  Electronic Newsletter Editor

                        Russell Broussard, Advisor


Absent:                       Stagg Newman, AERC President

                        Grace Ramsay - Central

Julie Bullock – East

Michele Roush, Carol Giles – PacNorth

Tinker Hart - PacSouth

Art Priesz, USEF High Performance

Mary Lutz, USEF Endurance Director


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

1.      Committee spent majority of conference call on planning for the Convention.

-         discussion of booth location and merchandise to sell, as well as booth schedule

-         Tom Johnson will present the Aachen, Germany 2005 pre-ride slide show and discuss the course during the Trade Show. 

-         AERC-I and USEF will co-sponsor an educational panel entitled “FEI De-Mystified” on Saturday, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.  Kathy and Mary will work together on panel participants and outline

-         AERC-I will plan a brief slide presentation of the North American Endurance Championship medalists; John Parke has agreed to incorporate this into the Regional Awards on Friday

-         AERC-I will NOT sponsor a separate reception/cocktail party, but instead would like to be included in the Friday Regional Awards presentation.  Kathy will talk with John Parke on the logistics

-         AERC-I will plan to hold a committee meeting on Saturday morning (9:00 am)

2.      Jennifer Nice presented a proposal for the electronic newsletter, including a schedule for distribution.

Questions regarding issues around selling ad space or not will be discussed during the December Committee call, after Jennifer has had time to contact Mike Maul and Troy Smith.  Jennifer will have a sign up sheet/mailing list request for the convention booth; the first issue of the electronic newsletter is slated for March 1, 2006 – the Committee will advertise the newsletter during Convention (the newsletter will be used as a marketing tool in gaining International membership).

3.      Holly is still working with Mike Maul on the AERC-I webpage; currently software interfaces are being “negotiated”.

Attachment B



Veterinary Committee Report

November 29, 2005


1)      It is recommended to the  BoD to have a minimum qualification standard set for veterinarians that will be working AERC rides as head veterinarian.  The qualification would be completion of a written exam based on the AERC Veterinary Guidelines for Judging AERC Endurance Competitions and the AERC Rule Book.

2)      A note that reads as follows will be included in the ride packets that are sent to the head veterinarian for each AERC ride:

“To AERC Head Veterinarians:

AERC has approved funding for performing necropsies on equines that die as a result of participating in AERC sanctioned rides.  Since much valuable information can be obtained from a necropsy, please encourage owner of horses that have died to have a necropsy performed and remind them AERC will fund this.  Make every attempt to have the necropsy performed at a referral hospital or lab.  If this is not possible, a field necropsy is acceptable.  If a field necropsy is done, be sure to submit appropriate samples and clearly document findings, both normal and abnormal.  The amount of reimbursement will be limited to $300.00 per necropsy.

If a horse is referred from a ride to a clinic for further treatment, communicate to the referral hospital that should the horse die while at their hospital that costs of a necropsy will be reimbursed by AERC.

Thank you,

The AERC Veterinary Committee”


Submitted by Melissa Ribley, DVM

Chair, AERC Veterinary Committee



AERC Head Veterinarian Qualification


The AERC Veterinary Committee and the Welfare of the  Horse Committee recognize the importance of having a qualified veterinarian to serve as head veterinarian at endurance rides.  The purpose for qualified, knowledgeable head veterinarians is to ensure the health and welfare of horses competing in endurance rides.


 It is the duty of the head veterinarian to know the rules to the best of his/her ability and to consider the medical safety and health of the horse participants.  Necessary supplies for treatment, or the arrangement thereof, and a comprehensive plan for treatment, are the responsibility of the head veterinarian.   It is the duty of the head veterinarian to act as a liaison between the veterinary staff and ride management.  The head veterinarian will often be the deciding factor in questionable horses or decisions requiring sound, experienced judgment.  The head veterinarian is often a mentor at the ride for any veterinarians working the ride that are new to the sport of endurance riding.  


A veterinarian not familiar with the ­sport, not familiar with the handbook,  Veterinary Guidelines For Judging AERC Endurance Competitions and not familiar with the AERC Rules and Regulations  serving as head veterinarian sets up a situation possibly dangerous to the welfare of the  horses, unfair to the riders and frustrating to ride management.  It also will likely end up with the under qualified veterinarian having a bad experience with the sport and not likely to return.  A head veterinarian more familiar with the veterinary guidelines and rules will more likely have a positive experience and be willing to work with future ride managers.


The task of being a head veterinarian implies a commitment to the horses, riders and ride management and a qualified head veterinarian is required to protect the well being of endurance horses.  The requirement of completing a qualification process in order to work an endurance ride as head veterinarian adds a level of professionalism and credibility to our sport.  It also will help ensure there is at least one veterinarian in charge at the ride who is knowledgeable about AERC rules, procedures and veterinary guidelines.  This will make a better working environment for all the veterinarians at the ride.  A positive experience for veterinarians new to the sport will much more likely encourage that veterinarian to return and work future rides than would a bad experience where the veterinarian felt unprepared or unqualified for the task.  The veterinarians having a negative experience early on in their endurance career are the veterinarians AERC will likely not see return to vet rides.   


Determining what defines a qualified head veterinarian is not a simple process.  A step in the right direction is to at minimum ensure the veterinarian is familiar with two AERC publications – Veterinary Guidelines For Judging AERC Endurance Competitions and AERC Rules and Regulations.  A simple, straightforward and objective method of determining familiarity with these two publications is an open book, written exam based on these two publications. The exam would be written by the Veterinary Committee and available to all AERC veterinary members by mail or email from the AERC office.   The successful completion and submission of the exam to the AERC office would list the testing veterinarian on the “AERC Qualified Head Veterinarian” list, available in the AERC office and on the AERC web site to all ride managers.  If a veterinarian has worked an AERC ride as head veterinarian within the preceding three years they can request to be placed on the “AERC Qualified Head Veterinarian” list without testing.  If a veterinarian on the list has not worked a ride at all for a five year period, they will be removed from the list.


The ride sanctioning form would indicate, in the section indicating who will be serving as head veterinarian, that the head veterinarian must be on the qualified head veterinarian list.  There would be an emergency exemption available for rides requiring a last minute change in the head veterinarian with no “qualified head veterinarian” available to work the ride.  This exemption would require approval from a member of the veterinary committee before the ride. Riders and ride managers should realize that if a qualified head vet becomes not available at the last moment that the ride would need to be cancelled.  This potential situation of a canceled ride would present a hardship for the ride manager and riders. AERC needs to decide if the benefits of requiring a qualified head vets is worth this potential hardship.       


The AERC Veterinary Committee and the Welfare of the Horse Committee recommends a motion to the BoD that would require AERC sanctioned rides to have a “Qualified Head Veterinarian” to serve as the head veterinarian with the qualification based on a  written exam.  This will help ensure the safety and welfare of horses, provide more skilled and consistent judging of horses for riders and provide a better working environment for both the veterinarians and ride management. The AERC board of directors would like to hear from the membership on this subject.

  Questions to consider are:

-Would you want to ride in a ride without a qualified head vet

-Would you want to ride in a ride where the new head vet (i.e. not grandfathered in) refused to take an open book exam to demonstrate he/she is familiar with the judging of endurance horses and how to arrange for treatment at endurance rides

-How do you feel about the fact that most other equine organizations such as the competitive trail ride organization and FEI have requirements for vets but AERC does not?

-How do you feel about the fact that a ride could potentially be canceled at the last minute for lack of a qualified head veterinarian?


Melissa Ribley, DVM

Chair, AERC Veterinary Committee  





Attachment C


Welfare of the Horse Committee

Fatality Reports

November 30, 2005



Old Pueblo 50, SW region, 3/5/05

On March 5, 2004, an experienced Arabian endurance horse with over 4000 miles to his credit, started the Old Pueblo 50 in the southwest region, completing about 20 miles of the ride without problem. The 16 year old gelding had urinated, drank and appeared bright and willing until about 300 feet from the first vet check, where, while walking, he fell out from under his rider and tragically expired in less than three minutes.

No post mortem was performed, in part, to respect the inconsolable grief of the family shocked by this sudden death. The gelding was buried shortly thereafter.

The most likely cause of death was determined to be a ruptured aneurysm, one of the most common causes of sudden death in performance horses. This situation could neither be predicted nor avoided.

The welfare committee extends our sympathy on the loss of a good and loyal friend.



Lost Posse Ride, SE region, 3/19/05

On March 19, 2005 following the Lost Posse Ride in the SE region, a 7 year old Arabian gelding with no apparent endurance history, died as the result of a spontaneous fracture of his first lumbar vertebral body which completely severed his spinal cord and a large blood vessel.

While traveling normally during the second loop of the 50-mile ride, the gelding suddenly began to drag both hind legs and appeared to buckle in the hind limbs. Within several steps the horse became recumbent, but calm and made no attempt to rise. He was gently dragged into a trailer and sent to the University of Florida Large Animal Clinic where he expired spontaneously from blood loss, a few hours later. Necropsy concluded that no bone pathology was present and no known reason for the fracture could be determined. This situation could neither be predicted nor avoided.

The welfare committee extends our sympathy and thanks the veterinarians and owners for their cooperation in this report.