by Steph Teeter
AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) has historically fulfilled the contractual role of International Affiliate to USEF (United States Equestrian Federation). However a motion from the Executive Committee of AERC will be considered during a November conference call which states: “AERC to suspend the AERC/USEF endurance affiliate agreement effective 12/1/18” .
The justification for this motion includes a lack of response from USEF to consider a request to suspend funding for non-USA FEI (International Equestrian Federation) events. Additionally, the AERC has recently received many letters from its membership requesting AERC to end it’s direct association with USEF due to the differences in how the sport of endurance is conducted internationally, relative to AERC’s original concept of the sport. The FEI emphasis on competition, the perceived lack of adequate consideration for horse welfare, the presence of substantial material and monetary prizes, and the predominance of FEI races being conducted on relatively flat, groomed, courses all contribute to the disconnect between AERC and FEI events.
USEF is recognized by the FEI, and by its International Affiliate Sports as the National Governing Body of equestrian sport in the United States. AERC's withdrawal from its contract with USEF would remove any perceived conflict over AERC's governance of endurance riding.
This action would likely result in the formation or selection of an alternative organization to fulfill the role of USEF’s International Affiliate Sport for endurance racing. However, the motion under consideration would not place any limitations or restrictions on AERC members regarding USEF/FEI participation, either as competitors or event managers.
From the USEF.org website:
USEF Recognized Affiliate Associations play an important role in representing, shaping, and fostering growth within their respective breeds/disciplines. Affiliation with the USEF expands the already important role these organizations play by connecting with all equestrian enthusiasts nationwide and tapping into the ability to reach new audiences. Affiliated associations help the USEF fulfill its mission to provide access to and increase participation in equestrian sports at all levels by ensuring fairness, safety, and enjoyment.
The term Recognized Affiliate Association is reserved for one organization acknowledged by the USEF to represent an International Discipline or the National Breed or Discipline that has a body of rules which has been approved by the USEF Board of Directors for inclusion in the USEF Rule Book. The USEF recognizes only one breed or discipline association for each of these sets of rules. The term International Discipline Association (also referred to as FEI Affiliate) applies to the respective designated representative associations for each of the eight FEI disciplines. Recognized National Affiliate Association (also referred to as Recognized National Affiliate) describes an organization representing a national breed or discipline. For additional information see USEF Bylaw 222.