Friday, June 26, 2020

Trail’s Open: Endurance Riders Hit the Trail After COVID-19 Lockdown - Full Article

City of Rocks in south central Idaho became one of the first three rides allowed to proceed with American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC)-approved safety regulations.

Posted by Merri Melde | Jun 25, 2020

Walk through any endurance ride camp, and you might raise your eyebrows at some riders’ fashion choices. But with the added specter of life during coronavirus, ride camp at the three-day City of Rocks Pioneer endurance ride June 13-15 resembled a masked bandit convention in the Wild West. Underneath those masks, though, were smiling riders delighted to return to the endurance trails.

With the entire horse sport industry, including endurance riding, shutting down for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City of Rocks in south central Idaho became one of the first three rides allowed to proceed with American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC)-approved safety regulations...

Read more here:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

2020 June's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning - Listen

On this Endurance episode Karen talks about how to get started in Endurance, The FEI gets tough on cheaters and rides are starting up again. We speak with Cathie Birmingham of the God’s Country Endurance Ride in the Missouri Ozarks and Sharalyn Hay of the Santiam Cascade ride in Oregon. Listen in...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

New MOU Signed for AERC and Bureau of Land Management Cooperation

June 2020

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bureau of Land Management. This agreement, dated June 7, 2020, establishes a framework for joint collaboration on “mutually beneficial programs, projects, training, and activities,” according to the MOU.

“AERC is excited to have a signed MOU with the Bureau of Land Management. We look forward to working together as partners in the future,” said AERC Trails Committee Co-Chair Monica Chapman.

Because the BLM and AERC work to promote participation in recreational activities on public lands, this MOU recognizes the benefit to both organizations, the BLM with its 245 million surface acres in the U.S., and the 501(c) (3) nonprofit AERC with its thousands of endurance riding members.

Both AERC and the BLM are devoted to sharing an interest in disseminating information to the public regarding the relationship between equestrian recreation and natural resource conservation. AERC has provided funding and AERC members have contributed thousands of hours toward trail design, trail building and trail maintenance projects.

AERC will also be encouraging its members to work on BLM planning projects to improve awareness and potential equestrian recreational opportunities.

“AERC members are constantly looking for new and exciting places to ride,” said Chapman. “We hope to continue our existing rides that are on Bureau of Land Management property and seek out new trails for new rides.”

As part of the MOU, the BLM will encourage AERC members and affiliated equestrian groups to attend events and projects on public lands, where communities and other agencies maintain and provide equestrian recreation opportunities. This is vital to the continuation of AERC’s endurance rides, which often take place on trails in public lands.

For its part, AERC will encourage members to be involved in the BLM planning processes “to improve awareness and potential equestrian recreational opportunities.” The MOU also notes that AERC will provide technical assistance to BLM offices involved in equestrian recreation management.

One section of the agreement encourages AERC members to attend wild horse and burro events with the possibility of using adopted wild horses in endurance riding.

“BLM Mustangs are resurging in popularity in the world of endurance riding. In the last few years a number of beautiful mustangs have placed in the top ten of the famous Western States Trail Ride (Tevis Cup) and at our National Championship Ride in Ridgecrest, California in 2019,” Chapman explained.

The MOU was entered into under the authority of Section 307(b) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1737(b).

More information about AERC is available through the association’s website,, or by calling the AERC national office, 866-271-2372.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Happy Trails Podcast: A Very Unlikely Trail Horse - Listen

Recorded on June 12, 2020

I’ve always loved an underdog story so I was immediately intrigued when I learned of a miniature horse competing in endurance. Kricket and her owner, Jen have accomplished amazing things out on trail and have some very entertaining stories to share. I had a great time interviewing Jen for this episode of the podcast. I’m sure you’ll enjoy hearing their story.

Listen at:

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Trails Podcast: Stewardship and Preservation - Listen

May 27 2020

On this episode of the podcast, Jess speaks with Holley Groshek, Executive Director of Equine Land Conservation Resource a non-profit dedicated to preserving lands for equestrian use.

The US is losing 6,000 acres of open land every day, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Large open spaces and contiguous tracts of land are critical to providing the space we need to support our nation’s equestrian heritage and economy. Concerned citizens across the nation are eager to get involved at a local level, but may not know where to start. Equine Land Conservation Resource provides easy access to the information, resources and tools that help horse people take action. Since 2007, ELCR has assisted in the protection of more than 200,000 acres of land and more than 1,200 miles of trails.

See more and listen here:

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Update to COVID-19 Competition Action Plan for USEF-Licensed Competitions

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jun 17, 2020, 10:07 AM EST

Dear USEF Members, Competition Organizers (Licensees and Managers), and Licensed Officials,

Now that some competitions have resumed, it is important that we all remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission when attending a USEF-licensed competition. Please remember that we are among the first sports to reopen, and by strictly adhering to these requirements and best practices we can demonstrate to local, state and federal authorities that the equestrian community is able to manage our sport in a safe and responsible manner. This process might be inconvenient and even uncomfortable at times, but together we can keep our sport going and avoid any further shutdown.

Public health authorities continue to promote social distancing and the use of face masks/face coverings as two of the most important tools in combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Included here are some best practices and guidance to assist you in maintaining compliance with the requirements.

Please note that there have been some recent adjustments made to the USEF requirements concerning use of face masks/face coverings for participants in driving competitions and to the social distancing requirements for members of the same household. These modifications can be found in the latest version of the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan.

Face Masks/Face Covering

Requirement: Face masks/face coverings must be worn whenever you have the possibility of being within six feet of another person (including members of your own household), except when mounted on a horse or seated in a horse-drawn carriage or cart. Please do your part and wear your face mask/face covering as required.

Because you cannot predict when another person may be within six feet of you, it is best to keep your face mask/face covering with you at all times while on competition grounds, including those times when you are going to an area where you may be alone or at a greater distance than six feet from another person. This will ensure that you are able to apply your face mask/face covering prior to being within six feet of another person.
Make sure you are wearing your face mask/face covering prior to entering competition areas where you are likely to be near other people, including areas such as the in-gate, arena, schooling area, restroom, food stand, show office, vendors, stabling, etc.
If you become hot while wearing your face mask/face covering, move to a location where you are alone or at a distance greater than six feet from another person (and preferably 12 feet or more), and lower or drop one side of your face mask/face covering to cool off.
If an official, competition organizer or member of the organizer’s team requires you to don a face mask/face covering, you must comply. The competition organizer can impose more stringent requirements than those contained in the Plan.

Social Distancing

Requirement: All individuals must practice social distancing (or physical distancing) at all times while on the competition grounds by staying at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from any person who is not a member of their immediate household. Exception: social distancing is not required while competing (including warm-up) in driving classes where more than one participant is seated in a horse-drawn carriage or cart.

An immediate household is comprised of individuals who may or may not be related but are consistently living in the same house or dwelling.
Members of an immediate household are still required to wear face masks/face coverings when there is a possibility of being within six feet of any other individuals, including members of their own household.
Competition organizers are encouraged to implement a system that visually (e.g., numbered or colored IDs or some other form of credential) identifies members of the same immediate household.
If a competition organizer requires that everyone on the show grounds respect social distancing for the consistency of enforcement, you must comply with this requirement. The competition organizer can impose more stringent requirements than those contained in the Plan.


We encourage competitions to utilize the downloadable, printable poster and digital graphic below to assist in communicating the face mask and social distancing requirements.

It is critical to our sport that if (or when) a positive case is reported on a show grounds, participants and competition management have complied with the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for USEF-Licensed Competitions. If contact tracing takes place and the investigating party determines that protocols were not followed, then equestrian sport as a whole can be shut down.

The safety and welfare of our members and their horses must continue to be our top priority. Thank you for doing your part to make sure everyone stays safe.

Best regards,

William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer

More at:

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Senior Showcase: Reyna Mero certainly stays busy - Full Article

June 04, 2020

Assistant editor

Reyna Mero is one busy athlete.

In the fall, she dedicated herself to volleyball, as the Mariposa County High School varsity team’s setter. Come springtime, it was all about softball.

She had her spring softball season cut short due to Covid-19. The senior outfielder was batting .375 in four games prior to the season being called off. She had scored two runs as well.

But in between those school sports, she finds time to endurance race, which is a sport in which riders, in partnership with their horse, travel typically 50-100 miles in a race.

The sport is recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports Endurance riding and is in many ways a solo sport, such as tennis or golf.

With no further ado, here is a profile on the versatile Mero...

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Behind the Lens: Get to Know Endurance Ride Photographer John Miller

by Merri
June 1 2020

Next in my “Behind the Lens” series, featuring members of the Endurance Ride Photographers Guild (ERPG), we meet long-time pro photographer John Miller from the Northeast region.

John says he’s “had a few images on magazine covers” though he’s probably being modest, and he’s had a lot of images in calendars.

John’s website is

Where do you live?
Belmont, Vermont

What is your profession?
I've been a professional photographer for 30 years. I started as a ski photographer at Killington Ski Resort in Vermont. I now work at a hotel to pay the bills.

Do you have horses? do you ride?
No I don't have horses. No I don't ride.

How did you first get into photography?
I started Spectrum Photography in 2000 and then converted to digital in 2004. We have provided photographic services to individuals, couples, families, seniors, at events, for non-profit organizations and corporations in Vermont and New England for 15 years. It is a family owned and operated business.

What equipment do you normally shoot with?
I shoot Nikon.

When did you start shooting endurance rides?

Why do you like shooting endurance rides?
Because I get to spend time in beautiful places. I really enjoy the beautiful places I get to shoot and where I get to spend my time.

What are challenges you find in shooting endurance rides?
Watch the legs, and getting nice backgrounds.

What are one or two of your favorite ride shooting stories/adventures/misadventures?
I can't think of any stories to tell.

Here are a couple of John’s favorite photos:

The Myopia Hunt Club in October in Hamilton, Massachusetts

“This is a fun story,” John says. “I took this picture while chasing an endurance ride. Then years later I got to meet Anya, one of the horses in the picture.”


Behind the Lens: Bill Gore profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Genie Stewart-Spears profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Susan Kordish profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Becky Pearman profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Dave Honan profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Linda Sherrill profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Steve Bradley profile is here:

US Equestrian Approves Additional COVID-19-Related Rule Modifications for 2020

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jun 5, 2020, 6:30 PM EST

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has approved additional modifications to USEF rules in accordance with a resolution approved by the Board of Directors to address issues related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A summary of the most recent modifications is listed below, and the full content of each modification has been added to the comprehensive listing of modifications and appears in blue font. The full listing of rule modifications related to COVID-19 impacts can be viewed by clicking here. Additional rule modifications continue to be reviewed and will be published when approved.

In an effort to minimize the risk of virus transmission through the physical handling of paper, modifications have been to made to rules allowing for judges’ cards and score sheets to be stamped as opposed to hand-signed, and adding the requirement for submitting all USEF Medication Report Forms electronically unless online submission is absolutely impossible.

The modifications listed below are effective immediately and remain in effect for the remainder of the 2020 competition year...

Read more here: