Monday, November 30, 2020

An Unconventional AERC Convention - More information

March 6 and 7, 2021 – Virtual Convention – participate from wherever you are!

With our 2021 San Antonio convention off the table, AERC had to find the best way to get together and enjoy all the perks of convention (except for the very best part of all, seeing each other in person!). We're excited to be planning an "Unconventional" Convention that ALL can attend (virtually).

There will be seminars! There will be vendors and vendor specials! There will be a raffle (including a special raffle for a brand-new Treeless Saddle)! There will be seminar speakers and awards programs!

We will have lots of details to come . . . but for now, mark those calendars for March 6 and 7, and watch Endurance News and for updates.

Interested in becoming a virtual vendor and/or convention sponsor? Please contact the AERC office, 866-271-2372, or, to be added to our exhibitor mailing list.

Coming in 2022: AERC's 50th Anniversary Celebration Convention!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bob Morris 1927-2020

Robert John Morris (Bob Morris)
December 30, 1927 - November 21, 2020

Bob Morris and his wife Arlene were two of the founders of the Southwest Idaho Trail & Distance Riding club in 1979. Bob was an excellent horseman, trainer and rider, known as a mentor to many endurance riders, and remembered for putting on some tough endurance rides.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

A Closer Look at AERC Endurance Ride Pull Codes

Monday August 8 2011
by Merri Melde

Veterinarian Melissa Ribley kindly provided an article in Endurance News a couple of years ago elucidating pull codes for horses and riders on endurance rides:

M – Metabolic
L – Lameness
OT – Overtime
SF – Surface Factors

Then there’s the RO – Rider Option, when there is nothing wrong with the horse and it has been cleared by a vet, but the rider wishes to pull; RO-L, when the horse has been cleared by the vet, but the rider feels there may be some lameness issue, and RO-M, when the horse has been cleared by the vet but the rider feels there may be some metabolic issue.

After my recollection of some old records where a tough-as-nails, highly competitive endurance rider I used to know had an inordinate number of Rider Option pulls (granted, this was before the RO-L and RO-M were implemented), where I knew there was no way this rider would ever willingly quit a ride when the horse was fine, it comes to my mind that there needs to be a little more detailed clarification of the RO codes.

I propose the following additions to the pull codes, and none of these should be ridiculed by other riders (well, except for RO-IC):

RO-ITDC – It’s Too Damn Cold. Well, for some sunny southern California fair weather types, sometimes it is just too damn cold to be out there riding 50 or (you gotta be kidding me) 100 miles when the mercury hovers around 35* and it’s spitting rain or sleet and the wind is howling 35 mph (known as a “35-35 day” or comparatively, even harsher, a “30-30 day” for the tough hides in Wyoming used to this sort of weather nonsense), when one could just as easily circle the next ride on the calendar in 2 weeks’ time a hundred miles and 2000’ of elevation further south, while one is sitting by a fire sipping hot toddies, instead of becoming a miserable popsicle on a horse for up to 24 hours. BEWARE, however, of abusing this code, when Dave Rabe is in the ride. If he is wearing a long-sleeved shirt under his tank top, you may be right, it’s darn cold, but are you man (or woman) enough to pull yourself and your horse with RO-ITDC even wearing your 5 layers of clothing, when he’s riding beside you in shorts?

RO-IGP – I’m Gonna Puke. Now, this does not necessarily separate the girls from the women and the boys from the men. If you feel like you are going to puke, sure, you can probably do it from your horse, but, let’s face it, it is really no fun to do it from the back of a horse moving 7 – 20 mph, and if you really are going to puke, you are probably not doing your horse any favors because you are probably not sitting him correctly (bending over to try to miss both of you), and if you are bending over trying to do this at 20 mph you may likely fall off. (And then you might be able to opt for the RO-BB pull code, see below). There are those who will tough it out, make it to a vet check, and puke there, but it is perfectly acceptable to pull with a RO-IGP, because after all, most of us are in this sport to have fun, and not to compare most mileage accomplished while feeling worst of anybody. I have not yet seen regional awards handed out for this exploit. A few tips on preventative for this pull code: do not eat a bowl of beans the night before a 100. Do not feel obligated to eat several slices of cake or handfuls of cookies at every single refreshment point on a 100 mile trail where volunteers hand out goodies.

RO-HGC – Horse Gone Crazy. This is not only an acceptable pull, but one that may save your life and those of others on the trail. And yes, this can happen to any normally calm horse on any given ride.

RO-BTDT – Been There Done That. This one is a little iffy – I mean, if you start a ride that you have done before, and in the middle of it you decide you’re bored with the trail, you really shouldn’t have entered again, should you?

RO-BB – Broken Bones (yours or the horse, before or during the ride). ‘Nuff said.

RO-HBL – Hopelessly Beyond Lost. If it’s a pitch black night under a thick forest canopy, and there are approximately 40 glowbars covering the entire 100 mile trail, and you and fellow riders have been wandering astray and disoriented for hours, and you have collapsed in an exhausted heap and are content to just stay there and die on the trail, this is a perfectly acceptable pull. (If you are found before you die).

RO-DOD – Disappeared or Dead. This code is only for those who are never found after an RO-HBL ride, and hopefully will never be used.

RO-IC – I’m Cheating. Either you cut trail and know you will be the recipient of a lodged protest; you switched similar-looking horses in the middle of the ride and you know someone is onto you; you carelessly blew others off a trail to get ahead, at much danger to them; or you administered your horse illegal drugs and you see there is a state pee tester at the first vet check who you know by your luck will stick that cup under your horse next time. You better take this pull code. Now.

RO-IJCTIA(AIDHT) – I Just Can’t Take It Anymore (And I Don’t Have To). This could refer to: the lame annoying riders around you (because you, of course, are decidedly not); aches and pains too numerous for massive doses of ibuprofen to take care of; realizing on your first endurance ride that this sport and everybody in it is, truly, insane; you’ve been unceremoniously dumped once, or twice, or more (on the same day); or little combinations of the above RO pull codes. Or, you’ve just had enough today, period. This is perfectly acceptable; we all hit the wall sooner or later.

I believe these additional pull codes will help make clear for nosy people the real reasons riders choose “RO” - Rider Option. Let’s help keep our sport open and honest, so we all have plenty to talk and tease others about. Ride managers can help by typing up little cheat RO note cards for riders to carry with their rider cards and maps for quick and easy reference coming into vet checks.

**This article was originally published in Endurance News, April 2006
**and again on Merri Travels on, August 8, 2011
It deserves another reprint!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Clovis, NM woman gives horse new home - Full Article

By Sandra Jaramillo For The New Mexican
Nov 18, 2020

“New Mexico has proven to be rich in blessings, both in allowing me to build my dream of my own horse property and adopting my first young horse to bring up in the ranks,” Suzanne Diesel said.

Diesel was led to The Horse Shelter when she decided to adopt. What she didn’t anticipate was meeting Roni, a 4-year-old grade Arabian mare now affectionately known as Zuni, and the amazing staff that came with her during the adoption process.

The Horse Shelter staffers, Michele and Cori, “welcomed me to the shelter multiple times to meet and build my relationship with Zuni prior to adopting her, including three rides to ensure we bonded,” Diesel said...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Apply for AERC's 2021 Anne Ayala Scholarship

November 18 2020

If you are an AERC Junior or Young Rider, check out the Anne Ayala Scholarship which is open to those in their senior year of high school through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of 1/1/2020).

More details and application here:

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Talkin' Trot Podcast: Episode 14

Talkin' Trot Podcast - Listen

Talkin' Trot: Endurance Riding News and Views

Episode 14: Benefits of Flax: An interview with Outlaw Feed LLC


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

A Blast From the Past: A different kind of endurance race

Howard Reid, of Barre, astride the winning horse, Halcyon.
Vermont Historical Society - Full Article

By Paul Heller For Weekend Magazine
Aug 22, 2020

From the Boston Marathon to the Indianapolis 500, endurance and strength have always been celebrated. Even in the bygone age of horse power, a stress test to find the best horse and rider was first staged by the Morgan Horse Club of New England in a feat of stamina and survival for Vermont horsemen and their mounts.

The “Endurance Ride of 1913” followed a route that started in Northfield and made its way through Waterbury, Stowe, Hardwick, St. Johnsbury, Wells River and concluded in White River Junction – a distance of 154 miles. The route took two days – Sept. 16-17 – and was the focus of every equestrian in New England.

The Vermont Horse and Bridle Trail Bulletin called this event “the first test in America of weight carrying over long distances.” This occasion also marks the beginning of the endurance ride as a sport, and it was a Norwich University cadet from Barre who won this first-ever public competition.

Developed by the U.S. Cavalry as a way to grade military mounts, the “Endurance Ride” became a way for breeders to establish favorable bloodlines and for equestrians to establish bragging rights...

Read more here:

2020 November's Horses in the Morning - Listen

Living on the Road With Horses, Friesian Rocks the LD Rides: Endurance Day for Nov 10, 2020

Nov 10, 2020

Michelle and her daughter Scout share how they are living full time on the road with their horses. Magali McGreevy is kicking butt with her Friesian Harlaam and she stops by to tell us all about it. Rump rugs, quarter sheets, or exercise rugs; whatever you call them we answer the questions you never thought to ask. Listen in...

Monday, November 09, 2020

Renew or join AERC now for 2021!

AERC's next ride season begins December 1. Be sure to renew for the 2021 ride season! Special bonus: all 2020 members who renew by 12/1/20 will be eligible for a drawing for $500 in custom tack, donated by Taylored Tack.

See to see more and sign up.

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Trailblazer: Auburn's Barger completes first known Western States 200 - Full Article

Nick Pecoraro
Nov 03, 2020

After nearly 60 hours from early Friday morning to Sunday evening, Auburn’s Dan Barger finally reached his 200-mile finish line.

After a failed attempt at doubling up on the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run on July 31, Barger regrouped and re-attacked the course last weekend with a new game plan, new optimism and new success. Beginning the trek at 5 a.m. Friday from Placer High School’s LeFebvre Stadium, the 55-year-old Auburn resident journeyed up to Squaw Valley and returned to the Placer track just before 5 p.m. Sunday for the first 200-mile completion of the Western States trail.

“I’m still processing it, really,” an emotionally and physically spent Barger said Monday afternoon. “It’s hard to put into words. I’m not really sharp right now.”

Barger was greeted at the finish line by a warm embrace from his mother.

“When I got to the track, there was no one there but close-knit friends and family,” he said. “I just ran around smiling big. I ran around that last quarter mile just happy to be done.”

Barger’s first attempt, which included a bear encounter and searing summer heat, saw him reach 125 miles in about 37 hours before getting bitten by “the sleep monster” and calling it quits. In retrospect, Barger said he probably had a little fuel left in the tank...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Distance Horse Nationals Update

October 29 2020

In late July 2020 the AHA Distance Commission, in consultation with the AHA President, Nancy Harvey made the difficult decision to suspend the Distance Horse National Championships (DHNC), scheduled for September 25-27, 2020 at Ogden Group Camp near La Pine, OR.

This decision was not made lightly. Considerations included the possibility that crews would not be camping on site, a lack of awards ceremony, additional costs and assignment of volunteers dedicated to assuring compliance with Oregon State Department of Health requirements, possibility on size limitations, and the burden on travelers during COVID-19.

With all this in consideration and discussion from the community, the AHA Distance National Commission, in association with the breed liaisons of who are partnered with the DHNC have made the decision to modify the rotation schedule and host the ride in the Western region in 2022, if we can find a viable location. We have begun the search for a site to hold the 2022 event in the Western region of the US; If you have any suggestions or would like to bid to hold the event, please contact: Paige Lockard - Distance National Coordinator at 303-696-4535 or

Thank you for your time and support! We are thrilled to continue the Distance National Champion Tradition with you all.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Happy Trails Podcast: Alaskan Adventure - Happy Trails Podcast - Listen

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride in Alaska? Well, my guests, Frank and Claudia Sihler can answer that!

With a plethora of public land available there’s no shortage of places to ride and camp. However, only certain areas are actually developed for recreation. Riding in Alaska is great for those with an adventurous streak.

In this interview, we discuss everything from wildlife encounters (moose, wolves, and bears, of my!) to riding on frozen rivers in winter time. We also talk about their long journey down to Arizona for mounted archery competitions. They tell me about outrunning bad weather on the way back and give some tips for anyone thinking about taking the trip themselves...

Read more and listen at: