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SW Nomination statement

I will briefly elaborate on my views in answer to your questions.
Directors-at-Large: It is my understanding that when the original officers of AERC, who were not Directors at that time, chose to step down, they wanted significant influence to remain in the Western United States. The idea was to elect Directors-at Large for the Board and at that time most if not all were from the West. The entire concept of Directors representing Regions and Directors representing everyone is contrary to the California law. AERC is not the United States Congress! All Directors must have the best interest of the AERC in mind, not just the Region that elects them. The law does allow for Directors to be elected by Regions, but also requires that those Directors represent all members. Somewhere along the way some people have become misguided. Consequently, I support a Board comprised of only Regional Directors who by the very nature of Regional elections, assures reasonably equal representation. When Directors-at-Large are added to the mix, it almost assures an unequal representation. Hopefully, under this scenario, the Directors would assume their legal and moral obligation to work for the best interest of the entire AERC and not just "their Region".
Limited Distance: The name speaks for itself. AERC has Articles of Incorporation which define what this organization is and is not. In the Articles there is a way to change them and it states "That no amendment to these Articles shall be made which shall change the purposes . . . without the approval of 100% of the members". The purposes have not been amended and clearly refer to ". . . the riding of horses over long distances, presently known in the Western United States of America as "endurance riding". . .". The purposes go on to say that any other activities engaged in by AERC shall be only to "an insubstantial degree".
These facts are what I base my positions on. LD is certainly a legitimate activity and I support its incorporation into the AERC organization. However, it is not long distance, not endurance and therefore must be keep in the perspective, I believe, as subordinate to endurance riding rather than as a stand alone, almost equal activity. It must remain "insubstantial" or we must attempt to change the purposes of AERC. 
International: I do not know whether or not AERC is the "premier endurance organization in the world" as some others have expressed, nor do I wish it to be. We are what we are: a California corporation founded "To promote the sport and pastime of endurance riding, . . . encourage better care and prevention of cruelty to animals. . . , within the United States of America". AERC sanctions rides. Those same rides could also seek and obtain approval from FEI or any other organization the ride management wishes. AERC has rules for rides and if those are adhered to, it shouldn't concern us if there is also an FEI ride occurring over the same course at the same time and I would assume an individual could enter one or the other or both. I'm not against International. I merely think it is inappropriate for AERC to be involved in matters outside of the United State of America without changing the purposes of the organization in the Articles of Incorporation. I do not feel it is in the best interest of the welfare of the horse to promote racing and international competitions have become notorious for the number of animals treated for illness, exhaustion and injury.
I would welcome other's comments and questions. Our equines deserve better than what some have suffered as the result of inexperience, misguided efforts or, unfortunately,  intentionally "using up" the horse, knowing it can be replaced. AERC was founded and should continue to promote the sane and sound riding of horses over long distances and for many years. That is endurance!
For those who have not read it, the Chronicle Commentary is apropos.
Steve Rutter

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