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Re: SW Nomination statement

See my notes to each statement below.
----- Original Message -----
From: Stephen Rutter
To: Ridecamp
Cc: Mike Maul
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 11:26 AM
Subject: RC: 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".
I have been on the BOD for many years and have yet to see any indication that DAL have worked in the best interest of anyone other than the entire AERC membership.  Actually, even the regional directors work in the best interest of EVERYONE, but having regional directors is also very important because they can work on regional problems as well as overall problems.  I feel it would be an enormous burden on only regional directors to handle problems from all over the country and Canada.  We have plenty to do with our individual regions.  Unless I'm missing something, I don't see anything wrong with the way the BOD is set up now.  It works, why change?  And, I believe it's better to spread the issues before a larger group rather than have only a few having the responsibility of making all the decisions.
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.
I believe I've expressed my opinions on this subject before.  I agree with Steve, that LD is a legitimate activity within AERC; there is a need for it, but I don't believe in making it a stand-alone segment accompanied by a whole set of its own awards.  We've already started this; I wish we hadn't.  From our attempts to gratify LD riders with recgonition, we've now been faced with more and more demands.  While LD rides serve a valuable purpose, they are NOT recognized in our by-laws as endurance rides and never should be.  I use LD rides occasionally for starting a young horse and would also use them for extended pleasure rides if my physical limitations demanded it.  Why is this so hard to accept?  Why must there be awards of recognition?  I wouldn't, however, use the term "insubstantial".  That's a bit demeaning.
 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.
This is a tough issue.  We can hardly stick our heads in the sand and ignore international riding.  AERC has brought considerable influence to bear on current FEI rules by its own involvement in international events.  Now it would appear that the UAE is bringing more influence to bear than AERC.  What do we do about this?  Anything?  Or nothing?  I don't know.  I DO agree with Steve that if a ride manager wishes to cross-sanction with FEI, that's the ride manager's decision, but it should not be the driving force within AERC.  Two separate entities, all together.
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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