K S SWIGART katswig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Laney Humphrey said:
> My friends and I hope very much that AERC can continue to include
> both kinds of riders and hopefully broaden its reward emphasis from
> exclusively on "racing" to include those whose focus is on longevity.
I am unsure as to why anybody might think that the AERC has an emphasis
exclusively on "racing." In fact, if you look at the year-end awards
especially on the national level, the horse/rider teams that are
winning the awards are those that are completing upwards of 1000
miles a year together (and some as much as 2000 miles a year).
And the awards that are accessible to all AERC members are the lifetime
mileage awards and the 1000 mile horse program. Neither of these
awards take ANY consideration of the order of finish.
Other than the recently instituted "National Championship" ride,
to my knowledge, no AERC award has ever been bestowed upon a horse
for winning one particular "race."
The current AERC awards program (pretty much all aspects of it) is
focused substantially upon keeping the same horse going and going
and going and going.
People who cross the finish line first at one particular ride may
take home a blanket or a bucket from the ride, but if they want to
get anything from the AERC, they have to do this over and over again
on the same horse (except for the family and Husband and wife awards).
And if you read the yearbook excerpts from the people who win these
awards they almost invariably talk about the great partnership and
companionship they have gotten from the many miles they have spent
on the trail together.
It would appear that one of the AERC's problems is not in the awards
that it presents, but in the mistaken impression that some riders
have that the only relevant competition is the race of the day.
Whereas, in reality, in the pursuit of AERC awards (both annual and
lifetime), the outcome of any one particular ride is virtually
Perhaps what the AERC needs to do is educate its members and the
public at large??? so that they understand this better. The AERC
ALREADY rewards mostly people who complete many miles over and
over again on the same horse.
Orange County, Calif.
p.s. It is for this reason that I am opposed to the AERC bestowing
the title of National Champion on a horse/rider team based upon
the outcome of a single ride. I am not, however, opposed in any
way to the WSTF bestowing the Tevis Cup on the first horse to
cross the finish line there. Nor am I apposed to any other ride
manager choosing to give out awards to anybody they so desire (some
rides give out a turtle award to the LAST horse to cross the finish
line). The only award the AERC requires is a completion award, and
that is as it should be. Ride managers can give out whatever other
awards they like to whoever they please.
p.p.s. I am also aware that AERC points (upon which many of the
annual awards are bestowed) are a function of order of finish;
however, even to win a regional award, a horse and rider have to
win more than one or two rides to even get into the year-end
That said, I DO have an idea of a different method for awarding
"bonus points" with respect to completion time that takes some
of the emphasis off of specific order of finish and emphasizes
speed a little bit less than the current system.
If anybody is interested, I can tell you what it is, suffice it
to say that it is based upon the way that points were calculated
for determining team awards and year-end awards back in my ski
racing for days. ANd it doesn't require anybody to subjectively
determine in advance the degree of difficulty of the course (which
is one of the biggest drawbacks I see to Matthew MacKay-Smith's