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[RC] Redefining "Endurance Ride" - k s swigart

While in my last post about this subject I stated that MY definition of
a true endurance ride is 100 miles, I wouldn't want anybody to think
that I want the AERC to redefine endurance ride to only include those
that are 100 miles long, because, make no mistake, if the AERC were to
do this then ride managers would start putting on 100 mile endurance
rides that were only 80 miles long and calling it 100 miles.  So that
more riders would be able to finish them and fewer riders would complain
that they were too hard to do or because 100 miles of trail is hard to
find.....much the way many ride managers do this today with the 50 mile

Personally, _I_ would WELCOME the idea of the AERC redefining endurance
to be anything of 25 miles or greater, and I would welcome the idea of
the AERC requiring ride managers to sanction their rides for to the
nearest mile distance they actually are rather than allowing them to
"round off" to the nearest five mile increment.  We have computers now
to do the math for us so there is no particular reason not to.

If this were the case, then ride managers could sanction their long,
beautiful but tough ride along the only available trail that happens to
be only 44 miles long as a 44 mile ride instead of what happens today
which is either the ride manager goes hunting for some silly loop
(sometimes even an out and back) that adds nothing other than a few
miles to the ride just to make the mileage, or the ride manager
sanctions a 44 mile ride to be 50 miles and we all just to have to
pretend that we actually rode 50 miles.

Personally, unlike Heidi, I am unconcered about people trying to use 25
mile races for point chasing and riding their horses into the ground as
a result.  Simply because people who do this will not be very successful
at point chasing.  One cannot accumulate many points by blowing the
tendons on the horse since the horse won't get to go again and the horse
won't have accumulated anywhere near enough points to win any year end
award by only having done one 25 mile race.

One cannot, in fact, accumulate many points by only riding half as far
at a time as all the other point chasers :).  I sincerely doubt that
many point chasers will use 25 mile rides as a significant part of their
pursuit, and if they do, the only way they will be successful is to do
lots and lots and LOTS of 25 mile rides, and this cannot be accomplished
by overriding the horse.  It MAY actually have the added benefit of
making such people MORE careful not to ride the horse beyond its ability
to go again and again.

The AERC could even have a year end "Shorter Distance Mileage Award"
which goes to the horse/rider team that completes the most miles in
rides of 35 miles or less so that those riders who cannot (for whatever
reason) do the longer distance rides or who don't want to race will
still have a chance at winning a year-end award by taking care of their
horse throughout the entire year of accomplishment.

For this to work, however, the AERC will have to resist the inclination
to start sanctioning the "introductory" or "training" rides of less than
25 miles that ride managers may start putting on in conjunction with
their endurance rides (and that some do even now).

It is time for the American ENDURANCE Ride Conference to abandon the
"Limited Distance" program entirely and to stop sanctioning rides that
aren't endurance rides.  Since it is past time that it can stop
sanctioning rides of less than 50 miles (since it has been requiring
ride managers and riders to do so for far too long now), I would have no
problem with redefining an endurance ride to be anything that the AERC
currently sanctions and stick with that.

Yes, that will then require the AERC to allow ride managers to make
money off of introductory rides of less than 25 miles without taking a
cut, but if it doesn't, then this same discussion will come up again in
10 years time with people doing 10 mile rides wanting to know why their
rides aren't considered endurance, after all, they pay their money to
the AERC too. :)

It doesn't bother me if people who "only" do 25 miles will then "get" to
call themselves endurance riders.  I don't ride endurance so I can get
to call myself an endurance rider (but if other people get their rocks
off on that, well....let them:)).  _I_ do endurance because I like the
challenge of conditioning my horse (and myself) for an endurance effort
and doing it on a well thought out and challenging trail.  Some of the
sanctioned rides I have been to have met this description and some have
not.  Those that have not are, for me, "training rides" or social

What I care most about is that the trails are measured honestly and that
I get to ride the advertised distance, and I don't have to make myself
into a liar because the ride manager had to call his/her great 45 mile
trail a 50 miler just so it could be sanctioned by the AERC.

This idea MAY lead to ride managers doing this with the 25 mile distance
instead (e.g. if they can only find 22 miles of trail), but I would
rather have that being done to the 25 mile distance than the 50 mile
distance since I am past riding in or caring about what other people are
doing with 25 mile rides :) :).  I will leave it to people who care
about the 25 mile distance to complain about that. :)

Orange County, Calif.

Of course things aren't perfect,  perfect doesn't exist on this earth.
Doesn't mean we won't go on trying to get better at what we do. Besides, if
everything was perfect today, what would you do tomorrow? Slamming each
other doesn't get anything done.
~  Dot Wiggins

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