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Re: [RC] Age limit for juniors - Karen Sullivan

----- Original Message -----
What is the age limit for juniors endurance riders? I know  16 is max, how old do you have to be to start? thanks
** My daughter did her first LD ride when she was 9.  It is a personal choice as AERC has no minimun age limits for junior riders.  Our decision to do it was based on her overall responsibility to her pony (Welsh pony), and once she said she did want to do the ride (months in advance), she made a committment to condition that pony and learn about what she would need to do at the ride.  She was old enough to do all care (feeding, supplements, electrolytes, tacking up), as well as presenting pony to vet and trotting out.  She also had some understanding of how and why we would warm up and ride a consistent pace, and even knew about heart rate.  Most important, she and the pony were a good team, I trusted the pony and Brenna had very good control of the pony WITHOUT being controlled by me (i.e. being ponied).  We had done enough rides I felt she could handle the distance, and the whole experience of the trip, camping, lack of sleep, etc.  I chose a ride where I knew the trail and terrain.  I rode a horse "I" had total trust and confidence on.  I did put a red ribbon on the pony to attempt to keep other riders off her butt; which didn't always work, as one lady on a nutty horse tried to park it behind the pony...ignoring the red ribbons and pinned ears.....we finally pulled over to force that lady not to use us as a bumper car.....
That said, I find it a huge flaw in AERC there is no minumun age for juniors, although it has a minumum age for HORSES.  At this point there is nothing to prevent you from strapping a preschooler on a horse on a lead line and heading out over rough terrain for 25-100 miles.  Don;t think it hasn't been done!  Unlike a lot of other sports, the kids compete on the same trail as adults....so you will be sharing the trail with high-strung horses, green horses and worse, bad riders.  Even at LD distances, you can be sharing the trail with the racing top 10-ers on a 50, which may come up behind you pretty fast. 
You can check the archives for the former ridecamp debate on this issue....and will read both sides of the argument.

[RC] Age limit for juniors, RanDMeyer