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2013 AERCNC - City of Rocks AERCNC
Images by Merri Melde

2017 AERC National Championships

Aug 18 - 50 Mile Championship
Aug 19 - 25 Mile Ride
Aug 20 - 100 Mile Championship Ride

The 50 mile Championship

50 miler race for 5th place
Cheryl Van Deusen and DWA Malik nip Elroy Karius and
Jolly Holiday
Marcelle Hughes video
100-mile finish
Gwen Hall and Sizedoesntmatter nips Hannah Pruss
and Stuart
Celeste Turner video

Sami Browneller and Kaytwo Win AERC National Championship 50

100 mile championship
AERC National 100-Mile Championship Results

1. Gwen Hall - Sizedoesntmatter - 1st Featherweight - 11:21.17
2. Hannah Pruss - Stuart - BEST CONDITION - 1st Middleweight - 11:21.18
3. Christoph Schork - GE Stars Aflame - 13:53.20
4. Carla Lakenbrink - Medina MHF - 1st Lightweight - 13:53.30
5. Gunnar Frank - Trinity - 1st Heavyweight - 15:17.30
6. Neil McLaughlin - Hastyflyer - 16:32
7. Kelsie Lewis - IA Donovan - 16:42.10
8. Jennifer Poling - Prado CF - 16:42.20

Alanna Frank
Connie Caudill
Lois McAfee
Tammy Gagnon
Marcelle Hughes
Kerry Redente

*when it's posted on AERC results, it'll be officially official! :) 

status at 89 miles
1/2 in at 4:49, stop&go
         Hannah Pruss on Stuart
         Gwen Hall on Sizedoesntmatter
3/4  6:36 Christoph Schork - Stars Aflame
         Carla Lakenbrink - Medina MHF
5   7:29 Gunnar Frank - Mi Clever Ansata
6  8:14 Neil McLaughlin - Hastyflyer Zeus
7/8 8:25 Kelsie Lewis - IA Donovan
    Jennifer Poling - Prado CF
9 1:55 Kerry Redente
Eliminated Marcelle Hughes

71 miles
1/2 1:29 Hannah Pruss on Stuart
         Gwen Hall on Sizedoesntmatter
    (Both back out on 18 mile loop)
3/4 2:52 Christoph Schork - Stars Aflame
         Carla Lakenbrink - Medina MHF
5 3:48 Marcelle Hughes - Oliver Swift
6/7 3:50 
    Kelsie Lewis - IA Donovan
    Jennifer Poling - Prado CF
8/9 4:03 Gunnar Frank - Mi Clever Ansata
         Neil McLaughlin - Hastyflyer Zeus
10 5:23 Kerry Redente and AM Great Othello
status at 56 miles
1 11:29 Hannah Pruss on Stua
2 11:36 Gwen Hall on Sizedoesntmatter
3/4 12:35 Christoph Schork - Stars Aflame
  Carla Lakenbrink - Medina MHF
5 12:46 FW Marcelle Hughes - Oliver Swift
6/7 12:534 FW Kelsie Lewis - IA Donovan
        FW Jennifer Poling - Prado CF
8/9 1:34 Gunnar Frank - Mi Clever Ansata
         Neil McLaughlin - Hastyflyer Zeus
10 1:55 Kerry Redente - AM Great Othello 
status at 41 miles
1 8:34 #106 FW Gwen Hall - Sizedoesntmatter
2 8:34 #108 FW Marcelle Hughes - Oliver Swift
3 8:35#107 FW Hannah Pruss - Stuart
4 9:05 #109 FW Kerry Redente - AM Great Othello
5 9:16 #112 FW Kelsie Lewis - IA Donovan
6 9:16 #113 FW Jennifer Poling - Prado CF
7 9:17 #100 MW Christoph Schork - Stars Aflame
8 9:17 #101 — Carla Lakenbrink - Medina MHF
9 9:37#103 HW Gunnar Frank - Mi Clever Ansata
10 9:43 #105 HW Neil McLaughlin - Hastyflyer Zeus



50 Mile Ride

Saturday Off Day

100 Mile Ride

BC Judging & Awards

AERC NC Nuggets: 50-Mile National Champions Sami Browneller and Kaytwo

AERC NC Nuggets are Short Soundbites from the 2017 AERC National Championships!

Story and photos by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
August 28 2017

Even if you're not a mountain climber, you've probably heard of K2, the second highest mountain in the world, thrusting skyward on the China-Pakistan border. What K2 makes up for in height compared with its first-highest counterpart Mt. Everest is that it's considered the world's toughest 8000-meter peak to climb.

That's why Samantha Browneller named her gelding Kaytwo, hoping he'd be the toughest horse around.

He certainly was on the August 18th 50-mile AERC National Championship in La Veta, Colorado. The 6-year-old homebred bay Arabian (HV Suns Heaven and Earth X Royal Damsel, by Monarch AH), owned by Sami's mom Linda, finished first of 34 starters, in a time of 4:32.59, over the tough mountain course.

Their nearest competitors were Cassidy Jaksch and Give Us a Kiss in second place in a ride time of 4:45.04, and Jennifer Poling aboard Eagle Baikal in third place, finishing in 4:45.06.

Sami, 30, broke and trained Kaytwo, and started him in endurance last year. The gelding now has a 10 for 10 record (includes 3 LDs) with 355 miles, all finishes in the top 3, with 7 wins and 3 Best Condition awards. One of Kaytwo's wins - the ride just before the AERC NC - was the Spanish Peaks 50 on July 22 with Sami aboard, over some of the same trails as the AERC NC. Sami started riding endurance in 2000, and now has just over 1300 miles.

"That's fast for this course!" said ride manager Tennessee Lane. "I'm happy for Sami; she was defending her home turf."

From Monument, Colorado, the Brownellers train their endurance horses over very similar terrain. Kaytwo digs this kind of tough, mountain trail, Sami said.

"Put him up against any mountain, and he'll show how tough he is!"

AERC NC Nuggets: Where in the World is Carter Hounsel?

AERC NC Nuggets are Short Soundbites from the 2017 AERC National Championships!

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
August 25 2017

I arrive in La Veta on Wednesday before the AERC National Championships. Tennessee settles me in a rented house with the V.I.P.s, the non-local veterinarians.

Jim Baldwin, from Oklahoma, is already there and settled in. Head vet Tom Currier, from Montana, should arrive with Carter Hounsel, from Virginia, around 1 AM. They're flying into Denver at night, hooking up there and driving Tennessee's jeep, that she left there for them, to La Veta, a 3 hour drive.

7 AM Thursday morning, my phone wakes me. It's Tennessee. "Seen Carter?" I shuffle out of my bedroom, and I see a bleary-eyed Tom, who says Carter wasn't in Denver, so Tom drove down alone. And Carter hasn't miraculously turned up on his own this morning.

"Ah, the joys of being a ride manager," I comment.

"My stomach hurts," Tennessee says...

Read more here.

AERC NC Nuggets: Ride Manager Tennessee Lane

AERC NC Nuggets are Short Soundbites from the 2017 AERC National Championships!

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
August 22 2017

She calls this southwest corner of Colorado "God's Country."


"You'll know why we call it God's country when you get here," AERC National Championship ride manager Tennessee Lane said.

Indeed, the scenery and terrain of the 2017 AERC National Championships outside of La Veta, Colorado, are impressive. Los Cumbres Espanolos, the two 12,000 and 13,000-foot Spanish Peaks, tower above Ridecamp for the Spanish Peaks endurance rides and this year's AERC National Championships.

National Forest land covers the upper thousands of feet of the peaks, and ranchers own the lower graze-able mesas and grass lands, over which the entire 50-mile and 100-mile AERCNC rides took place, 130 miles of unrepeated trails. Tennessee had to bend over backwards to keep the ranchers happy to use these private trails - over 20 local ranchers allow Tennessee the use of their lands - and one can only ride these trails during her endurance rides.

Tennessee's ridden some 9700 AERC endurance miles since 2006, but she only started hosting endurance rides in God's Country in 2016. Her SoCo Endurance was an ambitious project, putting on a tough mountainous 2-day ride in June and a 25/50/100 in September, and this year a 3-day ride in June and a 2-day in July. It was one of the reasons AERC approached her to put on this year's National Championships in August.

Constricted by hunting dates (bow hunting season started a few days after the NC, and hunters were afraid the horses would scare the game off their game trails), August 18-20 was the only weekend Tennessee could host the National Championships. And the event happened to fall at a very busy time: two weeks after she rode in and won the Tevis Cup, which was 2 weeks after she put on her July ride.

Talk about pressure. "Yeah I'm a little crazy," she said. "But… it should be easier than putting on multi-days rides with multi-distances, right? I'll catch up on my sleep in the winter."

A microbiologist in a former life, Tennessee has returned to her ranching roots. She manages the family's cattle land/leasing operation in the area, manages another family business, and owns and runs her own Remuda Run Ranch, where she breeds/trains/sells endurance horses, and offers endurance clinics, hoof boot consultation and services, and, of course puts on endurance rides.

It's great country for endurance ride training. It's where Auli Farwa - Tennessee's mount for this year's Tevis - trained for a couple of months before the pair took the Tevis Cup win on August 5.

"These endurance rides are a true representation of the Southern Colorado Rockies," Tennessee stated, "with miles of fast, flowing sections broken up by challenging, technical stretches and plenty of up and down. These rides have been thoughtfully designed to be very enjoyable and safe but also stimulating and demanding on endurance athletes both equine and human. They're tough, technical mountain endurance rides."

It's great country for gasping and gawking, too. Riders and horses would experience the lower flanks of the western Spanish Peak, with vistas of the layers of Rocky Mountains to the West and the Colorado plains to the east, and they'd ride through one of the iconic rock walls that radiate out from the peaks.

Altitudes for the National Championships would range from 7000 to 9000 feet. One particular loop would have a 1000 foot drop. "I ride up it to train," Tennessee said. "but I felt it was safer to take riders down the trail."

The National Championionships in God's Country below the Spanish Peaks would serve up scenery, fun, and a challenging endurance trail that tested a rider's horsemanship.

Tennessee and enthusiastic landowner George Albright, who helped build trails and lent his hay field for Albright vet check

Sami Browneller and Kaytwo Win AERC National Championship 50

August 18 2017
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Local riders took 3 of the 4 top spots in the AERC National Championship 50 mile ride in La Veta, Colorado, on August 18, 2017.

Sami Browneller, 30, of Monument, Colorado, and her mom's 6-year-old Arabian gelding Kaytwo won the 50 miler in a ride time of 4:32.59. Sami was also first Lightweight. 16-year-old Cassidy Jaksch, from Sedalia, Colorado, finished second aboard her 10-year-old Arabian gelding Give Us a Kiss in a ride time of 4:45.04.

Third place Jennifer Poling and her 12-year-old Arabian gelding Eagle Baikal travelled to Colorado from West Virginia for the Championship. They finished in 4:45.06. Jennifer was first Featherweight.

Fourth place went to Sami's mom Linda Browneller and her 18-year-old Arabian gelding Khaaruso in 4:51.06. Linda was first Middleweight.

Fifth across the finish line was Jessica Woolery and WA Borkata, who was unfortunately pulled at the final vet check.

Fifth place went to Cheryl Van Deusen of Dayton, Florida, riding Jeff Stuart's 10-year-old Arabian gelding DWA Malik, in a ride time of 5:14.30. This pair *just* nipped Canadian Elroy Karius and his 15-year-old Arabian gelding Jolly Holiday at the finish line.

Seventh place went to Jeff Stuart of Utah and his 13-year-old Arabian gelding JV Remington in 5:14.33. Jeff was first Heavyweight.

Eighth place was Bill Fuller and Emmie Lou in 5:14.40; ninth was Tammy Gagnon and Ginger Rogers in 5:26.15; tenth was Carla Lackenbrink, riding Christoph Schork's RR Jazz Dancer in 5:28.29.

First and only Junior finisher was Taylor Fisher of Aurora, Colorado and Kenlyn Kourvy. Her sponsor was Steve Downs riding Kenlyn Porsche.

Best Condition went to Jennifer Poling and Eagle Baikal.

31 out of 34 starters finished the ride. 4 open riders completed. Of the 3 pulls, 1 was a Rider Option, 1 was Metabolic, 1 was Lame.

AERC National Championship 50-Miler Tomorrow


August 17 2017

Starting tomorrow (Friday) at 7 AM, 35 riders will leave the starting line of the 50-mile ride near La Veta, Colorado. We have one Junior riding (Taylor Fisher). 4 of the riders are Open riders, who will start after the Championship riders (and will pick up Taylor anywhere along the way, if her sponsor can't continue).

First loop is 17 miles, with an out vet check and hold of 1 hour, then a 15-mile loop back to camp for a 45 minute hold, then a final 18 mile loop back to camp for the finish.

"It's a tough, technical trail," said ride manager Tennessee Lane. "You'll have some steep climbs and steep descents, and some places you'll be able to move out on. Go slow where you need to go, and move out where you can.

"And have fun. We do this because we enjoy it."

"Ride safe, ride smart," head veterinarian Tom Courier said. "This ride is in the true spirit of endurance. Take care of your horses."

I'll try to send out updates and keep you up to date of at least the top ten throughout the day, and the pulls. Updates will be at: www.endurance.net/international/USA/2017AERCNC

AERC National Championships: A Big Venture


August 16 2017

Ride Manager Tennessee Lane's got a lot on her plate right now. In case you didn't notice, she won Tevis less than 2 weeks ago. She's back in La Veta, Colorado, putting the finishing touches on this year's National Championships course.

It's only her second year putting on rides, so what on earth would possess her to put on a National Championship? "Yeah," she said. "I'm a little crazy." But AERC actually approached her about putting on a challenging National Championship ride at this venue.

Tennessee has created some 130 miles of trails, so nothing but the ins and outs of camp repeat, and it's all on private land. She's worked very hard with the local ranchers to get their permission to put on her rides over trails on their land. You can't ride these trails except at Tennessee's rides.

The trails are stunningly beautiful (the twin Spanish Peaks dominate the southern skyline); ridecamp is at 8,000 feet, and it will indeed be a challenging mountain trail. "This is a true representation of the southern Colorado Rockies and I don't intend to butter that up for you," her SoCoEndurance website says. There's plenty of diverse terrain, with climbs and descents and technical stretches to slow you down (so you can enjoy the magnificent scenery) and plenty of flat miles to cruise on.

Currently there are about 20 signed up for the 100 mile ride on Sunday, and about 40 for the 50 on Friday.

One Week Till the AERC National Championships in Colorado

August 10 2017

"Holy mother of distractions! #Tevis #WorthIt," AERC National Championship Ride Manager Tennessee Lane posted. For those of you who missed it (!), Tennessee and Auli Farwa won the Tevis Cup last weekend, August 5th. But she's back in Colorado, putting the last minute touches on the organization and trails for the AERC Nat'l Championship 50-mile ride (Friday August 18) and 100-mile ride (Sunday August 20).

You can still sign up for the rides (click here)

Veterinarians will be: Head Vet: Dr Tom Currier. Treatment Vet: Dr Laura Blanton. Vet Panel: Dr Carter Hounsel, Dr Jim Baldwin. Assisting Vets: Dr Miranda Andress, Dr Larry Moore.

Base Camp will be primitive camping; horse water will be provided at the tanks in camp (RV-hookups are coming in the future!) There will be porta-potties and a trash dumpster available to you. Please spread your manure and fill in any holes your horse digs. Dogs are allowed in camp, any aggressive dogs should be left at home or kept on a very short leash. Any dogs that bark incessantly or instigate fights will be given a large bowl of spicy chili and a king-size snickers, and then locked in your LQ.

Be prepared for any weather, as Colorado is known for packing 4 seasons into a day. Highs are predicted in the mid-to-upper 70's, wth lows expected in the mid-50's. Thundershowers are possible in the afternoons.

Endurance.net will be onsite to report and keep you up to date as possible, and, upon finding internet each night, will send short titillating stories.

Follow along at:

and on Ridecamp:

and on Twitter @endurancenet with the hashtag #AERCNationalChampionships :

and on Facebook - Endurance Net

A Brief Look at the AERC National Championship Trails in Colorado

August 7 2017

With less than 2 weeks to go till the AERC National Championships in Colorado, here's a quick overview of the trails you'll ride on the 50 mile ride (Friday August 18) and the 100 (Sunday August 20).

This is a true representation of the Southern Colorado Rockies and I don’t intend to butter that up for you. If you are worried about it being too challenging or technical, then ride the LD, I will make sure the LD is geared back so that inexperienced riders and horses can enjoy a less challenging but equally beautiful ride. The awesome geology around here makes for diverse terrain, with lots of climbs and descents as well as a few flat easy miles to cruise on. There will be some brief technical stretches to keep you entertained, so dismount when prompted if you are nervous. As for the endurance riders (50+ miles,) yes, this will be a challenging ride interspersed with technical stretches that will slow you down, so be smart with your pacing, make up time on the easy stuff and take your time in the tough stuff. I have designed the loops to mix it up, nice easy fast stretches interspersed with slow challenging climbs, descents, and fun technical stuff to keep you awake and give you something to write home about. The scenery is truly unbeatable, the ride camp setting is gorgeous, and as I said, the trails are diverse, with footing varying from flat, canterable-sandy-loam, to steep, walk-it-rocky. The land we are riding across is cattle country – there will be gates. I’m doing my best to minimize the number of gates, and improve the functionality of the ones we must keep closed. There is ample water on the trail, mostly cow tanks but also natural streams and ponds. Altitude: Camp is at >8000′ and the ride will range from 7000′ to a little over 9000′. Please remember that we just got through our FIRST YEAR, we want you guys to be safe and have a BLAST, we are still building trails. Please feel free to give us constructive comments, advice, and recommendations, we’re doing our best for you!

SoCo Endurance is an endurance riding/racing event venue. The camp location is directly at the base of the Spanish Peaks, on the mesa that overlooks the quaint town of La Veta, CO. The trails that make up the various courses are 100% on private ranch land, and are NOT public trails, they are used only for sanctioned SoCo events. SoCo Endurance was founded by La Veta local: Tennessee Lane, who works closely with the many ranchers in the area to build, maintain, and design and mark over 130 miles of trail. The trails not only cross Tennessee’s own ranch (Remuda Run & WildCat Canyon) but also her parent’s ranch (The Doubloon) along with around 20 other local ranching families including the Andreattas, Kreautzers, Deuzenacks, Albrights, Blaines, Schulanes, Zieners, and more.

The ride camp itself is on The Doubloon Ranch. The trails are a true representation of the Southern Colorado Rockies, with miles of fast, flowing sections broken up by challenging, technical stretches and plenty of up and down. These rides have been thoughtfully designed to be very enjoyable and safe but also stimulating and demanding on endurance athletes both equine and human. The scenery and unique geology of the area is breathtaking, the trail allows it’s participants to get intimate with features like sheer sandstone cliffs, 60′ granitic rock walls, flowing streams, technical ascents and descents, not to mention a plethora of alpine wildlife.

The town of La Veta is simply adorable, and has many conveniences that riders will find handy like Charlie’s Market, Big R, Paradise Coffee, Corners Cafe, Frankie’s Steak & Seafood, The La Veta Inn, several B&B’s, a salon, gym, post office and many little artsy shops.

Are You Qualified for the AERC Nat'l Championships?

August 3 2017

With 15 days to go to the AERC National Championships in La Veta, Colorado, there's still time to sign up for the 50 (August 18) or 100 milers (August 20).

Riders Must Be Qualified To Enter the Championship 50 & 100!!!

a) All entrants must be current full members of AERC
b) All riders must ride in the declared weight division
c) Riders will be eligible* to participate in this event by qualifying under the AERC-NC criteria defined as follows:


50-mile ride: 300 lifetime AERC miles (horse) AND 300 lifetime AERC miles (rider) with at least 100 miles together. The mileage requirements must be met with endurance competitions of 50 miles or more only – no limited distance miles count towards qualification criteria.

100-mile ride: 500 lifetime AERC miles (horse) AND 500 AERC lifetime miles (rider) with at least one 100 mile, one day ride together. The mileage requirements must be met with AERC endurance competitions of 50 miles or more – no limited distance miles count towards qualification criteria.

Alternative qualifications for 100 mile ride: Horse/rider as a team have completed 1,000 AERC endurance miles together (rides of 50miles or more only).

Horse and rider being ranked as a team in the overall top 10 of their AERC region in the year preceding the National Championship Ride they are entering

d) Only eligible members under the AERC NC qualifications will be able to ride at this ride with the exception of riders who are designated to sponsor qualified junior entrants. This sponsoring rider will receive career lifetime mileage only for the unqualified horse and sponsoring rider, but will not affect the overall placement standings for the RIDE. The RM may choose to allow several unqualified riders to enter as eligible sponsors for riders whose sponsors may be pulled during the ride. These unqualified riders will be reported in the results as lifetime mileage only.

*If you do not meet qualification criteria for the NC ride but still want to participate in the event, then you can enter and ride for miles and completion only (no placing) and you must promise to sponsor a Junior rider in the case that a Junior rider’s sponsor is pulled. Also, a qualified Junior rider may start off with a sponsor who is not qualified (the junior will place, but the sponsor will get completion miles only) – ALL finisher will be treated equally when it come to completions awards, however only NC competitors will receive NC buckles.

*AERC is providing completion buckles for the National Championship 100 (included in entry fee,) anyone who would like a Spanish Peaks 100 buckle in addition to that may purchase one at the finish for $100, they will be available on site. It has been accepted that the AERC National Championships is its own, unique event, but it is in fact on the Spanish Peaks 100 course, so we want to first and foremost recognize AERC, but also give you the opportunity to sport the coveted SP100 buckle upon completion of the course.

Bring it on! Good luck!!!

To sign up, and for more information, see: