[I’m a horrible recruiter, and would have been a horrible used car salesperson, so thought a little tongue-in-cheek list was in order a la my good friend, David Letterman. Written with the help of some chums, who indicate they are ashamed to have me list their names … ]
TOP TEN REASONS TO NOT JOIN OR RENEW WITH AERC
10. I have a serious Starbucks Vente Caramel Frappucino habit and cannot afford the $75 membership fee …
Boy, do we have great news for you! First off, EasyCare Inc. (www.easycareinc.com) sponsors a new member discount of 10% for new members or members who have left us for a few years, which means that a 2014 membership will cost you only $63.75.
Secondly, at $4.25 a pop and 530 calories per tall, icy, sugary caffeine fix, if you just make Tuesday “AERC Dues Tuesday” and order a Vente Starbucks Coffee instead, at $1.75 and 15 calories, by Memorial Day you will have made up the funds (even without the discount) as well as lost four pounds. Seriously, do the math.
Your horse will thank you. As will AERC.
9. I don’t have an Arabian and figure I can’t really compete without one.
Don’t tell that to the hundreds, nay thousands, of horses out there that are competing that are not Arabians! Pick a breed, they are out there successfully competing. Just ask, I can find you someone who has that breed of horse, I’ll bet, and has tons of miles with it. And if I can’t I’ll bet that Mike Maul can!
Sound, metabolically and locomotively, with a desire to go down the trail and take good care of itself = potential endurance horse.
8. I’ve done the math. I only go to two local rides per year, and since the non-member fee is $15 per ride, it is cheaper to just pay that than join AERC.
AERC is about so much more than just avoiding the non-member fee! We are about trails grants and research into horse welfare (and weeds!) and education of new riders and a whole bunch of other initiatives that support all trail riders and sport horse enthusiasts, including those who just happen to compete in our sport. And don’t forget Endurance News — a really excellent monthly publication that is chock full of information about the sport and current events and the results of all that research (see above).
7. AERC made a really crappy decision about ___ and I am protesting that by not renewing my membership.
As someone just wrapping up a term as a Regional Director, I can tell you it’s a really challenging job. Sometimes we’ve made decisions that *I* disagree with also. But in the end, it is truer than one might imagine — it is easiest to make change from the inside than removing oneself and attempting to make it from the outside, in all but the most extreme circumstances.
We are little cogs in the AERC machine. And hey, I can tell you how to get your name on the ballot to run for the BoD! <wink> But first, you must be a member.
6. My Regional Director forgot to remind me!
Okay, well NE region riders, consider this one “complete.” Nag nag nag.
5. I’d hoped to compete this season but didn’t. I don’t have the time to train and condition for hours like you endurance riders do. I thought it would be a fun thing for me to get involved in, but I just don’t have time.
It is one of the great myths of endurance riding that one must condition ceaselessly in order to prepare for, say, a limited distance ride ridden conservatively to finish close to the maximum time (including pulse-down time). Sure, you’re not going to get you or your horse fit by sitting on the sofa, but if you’re riding regularly, can cover 12-15 miles in, say, two and a half hours and you and your horse are still feeling pretty perky at the end of that, you are probably ready for your first ride.
The water’s just fine, come on in. If you’ve got questions, ask. We are here to help! And if you haven’t checked out the mentors in your area yet, they’re posted here:
If there’s no mentor close to you, drop me a note — I’ll help you find one.
4. I went to a ride and it was a disaster. No one talked to me and the veterinarian told me my pony was fat.
Sometimes a first ride can be a bit of a fiasco — mine was too! But remember, this sport is about persevering — don’t let a little bit of a rocky road make you pack it up and go home.
Endurance riders are a friendly lot mostly but we have a tendency to be focused on all we have to do to get ready for the ride when we arrive, and then we are whupped afterwards, so sometimes we get a little wrapped up in our own little world.
This is not the time to be shy! Go hand graze your horse, say hello loudly and introduce yourself. Offer to help out scribing for the vet or taking pulses — you will definitely meet people that way. Tell us it’s your first time and that you have no idea what you are doing! (Guarantee that this will get you tons of offers of help and after a decade and a half of competing, I still use the ploy from time to time … )
3. My pencil tip broke and my pens are all out of ink.
Thank heavens you can renew or join on-line. Right here:
2. I’m an eventer/dressage queen/recreational trail rider. What could possibly be in it for me in AERC?
I came to the sport from dressage and I make it a point to try to recruit misfit dressage queens, with some success, I might add.
The sport is a natural fit for combined training riders — just ask Denny Emerson.
Endurance riding may be the best cross-training out there for virtually all of the equestrian sports.
There are horses out there competing with a huge variety of day jobs: Ranch work/sorting, parade horses, school horses, barrel racers, hunter/jumpers, show horses, high school science teachers — okay, maybe I made that one up.
The point is this: Name an equestrian sport which is not benefitted by a horse who can travel straight, calm and forward down a trail over a wide variety of footing and terrain, learning to pace itself and eat, drink and care for itself in challenging circumstances.
1. My truck broke down, my furnace won’t pump heat and I’m nearly out of hay for the horses. First things first.
Okay, you’ve got us on this one. But when things turn around a bit for you, and I do hope that they will, I hope you’ll join us at AERC.
Or heck, ask Bruce Weary for a loan. I heard he is LOADED!
We’d love to have you.
To Finish Is To Win.