So you and your horse are just getting started in the sport of LD/Endurance riding, and you figure out that Old Nellie or Jumping Jack Flash aren't equipped to break any speed records. In fact, you are feeling darned right lucky to just finish the course in the allotted amount of time. You might be scratching your head, feeling a little discouraged, and wondering why you should stay in this time consuming sport when you are NEVER going to WIN. Well go give Old Nellie, Jumping Jack Flash, a big old kiss because they too can compete in the sport of distance. You aren't going to chase the front runners any more, the trail is going to be the thing to beat. You are going to chase one or more of the mileage awards offered by the AERC. What follows is a list of the various awards and the criteria to get into the hunt:
Regional Mileage Championship: If you are riding endurance (50+ mile rides) you can chase this one. It goes to the top 2 senior riders, and the top junior rider to complete the most amount of miles in a season in each region riding no more than two horses. Now in my region, the Midwest, you better have your big girl panties on because Bill Wilson has this one nailed down at 1790 miles for the season. It's even worse if you are in the West region as Dave Rabe has an incredible number of miles. However, these goals may just be your niche, I say go get 'em!
Regional LD Mileage Championship: If you are all about shorter rides of 25-35 miles this is your mileage niche. The award goes to the top 7 senior and top 2 junior riders in each region and is based on the mileage of one horse, with one rider. The mileages in my Midwest region are from 295-525 miles in the current issue of The Endurance News. This is about completing, not racing. This is a doable goal for most serious LD competitors. The highest mileage I found scanning the results was about 685 in the Mountain region. So eleven LD's will at least get you on radar in your region, twenty-one might win you your regional award. If you ride multi-days very conservatively this might mean attendance at 5-10 rides, riding every day, very slowly, very carefully to work towards this regional award.
National Mileage Championship :(50+ mile rides only) goes to the top ten senior riders,and top 5 junior riders based on the most accrued rides in a season. This award is for a rider/horse team. Again, this is a pretty lofty goal with folks who accrue over 1800 ride miles in a season.
National LD Mileage Championship: (25-35 mile rides only) this ride honors the top 3 senior riders, and top 3 junior riders who accrue the most miles ridden during a season on one horse. Top national LD riders at this time are between 290 and 575 in the junior division, and 525-685 miles in the senior division.
The Bill Stuckey Award: this award is for riders 65 years of age + who have ridden the most number of miles on any number of horses in a given season. Bill Wilson from the Midwest region has this one locked up at 1790 miles in the current issue of The Endurance News. I'm assuming on this one that it for the longer mileage rides, but it is not specified in my current issue of The Endurance News.
The Bill Thornburgh Family Award: is for the greatest number of miles completed by Mom or Dad and dependent children riding on the same day. This puts the competition all in the family and honors the top ten teams in the country. On the current score board accumulated mileages range from 915-2460.
The Jim Jones Stallion Award: if you ride a stallion this is your baby and it goes to the stallion with the most miles over all the regions (unlimited riders).
If chasing awards that require being on the road every weekend is not your thing, remember that you can set your own goals, and ride for the accumulated mileage chevrons in your particular discipline be it Endurance or Limited Distance and you will earn a Chevron at each 250 mile increment for both horse and rider, and there are also the various local clubs that you can compete within your club rather than the regional or national type competition through the AERC. Unfortunately the club in Indiana is now defunct, so if you have a club don't take it for granted! Support it, assist with club activities, and keep it alive.
I am waiting for an award for the "most exciteable" horse on the regional level. We would have that one so seriously locked down and could possibly get the national award. We also would have won the first year "most unplanned dismounts" award, and the spin-back half-arabian award. Nobody plays by our rules... ~E.G.
Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association