State what the AERC would do differently if you were driving the bus.
1. To promote and encourage new riders to the sport I would like to see "Rookie Awards" for the high mileage Rookie riders or Rookie horse of the year. You would have to be an AERC member, and sign up pre-season to participate. I think this would be an encouraging way to drive new members to really dig in and have at it from the beginning. It would also encourage miles vs. racing the first few critical years. Once you've accumulated your 500 mile chevron for distance (or finished the first competition year) you would no longer be a rookie.
2. This one is my favorite idea ...To promote LD riders to move up in distance how about "The Movin' on Up Award." This could be a blurb in The Endurance News that says....Endurance Granny from the MidWest Region has moved on up...to 50 miles, or 65 miles, 75 miles, or my very first 100 (not likely but for the sake of illustration). It wouldn't cost the organization anything to speak of except a mention in the magazine under ride results or it could instead be a chevron that says Movin' On Up (with the distance). It would give riders the incentive to Move on Up! These could be given out at rides, or from the AERC. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but having an "award" like the chevrons is personally very motivating.
3. It would be great if the AERC had a store that offered a great quality jacket to have your mileage chevrons sewn onto. I'd likely purchase one. Or a company that would take your chevrons and mount them in a shadow box with a favorite ride photo...that would be really cool for display. Actually the AERC store is almost bare! They should get some good stuff in there for us to buy! The AERC would make money on them.
4. This will likely turn some hairs also, but I'd like to see LD rides be allowed to be held outside of the other distance venues. I believe the shorter distance rides would spring up all over the place and give LD riders a lot more options for their distance. It would open up LD rides for day venues perhaps closer to home too! As a newbie rider the most HUGE CHALLENGE I have faced is teaching my little race brained mare to pace our speed, rather than someone else's. Having horses from the longer distance galloping up behind, and racing on by is not truly conducive to teaching the young mileage only horse the job it needs to do. If the AERC allowed a few stand alone rides in each region you would have that opportunity to teach your horse a sane pace. Yes, there would be those who would still want to race that distance, but they wouldn't be behind you if you started at the back. That way you would have a choice on how you taught your young horse. Get a few of the training rides under your belt before moving on into the the combined venues. Another option to that would be to have your LD riders loop be the final loop of the day for the longer distance riders. It would not totally eliminate the overlap, but would minimize it for those who are really new to the sport.
5. I would like a MANUAL on what vet check scores mean. I'm kidding...but only partly. Is a "B" a "B" or is it a looming disaster? Or at the very least an explanation from the ride vet. Your horse's gut sounds are a "B" you might want to try this, or that, or this or that could happen. I like to know what things mean so I can make good decisions. Yikes! Vet scores scare me to death.
6. In a perfect world it would NEVER rain at a ride, and the temperature would never exceed 72 degrees. Your turn.