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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

October 27, 2011

I wish I was riding...but how important is the Endurance News?

 So ride numbers are down.  Printing & mailing costs for the Endurance News is the AERC's biggest expense.  Seems like a no-brainer, huh?

I love my EN's delivered monthly.  I live vicariously through others.  I check the folks leading the way in points, and especially the mileage competitions.  The articles I enjoy reading, but honestly?  Really....they are not all  (as in pertaining to) that helpful to the new rider, and probably are old hat to the seasoned member.  I'll see a topic that I think yes!  I want to know more about that.  Then it only skims the surface. (You would have to know me to understand this...I have stacks of books on single topics)  I figure that is the case because the magazine is so costly to produce.  What makes the magazine so costly?  My big guess is that glossy photo cover on each issue.  Personally I'd rather have my EN's produced in cheap recycled paper and more "meat" between the covers.  I can live without glossy color.  Save the color photos for the electronic version of the same.

Over on Ride Camp someone suggested having two options for your membership.

  • Membership and e-version of the EN's (for $40 less)
  • Membership and paper copy of EN's  (for $40 more)
In case anyone is interested I held onto a paper copy of the EN's from circa...1986 or so for twenty years.  At that time it was my one and only issue, and a representation of a festering desire to try the sport.  I'd occasionally pick it up, with something like awe... it had no glossy cover.   Just nice articles, and ride news.  I will attest that it was the best issue EVER because it sparked something in me that said you can do this (even though I haven't got to do it much).

Another  potential cost saving measure would be to have the EN's online with a print button so those who want a paper copy could print it out on their home computer or from the library... in color or b&w.  They could include a cover sheet and indexing page so you could organize it into a binder.  Those wanting a paper copy could opt  (pay) for it and have it delivered to their mailbox. If membership was active you could have access to all the archives as well.  If your membership was not active NO FREE ACCESS to the EN's.

There!  I've just solved the financial dilemma of the AERC in one easy step. (TONGUE IN CHEEK)

Membership fees could be decreased somewhat, and revenue would increase. (valid point)

Nobody was shot, died, or fainted.  (I take it back)

No horses were harmed in the process.  (this continues to hold true)

Damned if I ain't good.  (it seemed so at 6:20 this morning, but less so at 5:03 p.m.)

At 6:20 in the morning  and only two cups of coffee!

Ride on.

~ E.G. 


  1. There's just something about holding a real magazine (or book) in my hands. I'll never be a Kindle person. I like the on-line extra AERC does, but wouldn't want to replace the hard copy completely with digital. To me, an on-line newsletter just wouldn't be the same.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  2. I'm in the other camp - I would pay more for my membership to keep EN glossy, and I would be very unhappy if they went to an electronic format! I can't really explain it. I just love EN the way it is. I love reading upcoming rides, watching the points leaders change, reading the vet type articles, looking over the ride times in various regions, etc. I read all my books on my Kindle and I have no interest at all in reading EN electronically.

    Ridecamp discussions seem to conflate the two problems facing AERC. There's "the national organization may be in financial trouble" and there's "ride managers are going broke." If membership kept declining but each member attended more rides, the RMs would be happy. If we added a bunch more two-rides-a-year riders, that would help the national organization but not the RMs so much. I don't think there's a way to increase the number of rides each rider attends; that correlates pretty strongly to the economy in general. And I honestly don't think we can add a bunch of new members unless the old guard quits its endless bitching and moaning about how LDs are dumbing down the sport and how only Arabs can compete. :(

  3. I speak in defense of Endurance News , not only as a frequent contributer, but also as a rider, a reader, and a person who understands what it's like to be a "have-not."

    You say that you look at the magazine each month, and find that the articles only "skim the surface." I wonder if you get a different magazine than the one delivered to my door?

    For example: The article in Sept 2011 "Education Update: The early years: bloom, don't break," by Stagg Newman and John Crandell III contains in-depth, detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to start a young horse in order to build a strong competitor. The article tells you literally everything you need to know, and it's written by two of the leading long-term riders in the sport. This single article is worth the price of a year's subscription, IMHO...and these two men wrote it because they love the sport, not because they got paid by the magazine. This article addresses many of the issues and difficulties you have discussed in your blog: lameness, training, fitness programs, evaluation of fitness, and more. It offers solutions to problems you are experiencing right now. The mighty Heraldic had many, many setbacks on the road to being a champion, and the authors describe the problems and the solutions. I suspect you haven't read the article, because you are still complaining that nobody ever tells you how to fix these problems. And if you don't read the magazine, it can't help you.

    Did you know that EN doesn't pay for submissions? The articles and photos printed there are donated by the authors and photographers, most of whom could be using the time they spend creating their submissions making money elsewhere. I get paid by other publications for my work; I almost always give Endurance News access to my stuff (at no cost)before submitting it elsewhere, because I think it will do more good there.

    That's not a sound business decision...unless you understand that I support myself by supporting my sport. It isn't all about money. Sometimes it's about giving whatever ya got. What I've got is an ability to write about issues that concern new riders. But if those riders don't have access to my articles, I might as well just gone riding, and never put in any of the hours of effort it takes to write stuff.

    Some riders don't have steady, easy access to the internet. Maybe cheap computers and wi-fi are common in your area, as they are in mine. It is not that way all over the country, in fact, it's not that way all over my home state. Shall we charge people extra membership money if they don't have access to a computer? That hardly seems "welcoming" to me.

    I respectfully disagree with your solution.

  4. I guess I should have put a disclaimer on there that said tongue (firmly) in cheek. And no I was not saying the EN's is poo-ey. I like the magazine. I look forward to it every month. I read articles of interest that I find helpful. Sometimes they are really good, and sometimes it is just "stuff" (like most magazines), and ads (that help pay the bills). I guess if I prefer to read the ride standings there is nothing wrong with that.

    Yes I know they do not pay for submissions. And yes, sometimes someone very notable will write something and I look forward to it.

    " I suspect you haven't read the article, because you are still complaining that nobody ever tells you how to fix these problems. And if you don't read the magazine, it can't help you."

    Thank you for pointing out that I'm having serious problems that can be fixed by reading the EN's. I find it interesting that I can be challenged on my blog for an early morning tongue in cheek comment, when it was just meant as a humorous (to me) rebuttal of what I'm reading at Ride Camp this morning.

    Journey has her own set of challenges. I've been going to a trainer regularly with her, not attending rides because she is not mentally ready for it. Trying my ass off not to repeat the mistakes I made with Phebes (her muscle issue being one of them I could not control) What pray tell is WRONG with that?

    RIDE CAMP brought up the money saving idea of electronic media. My two-cents was actually not needing a glossy cover to satisfy my reading urges. I prefer print, but outside of that, eh! Save a tree, I don't care.