Contact information:

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

October 14, 2011


It's been heating up on RIDECAMP again.   I honestly see a lot of truth in both sides of the issue of combining LD miles with Endurance miles.  But!  If the AERC wished to keep Endurance pristine they will have to change a few things.

* Quit awarding placements and accumulated mileage in LD so that folks do not become stuck there for whatever reason (liking to race the shorter distance, health problems of horse/rider, blah blah blah reason).
* Make LD rides what they were initially meant to be which would be TRAINING rides, and put a time window on the ride such as you see in CTR to "teach" a sane pace to new riders and new horses in the sport, or to bring back a rehabbing horse.
*Set limits on how many successful completions an LD horse/rider team can have before they are mandated to attempt a longer distance. the revenues drop.


Break the bank.

So what is reasonable to encourage LD riders to move on up?  To stick with the sport in a longer venue?  My answer to this is simple and long timers probably wouldn't like it.  Instead of having columns that read LD, Endurance, 100's...change those categories to:

TRAINING  LEVEL (encompassing 15, 20, 25,30, 35 miles).  Require a horse/rider team to successfully (via some serious real life vet scores) to complete each level prior to moving up to the next.  Meaning if you can't complete a 25 mile with  an overall A- average then you won't move up to 35 until you do.  Thus making the rider focus on the well-being of the horse.  Only award given is BEST CONDITION,  and completion awards to those ready to move on up to the next level.   that would make perfect sense starting new people in the sport. Once the horse/rider successfully completes a 35 they are ready/mandated to move up to the next level which would be INTERMEDIATE (50, 65, 75 miles). Or they can start a new horse and start over.

INTERMEDIATE: (50, 65, 75 miles) Once a horse or rider successfully enters Intermediate they are considered an open rider and can accumulate points on an open horse (has been through training level).  Once a team has completed all three levels of intermediate they are free to ride ADVANCED or keep doing what they are doing...

ADVANCED:  100 miles in a day,  Multi-day 50's (3 or more days) on the same horse.

A ribbon or certificate awarded for each mileage pinnacle, an award as the team advances through the levels.
There!  The problems of the world are solved in 3 easy columns.

Something tells me if people can't cope with LD miles being counted in the totals plan for fixing the scoring in 3 easy steps will NEVER happen *LOL*.

We need to spend our energy PROMOTING the sport.  Really.


Arrrrrrgh....I need more coffee (and more "horse" time).  ~ E.G.


  1. I agree with you, LD was meant to be a "training" level to see if you/your horse is ready to move up. And yes people are "stuck" at that level. In UMECRA there are now lots of people competing in the 25 LD and sometimes only 1 to 4 people in 25 Comp! It's now incredibly easy to place in a 25 comp because there's often less people than ribbons. I have done 2 LDs on my horse, typically doing them at comp speed, but I enjoy the flexibility of LD rules.

    OTOH: this sport, like others, seems to be getting "older" rather than younger. Older riders trying to hang on, people with one horse that is aging... We need to retain those riders or they will soon quit the sport. A lot of these LDers are people who HAVE done endurance/competitive before and are not physically able to do it anymore, or have one horse that they want to compete but have issues going up to 50s. Without an LD where they can actually PLACE and get awards they may just decide to quit.

    I don't know the answer.

  2. Okay, devil's advocate here...

    Maybe LD needs to be two kind of ride entries (ride managers cringing and throwing rocks east to west north to south). They did it in NATRC rides. You could ride a CTR as "Open Competitive" (points and/or placement) or "Pleasure" (miles only). LD could be the same without too much nail thrashing. You'd still have mileage/placement/BC in "Open Competitive", still attracting those who want to race. You'd still have accumulated mileage awards for the rest.

    But no matter how you cut it, LD is not the same sport as Endurance. I haven't done an endurance ride "yet", but I know how hard it was for me and my metabolically challenged horse to add just five miles to my previous twenty-five. On the other hand, I don't feel that 100 mile rides are anywhere in the ball park of a 50 either. I mean come on....look at what those horses do! 100 miles is what the "founder" of the sport envisioned, but 50's are good training rides for 100 mile events, and PEOPLE ENJOY THE LESSER MILEAGE, sound familiar?

    It would make more sense to me to refine LD into more of a sport of its own, with Open, and Pleasure, let those who like the chase, chase it...and let those that like the miles do that. Pace Open rides faster, and Pleasure rides slower. People would be encouraged to start their new horses in Pleasure for a # of rides prior to taking them open.


    On another topic, I just realized within the past few weeks that there are other distance organizations besides the AERC & NATRC. I'd love it if someone would guest write a blog article on these other organizations with some links and the regions they cover, and especially what they are doing different than AERC.

    And on another topic: (my random mind reeling) Why is Endurance not more openly promoted? I cannot tell you how many people I've talked to who have never heard of endurance, LD, AERC, etc.
    Just sayin' and I'm probably having a hormonal "moody" dip, but....just sayin! Because I'd hand out official informational flyers where ever I went, if I had them.

    Sign me: ~ E.G. who today just wants a horse that will steer where I want it to go, pace how I want it to pace, and not break out of an electric pen...