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

May 14, 2014

The Old (really O-L-D) we are not equal in Endurance Argument

Inequality in Endurance


I’ve only been beating the drum of distance riding for a few years and a couple handfuls of rides.  In this time I’ve heard a lot of frustration among the riders of Limited Distance that they feel an inequality in the sport.  I’ve heard AERC members say that they feel an inequality in how they are treated at rides that co-host international.  I’ve heard that 50 miles is endurance, and that countered with 100 miles is really endurance.  Having learned the hard way myself that the sport is whatever you personally want to make it, I’d like to share some concepts of what inequality truly is.



/ˌɪn ɪˈkwɒl ɪ ti/ Show Spelled [in-i-kwol-i-tee]

noun, plural in·e·qual·i·ties.


the condition of being unequal; lack of equality; disparity: inequality of size.


social disparity: inequality between the rich and the poor.


disparity or relative inadequacy in natural endowments: a startling inequality of intellect, talents, and physical stamina.


injustice; partiality.


unevenness, as of surface.

So let’s start off with the inequality of LD.  How does it measure up to the definition?  It could perhaps be a social disparity, since those with more horse, time, money and youth (or physical fitness) are more able to do the longer distances.   It could fit the condition of being unequal; a disparity in the horse or rider’s ability and/ or stamina to go further than 25-30 miles.   Would you consider that partiality is involved?  I’m going to stand on my little box of soap and say that Limited Distance is what it is.   Not bad.  Not good.  A competition of limited mileage for whatever purpose you propose to ride.   BC’s, placement,  or perhaps accumulated mileage.   If we could just take away the word Limited, and change it to Level 1, perhaps nobody would feel the need any longer to feel slighted, or offended.  They just pick the level they are able to perform at and they are AERC Rider/ Level One.    

Now how about 50 miles isn’t really endurance.  The true grass roots measure of endurance is 100 miles in a day (or less).    You could make all the same previous arguments, but let’s just throw the baby out with the bathwater and call 50-80 mile rides AERC Rider/ Level Two.   100 mile rides AERC Rider/ Level Three.

We aren’t finished yet though…what about those pesky FEI/International riders?   How about AERC/ International (now there is an original thought!).  Seems simple enough to me.

These name changes as a solution could perhaps make some of us feel better about what we do.  But really?  The only thing we would have changed is the name.  The distances still differ, the challenge from level to level is still incrementally harder, and the playing field is never exactly level, no matter how much we want it to be. Distance riding is kind of like life, you can have lemons or you can have the good stuff.  At the end of the day it is up to us what we pull out of the old psychic refrigerator, when you start looking outside for happiness, recognition, or acceptance it might pucker you right up.  The good stuff comes from deep inside, where you start believing in your horse, and yourself, enjoying the miles, and taking pride in your own personal goals and outcomes. 

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