We need your help!
Attention all endurance riders - we need your help! AERC, the governing body for endurance, is a wonderful organization that makes our sport possible. However, membership has become stagnant, and that makes it difficult to keep the AERC running. Most of the money that helps AERC stay operational are ride entry fees - and nobody wants to raise those!
So, please, do what you can to get fellow endurance riders to join AERC each season (it's well worth it!) and recruit new ones. Included in the envelope with my 2013 membership card was a latter addressing this issue and it suggested a few ways to help out:
Write an article - do you compete on an atypical breed? Do you have a story to share? AERC will even arrange for someone to interview you!
Give a talk - if you belong to a group, offer to speak to them about endurance riding!
Mentor a new rider - we all need it!
Go local - tell your regional newspaper or horse magazine about endurance riding
Post a flier - let others know about events! Don't forget to say that volunteers are welcome and they don't need a horse!
Host a clinic - educate your community about endurance riding!
Offer a fun ride - if you're a ride manager, host a fun trail ride along with your endurance ride and don't forget to pass out endurance info packets and AERC membership forms! (AERC has great ones full of information!)
Introduce new riders - get newbies or out of towners at rides to introduce themselves and get to know one another! Especially for new riders, invite them to ask lots of questions and keep an eye out for them and if they need any help!
Offer your help - to those inexperienced, to those managing a ride, to someone having trouble, or to someone who doesn't know many people at the ride. We gotta stick together!
Encourage joining - ask other riders if they've joined AERC and share with them the many benefits of being a member!
Share your enthusiasm - share our awesome sport with anyone who will listen. Some things to talk about are the camaraderie, sense of accomplishment, and the ability of any horse that is metabolically and physically sound to get around and ride, and our motto: "To finish is to win."
If you are interested in the benefits of joining AERC, visit this link:
Benefits of Joining AERC
I am a Gold member because, for an extra $20/year, the included liability insurance is great peace of mind knowing that any damage or injury caused by my horses, either at home or away, will be covered. Just like liability insurance for your car, it doesn't cover any damage or injury to yourself, but protects you in case something happens to something or someone else and you're held liable. I believe it covers any and all of the horses you own, whether they are registered with AERC or not.
I want to join, but I was reading all the rules and info and stuff and it was kinda intimidating. Plus, my 4 year old isn't ready yet
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unless AERC is willing to pay more than lip service to gaining membership. This decline will continue. They do a horrendous to nonexistent job of marketing. Also focusing on juniors isnt gonna grow the sport.
AERC wont even require ride locations on the online ride posting calander. Then they wonder why they are not attracting new riders ? Cant come to a ride if the location is kept secret. Richmond VA Horse expo, ZERO endurance exposure, even though its right down the road from the OD 100, I even volunteered to run the booth, AERC wouldnt come up with the booth fee.
Seems the old guard is happy with the status quo and very resistant to addressing any of the issues that are hurting recruiting.
On the other hand, nearly all endurance riders are aware of AERC, so they've done an excellent job advertising amongst the people they need to. As for individual rides and the sport as a whole - that's up to local organizations and ride managers to advertise. It sounds like you tried to volunteer for the wrong people. In our area, the ride managers take care of their own advertisement. My club hosts a booth at our expo and does raffles. The Pacific Northwest Endurance Riders organization also does a great job of distributing our area's ride information throughout the region as well as does awards and lots of other cool things. AERC cannot dedicate its resources to every ride and every endurance organization - nor should it. It is there to help keep our sport organized, and we as participants should be involved in keeping participation healthy. It does, however, do an excellent job of educating both prospective and new riders - if you don't believe me, just take a look at how many people have suggested that the OP's on these forums check out the AERC website and articles.
I see the focus on juniors as making more of an effort to support this special and almost nonexistent segment of our endurance community. They do need our help to get involved and stay active, from sponsors to a little extra encouragement and a helping hand for the parents. Many of us participate despite barriers in our time and finances - juniors often don't have ways to get around those barriers on their own and it is difficult for them to build up a support network without current riders and organizations stepping forward.
I'm glad you sought out an opportunity to volunteer - that's what this sport needs. However, make sure you're talking to the right people to do so. You can also volunteer in other ways like the ones I listed above in the original post.
By the way, I forgot to mention - if you're going to be doing around 4+ ride days per year, then your membership actually pays for itself since you avoid the $15 day-membership fee each time you enter a ride ;)
I am well aware there is no shortage of excuses. I hear them alot, however I have long lists of new and potential new riders that agree with me. Excuse me but not publicizing a rides location is very much a AERC issue. They run the ride calander. There is absolutely NO ,ZERO ,NIX NINE FRANKENSTIEN excuse whatsoever for AERC to allow a ride to be posted to the ride calander without a phsical location, address, gps coordinate, direction from a known point or some other info that would allow someone to find the ride. NO excuse. It is the second most critical piece of information you can have, after "WHAT". The RM's then have the nerve to boo hoo about low turn out ? Seriously give me a break. NO EXCUSE ! and frankly I am getting tired of hearing them. There are rides on that calendar that arnt even clear what state they are in.
Ive been involved with lengthy email chains just to get to ride camp. Local slang, missing info, and litteraly I got an email that said ride camp is where the winery Used to be, ? seriously how am I supposed to know that ? Also was a ride that was on a national forest, BIg forest. and of course no other location info,,,,
Where's base camp?
at the usual place,
and where might that be I have never been to your state can I have the address?
oh its at the Arena,
so I go to the forest websight, google maps, satellite pictures, and nope no arena, so another email,
There is no arena in that national forest that I can find, can you please give me the address or directions from HWY xyz?
Oh the arena isnt actually on the forest its at a nearby park.
Umm guess what rides I dont attend. seriously if I gotta pull teeth to find the ride I'm not coming.
when a person in my demographic, IE, loves long distance trails, camping, owns my own trailer/ truck, lots of free time and money, highly competitive, and lives a couple hours from probably the second most prestigious endurance ride in the country, and I have never heard of it ? You got a marketing problem. AND yes as long as AERC is collecting the money and all money is being held at the board of directors level it is very much a HQ problem. especially as how it would cost ZERO to require that information. The software and websight already exists.
I have been involved with national level shooting sports, bike sports, fun rides, camping trips, boy scout events, and I have never ever had to contact an organizer to ask "Where's the event?" Its in the initial flyer.
I do have to say after a season of excuses and me pointing out the lacking info on specific rides I have seen HUGE improvements in the Southeast. Pretty much all rides have good info now. Incidentally the SE is growing membership. Go figure.
Joe4d, it still sounds like a ride manager problem to me. AERC does not police the information and is not responsible for managing rides and any subsequent information. They simply post the information they receive. If a a local charity is putting on an event and tells the city council the day and time, but leaves out good information about the location, is it your city council's fault? You cannot expect AERC to try and keep track of the hundreds of rides happening throughout the country and playing mommy to the ride managers who are there to make sure all the ducks are in a row for THEIR ride. This is not the purpose of AERC and it does not have the funds to check up on trivial matters regarding individual rides. If poor ride information is provided, contact the manager. Having been on the side of putting on a ride, I can tell you that that's part of their responsibilities: advertisement. We never have any issue in my area finding out about ride locations and have excellent managers. If you have a problem with rides in your area, you need to talk to your managers.
AERC simply organizes, sanctons, keeps records, and educates riders nationwide. Your dues enable them to continue doing so.
I dont find location a trivial matter, nor I think would any other person in the world trying to attend an event. Nothing about playing mommy. I am talking about that blank spot on the ride calendar. You know the one that says "ride location" ? Yeh that blank spot should be filled out with intelligent information.
Sorry but I just dont understand the thought process that continues to make these excuses. For many potential riders the online ride calendar is the first exposure they have to AERC. No excuse for the page manager not to require that info from a RM who wants the ride posted to the calendar . Seriously it would take a message on the form, and a couple rejected postings to fix the problem over night.
People in the Southeast said the same kinda stuff, that they dont have any problem. They think its all peachy king. Oh yeh then tell me how to get to X ride based on the info in the calender , ride flyer, ride websight or anything else. They got real quiet, except now I see most of those rides now have a decent ride flyer.
But this is a HUGE nationwide problem that needs to be addressed by AERC, thats why we have a national body. Quite a few newer riders run into the same thing in multiple regions. So I know it just isnt me.
AERC , older riders and ride managers can continue with the head in sand syndrome and pretend it isnt an issue, while seeing rides stop and membership dwindle, or they can take steps to address these issues. Looks like we have a couple of new to AERC directors that can bring new ideas to the BOD, and dispense with the "thats the way we always do it" mentality.
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