American Endurance Ride Conference severs ties with USEF

WEG Endurance, not the sort of ride the AERC wanted
Credit : Scoopdyga

Tuesday 15 January - 22h16 | Lulu Kyriacou

American Endurance Ride Conference severs ties with USEF

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC), the ruling body for endurance in the USA has decided to severe it ties with the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)  after a series of debates about the governance of the sport in the US,  and USEF's failure  to  sanction any of it's international riders who chose to compete in endurance rides  in the much maligned Group Seven (Arabic) countries where dozens of horse deaths have been reported.  

The split will take place from December 2019  to give USEF  and  the international riders time to find an alternative way of qualifying their riders when AERC run rides are no longer affiliated.  The AERC held a board meeting by conference cal to discuss the motion to split with USEF, the minutes of which can be read here and give some of the back ground  to the decision. 

Despite the reasons given in the minutes,  the unrest  originally  was inspired by the development of the flat racing style endurance practiced in the Middle East.  The AERC  objected to any part of their affiliation fees  going towards supporting any rider involved in such rides and also felt that USEF  should take a stronger stance   with regard to the welfare issues in the region. Many American endurance riders have been sicken by the ever rising death toll  and by the fact that American riders are given permission to compete there by USEF, on many occasions, selling their horses  before returning, a lucrative business since the United Arab Emirates in particular took an interest in the sport.

​Nor did the World Equestrian Games (held in September 2018, in the USA) do anything to pour oil onto the troubled waters.  The traditionlists in the AERC were hoping for an equally traditional contest over natural terrain and  were massively disappointed when  it was announced that a track was being carved out of much of the course, allegedly on horse welfare grounds, but this did open the race up to riding at higher speeds. 

​The press release from the AERC   tonight was not particularly informative but certain matters are clear. This will not  trouble USEF's relationship with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) who have almost nothing to do with how each country manages their equestrian sports internally. USEF will have to find an alternative way to qualify their riders once the AERC drops their affiliation, but it seems likely that a new body will be formed to organise qualifying events.  The AERC is likely to lose the membership of all of it's international riders  which will have a detrimental  effect on the AERC's credibility at the very least.  


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