AERC: The Cost of Awards Poll
It would appear from discussions on the AERC members forum that the endurance riding organization as we knew it is in trouble - increasing operating costs, decreasing membership.
A couple of interesting ideas are being discussed, one of which is year-end awards. I won my first-ever year-end award in 2011, a vest for 2nd place in the lightweight division my region for mileage and points on Steph's horse Jose. It's a lovely vest from Cabela's, personalized with my name and Jose's name, and the award, and the AERC logo embroidered on it.
For me the award was quite a thrill, as it brings to mind the many miles I spent on a cool horse doing the sport I love. But it also brought to mind the fact that there were approximately 360 of these mileage vests handed out - for 9 regions, 4 divisions in each region, ten placings in each division. And these awards are not the only one AERC gives out yearly. I don't know the amount spent on year-end awards, but it must be significant.
One person suggested following the Western States Trail Ride (Tevis) method of receiving a certificate for your accomplishment, and earning the right to purchase your award. This might put awards in a different light - good or bad. Receiving a first-award-ever must be thrilling for anybody. Endurance riders who regularly win awards every year might not be as thrilled with their 20th vest as much as their first one.
It would certainly save AERC money if this happened. But is it AERC's responsibility to pay for the awards they created and hand out every year? Would you pay for your own year-end award?
Take the poll: