AERC 2014 in Atlanta, GA! Brrrrrrrrrr it’s COLD here– Day 1 Thursday March 6

We have arrived safely and uneventfully in Atlanta, GA– man it is COLD here! 39* and sleet/freezing rain and the countryside is brown. We are registered and ready to attend sessions! Anne-Marie Rousseau and I are her having some girlfriend time together, which rocks because we are able to chatter about all of the stuff we shall learn and you all know how much better that is! The weather is 39* and brrrrrr cccccold! sleet and freezing rain. The Sheraton Gateway Hotel is a 12 story brick building… BRICK! Because of my patience when booking a room way back when I was rewarded with a lovely room on the Club Floor– 12th floor with complimentary appetizers and drinks 5p-8p every day and complimentary continental brekki every day! SCORE! Anne-Marie and I are feeling pretty darn special right about now. Yay! We have a packed schedule with all kinds of stuff to learn as well as Tack Swap and Hot Topics and Social events to mingle with the locals and horsey peeps from across the nation; so exciting!

First person we met was the awesome Troy M. Smith; she is as lovely in person as she is online!

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Anne-Marie attended the Board meeting, which includes our regional directors Paul Latiolais and Stephanie Teeter controversial topics are in front of the board– here is a link to the proposal http://www.aerc.org/Temp/WelfareMotion0314.pdf

and here is a link to the other possibly controversial topic in front of the Board
http://www.aerc.org/Temp/SponsorshipCmteMotion0314.pdf

I can’t wait til Anne-Marie gets home to share what she learned by attending the board meeting. While she was doing that, I was using Adobe Connect to meet with a graduate student and get some work out done — horses are resting but I need to stay in shape because HOTR is almost upon us. So, Anne-Marie was at the board meeting Friday from 8p-11p YOWZA! she stayed until the bitter end… the topics at hand were the above. It was contentious and the motion about AERC and FEI was tabled until Sunday morning. Until the study on the actual fatalities and fractures is done and everyone has read the report to inform the decision. The motion about the package of rules was sent back to committee- amidst much teeth gnashing by the committee from whence it came.

Saturday March 7th UP at 5:30a— ( 2:30a our time UGH!)we dined en suite with a lovely breakfast of egss and sausages and coffee and toast with peanut butter and jam and coffee and hit the Hot Topics seminar–FEI and AERC and USEF–> with the board members and interested attendees which numbers about everyone with few exceptions. Hot Topic was the tabled motion– refereed by John Parke— excellent moderator who asks really great questions! Such as * is there anyone who really thinks we should step away from FEI and stop co-sanctioning rides?*
Lots of people with lotsa miles spoke in favor of many things 🙂 Turns out that the fact that AERC is listening and responding has resonated with FEI which USEF appreciates because AERC is seen as the endurance *arm* of USEF and AERC’s voice is important as the endurance part of horse performance and competition here and respected worldwide.

FEI has already started making changes for the good of the horse– yes, there are problems with current rule enforcement but there is a committee committed to this and changes are being made. FEI has amde changes in the past that has profoundly affected the welfare of the horse– it is important to remember our history here; FEI enacted rules that stopped a country’s practice of *the horse only has to live 24 hours after the finish of the race to qualify for completion*. We do need to support FEI and work together with FEI and USEF. Yes, it is possible FEI says AERC is *too tough* with our rules and they might be more OK with AERC leaving than staying because AERC is annoying with all of the *welfare of the horse* stuff we are insisting on. It seems there is also a timeline, short and long for FEI to enforce the rules and agreeably our AERC-International committee will monitor and report on progress so that is how it should be, yes? There were requests for the fatalities and fractures data and that should be forthcoming soon, maybe even tomorrow morning? Very interesting and ongoing discussion shall ensue, I am sure– if you are reading this you are encouraged to read the motion in its’ entirety so you know what it says. The motion came out of a committee, it is not anyone’s motion it comes from committee.

—–discuss? yeah…..

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