In which we attend the annual convention and get some good loot

"The primary purpose of the annual convention of the Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides, held this year in Portland Oregon, is education." --Bev Ryan, immediate past-prez, PNER.

Uh-huh. Right. Whatever you say, Bev.

Sure, there are some great clinics, and some excellent learning opportunities for members of the organization. But learning isn't the primary reason that most of us show up at the convention.

We go there to shop.
Used tack, new tack, horse equipment, corral panels, and even some beautiful artwork created by my talented friend Sky -- you can shop for just about anything related to horses and riders at the PNER convention. It's a challenge for me to stay in budget at this event, but I managed. Well, mostly.You do have to try stuff on to make sure it fits, Sky, but I'm pretty sure that those items are supposed to go on Cricket's head, not yours.
PNER is the regional organization of endurance riders, vets, and ride managers for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Western Montana, and British Columbia.

Once each year we hose the mud and dust off of ourselves and spend a weekend in some city hotel, talking, drinking, dancing, shopping, and catching up on all the news as we gear up for the next season of endurance rides. Some of us clean up surprisingly well.Ashley is my very first grandjunior. I sponsored her mom when Tiffany was a junior rider. Kids must ride with adult sponsors, supposedly for the safety of the kid....ha! Let me tell you about the hundreds of times my kids kept me from wandering off trail...! Ash's dad Andy was always an awesome crew for Tiffany and me. Ashly told me proudly that she has already fallen off of Holly (grandma's horse) and Deuce (mom's horse) but she doesn't fall off of her own horse. And she always wears a helmet.
I can't believe that my grandjunior will be three years old next month--where does the time go?

There were events other than marathon shopping and extreme gossiping, actually. The new PNER website was unveiled at last.
The webmistress is still finalizing some of the pages, but overall it looks really great. I really love the new northwest region TrailMasters page, which features some photos of a few very familiar people!
A new event, which I hope will become an annual tradition, is the Remembrance Wall, where folks can post photos and memories of endurance friends who have gone on ahead. I was also allowed to offer a toast during the festivities to "absent friends." I think it's important to remember our friends.
Jim and I are pretty active in the organization, and we ended up spending a lot of time in planning sessions and meetings.
Paul is the new president, and he has asked me to continue as PNER secretary, chair of the scholarship committee, and Junior Advisor. Whew.
It sounds more complicated than it is--mostly, I have to show up and take notes. I can do that.

As head of the PNER Education Committee and also as resident Tech Geek, Jim kept busy during the weekend.... ...but he still found time to query the banquet chef about the particulars of the beef Marsala sauce. Take notes, Jim! I think you'll want to practice that recipe on me!

Lori Walker hosted the awards banquet, and shared some ridecamp wisdom and funny stories about endurance riding.
Oso is usually present at endurance events to assist with comic relief. Mimsy is terrified of this dog. Luna thinks he must be a very odd cat. Oso thinks that the shelties are too dumb to hang out with, but he will chase around under the tables with them sometimes.
Oh, and hey! Did I mention that the shopping was really great at this convention? Look at all the loot: Those purple saddle bags are too big for endurance, but they will be perfect for the backcountry trips this summer. I almost never find used easyboots big enough for Fiddle, but this one was only $2! It's pretty banged up, but it will be fine as a "spare tire." The little string girth is for Hana, and the sweater was only $10!!! Total score.
But here is the best loot:
Raffle prizes! We always allocate $20 per person for raffle tickets. I don't mind donating $20 to the organization, and truthfully, we almost always win stuff worth more than the price of the tickets. One year I won a heartrate monitor and Jim won a horse blanket (a big purple horse blanket...of course it goes on my horse. He made me beg for two days before he gave it to me, though).

The big prizes we got this year included a free ride entry to a new ride in Washington State, a handmade cup holder, and an Easyboot Glove.
Now: let the ride season begin!


  1. That sounds like so much fun! And everybody looks remarkably normal in "real" clothes ;) ~C says I must go to the convention in Reno, and I'm looking forward to it. (Kind of nervous, too - a huge crowd of strangers!)

    What's the purple beaded thing in the raffle loot?

  2. Oooooh, Funder! Yes, you must go to the AERC convention since you live so close! It's a great opportunity to learn cough shop! Also, reading the Endurance News and Ridecamp made a lot more sense after I met some of the major players.

    Plus, it's really fun.

    The purple thing is called "speed beads" if you are a barrel racer. They are just for pretty. I've also heard people call them "rhythm beads", which makes more sense for a trotting horse!

  3. That does sound like fun. I get so overwhelmed in places like that. I was gaga at the World Appaloosa Horse Show, but managed to escape with nothing but a WAHS tee shirt. Whew!

  4. i'd love some rhythm beads, some designs are just wonderful! but i am afraid they might drive me crazy.

    or, i'm afraid they look ridiculous hung around a horse's neck who has a breastcollar on already.

    so tell me what you think of them. already use bear bells at times, so you probably don't mind the noise.


  5. Rhythm beads: Story was the first horse I put bells on, for a parade. She figured out immediately how the strings of bells on her headstall worked, and walked with an extra swing to make the bells go.

    Toad didn't care one way or the other about bells.

    Fiddle likes the sound. So do I, as long as the bells are "twinkle" rather than "klank." These bells are good. I'm not sure about the look with a breastcollar--will try it out later in the week.


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