Friday, January 10, 2014

In which there are LOTS of reasons to come to our Convention this year

What does $40 get you these days?

Well, on January 24-26, $40 gets you into the PNER Convention, 
held this year at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel.

But what does that mean?  Why would you want to go to a convention instead of saving that money for ride fees?

Lemme tell ya:  convention will set you (and your pony) up for success this season.  

Here's how:

There is a full roster of speakers scheduled for the weekend, with topics ranging from Endurance 101

TWO Endurance 101 clinics are scheduled:  Friday afternoon and Saturday morning!

to GPS teaching sessions, feed management for competition horses, yoga for riders, a lameness diagnosis clinic, and a question/answer panel with expert endurance riders.

I don't know about you, but there's PLENTY of room in my brain for more information about being a better endurance rider, and these programs can put that information in there!

The convention vendor area can help you equip your horse (and yourself) from ears to tail.

In addition to the not-to-be-missed used tack sale, you'll see a wide variety of new biothane, nylon and rope tack, 

You won't want to miss out on browsing the American Trail Gear booth

hoofboots, horse feed, and saddles,

plus portable corrals, breeches and raingear for riders, and even some pretty bling just for fun!

"Ooooh, look at the shiny stuff!  Hang it in your truck and give yourself a smile."

If you haven't gotten a copy of Endurance 101 yet (or you need another copy to give to a friend or a new recruit), we'll have copies for sale--and no extra charge to get it autographed!

Endurance 101 will be sold in the vendor area, with NO shipping and NO tax!

If you want to know more about the recent AERC/FEI kerfuffle (which Funder explained pretty well in a post HERE), and want to know how the proposed motion would affect local riders, you'll want to attend the General Meeting on Saturday.

If you want to get involved in endurance leadership locally, or just see how business gets done,

Board meetings are rarely exciting...but one never knows....

there's a meeting of the 2013 Board on Friday evening, and a meeting of the 2014 Board on Sunday morning.  All PNER members are welcome to attend the meetings.

 Or, if you'd rather just meet up with friends, that's good too.

There's plenty of time to say "hi" to people at convention--and it's so much easier to talk when neither of you is hauling on a horse's leadrope or trying to get buckets filled, like always seems to happen in camp!

Hanging out with friends.  It's what we love to do.

There are several meetups for the PNER Green Beans planned, so if you're afraid you don't know anybody, come to those--they are sure to be fun!

Finally, if you don't mind spending another $15, there's the Saturday evening banquet, where 2013 awards are given, and fun is had by all.

We traditionally dress up in thrift shop finery, 

The Usual Suspects are especially beautiful

and there is plenty of silliness and fun for everyone.

Banquet foolishness--looks like fun!
So, what are you waiting for?

Invest in yourself and your pony and your next ride season!

Go to the PNER website and sign yourself up for a weekend of fun and education.

I'll see y'all in Portland!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In which it's not easy being green, but this year it might be more fun!

For years, AERC (the national organization of endurance riders) and PNER (the Pacific Northwest regional organization) has been moaning about dropping enrollment, worrying about seeing fewer participants at rides, and generally fretting that we aren't attracting and retaining more new members.

Whatever shall we do?  said the various Boards and organizing groups.  When new riders show up, all they know is that Hidalgo movie, plus whatever some yabbo at the feed store told them.  New riders are ignorant and dangerous and scary--and we want them to be happy and knowledgeable and bring properly trained and conditioned horses to camp. 

I waited twelve years for somebody to write a book about endurance. Websites are great, but when I was starting, there wasn't a way to consult the internet while packing the horse trailer.  And besides, I'd rather read a book than go hunting through vast stacks of advice (good and bad) from Facebook pages or the old Ridecamp archives.

When the editor of Endurance News suggested that I write "the book," I was flabbergasted.

Then, I wrote it.

So, that was a good thing.

But lately in the Pacific Northwest, there's another thing.

A new thing.

A good thing.

A group of riders that self-identifies as newcomers to the sport.

They don't worry too much about if LD is "really" endurance.  They don't diss the tack choices, the breed choices, or the clothing choices of each other.  They just want to get out there with a horse and try.  They are bringing other new riders into the sport, and encouraging each other to try new stuff.

I like the attitude.  I like it a lot.

They call themselves the GREEN BEANS, and they've got a Facebook discussion and support group to help each other.

The Beans invite experienced riders to participate as mentors (online and on-the-ground).  They cheer for each other, and they help new riders feel less alone.  Via the FB page, members organize training rides and match up green beans with local mentors.

Green Beans often ask for advice on a specific topic or situations, and they offer each other their own common sense solutions.  Some Beans are proficient in other equestrian sports but newcomers to endurance.  Others are endurance riders with thousands of miles who are bringing in a new horse.  Still others are brand-new to equestrian life entirely.

The discussions are kind and supportive, informative and helpful.

They post photos of themselves and each other.

They've even created a Distance Derby for themselves to encourage more time in the saddle.

All are welcome, even riders who aren't in the Pacific Northwest (but if you're outside the area, maybe consider starting a Green Bean group in your own region instead?)  Here's the link to the PNER Green Bean Facebook page.

And at the PNER Convention at the end of the month, the Green Beans are planning a bunch of get-togethers.  You just know it's going to be fun.

I'll be there.  Maybe you too?