Thursday, June 9, 2016

In which AERC has made a mistake, and voices are needed

All y'all, I saw a notice on Facebook this morning that shocked me:  

Dennis Summers was handed a 1-year suspension for "unsportsmanlike conduct" by 
the AERC Protest and Grievance Committee.


What?

I mean, WHAT???!!!

Dennis Summers at Renegade Rz 2015, helping Hana work out
a butt cramp. Dennis and Sue finished the ride in 7.5 hours (it was HOT!)
 and after their horses were settled in camp, they came up to the vet check to help
ride management and incoming riders.

I'm not going to pretend to be neutral and unbiased.  I know too many fine things about the Summers to be impartial, and I feel much too strongly to remain silent.

In fact, I am going to post my entire open letter to the AERC Board (it's down below). 

This is a timely issue, with only 30 days for an appeal to be submitted, so rather than wait for the next issue of Endurance News to be mailed,  I will post the entire text of the findings of the Protest and Grievance committee on this blog in the next few days.  Please stay tuned.

 If you want to write your own letter, the email addresses for the BOD are on THIS PAGE.

Thanks.

--Aarene

Here's my letter:

To the AERC Board of Directors and all other AERC members,

To say that I am appalled by the findings of the Protest and Grievance committee against Dennis and Sue Summers is to understate the situation by 50 miles or more.

Since I first joined AERC in 1999, it has been obvious to me that the Summers exemplify the ideals of endurance riding:  they ride fast, they ride far, they ride safely. They take care of their horses and they campaign the same horses for many years--Sue has THREE decade horses! 

They mentor other riders and they assist wherever and whenever they are able.  They have managed rides and they help ride managers of other rides.  They showed up three days early to a ride in 2011 so they could provide photo model horses and riders for my book Endurance 101.  

All of this was done without pay or expectation of recognition. They are people, and people sometimes make mistakes.  But these people have made enormous efforts over many years to make our sport better, cleaner, safer for horses and more fun for riders.  

With this decision, AERC has chosen to chuck out not only the baby and the bathwater, but also the tub and all the plumbing as well.  

We need more riders like the Summers.  We need to recognize and celebrate their contributions, not censure them.  

Banning the Summers from rides for an entire year is a tremendously unwarranted over-reaction to the situation,  I urge you to seriously consider their appeal to this finding, and reverse the decision. 

Sincerely,

Aarene Storms
M19872

Dennis and Sue Summers, re-marking sabotaged trail at April Daze 2015
They also ran big stretches of the trail on foot to fix trail markings in
places not accessible to the quad.


5 comments:

  1. Hi Aarene, I know the AERC isn't going to ban someone for a yelling match. The most that would happen in a yelling match is a DQ. But a ban would indicate that something extraordinarily terrible occurred. I would encourage you -- and everyone else reading this -- to seek out the truth of what actually happened instead of reacting to sensationalistic reactions. Yes, they've done a lot for the sport, but that doesn't give someone the right to cause another person physical harm. Perhaps the judgement was justified? Why don't we ask the question instead of jumping to a conclusion that somehow AERC made a bad decision?

    -- David

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this awesome post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would love for you to post the entire text of the findings of the Protest and Grievance commitee here, there and everywhere. That would shed a lot of light on the entire situation and on the ruling of the committee.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This does not sound good. To ban anyone from rides morale busting. There is a similar situation where I live, and far from solving anything it creates more hard feelings and polarizes the members.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I rode with Dennis and Susan in the 80's and 90's and went to their rides great people. With the declining numbers of endurance riders these days it is impossible to understand why the AERC would censure them for a year.

    ReplyDelete

To err is human. To be anonymous is not.