The 2015 AERC season ended November 30, with the new season starting December 1 and running through November 30 of next year. I did renew my 2016 membership on the 1st — historically early for me.
I have no ride season to recap, since I didn’t actually do any rides this year, save for going to Tevis to crew.
The last time this happened was the 2012 season (every other season I’ve managed to get to at least one ride)…but then that was followed by 2013, which was my best and most prolific ride season to date.
So maybe 2016 will be a good year? I think I’m about due for one of those.
I know there are people out there that go, “Why should I join AERC? I only get to a couple of rides a year, so paying the non-member day fee at those rides ends up being cheaper than a membership.”
I happen to be one of those “Join all the things!!!” type of people…I like being a part of something, and having a membership with an organization is of those validating, affirming things for me. And the fact I’m now somewhat invested with a group/sport is just that much more reason to get to rides, put the training time in, etc.
Ever since I started actively competing in the horse world (first showing with the POA club, then NATRC, then endurance), I’ve joined that organization, so by now, it’s just something I do.
AERC yearly membership is $75 (I think they might have a new member special for $65?).
Part of what membership dues pay for in AERC is mileage/points tracking for you and your horse(s). The first horse you register is included with your initial membership, and then subsequent horses can be added for a nominal fee. ($15/horse, I believe.)
If you’re just starting out in endurance and not sure it’s something that will stick, then I would say try a ride or two before joining. If you decide it’s something you want to whole-heartedly embrace, for a small fee, you can get those initial rides added to your ride record.
Membership dues also get you the yearly subscription to the ‘Endurance News’ magazine, which is full of informational articles, stories, ride results, points standings, and more.
Dues also contribute towards research (AERC is involved in a number of areas of research, everything from horse health and science to land and environmental research), trail preservation, and education.
And joining an organization is sort of like politics and voting: if you don’t participate, you have no right to complain. Don’t like the direction something may be headed? Step up and join a committee or throw your hat in the ring and nominate yourself for a directorial position so that you can influence and impact change. Even being a paying member goes back to the idea of a vested interest that shows a level of commitment and seriousness that then lends credibility to voicing an opinion or concern.
And, this is coming from the perspective of someone who, for the most part, would be better off, monetarily speaking, to just pay the day fee and have that be cheaper, since it seems like I manage 3-4 rides a year if I’m lucky. (Record best  was 6 rides.) So I’m pretty much breaking even most years, and then other years, where I’ve gotten to 1 or no rides, it is actually costing me more to join. But it’s still worth it to me.
Anyway, that’s my soapbox…so go renew…or not…but either way, here’s hoping for a great 2016 ride season for everyone!