Monday, July 31, 2006

AERC National Championship Challenges Riders on the Old Dominion Trail

July 2006 Article # 7330

Endurance riders from around the country will face the test of time and terrain when they compete for national titles at the 2006 American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) National Championship in October. The championship, sponsored by Gulf Coast 4 Star Trailers, will be held October 20-22 in Fort Valley, Virginia, on the trails of the historic Old Dominion Endurance Ride. The Old Dominion, first held in 1973, is considered by many to be the most prestigious endurance competition in the eastern United States.

The 100-mile national championship will take place on October 20 and the 50-mile championship will be held on October 22. Competitors qualify for the championship by completing a minimum of 300 miles in AERC competition with their horse and earning a top-five placing in their weight division or by having 1,000 or more miles together as a team.

Riders will follow a course that is rich in both scenery and history as they climb over the beautiful Blue Ridge and Massanutten Mountains during the height of fall foliage along trails that wind through the Shenandoah National Park.

AERC President Stagg Newman of Candler, North Carolina, considers the trails to be the ultimate challenge for endurance riders.

"The 2006 AERC National Championship will combine the challenge of a tough course with awesome scenery over historic trails," said Newman, who has won the Old Dominion Endurance Ride three times. "Completing the 100 miles of tough, rocky Old Dominion trail requires the highest degree of horsemanship, which is the essence of what endurance riding is all about. It's not about speed, it's about pace and heads-up riding."

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