To Finish Is To Win

American Endurance
Ride Conference

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Breed Awards Offered for Endurance Riding

All breeds of equines are welcome at AERC rides, and several organizations offer special awards to endurance horses. Below are the breed associations that typically offer specific awards as well as those with distance programs. Please contact the individual organization for further information by clicking on the breed association name. 

These awards are given by the breed associations, not the American Endurance Ride Conference, and are subject to change without notice. (Note: Many associations will be giving reduced or no awards for 2020; watch for 2021 season updates.) 


Breed Association Awards for AERC Rides


Akhal-Teke Association of America 

The Akhal-Teke/Akhal-Teke sport horse with the highest points earned in both limited distance and endurance will be awarded the ATAA bred award at the AERC convention. ATAA will provide an embroidered fleece cooler for each category. The Akhal-Teke/Akhal-Teke Sport horse must be registered with the ATAA and both member and horse must be current ATAA members to qualify for the award.

Al Khamsa 

Al Khamsa, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization of enthusiasts devoted to preserving the horse of Bedouin Arabia. Each year Al Khamsa sponsors an award (a plaque) for the AERC high-mileage Al Khamsa Arabian horse, presented annually at the AERC National Convention.

American Connemara Pony Society Association 

The American Morgan Horse Association's (AMHA) High Point Awards recognize the high mileage (combined endurance and limited distance) full- and half-Connemara pony. Ribbons will be awarded to the owners of the ponies who earn this award.

American Morgan Horse Association 

The American Morgan Horse Association's (AMHA) awards recognize the highest mileage endurance and limited distance Morgans in AERC competitions. The horse must be competed under its registered name; must have proof of registration with the AMHA or Canadian Morgan Horse Association, and both the owner and rider must be AMHA members. A saddle pad is being awarded to the two 2021 winning Morgans.


American Mule Association 

The American Mule Association is sponsoring an award to the mule with the highest endurance mileage in one season. This award is in remembrance of Marirose Six, a Mountain region member who ran Marirose's Mule School (and Horses Too) and competed on many mules, most notably Lucky Six Nellie. The recipient will be the mule and rider team with the highest endurance (50 or more mile rides) mileage for the season. In case of a tie the award will go to the team with the most 100 mile completions in the season. This award is open to any mule and rider team. An engraved plaque will be given at the AERC convention national awards banquet.


American Saddlebred Registry

This award will reward riders of Saddlebred and Half-Saddlebred horses who have registered with the American Saddlebred Registry; riders must be members in good standing of VERSA but need not be members of ASHA. Awards are based on mileage of the rider; riders may accumulate mileage on one or more horses, and in multiple categories. AERC endurance and LD miles count toward the award. Riders are responsible for sending their mileage to the VERSA program administrator. Prizes: embroidered coolers.

* High Mileage, Limited Distance, by a registered Saddlebred

* High Mileage, Limited Distance, by a registered Half-Saddlebred

* High Mileage, Endurance Distance, by a registered Saddlebred

* High Mileage, Endurance Distance, by a registered Half-Saddlebred


Appaloosa Horse Club 

The Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) offers several distance programs. Each year the High-Mileage Endurance Appaloosa Award is presented to the horse completing the highest number of miles in approved open endurance rides within a ride year. The High-Mileage Appaloosa of the Year Award goes to the horse with the highest combined endurance and competitive rides in a ride year. A Medallion is given to Appaloosas with 350 miles of 50-mile endurance rides during the ride year (December 1-November 30).  Fee for distance program participation is $25 (lifetime) per horse.

The ApHC sponsors a national championship endurance ride at various locations around the country. 

In addition, ApHC also has a distance program for current ApHC members. These lifetime awards, given since 1972, recognize horse completing endurance rides and/or LD rides with a Register of Merit award after 250 miles and a Superior Event Award after 500 miles.Those horses reaching 1,000 miles are eligible for the 1,000 Mile Award.


Arabian Horse Association 

The Arabian Horse Association offers several incentive programs and distance programs:

* Endurance High Point Program Awards, given for the 100-mile and 50-99-mile horses for registered Arabian and half-Arabian horses. (Individuals interested in the 50-99 mile category must submit an AHA Endurance Horse High-Point Middle Distance Award application form to AHA. Award presented at the AERC convention.

* Distance Horse of the Year Award, which recognizes significant accomplishments of a registered Arabian, Half-Arabian or Anglo-Arabian in distance sports. Awarded at convention.

* Amateur Achievement awards program, modeled after their popular Achievement Awards program which tracks a horse’s performance, the amateur program assigns points to individual riders. Available for youth and adults. 

* Distance Horse Awards recognize completed miles in AERC competitions (awards plaques and mileage markers).

* Competitive Distance Program, with a multi-level prize and award system.

* Frequent Rider Program for recording training hours.


Icelandic Distance Riders of North America 

When this group was formed in 2018 there were 20 members and only two riders actively competing in AERC rides. In 2022, the group has 327 members, with 20 actively competing in distance riding. Honors go to the high mileage endurance and high mileage Icelandic competing in AERC competitions. Awards may vary; in 2021 a ball cap and ribbon are the top awards.


The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program

The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) will honor the High Mileage Endurance Thoroughbred and High Mileage Limited Distance Thoroughbred. Honorees will receive a Ribbon and T.I.P. logo bag. The Thoroughbred horse must be registered with The Jockey Club or a foreign Thoroughbred stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and all horses should have a T.I.P. Number to assist with proof of eligibility. Thoroughbreds competing in AERC are also eligible for The Jockey Club's Performance Awards and Recreational Riding Incentive Program. Click on links for more information on these programs. 


Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association 

To support the efforts of AERC and recognize the registered Missouri Fox Trotting horses competing in AERC events, the MFTHBA will award the top five high-mileage horses in both endurance and limited distance each year. The competition year begins December 1 and will run through November.

To be eligible for year-end Missouri Fox Trotting Horse awards, horses must be registered with the MFTHBA; and the horse’s owner(s) must be members in good standing of the MFTHBA and AERC during the competition year the miles are earned. Awards are based on mileage of the horse. Horses may accumulate mileage in multiple categories. AERC endurance and limited distance (LD) miles count toward the award. Ties will be broken using completion percentage for the year.

Prize will be a custom jacket with MFTHBA and AERC logo. The award will go to the owner of the horse and will be presented at AERC's annual national awards banquet.


Mustang Heritage Foundation

The Mustang Heritage Foundation sponsors three awards for BLM Mustangs ridden by AERC members:

* High Mileage BLM Equine in Endurance. Given to the highest mileage horse and rider team (minimum 150 endurance miles). AERC rides 50 miles or longer count toward this award.

* High Mileage BLM Equine in Limited Distance. Given to the highest mileage horse and rider team (minimum 100 limited distance miles). AERC rides of 25 to 35 miles count toward this award.

To be eligible for the Mustang Heritage Foundation award, riders must be current AERC members and the horse must be a BLM Mustang registered with AERC. Belt buckles will be given to the winning riders. Awards will be presented at the annual AERC convention. 


North American Shagya-Arabian Society 

In order to celebrate the outstanding achievements of horses with Shagya-Arabian blood, the North American Shagya-Arabian Society (NASS) has created the Radautzer Award for NASS-registered horses, owned by NASS members in good standing, competing in AERC rides.

Named after the horses from the famous Austrian military stud farm of Radautz (located in present-day Romania) a horse with exceptional courage and stamina in Europe received the highest praise if described as “tough as a Radautzer.”

Riders can find nomination forms and more details about the Radautzer Award scoring system at


Paso Fino Horse Association 

The Paso Fino Horse Association awards the PFHA/AERC High Mileage Rider Award, which recognizes the rider with the most combined LD and endurance miles each season. Riders may compete on any number of Paso Fino horses and must be AERC and PFHA members; all horses must be AERC- and PFHA-registered to be included.

PFHA also offers a pointed LD/Distance program wherein a horse may be awarded points for each ride which will be applied toward that horse’s PFHA Endurance Horse of the Year Award and the various PFHA Society of Merit Awards. Those riders not wishing to apply for points may count the hours ridden on each ride in their log for the PFHA Pasos for Pleasure Award Program.


Rocky Mountain Horse Association 

Dedicated to promoting and protecting the Rocky Mountain Horse, an American heritage breed, the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Horse Association is sponsoring an award for high mileage RMHA members with registered/certified Rocky Mountain Horses. The highest mileage (combined endurance and LD) will receive a trophy, and the second and third place RMHA horses will earn ribbons.

In addition, the RMHA has a Trail Mileage Program which rewards their members for miles spent in the saddle riding RMHA registered and certified horses, both annual and with lifetime awards. Riders must enroll annually. RMHA also offers a Versatility Program for their members who participate in a variety of disciplines, with annual and lifetime awards (annual registration required).


Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association 

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association offers LD and endurance programs. Points and miles are tracked and tabulated by AERC and three awards are presented annually at the AERC convention: High Mileage Limited Distance, High Mileage Endurance and High Point Endurance. 

To be eligible for these awards, participating horses must be registered Tennessee Walking Horses and the owners and riders of those horses must be current TWHBEA members. For more information contact Kristen Stegall at 931-359-0592 or visit the TWHBEA website.


U.S. Mangalarga Marchador Association (North America) 

The USMMA offers awards, prizes and cash incentives to members competing in various disciplines. In endurance, the association sponsors three awards for Mangalarga Marchadors registered with the USMMA to their members using the AERC recorded statistics to determine entries and mileage:

High Mileage in Endurance. Given to the highest mileage horse. AERC rides 50 miles or longer count toward this award.

High Mileage in Limited Distance. Given to the highest mileage horse and rider team. AERC rides of 25 to 35 miles count toward this award.

Overall High Mileage. Given to the highest mileage horse (unlimited number of riders) each season. Both LD and endurance miles count toward this award.

To be eligible for the USMMA awards, riders must be current AERC and USMMA members and the horse must be a USMMA registered Mangalarga Marchador. Contact USMMA if you have any questions.


United States Trotting Association 

The USTA’s Standardbred Equine Program has teamed up with AERC to present the Standardbred Endurance Award, to be awarded to the Standardbred that has the most miles ridden during the season. Both limited distance and endurance rides will be considered.

Since 1996, the Standardbred Equine Program has worked with off-the-track Standardbreds and their owners to educate the general public on the many disciplines at which Standardbreds excel once they are retired from racing.


Distance Riding Awards

American Paint Horse Association 

The American Paint Horse Association’s Ride America program rewards Paint Horse riders for the time spent in the saddle. Fourteen achievement levels, from 100 to 10,000 hours, earn you patches, certificates of achievement, and discounts on Ride America awards including clothing, tack and trail riding accessories.


American Quarter Horse Association 

The American Quarter Horse Association offers a horseback riding program, which rewards AQHA members for the time spent in the sadde riding AQHA-registered horses. After paying a one-time enrollment fee each year, members log hours spent in the saddle, turning in the log sheet before December 31 each year and are awarded prizes based on their hours riding.

American Saddlebred Registry 

The American Saddlebred Registry (ASR) and Half-Saddlebred Registry (HSRA) offer the ASHA Sport Horse Incentive Program. Horses registered with ASR or HSRA competing in international competitions, including endurance, are eligible for $15,000 in prize money based on their participation and performance. 

Based on scores submitted, horses will earn points in each discipline, which will determine their eligibility for prize money. Points can be earned at all levels of USEF- or FEI-recognized competitions.

To be eligible, horses must be ASR or HSRA registered, and must be nominated annually for a fee of $150 for the horse incentive program. 


Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America, Inc.

The Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America, Inc., has an annual Performance Award for registered Cleveland Bay horses (1/8 minimum) competing in distance events. An annual registration fee is required and at least one owner must be a member in good standing of the CBHSNA. This award is based on mileage completed, and includes endurance, LD, intro rides and competitive trail rides. For information, visit CBHSNA Performance Award info.


Foundation Appaloosa Horse Registry

The Foundation Appaloosa Horse Registry (FAHR) is dedicated to the protection, preservation, perpetuation and promotion of the true bloodlines of the Appaloosa horse. Horses registered with FAHR represent some of the purest Appaloosa horses to be found, as they must prove at least 75% Appaloosa blood within a five-generation pedigree.

FAHR offers both annual and lifetime distance awards, including the Nez Perce honor given to FAHR-registered horses who complete at least 400 endurance miles in a season, with bonus mileage given for best condition awards. The Buffalo Runner Horse goes to those completing 1,000 miles and the War Horse award is given after 2,500 miles.

The organization's Saddle Log program presents chevron bars for completion of mileage milestones for training and competition miles.


Friends of Sound Horses, Inc.

The Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) is a unique, all-volunteer organization committed to supporting the welfare of the whole horse. This means protecting the animal’s emotional, mental and physical well-being.

Visit FOSH's Gaited Distance Program page to find out more about this program, which recognizes the achievements of gaited horses who compete in veterinarian-supervised distance rides. All owners and riders of horses must be current members of FOSH for miles to be accumulated and count toward the year end awards. The horse must be enrolled in the FOSH Gaited Distance Program and all fees current.


Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association 

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association has a Trail Rider's Club. Riders earn KMSHA hats, t-shirts, halters and more.


National Spotted Saddle Horse Association 

The National Spotted Saddle Horse Association trail riding program honors hours spent riding NSSHA-registered horses on the trail.

Updated 1/31/22