Biltmore Equestrian Center logo

2018 AERC National Championship

and associated AERC Open Rides

for the benefit of


September 20-22, 2018

Remembering Anne Ayala, Oct 16, 1940 - Dec 27, 2012:  AERC has passed the motion to name the AERC Junior scholarship for Anne Ayala.  In the future it will be called the Anne Ayala Young Rider Scholarship.  Please send contributions for for this very worthy cause in Anne's name to AERC (PO Box 6027, Auburn, CA  95604)!


Based assessing the ride site, any Monday arrivals would be best if postponed to Tuesday morning, then we are a ‘go’. Site will be overall laid out by late today. Park between flags — they will be set 30 feet apart, so generally spacious enough for all your horse and camping needs. We will have a team to help park starting Tuesday afternoon. At most one ‘saved’ space for a present rig. 

We always have tractors available, but all should be ok if y'all are reasonably careful.

We have no fuel shortages locally.

I understand a number of riders — especially those driving or being driven (ie everyone) are concerned about aftermath of Florence and its impact on interstates and fuel supplies.

I-26 east to I-95 and west as far as you care to go is fine. I-95 from Florida to I-26 is wide open.
I-81 is clear north and south.
I-40 is clear from Raleigh west
I-85, I-75 all clear towards our part of the world from north to Richmond etc.
Routes from New York City; Richmond, Virginia; Nashville, TN; Jacksonville, FL; Chatanooga, TN — all are clear and open.

We know the eastern part of NC is a mess on I-95 RIGHT NOW. But by Tuesday, even parts of that are likely to be OK.

Fuel should be fine by Tuesday, I would imagine, but you might want to verify on your preferred routes.

Over the weekend, we saw cherry-picker trucks and other utility trucks sheltering in this area from all over the Carolina (look for Sumter, SC on a map — we had their trucks). They are out doing their jobs. They will attend to the main arteries first. Since the Interstates (except I-95) look good, this will be the US highways and state highways.

On trails, teams are out today to clear and check — we had almost no wind, and relatively little rain. One of the joys of Biltmore is they take this seriously. By Thursday, the 50 and 25 mile trails will be fine, by Saturday the 100 mile trails will be fine. We have pre-riders starting out tomorrow.

The trails are designed so one distance does not use any sensitive (ie ruinable) trails for another distance. Good footing is re-used. Look at the trail maps to get a good look at that — a serious design consideration as we were putting this together that caught us a couple of years ago in May, so we re-designed.

And the weather forecast is 80s daily high, 60s daily low — drying conditions! And we are loamy soil, not clay. Loam drys a lot faster.

As said earlier — don’t come early, but come, we have the welcome mat out, and it is looking pretty nice!


Sept 20-22, 2018: All rides recognized / sanctioned by AERC, SERA, SEDRA:



==> Thursday, Sept 20: AERC National Championship 50 mile ride -- qualifications required; PLUS an open 50 mile ride

==> Friday, Sept 21: AERC Limited Distance (25 mile) -- open ride

==> Saturday, Sept 22: AERC National Championship 100 mile ride -- qualifications required; PLUS an open 100 mile ride.  100 mile ride sponsored by Bryan Easler Toyota

championship logo


In 2018, the Biltmore Equestrian Center, located on the grounds of George Vanderbilt’s historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, will host the AERC National Championship. The Championship will have a twist on what has been the recent Championship format, from September 20 through 22, 2018:

==> Thursday, 20 Sept: 50-mile Championship PLUS an open 50-mile ride
==> Friday, 21 Sept: 25-mile open ride
==> Saturday, 22 Sept: 100-mile Championship sponsored by Bryan Easler Toyota; PLUS an open 100-mile ride

The twist is that AERC has passed a new control for the Championship event that allows for having OPEN  AERC rides in conjunction with the Championship 50 and 100 in a desire to make the event more available to all to come celebrate the nation's premiere horses and riders.

How this will work: these are separate rides, but the same distance will have the same start time and run the same course. So Championship riders will be in the Championship ride. Open AERC riders will be in the Open ride. Placings will be acquired in the respective ride. So, for example, riders A, B, C, and D are all in the Championship 100. And riders W, X, Y, and Z are all in the Open 100. They all start Saturday morning at 6:30 am. Their order across the finish line is X, C, A, Y, D, Z, W, and B. For the Open ride, the finishing order is: X, Y, Z, W. For the Championship, the finishing order is C, A, D, B. Points for AERC are accumulated per AERC rules in each event separately.

However -- for teams!!! Regional teams are only in the Championship. OPEN teams and AERC SPIRIT teams can be hybrids, and include riders from either the Championship, the Open ride, or both.

The whole event will be a benefit for Hope for Horses, the local equine rescue resource, a not-for-profit, 501C3 entity (donations are tax-deductible).

General Conditions:  Built in 1895, the Estate trails promise a challenging ride along the French Broad River and over rolling hills and low mountains.  We recommend that all horses have hoof protection, and in the 75 and 100 mile distances, think about padding.  Breast collars/cruppers may be helpful.  Each loop will circle back to a central vetting area adjacent to the main camping area.  Weather is somewhat unpredictable in mid-September, but it is usually moderately humid with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s.

Controlled Entry to Biltmore Estate.  As part of the need for security on the Estate, and to provide a more official mode of access for attendees to the Estate grounds, names are provided for a list used by the front gate guards for initial entry (the "Gate List").  Subsequent re-entry will be via wristbands available at the ride site.  Entry for one named crew member is covered as part of the ride entry fees.   On the Estate, including at the ride site, colored wristbands will be required to be worn as visible proof of permission.
Additional entry permits may be purchased for each additional named crew members for $30 each. 
Note:  children 16 and under are free, but must still have their names on the "Gate List" and wear the wristbands.

Note: while being on the gate list gets into the grounds, it does not include the House. However, the grounds have many opportunities beyond the outstanding equestrian facilities. For example, during the ride period, the Estate has a Chihuly exhibit which will be well worth taking in! The photo below was from the Chihuly exhibit taken in June.

chihyly walled garden



Mountain Farrier Service, Jeff Pauley owner, will be one of the two ride farriers.   Matt Koch will be the other. They will be on the grounds during the rides Thursday, Friday and until 6-7 pm  Saturday.  To make an appointment in advance, please call Jeff at 828 712 2343 or Matt at 859 619 4280.

Human Body Therapy:
Nancy MacDonald will be the human massage therapist on the grounds. Nancy is a certified neuromuscular therapist, licensed massage and bodywork therapist, nationally certified therapeutic massage and bodywork therapist.  To make an appointment with Nancy, call her at 828 225 5022 or email her at

Horse Body Therapy:
Michelle Blankenship will be the equine body worker on the grounds. She is an ESMT. To make an appointment with Michelle, call her at  828 455 7899 or email her at

AERC Championship Ride Information Summary is here

Note:  Most photographs for the web site have been generously contributed by Genie Stewart-Spears and Becky Pearman




Qualifications for the National Championship Rides:

All entries must meet AERC qualification criteria:

    1. All entrants must be current full members of AERC
    2. All riders must ride in the declared weight division
    3. Riders will be eligible to participate in this event by qualifying under the AERC-NC criteria defined as follows:


      A. 50-mile ride:

      300 lifetime AERC miles (horse) AND 300 lifetime AERC miles (rider) with at least 100 miles together. The mileage requirements must be met with endurance competitions of 50 miles or more only – no limited distance miles count towards qualification criteria.

      B. 100-mile ride:

      i. Generic qualification criteria:  500 lifetime AERC miles (horse) AND 500 AERC lifetime miles (rider) with at least one 100 mile, one day ride together. The mileage requirements must be met with AERC endurance competitions of 50 miles or more – no limited distance miles count towards qualification criteria.

      ii. Alternative qualifications for 100 mile ride:

         a.  Horse/rider as a  team have completed 1,000 AERC endurance miles together (rides of 50 miles or more only)

         b.  Horse and rider being ranked as a team in the overall top 10 of their AERC region in the year preceding the National Championship Ride they are entering

      Only eligible members under the AERC NC qualifications will be able to ride at this RIDE with the exception of riders who are designated to sponsor qualified junior entrants. This sponsoring rider will receive career lifetime mileage only for the unqualified horse and sponsoring rider so will not affect the overall placement standings for the RIDE.  The RM may choose to allow several unqualified riders to enter as eligible sponsors for riders whose sponsors may be pulled during the ride. These unqualified riders will be reported in the results as lifetime mileage only.

      To view your Ride History, click here or phone the AERC office, 866-271-2372.




©2017 PCC