Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Shagya and Morgan Breeds Join 2018 AHA Distance Nationals


January 15 2018

The Arabian Horse Association has added both the Performance Shagya-Arabian Registry and the American Morgan Horse Association to the Distance Horse National Championships. These organization will be joining AHA and the returning partners, the Appaloosa Horse Club and Paso Fino Horse Association in 2018!

Don’t forget along with our many National Championship Rides we also offer several Open Limited Distance, 50 Mile, and 100 Mile AERC/AHA recognized rides and an Open AHA recognized Competitive Trail Ride; these rides are open to all breeds and require no qualifications or memberships.

The Distance Nationals take place this year in Henryville, Indiana, on October 26-28. For more information, see:

N.J. Woman And her Mustang Are a Dynamic Endurance Duo

Tapinto.net - Full article

January 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Don’t underestimate the power of a diminutive woman and her diminutive horse, especially when she’s wearing “cheap and brightly colored riding tights,” her signature style. The 4’ 10” Kate Vogel, and her 14.3 mustang, Fez, won three of the New Jersey Trail Ride Association’s (NJTRA) competitive trail rides (CTR) last year — the Bunny Hop, a 25-mile ride; the New Jersey 3-Day 100 and the Jersey Devil, a two-day 50-mile ride.

They also participated in several endurance rides, where they finished in the top 10. Along the way, Vogel and Fez won the highest number of points in the Colts Neck Trail Riders Club open hunter pace division, as well as riding in parades and doing meet-and-greets for equine organizations at the Monmouth County Library. This year, the duo hopes to compete in more 3-day 100 CTRs, as well as a 75-mile endurance ride and possibly the Moonlight in Vermont ride, a 50-miler held during a full moon...

Read more here:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Cheryl Van Deusen and Eilish Connor Awarded Top Honors in Endurance


by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jan 9, 2018, 9:07 AM EST

Lexington, Ky. - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the winners of two prestigious awards in the discipline of endurance. Cheryl Van Deusen has been awarded the Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award and Eilish Connor has been awarded the Brunjes Junior/Young Rider Trophy.

The Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award is presented to the top Senior rider. This award is sponsored by Gold Medal Farm and Larry and Valerie Kanavy, in memory of Maggy Price. Price was the 1992 FEI World Endurance Championship Silver medalist and was instrumental in the development of international endurance in the U.S. The Brunjes Junior/Young Rider Trophy is presented to the top Young Rider and is awarded in memory of Kathy Brunjes. Brunjes was a successful endurance athlete and an active supporter of the Junior/Young Rider program.

Currently ranked second in the FEI’s Open Riders World Endurance Ranking, Cheryl Van Deusen (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) has demonstrated consistency and success in competition throughout her career, and 2017 was no exception. In March, Van Deusen won the CEI2* 120km with Hoover the Mover, her 13-year-old Arabian gelding, at the Fun in the Sun Endurance Ride. Hoover the Mover currently tops the list of over 6,000 horses on the FEI Open Horse World Endurance Ranking. She then secured a win in the CEI3* 160km at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada, aboard Spotless Summer Magic, her 13-year-old half-Arabian mare and third ranking horse on the 2017 FEI Open Horse World Endurance Ranking list. Another significant success came at the Lone Star Express Ride in Decatur, Texas, where Van Deusen and Precious Beaunita, her 16-year-old Arabian mare, claimed second place in the CEI3* 160km. Precious Beaunita is ranked fifth on the 2017 FEI Open Horse World Endurance Ranking list. Van Deusen ranked sixth in 2013 and second in 2015 in the FEI’s Open Riders World Endurance Ranking.

Eilish Connor (Spring, Texas) has proven to be a strong competitor throughout her time in the Young Rider division, handling the ups and downs of endurance competition with poise. In her last year as a Young Rider, Connor made the Distance Depot/U.S. Endurance Team for the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors in Italy. In her 2017 season, Connor won four CEIYJ2* 120km events aboard Darolyn Butler’s DJB Jolly Roger, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding, Butler’s Mattingley Wizard, an 11-year-old Arabian gelding, and Lisa Green’s LR Amana Tabi, a 17-year-old Arabian mare. Connor ended the season ranked in the top 50 on the FEI Young Riders World Endurance Ranking.

The 2017 Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award and the Brunjes Junior/Young Rider Trophy will be presented at the 2018 AERC Convention on Saturday, March 10, in Reno, Nev.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Important Sweepstakes Updates for Distance Nationals


The Sweepstakes Commission has decided to separate Arabians and Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabians for Sweepstakes payout at both the Regional and National level, effective January 1, 2018. They have also increased the payout to $1,500 available for Nationals, and $600 available for Regionals. Below is the payout schedule:

Distance:                                    National                      Regional
Endurance Purebred 50 Mile      $1,500                          $600
Endurance HA/AA 50 Mile        $1,500                          $600

Endurance Purebred 100 Mile    $1,500                          $600
Endurance HA/AA 100 Mile      $1,500                          $600

Competitive Trail Purebred         $1,500                          $600
Competitive Trail HA/AA           $1,500                          $600

Payback Schedule:
National:                                    $1,500
Champion                                   $400
Reserve Champion                     $300
Top Ten                                       $100

Regional:                                   $600
Champion                                   $250
Reserve Champion                     $120
Top Ten                                       $75

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Clark Dennis Palfreyman Passes Away



“He who builds no castles in the air builds no castles anywhere.” Clark Dennis Palfreyman was a builder. He built homes and commercial buildings, but also built dreams, friendships, and built up everyone he met. After a life of building, Clark passed away peacefully in his home on January 3, 2018 from complications related to being struck by a car on November 8, 2017. The family would like to thank all medical personnel who cared for Clark and for the support of family and friends throughout this time. He was born May 20, 1939 to Gene and Nola Palfreyman.

Clark learned to work on his family farm and even though the track coach said he was the fastest kid in school, he didn’t play high school sports because he had to go home and milk the cows. He was an usher in the thespian club and graduated a Red Devil from Springville High School. He attended one year at Brigham Young University where, in his own words, he “majored in fun.” He must have excelled as he was great at having fun his whole life. After buying his red convertible MGA, he re-won the heart of his high school sweetheart from a rival suitor with a Corvette and married Catherine Aldeen Cazier on October 13, 1959 in Mapleton, Utah. They were later sealed in the Manti Temple.

Clark was self-employed most of his life. He started his career as a general contractor and built over 100 homes in Springville and surrounding areas. He went on to become a real estate developer and was part owner with Monte Allman of United Exchange Realty. He built and owned Supreme Court Racquetball Club (Later changed to Feelin’ Great Racquet Club). He also sold Little Giant Ladders for a time and later in life owned and ran Clark’s Home Inspection Service. Above all he was a horse trader, a real wheeler dealer, who would buy, sell, and trade just about anything.

He loved the outdoors, especially his horses and loved to share by taking others for rides. He enjoyed riding around town, mountain pack trips, and most of all competitive endurance rides. He logged over 9,000 miles of competitive rides, including five finishes on the Tevis Cup; the Pony Express Trail from St. Joseph Missouri to Virginia City, Nevada; and the 1999 Pan American Games in Manitoba, Canada. He kept fit playing racquetball early in the morning with a large group of friends for most of his life and competed in many tournaments. He enjoyed the arts, collected many paintings and sculptures, and was friends with many local artists.

He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities including librarian, Sunday school teacher, Scout leader, and many other callings. He and Aldeen loved the people of Hope, Arkansas where they recently served a church mission. He mostly valued spending time with his family, including traveling, camping, hunting, going to sports games, having family dinner, and many other activities.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Sherry. He is survived by his wife Aldeen; six children, Bentley (Bev), Andre’ (Boni), Travis (Karla), Regan, Caleb (Emilee), Chalan (Ryan), and daughter-in-law Mena; two brothers, Robert and Derk; three sisters Noleen, Gena, and Ann; 21 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and extended family.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 11:00 am in the LDS chapel at 245 S. 600 E. in Springville. There will be a viewing held Monday evening from 6-8 pm at the same LDS chapel and also one hour prior to services.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Fire, Devastation, and Living Life to the Fullest

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
January 8 2018

'The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new’ - Socrates

It takes a very special person to suddenly lose almost everything you own, and still exude rays of sunshine, overflowing with gratitude and humor, leaving no room for any self-pity and sparing few thoughts for your own predicament.

Endurance rider Kristine Hartman is just such a person.

In the destructive wake of the Thomas Fire, which started December 4, 2017, near Ventura, and ultimately grew in to California's largest wildfire by size in recorded history (as of January 5, the fire is still burning at over 280,000 acres and 92% contained), the Hartmans lost everything except for their two endurance horses, truck and horse trailer, a 1967 VW bug, and the clothes on their backs.

From very early on the morning of December 4, things were just strange in Ventura. "It was one of those things," Kristine recalls, "where you wake up in the middle of the night and think, 'Holy cr@p, why is it so windy?' I went out to run that morning, and it was just a Different Wind. I think back to it, it was like the Devil Winds. It was eerie. I couldn't even run, the wind was so bad."

Instead, Kristine spent the morning playing with their two endurance horses, Sam and Tessie, boarding at the historic Aliso Ranch, a stable/working cattle ranch 12 miles away. With the Santa Ana winds still gusting horrendously, it was impossible to ride, so she just worked the horses a bit in the round pen and hung out with them a while.

"Mike [Kristine's husband of almost 30 years] had an early flight to San Antonio early that morning. Thank God I was home that evening, because I got a call from a ranch manager at about 8:30, asking everybody to come and just hook up their horse trailers and stay and be ready to pull out, because there was a fire in Santa Paula." That was around 13 miles from the ranch, and the winds were howling in their direction.

"There's so many times we're not home - we travel, and we're gone a lot, or I'm busy, or sometimes Mike has the truck with him at the airport. It's so good things worked out the way they did."

Kristine drove to the stables and hitched up and, with the other boarders, waited to see what might happen. "It was dark now, and you could see the glow of the fire. And in my mind I was thinking, oh how horrible that Santa Paula is on fire. Turns out that town was barely touched.

"Then all of a sudden this glow got bright, within 20 minutes. It moved FAST. They say it was burning a football field every 10 seconds. 9:06 PM was a glow, and by 9:20 we were pulling out and the fire was literally coming, and by 9:34 the flames were there."

Thanks to fast thinking ranch managers, everybody got out, all the horses were saved, and despite 7000 of their 7500 acres burning, they saved all the old buildings on the place as well.

With drivers literally watching over their shoulders as the flames approached the ranch, the caravan of trailers headed to the Ventura Fairgrounds 15 miles away, located right on the beach.

By then, Ventura had lost all power and was completely dark, and the Fairgrounds had just one generator running one light. The scene there was organized chaos. Kristine put her two horses in stalls, and spent the next hour getting them settled and fed while battling wind and dust and the smell of smoke.

"It was around 11 PM, and I finally paused and looked up towards the mountains and Ventura, and I saw the glow of fire. It was like - holy $@*#. I remember exclaiming the F word, and 'My hill's on fire.'

"And I took off running in my Mary Jane shoes for our condo."

Kristine is an ultra-runner, so running a mile and a half uphill didn't strike her as odd. Neither, at the time, did the fact that she was running toward a catastrophic, raging fire in gale force winds.

"I got to our street. It was so eerie because cars were driving down - and in the movies, you expect to hear the firemen saying 'Get out, fire!' and all that, but because it caught everybody so off guard there was nobody. No sirens, no firemen, nothing. Besides the roar of the fire and wind, there was silence. It was weird."

At this point, the fire had reached Kristine's street, but the building wasn't yet burning. Kristine ran inside her dark and smoky home, and she grabbed a computer hard drive and the keys to her 1967 Volkswagen, which was in the carport.

"I love this Bug. I couldn't believe she started, because I hadn't driven her for a while. And on a side note, I'm a major Bob Marley nut and I just love reggae. When my Bug finally started after a few tries, Bob Marley started blasting. I remember actually smiling, because he always makes me so happy, and it was almost like - it's going to be OK, because there's my reggae music."

She got the car downhill 3 blocks to a main street and parked - then she got out, and ran - back up toward her house. "I don't know why I thought I was going to be able to do anything. But I ran back to the house, which was now starting to burn, and I got up 4 steps. And that's when I felt the suck of hot air, and the palm fronds were exploding and dropping embers on me. I turned and ran back." She even took photos and a video while running. "I truly still thought everything was going to be okay, that firemen were going to show up and put out the fire, because that's what happens in the movies. I thought, 'Mike's never going to believe me how close the fire was.'" Kristine laughs about it now. "Those were my thoughts at that moment."

But now with her home burning and the fire raging just less than 2 miles from the Fairgrounds, her instinct was to get back to her horses. "So I was the crazy lady in the old VW. There were traffic jams everywhere, so I drove in the wrong lanes against traffic. I didn't care. I ran red lights, and went right back to my horses. It was all so surreal."

Kristine sat up all night in her truck, watching the fire burn the town just a few blocks away, and getting out to check on her horses, ready to take them for a swim in the Pacific Ocean if the flames or sparks reached the Fairgrounds barns. She thinks she called Mike around 1:30 AM (3:30 AM in Texas), waking and shocking him with the news of the fire and destruction.

He made it home the next night, and they lived in their horse trailer at the Fairgrounds for the next few days. Friends in Auburn offered to keep their horses, so Mike hauled them up there to get out of the smoke.

And now the hillside above what was Ventura is charcoal, and the homes on the hillside - including theirs - are nothing but rubble. "It is just so sad," Kristine laments. "The devastation is absolutely incredible. But the community of Ventura has been very, very strong. Patagonia as a company - ohmigod. I'm like a walking billboard for Patagonia [based in Ventura], because they gave us coats when they had not even yet opened for business 10 days after the fire, and they gave everything else at a wholesale discount. The manager, the VP, the employees, they literally put their arms around us. Everybody was so gracious.

"It's weird to be on the receiving end. I'm sure you've donated or volunteered. We all do that. But I never ever ever thought I would be in need. At first it was hard to accept anything. But when you find out how slow insurance is, and how we ended up being so underinsured - well that free coat was very special, and that $10 t-shirt instead of $30 t-shirt was very special."

The Hartmans were able to take a break over the Chrismas holidays visiting family. "Life was really good. Then we said bye to them, and we got sad again, because then all of a sudden it was reality again. It's not like we're down and out, but we definitely have our ups and downs because we're discombobulated, especially not knowing where we're going to lay our heads down.

"But we're going to stick it out. We're not giving up on Ventura. We love it here."

The Hartmans are hoping they'll soon be able to visit the ruins of their house, to see if anything at all is salvageable. They had downsized over the years from a 5-bedroom house where they raised their kids, to a 1000 square foot condo for just the two of them, so that everything inside was precious and irreplaceable, from dishware to furniture to mementos: their special wedding rings, her mom's wedding ring, their many years of hand-written travel journals, old photographs, her Tevis and Virginia City 100 buckles and bracelets.

"We would also love to find our special pottery pieces made by a longtime friend that were a spirit horse for Amber [Kristine's former endurance horse] that had her ashes mixed with the glaze and it was filled with Amber’s ashes. Same with the spirit dog for Velika. I swear we feel like we lost these two special girls all over again. It’s all those kind of things that cannot be replaced. Yes, simply personal and priceless treasures."

Throughout this disaster, however, Kristine still tends to think more of other people and organizations that helped victims. Instead of concentrating on her own difficulties, she's been giving shouts out to the community of Ventura that opened their stores and cafes to give free coats and meals, the Red Cross who was there instantly to provide help and food and shelter, the Ventura Disaster Assistance, and the many dear friends that offered help, clothes, shelter, horse board, and new treasures.

She wrote, "I cannot list each of you… as there is simply too many special people to thank. We have been so blessed to have the friends and family that we have.

"It’s simply amazing and we don’t even know how to say thanks and not make that word sound trivial."

Tessie and Sam are now back at their boarding stable. "It's charcoal there, too, trails are burned, but we're hoping for some rain and some spring flowers, and there'll be regrowth again," she affirms optimistically.

Both Mike and Kristine have their down moments, but overall, they are are focused on a favorable future. "What else can you do?" Kristine matter-of-factly says. "Even firemen have asked me how I stay positive. They were hugging me and asking me that, and I said I didn't know.

"It is hard; I mean, i'm 60 now, and Mike's 65, but I just treasure life. Mike and I live life to the fullest. We just try to shine above things, particularly ever since 1995, when he had a massive heart attack when he was only 42 yrs old. I would have been a widow with kids from 3 to 13. I think that taught us a lot. Then shortly after that, we lost all 4 of our parents to cancer.

"And we love each other dearly, and we think as long as we have each other, we can get through anything. And also," she says with a big smile, "how horses are good for our soul."

And ironically - speaking of horses - in the middle of everything, when the AERC year-end points came out on December 15, Kristine learned that her mare, Count On Tessie Flyin finished 8th Featherweight in the Belesemo Arabians Pioneer award, 10th War Mare, and first Featherweight in the Pacific South region. "I've never done that well with a horse in one season. I don't even know about all those points. I don't follow all that. That was definitely icing on the cake!"

Kristine's ridden over 6300 miles of soul-lifting endurance miles since 1996, and that includes 2 Decade teams with FS Amber (whose ashes were likely lost in the fire), and Klassy Sam.

The Hartmans will continue to move forward, taking one day at a time. "We're not yet sure of our plans, but Ventura's a little slice of heaven. And now the ponies are back here safe, we're going to try to get back to normal life. We're going on vacation for a couple of weeks, and then we'll figure out where life's taking us. We're pretty good about rising above adversity.

"Life's been good!"

Photos by Kristine Hartman

**For another story on Kristine and her 2015 Tevis Cup finish on Tessie, riding ever determinedly and ever cheerfully with a broken arm, it's here:
2015 Tevis Cup: Honor and Grit and Kristine Hartman

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Prairieville, LA woman marks one off her bucket list with 1,000-kilometer Mongolian horse race

TheAdvocate.com - Full Article

George Morris

JAN 6, 2018

When Heather Brasse Accardo started riding horses as a girl, she had no idea how far her pastime would take her. This summer, it’s taking her all the way to Mongolia.

Accardo, a dental hygienist by day and horse woman by weekend, will ride in the 2018 Mongol Derby, which bills itself as the longest and toughest horse race on earth. Riders have only 10 days to cover 621 miles through the remote and windswept steppes in the landlocked Asian nation bordered by China and Russia.

The August race, which pays homage to the postal route established by Genghis Khan in 1224, began in 2009. Riders apply from all over the world, and Accardo knew it would be a long shot to get one of the 40 slots.

“I kind of put it on my bucket list that one day, that’s what I want to do,” she said. “This past year, some things have happened. Some friends of mine, for various reasons, passed away, and I thought, ‘What am I waiting for? Why am I waiting?’ Just as a whim, I decided to apply...”

Read more here:

Saturday, January 06, 2018

AERC Honors Equine Longevity: 10, 15, and 20 Years of Competition

January 6 2018

AERC's Equine Longevity endurance program welcomed 223 new horses in the 2017 competition year.

"This is a wonderful program," writes Troy Smith of the AERC office, "that honors the marvelous horses and mules that carry our members for many years of participation in the friendliest sport on horseback."

Equines which have reached these milestones have completed 10, 15 or 20 years of competition over their endurance careers (at least 50 miles per year, either endurance or LD or a combo), and AERC member/owners will be receiving Longevity pins.

In the 2017 season (results tracked Between 2017 Convention and end of 2017 Ride Year), 204 horses completed 10 years, 18 horses completed 15 years, and 1 equine, Heather Hoyns' Just Bill, completed 20 years of competition.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Road To The Mongol Derby: Go Big Or Go Home

Thoroughbreddailynews.com - Full Article

January 4 2018

By Kelsey Riley

Do you really dislike me? Would you like to see me thrown off, trampled, and bolted on by 25 horses, or suffer chafing in unmentionable locations from 14-hour days in a saddle? Perhaps be chased by wild dogs?

If you really dislike me and want to help ensure all these things happen to me, you should donate to my Mongol Derby effort, more details of which are on my Go Fund Me page.

The good news is, if you really LIKE me, this is also the cause for you! That is because I’m riding to benefit what I think is a really fantastic charity in Lexington, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances program at the Blackburn Correctional Complex. ‘Blackburn’ is a mutually beneficial program for retired racehorses and the inmates who are responsible for their care. The Thoroughbreds learn how to adapt to life off the track and are prepared for second careers, while the inmates gain new skill sets through hands-on work with the horses and classes in horse care. The inmates also experience the invaluable psychological benefits (that we all know about) of simply being around horses...

Read more here:

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

AERC letter of concern to USEF Regarding UAE

January 3 2018

AERC President M Paul Latiolais has written a letter on behalf of the AERC board and members to Will Connell, USEF director of sport programs, regarding the continued abuse of horses in some Group VII competitions. You are invited to read and send your own letters to Mr. Connell at the address on the letter below.

December 29, 2017

Mr. Will Connell, Director of Sport Programs

United States Equestrian Federation

P.O. Box 83, Gladstone, NJ 07934-2053


Dear Mr. Connell,

I am writing on behalf of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) members and Board of Directors to request that the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) register to the Federation Equestrian Internationale our disappointment, outrage and protest at the continued abuse of horses owned by certain stables in Group VII nations.

Social media around the world has circulated details of more than eight equine fatalities at the Dubai and Al Wathba venues sustained in just the first five weeks this season, each due to Catastrophic Injury. A dozen similar deaths occurred at these same two venues the previous seasons.

These catastrophic injuries and obvious lack of concern of the violating parties is now a very serious liability not only for the sport of endurance, but for all equestrian sports worldwide. Various animal rights groups are getting stronger every year, and these deaths are adding fuel to their fire. If the FEI is not implementing drastic measures now to curtail these disasters occurring in Group VII, the equestrian sports worldwide will be jeopardized. Even the Olympic Equestrian Disciplines won’t get spared from the backlash these irresponsible actions of some in Group VII are exposing all of us to.
We are concerned that the sanctions imposed by the FEI and the recent FEI rule changes are not having sufficient effect on the issues at hand. We are deeply troubled that the risk of leg fractures at Group VII endurance events is similar to that documented in flat-track racing. That being said, we see a bright light in the Bouthieb Initiative set out by Sheik Sultan. This format is showing promise with a definite decrease in the number of fatalities at this venue.

We would like to propose some changes that we feel would help promote horse welfare for the sport of endurance.

• The requirement of the “set speed” Certificate of Capability (COC) needs to be abandoned. Unfortunately, the current format for the COC has forced organizing committees worldwide to create faster, flatter courses to make it easier for horses and riders to qualify. This has promoted faster and faster winning times and ultimately has caused horse welfare issues. We feel that the COC is outdated and unnecessary.

• There should be a balance between winning and finishing endurance events. We suggest that both horses and riders need to maintain a 66.6% completion rate (finish two out of three attempts).

• There should be an increase in the number of events that horses and riders need to complete before they are allowed to promote to the next level. Horses and riders would need to complete three 1* events prior to being allowed to compete in a 2*, complete two 2* events prior to being allowed to compete in a 3*, and complete two 3* events prior to being allowed to compete in a 4* event. The 66.6% completion rate needs to extend through these additional requirements.

• If a horse or rider falls below the 66.6%, they would have 24 months to raise their “score” or they would lose the level that they are qualified for.

• When a rider is suspended, especially for a drug violation, the trainer should also receive a suspension – a suspension that would not allow them to train any of the horses listed under them for the period of the suspension.

As the recognized endurance affiliate in the U.S., the AERC not only asks USEF representatives to register our ongoing concerns with the FEI, but join with the AERC in celebrating sustained equine performance and multi-year completion records as well as individual victories. By bestowing such awards such as the AERC’s Decade Team Award (based on equine and rider teams who have completed at least one 50-mile endurance ride or more each year for 10 years), USEF can help demonstrate that long-term health and active careers for competition horses is attainable, regardless of the specific sport.

With USEF’s support, we believe it is possible for the 2018 WEG to not only remain fatality free, but also be remembered as a celebration of the horse-human bond.

We would greatly appreciate USEF’s support in joining us and forwarding our concerns about the issues we are unfortunately still seeing in Group VII. With the 2018 WEG being on U.S. soil, we hope that we will all be able to remember it as a celebration of the horse-human bond, not as something that will taint all of equestrian sport.


Paul Latiolais, President
American Endurance Ride Conference

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship Applications Due January 5


Friday January 5 is the deadline to apply for the 2018 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship.

Open to AERC Juniors and Young Riders in good standing from their high school senior year through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of 1/1/2017)

Applicants must have a minimum of 500 AERC lifetime miles

Applicants must have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0

One scholarship of $1000 will be awarded. This scholarship can be applied to colleges and universities as well as technical schools and specialized training programs.

Applications will be reviewed by the AERC Hall of Fame Committee

The 2018 AERC scholarship recipient will be announced at the AERC Annual Convention on March 10, 2018, in Reno, Nevada

Past recipients are not eligible

Applications must be received by January 5, 2018, and must be submitted to the AERC office via mail:
AERC, Attn: Scholarship, P.O. Box 6027, Auburn, CA 95604

or e-mail: office@aerc.org (see application form for details)

For the application see:

2017 December's Endurance Horses in the Morning

Horsesinthemorning.com - Listen in

Dec 12, 2017

Today’s Endurance episode features Janis Pegg telling us about crewing for her husband on the Pacific Crest Trail and Vicky Torres has an update on the Ventura fires. Karen answers a listener question about a horse who gets ‘race brain’. Listen in...


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Patti Jo Duncan Crawford Passes Away


Patti Jo Duncan Crawford of Shawnee, Kansas, passed away at her home, on December 19, 2017, due to complications of rheumatoid arthritis. She was born May 28, 1941, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Lester LeRoy and Dorothy Creason Duncan. Before moving back to the Kansas City area in 1949, she lived with her parents in Oklahoma City, OK, Minneapolis, MN, and Los Angeles, CA.

She attended Roesland Grade School and graduated in the first class of Shawnee Mission North in 1959, where she was editor of the year book. She attended Stanford University and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in zoology. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Later she received her nursing degree from Johnson County Community College and worked in the allergy clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital for 6 years. On July 16, of 1975 she married Samuel J. Crawford. Together they formed Crawford and Kinder, a building company, and for 9 years she had a house painting business employing the neighborhood high school and college students.

In 1975-76, they lived in Germany for a year with their sons Kurt & Kyle, who were 9 and 6 at the time. They spent that summer traveling and camping all over Europe. Her love for horses began in 1978 when her son Kurt bought his first horse, Butterscotch. This was the beginning of what was to become her life’s passion in the world of endurance riding and racing. She eventually owned as many as eight horses. She was a member of the equine associations AERC, OCER, & MOTDRA. Some of her favorite memories were of the Great Santa Fe Trail Ride, a 500 mile ride from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Hillsdale, Kansas; riding in the Pan American Championship in Woodstock, Vermont; being on the organizing committee for the 1996 World Championship for endurance held in Junction City, KS and especially organizing and finding trail for the 100 mile ride to open the American Royal on their 100th anniversary. Patti and Sam built a second home in Arkansas where they hosted many endurance rides and racing events, and had great fun with their kids and grandkids. Patti loved to spend time on her horse marking and clearing trails for events. But the most fun she had was competing in the 50 and 100 mile rides with her faithful loving sherpa, Sam. She enjoyed playing Bridge, Gin Rummy, and other challenging games. She loved all animals, and saved many in need.

She is preceded in death by her parents, and son Kyle Robert Niemackl (2009). She is remembered by her husband Sam of 42 superb years, her sister Judith Duncan Stanton (Roger) of Prairie Village, KS; son Kurt William Niemackl (Aimey) of Lenexa, KS; Sam’s children Kimberly Jensen (Dave) of Overland Park, KS, and their children Mallory, Lauren, and Sarah; Stephanie Sitko (Phil) of Corona, CA, and their children McKenna and Hayden, and Weston Crawford (Mary) of Seattle, WA; and her grandchildren Nick, Maddie, Jason and Joseph Niemackl of Lenexa, KS, and Allison and Mason Niemackl of Shawnee, KS; Kyle’s widow Vanessa Hamm; and cousins, nieces and nephews. Also special to her is a “daughter” Kirsi Vaarama, of Helsinki, Finland, her husband Juha and their children Roope and Ronja.


A memorial celebration will be held at Old Mission United Methodist Church, on Wednesday, December 27, @ 2:00 pm, where she has been a member since 1950. Reception to follow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What the Hell is Rose Doing Now? - A Camel Trek in Mongolia. In January.

December 20 2017
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

It seems that Poway California's Rose Sandler can't get enough adventure.

She finished the Mongol Derby in 2014. She finished South Africa's Race the Wild Coast in 2015. She finished Tevis in 2017.

And then what? Post adventure letdown. "There’s a certain letdown after a huge accomplishment."

The antidote for that is, of course, another adventure. Rose was hoping to be chosen to participate in the Fjallraven Polar, an epic annual event where 20 people from around the world have the opportunity to compete in an Iditarod style dogsled race in the Norwegian arctic. For each of 10 regions of the world, two people get a spot. One is selected by Fjallraven jury, the other by popular vote. (This adventure is still possible: while Rose didn't win the popular vote, she could still be juried in by Fjallraven).

But of course she had a backup plan. A 200-mile winter camel trek in the Gobi desert with friend and fellow explorer Chloe Phillips-Harris. What else?

"In January 2018 with the help of Tsestgee and Unenburen, Chloe is leading a winter expedition through the Gobi Desert. The inspiration came from a trek she did in the Simpson Desert of Australia. 

We will be trekking across the Gobi by camel, covering about 300km in total. As part of this we will be saddling, packing and caring for the camels with the help and guidance of local herders. We change camels every two days as not to take them to far out of their home range.

Why winter? Because the camels look truly beautiful this time of year with their winter coats, and its a very different way of life to experience compared to the summer months. There will be snow and its going to be cold.  Average temperatures in January in the Gobi range from -4 F down to -40 F.  

We will be staying with different families along the way in gers and will give us a chance to experience a way of life that hasn’t changed in hundreds, even thousands of years. 

Unenburen has already selected the route and it looks amazing. Everything from mountains, flat steppe to sand dunes.

Some of the highlights will obviously be the scenery, but also traveling through areas rich in wildlife ( antelope, saga, camels, horses, foxes, wolves, big horn sheep, snow leopords etc), and historically significant mountains where monks used to hide in caves from persecution. We should also be able to see some bronze age cave paintings and a huge frozen waterfall. But most of all getting to learn how to care for, ride and travel with camels, in a very unique way. 

One last bit of great news is that we are going to start  our trek from a Camel Festival. There will be 300 camels in one place, with beauty competitions, races and a chance to milk camels and taste camel vodka. 

Who has a proper parka and -20 sleeping bag I can borrow??" 

To keep up with Rose and her adventure(s), see

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Arizona: Endurance horse riders hit the trails Jan. 20 in Apache Junction

ApacheJunctionIndependent.com - Full Article

Dec 17th, 2017 · by Apache Junction Independent staff reports

A fast-growing equine sport, endurance riding, combines the appreciation for nature and a trail ride with the athleticism of extreme endurance sports. On Saturday, Jan. 20, riders will be hauling trailers from miles to converge on Apache Junction for the inaugural Tonto Twist 50 Endurance Ride.

The Tonto Twist 50 is the first endurance ride to be held in Apache Junction since 1991 and will support the Western heritage of the area. Base camp is at the Rodeo Park Event Center, 1590 E. Lost Dutchman Blvd. in Apache Junction.

The public is invited to cheer on the horses and riders as the course passes by Prospector Park three times during the day...

Read more here:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Virginia: HItting the Trail

FranklinCountyTimes.com - Full Article

By Lauren Wester
Published 6:07 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spectators watch with bated breath then cheer as cowboys and cowgirls alike mount bucking broncos, speed around barrels on horseback or skillfully execute pistol shoots from the backs of their equestrian counterparts at rodeos and specialized events. These equine sports and more are showcased at these events – but there is one sport that is not represented because of its extended nature.

Many people might not even be aware of the challenging sport of endurance riding and racing.

Vina resident Elizabeth Turbyfill has recently started competing in this sport and has placed first in the three competitions she has participated in so far...

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

$5 OFF AERC Horse Registrations on National Day of the Horse


December 11 2017

$5 OFF AERC HORSE REGISTRATIONS on December 13 in honor of the National Day of the Horse!

If you've been waiting to register your equine with AERC, it will be $15 instead of $20 on Wednesday, December 13 only.

Happy trails! For current AERC members only (or you can call the office to renew AND sign up your equine at the same time!).

This is the horse registration link to use: https://aerc.org/static/EquineReg.aspx

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship Applications Due January 5


You are invited to apply for the 2018 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship

Open to AERC Juniors and Young Riders in good standing from their high school senior year through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of 1/1/2017)

Applicants must have a minimum of 500 AERC lifetime miles

Applicants must have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0

One scholarship of $1000 will be awarded. This scholarship can be applied to colleges and universities as well as technical schools and specialized training programs.

Applications will be reviewed by the AERC Hall of Fame Committee

The 2018 AERC scholarship recipient will be announced at the AERC Annual Convention on March 10, 2018, in Reno, Nevada

Past recipients are not eligible

Applications must be received by January 5, 2018, and must be submitted to the AERC office via mail:
AERC, Attn: Scholarship, P.O. Box 6027, Auburn, CA 95604

or e-mail: office@aerc.org (see application form for details)

For the application see:

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Canadian Riders Swarm the Finish Line at USA Fall FEI Fundraiser Rides

Equestrian.ca - Full Article

Canadian endurance riders had strong performances across the board at the USA Fall FEI Fundraiser Rides at Broxton Bridge Plantation in Ehrhardt, SC, held Nov. 9-12, 2017.

Robert Gielen of Flesherton, ON was first to cross the finish line in the CEI 2* 120km division on his eight-year-old Arabian gelding, More Bang for Your Buck (Doran x Forty Thieves). The two averaged a speed of 15.11 km/hr to complete the course in just under eight hours – an impressive feat, particularly when considering that Gielen underwent knee replacement surgery just four months earlier in July, and hadn’t ridden such a distance since.

“I had quite a layoff with my horse this summer, so I wasn’t really planning to go out and go for a win,” explained Gielen. “But, we just kept going along at that regular pace and on the second-to-last loop I passed the person who was in first place and I thought, ‘Well, might as well just go for it then.’ So, we just kept going and ended up crossing the finish line 10 minutes ahead...”

Read more here:

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The Endurance “Green Bean” Movement — an evolution!

EnduranceIntrospection.com - Full Article

by Patti Stedman | Nov 26, 2017

I’m the first to admit that I was primarily a sidelines spectator and cheerleader for the Green Bean movement in endurance riding.
Like most movements, it was started by a small group of motivated people who saw a gap and found a way to fill a need. It started with the term Green Bean, which came via the Pacific Northwest region and Sharalyn Hay, and then it spread and grew and evolved, changed course a time or two and continues to grow and evolve today.

(Note: As a witness more than a participant in the cause, I hope I will be forgiven any errors or omissions about its roots and its history! Be gentle with me, dear readers.)

In this case, the crusaders were a group of relatively new endurance riders who found that the world of social media was not always particularly kind and welcoming to prospective or sniffing-at-the-collective-water-tank endurance riders. For those of us who have been around for a while, well, we survived the hazing. The folks were around for Ridecamp in the ’90s probably still bear some bruises. The reality is that one could and should assume that a lot of folks interested in the sport found it unwelcoming and simply turned heel to head in another equestrian direction.

The Green Bean crew was determined to help new riders find their way to the sport and the endurance riding family so many of us know and love, to build a sense of community...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 02, 2017

2018 AERC Convention Information


March 9 and 10, 2018 - Grand Sierra Resort – Reno, Nevada

We're counting down the days!
96 days, 23 hours, 44 minutes, 28 seconds

We're looking forward to heading back to Reno for the 2018 AERC convention. AERC's convention is the most fun you can have without your horse! Two days of informative and thought-provoking seminars on Friday and Saturday, shopping galore, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, awards presentations, Hot Topics seminars, plus fun Friday night entertainment and the awards banquet on Saturday night.

Convention registration is now OPEN! Sign up with our simple, secure 2018 AERC Convention Registration, or by phone: 866-271-2372, or fill out the form in your December EN or print this 2018 AERC convention form PDF.

Seminar schedule (subject to change):

Current Topics in Nutrition with Joe Pagan, PhD, of Kentucky Equine Research
Research Findings from the Virginia City 100 Mile Dehydration Study with Jerry Gillespie, DVM, AERC Research Committee Chair
Tevis Ultrasound GI Study (from 2017 ride) with Melissa Esser, DVM, MS, DACVIM, of Michigan State University
Trail Marking: Incorporating the Best from all Regions with Michelle Grald of GMHA

From Start to Finish: Managing the 100 Mile Endurance Horse with Jay Mero, DVM, AERC Veterinary Committee Chair
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (Tying Up): What You Need to Know with Stephanie Valberg, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, ACVSMR, of Michigan State Univerity
Health Tips to Keep Riders Strong in the Saddle with Lori McIntosh, Health and Wellness Coach

HOTEL: A favorite of AERC members, the Grand Sierra Resort has everything all in one spot, so it's a great place to stay, and eat, and shop -- all under one roof.

Grand Sierra reservations are now OPEN! Use this AERC Booking Link. Or call directly, 800-648-5080; note you are with the American Endurance Ride 2018 Convention. Reservations MUST be made by February 4 to qualify for the special group rate.

2018 AERC Grand Sierra Rates -- 13% room tax will be added: Wednesday and Thursday nights (3/7 and 3/8): GSR room-$59; Summit room-$79; Friday and Saturday nights (3/9 and 3/10): GSR room-$99; Summit room-$119. These are rates for single or double occupancy; third/fourth person in room will be an additional $25 each.

Room rates include unlimited fitness center use, in-room wireless internet, and round-trip shuttle to/from Reno Tahoe International Airport.

VETERINARIANS: The Veterinary Committee will be hosting a two-day Veterinary Continuing Education course in conjunction with the convention. Tentative dates: March 8 and 9, 2018. This two-day program is very popular with AERC veterinarians and we hope you will join in.

TRADE SHOW EXHIBITORS: We'd love to have you be part of the 2018 convention! Click to see the 2018 Trade Show information/registration. Contact the AERC Office if you have any questions or to reserve a booth by phone.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Lots at stake at Broxton Bridge Plantation, Ehrhardt SC.

Endurance-world.com - Full Article

30 November 2017
Race Report made with the assistance of Cheryl Van Deusen

Broxton Bridge Plantation, Ehrhardt SC, United States of America. Friday 10 and Saturday 11 November. Broxton Bridge Plantation and USA South East Endurance were pleased to host the 2017 Young Riders Endurance Team Challenge in the Low Country of South Carolina.

Grace Ramsey and Jan Worthington came down to manage the ride making it possible to provide a fun and learning environment for the young riders. This event was held with one 160 and two 120 senior events as athletes work towards WEG 2018 qualifications.

In the senior event, 160km race, 32 horses started. The event comprised of CEN and CEI3* combinations. In the FEI division, 13 of the 26 pairs with athletes from ten different countries successfully completed the course. There was a strong rivalry all day between Kelsey Russell – USA (Fireman Gold) and Pilar Saravia – URU (Am Mysterious Mopsa), both riding horses owned by Valerie Kanavy – USA...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Peter Hommertzheim Passes Away


Peter J. Hommertzheim, age 54 of Salida, passed away on Saturday November 18, 2017 at his home in Salida. Mr. Hommertzheim was born May 24, 1963 in Wichita, Kansas to Francis Peter and Doris (Clawson) Hommertzheim.

Peter graduated from Cotopaxi High School in 1982. After graduation, he severed his country for 4 years in the United States Army. Mr. Hommertzheim worked for the Federal Aviation Adminstration as Air Traffic Controller until his retirement in 2011. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding his horses.

Mr. Hommertzheim was preceded in death by his parents, brother Gregory Francis Hommertzheim and sisters Debby Youngblood and Deann Hommertzheim. He is survived by his sons Levi and Taylor Hommertzheim and their mother Judi Ready all of Salida. Sisters Barbara (John) Mehos of Clearwater Fla, Shirley (Gene) Homer of Cedar City, UT , Judy (James “Butch”) Moore of Pueblo, CO and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Friends who desire may make memorial contributions to the family of Peter J. Hommertzheim through Lewis and Glenn Funeral, PO Box 925, Salida, CO. On line condolences may be sent to the family at lewisandglenn.com.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

AERC's First 8000-Mile Raven*

November 25 2017
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

The Raven made AERC history* at the 2017 Moab Canyons endurance ride in Utah when he hit 8000 AERC miles.

He's done a lot in his lifetime: besides being an avid US endurance rider, he's
ridden horses around the world (he even rode an official 20-km endurance ride in France on God's Horse!,

and a New Zealand endurance horse who was in Lord of the Rings!),

worked as a sound engineer for a black gospel musical around the world,

been immortalized in a tattoo,

visited many US National Parks, climbed Mt Whitney, sat on the King's Royal Yellow Carpet in Malaysia,

got lost/Ravennapped/disappeared/gone in Brisbane, camped out overnight solo in Escalante Canyon in Utah (which took me a 20-mile hike to retrieve him…).

And of course he owns the Most Beautiful Horse On The Planet, Stormy.

The Raven's most favorite spectacularly scenic endurance rides have been Moab Canyons in Utah (in 2013 and 2017), the Eastern High Sierra Classic in California (many times). One of his most adventurous rides was the Tevis Cup. In fact, The Raven has two Tevis Cup buckles, and I only have 1!

His toughest ride may have been aboard DWA Saruq in the 2014 Owyhee Tough Sucker, where The Raven and I were both wore plumb wore out after that one! Two of his funnest rides were the 4-day Death Valley Encounter in California aboard the great Zayante in 2002, and the 5-day Owyhee Canyonlands on the Best-Ever Jose Viola in 2011.

You may not always see The Raven, because he's always stuffed down in his Raven Bag attached to the saddle. And lately, particularly in the summers, I've learned to put him inside a gallon ziplock bag inside his Raven Bag, so he doesn't come out smelling like horse sweat. In which cases he gets to take a bath afterwards. Ravens enjoy hot baths after 50 mile rides just as much as human endurance riders do.

He's always happy, always has a great and easy time of riding many different horses (even if it's not always easy for his rider!). He doesn't have a favorite. He loves them all, through 17 seasons of 8000 miles and endless adventures around the world.

If we could all ride endurance like Ravens, the world would be a happier place.

*This claim is totally undocumented, except in my head. But I'm 99.99% sure it's true, because who else is riding with a Raven? Speak up now, or forever hold your Raven Peace!
**Because I said so.
***Technically, The Raven actually has 55 more miles than I do, including 2 more 100s than me… it's complicated to explain, but he does!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

USA Young Rider: Hannah Weightman

FEI.org - Full Story

08 November 2017

There’s a new breed of rider breathing fresh life into the sport of Endurance

One such athlete is 19 year-old Hannah Weightman from New Jersey and is currently a freshman at Stockton University majoring in business. Her career plan is to enter the business side of the equestrian world.

When Hanna was eight years old, her parents signed her up for summer pony camp. She spent six years riding at a local eventing barn before being introduced to Hugh and Holly MacDonald, also of Shamong. The MacDonald’s offered Hanna a young Morgan gelding named Gomez to train.

“While riding at Holly’s I was introduced to trail riding and started to compete in competitive trail rides,” Hanna recalls. “During the time I spent at Holly’s I have learned so much about horse care, hard work, and responsibility. My work with Gomez has built my confidence on the ground and in the saddle.”

Hugh and Holly also introduced Hanna to Meg Sleeper of Frenchtown, New Jersey, who is an international Endurance competitor, and veterinary cardiologist at the University of Florida. “I thought it was the coolest thing that I was riding one of her horses in 2014, I really look up to her as a rider, vet, and friend,” Hanna says.

Hanna’s first FEI ride was the Greenway Getaway in Dunnellon, Florida. She rode the 50 on Meg’s horse Syrocco Rabia (Rabi). She completed a 50-mile ride the day before on Syrocco Harmony (Harmon) as well. Of her 11 FEI rides, she completed nine of them, and was first in six of them. She’s competed throughout the East Coast, in Kentucky, and Ontario, Canada...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2018 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship Applications Available


You are invited to apply for the 2018 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship

Open to AERC Juniors and Young Riders in good standing from their high school senior year through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of 1/1/2017)

Applicants must have a minimum of 500 AERC lifetime miles

Applicants must have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0

One scholarship of $1000 will be awarded. This scholarship can be applied to colleges and universities as well as technical schools and specialized training programs.

Applications will be reviewed by the AERC Hall of Fame Committee

The 2018 AERC scholarship recipient will be announced at the AERC Annual Convention on March 10, 2018, in Reno, Nevada

Past recipients are not eligible

Applications must be received by January 5, 2018, and must be submitted to the AERC office via mail:
AERC, Attn: Scholarship, P.O. Box 6027, Auburn, CA 95604

or e-mail: office@aerc.org (see application form for details)

For the application see:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

How A Steeplejack, A Teenager And A Mule Won The Great American Horse Race

WBUR.org - Read or Listen

July 28, 2017
Martin Kessler

The year was 1976.

"People were looking for a party," recalls Curt Lewis, who in 1976 had just finished his journalism degree at Wichita State. "Vietnam was just over in '75. Watergate was over. Nixon was gone," he says. "Everyone was looking for a good time."

And there was an excuse to celebrate. The U.S. was turning 200 — and the birthday party seemed to last all year.

In honor of the bicentennial, trains and airplanes were painted red, white and blue. A fleet of tall ships sailed down the Hudson River.

And there was a horse race unlike any other.

The Great American Horse Race

It was called the Great American Horse Race, and it would span nearly 100 days and 3,500 miles, starting in New York, heading to Missouri, and then following the Pony Express route to California.

Lewis was hired by the race organizers to document all the greatness and Americaness of the Great American Horse Race. And also the competition.

The rider who covered the distance fastest would get $25,000 – worth about $100,000 in today’s dollars.

About 100 riders signed up. Cowboys took a break from rodeos. World War II veterans, finished with their missions on submarines and B-17 bombers, also entered. So did a sheriff — and even an Austrian count...

Read or listen for more:

Friday, November 10, 2017

Canada's Anya Levermann Wins CEI 3* Get-R-Done Endurance Ride

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

November 9, 2017 | Comments
by: Equestrian Canada

Anya Levermann, 17, of 100 Mile House, BC continued to prove she is a force to be reckoned with in international endurance after her first-place finish in the CEI 3* division of the Get-R-Done Endurance Ride in Inyokern, CA, held Nov. 4, 2017.

Levermann was partnered with Monk, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Chris Martin that she first began riding in 2016. Inyokern marked the pair’s second victory to date, having also won the CEI YJ-2* 120km division in Trout Lake, WA this past May.

“I really like riding him,” said Levermann of Monk, who helped her become Canada’s first Young Rider to earn FEI Elite status following their performance in Washington. “He’s really competitive and he doesn’t really like to slow down...”

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Owyhee Hallowed Weenies: The 2017 Finale

Tuesday November 7 2017
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

We had it all for the last ride of the season, the Owyhee Hallowed Weenies: gently watered trails (after 4 months of no rain), a little morning sleet/snowballs, a little afternoon sun, 1 little bouquet of purple asters on the trails, a glimpse of the Owyhee mountains blanketed in a heavy coat of snow, a couple of new riders all the way from Portland, a bonfire in the driveway, a modest group of riders, good chili, good bluegrass jamming, several Princesses, an eye-popping Lady Godiva, a butterfly, and Winnie the Pooh (winner of the Halloween contest).

18 started the 50 with 17 finishing. Dick Root and OFW Alivia nipped Lynn Rigney and Predictable, with Predictable getting Best Condition. Junior Laura Nicholes finished her first 50 on her little gray gelding Hugo, riding with sister/sponsor Beth Nicholes on DWA Zifhaffir. They were the Princesses on trail. We all forgot to throw Laura in the water trough afterwards for her congratulations, so, next year, watch out, Laura!

9 started the 25 with 8 finishing. Debbie Grose and her super horse Jack out-squeaked Nance Worman and Fancy for the win, with Jack getting Best Condition.

Our horses were fast and forward and fun on the 50. I book-ended my ride season with a substitute jockey ride on Sarah's horse Dezzie (thanks Sarah!) - started with the Owyhee Tough Sucker in April and ended with the Owyhee Hallowed Weenies. We followed Connie and DWA Saruq, and that made a most excellent 665-mile season for both horses and a first 100-miler for both (and for Junior Sarah!).

A good part of the little village that is SWITnDR came out to ride (including The Raven), or hang out and help, and to bring down the curtain on the 2017 Northwest ride season.

Bring on hairy horses and winter!

More on the ride at:

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Endurance Riding Made Easier with Help from the Green Beans

October 31, 2017

Endurance riding can be an intimidating equine sport. After all, the shortest distance offered is 25 miles long. But a grassroots effort has been growing for the past few years to help the newest riders to learn the sport, meet other new riders, and compete for fun awards just for their group of “newbies.”
Named after the green ribbons new members often tie into their horse’s tails, the group came to be known as the Green Beans. With a clever sense of humor, they further divide themselves into “on the vine” (less than 100 miles completed), “picked” (100-499 miles) and “cooked” (500-999 miles). Riders with more than 1,000 AERC miles can support the organization as mentors but are considered to have “miled out.”
There are individual and team competitions as well as prize drawings. Green Bean participation is an optional add-in for AERC members, with a nominal fee to cover prizes. “It’s not always easy being ‘green,’” said Deb Moe, one of the program administrators. She noted that sometimes just making a connection to another rider makes a huge difference in being successful.
The mainstay of the Green Beans is their educational support and social networking. There are a multitude of Facebook “Green Bean Endurance” pages specific to local areas or regions, with people willing to share their knowledge and create welcoming places where there are no silly questions.
Erin Hurley-Rosser of Texas, participates in the One Horse One Rider (individual) competition: “The Green Bean group keeps me motivated, even when my ride and ride season plans fall apart. I cheer on other teams and riders because this movement is about our combined successes. We learn and grow together, from the person who has yet to begin to conditioning, to the Green Bean who ‘miles out’, we all have something useful to share.”

Lindsay Waddell of South Carolina is on the team called High Voltage Horses: “Knowledge, encouragement, and competition all in one place—it’s a great way to start!”

Audrey Hager of Texas (team: May the Horse Be With You): “The team camaraderie is great, we share knowledge and stories and help each other out, even if we're in different regions!”

Jaime McArdle of Virginia (team: Rockin Mountain Monstas): “I love the Green Bean program because it takes a pretty individual sport and gives you a 'team' to help encourage and support each other, especially because we are new. At the rides I've begun to meet friends and create an endurance family but the Green Bean team is my first family!”
Find more about the Green Bean Endurance program at http://www.greenbeanendurance.org. To find out more about AERC, which has been sanctioning endurance rides across the U.S. and Canada since 1972, visit https://aerc.org. AERC’s educational program, aside from the Green Bean program, includes mentoring with longtime endurance riders, an extensive rider handbook and educational materials sent to every new AERC member.
More information on endurance riding is available by visiting www.aerc.org or by calling the American Endurance Ride Conference office at 866-271-2372. By request, the office will send out a free copy of the 16-page Discover Endurance Riding booklet to prospective members.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Los Altos Hills-trained endurance rider Wyatt participates in challenging 100-mile Tevis Cup

LosAltosOnline.com - Full Article

25 October 2017 Written by Sarah Feng - Town Crier Editorial Intern

Jody Wyatt competes in an endurance sport that requires help from a four-legged friend.

Five to six days a week, she and her 11-year-old daughter, Leyla, rigorously train with their horses in open space preserves, often in Los Altos Hills. They do this to improve their endurance riding – an equestrian sport that requires riding horses anywhere from 5 to 100 miles over difficult terrain.

Because of the sport’s demanding and often dangerous nature, intense training is necessary to create a strong bond between the rider and the horse. According to Wyatt, trust is imperative.

Wyatt’s three years of training recently culminated in the 100-mile Tevis Cup. She and her horse, Amira, finished in 23 of the 24 allotted hours. Out of 175 starters, the pair was among 50 to finish the ride across Squaw Valley to Auburn.

The connection between Wyatt and Amira was crucial to their success.

“I think Amira knew that she was at Tevis, that it was a unique ride and that it was her time to take care of me,” the former Palo Alto resident said...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board - Oct. 19, 2017



I sit as the Wildlife Management Chair on the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. My responsibility is to represent the interests of wildlife on 30 Million acres of public land in the American West as they are affected by Wild Horses and Burros. That is an area the size of nearly 15 Yellowstone National Parks. I’m honored to have been nominated to sit in the unpaid volunteer position and I take it very seriously. It is a tremendous responsibility in a truly tragic situation.

Simply put, the Wild Horse and Burro Program is a complete wreck. It is a toxic, ugly, finger-pointing, emotional, and controversial subject that for decades our society, politicians, the BLM, and congress have failed to enact a sustainable management plan to avoid a large and looming ecological disaster. Right now there are over 3X the target population of Wild Horses and Burros nationwide and in some areas they are causing severe ecological damage. In other areas, they aren’t. History and common sense tells us that when a population exceeds its carrying capacity in a confined area with limited resources, there is a population crash. When those population crashes occur, it affects all the wildlife in an area along with vegetation, soil, water quality, etc… Much worse than the population crash are the long-term effects, especially in desert environments, where native plant communities can take decades or centuries to grow back. In arid deserts of the Great Basin where most wild horses roam, disturbed native plant communities are often replaced by fire-prone annual invasives, especially cheat grass, that can dominate a landscape. An estimated 50 million acres of the American West has already been converted into an invasive cheatgrass monoculture and as a society, I believe we should direct our land managers to put ecosystem health as #1 top priority. Some of the ecological degradation could be permanent and may never recover in our lifetime. The very worse case scenario for Wild Horses and Burros, your public land that they depend on, and all the wildlife that require that habitat, is to take a no-management approach when it comes to wild horses and to allow nature to take its course.

Today I supported the recommendations brought by the Advisory Board that allows for a lethal management of the wild horses and burros. Already, a mere two hours after the meeting, there have been multiple organizations directing social media hate mail towards me and my pages. If you’re one of those people who came to this page wanting to hate me, I understand. Please take the time to read the rest of this post and I would love to hear your thoughts about how to create a sustainable path forward. Unfortunately, I don’t see one and I have studied this issue extensively. This is a hard pill for me to swallow because for the past several years of my life I’ve tried to find a solution to the Wild Horse & Burro dilemma that got every single horse adopted. I’ve adopted numerous mustangs personally, have helped make multiple films promoting adoptions, and have raised over $100k for wild horse adoption organizations. I’ll try to explain how this situation has spun so out of control and why I made the recommendations that I did.

The Ancestors of Wild Horses evolved in North America and went extinct in the Great Pleistocene Extinction around 10,000 years ago. Fortunately, they migrated across the Bering Strait prior to extinction where they were eventually domesticated, breeds developed, artificial selection occurred, and horses were ultimately brought back to the Americas during European Expansion. Horses escaped, were set free to breed, and multiplied in a “Wild” or “Feral” state for hundreds of years. As the West was settled, these Wild Horses, often called mustangs, were rounded up to the point that Velma Johnson, AKA Wild Horse Annie, pushed for legislation to protect the remaining Wild Horses. This culminated in the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 that protected the 15,000 or so Horses and Burros remaining in the American West. Today Wild Horses and burros are managed on about 30 million acres of land in about 179 Herd Management Areas (HMAs).

Under protection, the Wild Horses and Burro populations grew about 15-20% annually and threatened overgrazing on the rangelands that they shared with wildlife and in some cases livestock. So the BLM, the government agency in charge of managing the Wild Horses, created Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) which is the number of horses that each Herd Management Area (HMA) can supposedly sustain in a thriving ecological balance with wildlife and in some areas livestock. Currently, the nationwide AML is 27,000.

While the Appropriate Management Level is 27,000, the current population is estimated to be between 80,000-85,000 Wild Horses and Burros (including 2017 foals) which is over 3X the target population. For reference, when I first became involved in the WH&B issue there were less than 50,000 in the wild. The BLM is supposed to gather excess horses to prevent overgrazing but they can’t because they don’t have a place to put them because they’ve already gathered and are boarding 45,000 Wild Horses and Burros in feed lot-style holding pens and leased pasture. The BLM is spending $50 Million annually (2/3 of its Wild Horse and Burro budget) to feed these horses in holding. Each individual horse that goes into the holding pen process is estimated to cost taxpayers $50,000 per individual. For the price of all the horses being kept in holding pens, you could send 90,000 students to an in state 4-year college. To me, that level of government spending is completely unacceptable. That is why I made the recommendation to: “Phase out long-term holding over the next three years and apply that budget to on-range management and adoptions.” This recommendation passed the board 6-1. To phase out Long Term holding, the public would have the opportunity to adopt the horses and acquire the ownership and expenses involved.

Unfortunately, the horse market is saturated, many rescue facilities are full to the brim, and adoption has fallen over the past decade. If the public didn’t adopt them all, it’s possible some non-reproducing herds could be established on public lands. Most likely, some horses would have to be euthanized. This is not a crazy thought. People euthanize millions of dogs and cats every year, Bison are culled in Yellowstone to prevent overgrazing, and Elk are culled in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s not a fun topic to discuss so I’ll move on...

Read more here:

Susan Anderson institutes The Iron Horse Challenge endurance race

AnzaVelleyOutlook.com - Full Article

By Diane Sieker on October 21, 2017

Local resident Susan Anderson is most recently well-known for her secret passion for art as the Anza Phantom Artist, having secretly painted and placed large colorful road signs all over the area. Besides being a vet and avid horsewoman, she recently organized and hosted a local equestrian event, The Iron Horse Challenge, which was held Sept. 23 and 24.

The Iron Horse Challenge was an “endurance race” and involved testing both rider and animal to the extremes without causing detrimental harm to either one. Vet techs were on hand during the event to check the well-being of the horses. Water and other essentials were provided at intervals during the competition. Generally, endurance races range from five or 10 miles to hundreds of miles long.

“I got involved with endurance back in 1991, when I lived in Northern California and became friends with Bobbie Haskall, who put on a ride every six months up at Whiskeytown Lake by Redding,” Anderson said. “First, I started vetting the rides for her, then I bought one of her horses and competed briefly. My first ride was a 50-mile ride, and I came in ninth out of 65 riders, I believe. What a kick! I was amazed and inspired. I have always loved this sport. It is lot more regulated and complex than people think, and when done properly is a wonderful example of how people and horses can work together to achieve amazing things...”

Read more here:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Nomination Time for Distance Horse of the Year Award

October 13, 2017 

The Nomination Deadline is Approaching Fast for Distance Horse of the Year Award 

The Distance Horse of the Year Award is presented to an Arabian, Half-Arabian or Anglo-Arabian horse for outstanding achievements in distance events for the current year. The award recipient is honored by a name plate on the perpetual trophy and listed on the Arabian Horse Association's (AHA) website

In addition, the owner of the horse receives a take-home trophy to display. The winner of the award will be chosen at AHA's Annual Convention. 

Anyone may nominate a horse for this award by filling out the nomination form and submitting it by November 1. The owner of the horse must be a current AHA member with a Competition Card. To view previous Distance Horse of the Year award winners, click here

You can download the Nomination form here. Forms can be submitted by fax to (303) 696-4599, emailed to Devin Smith at devin.smith@arabianhorses.org, or mailed to the following address: 

Arabian Horse Association 
C/O Devin Smith 
10805 E Bethany Dr. 
Aurora, CO 80014

Friday, October 13, 2017

AERC: Time to Join or Renew!


"LAST CALL FOR FALL" SPECIAL! Haven't renewed or joined yet but going to a ride or two before the season ends? Renew or join by Oct. 30 and be entered into our drawing for a chance to win an awesome #aerc package!

Winner receives one of our popular "Don't Saddle For Less" t-shirts, an AERC picnic blanket, and an AERC swag bag! There are lots of rides left in the season! Open to new AND renewing members.

Easy link to join/renew: https://aerc.org/Join_AERC

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Young Rider Team Challenge

(photo: Tessa Kimbler)

With only a month to go, the AERC Young Rider Team competition is fired up. AERC's Young Riders (aged 16 - 21) formed 5-member teams early in the 2017 ride season, with competition points earned by each individual to be tallied for a team score.

For more information on the Young Rider Team Challenge, visit the website: http://endurance.net/youngriderteam/

It's not too early to be thinking about next season!

Here are the team scores to date:

1) Southern Reins- 574.5
2) MW/Aussie Exchange Riders- 568.25
3) Northern Lights- 526.25
4) Hot to Trot Trixies- 425.25
5) NE Endurance Divas- 387

The following is a list of the members of each team:

Southern Reins
Hannah Crenshaw
Abbey Crenshaw
Abbey Kay Moore
Caroline Guy
Annie Whelan

Hot To Trot Trixies
Ragan Kelly
Haley Moquim
Windsor Mundy
Eilish Connor
Kayloni Carrol

Northern Lights
Solstice Pecile
Mackanzie Coffey
Rhyne Maas
India Orino
Cali Orino

NE Endurance Divas
Maria Muzzio
Amelia Young
Kelsie Lewis
Hanna Weightman
Sarah Buckley

MW/Aussie Exchange Riders

Tessa Kimbler
McCamey Kimbler
Charlie Koester
Lexi Vollman
Tahlia Franke

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2017 Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals/Owyhee Canyonlands

October 11 2017
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Endurance riders, Arabian Horse Association people, Two Trees catering by the fabulous Wynne Teeter, evening jams, an even better band, Country Club (classic country, honky tonk, old time, and bluegrass, starring Steph's fiddle teacher), the local Radio Club (who came in very handy when a rider was injured out on trail), and the stars of the show, the endurance horses, merged and mingled at the Teeter Ranch the weekend of October 6-8 for the 3-day Owyhee Canyonlands/AHA Distance Nationals.

Not only did the Arabian Horse Association hold their 50-mile and 100-mile Purebred Arabian, and Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian Championships, but they also hosted the Appaloosa 50-mile Championship (ANCER) and the Paso Fino National Championship. The Teeter Ridecamp looked like Days of Old, when trailers squeezed into every conceivable space both in front and in back.

While more horse trailers continued to pull into camp on Friday, the Day 1 25-mile ride and the AERC 50-mile ride took riders into the Owyhee desert, down to the Snake River and around Wild Horse Butte.

39 riders started the 50, with 36 finishing. Winner was Christoph Schork, riding RR Jazz Dancer in 5:13. Daneila Lambeck was second (also 5:13) aboard Christoph's GE Berry Haat Salza. Karen Steenhof and WMA Proclaim came in third in 5:50. GE Jazz Dancer won Best Condition.

20 started the LD, with 15 finishing. Vonnie Brown aboard Chipikiri won the ride in 4:04, a minute over Leonard Bottleman and APP Taylor La Esplendida Mirada. Bill Miller, riding Tezeros Annie Sue, and David Brown, riding Tezeros Hot Shot, finished third and fourth in 4:10. Tezeros Hot Shot got Best Condition.

Day 2 was a busy ride day, with a 25-mile LD, an open 50-mile ride, and the 4 50-mile Championship rides: Purebred Arabian, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian, Appaloosa, and Paso Fino.

14 riders started the AHA Purebred Arabian Championship, with 12 finishing. John Stevens, from Lincoln, California, took the Championship honors with his 9-year-old gelding Rabbalad (FV Classic Farwa x FV Farabba, by Haji Rabba) in 5:08. Reserve Champion went to Christoph Schork, from Moab, Utah, aboard GE Haat Rod Express (DWA Express x Pico Stardust +/, by Pico Haat Shaat) in 5:33. Jeff Stuart, from Ogden, Utah, took third with JV Remington (JV Shadow Dancer x Sugar is Fine, by *Patriark) in 6:27. GE Haat Rod Express won Best Condition.

7 riders started the Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian division, with 5 finishing. Jeff Loe from Trail, Oregon, and Hillcreek Pyra (SFF Pyro x Zephyr) won in a time of 6:27. Denise Obray, from Auburn, California, and TM Dunit in Gold (Ima Dun Kid x Faireshine Padron, by *Padron) finished second in 7:06. Junior rider Sarah Holloway from Maple Valley, Washington, finished third aboard Phinneas (Grandson of the Black Stallion) in 8:28. Phinneas won the Best Condition award, much to his approval.

Top honors in the Appaloosa Championship went to Siri Olson from The Dalles, Oregon, and EZ To B Perfect, in a ride time of 7:52. Jessica Cobbley, from Blackfoot, Idaho, and The Big Brass finished second in 7:58. Third place went to Kathleen Jepson, from Independence, Oregon, aboard Spotted Wap in a ride time of 8:21. EZ To B Perfect also won Best Condition. 6 started and 4 completed the ride.

The Paso Fino Championship had 3 starters and finishers. Chris Cane, from Olympia, Washington, and Marco del Padre finished first in 8:59, and earned the Best Condition award. Lindsay Campbell, visiting from Lake City, Florida, finished second aboard Cane's horse Magico del Padre in 9:00. The current AERC President, Paul Latiolais, from Milwaukie, Oregon, finished third aboard Francisco Adan CuGR in 10:13.

50 riders started the Open 50 mile ride, with 41 finishing. John Stevens and Rabbalad were first in 5:08. Christoph Schork and GE Haat Rod Express were second in 5:33, and Dean Hoalst and Redwing Ofcourage finished third in 5:56. GE Haat Rod Express won the open AERC Best Condition award.

The Racing Mules put on their fun and excellent show in the LD (3 of them carrying Juniors). They took the top 4 spots, with Junior Parker Eversole and out of Idaho winning in 3:10, with sponsor Trinity Jackson aboard Gracie second (also in 3:10). Junior Sidney Jackson was third on Bear in 3:11, and Junior Lucy Martin was fourth on Irish in 3:12. 8th place Stace Moss aboard Top Hat Frost won Best Condition. 20 started and 18 finished the ride.

Day 3 saw a 25-mile ride, an open 55-mile ride, and the 100-mile open, Purebred Arabian, and Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian Championships. The 100-milers got to visit Wild Horse Butte, the Snake River, and one of the more scenic canyons in the area, Sinker Creek, which runs through the historic 150+-year-old Joyce Ranch.

All participants this day, horses, riders, and volunteers, got the added bonus of cold gale winds, which were actually acceptable, because they blew the gnats into the next county. It was fine 100-mile horse weather, reflected by the most excellent high completion rates, particularly in the 100.

"Team Stevens," from Lincoln, California, and their sleek Purebred Arabians were the stars of that 100-mile division. Crossing the finish line in 8:57 were Diane (first place) aboard the 15-year-old gelding Banderaz LC7 (Jazzman DGL x Zordosa, by *Bandos PASB), and John (second place) aboard the 9-year-old gelding Justin SF (Sir Fames HBV x NNL Just a Heat, by Don El Chall). Justin SF won the Best Condition award. Third place went to Jeanette Mero, of Mariposa, California, and Jet Setting Sandrita (Djet Set De Falgas x Tiki Destiny, by Sambors Destiny) in 10:40. Jeanette rode and finished with her 16-year-old Junior daughter Reyna, aboard Triomphe. This made the Team Mero weekend a complete success (they also finished the AHA 50 the day before), after 2 breakdowns on the way to Idaho and arriving at camp in the middle of the night. The AHA finish made 4 100-mile completions for both horses for the year.

The only other Junior in the AHA Purebred ride was 14-year-old Sarah Holloway, of Maple Valley, Washington, riding with her aunt Connie Holloway aboard DWA Saruq. Sarah and her 14-year-old gelding Noble Desperado finished in 13th place in a ride time of 15:40 in their first 100-mile ride. 15 started and 14 finished the ride.

A literal coin toss determined the winner of the Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian 100-mile Championship, because they could not be separated by a nostril wrinkle or a tail hair at the finish. Winner was Suzanne Hayes, of Arlee, Montana, riding her 9-year-old half-Thoroughbred gelding Sanstormm (Sanskrit x Alta Snow), in a time of 9:45. Reserve Champion was Christoph Schork aboard the half Quarter horse mare GE Pistol Annie (Sulte x Sissy). Annie won the Best Condition award. Third place out of 3 starters went to Carson City, Nevada's Connie Creech aboard LS Steele Breeze (Remington Steele x LS Shareem, by Luzero), in a ride time of 15:07. This was Breezy's 16th 100-mile completion. Her previous ride was a finish in the tough Virginia City 100 three weeks earlier.

The open AERC 100-mile ride had 26 starters and 23 finishers. Diane and John Stevens tied for first, and Christoph Schork and Suzy Hayes tied for third place along with Meridian, Idaho's Lynn Rigney, aboard Predictable. That pair also finished the Virginia City 100 three weeks earlier, in 6th place. Justin SF won the open Best Condition award.

10 riders started the 50-mile ride, with 8 completing. First place went to Jeff Stuart and DWA Malik in a ride time of 6:30. Tani Bates and CR Marjan Roars were second in 6:35, and Beth Nicholes and DWA Zifhaffir were third in 7:08. Best Condition went to DWA Zifhaffir.

All 19 starters finished the LD ride (5 mules again!), with Bill Miller finishing first in 2:41 aboard Raffons Noble Dancer. Second was David Brown aboard Tezeros Hot Shot. The 5 mules were next, carrying 3 Juniors. Tezeros Hot Shot won Best Condition.

For more photos and stories on the ride, see: