Friday, September 06, 2019

A Breed Apart: Dolly DeCair was Born to Ride, and Ride Fast

BendMagazine.com - Full Article

Published September 4, 2019

Written by Cathy Carroll
Photos Jeff Kennedy

83-year-old Dolly DeCair continues inspiring riders in the world’s toughest endurance race.

A slim, five-foot, four-inch-tall, platinum blonde with hot pink lipstick, red, fitted t-shirt and lavender riding tights slides her boot into the stirrup of a chestnut stallion, his muscles rippling. She whispers in his ear, “Mama’s gonna try and not scream now,” as she throws her leg over the latest in her line of champion stallions, which in the last forty years she’s raced roughly 7,500 miles. Simply mounting the Arabian reminds Dolly DeCair of her two hip replacements, the most recent done last year.

But at 83, with 100 top-ten endurance race finishes — including a second-place finish at age 65 in the world renowned 100-miles in twenty-four-hours Tevis Cup — to her, there’s no other option than to push through the pain. She was born to ride, and ride fast — even on Tevis’s narrow trails through remote mountain wilderness, with riders racing to the finish in the dark.

Known for her speed, her flair, and for slowing down to help others on the trail, the Crooked River Ranch “blonde at the O.K. Corral” as friends call her, has been inspiring riders throughout the West’s endurance racing community...

Read more here:
https://bendmagazine.com/a-breed-apart-dolly-decair-was-born-to-ride-and-ride-fast/?fbclid=IwAR2IksRXzoJskTtn3lRIT_N6OiNRa0u-tPP1g4L1oyEWk40zpIOvJYQfN-I

Thursday, September 05, 2019

An Enduring Ride For Standardbred West Grey Bay

StandardbredCanada.ca - Full Story

August 26 2019

Sarah Cuthbertson, a noted equestrian with a decade of endurance riding and training to her credit, had no plans to adopt a Standardbred horse. A charismatic and talented trotter, West Grey Bay, quickly changed her mind.

Cuthbertson has schooled many horses and students including training Standardbreds to compete in the Racing Under Saddle program. Julie Walker, a trainer largely responsible for getting the RUS program established in Ontario, had heard that West Grey Bay – a potential RUS horse – could be finding his way to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society.

“Julie had always thought he would make a great RUS horse. We put the bug in Joanne's (OSAS’s Joanne Colville) ear that we would like to foster him for me to practice RUS on and train him for a second career,” explained Sarah, who spends her days as a contracts administrator for an executive aviation management company.

In June of last year, not long after West Grey Bay was sent to Karen Briggs to foster and Cuthbertson to train, they took him for rides in the Dufferin Forest. At this point he’d only been under saddle for three weeks, and the group encountered a few obstacles and interruptions, but he handled them like a pro...

Read more here:
https://standardbredcanada.ca/news/8-26-19/enduring-ride-west-grey-bay.html

Monday, September 02, 2019

Tevis Cup 100-Miles-One-Day Trail Ride: Napa vet Lindsay Fisher, horse Monk finish ninth, win Haggin, Robie cups

NapaValleyRegister.com - Full Article

ANDY WILCOX awilcox@napanews.com
Aug 30, 2019

The first horse to cross the finish line of the 64th Tevis Cup 100-Miles One-Day Trail Ride on Aug. 17 won by the length of its body over the runner-up.

It was the kind of close finish Lindsay Fisher might have been involved in two years before, had the Napa veterinarian not believed in the true spirit of the event from Truckee to Auburn along the Western States Trail – that it’s a ride, not a race, and that winning should not take precedence over the horse’s health. She and another rider were at the last veterinary check together in 2017, leading the field, when the other rider took off. Rather than give chase, Fisher finished getting gelding “Monk” ready for the last six miles and ended up in second place by 12 minutes...

Read more here:
https://napavalleyregister.com/sports/tevis-cup--miles-one-day-trail-ride-napa-vet/article_20b4b05e-630c-5cf8-992c-60c8ecade330.html

Gardnerville woman fifth at endurance ride

RecordCourier.com - Full Article

August 30, 2019

Staff Reports

Gardnerville resident Suzanne Huff came in fifth on her mare Sessa in the 100 Mile Western States Endurance Horseback Ride between Truckee and Auburn, Calif. on Aug. 17-18.

Huff bred, raised, trained and competes Sessa.

According to the teviscup.org web site, she completed the ride by 9:54 p.m. after 16 hours on the trail...

Read more at:
https://www.recordcourier.com/news/local/minden-girl-competes-in-sierra-endurance-ride/#

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Gillette woman finishes 16th in 100-mile equestrian endurance ride

GiletteNewsRecord.com - Full Article

By JACK WARRICK News Record Writer jwarrick@gillettenewsrecord.net
September 1 2019

Recently, Gillette native Niki Beck competed in a 100-mile horse race at the Tevis Cup in Northern California, considered one of the most difficult horse races in the world.

Beck finished in 16th place out of 98 who finished the race. There were about 180 riders at the start, she said. The trail is so long and the terrain so tough that many horses, or their riders can’t finish the race.

It took the first place finisher over 16 hours to complete the trail...

Read more here:
https://www.gillettenewsrecord.com/sports/article_97e18789-36a0-5a43-aeec-7f7fca2f84a3.html

Sierra Lutheran pair earn national equestrian honors

RecordCourier.com - Full Article

August 30, 2019
Brian Underwood

Their shared ancestry to the rich equestrian tradition found in the United Kingdom offers natural synergy to the horsemanship tradition they have in common, but that’s where the trail and spoils split for Kailey Fitzpatrick and Riley McHenry.

The Gardnerville teens, who have been in the saddle and competing for most of their lives, have enjoyed strong success for a number of years on their respective competition circuits of show jumping and endurance riding. Recently, each took a quantum leap by garnering national attention in her individual series, and, in the process, noteworthy distinction to the local equestrian community.

Fitzpatrick, 14, won three Reserve National Championship titles on three different horses earlier this month at the Canadian Nationals. Outside the arena, McHenry, 14, was one of only 99 riders out of an opening field of 184 entries, to complete the grueling 100-mile Tevis Cup endurance ride from Tahoe to Auburn...

Read more here:
https://www.recordcourier.com/news/local/sierra-lutheran-pair-earn-national-equestrian-honors/

Big opportunity for local Georgia rider

LaGrangeNews.com - Full Article

By Kevin Eckleberry
Published 12:42 am Saturday, August 31, 2019

She’s ready to test herself, as well as her faithful horse, against the best in the world.

Kimberly Loutzenheiser, who lives in Troup County and is a junior at Heard County High, has qualified for the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders.

The elite competition, which features more than 100 riders and their horses competing on a 75-mile course, will be held in September in Italy.

Loutzenheiser is one of five riders from the United States from the ages of 16 to 21 who will take part in the competition.

Loutzenheiser, who at the age of 16 is the youngest member of the United States team, will ride DM Michaelangelo, who is owned by Rae Shumate-Tysor...

Read more here:
https://www.lagrangenews.com/2019/08/31/big-opportunity-for-local-rider/

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Hometown boy makes good: Wyoming native wins world’s longest horse race

Cowboystatedaily.com - Published on August 19, 2019August 18, 2019 in Community/News
Nicole Blanchard, special to Cowboy State Daily




It’s only fitting that a man dubbed “the most badass cowboy you will ever meet” hails from the Cowboy State.

Robert Long, a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, earned the title after winning the Mongol Derby, a 620-mile race across the Mongolian Steppe, earlier this week. At 70 years old, Long is not only the oldest person to win the race but the oldest person to even finish the grueling trek, designed to replicate the route of Genghis Khan’s 13th century postal system.

“I’ve never in my life seen anybody as intense, as skilled, as intelligent, as driven as Bob,”said Gary Schaeffer, former Cheyenne mayor and one of Long’s closest friends. Both men now live in Boise, Idaho.

Long crossed the finish line on Wednesday, Aug. 14, the eighth day of the race. He and 41 other competitors had ridden upwards of 12 hours a day on “semi-wild” Mongolian horses, switching out mounts at checkpoints to ensure the horses didn’t become fatigued.

“Those horses aren’t ridden every day like ours,” said Cheyenne rancher Doug Samuelson, who has spent time hunting in Mongolia. “They’re not our highly trained quarter horses.”

By the end of the race, Long had ridden 28 different horses.

Schaeffer, who first met Long in 1968, said his friend’s upbringing in Cheyenne no doubt came in handy in the race.

“He was born and raised on horses, used to break them, train them for people,” Schaeffer said. “Besides being a confident horseman and cowboy, he always takes care of his animals, and that shows in the race.”

Samuelson, who doesn’t know Long, joked that Long must be something of a horse whisperer.

“I’d love to shake his hand,” Samuelson said. “Maybe it’ll rub off on me.”

At each checkpoint, veterinarians inspected the small, hardy Mongolian horses to see that they hadn’t been overworked.

“They’re small horses, but they’re tough,” Samuelson said. “They’re incredibly agile and surefooted.”

Riders received penalties if their horses weren’t in top condition, but by the end of the derby, Long earned a perfect record from the race vets.

“At one point they said he veered off-course to go get his horse water,” Schaeffer added. “I’m sure it cost him some time, but he was more worried about taking care of his horse. And he’s always been that way.”

Schaeffer said Long was matter-of-fact when he first shared his plans to ride in the Mongol Derby, which holds the Guinness World Record for longest horse race.

“He came over to the house and told us ‘I’ve entered the Mongol Derby,’” Schaeffer said. “We said, ‘What? Why?'”

“He said, ‘Because people told me I couldn’t. It’s there, it’s a challenge. I don’t like people to say because of my age I won’t be able to make it. It’s the toughest, most grueling thing a horseman can do, and I want to prove I can do it,’” Schaeffer recalled.

From day one, Schaeffer said, Long’s loved ones had no doubt he could complete the race, in part thanks to his impeccable research, planning and preparation.

Because Mongolian horses tend to be under 14 hands, there’s a weight limit for riders and gear to keep the horses safe. Long lost 30 pounds and practiced packing and repacking his bag to be sure he could make weight. He consulted with previous Mongol Derby riders and spent months building his riding endurance.

“He had this planned down to the inch,” Schaeffer said.

And while Long already had impeccable navigation skills (Schaeffer recalled how Long could always find his way back to the horse trailer during hunting trips in the Snowy Mountains), he honed those skills even more to prepare for the unmarked Mongol Derby route.

“He would try to get himself lost and work with the GPS to get himself back on course,” Schaeffer said. “Though I doubt if he ever got lost. He just doesn’t do that.”

According to a Mongol Derby news release, the riders faced arctic winds and downpours at the start of the race. They also had to watch out for rodent holes and marshy areas as they trekked across the steppe.

“(The terrain there) is a lot like Wyoming,” Samuelson said. “You’ll see really flat plains areas and kind of high mountains on the side. The grasses are also similar.”

As the weather cleared up later in the race, Long took a lead that he maintained until the end.

Schaeffer wasn’t surprised when Long galloped across the finish line in a live video broadcast on Facebook by the Mongol Derby –but he was emotional.

“I was crying, tears were streaming down my face. We knew he could do it,” Schaeffer said.

“I’ve never seen anything he can’t do,” he added. “If he says he’s going to do it, he’s going to do it.”

Long, on the other hand, was cracking jokes the moment he dismounted.

“My horse just won the Mongol Derby,” he said. “It’s nothing, you just ride 650 miles on a death march. There’s nothing to it.”

Find out more about the Mongol Derby here. And for a great read on the Mongols and Genghis Khan’s 13th century postal system check out Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford.

Monday, August 19, 2019

2019 Midnight Rider: The Magical Experience of Riding in the Dark



by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
August 19 2019

The Northwest region's Bobbi Walker put on the Midnight Rider endurance ride outside of Chehalis, Washington this past weekend.

The previous two years Bobbi put on an unofficial 25-miler and a trail ride to work out the kinks; this year the Midnight Rider was PNER-endorsed and AERC-sanctioned. Bobbi is an avid endurance rider who loves riding in the dark, and wants to help acquaint and encourage inexperienced night-riding endurance riders to dip their toes into the magic of night riding, to help them with long-range goals of attempting 100-mile rides. Starting times - from afternoon to evening - were arranged so that each distance would ride at least part of their second loop in the dark.

It was a bit of a blow when, during the summer, Tevis was rescheduled to the same weekend as Midnight Rider (due to concern over late snowpack in the High Sierra trails), but it was fitting (and certainly exciting!) that the Northwest Region's Sanoma Blakeley won Tevis right around the same time the first riders were crossing Bobbi's finish line at Midnight Rider.

Supported by PNER - Pacific Northwest Endurance Riders - Saturday morning, a night riding clinic was held, designed to give first-time night riders an idea of what to expect, tools to use, and tips on being brave and staying confident. Conducted by Northwest rider Merri Melde, she led a lecture and demonstration and discussion session on riding in the dark, and related experiences of her rides and tips from other highly experienced international endurance riders.

An after-ride session on Sunday morning indicated that the first-time night riders (who numbered around 20, including an 11-year-old Junior who also rode her first 50) had very good experiences, and an eagerness to try night riding again.

Taking place on the Willapa Hills State Park trail - one of five long-distance routes managed by Washington State Parks - this relatively flat, multi-use 56-mile trail is a key segment in the cross-state network spanning from the Idaho border to the shores of Willapa Bay. It was originally acquired by State Parks from the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1993. 

Here's the history of the trail:
"In the late 1800s, the Northern Pacific Railway used the line as a spur track for logging. Train tracks once crossed more than 2,000 miles from Willapa Bay to Lake Superior, but freight traffic declined in the late 1950s, and the Willapa Hills route was abandoned in 1990. State Parks acquired the railroad right-of-way for use as a trail in 1993.
The railroad brought rapid change to the land around Willapa Bay. Small communities, many with sawmills, rose up to process lumber. Newly cleared acreage was converted into farmland. Crops were loaded onto railroad cars and carried to markets throughout the American West. Railroad bridges and trestles were also added, spanning big and small waterways along the route.
With the rise of automobiles, passenger service along the route ended in 1954. Freight traffic declined during this period as well, and the route was abandoned in 1990. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission acquired the railroad right-of-way for use as a trail in 1993."

The Willapa Hills trail is in Bobbi's back yard, and one day while riding the trail, she passed the Willapa Hills Farm and pegged it as a great place for a Ridecamp. She rode in, introduced herself and her idea, and the owners were all in, offering the fields for parking and their gorgeous restored 1938 barn as a meeting spot for ride meetings. Willapa Hills Farm is a working family farm nestled on the banks of the Chehalis river, with a committed goal of natural farming, sustainability and environmental Stewardship.

The successful turnout for the trail rides, 25-miler and 50-miler, and the great night-riding experience for the majority of riders gives Bobbi hope that she can continue to put on this ride, and continue to provide a safe and fun environment and trail experience of riding in the dark, with a long-range goal of elevating more endurance riders to 100-mile endurance riders.

Endurance riders hit trail in fast growing equine sport

WisFarmer.com - Full Article

August 16 2019
DRAW

The world’s fastest growing equine sport, endurance riding, combines the appreciation for nature of a trail ride with the athleticism of endurance sports.

This Oct. 4, 5 and 6, riders will be hauling their trailers from miles around to the Horserider’s Campground in the stunning Southern Kettle Moraine State Forrest for the first running of the DRAW Festivus Ride. DRAW, the Distance Riding Association of Wisconsin, sponsors several distance trail rides each year. Riders will choose distances of 15, 25, 50 or a 2-day 100 mile event. The 15-mile ride for novice horses or riders is approximately three hours with the 25-mile course generally taking four to five hours to complete.

The night before the ride, horses will be examined by a ride veterinarian, and then during the event, there will be checks during the ride and again during a final veterinarian examination shortly after the finish. Each 25-mile ride has one mandatory rest period and, 50-mile rides have at least two mandatory rest periods.

This year’s Festivus theme will have the traditional airing of grievances and feats of strength...

Read more here:
https://www.wisfarmer.com/story/news/press-release/2019/08/16/endurance-riders-hit-trail-fast-growing-equine-sport/2035515001/

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sanoma Blakeley and RA Ares Bay Win 2019 Tevis Cup

Thehorse.com - Full Story

The 18-year-old and her Arabian edged Jeremy Reynolds and RTR Rimfires Etta to win.

Posted by Marsha Hayes | Aug 18, 2019

Eighteen-year-old Sanoma Blakeley of Terrebonne, Oregon, and 10-year-old dark bay Arabian gelding, RA Ares Bay, crossed the 2019 Tevis finish line at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, in Auburn, California. They were just feet ahead of three-time Tevis winner Jeremy Reynolds to claim the Tevis Cup.

Both RA Ares Bay, aka “Goober,” and Reynold’s mount, bay mare RTR Rimfires Etta, pulsed down quickly (heart rates recovered) and vetted out sound after the 100-mile journey, which Blakeley said involved some intense racing during the last several miles.

“I left Lower Quarry (six miles from the finish line) first, but Jeremy and I leapfrogged a couple of times before the finish,” said Blakeley...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/177577/sanoma-blakeley-and-ra-ares-bay-win-2019-tevis-cup/

Young Regina woman heading to Italy for world riding championship

Growing up with mother Tracy Vollman — a competitive endurance rider — being around horses was normal, but a couple of tumbles as a young child left Lexi frightened to climb in the saddle. Her mother’s gentle and persistent coaching, however, always convinced her to get back on a horse.

While she did come to enjoy horses, Lexi was not interested in the sport of endurance riding her mother loved. Endurance riding is a timed race where an individual horse and rider duo have to travel a distance ranging from 80 to 160 kilometres over a marked cross-country trail in a single day. Instead, she only began riding longer distances as a 12-year-old as a way of spending time with her mother.

“I was going to do it with her because I loved my mom and then one day it was like something switched and it was like, ‘Oh you know, I really like doing this,’ ” said Lexi in a recent phone interview.

But Tracy said Lexi’s shyness initially held her back from excelling in the sport. Lexi declared she would never ride a race by herself and would never ride anyone else’s horse, and Tracy didn’t push her. A few years passed of Lexi continuing to ride longer distances — up to 80 kilometres — with her mom, but refusing to go any further.

Then when Lexi was 16, an opportunity came up to take part in a young rider endurance challenge in North Carolina. Because she would have to ride 120 kilometres by herself and ride someone else’s horse, Tracy was sure Lexi would turn the invitation down, but asked her anyway.

“I guess I was in a good mood and I was like, ‘Sure, yeah of course.’ And now that’s I think my favourite distance,” said the now 19-year-old with a laugh.

Her parents were shocked, but thrilled, at her response.

“We thought either she’s going to absolutely hate it … or maybe she’ll blossom. And lucky for us, she really blossomed. She got to know the other girls. She went out, she rode the 75-mile race,” said Tracy. From that point there was no turning back, and Lexi began endurance riding competitively around the world.

“All of a sudden now she’s travelling around the world, riding all these different horses for different people. She’s a completely different kid. It has done so much for her, and now here she is going to worlds.”


Full article at Star Phoenix

Sonoma Blakely and Jeremy Reynolds win Tevis 2019

Top Ten Tevis finishers:

1 Blakeley, Sanoma (#203) 09:27PM
2 Reynolds, Jeremy (#12) 09:27PM
3 Moquin, Haley (#112) 09:36PM
4 George, Richard (#158) 09:37PM
5 Huff, Suzanne (#142) 09:54PM
6 DONLEY, KAREN (#14) 09:54PM
7 Meuten, Nicki (#114) 10:06PM
8 HALL, GWEN (#150) 10:20PM
9 Fisher, Lindsay (#4) 10:28PM
10 Hayes, Suzanne (#147) 10:29PM

(from http://webcast.teviscup.org/ )

Official Tevis Cup webpage: www.teviscup.org

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

How to Follow Tevis Online

IT'S THAT TIME!!! Here's your annual summary of how best to follow along online:

The Western States Trail Foundation has a loyal group of volunteers that will be working hard to bring you up to date information during the ride weekend. When the ride starts, there will be a link on the main website http://www.teviscup.org/ to the LIVE WEBCAST. That link will allow you to search the progress of a specific rider, information status by checkpoint, current leaders, and a list of pulled riders. You can even save a list of Favorites to make checking on their progress throughout the day more streamlined! http://webcast.teviscup.org/

You can also find ride updates, **LIVE** streaming videos, photos and more during the course of the ride on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TevisCup/ We have webcast photographers and crew at nearly all checkpoints. We will be doing our best to provide continual coverage, upload pictures and video live during the event. Live streaming is always a big hit and we try to provide as much as the service allows!

Additionally, this year we have a GPS tracking for riders! For an additional fee, riders can elect to carry a live tracker, which will send pings to update the riders’ status on the trail every 5 minutes. There may be locations on the trail where GPS signal is too weak to successfully send a ping, the unit will try three times before waiting for the next 5 minute interval. You can follow along with those riders who have elected this optional service here: http://trackleaders.com/teviscup19 Individual riders GPS units should also be linked to their “Where’s My Rider” webcast page.

All of the people helping to man our EIGHTEEN various checkpoints are volunteers, typically working long hours for nothing more than the love of the event and a spiffy Tshirt. They do their best. Several new innovations have been introduced to provide updates as quickly and error-free as possible. Most stops are either direct internet uploading from the checkpoint or through technology which enables emails/uploads to be sent over HAM radios run by our communications volunteers. These two things allow us to be as accurate as possible. We will do our best to keep everyone up to date on their rider. Lag time from the rider checking in to the webcast being updated may be around 20-30 minutes for the more remote locations, others may be nearly real time!

You can imagine how hard it is to not transpose numbers, either verbally when reading/calling them out (especially for tired riders), or while writing them down/typing them in (think of 3-4 people having to hear/write the number for each instance), especially when you've been awake 20+ hours. Keep in mind it's possible to miss a rider # if they all arrive in a big group. If your rider shows up pulled or in a strange place - check again later and don't automatically take it as gospel. There are automated database checking tools to help the webcast volunteers find and correct a mistake at the next update.

Also just because your rider stops at a particular location for longer than usual/planned, it's not necessarily significant. It could be that the spotters missed their number going out, or perhaps they stayed longer than planned to let their horse eat or rest for the upcoming trail segment. There will be volunteers in Foresthill with computers if you need assistance in looking up a rider.

Summary of how to follow us online:

Main Tevis Website: 
http://www.teviscup.org/

Official Checkpoint Webcast: 
http://webcast.teviscup.org/

Official Tevis Facebook page:
 https://www.facebook.com/TevisCup

Event GPS tracking: 
http://trackleaders.com/teviscup19

Twitter Account: 
https://twitter.com/tevisnews

Flickr Photos: 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/teviscup/albums

Instagram: 
https://www.instagram.com/tevisfeed/

2019 Tevis Equine Research to Focus on Weight and Hydration

Thehorse.com - Full Article

THE STUDY WILL WEIGH THE ELITE EQUINE ENDURANCE ATHLETES BEFORE THEY TRAVEL, BEFORE THEY START, AND DURING AND AFTER THE GRUELING 100-MILE RIDE.

Posted by Marsha Hayes | Aug 13, 2019

Horses competing in the 2019 Tevis Cup endurance ride are prepping to hit the trail on Saturday, Aug. 17. But before they load up for the trip to Northern California, they’ll get weighed as part of a research project to investigate the correlation between weight and hydration in horses during endurance competitions. Jerry Gillespie DVM, PhD, of Hopland, California, will conduct the research project.

Tevis offers unique equine research opportunities, because it gathers nearly 200 top endurance athletes from across the country to traverse the difficult 100-mile course. Gillespie’s study actually begins when competing horses leave home. “We know horses dehydrate when traveling, and knowing the magnitude and starting point of dehydration is important,” he said.

The voluntary study requests competitors weigh horses before transport and keep a detailed log of the horses’ food and water intake, stops, and miles and hours traveled per day...

Read more here:
https://thehorse.com/177404/2019-tevis-equine-research-to-focus-on-weight-and-hydration/

Friday, August 09, 2019

2019 August's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning

Horseradionetwork.com - Listen

Aug 10, 2016

On today’s Endurance Episode features reports on the Olympics, Mongol Derby and of course Tevis Cup with Darice Whyte and Wayne Woolway talks about the Tahoe Rim Trail. Listen in...

https://www.horseradionetwork.com/2016/08/10/08-09-2016-endurance-day-tevis-adventures-with-darice-waynes-tahoe-rim-ride-karens-crew-conundrum/


Wednesday, August 07, 2019

What’s So Great About Tevis

August 6 2019

The 64th running of the Tevis Cup (aka Western States Endurance Ride) gets underway on Saturday, August 17. This is one of the best-known endurance rides in the world, and attracts riders from all corners of the U.S. and around the world to follow 100 miles of single-track trail from Robie Park, outside of Truckee, California, to Auburn, California, known as the “Endurance Capital of the World.” It is sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference, headquartered in Auburn, just a stone’s throw from the ride’s finish line.

Among those attempting the grueling test of equestrian skill will be Bruce Weary, DC, of Prescott, Arizona, whose mount this year is an 11-year-old Standardbred gelding named Trooper. Bruce has a history with the Tevis Cup ride: he’s attempted it multiple times, and has only completed the ride once, in 2009, with John Henry, a Tennessee Walker owned by Susan Garlinghouse, DVM.

Let’s let Bruce tell the story:

In anticipation of the annual of the Tevis Cup, aka Western States Trail Ride, I was asked to share some thoughts about my experiences with this ride, what it means to me, and what it might mean to those who dream of swingin’ a leg over a good horse and meeting the Tevis trail head-on.

I’m not sure if being asked to do so was a compliment or not. You see, it took me 15 years and seven attempts to finish this ride—just once. Compared to the efforts of some select riders who have collected a couple dozen buckles or more, I might just as well be the poster child for how not to conquer the Tevis trail.

My first attempt was in 1994, on a grade horse named Thor who had a few hundred miles on him. I had heard of this 100-mile ride in the Sierras, and I decided we’d take a shot at it—with two weeks of preparation. I worked him on some steep hills a few times, put new shoes on him, and figured we were ready.

I planned to get off and lead Thor any time I came to a hill, just to help him out a little. I tried that all the way to Robinson Flat and, upon my arrival, I promptly told my crew, “I wish to die now. Please kill me.”

I had never been so exhausted in my life. With fluids and food I regained some strength, however, and the Mighty Thor, as he was affectionately known, dragged me onward—through Dusty Corners, Last Chance, Deadwood, Michigan Bluff, and the hot, steep canyons that link them together.

Thor literally learned to tail at the bottom of the first canyon, and did it like he had known how all his life.

On reaching Michigan Bluff, I silently prayed that the control judges would find something wrong with Thor, that this madness might end. “You’re good to go!” bellowed the vet who examined Thor. Certain that this vet probably never entered, much less graduated from vet school, and that he was likely taking pleasure in my suffering, I begrudgingly took Thor’s reins, swung my dying carcass up on his noble back and headed into “The Darkness.”

If you’ve never ridden this ride, you don’t know what darkness can be. At times you can wave your hand in front of your face and can’t see it. I was greeted every few minutes by waves of increasing nausea and delirium as we wound our way down, down, down to the Francisco’s vet check, a God-forsaken patch of grass that seemed as good a place as any to die.

I offered my horse to the control judge, and I cursed him under my breath as he told me, “Your horse looks good. You better get moving.” And then “those words” came out of my mouth. Words I hate to ever say, that sounded as if someone else was speaking them, that tasted bitter as I said them, that were driven by nausea and fatigue: “I can’t.”

I remember lying down on a lounge chair. Someone threw a sleeping bag over me, and I passed out. I slipped in and out of consciousness for a few hours, and I remember Thor’s soft footsteps as he quietly grazed next to me and never left my side. Then there was the arduous trailer ride back to Auburn—rough and slow, perfectly punctuating the end of that fateful day. That moment—when I decided I couldn’t go on—haunts me to this day, and likely is a large part of what drives me to accept the challenge of the Tevis trail every year that I can.

I have learned to enjoy the beauty of that trail, and to relish the sometimes harsh lessons it can dish out. There are few adventures left for us to experience in today’s world that challenge us, show us what we’re made of, force us to face our fears, overcome our weaknesses and keep moving on the way that the Tevis does. Sunburn, the sting of sweat in your eye, the gritty feel of Tevis dust between your teeth and in your nose and ears and socks and eyes and hair and places I can’t mention here. Chafing, aching, fatigue, sleep deprivation—you name it, it’s all there for you.

As Hal Hall, 30-time Tevis finisher, is fond of saying, the Sierras are “unforgiving to the ill-prepared.”

(Incidentally, Thor’s final career record was perfect—except for the day I asked him to quit at Tevis. Dang.)

I made five more attempts, each ending short of the finish line. Some were due to unpreparedness on my part, one lameness, and one very frightening colic that could have easily taken the life of my horse if not for the caliber of vets that work the Tevis each year.

I have watched my wife, whom I introduced to the sport, win a 50th Anniversary buckle while I was still holding my pants up with baling twine.

Then, finally, the Tevis gods had apparently had enough entertainment at my expense, and something magical happened. I had converted to riding gaited horses around 2002, and in 2008 I bought an unlikely looking, unpapered Tennessee Walker named John Henry. He’s compact and muscley, and not much to look at. I just thought he would be a fun play-thing kind of horse, but I soon saw that this horse had a toughness that came from within—he showed up with it, so to speak.

He cruised easily through his first few 50s, and I decided (well, my wife gave me permission) to see if I could get him ready for Tevis. I groveled so thoroughly that Dr. Michele Roush agreed to coach me, and we set about the job of getting John Henry fit enough to tackle something as brutal as what the Tevis offers up. John Henry took everything we threw at him, and I swear I could hear him laughing at me down at the barn late at night. Probably while he was getting another tattoo.

Ride day finally arrived in 2009, and John Henry fought his way valiantly to Robinson Flat, but Coach Roush said she didn’t think he looked as good as he should at that point in the ride. With my heart in my throat, almost fully expecting another pull at some point that day, we headed out from Robinson to tackle as much of the trail as we could. I felt we at least had to put in a good effort.

Michele stopped me before I departed, handed me four double-dose syringes of electrolytes, looked at me sternly, and said, “These will be gone by Foresthill!” I remember mumbling, “Yes, ma’am,” as we turned to leave, and I think I sucked my thumb halfway to Dusty Corners.

Well, I did what I was told, and John Henry began to drink like a sailor on shore leave in response to his electrolytes. At Foresthill, Dr. Jim Baldwin examined him and told me, “Let him rest and get some chow, and he’ll take you home. You have a lot of horse here.”

From that point on, John Henry became nearly unstoppable—a runaway freight train. He ate and drank feverishly, pounded through the night and, finally, deposited me at the finish line for my first Tevis completion. Ever. I still have to take a moment whenever I remember it.

Nice story, but what could it mean for those who aspire to wear that elusive Tevis buckle? (Side note: More people have summitted Mt. Everest than wear a Tevis buckle.) I hope it can mean that the longer and tougher the journey, the sweeter the rewards. It can mean finding something in yourself and your horse that you have felt but have never proven to yourself is there. It can mean that several failures can be the stepping stones to success. Or, it can simply mean a very scenic ride on a good horse for as long as the two of you choose to carry on. All pretty heady stuff, and worth lying awake a few nights to ponder.

With a little luck I hope to ride the Tevis once again. Oh, and John Henry? He has finished three in a row—2013, 2014 and 2015—under the guiding hand of his new owner, Dr. Susan Garlinghouse. Together, they have found things in each other they might not have found otherwise. It’s all good stuff.

Lastly, some words for you Tevis dreamers, and I know you’re out there: Life is so very short. It’s good to get a little dirty every now and then. I double-dog dare ya.

You can follow Bruce and Trooper and all the entrants at this year’s Tevis Cup ride via http://teviscup.org/.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Winners of Endurance.net's "HORSIE" Photo Contest Announced



August 5 2019

Endurance.net's second photo contest, "HORSIE" (Horse+Selfie) displayed the enjoyment and hilarity that our equine companions can give us. Riders shared their favorite photos of some of their favorite companions.
The gallery is here:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/TCtSyubELsueg8856

First place winner, by highest number of votes, is Michelle Sharp. Her HORSIE photos included her 16yo Arab gelding Sterling (GAA Sterling Grey) -"He LOVES having his picture taken and is always game for a photo bomb", her 17yo Arab gelding Dream (Dream on SA) - "He thinks the only reason to take a sefie is to get a cookie and he nudged a little reminder here", her 26yo gelding Zyn (Zynzation) - "after a ride and a friend's horse decided to photo bomb. Zyn did 2 LD's last year at the ripe age of 25!", and her mare Rue (ROL Burning Love) - "with our Tevis buckle from 2016!".

Congratulations Michelle! She will receive a small painted portrait of her choice, courtesy Steph Teeter (http://stepht.faso.com/).


Second place goes to Linda Ferguson. Linda's endurance horse, Menominee Windstorm, also serves as a qualified police horse for the Wyoming County, NY, Sheriffs Department Mounted Unit. Proud mom Linda is a mounted officer as well. Linda will receive a copy of Merri Melde's book Tevis Cup Magic: Taking on the World's Toughest Endurance Ride.


Third place goes to Sandi Harris. Sandi sent in two photos. One is of her 18-year-old Arabian cross Sayir, riding in the Southern California desert, about 5 miles form the US/Mexico border. Together they have over 2000 LD miles. The second photo is of her Arabian Aart AJF. She rescued him in Southern California, "and now he's a beautiful 3-year-old!" Sandi will receive a copy of Leonard Liesen's book, Leonard Liesen’s book ‘Endurance: a French Perspective'.


Fourth place goes to Cat Cook. Cat calls her horse Diamonds her "better half." Her photos show them after 10 miles of training in the sand dunes and heat in Bruneau, Idaho. Cat will receive a $50 Riding Warehouse gift certificate.


Fifth place goes to Chris Samson, of Ola, Idaho. Chris sent in photos of her BLM mustang Shaman Samson. Shaman came from the HMA herd in Nevada. "He is a sweet big boy, 15.2 hands at 4 years old." Adopt a mustang, Chris says. "They are awesome!" Chris will receive a $25 Riding Warehouse gift certificate.


Sixth place goes to Karen Bumgarner of Parma, Idaho, who sent in a selfie of her new Appy foal, Pard. Karen will receive a $10 Riding Warehouse gift certificate.

Thanks to all who participated in our second photo contest!

Endurance.net's first photo contest was "Between the Ears". Stay tuned for the next one this fall!

Friday, August 02, 2019

2019 Tevis Cup Headlamp Policy

RIDERS: Don't forget about the Headlamp Policy this year. Headlamps or any other devices providing light during the Tevis Cup Ride are subject the following policy:

- Headlamps shall not exceed 250 lumens

- Riders shall turn their headlamps off as they approach other horses and riders from behind.

- Riders shall turn off headlamps at the request of other riders.

- Glow sticks attached to the front of a horse are allowed

- Red or other colored lights are subject to the same lumens restriction as white lights

The Cup Committee will monitor for lights that are too bright and ask riders to not use them. The Cup Committee will also address complaints about riders that are disrespectful with their use of headlamps. The intent of this rule is to find a middle ground where some lights can be used but not to the annoyance of other riders.

More information at:
http://teviscup.org/

Thursday, August 01, 2019

American Endurance Ride Conference 2019 Endurance Championships

July 31 2019

This year’s American Endurance Ride Conference National Championship Ride will be located in Ridgecrest, California, home of the spectacular Mojave Desert (and the recent series of earthquakes). Luckily, there was no damage to the ride area and the event should be an unforgettable celebration of distance riding from October 31 to November 3.

While there are qualifying requirements for the National Championship 50- and 100-mile rides, there are open rides beginning at 25 miles (on October 31) and 35 miles (on November 2). Most riders with fit trail horses are capable of competing in the limited distance rides and are welcome to attend the ride, regardless of AERC membership.

Ridgecrest is located at the base of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains between the continental United States’ lowest point of elevation, Death Valley (282 feet below sea level) and highest peak, Mt. Whitney (14,505 feet). The fall is a beautiful time of year for a visit to either of these destinations and the timing is perfect for your journey.

Of course the focus of the rides will be the Championship events, where top endurance riders from across the U.S. and Canada come to compete in the classic endurance distances of 50 or 100 miles with their equestrian partners. Last year's event was held at Biltmore in North Carolina, and Holly Corcoran and Poete, from Pennsylvania, were first to finish and earned best condition in the 100 mile ride, finishing in 12 hours and 26 minutes. The 50 mile winners were Erin Lemmons, DVM, of Texas, riding Tuscarora John, and Jeremy Reynolds of Florida riding Anydaynow in a tie at 5 hours and 20 minutes of riding time.

Every weight division winner and the junior division winner in the 100-mile Championship ride will take home a brand new saddle, thanks to the generous donations of Ghost Treeless Saddles, Pandora Saddles, Saddle Up/Freeform Saddles, Specialized Saddles and Stonewall Saddle Company.

Top ten riders in the 100-mile Championship division will receive HAF saddle pads, and every completing rider in the 50- and 100-mile rides will earn a buckle commemorating their finish. There are special awards for top 10 in both distances and for the top 3 winners in each of AERC's four weight divisions, and the junior division, for riders under 16.

Riders in the open events will take home finish awards (it's one of AERC's rules that all who finish a ride must be awarded a completion award) handmade by a local petroglyph artist.

This year's ride, according to ride managers Robert and Melissa Ribley, is highlighted by spectacular scenery. The trail boasts "water from the ancient glacier-fed lakes below the desert," plus "forever Kodak moments of incredible sunsets upon the towering Sierra Nevadas" and "dark sky locations where glimpses of the Milky Way and a star-filled sky are a welcome treat," according to Melissa.

The ride is held on the site of the annual Twenty Mule Team AERC ride—and would not be complete without mules! The organizers will have a special demonstration in the main arena of the Desert Empire Fairgrounds, the ride's base camp, by local mule trainer JoDe Collins who will show what mules and donkeys can really do. Fun local activities are on the schedule as well: a tour of the BLM horse and burro facility, a group trip to the Trona Pinnacles and a group trip to the Maturango Natural History Museum.

To find out more about the ride, or to sign up to ride or come volunteer, visit http://2019nc.com/

The website also lists the ride’s many sponsors who have generously donated numerous completion awards for the seven separate competitions.

For those wanting to follow the excitement remotely, rider updates will be available on the ride website each ride day and on the ride's Facebook page: facebook.com/AERC2019NC/. You can easily follow your favorite rider throughout the day as he or she progresses towards the finish line and a successful completion.

Make the AERC Championship Ride a goal in 2019 for you and your equine, and join us this fall at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds in Ridgecrest, California, for a festival of endurance riding fun, competition and camaraderie.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Endurance.Net's "HORSIE" Photo Contest Closes Tomorrow


Endurance.net HORSIE Contest

July 30 2019

http://www.endurance.net/international/USA/2019HorsieContest2/

Get your final votes in for your favorite "HORSIE" photo (Horse + Selfie) because Endurance.Net's second photo contest closes at midnight, July 31.

Send your vote for your favorite photo to contests@endurance.net. (One vote per email address per day.)

The highest number of votes will receive a first place price of a small painted portrait of your choice (horse or other pet), courtesy Steph Teeter (http://stepht.faso.com/).

Second place will receive a copy of Merri Melde's book, Tevis Cup Magic: Taking on the World's Toughest Endurance Ride (soft cover or ebook, your choice).

Third place will receive a copy of Leonard Liesen’s book ‘Endurance: a French Perspective'.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth places will receive a gift certificate from Riding Warehouse for $50, $25, and $10, respectively.

Winners will be announced on Endurance.net early next week. Stay tuned!

Iconic Endurance Rider Injured Training for Tevis

Thehorse.com - Full Article

His horse, Princessa, also fell but appeared uninjured.

Posted by Marsha Hayes | Jul 30, 2019

Endurance riding icon Potato Richardson, 76, was seriously injured at 4:02 p.m. on July 23 while conditioning his mare, La Princessa Tzia (aka “Princessa”) for the 100-mile endurance event known as The Tevis Cup. Richardson and his mare SMR Filoutte won the 2015 Tevis, his third victory.

Richardson and Princessa had left his ranch earlier in the afternoon riding with two friends visiting from Wales. Richardson separated from his friends to add more conditioning miles on his mare. Returning home at a fast trot, the pair struck a tree protruding on the trail. The impact rolled both horse and rider off the trail, breaking Richardson’s leg in three places. The mare covered 2 miles to return home...

Read more at:
https://thehorse.com/176920/iconic-endurance-rider-injured-training-for-tevis/

Episode 21 - Big Horn 100 Endurance Horse Podcast

EnduranceHorsePodcast - Listen

July 28 2019

Welcome to The Big Horn 100 episode of Endurance Horse Podcast

Created July 27/28th 2019 (yes I pulled an all nighter again Daryl Owen)

Hello and Welcome to episode 21 of Endurance Horse Podcast!

I’m Christina Hyke, an equine photographer based in Southern Wisconsin

Today is July 27th, 2019.

When I learned that both Bridget and Dante were headed to the Big Horn 100 it inspired me to dedicate this episode of Endurance Horse Podcast to the Big Horn 100. The Big Horn 100 predates the creation of the AERC, American Endurance Ride Conference, that is an impressively long running ride! If you have been doing endurance very long, chances are you have heard of the Big Horn 100.

Shell, Wyoming is the base camp of the legendary Big Horn 100 mile, 1 day ride. Twice this ride has been host to the Race of Champions, and a champion you must be to ride from the elevation of 4,000 feet rising to the climb of 10,000 feet elevation. The Big Horn is a single loop of some of the most challenging, rugged and beautiful trail that America has to offer. It has been told to me by more than one rider that the difficulty of this trail rivals that of the Tevis Cup. I, personally, cannot say, as I have not ridden either trail, though I feel honored to share the stories from this trail with you, and maybe some of you are hearing about this ride for the first time and will hear the call of the Big Horn Mountains and take up the challenge to ride through climbing mountains, wild flowers and wild weather. Can you hear it? The Big Horn is calling you.

This year Big Horn 100 was managed by Cindy Collins. Cindy loves this ride and from all the good feedback I have seen online and in the files that have been sent to the podcast, the riders truly love Cindy and the Big Horn- the descriptions given have surely made the Big Horn a ride to aspire to and one to never forget. I am thankful to each of the riders who took the time to share their audio from Big Horn 2019. One of my favorite audios is from a rider traveled all the way from Maryland to see the Big Horn, one of her bucket list rides, get checked off of her list. Peggy Thompson has been riding endurance longer than the current AERC website has been keeping records. Peggy will share her journey on the 50 mile endurance ride at the Big Horn 2019, though before she does, here is a short history of the Big Horn.

Greybull, Wyoming, 1970 was the setting for a meeting of the Canyon Cavaliers Saddle Club. It was during this meeting that local rider, Dale Perkins mentioned an article he had read about a 100 mile, 1 day ride that traversed over the Sierra Mountains in California. The beloved Big Horn mountain was right in the backyard of the Canyon Cavaliers Saddle Club and Dale said that there was no reason why there couldn’t be a ride like one that hosted here, over the club’s much loved Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming.

The idea was well received by the club, though they needed help to create such a ride. They sought out advice from a Laramie veterinarian who they had heard had actually ridden in the Western States 100 Mile One Day ride, also known as the Tevis Cup. The young veterinarian Dr. David Nicholson agreed to travel to Greybull and share his insight into what it would take to manage a 100 mile, 1 day endurance ride in the Big Horn Mountains. And, thus, with a good idea, much homework and planning, the Big Horn 100 Mile, Inc. was formed, Tom Van Gelder was elected first president and created The Big Horn 100, Inc into a 501 c3 non-profit. So there you have it, in the fall of 1970 the concept of the Big Horn 100 began and the organization of the 501 c3 called the Big Horn 100, Inc. was established in 1971. The AERC, American Endurance Ride Conference was established in 1972.

See photos and listen at:
https://endurancehorsepodcast.podbean.com/e/episode-21-big-horn-100-endurance-horse-podcast/

Episode 20 - Endurance Horse Podcast

Endurancehorsepodcast

Welcome to Episode 20 of the Endurance Horse Podcast

Publishing July 13, 2019.

Happy 27th Anniversary of our first date Jim!

Episode 20 will bring us updates from our wonderful friend, Darice Whyte, in Canada. She brings us news from the Maah Daah Hey Ride in North Dakota. Mollie Quiroz from California brings us a pre Tom Quilty introduction before she heads out for Australia, and much more...

See photos and listen to the podcast at:
https://endurancehorsepodcast.podbean.com/e/episode-20-endurance-horse-podcast-1562999860/

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Colorado Springs High School Student Qualifies for Endurance World Championships for Young Riders in Italy

by Aileen Ellis

A Colorado Springs high school student has qualified to represent the US at the Endurance World Championships for Young Riders in Pisa, Italy, in September.

Alex Shampoe, 17, is one of five US Young Riders (14 to 21 years old) to make the cut. She will ride a horse named Dude Free Gold, owned by Valerie Kanavy of Fort Valley, Virginia, in the championship sponsored by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).

Alex began racing in competitions sponsored by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) four years ago. She has raced on more than 40 different horses from California to South Carolina and in Canada. Last winter she trained and raced in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, while taking a full course load, over the internet with her high school, The Village in Colorado Springs, CO.

The goal of a 75- or 100-mile endurance race is for the horse to complete several loops of a marked course over rugged terrain, finishing sound and healthy after regular checks by vets throughout the race. A 100-mile / 160 km race takes anywhere from 10 to 24 hours.

The rider must know her horse well in order to prevent dehydration, metabolic issues and fatigue. The rider/horse bond must be extremely strong, as a horse may struggle to tell that it is in pain. Winning is not the only goal; completing personal bests for the horse and rider is also important.

Alex said, “For me the goal is to get the best performance possible from my horse that day, based on conditions and how my horse is feeling. The horses want to win too, and sometimes I need to hold my mounts back, to keep the safe.”

Because endurance racing is not an Olympic sport, athletes must raise money to fly their horse and themselves to the championships, and must pay their own costs while competing. Those expenses are expected to be about $30,000 for the Young Rider World Championship. Alex has started a gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/send-alex-and-dudeendurance-world-championship.
“One of my dreams is to help build the endurance program in the U.S. so that the best young riders can be matched with the best horses, regardless of financial circumstances,” said Alex.

Alex is the daughter of Terry Shampoe and Aileen Ellis, 19 year residents of Colorado Springs. She is the brother of Nick Shampoe, a Division One runner at Arizona State University. They board their horses at Echo Valley Training Center in Woodland Park, CO.

For more information, please contact Aileen Ellis at 719-659-3658. Alex will be available for phone interviews now through August 31. At that point, she and Dude board a plane for Italy and the World Championships.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

2019 TEVIS Riders!  Contribute to Research and Win Cool Stuff!

Again this year, the Western States Trail Foundation is sponsoring a cutting edge veterinary study on the horses doing the ride.  

Jerry Gillespie, DVM, professor/retired at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and his colleagues will be conducting a study of the level of dehydration in competing horses by following the weight loss in the horses during the ride.  In addition this study will measure the transport dehydration of the horses traveling to the ride.  This is an important aspect of this study because it will provide the absolute extent of dehydration of these exceptional athletes during the Tevis performance.
   
Dehydration, as measured by weight loss, is a critical factor affecting performance. Preliminary studies have shown that  travel time to the ride and exertion in the early portion of the ride may represent a major portion of the weight loss. This year's study will examine that premise.

 
Dr. Gillespie is requesting that participating riders have their horses weighed prior to transport to the ride (home-stable weights). Riders can usually find a veterinary practice, livestock-sales scale or other facilities that can accurately weigh their horses in their neighborhood (within an hour's travel from their home stable).  The Research Team will be prepared to collect “arrival weights” at at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn or at Robie Park within hours of your of your arrival at the Tevis venue. Then, all horses will be weighed at Robie Park after their vet exam, representing their ride starting weight. During the ride, horses will be weighed at Robinson Flat, Foresthill, at the finish, and the morning after.  

The results of this study will provide riders with critical information regarding their travel plans to rides. The Western States Trail Foundation has as part of its mission the scientific study of horses in endurance competition. Much of what has been learned and published about equine endurance physiology was from studies conducted at the Tevis Ride.  

  
We hope riders will participate enthusiastically in Dr. Gillespie's study. Those who fully participate (home weight through finish weight) will receive an amazing collection of thank you gifts, including;
• One entry into an exclusive drawing for a wireless hylofit heart monitor ($600+ value), donated by Hylofit
• A $10 gift certificate for the Tevis Store
• A photo plaque with an image from the ride, courtesy of the research team
• A beautiful commemorative map of the trail from Starfire Design Studio 
In addition, Dr. Jamie Kerr will award $100 to the rider who provides the most thorough/informative log of their travel to the Tevis (along with home weight)!


With appreciation,

Jeff Herten, MD 
Chair, Tevis Veterinary Committee

More information at:
http://teviscup.org/

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Historic hoof steps: Posse members ride in tradition of Pony Express

BoulderCityReview.com - Full Article

By Hali Bernstein Saylor Boulder City Review
July 17, 2019

In her long-sleeved red shirt, brown hat and vest, Julie Sprague followed in the footsteps — or more appropriately hoof steps — of her great-great-grandfather, Elijah Nicholas Wilson, participating in the 2019 Pony Express Re-ride.

Sprague and her friend Krissy Bishop, members of the Boulder City Mounted Posse, rode a 7-mile leg June 19 between Fort Churchill and Carson City in Northern Nevada during the annual event that commemorates the rides taken nearly 160 years ago.

They followed the route from Saint Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, that the original riders traveled, including Wilson, who was one of the 53 original Pony Express riders.

“The fact that we get to keep history alive is pretty special,” Sprague said. “Every time I think about it I get so emotional. I hope I made him proud...”

Read more here:
https://bouldercityreview.com/community/historic-hoof-steps-posse-members-ride-in-tradition-of-pony-express-53545/

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sallie Suzanna Kimmel Sullivan Passes

Vindy.com

LAURENS, S.C. – Sallie Suzanna Kimmel Sullivan, 66, of 274 Johnson Road and formerly of Canfield, wife of James Earl “Jim” Sullivan, passed away on July 9, 2019, at her home.

Sallie worked side by side her husband of 42 years from 1999 to 2019. She was the Vice President of RB Fabricators, Inc. in Youngstown, Ohio.

Born in Youngstown, she was a daughter of the late Richard Calvin and Patricia Bartholomy Kimmel. Sallie grew up around and dedicated her life pursuits to her passion for horses. She grew up working for the family business, Kimmel’s Saddle Shop, making browbands, cavessons, gun holsters and rebuilding saddles. Sallie was a member of 4-H and a member of the Mahoning County Saddle and Bridle Association that sponsored the well-renowned Youngstown Charity Horse Show.

She was a founding lifetime member and board member of Buckeye Horse Park. Sallie also operated her own seamstress business, Mateef Equine Designs, where she created show apparel and competitive gear for endurance riders. She was also a member of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) with 3,540 registered miles with many more miles under saddle training and pleasure riding. As an endurance rider, Sallie was as passionate about mentoring other riders as she was about racing. Sallie was also a member of the Greenford Christian Church in Greenford, Ohio.

Sallie and her daughter Megan hosted the Survivor Run event at Buckeye Horse Park since 2014 to share her passion of endurance riding and to promote awareness to early breast cancer detection.

In addition to her husband, Sallie leaves behind her children: Megan S. Hruska and husband Steve of Greenville, S.C.; Adam James Sullivan of Greenville, S.C.; a brother, Brian Kimmel of Burton; a sister, Gail “Cookie” Hull and husband Michael of Boardman; two grandchildren, Tyler Sullivan, and Evan Hruska. She also leaves behind her beloved animals, especially Penny the Pug.

A visitation will be held at The Kennedy Mortuary on Saturday, July 13, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.

A celebration of life will be held at Greenford Christian Church in Canfield on Saturday, July 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Flowers are welcomed and memorials may be made to Greenford Christian Church, 11767 Lisbon Rd, Greenford, OH 44422.

Visit www.thekennedymortuary.com to express condolences to the family.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Calling for Horse Selfie Photo Contest Entries and Votes!

We're still taking entries for Endurance.net's second photo contest, "HORSIE" - a selfie photo of you and your horse!
http://www.endurance.net/international/USA/2019HorsieContest2/

Top prize up for grabs is a custom painting by artist Steph Teeter.


Second through sixth prizes up for grabs are listed on our Contest page.

Highest number of votes wins - one vote per email address per day.

Enter your photos and vote now! at contests@endurance.net

See more of Steph's artwork at:
http://stepht.faso.com/

Sunday, July 14, 2019

2019 July's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning

Horsesinthemorning.com - Listen

July 9, 2019

Karen Chaton explains what tailing in an endurance ride is and how to do it safely, Alex Lewis tells us about her upcoming adventure to ride in the Gobi Desert Cup and, Plan, Prepare, Implement: Large Animal Emergency Evacuation Planning author Vicky Beelik offers some tips.

Listen in...
https://www.horsesinthemorning.com/tailing-for-endurance-riders-gobi-desert-cup-horse-evacuation-tips-july-9-2019/

Thursday, July 11, 2019

“To finish is to win” mantra of Barriere 50 mile endurance ride

BCLocalNews.com - Full Article

'No Bitch'in Barriere Ride-Just Ride' came off for both horses and riders without a hitch

JILL HAYWARD
Jul. 11, 2019

When the first truck and trailer arrived on Wednesday it became a reality, we were hosting the ‘No Bitch’in Barriere Ride – Just Ride’ endurance ride! After months of planning, strategizing, three trips to our property in the Barriere area to clear parking spots, mark trail, and do set up, we were ready. All 35 parking spots were filled and 46 horses were ready to go. We had capped the number of entries for the ride, to ensure adequate parking and being newbie ride managers, we wanted to make it a memorable manageable experience.

Endurance rides are races over a trail consisting of varied and challenging terrain. Horses are checked by qualified veterinarians and judges before, during, and after the ride. Endurance riders have to learn to condition their horse so that it can maintain a steady, fast pace over long distances. Riders and the ride crews work diligently to have the horses finish sound and healthy. The mantra for long distance riders is “to finish is to win...”

Read more at:
https://www.bclocalnews.com/news/to-finish-is-to-win-mantra-of-barriere-50-mile-endurance-ride/

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

2019 Tevis Cup: First 8 Junior Entries are Free!

JUNIORS RIDE FOR FREE! Thanks to several generous sponsors who have contributed to a fund dedicated to Junior Rider entries – the first EIGHT Junior Riders will have their entry fee PAID! Juniors are between 12 and 18 years old as of August 17, 2019. Both the junior and the sponsor must be qualified. The sponsor’s entry must accompany the junior’s entry. Sponsors must be 18 years of age by the ride date. Riders are responsible for their own stall and/or buckle fees.

More information at
http://teviscup.org/

Monday, July 08, 2019

Volunteering for Tevis

Teviscup.org

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Tevis Cup Ride. About 800 people participate each year on Ride Day – more than four per rider!

If you know what you'd like to do, or if you just want to help wherever needed, fill out our Volunteer Signup form. Our Volunteer Coordinator will respond and try to place you appropriately according to the needs of the Ride and to your needs and skills.

For help volunteer on trail maintenance contact Nicole (Chappell) Wertz or go to http://wstrail.org/.

Go here to get more information about volunteering with Communications or complete the Communications Signup Form.

To participate as a Sweep Rider, check out the S.O.S. website: http://sweepriders.org/

Please Note:
As you might imagine, the Ride is a huge effort that relies completely on volunteers. There are Head Volunteers who provide the leadership for each of the many vet checks, as well as other areas of Ride activity. These "HV's" necessarily operate with a good deal of independence, but under the overall guidance and coordination of the Ride Director and the Core Ride Committee. The need for volunteers in some areas may not be known until late in the weeks leading up to Ride Day.

More information at:
http://www.teviscup.org/how-to-help/volunteering-for-tevis?fbclid=IwAR2A6FWCo0n2scs7g8q3e-wFU9Pv6mNjZqwwFIR2gh3Xv27zPcyBeRxe0Wg

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Now Taking Entries for Endurance.Net's "HORSIE" Photo Contest!



May 22 2019

Self photographers and voters from around the world enthusiastically participated in Endurance.net's first photo contest, "Between the Ears", sharing their favorite trail views from the saddle. Bonnie Girod, from Libby, Montana, and her grade half Arabian Luna won first place and a custom painting by Steph Teeter.


Now it's time to enter Endurance.net's second photo contest, "HORSIE"!

A "HORSIE" shot is a Horse + Selfie. Take a selfie photo of you with your horse. Be creative, be humorous, be artistic. Email them to contests@endurance.net and include a few short details - your name, horse's name, and where the photo was taken.

Then start voting! One vote per email address per day is allowed. Anybody can enter; anybody can vote. Send your daily votes to contests@endurance.net .

We'll upload the photos to this page on Endurance.net, and post updates on Endurance.net's Facebook page, and everybody will be able to choose their favorite and vote via email. Contest begins today, July 2, and closes July 31.

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth places will be determined by sheer number of votes and will receive special prizes. Previous first place winners are not eligible for the first place prize :) .

First Place will receive a small painted portrait of your choice (horse or other pet), courtesy Steph Teeter (www.idaho.com/StephTeeterArt/consignment/ ).

Second place will receive a copy of Merri Melde's book, Tevis Cup Magic: Taking on the World's Toughest Endurance Ride (soft cover or ebook, your choice).

Third place will receive a copy of Leonard Liesen’s book ‘Endurance: a French Perspective'.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth places will receive a gift certificate from Riding Warehouse for $50, $25, and $10, respectively.

Send in your photos now, and vote once a day, now! contests@endurance.net



**Photos can be taken anywhere around the world, but USA addresses only are eligible for prizes, unless you want to pay postage and insurance**



Thursday, June 27, 2019

AHA Distance Nationals Entry Deadline is October 1

June 27 2019

The Distance Horse National Championships , to be held October 25-27 in Vinita, Oklahoma, is the overhead titled event hosted by AHA which include Open Owl Hoot Rides along with breed National Championships. Our partnered breeds are the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), the Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA), the Performance Shagya-Arabian Registry (PShR), the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA), the Akhal-Teke Association of America (ATAA) and the American Saddlebred Registry (ASR).
 
Along with our many National Breed Championships we also offer an Open Owl Hoot Spook AHA recognized Competitive Trail Ride and several Open Owl Hoot Spook Limited Distance, 50 Mile, and 100 Mile rides. This year all endurance Open Owl Hoot Spook Rides will be sanctioned by the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC.) The Distance Horse National Championships have also added the LD Challenge to the event which is for the same rider/horse combination entered in the all three Open Limited Distance Rides; rules and the point schedule can be found under the Exhibitor Information tab. Remember that all Open Owl Hoot Spook Rides are open to all breeds and require no qualifications or memberships!
 
Address:
430799 E 220 Rd.
Vinita, OK 74301

For schedule and more information see:
https://www.arabianhorses.org/competition/national-events/distance-nationals/

and
https://aerc.org/static/rideFlyers/2019OwlHootSpook.pdf

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Robie Run: LS Steele Breeze ("Breezy") - Remington Steele x LS Shareem

Teviscup.org

Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019

“Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you are reading this article, you know exactly what Emerson meant.

Horses have been inspiring humans for centuries, and those that reach the pinnacle of the Wendell Robie Trophy - signifying five completions of the Tevis Cup - are demonstrably special individuals. Here we present the stories of two such creatures, both of which will be at the starting line (fingers crossed), ready to add their names to the trophy in 2019.

LS Steele Breeze ("Breezy") - Remington Steele x LS Shareem


[written by Erin Glassman]

You may have to train your ears to listen for one of the latest horses competing in the race for her 500th Tevis mile.

Robie Cup contender LS Steele Breeze15, Breezy, lost her voice due to a bout with strangles as a yearling.

Owner Connie Creech says that “people laugh at her whinny—it comes out as a whisper.”

Breezy’s endurance career, however, is no laughing matter.

Born and bred on Creech’s farm in 2000, the grey ⅞ Arabian mare was raised specifically to do endurance. Her current lifetime accumulation of 4,690 AERC miles reflects her inherent talent that also includes a propensity for 100 mile rides.

“Breezy has completed seventeen 100 mile rides, six of those at the Virginia City 100 and four at Tevis,” states Creech. “She is a strong and steady horse...”

Read more at:
http://www.teviscup.org/robierun

2019 June's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning

Horsesinthemorning.com - Listen

Jun 11, 2019

Karen catches us up on her adventures from the last month and shares an Endurance Tip on avoiding equipment failure. We’ll hear from Kristen about our Product of the Month. Mike Williams will join in to tell us how he recently rode his mustang a WHOLE LOT of miles from Norco to Bishop, CA. Cindy Collins comes on to talk about taking over ride management of the Big Horn 100 in Wyoming. Andrea Maitland gives us a ride report on a new ride in Arizona. And then, we’ll let you know about some upcoming events taking place all over the country. Listen in...

https://www.horsesinthemorning.com/endurance-tip-on-avoiding-equipment-failure-product-of-the-month-and-ride-updates-june-11-2019/

Monday, June 24, 2019

Nominations Due July 8 for AERC Awards

There are only a couple weeks left to make your nominations for Hall of Fame Person and Equine, Pard'ners Award, Volunteer Service Award and Ann Parr Trails Preservation Award. Only a few nominations have been received; don't delay in getting your nominations in by July 8!

https://aerc.org/2019nomination

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

MERGA: Make Endurance Riding Great Again



by Merri Melde
June 19 2019

I love the stories of the Good Ol' Days of endurance riding. The days when AERC was new, people were younger, tougher, drove a decrepit 2-horse rig and threw their tack in the back of their beat up pickup and slept on the ground (or didn't sleep at all) and wore jeans and no helmets. (Lori Oleson wrote a good book, if you haven't read it: Endurance... Years Gone By)

It's time to face the fact that those Good Ol' Days are gone. I so wish I were wrong about this, but we are not going to see another Smokey Killen and Bandit, nor Donna Fitzgerald and Witezarif, nor Becky Hart and Rio. We won't see the fierce and fabled yearly mileage competition between Les Carr and Trilby Pederson.

There is not a groundswell of tough, young, obsessed riders coming up to replace us. Nobody drives a beat up rig and sleeps on the ground and wears jeans and a Western saddle anymore. Nobody's going to win Tevis and Virginia City 100 twelve times. Nobody's going to be king of the 5-day 255-mile endurance rides, because the stats say there aren't any, because nobody wants to ride them, or nobody has the horses to ride them, and ride managers don't have the entries to support them, because as an organization, the stats say we're all getting collectively old, and our horses are getting old and it's too hard or far to ride.

As it is now, if it were a for-profit business, AERC would fail. AERC as an organization is, to many, giving off the appearance of being exclusionary, blinkered and anti-change. For a business to survive, you have to give your customers what they want. If you can't provide the things that customers want, you have no customers, and you have no business. Those clients will go elsewhere. AERC has many different customers, and if it can't cater to all of them, category by category, they will go elsewhere to get what they want.

It is already happening right now in front of our eyes. We are all witnessing AERC splintering at all the seams, dropping off body parts one by one. AERC/FEI is toast. EDRA - whether it will remain viable or not - formed and (at times bitterly) split the Pacific Northwest region. The Duck rides had to adapt to change - to what the customers want - which may slice a large body part off if it splits from AERC. East vs West is coming. "LD" vs "Endurance" is a dagger in the heart of the sport. Crucifying the ride managers to conform to the Good Ol' Days mileage standards of AERC - which the Duck pointed out that many of those rides were before GPS and not measured accurately either - and which is not practical - is cutting off another limb.

What would that guy that used to have that TV show The Apprentice say if you brought AERC's current business plan to him? He'd say You're Fired. Your business plan is not viable.

AERC as an organization needs to decide what it wants. Is it just to provide mileage records and integrity and safety for the horses? Is it to maintain the integrity of Endurance as only 50 miles and up? Is it to keep long distance riding going in any form? Is it to only follow the rules and bylaws from the beginning of AERC? Is it to embrace riders of all distances and breeds to get out and ride - because does it really matter what breed you ride or how far? Is it to preserve the memories of Endurance in years gone by?

Are the semantics (you're only an endurance rider if you ride exactly 50 miles or more) more important than customers? The numbers of LD riders are growing across the country and helping support AERC rides. Most often now, they carry the events. Does AERC want that income? If semantics are more important, is AERC even necessary anymore? The unbeatable records and memories will always be there.

In another decade or two, will people look fondly back at AERC and think, "Whadda buncha Luddites. They were nice, but they all disappeared" or "They're still here, they were innovating and forward-thinking; they took from the old ways and adapted to the changing times" ?

Why do people ride endurance?

*I* define Endurance Riding as someone getting on a horse in an organized AERC ride, and attempting to ride 25 to 100 miles in one day. That is *MY* definition. I don't ride endurance to get awards or recognition. I don't care what people think of what distance I ride or where I finish. I currently ride endurance to get on a good horse out on trails I would normally never see. I ride it for the new stories I create and write about. I ride it for the challenge of getting a horse (and me) fit for 50 miles. I ride it because I love the partnership you develop getting a horse to this point. I ride it to share fun with like-minded friends who like riding in beautiful country. I ride it because I can choose from a myriad of goals within the sport. That is why I ride endurance right now. My goals will change over time, and it would be nice to still have all those options within AERC, and to have the support and encouragement from like-minded horse people, whether I decide to start riding 25 mile rides or attempt a 100 mile ride again, or do trail rides while the other crazies are riding farther.

AERC is approaching crisis mode. Where does the organization go from here? AERC *HAS* the willing customers. People *WANT* to pay to ride pre-marked trails of all distances. Maybe not as many people want to ride 255 miles or 100 miles or 75 miles or 50 miles anymore, but they want to ride. Repeat: people are still willing to *PAY MONEY* to do this, and they are willing to pay to be a member of *SOME* organization to be a part of it.

Yes, it was good times during the Good Ol' Days of endurance riding. Those ways and days are gone. Do we just let the sport die to prove a point? Or do we change to keep it going and give the willing customers what they want?

I am sad to see the Good Ol' Days are gone, but I would be sadder to see Endurance die off. Ignore everything, and the body continues to fall to pieces, limb by limb, until it can no longer support itself and it collapses.


It doesn't have to happen. We can start the new Good Ol' Days now. Americans were the leaders of the sport of endurance riding. We can still be the leaders into the new era. Change the rules, change the direction, change the purpose, or change the name of the organization. It's time for a new era in Endurance Riding.

MERGA!


**The opinions expressed above are my opinions on endurance, and I am always right. Unless I change my mind, in which case I am still right.


Endurance: A Look to the Future

XPRides.com

by The Duck, Dave Nicholson

After being actively involved in the sport of endurance for fifty-seven years, fifty-one of those as an event manager Ann and I look to the future with a heavy heart. Plain and simple, the sport is fading away and I see nothing on the horizon to keep it going. Its not just endurance riding that is failing; its all of the activities I have spent my life enjoying. Horse racing, horse shows, endurance and all other equine disciplines are on a steep decline. The AERC, in their infinite inability to look to the future and see what their actions will result in, are on the brink of financial collapse as they move to drastically cut back on the attendance of their sanctioned events. Anyone who thinks increasing mileages of existing rides by ten to thirty-five percent is not living in the real world. The demographics of the sport have changed dramatically as riders have aged and there are too few of today’s youth willing or able to make up the difference. Every endurance rider now living is going to die and as they get older and closer to death and debilitating dysfunctions they are going to no longer be able to do 100’s, then 50’s then 25’s and finally they won’t be able to get out of bed and go pet their old favorite horse. That folks, is an eternal truth. The path to successful continuation of the sport is to deal with that fact and offer venues that will offer the least able of us to continue to enjoy.

There was a time when Endurance was a growth sport. That growth came mainly from horse people who were tired of the increasing structure (rules) in CTR and horse show events. Endurance was a new sport that took riders and their horses to beautiful new places where they could share their love of the outdoors with their horses. AERC was started as a record keeping organization based in the west. Ride managers were free to improvise under broad interpretations of the basic rules. Over time that concept has succumbed to the “too many cooks spoil the broth” theory. Every new rule results in tightening the noose around the neck of ride managers. Its easy to sit in a board room, far from an event and order ride managers to strict interpretations of the many rules, but its a far different story when a RM is face to face with someone who has supported their event for years, and have to tell them they have to abide by some edict “because its in the rules”. Over the many years we have been involved in the sport, Ann and I have always tried to do what was fair and reasonable in keeping the spirit of the rules in mind. However, that practice has resulted in increasing grief and criticism in which we are no longer willing to withstand.

The latest and most egregious, of the recent decisions is over the mileage issue. Let me be absolutely clear: AERC has never had accurate mileage in a large percentage of the sanctioned rides. I know this as I was one of the few who had the equipment and ability to ride motorcycles with accurate rally odometers over many of the courses of years past, including the Tevis. Even back in the day when most of the country was open to motorized vehicles, the common practice for measuring mileage was by drawing the trail on a topographical map and then using a string to lay over the trail and measure the mileage using the scale at the bottom. The potential for error was huge, especially in difficult terrain. Our events were historically long and accurate as most were measured by the motorcycle odometer. Winning times of five hours with the last riders coming in before the 12 hour cut off were reasonable and were the standard for the sport. Since the advent of the GPS, there is a possibility of more accurate mileage when used properly by knowledgeable technicians. However, that requires a drastic change in what has been done in the past and leaves future riders being forced to compete against mileage records that are completely unsubstantiated as to correct mileage. No rational person can honestly believe that holding the western rides, which generally take place over more challenging terrain, to additional mileage requirements of ten to thirty-five percent for sanctioning, as not having a serious draconian effect on the AERC and the individual events. It will kill some of them. Kat Swigart in her infinite wisdom has proved beyond a doubt that many beautiful trails and venues will not support “accurate GPS mileage”. There is plenty of historical statistics to show what happens to rides when a competing ride shortens their trail. AERC BOD members are the poster children of short rides. For years they have gotten away with pointing fingers at others while putting on events that were ludicrously short.

So what is the way forward? I can’t speak for everyone, but this is what we are planning. This will be the last year that AERC sanctioned XP Rides will compensate for mileage with a time factor. Obviously our “short” rides that are taking 5.5 to 6.5 hours for people like Christoph Schork to win with some riders barely finishing or coming in overtime will become very difficult and close to impossible for people and horses to safely complete when additional miles are added. One of last years Mt Carmel rides would have only had two finishers on time if the remainder of riders continued the additional mileage at the same pace. If we are to do that, we will see the rides fade away as the number of riders and horses able to step up the pace are simply not available. The resulting drop in attendance can and will result in cancellation of rides as we will be unable to continue with the significantly fewer numbers. Bear in mind that Terry Wooley Howe cancelled a very popular and well attended ride because she needed a minimum of 65 riders a day to break even. Another west region manager told me they have to have a hundred riders to break even. While we can manage on smaller numbers we cant afford to drop to the level that will result with “accurate GPS mileage”. The only way forward I can presently see is to create a new association that will keep endurance records in the future. Keeping records is what AERC was originally all about but that has given way to micromanaging the ride managers in a mistaken attempt to “level the playing field”. Playing fields aren’t level when competing over varied terrain. Comparing 50 mile rides that are won in the 3 to 4 hour range with 35 to 40 mile rides that are won in the 6 to 7 hour range is ludicrous to say the least. It’s incredible the combined AERC BOD fail to see what increasing ride mileage from 10 to 35 percent is going to do to attendance. Its a no win situation for riders, management as well as the AERC. It has been suggested that we simply make the rides flat and easy so we can have accurate mileage. That is an antithesis to the XP model, which is to put on rides in scenic places on interesting but doable trails and over lands that can not be regularly accessed by the general public. Riders through the years have used the winning and final completion times in their decision making process when considering attending a ride that is new to them. I can see no way to come close to a “level playing field” than to include a time factor with GPS mileage. The standard in the west, as well as my personal standard was to adjust 50 mile rides to have a winning time of 5 to 5.5 hours and have all of the riders in by 11 hours. This worked in the past and will work for us in the future.

The way forward for XP Rides will be to continue doing the same rides as we always have with our same attitude towards being fair and consistent with everyone. We will do this by creating a new organization that will keep fees and rules to an absolute minimum. There is a model already in place for what we are planning. ECTRA, an eastern CTR organization has been co-sanctioning with endurance rides and keeping mileage records for their members that includes mileage from ANY organized distance event. As riders choose to participate in this new organization their combined mileages from AERC LD AND endurance miles will be combined, as will mileage from any other structured event, such as EDRA, FEI, NATRC and the XP Rides miles. LETS BE CLEAR: A FUTURE ORGANIZATION WILL ALLOW RIDERS TO START THEIR NEW MILEAGE RECORDS WITH THEIR CURRENT FEI, AERC, EDRA, XP AND CTR MILEAGES ALL COMBINED. After all, if creating a record of accomplishments for riders and horses is what is important, we should look at the big picture. A database is being created at present and we hope to have something up and running by then end of the AERC and FEI seasons. December 1st seems to be a common ending for competitive events and we hope a new Western Endurance Ride Association, composed of western endurance rides and riders will be in place at that time. The geographical area of the organization will start with the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and a small part of western South Dakota and include all states west of that geographic area. I want to be absolutely clear that we are not trying to replace AERC and we will continue to request AERC sanctioning but we will be more judicious in following the AERC rulebook. This will require significantly more effort on the part of riders. It will also require more effort on the part of management and judges. This is where the epigram “We can’t fix stupid but we can charge for it” comes into play. This is a good time to consider what it costs to conduct an FEI ride and why the entry fees are so high. The future, as I see it, is for western rides to offer events that offer dual opportunities to satisfy the needs of ride managers and riders alike.

I am truly sorry that it has come to this. I would have much preferred to see AERC become the a true National Body that would see a way forward to accommodate the many facets of our sport. Its about time we start looking at what we can do to save the sport.

A response from an AERC BOD member who “gets it”:

Comparing a mountainous and technically demanding course of western rides with flat and easy terrain in other parts of the country is just insane. It has been argued by SE riders that the humidity and high temps of some of these areas are also very demanding on the horses and match the challenges of our technical terrain. I have ridden in the winter months in these states and it is rather pleasant then. The rides are flat and have pleasant temperatures on top of it. The AERC Board could work on this mileage issue by implementing a difficulty rating in courses. That difficulty rating, or handicap system like they have in South Africa or Europe, is based on the winning time of the previous years course. This has worked well for ride managers in the west and is more in line with international practices. Marc Lindsay, from South Africa, who is working with me at the GETC has agreed to write a summary for us to explain how it is working and how it can get implemented.

Many riders just cannot do Multidays rides anymore when rides are excessively long. I have seen it with the Ft Stanton rides as an example. Years ago there were many Pioneer entries at Ft Stanton. It used to be a big ride. It was a rocky SOB, but it had good entry numbers nevertheless. Roger Taylor succumbed to the pressure by the AERC Board and made his rides so long that not one rider finished either of his Pioneer events last year. Not a single one! In fact, his entries for the 50 were down to 6 entries on the last day. The demographics have changed and the average age of riders is older and they just cannot and do not want to do it anymore. Ft Stanton entries are just a shadow from what they once were. In talking to Roger he said he felt pressured to make his rides now over 50 miles just to keep the critics at bay. He barely has any revenue anymore, surely not enough to continue without outside support. I’m not sure he can even afford to conduct them anymore. That is totally ludicrous.

The threats and intimidation tactics employed by some BOD members towards RMs for so-called short rides have to stop. Otherwise we soon won’t have any RMs anymore. Who is going to be willing to do all the work organizing rides, often loosing money while doing so, and then be expected to accept abuse by AERC Board members on top of it all?

According to statistics on the AERC website, if XP Rides were counted as a region they would be the third largest region in the AERC. Should XP Rides not be sanctioned in the future , the ripple effect could very well cause other ride managers to follow that path. That would spell disaster for AERC.

A CLARIFICATION TO THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE FOR THOSE WHO INSIST ON MISINTERPRETING WHAT IS BEING SAID

Those who have misrepresented that I have admitted to running 35 mile 50’s are wrong. We have never run a 35 mile 50. We have tried to explain, over and over that the tracks we give out at the ride are truncated. Those who do not know what a truncated track file is have no business commenting on GPS mileage. The tracks that I have from OTHER AERC RIDES, not XP Rides, are the ones that get down into the thirties. Many of the rides judged as “short” have inherent errors in the calculation. We have made it clear that we have done what was the industry standard over the years. The point is that AERC needs to adapt to new technology in a modern world. Once again, all riders know that Riding Time is the most accurate prediction of difficulty for a course. Hopefully the AERC, in a good faith effort will come up with a solution that will allow all the rides, east and west, to prosper. If not, the AERC and the sport is likely to cease to exist.