Sunday, August 20, 2017

Gwen Hall and Sizedoesntmatter Win AERC National Championship 100

August 20 2017
by Merri

Gwen Hall, 51, of Woodland Park, Colorado, and her 11-year-old Arabian gelding Sizedoesntmatter won the 100-mile AERC National Championship Sunday in La Veta, Colorado. The duo won by a head over Hannah Pruss and Stuart (the one-eyed horse) in a ride time of 11:21.17. Gwen was also First Featherweight; Hannah was First Middleweight.

The two ladies rode together much of the day. By mile 56, they had outdistanced the next riders by almost an hour, and they increased their lead the rest of the ride to 2 1/2 hours at the finish.

Christoph Schork, of Moab, Utah, aboard GE Stars Aflame, finished third in a ride time of 13:53.20 (*my math is suspect this time of night*). Carla was First Lightweight.

German Carla Lakenbrink, riding Schork's Medina MHF was 4th in 13:53.30*.

Fifth place went to Gunnar Frank, of Vinita, Oklahoma, and Trinity, in a ride time of 15:17.10*. Gunnar was First Heavyweight.

4 riders were still out on course at 10 PM.

Three horses were eliminated in the first mile of the first loop after an unfortunate trail snafu and a couple of unplanned, forced dismounts in the dark: Alanna Frank's Maverick, Connie Caudill's Tans Terminator, and Lois McAfee's Macho Man. Tans Terminator and Macho Man were lost till daylight, but the 3 horses received only minor injuries, and the riders are fine.

Tammy Gagnon and Secret Lover dropped out after the first 24-mile loop. They passed the vet check, but the mare was uncharacteristically ADR - Ain't Doin' Right, so they pulled.

Marcella Hughes and her gelding Oliver Swift made it to 89 miles, the last Gate and Go vet check, before a hind end lameness took them out.

Best Condition judging is at 9:30 tomorrow morning, more to come.

Photos and results and more (videos coming!) from the day, and every day at the AERCNC, at

Rebuilding a community of riders

Hannah Hunsinger Journal staff

“Who else would I want to spend all day with, besides my horse?” Michele Seaman said about why she loves endurance rides.

Seaman and a group of dedicated friends want to build a community of endurance riders by restarting the Fort Meade Remount Endurance Ride, which took place for the second year on Saturday morning at the Fort Meade Recreational Area. Although the ride had taken place for many years under Kerry Greear, it languished after her retirement. With no one else willing to lead the charge, Seaman finally took up the reins.

“The heart (of the event) is to keep the organization to keep going,” said Seaman. “Because so many equestrian events are dying rather than growing.”

This year, 63 riders from six states turned out to test their horses and their skills in three different rides: a 50-miler, a 25-miler and an introductory 12-miler. The 50-mile race, broken into three legs with mandatory one-hour rest periods between, included a loop all the way to Bear Butte Lake.

“Some of the horses love to get out on the trail, and they just like to move,” said Seaman. “It’s like, why does anybody like to do long distance marathon running? The other part is the training … it’s just an amazing partnership that you have with your horse.”

[Full story]

Saturday, August 19, 2017

AERC Nat'l Championships: Fun Day, Rest Day, Prep Day

August 19 2017
by Merri

Saturday at the AERC National Championships in La Veta, Colorado, was a day of fun, relaxation, and prep for Sunday's 100-mile Championship.

All day pig roast, fantastic musician/singer Bruce Hayes, an L.D. ride, getting ready for tomorrow's National Championship 100-mile ride.

Loops for the 100-mile ride are:
Loop 1 - 24 miles, in camp gate and go
Loop 2 - 17 miles, out vet check, 1 hour
Loop 3 - 15 miles, out vet check, gate and go
Loop 4 - 15 miles, in camp vet check, 1 hour
Loop 5 - 18 miles, in camp gate and go
Loop 6 - 11 miles, in camp finish

Pulse is 64 all day. Start time is 4:30 AM. Best Condition judging will be at 9:30 Monday morning.

Last year's 100-mile Spanish Peaks ride was won in a ride time of 17:40. It's a true mountainous 100-mile ride!

Updates of the ride (crossing my fingers!!!!!) will come at each vet check:


Twitter: @endurancenet


Colorado: AERC National Championship 100-Mile Start List

#100 MW Christoph Schork - Stars Aflame
#101 — Carla Lakenbrink - Medina MHF
#102 FW Tammy Gagnon - Secret Lover
#103 HW Gunnar Frank - Mi Clever Ansata
#104 FW Alanna Frank - Maverick
#105 HW Neil McLaughlin - Hastyflyer Zeus
#106 FW Gwen Hall - Sizedoesntmatter
#107 FW Hannah Pruss - Stuart
#108 FW Marcelle Hughes - Oliver Swift
#109 FW Kerry Redente - AM Great Othello
#110 FW Connie Caudill - Tans Terminator
#111 FW Lois McAfee - Macho Man
#112 FW Kelsie Lewis - IA Donovan
#113 FW Jennifer Poling - Prado CF

14 starters

Updates will be posted (fingers crossed!!!!!) from each vet check.
Start time 4:30 AM.

Distance Nationals Right Around The Corner!

August 18 2017

The Distance Horse National Championships is returning to Steph Teeter's Ranch this year in Oreana, Idaho from Oct. 6 to 8. We are very excited to have the Appaloosa Horse Club again this Fall, along with the Paso Fino Horse Association an additional partner.

There are several ride opportunities at the Distance Horse National Championships, including the AHA Competitive Trail Ride (CTR) National Championship starting on October 6; AHA Open CTR; American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC); Open Limited Distance and 50 Mile rides. Rides on October 7 will be the AHA 50 Mile National Championship; Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Ride; Paso Fino National Championship Endurance Ride; AERC Open Limited Distance and 50 Mile rides. Rides on October 8 will be the AHA 100 Mile National Championship; AERC Open Limited Distance; 50 Mile and 100 Mile rides.

All Open CTR, 50 Mile, 100 Mile and Open Limited Distance rides are open to ALL BREEDS and are recognized by both AHA and AERC.

As a reminder, if you own a Half-Arabian that is also a registered Appaloosa, you may enter both 50 Mile National Championship rides.

Make your plans now to attend the 2017 Distance Nationals in beautiful Oreana, Idaho! It is never too early to enter the National & Open Rides. To enter, please click here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sami Browneller and Kaytwo Win AERC National Championship 50

August 18 2017
by Merri

Local riders took 3 of the 4 top spots in the AERC National Championship 50 mile ride in La Veta, Colorado, on August 18, 2017.

Sami Browneller, 30, of Monument, Colorado, and her mom's 6-year-old Arabian gelding Kaytwo won the 50 miler in a ride time of 4:32.59. Sami was also first Lightweight. 16-year-old Cassidy Jaksch, from Sedalia, Colorado, finished second aboard her 10-year-old Arabian gelding Give Us a Kiss in a ride time of 4:45.04.

Third place Jennifer Poling and her 12-year-old Arabian gelding Eagle Baikal travelled to Colorado from West Virginia for the Championship. They finished in 4:45.06. Jennifer was first Featherweight.

Fourth place went to Sami's mom Linda Browneller and her 18-year-old Arabian gelding Khaaruso in 4:51.06. Linda was first Middleweight.

Fifth across the finish line was Jessica Woolery and WA Borkata, who was unfortunately pulled at the final vet check.

Fifth place went to Cheryl Van Deusen of Dayton, Florida, riding Jeff Stuart's 10-year-old Arabian gelding DWA Malik, in a ride time of 5:14.30. This pair *just* nipped Canadian Elroy Karius and his 15-year-old Arabian gelding Jolly Holiday at the finish line.

Seventh place went to Jeff Stuart of Utah and his 13-year-old Arabian gelding JV Remington in 5:14.33. Jeff was first Heavyweight.

Eighth place was Bill Fuller and Emmie Lou in 5:14.40; ninth was Tammy Gagnon and Ginger Rogers in 5:26.15; tenth was Carla Lackenbrink, riding Christoph Schork's RR Jazz Dancer in 5:28.29.

First and only Junior finisher was Taylor Fisher of Aurora, Colorado and Kenlyn Kourvy. Her sponsor was Steve Downs riding Kenlyn Porsche.

Best Condition went to Jennifer Poling and Eagle Baikal.

31 out of 34 starters finished the ride. 4 open riders completed. Of the 3 pulls, 1 was a Rider Option, 1 was Metabolic, 1 was Lame.

Photos of the day, and more stories and photos at:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

AERC National Championship 50-Miler Tomorrow

August 17 2017

Starting tomorrow (Friday) at 7 AM, 35 riders will leave the starting line of the 50-mile ride near La Veta, Colorado. We have one Junior riding (Taylor Fisher). 4 of the riders are Open riders, who will start after the Championship riders (and will pick up Taylor anywhere along the way, if her sponsor can't continue).

First loop is 17 miles, with an out vet check and hold of 1 hour, then a 15-mile loop back to camp for a 45 minute hold, then a final 18 mile loop back to camp for the finish.

"It's a tough, technical trail," said ride manager Tennessee Lane. "You'll have some steep climbs and steep descents, and some places you'll be able to move out on. Go slow where you need to go, and move out where you can.

"And have fun. We do this because we enjoy it."

"Ride safe, ride smart," head veterinarian Tom Courier said. "This ride is in the true spirit of endurance. Take care of your horses."

I'll try to send out updates and keep you up to date of at least the top ten throughout the day, and the pulls. Updates will be at:


Twitter: @endurancenet


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

AERC National Championships: A Big Venture

August 16 2017

Ride Manager Tennessee Lane's got a lot on her plate right now. In case you didn't notice, she won Tevis less than 2 weeks ago. She's back in La Veta, Colorado, putting the finishing touches on this year's National Championships course.

It's only her second year putting on rides, so what on earth would possess her to put on a National Championship? "Yeah," she said. "I'm a little crazy." But AERC actually approached her about putting on a challenging National Championship ride at this venue.

Tennessee has created some 130 miles of trails, so nothing but the ins and outs of camp repeat, and it's all on private land. She's worked very hard with the local ranchers to get their permission to put on her rides over trails on their land. You can't ride these trails except at Tennessee's rides.

The trails are stunningly beautiful (the twin Spanish Peaks dominate the southern skyline); ridecamp is at 8,000 feet, and it will indeed be a challenging mountain trail. "This is a true representation of the southern Colorado Rockies and I don't intend to butter that up for you," her SoCoEndurance website says. There's plenty of diverse terrain, with climbs and descents and technical stretches to slow you down (so you can enjoy the magnificent scenery) and plenty of flat miles to cruise on.

Currently there are about 20 signed up for the 100 mile ride on Sunday, and about 40 for the 50 on Friday.

More to come at:

AERC National Championship Coverage will be bringing you daily reports from the AERC National Championships in La Veta, Colorado, beginning this evening.

The 50 mile championship is Friday (7 AM start time) and the 100 mile championship is Sunday (5 AM start time). Updates will be hopefully be posted during the day (depending on reception), and if not, definitely at night!

Tune in for stories, photos and more!

Follow stories and twitter updates at:


Twitter: @endurancenet


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Paradise teen completes 100-mile, 24-hour horse ride - Full Article

By Eli Stillman, Paradise Post
POSTED: 08/11/17

The 100-mile race known as the Tevis Cup provides horsemen with some of the toughest terrain to traverse and only 24 hours to do it.

Jakob Gregory, a 15-year-old Paradise resident, has been competing in endurance races like these since he was young, but this was the first year he was complete the course which is known as one of the toughest in the world.

Sponsored by Echo Valley Ranch, a feed store in Auburn, Gregory and his crew traveled to Tahoe in anticipation of the 5 a.m. start time on Aug. 5.

Beginning at Squaw Valley, the riders embark on the Western States Trail that leads them across tall peaks and through hot valleys until they arrive at the finish line Auburn.

Along the way there are checkpoints and rest stops for the riders and their horses. Known as vet stations, the stops examine the horses’ health by taking their pulses, checking muscle soreness and levels of hydration. If a horse’s wellness is below the acceptable level in any of the criteria, it is pulled from the race.

Each year, nearly half of the horses and their riders drop out.

For Gregory, an incoming sophomore at Paradise High School, the endurance races provide a different kind of challenge than the three sports he plays a year...

Read more here:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

One Week Till the AERC National Championships in Colorado

August 10 2017

"Holy mother of distractions! #Tevis #WorthIt," AERC National Championship Ride Manager Tennessee Lane posted. For those of you who missed it (!), Tennessee and Auli Farwa won the Tevis Cup last weekend, August 5th. But she's back in Colorado, putting the last minute touches on the organization and trails for the AERC Nat'l Championship 50-mile ride (Friday August 18) and 100-mile ride (Sunday August 20).

You can still sign up for the rides (click here)

Veterinarians will be: Head Vet: Dr Tom Currier. Treatment Vet: Dr Laura Blanton. Vet Panel: Dr Carter Hounsel, Dr Jim Baldwin.  Assisting Vets: Dr Miranda Andress, Dr Larry Moore.

Base Camp will be primitive camping; horse water will be provided at the tanks in camp (RV-hookups are coming in the future!) There will be porta-potties and a trash dumpster available to you. Please spread your manure and fill in any holes your horse digs. Dogs are allowed in camp, any aggressive dogs should be left at home or kept on a very short leash. Any dogs that bark incessantly or instigate fights will be given a large bowl of spicy chili and a king-size snickers, and then locked in your LQ.

Be prepared for any weather, as Colorado is known for packing 4 seasons into a day. Highs are predicted in the mid-to-upper 70's, wth lows expected in the mid-50's. Thundershowers are possible in the afternoons. will be onsite to report and keep you up to date as possible, and, upon finding internet each night, will send short titillating stories. 

Follow along at:

and on Ridecamp:

and on Twitter @endurancenet with the hashtag #AERCNationalChampionships :

and on Facebook - Endurance Net

Elayne Barclay's Missing Horse in Three Sisters Wilderness


Fletch is missing in the Three Sisters wilderness not far from Whispering Pines horse camp. He was last seen at Milican Crater Trail. He is an appoloosa/paso fino gelding and is an Endurance horse, capable of 50-100 miles a day.

Incident Details

Incident Date: 8/2/2017
Location: Sisters (Deschutes County), OR, 97759, USA Rider stopped to have lunch on the trail, and when she want to get back on the horse, he escaped and ran away.
Fletch was wearing red tack. US Forest Land near Whispering Pines Horse Camp, 3 Sisters Wilderness Area, Oregon. Last Seen Millican Crater Trail.

Equine Name: APP Flecha de la Estrella
Breed:Appaloosa - Paso Gender:Gelding
Age:13 years
Height:14.3 hands
Weight:800 lbs
All Markings
Face: Star
Details: White across forehead with brown markings mottled in.
Leg Markings: Left Front Leg - Sock • Left Rear Leg - Sock • Right Front Leg - Stocking • Right Rear Leg - None •
Other Details: Bay roan with mixed white in tail and body.
Endurance Riding, Trail Riding: Recreational


For more information see:

Venable pair wins Ride & Tie world championship - Full Article

by Jim McGrath

Augut 6 2017

Rhonda and Dave Venable of Toano won the 47th annual Ride and Tie World Championship held July 22 in Orkney Springs, in Shenandoah County.

Twenty-eight teams from across the country participated in the 35-mile race, which was held on the East Coast for the first time. Ride and Tie has a long history in the West, where it was first sponsored by Levi's in 1971.

In eight years of competition, the Venables had won yearlong point championships three times, as well as the past two East Coast championships. However, this was their first world title.

Rhonda Venable, a former cross-country coach at Bethel High, is a teacher at Crittenden Middle School in Newport News. She and husband Dave relocated from Yorktown to Toano in June, and trained at York River Park for the final six weeks leading to the event.

Participants alternate between endurance riding on horses and trail running on their own. Each team must get all three members (two humans and one horse) across the cross-country course by alternately riding and running.

A favorite strategy is for the rider, being faster, to gallop ahead and tie the horse to a tree before beginning his/her running portion of the race. Subsequently, the team member who started off running on foot will reach the horse, untie it, mount and begin riding, all the way past the first runner. The leapfrog type of activity continues throughout the race...

Read more here:

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

2017 August's Endurance Horses in the Morning

Horsesinthemorning - Listen

08-08-2017 Endurance Day – Tevis Winner Tenney, Haggin Cup Winner Reynolds, Farkas Completes Again

Aug 8, 2017

On today’s Endurance episode with Karen Chaton we chat with Tevis Cup winner Tenney Lane, Haggin Cup winner Jeremy Reynolds and Molly Farkas shares her adventures riding this year’s race on her Appaloosa Spotted Wap; 49 years after her first Tevis Cup. Listen in...

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

2017 Appaloosa Nat'l Championship Endurance Ride in Idaho, October 7

2017 Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Ride, Oreana, Idaho, October 7. The 2017 Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Ride (ANCER) will be held in conjunction with the Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals in Oreana, Idaho on October 7, 2017. The ride is called "Owyhee Canyonlands Pioneer" and is an AERC-sanctioned 50-mile ride.

ANCER has been held in locations across the country from Maine to California. It is rotating to the Western U.S. this year. The Arabian Horse Association and Appaloosa Horse Club are partnering for the second year to hold a multi-breed National Endurance Championship ride. Registered Appaloosas that are also registered with AHA as ½ Arabian may enter both National Championships.
Go to to download forms.

The ANCER will be held in conjunction with the Arabian Distance Horse National Championships.

Auli Farwa and Tennessee Lane Win 2017 Tevis Cup

Photo: Ron Osborn - Full Article

By Marsha Hayes Aug 7, 2017

At 10 p.m. on Aug. 5, Tennessee Lane and the 17-year-old Arabian gelding Auli Farwa (or “Farr”) crossed the finish line 12 minutes ahead of their nearest competitors to win the 62nd Tevis Cup.

The iconic endurance challenge requires each horse and rider team to cover 100 miles within 24 hours. Multiple veterinary checkpoints, including a final vetting after finishing, are designed to keep equine athletes healthy and safe throughout the competition. Of this year’s 174 starters, 92 finished the course for a 52% completion rate.

This win brought Farr’s life-time endurance competition record to 74 starts with 74 finishes, now including eight Tevis completions...

Read more here:

Monday, August 07, 2017

A Brief Look at the AERC National Championship Trails in Colorado

August 7 2017

With less than 2 weeks to go till the AERC National Championships in Colorado, here's a quick overview of the trails you'll ride on the 50 mile ride (Friday August 18) and the 100 (Sunday August 20).

This is a true representation of the Southern Colorado Rockies and I don’t intend to butter that up for you. If you are worried about it being too challenging or technical, then ride the LD, I will make sure the LD is geared back so that inexperienced riders and horses can enjoy a less challenging but equally beautiful ride. The awesome geology around here makes for diverse terrain, with lots of climbs and descents as well as a few flat easy miles to cruise on. There will be some brief technical stretches to keep you entertained, so dismount when prompted if you are nervous. As for the endurance riders (50+ miles,) yes, this will be a challenging ride interspersed with technical stretches that will slow you down, so be smart with your pacing, make up time on the easy stuff and take your time in the tough stuff. I have designed the loops to mix it up, nice easy fast stretches interspersed with slow challenging climbs, descents, and fun technical stuff to keep you awake and give you something to write home about. The scenery is truly unbeatable, the ride camp setting is gorgeous, and as I said, the trails are diverse, with footing varying from flat, canterable-sandy-loam, to steep, walk-it-rocky. The land we are riding across is cattle country – there will be gates. I’m doing my best to minimize the number of gates, and improve the functionality of the ones we must keep closed. There is ample water on the trail, mostly cow tanks but also natural streams and ponds. Altitude: Camp is at >8000′ and the ride will range from 7000′ to a little over 9000′. Please remember that we just got through our FIRST YEAR, we want you guys to be safe and have a BLAST, we are still building trails.  Please feel free to give us constructive comments, advice, and recommendations, we’re doing our best for you!

To sign up for the ride, go to:

Ride coverage will be at:

Fast Lane - Full Article

Saturday Aug 05 2017
62nd annual Tevis Cup

Colorado rider surges past front-runner in final stretch to make a two-time winner out of her horse, Auli Farwa

By: Jeff Nicholson, Sports Editor

Some good old-fashioned whiskey took down fine wine.

Tennessee Lane, riding Auli Farwa, nipped at Napa resident Lindsay Fisher’s heels from the Soda Springs start on Saturday and surged past her in the homestretch to finish at 10 p.m. and win the 62nd annual Tevis Cup Ride.

Fisher, aboard Monk, held the slimmest of leads at the Francisco’s checkpoint, but Lane pulled even by River Crossing and eventually won the race by 12 minutes.

This is the second time Auli Farwa has won the Tevis Cup; Jennie Smith rode him to victory in 2015.

The two finished well ahead of the rest of the pack. Jeremy Reynolds, riding Treasured Moments, looked to be solidly placed for third, with a lead of at least 15 minutes, but the rider chasing him was defending champion Dr. Karen Donley, again riding Royal Patron, who surged up the leaderboard in the last third of the race but ran out of time to chase down the front-runners...

Read more here:

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Jeremy Reynolds and Treasured Moments Win 2017 Haggin Cup

August 6 2017
by Merri

Third place Tevis Cup finisher Jeremy Reynolds and the Reynolds' 7-year-old Arabian mare Treasured Moments have won the 2017 Haggin Cup award, the horse in "most superior physical condition" of yesterday's Top Ten Tevis finishers. The pair finished 1 hour 9 minutes behind the winners, Tennessee Lane and Auli Farwa.

Treasured Moments, by DA Adios X Hidden Treasure, by RD Five Star, has an 11 for 11 AERC finish record. This was her first 100 mile ride. Jeremy is a 3-time Tevis Cup and now 3-time Haggin Cup winner.

Complete finish is here:

More stories from the 2017 Tevis Cup are here:

Auli Farwa and Tennessee Lane Win Tevis Cup

Auli Farwa: 8th Tevis Buckle, 74th Completion, Zero Pulls

August 6 2017
by Merri

The amazing endurance horse Auli Farwa completed the Tevis Cup for the 8th time yesterday, finishing his 74th ride without a pull. Ridden by Tennessee Lane, of La Veta, Colorado, the pair crossed the finish line at McCann Stadium at the Auburn (California) Fairgrounds at 10 PM, in first place.

The race was a close, exciting one from Foresthill (68 miles) on, with Lindsay Graham and Monk leaving that hour hold 3 minutes ahead of Tennessee and "Far." Jeremy Reynolds and Treasured Moments, and Heather Reynolds and Grand Ku were close to the leading pair at this point, having moved steadily forward all day, but the 20 minute gap got bigger the rest of the race. Jeremy/Treasure Moments would finish 3rd at 11:09, and Heather/Grand Ku were pulled at Francisco's at 85 miles for lameness.

Tennessee and Far left the last checkpoint, the Lower Quarry at 94 miles, two minutes ahead of Lindsay and Monk, and ultimately arrived at the finish line 12 minutes ahead of Lindsay and Monk.

It was Tennessee's first endurance ride on Far. Over his 4500 miles and 11 seasons of endurance, the now-17-year-old gelding has carried 4 riders to the Tevis finish line: Kevin Myers in 2009. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014; Jenni Smith in 2015; Rusty Toth in 2016, and Tennessee this year. 4 of those were Top Ten finishes, and all but 1 were in the top 15. Far won the Haggin Cup in 2015 with Jenni Smith.

Now owned by Rusty Toth, Far was previously owned by Kevin Myers, who took his life last year. This year's Tevis was a sweet win for all of us who remember and miss Kevin.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Fall Special for New Endurance Riders from the American Endurance Ride Conference

August 5 2017

When you think of endurance riding, you may conjure up images of 100-mile rides across rocky terrain or multi-day rides across the high desert. In reality, endurance riding careers can begin with a relatively easy 10-mile introductory ride or a 25-mile limited distance ride—not so forbidding for those new to distance riding.

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) is making those first steps to endurance riding a little easier with their 2017 Fall Special promotion.

Beginning now, new members can join for the remainder of the 2017 ride season and all of the 2018 ride season, which runs through November 30, 2018, for the discounted price of $88.75. Additional adult family members are $57.50; those 17 or younger are $27.

“Autumn is a great time to get started in endurance riding, with cooler weather and spectacular fall foliage,” said AERC Executive Director Kathleen Henkel, from AERC’s national office in Auburn, California. “If you’ve been riding regularly, your trail horse may already be ready for a 25-mile ride.”

Many endurance rides also offer 10 to 15 mile “intro” rides, just for equine and rider teams to get acquainted with ride procedures and etiquette. Each equine, even at fun rides, will be checked by a veterinarian before and after the ride, with a check that includes heart rate, limb soundness, hydration and gut sounds, to ensure the horse is deemed “fit to continue.”

“Our Fall Special has been very popular each year,” said Henkel. “During the summer, there is a lot of publicity about some of AERC’s big rides, like the Tevis Cup in California, the National Championships (this year in Colorado), the Biltmore ride in North Carolina and multi-day rides across the U.S. The Fall Special gives people a chance to get their new member educational packet and get the ‘lay of the land’ before the next ride season begins.”

AERC members receive a monthly magazine, Endurance News, in the mail every month, as well as an endurance riding handbook, rule book and educational materials that come along with their membership card. Fall Special members will receive both 2017 and 2018 AERC ID cards.

Online Fall Special signups may be made at

If interested in receiving more information about AERC and endurance riding, request a copy of AERC’s Discover Endurance Riding booklet here: The booklet shares the adventure and camaraderie experienced by members of the nonprofit organization.

About AERC

In addition to promoting the sport of endurance riding, AERC has encouraged the use, protection, and development of equestrian trails, especially those with historic significance, since 1972. Many special events of four to six consecutive days take place over historic trails. The founding ride of endurance riding, the Western States Trail Ride or Tevis Cup, covers 100 miles of the famous Western States and Immigrant Trails over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These rides promote awareness of the importance of trail preservation for future generations and foster an appreciation of our American heritage.

The American Endurance Ride Conference, established in 1972, is headquartered in Auburn, California, “The Endurance Capital of the World.” For more information please visit us at

Friday, August 04, 2017

2017 Tevis - Who to Watch For

August 4 2017
by Merri

With 1 day to go for the 2017 Tevis Cup, 171 riders signed up as of August 2. Who will make the Top Ten this year, and who will the winner be? Here are a few horses and riders to watch, if you're a betting man.

Last year's Tevis Cup winners, Karen Donley, of Mountain Center, California, and her 15-year-old Arabian mare Royal Patron, return to the course. Karen will be riding with her son JJ Donley, aboard his 8-year-old Arabian gelding MMF Aragorn. Karen and JJ have ridden the Tevis together 5 times, but they have never both completed the ride. Maybe this will be the year it happens.

The Reynolds, of Dunnellon, Florida are back. Jeremy (4th place last year) will be riding their 7-year-old Arabian mare Treasured Moments. Jeremy is a 3-time Tevis Cup and 2-time Haggin Cup winner. Heather will ride their 8-year-old Arabian gelding Grand Ku. Heather is a 2-time Tevis Cup and 1-time Haggin Cup winner.

Lindsay Fisher, of Napa, California, and Chris Martin's 15-year-old Arabian gelding Monk are back. The pair finished 8th in 2015 and 5th in 2016.

The Blakeley family from Terrebonne, Oregon, who consistently finish in the Top Ten or 15 of Tevis are back. This year parents Gabriela and Wasch will ride. Gabriela will ride their 8-year-old Arabian gelding LLC Pyros Choice, and Wasch will be aboard their 8-year-old gelding Ra Ares Bey. Son Barrak won the 2014 Haggin Cup.

Tony Benedetti, of Santa Rosa, California, who finished 9th last year, will ride his 11-year-old Arabian gelding TCF Arowdy Knight.

Last year's 10th place finisher, Suzy Hayes of Arlee, Montana, and her 14-year-old Anglo-Arabian Greenbriar Al Jabal, return this year to the trail.

The 'two Jennies' will ride again this year. Jennifer Waitte, of Napa, California, will ride her 7-year-old half Arabian gelding De La Cruz. Jenni Smith, of Moraga, California, will ride the 10-year-old Arabian gelding French Fry. Jenni won the Haggin Cup aboard Auli Farwa in 2015

The phenomenal 17-year-old Arabian gelding Auli Farwa, owned by Rusty Toth, will be ridden by Tennessee Lane, of La Veta, Colorado. Far won the Haggin Cup (2015 with Jenni Smith), and has a perfect 73-73 record, including 7 Tevis Cup finishes.

2009 Haggin Cup winner Melissa Ribley (riding LD Monique that year) will be riding her 7-year-old Arabian gelding Ever Ready.

Keep an eye on Leah Cain, of Gypsum, Colorado, and her homebred 10-year-old Arabian gelding OT Dyamonte Santo. This pair won last year's AERC National 100-mile Championship.

Another Championship pair are Christoph Schork, of Moab, Utah, and his 15-year-old Arabian mare GE Stars Aflame. This pair have won numerous national awards, including the 2013 50 mile championship, the 2011 100-mile championship, and the 2010 War Mare award.

You might also want to watch out for young Bryna Stevenson, from Newton, New Jersey, and her Arabian cross mare Whisperstreams Atropine, winner of the 2014 100-mile Old Dominion, and the 2015 AERC National 100-mile Championship. I'm just sayin'.

If you're a Mule fan, Frank Smith, of Grass Valley, California, is riding his 16-year-old gelding Raptor. Jani Collins, from Sheridan, California, is aboard her 7-year-old mare mule Wide Awake. Brian Reome of Grass Valley, California will ride his 15-year-old gelding Hondo, all mules doing their first Tevis.

You can pick your own favorites: start list is here:

and you'll be able to follow your riders tomorrow at various sources:

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Are You Qualified for the AERC Nat'l Championships?

August 3 2017

With 15 days to go to the AERC National Championships in La Veta, Colorado, there's still time to sign up for the 50 (August 18) or 100 milers (August 20).

Riders Must Be Qualified To Enter the Championship 50 & 100!!!

a) All entrants must be current full members of AERC
b) All riders must ride in the declared weight division
c) Riders will be eligible* to participate in this event by qualifying under the AERC-NC criteria defined as follows:


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

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

Alternative qualifications for 100 mile ride: Horse/rider as a team have completed 1,000 AERC endurance miles together (rides of 50miles or more only).

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

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

*If you do not meet qualification criteria for the NC ride but still want to participate in the event, then you can enter and ride for miles and completion only (no placing) and you must promise to sponsor a Junior rider in the case that a Junior rider’s sponsor is pulled.  Also, a qualified Junior rider may start off with a sponsor who is not qualified (the junior will place, but the sponsor will get completion miles only) – ALL finisher will be treated equally when it come to completions awards, however only NC competitors will receive NC buckles.  

*AERC is providing completion buckles for the National Championship 100 (included in entry fee,) anyone who would like a Spanish Peaks 100 buckle in addition to that may purchase one at the finish for $100, they will be available on site.  It has been accepted that the AERC National Championships is its own, unique event, but it is in fact on the Spanish Peaks 100 course, so we want to first and foremost recognize AERC, but also give you the opportunity to sport the coveted SP100 buckle upon completion of the course.

Bring it on!  Good luck!!!

To sign up, and for more information, see:

2 Upstate NY women to compete in world’s longest horse race - Full Story

By Diane Lee
Published: July 28, 2017

The most famous horse race may be the Kentucky Derby. But for the last 8 years, the world’s longest and toughest horse race according to the Guinness Book of Records has been the Mongol Derby.

This year, four women from the Carolinas were accepted into the grueling competition through the Mongolian Countryside.

Two of those riders are from the Upstate, and 7News got a chance to talk to them before they leave on the journey of a lifetime.

A 21 year age difference, makes no difference when you share a passion.

In 2015, it took 59-year-old Claire Summers, with grown kids and grandkids, and 38-year-old Rachel Land, with one of her four kids still in diapers, no time to become fast friends.

“I think we are just great for each other, we get along great we have a lot of the same values, we are both very upbeat,” said Summers...

Read more here:

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Lyons letter: The passing of Chance - Full Story

by Joan Lyons, Eagle, Idaho

AUGUST 01, 2017 10:49 PM

About 27 years ago the Idaho Statesman ran a story about a man and his horse. The man is Bob Lyons and the horse was Chance, an Arabian Stallion. The original story told of Bob and his favorite pastime, endurance riding. Bob was a very experienced endurance rider who has completed thousands of miles on his horses, and won many awards doing so.

If you have ever ridden a horse or gone on a long drive through the Eagle foothills, you may have passed by Chance in his pasture. The Lyons moved into their Eagle foothills home 41 years ago. Then, this was one of the very few houses in Eagle. Five years later, they brought baby Chance home to join them in this Eagle residence. Now Eagle has grown and the house where Chance lived is one in a sea of houses...

Read more here:

Streaming the Tevis Cup 2017

July 28, 2017

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 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. New this year, you can even save a list of Favorites to make checking on their progress throughout the day more streamlined!

You can also find updates, live streaming videos and photos during the course of the ride on our Facebook page: We have webcast photographers and crew at MORE checkpoints than ever this year. We will be doing our best to provide continual coverage, upload pictures and video live during the event. Live streaming was a big hit last year. We plan to have even more if possible this year!

Additionally, this year we have a totally new feature of optional live GPS tracking for riders! For $40 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 service here: We’re also working to have individual riders GPS unit tracking 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 check point or through technology called Winlink which enables emails to be sent over short wave radio. These two things allow us to be more accurate than in the past. We will do our best to keep everyone up to date on their rider.

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 come in 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 tools to help the webcast volunteers find and correct a mistake at the next update. With the batch uploading process, and some of the remote locations, they may take up to an hour to fully upload.

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:

Official Tevis Facebook page:

Event GPS tracking:

Twitter Account:

Flickr Photos:



~ Crysta Turnage

WSTF BOG Member, Webcast Volunteer

Locals participate in the Shamrock Endurance Ride - Full Article

By: For The Herald - Updated: 12 hours ago

On July 30, Carla Stroh and Barb Orr went to the Shamrock Endurance Ride near Wheatland. Carla and her horse, Spook, we’re entered in the 30 mile race on Saturday morning. Barb would work as her ‘pit crew’. They had discussed strategy for the race on the drive down because Carla felt Spook was not in his best condition due to the wet spring and lack of riding time. They decided if they went at a slow controlled pace everything should be fine. Spook vetted in with straight A’s though he was a bit on the heavy side.

Saturday morning the race started at 8:00 with about 45 horse and riders from Wyoming, Minnesota, Colorado and New York! Carla tried to keep Spook mid-pack as the race started but after the first quarter mile but he was pulling hard and wanted to catch the front runners so she let him go. Once there he settled in. The pace was fast, 7-10 miles an hour. The first 19 miles went by in just over two hours and Barb met us at the vet check with water and sponges to cool Spook down...

Read more here:

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

MSU Collects Research Data at Big Horn 100 - Full Article

July 27, 2017 Greybull Standard

Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine has been a leader in research on colic in the long-distance endurance horse for a while.

Dr. Harold C. Schott II DVM, PhD, DACVIM, a member of the AERC Research Committee, and professor at MSU large animal clinical sciences, in association with the American Endurance Ride Conference, published a report in 2015 regarding 71 horse fatalities among the 270,070 starts in AERC-sanctioned rides during the years of 2002-14.

Schott found that fatality rates in endurance rides are low overall but increase with the length of the ride. The risk in limited-distance rides of 25-30 miles was 0.14 fatality per 1,000 starts. The risk increased by 10 to 1.46 fatalities per 1,000 starts in the 50- and 100-mile rides. Schott further reported that 75 percent of the horses that had a necropsy done had developed colic prior to their deaths.

Aware of this data, MSU is financing a team of researchers to collect data, including ultrasounds, on the horses in 100-mile rides. The research team was present — with equipment and staff — at the Big Horn 100 on July 15.

Dr. Melissa Esser, DVM and assistant professor at MSU, heads the team that also includes Dr. Lisanne Gallant, DVM and medicine resident at MSU, and Madison Dale, an undergraduate student.

Esser stated, “I chose five rides to do over the summer of 2017, the Big Horn of course, we’re here, the Bitmore Challenge Endurance race (Asheville, N.C) we did that in May, The Old Dominion (northern Virginia) in June, and of course we’ll be going to the Tevis Cup (Placer County, Calif.) and Virginia City (Virginia City, Nev.)...”

Read more here:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Horses, Art, and Tevis Cup Fever

*To get you in the mood for this year's Tevis Cup, this article is the third in a 3-part series on some things Tevis. 
Part 1, The Tevis Board of Governors: A Year-Round Labor of Love, is here.
Part 2, The Wendell Robie Trophy, is here.

July 27 2017
by Merri

It's funny, this Tevis Cup Fever. It can grab hold of you before and twist you and turn you in directions you'd never have imagined. What really got it started for Diana Hiiesalu was a magazine cover in the 1980's, of a horse going over Cougar Rock. "I thought, What is this!!!???" Diana related. "I read the article, and was like, What is this ride!? I have to do this! I thought that this ride was made for me, that it was ingrained someway in my very soul, of who I was. It was a given, to ride it."

She owned her first Arabian at the time ("who I was kind of terrified of"), and she could picture herself doing Tevis and going over Cougar Rock with him. It didn't work out with that horse, and in fact she went through many horses before she got to her Khemali'i, but he was the one that fulfilled a long-time dream, after 27 years. She and Ali'i finished Tevis twice, in 2011 and 2012.

All those years, the Fever burned. "I was such a Tevis groupie. I lived in southern California, and every year I came up here to Auburn, and I sucked it in for the 3 days.

"And then once I moved here [to Auburn, in 2009] and I started getting involved with the people that live and breathe this every day - I became really obsessed with it. There's meetings you can go to; there's the Tevis Christmas party; and of course I met Bill [Gore, her boyfriend], and that changed everything for me."

For years, Diana had volunteered for Tevis, as crew, horse transporter, and vet scribe, and then she worked as a photographer for Gore/Baylor photography. (Rene Baylor and Bill Gore shoot the Cougar Rock photos for the ride.)

Bill was voted onto the Tevis Cup Board of Governors in October, and Diana was at that meeting to support him. This was when retiring long-time BoG member Kate Riordan proposed the Wendell Robie trophy for Tevis horses who have finished the ride 10 or more times.

Diana doesn't remember exactly what she heard - sculpture, or bronze - but she immediately raised her hand and said she'd do it for free, if someone paid her expenses and the foundry costs. "Right," Kate Riordan remembers thinking. "Everyone thinks they’re an artist." She didn't know Diana nor her artwork.

Art and Horses: A Potent Combo

Art and horses have been a part of Diana's life since her earliest memories. She was drawing and sketching by the time she was 4 years old. "My mom was pretty wonderful for supporting me. She was my biggest cheerleader. Whatever I did, she thought I was wonderful."

Her mother supported her love for horses too. Diana has memories of her mom letting her ride the pony riding horses as a little girl, riding around in a circle and wearing a seat belt.

That love of art and horses really meshed around age 11 when she read Walter Farley's Black Stallion books and discovered the ink drawings on the inside. "Oh my gosh, they were so beautiful, ink drawings of The Black and his sons. That's probably where I learned to love Arabians." Then, years later, mix in that magazine cover of an Arabian going over Cougar Rock which ultimately resulted in Diana's burgeoning Tevis Cup fever, and you can understand her desire to want to sculpt an art piece for the event she loves so much.

With a BFA in Illustration from the Pasadena Art Center College of Design, Diana worked in the commercial art industry even while developing her own art company on the side, Wind Dancing Art, doing watercolor portraits for dog and horse people, and logo designs for ranches and kennels.

She's always had a big love for bas relief sculpture, and though she never studied sculpture, she obtained a commission to do all the trophies for the 1997 Collie Club of America Nationals. "I knew what I wanted to do," she said. "I had a vision, and I said I would do it, although I wasn't sure how i was going to do it. I knew that someone would show up and help me. If you have an idea and you have a commitment to something, you have to commit to it and you worry about the details later. I learned that early in life."

Help indeed came in the form of a man who happened to see her working on her pieces; he happened to make resin pieces for a museum, and he offered to show her what to do. "He was just a godsend. I don't even remember his name. I spent an entire day with him, wrote down all the notes, and he showed me exactly what to do. I went home and I created all those bas relief resins, and they were beautiful. I ended up doing 22 originals and 220 trophies."

Over the years Diana sculpted a few other pieces, the latest being a bronze of her Collie that she called "Tirzah Gaiting."

Flash forward to the October Tevis Board of Governors meeting and the proposal of a trophy, and Diana volunteering to create it. The Board decided on a sculpture based on a Charlie Barieau picture of Wendell Robie at the finish line of the 1961 Tevis Cup, when he finished second on Nugget. (Robie won the first 4 runnings of the Tevis Cup, on Bandos and Molla.) Robie is reaching down to give his horse a drink of water out of his canteen. It was decided the trophy would honor not just the 6 1000-mile horses, but all the 500-mile Tevis horses (there are over 40 of them). BoG member Jeff Herten generously offered to oversee and finance the project.

This was a monumental venture not only because of her love for Tevis and art, but Diana knew all critical eyes were going to be on her and her creation. "The biggest thing that kept coming back to me from [Tevis Board of Governors members] Jeff Herten and Kathie Perry and Terryl Reed, was that this guy has got to look like Wendell.

"So research for me was hugely important. I learned this when I was in Art Center. If you're going to do art, and it's going to be accurate - meaning not really artsy or abstract - you have to be authentic. You have to know what you're doing, because there's going to be someone out there that will know you're lying, or you don't know what you're talking about."

Diana studied numerous old pictures of Wendell Robie and of images pertaining to the sculpture, and from every conceivable angle: a horse showing its teeth; a cowboy shirt, a hand holding something. "It took me a long time to find the kind of saddle he rode in. The tack had to look like what he used. I asked Terryl and Kathie and whoever I could a lot of questions about the bucking rolls on his saddle, and reins he rode with. There's some old-timer out there who will know if he didn't have the right kind of reins. It all had to be authentic."

She started on the sculpture on May 1st, creating the basic form with armature wire, then starting to mold the plasticine clay. Basic shapes and features came first, and the finer details after: the saddle, blanket, ears, fingers. "It's like building a house. You have to work on the guts of the house before you can work on the extras and outside stuff and pretty stuff."

Finally, after working for up to 13 hours a day for almost 4 straight weeks, nearing the finish of her masterpiece, there was a moment of horror. "I moved the whole piece and it almost went flying to the ground - the horse, Wendell, the whole thing. It was pretty terrifying. I would have died; that was the worst part. I was so stressed!"

The next most stressful moment was delivering the almost 14" high finished masterpiece to the foundry on May 31st. "I was so worried about driving it down through Sacramento in rush hour traffic. I ended up seat belting it, then turning the air conditioning on, afraid I'd have to stop suddenly and the whole thing was going to come apart."

Safely delivered to the foundry, the process of creating the Wendell Robie bronze is now underway, with Diana overseeing the steps. (If you want to see the fascinating basics of how a bronze is produced at a foundry, see this video.)

Engraved on the center of the trophy's base will be the names of the 6 horses who have 1000 or more Tevis miles*, surrounded by the 500 or more-mile horses. Diana created a bronze medallion in the likeness of the statue for the horses' owners. The new trophy will be unveiled at the Sunday awards ceremony following this year's August 5th Tevis Cup.

About equal with finishing the Tevis Cup, this art opportunity has been a lifetime dream accomplishment. "Ohmigosh!" Diana said. "For me to be able to do this... I feel so incredibly honored and blessed. Every time I talk to Jeff Herten or anybody about it, I feel like this was a dream come true piece for me to do.

"It's probably the greatest thing I've done to date as far as my art career. I am still blown away that they let me do it."

*The 1000-mile Tevis horses are:
Thunders Lightning Bar
Buffalo Bill
El Karbaj

Herbert races in the Mongol Derby - Full Story

July 26 2017

By Martin Lee Van Roosendaal II
Wave Associate Editor

Amanda Charlton Herbert, of Summit County, will be traveling to Mongolia Saturday to compete the Mongol Derby which is the longest and toughest horse race in the world.

“The 1000km course recreates Chinggis Khaan's legendary empire-busting postal system,” according to the website “ Riders change horses every 40km and stay with the local herders or camp under the stars.”

Amanda grew up working and riding horses, in Long Island, New York, she has developed a love and respect for the animals she trains with every day.

“My mom started volunteering for a therapeutic riding program in New York because we didn’t have the money to take lessons,” said Amanda. “I was 8 years old when I started to go with my mom. I would help out with the horses and riders, and finally I was able to get my first lessons and that’s how it all started.”

While working at a cattle ranch in Colorado last summer, and living in a cabin with no electricity or running water, she found out that a previous employee competed in a endurance race in Mongolia...

Read more:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tevis: The Wendell Robie Trophy

*To get you in the mood for this year's Tevis Cup, this article is the second in a 3-part series on some things Tevis.
Part 1, The Tevis Board of Governors: A Year-Round Labor of Love, is here.
Kate Riordan tells this Part 2 in her own words.
Part 3 will feature the Wendell Robie Trophy artist and creator, Diana Hiiesalu.

By Kate Riordan
July 26 2017

I’ve been involved with Tevis since 1968. Long time.

Tevis has captured my heart and my sense of discovery, and the people of Tevis have become my tribe.

But ever since 1968 one question has banged around in my mind.

Why isn’t there a Wendell Robie Cup? After all, he’s the extraordinary man whose vision and determination created the Western States Trail Foundation and the “One-Hundred Mile One-Day Trail Ride” known around the world as the Tevis Cup Ride.

In 1991 I was asked to become a member of the WSTF Board of Governors. I was elated beyond measure!

After a few years of careful listening and arduous study of what made the members of the board tick and what the overall mission of WSTF was, I presented the idea of honoring Wendell with a sterling Cup much like the Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup. I was voted down.

In 2016 I resigned from the board because of my health (Lyme disease that led to a rare neurological disease).

But by gosh, I was determined to close my board tenure with a presentation I had prepared. I led with a philosophical statement about always keeping the integrity of this remarkable ride first and foremost, and not letting any kind of “carnival” overture descend upon the ride I so loved.

I followed with a few fundraising ideas, and closed with The Big One. The Wendell Robie Cup.

I waxed eloquently (at least in my mind, since I’m the Queen of Fluffy Words) about why we needed to honor Wendell above everyone else. He was at the helm of this foundation and ride and without his stalwart determination, there would be no Tevis. I followed on with how I’d like the Wendell Robie Cup to be dedicated to the six 1000 mile horses. I’ve always admired these steeds and what they’ve accomplished, and felt they didn’t get enough adulation. And lucky me, over the years I got to watch all those six horses on the trail. What grit, mindset and soundness these horses had — and all had been ridden by multiple riders to this esteemed accomplishment.

So that was it. I pitched the idea of the Wendell Robie Cup, dedicated to the 1000 mile horses, to the board that day in October 2016. It was my last board meeting as a member, so it was my last hurrah.

After my heartfelt speech, a voice two people away said, “I’ll do a bronze trophy! I can do it! I can do it!”

I thought, “Right. Everyone thinks they’re an artist” and instantly ignored the offer by Diana Hiiesalu, who was a guest at the meeting. I didn’t know her nor her artwork. I’m not sure I was even polite to her!

Well, I’m thrilled to say that my immediate reaction about Diana couldn't have been more wrong. She is an absolutely amazing artist and her sculptures are incredible. We are so honored to have her create this fantastic bronze.

My idea about the Wendell Robie Cup took fire.

Board member Jeff Herten offered to oversee the project and decided to include horses that have five or more finishes. The 1000 mile horses will take center stage on the base of the trophy, surrounded on the other three sides by the 500+ mile horses.

Diana Hiiesalu was chosen to create the bronze sculpture, and rightfully so. Board member Terryl Reed suggested that the trophy be fashioned after the famous photograph of Wendell still mounted at the finish, giving his horse water from his canteen.

And so the Cup became a Trophy. The morphing of clay from a lump into a fabulous reflection of that photograph has magically (with hundreds of hours) emerged into a trophy worthy of the best. I don’t think Diana has slept in months. She deserves our kudos and applause.

So the spark of an idea took flame with the help of many. After 48 years of wondering why there wasn’t a Wendell Robie honor, the question can now be laid to rest.

*Note: the 1000-mile Tevis horses are:
Thunders Lightning Bar
Buffalo Bill
El Karbaj

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Coker professor getting ready for 1,000-kilometer horse race in Mongolia - Full Article

BY MEGAN MAY Morning News
Jul 23, 2017

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – One thousand kilometers in seven days. That’s what Coker College professor Julia Fisher will shoot for while competing in the Mongol Derby endurance horse race.

Starting Aug. 9, Fisher will have 10 days to finish the race, but to be ahead of 35 competitors, she will need to complete the derby in just a week.

The race, which recreates Genghis Khan’s ancient horse messenger postal route, takes place in a remote region near the Mongolia capital, Ulaanbaatar. The course takes riders through steppe, desert and mountainous terrain.

Riders have from sunup to sundown each day to race the course. They will reach a checkpoint every 25 miles where they will get a new horse and restock supplies such as food and water. If riders can reach a checkpoint by nightfall, they can sleep there. If not, they will be camping out under the stars. The race is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest horse race.

Fisher began riding in 2008. A fellow Coker College professor recommended she take riding lessons to relieve stress and fill time after her two children, now adults, moved away.

“I can pretty much say from there the rest is history,” Fisher said. “If I’m going to do something, I’ll jump in with both feet. My life became the barn and the horses and school. That was it...”

Read more here:

Wisconsin: Suskey qualifies for endurance team - Full Article

Iola's Ainsley Suskey will travel to Verona, Italy, in September to compete in the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors.

July 24, 2017
By Holly Neumann

Ainsley Suskey is heading to Italy to ride horses.

The Iola-Scandinavia High School junior has qualified for the U.S. Equestrian Endurance Team that will compete in Verona, Italy, this September for the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors.

“I have been competing in endurance riding since I was 6 years old,” Suskey said. “Qualifying for this proves to everyone, including myself, that this sport is opening doors and that all of my hard work has paid off.”

Suskey loves the horses she gets to ride.

“My mom (Pam Cotton) started endurance racing when I was 2 years old,” she said. “Ever since I can remember, we were always going to the races.”

As soon as she was old enough, Suskey wanted to race as well.

“I love being out in nature, just me and the horse working as one to complete the race,” she said...

Read more here:

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Tevis Board of Governors: A Year-Round Labor of Love

July 24 2017
Story and photo by Merri

Tevis Cup fever peaks every summer, but for many people, it's an all-year - or lifetime - obsession. Riders, crews, volunteers, and Board of Governors members all look forward to this annual weekend in July or August under the full moon when horses and riders carry out the tradition of following the 100-mile Western States Tevis trail from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California.

The Tevis Cup Board of Governors of the Western States Trail Foundation (WSTF) works tirelessly year round to continue Wendell Robie's tradition of this ride that he started in 1955. "The Tevis Cup 100 Miles One Day Ride represents the Foundation's commitment to the ideals of a pioneering experience along historically significant trails that traverse the scenic wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains from east of Squaw Valley to Auburn," the website states. "The founders of the Tevis Cup event offered their vision of a majestic riding trail penetrating the wild beauty of mountain peaks and valleys hallowed by the Washoe and Maidu tribes and later crossed by explorers, settlers and gold-seekers. These founders declared that the virtue of such a trail would lie in helping preserve the historic significance of its route and would encourage people to return to a simple life perhaps furthering their appreciation of nature, history and the outdoors through the humane use of horses. Horsemen can trade the hectic world of traffic jammed freeways and skyscrapers for a realm of natural splendor while passing through cathedral-like groves of virgin forests that shelter vast numbers of wildlife. Therein lies the essence of the Tevis Cup Ride and the historic Western States Trail."

The name Barbara White is synonymous with Tevis: familiar to many as the person who has the most number of Tevis finishes (34), and of course as the daughter of Julie Suhr (22 finishes) - often called our First Lady of Endurance. The Tevis Cup fever runs high in their family.

What you may not know is that Barbara has been on the Tevis Board of Governors for 11 years. And you may not know what that means to Barbara, and you may not understand what being on the BoG means for all the members. It is a labor of love.

"It's easy to think that all the WSTF does is put on a 100 mile ride annually. In fact, the mission statement requires a lot of effort for education, veterinary research, and historical research which keep the Board busy all year," Barbara said.

"The Western States Trail Foundation is a non-profit corporation. The structure of the Board is committees, each committee headed by a governor who chooses the rest of the committee.  Committee people can be on the Board or not. Most Board members serve on several committees. The entire Board meets four times a year and votes on things such as rule or policy changes brought forth by the committees."

The very trail itself is a monumental challenge every year, and the last decade has been most testing, with one cancellation due to fires (2008), several other years of fire scares, and, 2 years, including 2017, just the opposite problem - too much snow. 2011 was a nightmare, with a fire delaying the usual summer date, and a shocking 22" of snowfall at Squaw Valley 3 days before the new October date, which caused a last minute scramble and miraculous effort to change the trail to an out-and-back from Auburn. Likewise, a high snowfall in the Sierra over the winter left some of the regular trails impassible this summer.

Barbara explained, "The Ride Committee makes most of the decisions for the Ride itself in terms of trail, volunteers, getting the permits, planning the ride week, etc. With 100 unique miles on a point to point course, it's challenging every year.  There are many property owners, ranging from the US Government to someone who may own an acre, all of whom must give permission and be insured every year.  Mother Nature throws many curve balls, but an incredible Trail Committee, in concert with the Western States Endurance Run, maintains and prepares the trail, working year round with an army of volunteers.

"The WSTF has dealt with fire, snow, raging rivers, endangered species, disgruntled property owners, opposition user groups, and other adversity over the years.  The commitment and generosity of those for whom the trail and event mean something keep it alive."

This year has been one of the most testing in terms of finding a passable trail. "About a month ago, there were four possible routes being considered.  The decision to cross the American River at Poverty Bar was made just a few days ago and finalized the route.  Too many people to name, both on and off the Board, have been instrumental in getting it all figured out this year, but Ride Director Chuck Stalley and his wife, Pam, deserve a lot of credit for not just throwing up their hands and taking up some other hobby to be passionate about.  They epitomize endurance."

Despite the year-round work, and the sleepless days and weeks surrounding the 24 hour event itself, it's clearly an obsession for some people. Or, let's just call it what it clearly is: a healthy addiction. Barbara agrees. "It's hard to 'quit Tevis.'  Some of the most active volunteers are former governors. After the Ride, those who worked hard sleep for about a week, except for those noble souls who get busy, right after the last finishers, taking down the trail markers.  The Board meets in October, and it all starts over again."

Put simply, the Tevis Board of Governors never stops, and Tevis is really a year-round event. "I don't think anyone realizes how much the BoG does," Barbara said. "New people are surprised when they join the board, and it is understood that it may take a couple of years for them to find their places.  Although the terms are two years, most people stay on for a long time and consider it an honor.  It's an interesting cross section of very committed people. 

"The 'work' doesn't feel like work because of the widespread belief on the BoG that the WSTF and the Ride have value and should endure through time.  Doing so gets more complicated and expensive every year.  Recognizing that this year is the 62nd Ride proves, I think, the tireless devotion of the BoG over the decades."

It is work, but it is enjoyable and rewarding. "It's a fun board because there is very little ego in it - it's about getting a job done well, and drawing more and more people into the unique realm that is the Tevis. 

"There's an addictive and cultish aspect to it all that makes it hard for many to escape…"

So next time you see a member of the Tevis Board of Governors, introduce yourself, and tell them thank you. Because if you've got the Fever, you might find yourself in their shoes one day.

*top photo: Barbara White and Djubilee, vetting in for Tevis 2013

Friday, July 21, 2017

South Dakota rider wins Big Horn 100 - Full Article

By Greybull Standard - July 20, 2017

By Marlys Good

Hannah Pruss of Belle Fourche, S.D., swept the field in the Big Horn 100 endurance ride held last weekend, crossing the finish line in a flat 15 hours, and tacking on the coveted Best Condition award and a first place in the middle weight class.

Kathy Arnold of Basin won the Big Horn 50, finishing in 7 hours, 37 minutes; her horse earned the Best Condition award.

Hot weather and the rough terrain took their toll on both riders and horses. Of the 18 100-mile riders leaving the gate at 4 a.m., just 15 finished; the 12-field, 50-mile endurance riders faded to seven.

Jeannette Tolman, a key component of the Big Horn 100, said the five 50-mile riders who did not complete the course pulled themselves from the ride. “We call it ‘rider option,’” she explained, adding that she used that option herself Saturday. “All the others who did not finish the 50 had no idea what the trail was like; they were used to flat land rides.

“The first 12 miles of the trail are easy; the next 13 miles includes four canyons. You go up, up, up, then down, down, down, etc. Complete that first 25 miles, the rest is easy. The first 25 miles are most definitely a determining factor,” she said on whether a rider/horse is pulled or finishes...

Read more here:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Final Trail for This Year's Tevis Cup Confirmed

July 19 2017
by Chuck Stalley, Ride Director

Tuesday evening the Board of Governors of the Western States Trail Ride made the decision on the trail for this year’s ride. We feel we have enough good information to publicly announce the following:

The ride will start at Soda Springs and travel to Lyon Ridge. Riders will use the Red Star Ridge trail to drop into Duncan Canyon, and ride the Duncan Canyon trail to Robinson Flat.

Robinson Flat is the 36-mile point of the ride and from Robinson Flat the trail will follow the traditional route to the finish in Auburn. We will not use Bald Mt., but rather stay on Road 43 to Miller’s Defeat.

The River: High water levels at Poverty Bar (3 miles west of Francisco’s and where riders cross the Middle fork of the American River) prevented us from examining the morphology of the river. We wanted to get in the river and verify that the bottom was solid and no troughs or dangers had been carved out from raging waters last winter. We were able to complete that evaluation last Sunday. In addition, we learned that Placer county water agency is now confident that they can hold back river flows on the night of our ride to enable riders to cross with close to normal Tevis ride water depth. 

We emphasize that the river is NOT CROSSABLE until August 5 as current flows are quite high, rapid, and dangerous. The first six miles of the trail known as the Royal Gorge Ski area are closed as well. We have been granted permission to use the trails for the event and are guests of this area for ONLY THE FEW DAYS LEADING UP TO AND INCLUDING THE RIDE. 

Duncan Canyon and the trail below Devil’s Thumb are also CLOSED due to major trail obstacles. Some of the high country trails are still wet, and some are on the USFS schedule awaiting yearly maintenance which will be completed in time for the ride. 

Please follow these trail guidelines, stay safe and happy training. Please plan to bring your own shade to the base camp as we are in gravel parking lots with little or no natural shade. In addition, we may have “big, high country bugs and pests” so bring repellant for you and your horses. 

Please check the Tevis social media pages as well as our website for trail condition updates as we get closer to the ride. 

Rider Packets will be emailed to the ride list this weekend. If you don’t receive a packet by Sunday night, please email to provide an active email address for us to send your packet. Please print the pages you find useful or necessary.

Vehicle passes will be mailed to all riders on Monday, July 24. If you plan to be enroute and not able to receive this mailing at your home address, please contact Jean in the Tevis office ( 530-823-7282) and ask to be put on the “hold” list for vehicle passes. Your envelop will be waiting for you at the Tevis office so you may pick it up when you arrive in Auburn. All foreign rider passes will be held automatically.

We wish you safe training, happy horses and good luck. We'll see you at Soda Springs where Tevis magic will happen.

Cougar attack won't deter Tevis Cup ride - Full Article

July 19 2017
By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal

100-mile epic journey travels near where horse attacked

Snow – not a report of a mountain lion attack on a horse near the Western States Trail – are causing Tevis Cup officials concern enough to reroute the epic 100-mile ride.

With snow lingering in the high country, the Tevis Cup will go ahead as scheduled Aug. 5 but with a different start point at the Royal Gorge parking lot. The ride normally starts at the Robie Equestrian Park, south of Truckee, which is at a higher elevation.

The rerouting will help horses, which would have difficulty traveling through snowy terrain, to complete the journey to Auburn, Tevis Cup spokeswoman Jenni Smith said Thursday.

Mountain lion dangers for horses and riders along the trail are minimal, given the nature of cougars, Smith said.

“A mountain lion attacking a horse and rider on the trail is not a realistic risk,” Smith said. “With so many deer, to work up that much chutzpah … They’re smart. They’ll do the math.”

Smith’s comments come after Michigan Bluff resident John Wolfgram told the Journal that his horse was injured as it fought off a cougar attack that started in a corral next to his house. The fight for the horse’s life continued down a slope before the mountain lion departed. The house is about 100 yards from the Western States Trail. The trail is the route during a ride that attracts about a field of about 200 participants...

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Big Horn 100: Hannah Pruss and Stuart win first and BC

July 15 2017

Hannah Pruss of Piedmont, South Dakota, and her one-eyed horse Stuart won the Big Horn 100 in Wyoming on Saturday, July 15, in a ride time of 15 hours. They also received the Best Condition award. It was Hannah's 5th consecutive Big Horn finish and her 3rd time to win the ride (on 3 different horses).

18 started the 100, with 15 finishing.

Carol Federighi and Lily Creek Stetson win Vermont 100

July 15 2017

Carol Federighi and Lily Creek Stetson won the Vermont 100 on Saturday, July 15. Their ride time was 13:08. Finishing second in 13:57 was Bryna Stevenson aboard TEF Lunar Eclipse, one minute ahead of third place Wendy Mancini and Sterling. There were 16 finishers in 21 starters.

All 12 starters completed the 75 mile ride, with Meg Sleeper and Syrocco Cadence winning in a ride time of 9:24. Heather Hoyns and Marchesa Garbo finished second in 10:57. There was a 3-way tie for third between Donna Smith Curtin, riding Syrocco Gabriel, Jenn Fisher riding Noble Promise, and Patti Piazo, riding Vallen O Mine, in a ride time of 12:38.

Hanna Wightman and Syrocco Rabia won the Vermont 50 in 5:59, more than 40 minutes ahead of the next two, who tied for second place. Sue Greenall, riding Shenanigans, and Douglas Lietzke, riding GE Meniara finished together in a ride time of 6:40.10. 26 out of 32 starters completed the ride.

More at:

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 July's Endurance Horses in the Morning - Listen in

07-11-2017 Endurance Day – WEG Contender Schick, Green Bean Endurance, Tom Quilty Gold Cup

Jul 11, 2017

On today’s endurance episode Karen’s recent adventures inspire listeners to share the oddest objects they’ve ever come across on the trail, Sarah Schick updates us on her bid for WEG 2018, Ricky Stone talks about the Green Bean Endurance program and Paul Sidio tells us about his trip down under to ride in the Tom Quilty Gold Cup. Listen in...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dr. Mike Peralez is Head Veterinarian for Tevis 2017

WSTF President’s Message

Dr. Mike Peralez is the head veterinarian for the Tevis in 2017. Mike is a rider and rode in NATRC in the 1970s as a junior. I know this because I competed against him then. He also has four Tevis buckles, including one from 1983, when Tevis also started in Soda Springs due to excessive snow. He said riding the alternate route was a wonderful experience. In the article below, Mike shares his experience of riding the Tevis that started in Soda Springs with the riders who will start the 2017 Tevis also in Soda Springs.

Tony Benedetti, WSTF President

1983: The First Soda Springs Tevis Ride
by Dr Mike Peralez

Mother Nature has a way of messing with the Tevis Cup ride. Recently, we have had fire (2008),snow, subsequent postponement, and more snow (2011), and, of course, this year’s white trail. But how many of you remember the snow of year of 1983?

I was lucky enough to have ridden the 1983 Tevis Cup when we started out of Soda Springs in the ski area parking lot. I was young - not yet 20 years old - and anxious about another Tevis start. We all gathered in Squaw Valley on Friday, July 22, 1983 for the usual pre-ride vet checks and socializing (“partying” may have been more accurate, right?). Early the next morning, though, all of us had to load our horses into their trailers and drive almost 25 miles up highways 89 and 80 to Soda Springs. Many of us shared trailer rides to the start to avoid vehicle congestion. It was exciting as all 233 riders lined up for that 5:00 a.m. shotgun start. As many of you may recall, up until that time, the Tevis Cup always had staggered starts with as many as 30 groups. My memories of that fun and exciting mass start are still vivid - as if it were last year.

What I enjoyed most about that first Soda Springs start was the different trail early in the ride. Of course, the usual Tevis Cup trail is always beautiful; however, riding through the pine forests south of Soda Springs, through The Cedars, and into the first vet check at French Meadows Reservoir was profoundly gorgeous. We left the French Meadows vet check and rode up and over Red Star Ridge and into Duncan Canyon for the long climb to Robinson Flat...

Read the rest here:

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Alternate Route for first 8 Miles of Tevis Trail Locked Down

July 2017

Ride Director’s Message

Wild weather pounded the Sierras last winter, and as a result, the 2017 Tevis will start at Soda Springs, California. The last of the snow in the high country (at about 7000 feet) is finally melting. Since we cannot get into the Granite Chief wilderness to assess and repair the trail, an alternate route for the first eight miles of this year’s ride has been locked down.
We will camp at the town of Soda Springs one mile off Interstate 80 and just after the intersection of Donner Pass Road and Soda Springs Road next to the beautiful Yuba River. Camping is open from noon Wednesday August 2nd until Saturday the 5th. I recommend you arrive midday Thursday or mid-morning Friday because parking will be tight and shade scarce. Please bring a pop up for mid-day shade if possible.

Check in will be from 10 am until 6 pm Friday. Please allow sufficient time to check in at the camp and then walk or ride your horse to the sheep pens in the beautiful Van Norden Meadow to present to the veterinarians for vet in at that location starting at 12 noon.

The trail this year will proceed about five miles through the Royal Gorge cross country ski area connecting to the Soda Springs Road. From there you will ride to Forest Service Road 51, which will take you up to Lyon Ridge and the Western States Trail.
Once on the Western States Trail, you'll head west over Cougar Rock and on to the Red Star vet check. Just out of Red Star, you'll make a left turn onto Forest Service Road 96 for .7 mile then right on the historic Red Star Ridge trail to Duncan Canyon and up into Robinson Flat for the first one hour hold. At this point the time and mileage is almost identical as it would have been with the traditional start in Truckee.

The Duncan Canyon trail is technical and, therefore, slower but stunning. From the Robinson Flat vet check, we will follow the traditional trail on to Auburn.
If the water level in the American River is too high to cross at Poverty Bar, we have identified alternate trail above Francisco's that will take us across No Hands Bridge and into the Fairgrounds in Auburn. The highest altitude for this route is 7400 feet and will most certainly be clear of the last of the snow.

A note about crewing : The drive time from Soda Springs to Robinson Flat is more than an hour faster than the travel time from Robie Park in Truckee and we will be releasing crews from the start at 4:30 am to drive to Robinson Flat to optimize their ability to arrive ahead of their rider(s).

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Pagosa'a Past: The race is on, with Billy Kern in the running - Full Article

By John Motter, Pagosa’s Past

We continue with Pagosa pioneer Billy Kern’s involvement in the Denver Post’s Great Endurance Horse Race in 1908 from Evanston, Wyo., to Denver, a distance of 600 miles. As we finished last week, the 25 horses lined up on Main Street in Evanston had just received the command to “Go!”

The first of many checking stations along the way was Carter, Wyo., about 47 miles from the starting line in Evanston. A rider by the name of Workman reached Carter by 10:30 a.m., followed closely by J.A. Doling riding Little Minnie. The winners of the first lap had averaged about 10.5 miles an hour.

The next station was Green River, about 65 miles beyond Carter. Workman checked into Granger, about halfway to Green River, at 4 p.m. Doling had dropped back, but Smith on Dick Turpin and a man named Trew on Little Archie were only eight minutes later. The three men drank two glasses of milk each and by 5 p.m. were on the road again. Several of the riders who came into Granger decided to spend the night...

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Sunday, July 02, 2017

US Equestrian Names Team for 2017 FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jul 1, 2017

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has announced the following combinations that will make up the U.S. team at the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors in Verona, Italy, September 22-24. The U.S. will be led by Chef d'Equipe Mark Dial.

Katelyn Baldino (Marietta, Ga.) with Synthetic, Melody Blittersdorf’s 2000 Arabian gelding

Eilish Connor (Spring, Texas) with DJB Jolly Roger, Darolyn Butler’s 2002 Arabian gelding

Ragan Kelly (Waco, Texas) with Kharismas Grace, Tracy Kelly’s 2008 Arabian mare

Ainsley Suskey (Iola, Wisc.) with Princess Deelites MHF, Julie Jackson’s 2007 Arabian mare

Annie Whelan (Louisa, Ky.) with Wallace Hill Leo, Amy Wallace-Whelan’s 2004 Half-Arabian gelding

Alternate Horse:

HK Kruizer, Tracy Kelly’s 2005 Arabian gelding

For more information about contributing to and supporting the 2017 team efforts and competition, contact Kristen Brett, director of endurance, at

Find out more about the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.