Talkin' Trot: Endurance Riding News and Views
Talkin Ride Management
JANUARY 14, 2021 ANGIE SEASON 2
Talkin' Trot: Endurance Riding News and Views
Talkin Ride Management
JANUARY 14, 2021 ANGIE SEASON 2
A FREE 3-day online event on how to be better riders, trainers & coaches (no matter your discipline!) JANUARY 26-28, 2021
The ultimate event for show jumpers, endurance riders, trail riders, dressage riders, cowboys/cowgirls, liberty and natural horsemanship enthusiasts, eventers and more!
Learn how to be the best equestrian in your town with secrets from 16 top riders, coaches, trainers, best-selling authors, podcasters and global leaders in the equine industry.
Among the many speakers, Jessica Isbrecht will discuss Endurance Riding 101: Getting a Non-Arabian to 50 miles.
For more information and for access to the online summit, see:
Junior Riders Distance Derby, My First Year in Endurance: Endurance Day for Jan 12, 2021
Jan 12, 2021
Endurance Episode: Natalie Mayer Law shares her Junior Rider Derby that encourages riders to put in miles under saddle and Kara stops by to recount her first season as an endurance rider, complete with shemozzles! Karen’s endurance riding tip is about headlamps. Listen in...
by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jan 7, 2021, 12:50 PM EST
Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian congratulates the top endurance athletes from the 2020 competition season. Cheryl Van Deusen (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) has won the Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award, which is presented annually to the top U.S. senior endurance rider. Katie Bumgarner (Raleigh, N.C.) will receive the Brunjes Junior/Young Rider Trophy as the top U.S. junior or young rider in the sport.
Van Deusen had a successful season with her own EBS Regal Majjaan, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding. Together they completed CEI3* rides at Greenway Gallivant in Florida and Broxton Bridge in South Carolina early in the 2020 competition season. With her 16-year-old Arabian gelding, Hoover the Mover, Van Deusen earned second-place finishes in the CEI3* at Indian Springs in New Mexico and the CEI2* at the Broxton Bridge November ride. She completed her final CEI3* of the year at Broxton Bridge where she finished in second place with Holly Corcoran’s 8-year-old Arabian mare, Lorienn.
This year marks Van Deusen’s fourth consecutive season as the top U.S. senior endurance athlete. She is currently ranked 4th in the FEI Endurance Open Riders World Ranking.
Bumgarner had three top finishes in CEI rides with three different horses during the 2020 season. She rode Golden Lightning, Janice Worthington’s 20-year-old Arabian gelding, to a second-place finish at the CEIYJ1* at Broxton Bridge in January. In November, she added two wins to her record at Broxton Bridge, placing first in the CEIYJ1* with Khomets Boss Hoss, a 14-year-old half-Arabian gelding, and in the CEIYJ2* with Nazeefs Flashy Rose, a 13-year-old Arabian mare. Both horses are owned by Cheryl Van Deusen.
The Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award is generously sponsored by Gold Medal Farm and Larry and Valerie Kanavy in memory of Maggy Price. Price was the 1992 FEI Endurance World Championship silver medalist and was instrumental in developing international endurance in the U.S. The Brunjes Junior/Young Rider Trophy is awarded in memory of Kathy Brunjes, a successful endurance athlete and active supporter of the junior/young rider program.
Stay up to date with U.S. endurance by following USA Endurance on Facebook and US Equestrian on Instagram and Twitter. Use #USAEndurance.
December 31, 2020
A new endurance level has been introduced in the US to encourage more participants into the discipline and lower the barriers to competition.
US Equestrian has launched USEF Endurance Competition Lite as a stepping stone for athletes and competition organisers in the transition to national licensed competitions. The USEF’s Board of Directors approved the program earlier this month, and the competition made its debut last week at the Greenway Gallivant in Dunnellon, Florida.
US Equestrian says the introduction of the USEF Endurance Lite competition model will lower financial and other barriers to entry for athletes and endurance competition organisers interested in participating in or hosting USEF sanctioned events, while maintaining a safe and level playing field...
by US Equestrian Communications Department | Dec 23, 2020, 1:50 PM EST
Lexington, Ky. - US Equestrian is pleased to announce the launch of USEF Endurance Competition Lite. The USEF Endurance Lite program was created as a stepping stone for athletes and competition organizers in the transition to USEF national licensed competitions and will welcome more participants into the sport of endurance at a national level. The program made its debut at the Greenway Gallivant in Dunnellon, Florida, December 19-21, 2020.
The introduction of the USEF Endurance Lite competition model will lower financial and other barriers to entry for athletes and endurance competition organizers interested in participating in or hosting USEF sanctioned events, while maintaining a safe and level playing field for all. The USEF Endurance Sport Committee created the USEF Endurance Lite Rules based on the approved Endurance chapter of the USEF Rulebook. The USEF Board of Directors approved the program earlier this month.
“How exciting to see Endurance Lite from USEF now available for equestrians wanting to make this unique sport a part of their equestrian experience,” said Lisanne Dorion, FEI athlete and Co-chair of the USEF Endurance Sport Committee. “Endurance not only takes you and your horse through some of the most amazing natural settings, but also, the skills one learns in endurance can translate into other disciplines and benefit everything else you do with your equine partner! I am thrilled to welcome newcomers to come out and see what Endurance Lite is all about.”
The current USEF Endurance Lite Rules are in effect until November 30th, 2022. Prior to this date, the USEF Endurance Sport Committee will review this program. While this program is being piloted at competitions during 2021, competition organizers can provide feedback on the program to Steven Morrissey, Project Director of High Performance Programs, at email@example.com.
Any competition organizers interested in holding a USEF Endurance Competition Lite should refer to the Competition Licensing section of USEF.org and contact Hannah Gabbard, Competition Licensing Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. USEF Endurance Competition Lite license applications should be submitted 30 days prior to the desired competition dates. However, this requirement will be waived for Endurance Lite competitions being held prior to January 25th, 2021.
Dec 8, 2020
Endurance Episode: Earle Baxter is a 2002 AERC Hall of Fame rider and has logged 43,980 miles and Earle and his horse “I Am Amazing” (Champ) became Century Club members. Plus, we hear some gift ideas from Distance Depot, national mileage leader for 2020, Kerry Lowrey, joins us and the Endurance Tip is calculating how far ahead or behind your competition is during an endurance ride. Listen in...
Dot started riding horses before she was born; she believes she may have been conceived on Bear Tooth Pass, Montana, as her Mother and Father rode from Red Lodge to Cook City. Dot's first endurance ride was in Vale, Oregon, in 1976. She joined AERC in 1980 when she was in her 50’s. She came to endurance after a lifetime of punching cows and breeding Quarter horses. She quickly excelled, riding her beautiful palomino Quarter Horse Stallion, Scotch and Soda. She completed six 100-mile rides on Scotch, including the Race of Champions. Scotch retired with almost 3,500 career endurance miles and was never pulled. Known as a great gentleman of the trail, Scotch pulled many tired horses and young competitors across the finish line. Many will remember Dot’s other endurance mounts: Duffy, Tess, Zinger, and Kris. Dot always put her horse first and was a role model and mentor for many endurance riders. Of the 188 rides she started, she finished 182. She completed 8,090 miles of endurance and rode her last 50-miler in 2009 at the age of 79 1/2. In her later years she dropped back to Limited Distance Rides and completed exactly 2000 LD miles from 1996 to 2013.
Dot was a fierce advocate for trails. Over the years she worked with the Forest Service and BLM as well as private land owners to preserve equestrian trails. In 2016, AERC recognized Dot by presenting her wth the Ann Parr Trails Preservation Award. Dot was one of the founding directors of the Friends of the Weiser River Rail trail. The 85-mile Weiser River Trail is one of the few rails to trails in the nation owned and managed by a nonprofit organization. From 1982 through 2000, Dot managed the Hells Canyon Endurance Ride. As a Forest Service employee, she worked at the Sturgill Peak Fire Lookout. As she performed her job, she scoped out and plotted the beautiful and challenging trails that became the Hells Canyon Ride. Dot was always eager to help search for good trails, clear trails, mark and un-mark ride trails. She will be missed.
Talkin about what to look for when purchasing a horse with Dr Jay Mero
We have so much to be thankful for.virtual buckle
Of course, looking back on the events of 2020, many folks may not feel this way, and rightfully so. The year has been fraught with emotional triggers. Pandemic, politics, economics, environment, personal health and well-being. But there really is a bright spot to each stressor. We just have to look for it.
At WSTF, I think we all had a bit of a desperate feeling of dread when we made the decision in April to cancel the 65th annual Tevis Cup ride slated for August 1, 2020.
While the ride itself does not bring in a lot of money, as it’s a huge financial outlay to put it on, it does illicit revenue via donations and associated activities. None of those were going to happen and like so many other organizations effected by Covid-19 we asked, “How will we pay our bills?”
Then our by bright spot made its appearance. One of our BOG members suggested that we host a virtual Tevis. Instead of 100 miles in one day, we would do 100 miles in 100 days. Your trails, your equine, your speed.
The event was slated to start on August 1 (the date the actual ride was to occur on) and end on November 9th . We set up a riding, and a non-riding division. Just like the Tevis Cup you had to complete the 100 miles on one horse. The non-riding division allowed walking, running, hiking, cycling, swimming, etc. Pretty much any type of physical activity, but for 100 miles.
We watched tentatively as the registration started. There was even a side bet among the BOGs for tacos as to whether we would reach 1500 entries.
Tevis fans insured that the taco lover in the group would not go wanting. As of this writing, we have 1637 total participants. 1388 in the riding division and 285 in the non-riding division. Participants are from 12 different countries, with an age range from four years old to the mid 80s.
We had to change the event midway through and extend the completion deadline beyond 100 days. This was due to the poor air quality from the multiple wildland fires that plagued the western states in August and September. Tevis fans continued to endure. You hunkered down, took care of your ponies and once the air cleared and their lungs recovered, you hit the trail again.
As a remembrance of the virtual ride, each participant completing the trail will receive a long sleeve T-shirt designed specifically for the event, and a virtual Tevis buckle sticker, also created just for the event. International participants will receive a bandanna with a similar design to the T-shirt and the sticker.
The event has its own Facebook page where folks have shared their ride stories along the hundred mile journey. As they record their miles and log into the race organization site, they can read about the various landmarks and points of interest as they virtually complete the Tevis Trail.
If you do the math with our $65 registration fee and 1600+ participants, you’ll come up with a number fatter than a Thanksgiving turkey. Out of that number we still have to buy shirts and stickers, pay postage and the race organizing site, etc., but we still had a nice piece of the pie. And the whip cream on that pie? More than $15,000 in just good old-fashioned cash donations for WSTF. The Virtual Tevis Cup ride has been a hit, and has really helped WSTF with some large expenses and trail improvement projects. We are looking at the possibility of making it an annual event and welcome the input and suggestions of all.
As I round this out, your BOG elves are busy stuffing T-shirts and bandannas into envelopes so that the first group of completion awards can be mailed next week, and continue throughout the end of the event on 12-31-2020.
Thank you Tevis fans. You are our bright spot.
Christina is an equine and pet photographer who also happens to love the trails and distance riding. It was the love of covering miles through beautiful territory on good horses that inspired her to create a podcast about it to share stories with other riders from around the world.
With 41 episodes, the Endurance Horse Podcast is almost at 27,000 downloads. 2021 will be the third year podcasting.
March 6 and 7, 2021 – Virtual Convention – participate from wherever you are!
With our 2021 San Antonio convention off the table, AERC had to find the best way to get together and enjoy all the perks of convention (except for the very best part of all, seeing each other in person!). We're excited to be planning an "Unconventional" Convention that ALL can attend (virtually).
There will be seminars! There will be vendors and vendor specials! There will be a raffle (including a special raffle for a brand-new Treeless Saddle)! There will be seminar speakers and awards programs!
We will have lots of details to come . . . but for now, mark those calendars for March 6 and 7, and watch Endurance News and AERC.org for updates.
Interested in becoming a virtual vendor and/or convention sponsor? Please contact the AERC office, 866-271-2372, or email@example.com, to be added to our exhibitor mailing list.
Coming in 2022: AERC's 50th Anniversary Celebration Convention!
Robert John Morris (Bob Morris)
December 30, 1927 - November 21, 2020
Bob Morris and his wife Arlene were two of the founders of the Southwest Idaho Trail & Distance Riding club in 1979. Bob was an excellent horseman, trainer and rider, known as a mentor to many endurance riders, and remembered for putting on some tough endurance rides.
Monday August 8 2011
by Merri Melde
Veterinarian Melissa Ribley kindly provided an article in Endurance News a couple of years ago elucidating pull codes for horses and riders on endurance rides:
M – Metabolic
L – Lameness
OT – Overtime
SF – Surface Factors
Then there’s the RO – Rider Option, when there is nothing wrong with the horse and it has been cleared by a vet, but the rider wishes to pull; RO-L, when the horse has been cleared by the vet, but the rider feels there may be some lameness issue, and RO-M, when the horse has been cleared by the vet but the rider feels there may be some metabolic issue.
After my recollection of some old records where a tough-as-nails, highly competitive endurance rider I used to know had an inordinate number of Rider Option pulls (granted, this was before the RO-L and RO-M were implemented), where I knew there was no way this rider would ever willingly quit a ride when the horse was fine, it comes to my mind that there needs to be a little more detailed clarification of the RO codes.
I propose the following additions to the pull codes, and none of these should be ridiculed by other riders (well, except for RO-IC):
RO-ITDC – It’s Too Damn Cold. Well, for some sunny southern California fair weather types, sometimes it is just too damn cold to be out there riding 50 or (you gotta be kidding me) 100 miles when the mercury hovers around 35* and it’s spitting rain or sleet and the wind is howling 35 mph (known as a “35-35 day” or comparatively, even harsher, a “30-30 day” for the tough hides in Wyoming used to this sort of weather nonsense), when one could just as easily circle the next ride on the calendar in 2 weeks’ time a hundred miles and 2000’ of elevation further south, while one is sitting by a fire sipping hot toddies, instead of becoming a miserable popsicle on a horse for up to 24 hours. BEWARE, however, of abusing this code, when Dave Rabe is in the ride. If he is wearing a long-sleeved shirt under his tank top, you may be right, it’s darn cold, but are you man (or woman) enough to pull yourself and your horse with RO-ITDC even wearing your 5 layers of clothing, when he’s riding beside you in shorts?
RO-IGP – I’m Gonna Puke. Now, this does not necessarily separate the girls from the women and the boys from the men. If you feel like you are going to puke, sure, you can probably do it from your horse, but, let’s face it, it is really no fun to do it from the back of a horse moving 7 – 20 mph, and if you really are going to puke, you are probably not doing your horse any favors because you are probably not sitting him correctly (bending over to try to miss both of you), and if you are bending over trying to do this at 20 mph you may likely fall off. (And then you might be able to opt for the RO-BB pull code, see below). There are those who will tough it out, make it to a vet check, and puke there, but it is perfectly acceptable to pull with a RO-IGP, because after all, most of us are in this sport to have fun, and not to compare most mileage accomplished while feeling worst of anybody. I have not yet seen regional awards handed out for this exploit. A few tips on preventative for this pull code: do not eat a bowl of beans the night before a 100. Do not feel obligated to eat several slices of cake or handfuls of cookies at every single refreshment point on a 100 mile trail where volunteers hand out goodies.
RO-HGC – Horse Gone Crazy. This is not only an acceptable pull, but one that may save your life and those of others on the trail. And yes, this can happen to any normally calm horse on any given ride.
RO-BTDT – Been There Done That. This one is a little iffy – I mean, if you start a ride that you have done before, and in the middle of it you decide you’re bored with the trail, you really shouldn’t have entered again, should you?
RO-BB – Broken Bones (yours or the horse, before or during the ride). ‘Nuff said.
RO-HBL – Hopelessly Beyond Lost. If it’s a pitch black night under a thick forest canopy, and there are approximately 40 glowbars covering the entire 100 mile trail, and you and fellow riders have been wandering astray and disoriented for hours, and you have collapsed in an exhausted heap and are content to just stay there and die on the trail, this is a perfectly acceptable pull. (If you are found before you die).
RO-DOD – Disappeared or Dead. This code is only for those who are never found after an RO-HBL ride, and hopefully will never be used.
RO-IC – I’m Cheating. Either you cut trail and know you will be the recipient of a lodged protest; you switched similar-looking horses in the middle of the ride and you know someone is onto you; you carelessly blew others off a trail to get ahead, at much danger to them; or you administered your horse illegal drugs and you see there is a state pee tester at the first vet check who you know by your luck will stick that cup under your horse next time. You better take this pull code. Now.
RO-IJCTIA(AIDHT) – I Just Can’t Take It Anymore (And I Don’t Have To). This could refer to: the lame annoying riders around you (because you, of course, are decidedly not); aches and pains too numerous for massive doses of ibuprofen to take care of; realizing on your first endurance ride that this sport and everybody in it is, truly, insane; you’ve been unceremoniously dumped once, or twice, or more (on the same day); or little combinations of the above RO pull codes. Or, you’ve just had enough today, period. This is perfectly acceptable; we all hit the wall sooner or later.
I believe these additional pull codes will help make clear for nosy people the real reasons riders choose “RO” - Rider Option. Let’s help keep our sport open and honest, so we all have plenty to talk and tease others about. Ride managers can help by typing up little cheat RO note cards for riders to carry with their rider cards and maps for quick and easy reference coming into vet checks.
**This article was originally published in Endurance News, April 2006
**and again on Merri Travels on Endurance.net, August 8, 2011
It deserves another reprint!
By Sandra Jaramillo For The New Mexican
Nov 18, 2020
“New Mexico has proven to be rich in blessings, both in allowing me to build my dream of my own horse property and adopting my first young horse to bring up in the ranks,” Suzanne Diesel said.
Diesel was led to The Horse Shelter when she decided to adopt. What she didn’t anticipate was meeting Roni, a 4-year-old grade Arabian mare now affectionately known as Zuni, and the amazing staff that came with her during the adoption process.
The Horse Shelter staffers, Michele and Cori, “welcomed me to the shelter multiple times to meet and build my relationship with Zuni prior to adopting her, including three rides to ensure we bonded,” Diesel said...
If you are an AERC Junior or Young Rider, check out the Anne Ayala Scholarship which is open to those in their senior year of high school through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of 1/1/2020).
More details and application here:
By Paul Heller For Weekend Magazine
Aug 22, 2020
From the Boston Marathon to the Indianapolis 500, endurance and strength have always been celebrated. Even in the bygone age of horse power, a stress test to find the best horse and rider was first staged by the Morgan Horse Club of New England in a feat of stamina and survival for Vermont horsemen and their mounts.
The “Endurance Ride of 1913” followed a route that started in Northfield and made its way through Waterbury, Stowe, Hardwick, St. Johnsbury, Wells River and concluded in White River Junction – a distance of 154 miles. The route took two days – Sept. 16-17 – and was the focus of every equestrian in New England.
The Vermont Horse and Bridle Trail Bulletin called this event “the first test in America of weight carrying over long distances.” This occasion also marks the beginning of the endurance ride as a sport, and it was a Norwich University cadet from Barre who won this first-ever public competition.
Developed by the U.S. Cavalry as a way to grade military mounts, the “Endurance Ride” became a way for breeders to establish favorable bloodlines and for equestrians to establish bragging rights...
Read more here:
Living on the Road With Horses, Friesian Rocks the LD Rides: Endurance Day for Nov 10, 2020
Nov 10, 2020
Michelle and her daughter Scout share how they are living full time on the road with their horses. Magali McGreevy is kicking butt with her Friesian Harlaam and she stops by to tell us all about it. Rump rugs, quarter sheets, or exercise rugs; whatever you call them we answer the questions you never thought to ask. Listen in...
AERC's next ride season begins December 1. Be sure to renew for the 2021 ride season! Special bonus: all 2020 members who renew by 12/1/20 will be eligible for a drawing for $500 in custom tack, donated by Taylored Tack.
See https://aerc.org/static/Join_AERC.aspx to see more and sign up.
Nov 03, 2020
After nearly 60 hours from early Friday morning to Sunday evening, Auburn’s Dan Barger finally reached his 200-mile finish line.
After a failed attempt at doubling up on the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run on July 31, Barger regrouped and re-attacked the course last weekend with a new game plan, new optimism and new success. Beginning the trek at 5 a.m. Friday from Placer High School’s LeFebvre Stadium, the 55-year-old Auburn resident journeyed up to Squaw Valley and returned to the Placer track just before 5 p.m. Sunday for the first 200-mile completion of the Western States trail.
“I’m still processing it, really,” an emotionally and physically spent Barger said Monday afternoon. “It’s hard to put into words. I’m not really sharp right now.”
Barger was greeted at the finish line by a warm embrace from his mother.
“When I got to the track, there was no one there but close-knit friends and family,” he said. “I just ran around smiling big. I ran around that last quarter mile just happy to be done.”
Barger’s first attempt, which included a bear encounter and searing summer heat, saw him reach 125 miles in about 37 hours before getting bitten by “the sleep monster” and calling it quits. In retrospect, Barger said he probably had a little fuel left in the tank...
In late July 2020 the AHA Distance Commission, in consultation with the AHA President, Nancy Harvey made the difficult decision to suspend the Distance Horse National Championships (DHNC), scheduled for September 25-27, 2020 at Ogden Group Camp near La Pine, OR.
This decision was not made lightly. Considerations included the possibility that crews would not be camping on site, a lack of awards ceremony, additional costs and assignment of volunteers dedicated to assuring compliance with Oregon State Department of Health requirements, possibility on size limitations, and the burden on travelers during COVID-19.
With all this in consideration and discussion from the community, the AHA Distance National Commission, in association with the breed liaisons of who are partnered with the DHNC have made the decision to modify the rotation schedule and host the ride in the Western region in 2022, if we can find a viable location. We have begun the search for a site to hold the 2022 event in the Western region of the US; If you have any suggestions or would like to bid to hold the event, please contact: Paige Lockard - Distance National Coordinator at 303-696-4535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time and support! We are thrilled to continue the Distance National Champion Tradition with you all.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride in Alaska? Well, my guests, Frank and Claudia Sihler can answer that!
With a plethora of public land available there’s no shortage of places to ride and camp. However, only certain areas are actually developed for recreation. Riding in Alaska is great for those with an adventurous streak.
In this interview, we discuss everything from wildlife encounters (moose, wolves, and bears, of my!) to riding on frozen rivers in winter time. We also talk about their long journey down to Arizona for mounted archery competitions. They tell me about outrunning bad weather on the way back and give some tips for anyone thinking about taking the trip themselves...
Read more and listen at:
AERC's National Championship rides are back on the calendar for 2021:
June 11 (50 mile championships)
June 12 (open 50 and 2 open LDs)
June 13 (100 mile championships)
The place: Fort Howes in Ashland, Montana.
The even bigger news is that on June 15, there will be an AERC Young Rider Championship 75-mile ride! This will be open to weight division riders age 14-21. (14-15 year olds with unsponsored junior status are welcome. See rule 10.3 for details.)
This link gives YR Championship qualification specifics:
Also, watch Endurance News for information on all 2021 National Championships at Fort Howes rides and check out the Fort Howes website: http://www.forthowes.net/
Happy trails from the AERC Office
and 2021 National Championship Ride hosts Jan and Bill Stevens
P.S. Don't forget to renew your AERC membership by December 1 to be eligible for our drawing for a $500 custom tack package from Taylored Tack: https://www.aerc.org/static/join_aerc.aspx
25 October 2020
Race Report made with the assistance of Alissa Norman
When manager Holly MacDonald was not allowed to run an endurance ride in her home state due to COVID restrictions, she approached Fair Hill International to ask them to host. As Fair Hill International’s national distance ride was cancelled in April, the venue was happy to host both national and CEI rides. Distances offered included the 40, 80, 100, 120 and 160km events.
In the 160km ride, Holly Corcoran (USA) rode her own Poete to the win through perfect fall weather, with dry footing and a hint of trees changing colour. She rode the entire ride with two of her other horses – Poetrie, ridden by Hanna Weightman (USA) and Lorienn, ridden by Carmine Villani (GBR)...
An ongoing passion for the sport of endurance riding leads Christoph Schork to a phenomenal 400 wins
October 24 2020
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
To the casual eye, the 5-day Autumn Sun Pioneer ride in October in Gooding, Idaho, was just another endurance ride. It wasn’t even all that unusual when Christoph Schork won all 5 days of the 50 milers. But what will be remembered of this now-historical event is that with his wins, Schork set another AERC record that’s unlikely to ever be touched. The Three Hundred Win Man transformed into The Four Hundred Win Man. If it wasn’t enough setting that win record, he also became the first rider to reach 200 Best Condition awards with his mounts.
According to AERC records, the endurance riders with the next most wins are the Midwest region’s Linda Hamrick with 178 wins, and the Central region’s Darolyn Butler with 168. The riders with the next most Best Condition awards are the Mountain region’s Crockett Dumas with 147, and the Pacific South region’s Suzy Kelley (who passed away in April 2020) with 138.
And if you think he’s excessively busy with just riding 50-milers and winning, you’d be missing the whole picture. Particularly during this strange COVID season, where his usual interns from Europe have been prevented from flying to the US, Schork has been handling a trailer full of horses at a multi-day ride by himself. After he pulls into Ridecamp, he’ll set up his 4 or 5 horses with food and water, and get each horse’s equipment ready. (He’ll also have several busy, opinionated little dogs to take care of.) After he finishes competing on Day 1, he’ll get back to camp, take care of the other horses, and take Day 2’s horse out for a warm-up ride, and so on throughout the event.
But he also stays busy helping other riders. Need advice or help with hoof care or glueing on boots? Schork will help. Need a saddle fitted before your ride? He will make time to do that also. His helpfulness is bountiful and his energy seems limitless.
Schork set the tone of his 33-year endurance career from his first ride in 1988 with a win. Since then he has completed 676 rides in 730 starts for a 92.6% finish percentage with over 38,000 miles, an outstanding figure when you realize he’s almost always competing to win. And many of his horses have had long careers, several having surpassed the 3000-mile mark, including:
• GE Double Zell (Brusally Orlen X Little Sisterzell, by Brusally Orlen) 3150 miles, 58 finishes in 58 starts, 8 seasons, 12 BCs, 6 of 6 100s (Schork’s most wins, 41, came aboard this horse)
• GE BW Triple Divide (Kishkov X BW Pavlova, by *Statuss) 3230 miles, 63 finishes in 69 starts, 9 seasons, 7 BCs
• GE Pistol Annie (Sulte X Sissy, by Baahy) 3550 miles, 63 finishes in 66 starts, 7 seasons, 31 BCs, 7 of 9 100s
• GE Stars Aflame (Flaming Tigre X Samoa Star, by Samstar) 3660 miles, 67 finishes in 72 starts, 12 seasons, 16 BCs, 5 of 8 100s
• DWA Powerball (*Sabson X WMA Lotto, by Cacko) 3720 miles, 72 finishes in 75 starts, 8 seasons, 7 BCs, 2 of 3 100s
• DWA Sabku +// (*Sabson X Saranade, by El Camino Samir) 4320 miles, 78 finishes in 85 starts, 15 seasons, 18 BCs, 11 of 14 100s
Schork’s Global Endurance Training Center in Moab, Utah, an ambitious endurance venture which he started with Dian Woodward in 2002, (she has since left), is the base of his endurance operations. Here he conditions his horses and also trains endurance riders, most notably for Mongolia’s Mongol Derby and the Gobi Gallop. He also leases his horses to endurance riders; multiple clients have earned Tevis Cup buckles aboard his horses.
Such a rise to the top rung in this sport has come with trials and errors and growing knowledge and fine tuning of Schork’s techniques over the decades. Though he makes it look easy, he’s the first to maintain he’s not an expert.
Asked how he’s earned such success, Schork summed up his methods.
Schork also attributes part of his success to doing his own hoof care, changing over years ago to synthetic shoes and boots made by Easycare. Schork says, “Easycare was one of the front runners in that, and that certainly helped my horses to cover ground more expediently and more efficiently, and it also helps protect the joints and cartilage of the lower legs. Easycare’s R&D [research and development], their support, and their commitment to the welfare of the horse is a big thing for me.”
Asked what Schork has learned between win #300 (July 3, 2016 aboard GE Pistol Annie) and win #400 (October 11, 2020 aboard GE VA Blizzard of Oz), he points first to his horses’ mental states. “The more I work with horses, I realize how important it is to work with the psyche and the mind of the horses - getting more in touch with their minds and feeling the horses more, feel their strengths and weaknesses, and work close within these parameters,” he says. “I want to keep them happy, because a happy horse performs better.”
Schork has also learned to take each horse’s mind and ability into account. “A horse can have the perfect body and the best heart rate and lots of skills and talents, but if there is no drive or desire on the horse’s behalf, the best body does not bring home the gold. But the best mind can often overcome physical shortcomings. Discipline and mental toughness trump talent and conformation almost all the time.
“Another thing I realized as I learn more, that the more you try to force something or the more you are wanting something really bad, like forcing the win, the less it might happen. So I give much consideration to a horse’s mental state, allowing a win to happen, not forcing it. Stay relaxed about it, as the more relaxed you can be about it, the more relaxed the horse is going to be, and the better you’re going to perform as a team with the horse.”
He adheres to the phrase he coined years ago: “‘At any given day, ride the horse you have, not the horse you wish to have.’ Always be astute about the stage your horse is in at any given day; that will help minimize failures.”
While Schork himself is a person many endurance riders look up to, he cites several people who he has admired over the years, starting with his first mentors, Arlene and Bob Morris, longtime endurance riders now retired in the Northwest. Schork got his first endurance horse, Dahn Hallany from them.
“I was always looking up to Kevin Myers. He’s not with us anymore, but his dedication, his knowledge, and his problem-solving skills were always very inspiring, and we were also good friends.
“Another person I always look up to and admire is Garrett Ford, for his endless strive, for his ability to think outside the box, and to come up with solutions to problems. His mind is never resting. I think I’m able to say that I’m always busy, but not compared to Garrett, who’s in hyperactive mode in his mind all the time and physically. I certainly look up to him, and he’s also a friend. I can always learn something from him.
“I’m also always looking to Suzie Hayes for her tenaciousness, for being how relaxed she is, how successful, for how she never gives up no matter what comes her way. She’s always overcoming obstacles. She definitely falls in that category as somebody I look up to and respect highly.”
While Schork won’t single out a favorite horse (he says, “I have a lot of favorite horses. And what makes them my favorite horses is they work with me, if I want to get off and run, if they tail, if they are eager to compete, if they are high spirited, if they love the sport. That's what makes them my favorite”), he does have some favorite accomplishments over the years.
"The National 100 mile award on Pistol Annie in 2016 is one of my favorites, then the National Best Condition Award on Ozzy last year, then the two times War Mare Award on Stars Aflame and Pistol Annie in 2013 and 2017, and also the National Championship in 50 and 100 on Stars Aflame.
“Certainly the Top Ten finishes at Tevis fall in that category. (His highest finish was a 3rd on Taj Rai Hasan in 2005). The Big Horn 100 win (on DWA Express in 2008). The Virginia City 100 Best Condition (BC and 2nd place on GE VA Blizzard of Oz in 2018). The Australian Quilty win (in 2007 aboard Arovo Mini Harvest, owned by Anton Reid, who tied with Schork aboard Endurowest Kumari). The Gobi Desert Cup win in Mongolia (2018).
“And that win is maybe one that really sticks out, because you ride different horses, most of them are half wild, and they’re not really conditioned for 50 miles. They are conditioned for 30 or 35 miles, so you have to read the horse, know how you can ride the horse to their full potential, but not over their potential, but not too much under their potential, because otherwise you’re not going to win. So it’s a very fine line. Riding these horses to that exact point is just a special challenge, compared to one where you know exactly how it’s going to perform because you know their strength and weakness. There you have to really feel the horses and get in synch with them rather quickly.”
As for Schork’s goals, the 67-year-old is not ready to slow down yet. “Certainly I want to reach the 40,000 miles, which hopefully will happen in the next couple of years if the Coronavirus doesn’t cancel too many rides.” Schork is 7th on the all-time AERC mileage list, and during many normal ride seasons, he’s ridden well over 1800 miles.
“I would like another try at the French Florac (France’s most famous 100-mile ride). I also want to reach my 10 Tevis finishes. I have 6, and I’d definitely like to get the 1000 mile buckle.
“And, who knows what the future brings, but maybe I’ll make it to 500 wins before the inevitable retirement, sooner or later, when the body isn’t as strong anymore as the mind,” Schork laughs.
With Schork’s sustained passion for the sport of endurance and his quest to continue learning, it’s entirely conceivable he’ll achieve all of these goals.
Garrett Ford sums up his friend:
“There is not another person in the sport that is close [to his wins and BC records]. I would bet these marks will never be surpassed.
“Christoph has achieved these accomplishments with respect for his horses and fellow competitors. He’s a class act that is most often helping others with Hoofcare or saddle fit during events.
“I’m proud to call Christoph Schork a close friend.
“I’ll shed some tears when he enters the AERC Hall Of Fame.”
Angela Kay Davidson – age 61 of Laurel
October 22, 2020 Cook-Rosenberger Funeral Home
Angela Kay Davidson, of Laurel, was born on January 7, 1959 in West Harrison, a daughter to Robert and Laura Wolfe Farmer. She married Terry Davidson on January 11, 2000 in Brookville. Angela worked at Sperry Rubber for 25 years but her love was horses. She enjoyed endurance riding and was a member of the Daniel Boone Distance Riders and the Arabian Horse Association. On Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at the age of 61, she passed away at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois.
Those surviving who will cherish Angela’s memory include her loving husband, Terry Davidson; son, Wade Markland; daughters, Lorayne (Jason) Heaston and Karissa Markland; 16 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; 3 brothers, Robert Farmer, Mitchel Farmer and Curtis Farmer; a special aunt, Norma Geis and several nieces and nephews. Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by a grandson, Dylin.
Friends may visit with the family on Monday, October 26, 2020 from 5 until time of service at 7 p.m. at Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home, 929 Main Street, Brookville.
Due to the COVID-19 precautions and state mandates, all attending will be asked to follow proper social distancing protocol, including wearing a mask that covers the face and mouth while inside the funeral home. If you are not feeling well, or if you have compromised immune system, you are encouraged to stay home.
Memorial donations can be directed to the American Cancer Society. To sign the online guestbook or to leave a personal condolence, please visit www.cookrosenberger.com. The staff of Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home is honored to care for the family of Angela Davidson.
Gobi Gallop Solo Endurance Challenge, Young Barrel Racer Shooting for National Finals for Oct. 7, 2020 by State Line Tack
Oct 7, 2020
Julie Veloo from the Veloo Foundation joins us to talk about her solo ride across Mongolia; setting off to ride the longest annual charity endurance adventure, the 700 km Gobi Gallop…by herself. Along the way she will be sharing the adventure in real time via various social media platforms.
In our monthly Black Reins magazine segment we are joined by Tori Bush, a young barrel racer who has her sights set on qualifying for the National Finals High School Rodeo.
Debbie Loucks tells us about the new Monty Roberts’ Mustang & Transition Horse Program at Flag Is Up Farm streaming on Horse & Country TV.
October 13, 2020
Mary Margaret Byergo
Mary Margaret Byergo passed peacefully at her home in Warrenton Virginia on October 9, 2020. She was born in Maryville, Missouri on October 26, 1930, the daughter of the late Austin Gregory Felton and Eva Margaret Felton. She is survived by her husband of 70 years, Keith Morris Byergo. They were high school sweethearts, married December 23, 1950. Mary Margaret is also survived by her three daughters Elaine Margaret Byergo and her husband, John Burghardt; Madalyn Barbara White and her husband, David White; and Laura Gay Byergo and her husband, Mark Willis; and four grandchildren Megan White, Chris White, Nora Burghardt and Keith Burghardt.
Mary Margaret loved nothing more than a challenge. After earning her B.S. degree in Home Economics from the University of Missouri she joined her new husband Keith in California where he was serving in the United State Air Force for three years. Returning to Missouri, she taught High school Home Economics for several years before the two of them decided to go see the world with their three daughters. Keith joined the Agency for International Development and in February 1960 they took their first international flight to Iran.
Mary Margaret was an adventurous traveler, always curious about exploring another country. Keith and Mary Margaret lived in Asia and the Middle East for 15 years. Mary Margaret made a true home for her family in each posting. She looked forward to every new country telling her daughters, “Every posting is what you make of it.” She said that about life too. For herself she relished the chance to ride horses with Iranian tribal chiefs, teach nutrition to Iranian nurses and English to Pakistani and Turkish ladies. She developed a curiosity about Hittite ruins in Turkey and eventually began teaching the archivist of the national museum how to use cloth rubbings to bring out the secrets of carved stones thousands of years old. She used to tell us, “Be a ‘Momengator;’ a catalyst, a force of action.”
A savvy businesswoman, Mary Margaret managed family farms in Missouri, Iowa, and Wyoming, from around the world. When she came home to Missouri she brought the spice and color of the world back home with her. The farmers and businesspeople who worked with her told us many times with respect, “Your Mother was smart, she never missed a trick.”
Mary Margaret was a natural competitor. She found her passion raising, training and competing Arabian horses. Her grandfather gifted her a former circus pony when she was three years old and she grew-up riding horses while helping her father with the cattle. Settling in Virginia after their years overseas, Mary Margaret returned to riding. One of her proudest achievements was successfully raising a set of Arabian twin foals, a rare feat. She served as the Field Master of the Pohick Hunt in Virginia for several years. In her Fifties she began competing in 100 mile endurance trail riding, completing dozens of 100 mile races. In 1990 she competed in the World Equestrian Games as a member of the United States Endurance Team in Stockholm, Sweden.
She was a lifelong member of PEO, a Sorority Sister of Alpha Gama Delta, and a member of the Warrenton antiquarians.
She is deeply missed and remembered by friends and family for her strong spirit, keen wit, and the firm support she gave each of us to be true to ourselves.
A private family graveside service will be held October 14, 2020 at the Little Georgetown Cemetery. The service will be conducted by Rector Weston Mathews of Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, Virginia.
A public celebration of her life will be scheduled in the spring.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, friends wishing to may provide a donation to:
The Grace Episcopal Church: 6507 Main Street, P.O. Box 32, The Plains, Virginia 20198
The Alzheimer’s Association: 225 N. Michigan Ave. Floor 17 Chicago, IL 60601, https://www.alz.org/
PEO International: 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50312, https://donations.peointernational.org/
October 13 2020
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
Moab, Utah's Christoph Schork crossed the 400-win mark in AERC rides at the 5-day Autumn Sun endurance ride in Gooding, Idaho this past week/weekend.
July 3 2016 marked his 300th win; win 400 came during a discombobulated year of COVID-19 which caused months worth of ride cancellations. Jessica Huber's Autumn Sun ride, normally a 3-day Pioneer, became a 5-day ride this year, attracting riders from as far away as California, and providing Christoph the path to his 400th win.
More to come on this remarkable accomplishment at www.Endurance.net
October 6 2020
Finally! Episode 13 is here, we are so glad to be back!
Angie and Bridget catch up on what's happened since the last episode, including a first 100 mile attempt. Bridget shares the details on that ride plus her ride at the beautiful Antelope Island. Angie fills us in on what's she's been up to while she takes this season off from competition.
Listen now at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/793154/5777536
Or by using Amazon Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify!
September 28, 2020
Good hoof health is essential for all horses not just those in high performance events. Today’s episode will take some of the mystery out of hooves and hopefully inspire you to learn more and perhaps take up the rasp yourself.
My guest, Paige Poss is the owner and creator of Iron Free Hoof and co-creator of Anatomy of the Equine. She has taught trimming techniques and anatomy around the country and internationally through live dissections and her incredibly detailed photography. She teaches horse owners and hoof professionals about the internal structures of the lower leg through her online module at www.hoofcourses.com.
In the following interview we discuss hoof care, horse health, and anatomy of the hoof as it relates to function and soundness. Paige gives some tips for identifying a laminitic horse as well as good or bad hoof shape. She tells me about her childhood, fearlessly riding the fields and trails of Arkansas and North Carolina. Then talks about, her current struggle to overcome riding anxiety after losing her trusted horse, Sophie.
Listen, and more at:
By Joe Sylvester email@example.com October 4 2020
MUNCY — Sally Jellison doesn’t know why she enters endurance horseback rides, especially the 1,000-kilometer Mongol Derby across part of the Mongolian steppes.
She competed in that 10-day race in August 2019. In the race, riders change horses every 40 kilometers.
“I do endurance riding a lot,” said the 57-year-old Navy veteran, who runs a horse farm with her husband, John Dugan, 53, in Delaware Township, Northumberland County. “I think I have a mutated adventure gene.”
Dugan’s and Jellison’s daughter, Charly, 15, a Warrior Run High School sophomore, seems to be following in her mother’s footsteps. Jellison said Charly, in just her second season of competing, is ranked as one of the top juniors in the Northeast by the American Endurance Ride Council, one of the equestrian organizations to which both belong...
By Joe Sylvester firstname.lastname@example.org
Sep 27, 2020
MUNCY — When Sally Jellison moved to Northumberland County about three years ago, she was disappointed that no one held a hunter pace competition.
In a hunter pace, competitors ride their horses through the woods on a marked trail that includes obstacles and jumps to simulate a foxhunt.
“When we permanently moved here, I was sad nobody did a foxhunt or hunter paces,” said Jellison, 57, who moved with husband, John Dugan, and daughter, Charly, from New Jersey, just outside of New York City, to the rural Delaware Township property they already owned.
So they started holding the hunter pace events. They held the third one in three years on Sunday, with the help of neighbors who volunteered to help out at the checkpoint and other duties.
“I wanted to reach out to the equestrian community,” said Jellison, who previously worked in New York City and has been riding in endurance competitions for 20 years.
Jellison, who competed with her daughter, Charly, in the Big Horn 100 in Wyoming over 24 hours this summer and competed in the Mongolian 1,000 (kilometer) race in the Mongolian steppes last year, Sunday rode “Roo,” a 7-year-old full-bred Arabian who is the number one endurance horse in the Northeast United States...
Sep. 17, 2020
The race must go on, even under cloudy skies and during a pandemic.
More than 60 horses and riders from across B.C. and Alberta competed in the Titanium Gold Pioneer Endurance Race last weekend at Spruce Hills Resort. The three-day event – a combination of the Titanium and the Cariboo Gold Rush – featured a timed loop of 20 miles followed by two 15-mile loops.
“We kind of got together to have an event or it would have been cancelled,” ride manager Tara MacLeod said Monday. “It’s gone very well. We’ve had a couple of pulls but that’s normal. It’s challenging and rocky in places so horses have to take care, and ride strategically...”
Read more here:
World’s Toughest Race, New Horse Challenges, Non-GMO Horse Feed: Endurance Day for Sept 8, 2020
Sep 8, 2020
Karen and Jenn chat about the unique challenges that come with Thoroughbreds transitioning to endurance and the popular Sweetwater Recipe. Guests Devan Horn and Heather Russell share their excitement about the upcoming Eco Challenge World’s Toughest Race. Daily Dose Equine founder Janet Geyer introduces us to their totally non-GMO feed line up.
By: Kieran Paulsen
Sep 3, 2020
The Tevis Cup, that infamous 100-mile endurance ride across some of the most difficult terrain California and Nevada has to offer, has gone virtual this year like so many other races thanks to COVID-19. Participants may submit 100 miles at their own pace on their own trails at some point between Aug. 1 and Nov. 9 to the Western States Trail Foundation as a fundraiser to support the foundation instead. (You can walk, run or bike too, if you don’t want to ride the full distance.)
Since there won’t be any breathtaking photos of climbing Cougar Rock this year, we thought we’d take you back 60 years to one of the stranger editions of the Tevis Cup, when it was won by a polo trainer aboard his Thoroughbred-mustang cross and reported on in the Oct. 28, 1960, issue of the Chronicle.
“At a dinner sponsored by the Auburn California Chamber of Commerce for some 400 contestants, their families and interested horseman, Ernie Sanchez of Woodside, California, riding Marco B was announced the 1960 winner of the Lloyd Tevis Grand Award for Horsemanship and winner of the 100 Mile One Day Endurance Ride...
AHA youth members are anything but average, and we know it! In fact, AHA offers the Youth of the Year award, which honors one outstanding youth member annually. The Youth of the Year is selected for his or her achievements and contributions to the Arabian horse industry, AHA, and his or her community. In addition to previous achievements, the successful Youth of the Year candidate will show dedication to the Arabian breed and a desire to remain involved in the industry, serving as an ambassador and role model within the Arabian horse community. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by the Arabian Horse Foundation. They will also be honored on the youth website, recognized at Youth Nationals, and have the opportunity to work on a special interest project to help improve the Arabian horse industry.
All applications are due September 1 of the given year. Please see the current AHA Handbook for complete rules.
If you would like to apply for Youth of the Year, application forms can be found here.
Episode 11 - Talkin with Hannah Johnson about Big Horn
Join us while we chat with our good friend and 5 time Big Horn 100 winner, and this year's Big Horn 50 AND Best Condition winner, Hannah Johnson!
Hannah and her amazing one eyed horse Stuart are an incredible and hard to beat pair.
Five Day Tevis Adventure Ride, Big Horn 100 Winner, Karen’s New Horse: Endurance Day for Aug 11, 2020
Aug 11, 2020
Robin Barseleau Chriss and her grand kids tell us about their five day long adventure riding the Tevis Cup trails and Suzie Hayes talks about her big win at the Big Horn 100 mere weeks after a serious accident. Plus Karen Chaton got a new horse, Apollo, and we get the details! Listen in...
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
August 6 2020
As if the Big Horn 100 weren’t hard enough when everything goes fairly right, this year’s edition (the 50th anniversary by most counts) got the double whammy of happening during a COVID-19 year, which stopped AERC endurance rides cold from the end of March through the beginning of June, leaving many riders with little to no endurance rides in which to prep their horses. Usually, most entrants have several rides under their girths halfway through a normal season, so some had to rely on just conditioning rides at home to prepare their mounts.
And this year, since Tevis was cancelled, many riders flocked to Shell, Wyoming, to tackle the west’s other epic 100-miler in the mountains, setting a record for entries (for a non-Race of Champions Big Horn ride).
And this is no pansy endurance ride. It’s one of the “real old school” endurance rides, as finisher Jeanette Mero called it. It’s one big loop, starting from hot base camp in the dark, up into the Big Horn mountains for a hundred miles, where the weather can be anything, back down to hot base camp arriving in the dark for the finish (and if you’re not in the top ten, you’ll be negotiating many mountain miles in the dark). The other hard 100 in the West, Tevis, has some 800 volunteers on the trail. Big Horn has less than a hundred, scattered in base camp and vet checks. If you or your horse get into trouble up there, you may be waiting a long time for help, as there’s mostly zero cell service (including base camp, even if you can call out to someone there for help), and little access to trails. Come prepared, or don’t come.
You want to get your ducks in a row for this ride. You bring a fit horse, or you’ve already cut your finish chances by half. Bring yourself fit, also, and prepare for anything, (bad weather, nausea, bugs, etc) because you’re not doing your horse any favor if you get sick up on the mountain (it happens… the altitude and the often brutal heat down below). And don’t even consider starting without a 100% sound horse, because he’s not going to improve miles on down this trail. It’s good to also have a decent sense of direction, or to be able to pay attention well to trail markings and have common sense, because you don’t want to waste time getting lost off trail.
Some riders got hit with the usual summer Big Horn thunderstorms; a severe one dumped hail and cold rain, making the trails on the descents muddy and slick, some of that in the dark for many people.
“Big Horn was everything its reputation was reported to be - incredibly tough, rugged, and remote trail. Climbing up to 9000 plus foot elevations. It’s forest service roads, single tracks, rocks, sand and relentless, literally relentless, up and down climbing from the start all the way to the finish,” Jeanette said afterwards. “…at the end we had to come down a piece they called the ‘slick rock’ at about 95 plus miles into the ride. It was an impressive couple miles of downhill, large sheets of white, ice skating rink, type rock. And that was after finishing the last couple hours in the dark trying to avoid all kinds of trail hazards like deep washes, cattle guards, and ruts that would swallow you and your horse whole.”
Riders came from 23 states: Texas, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Virginia, South Dakota, California, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon, North Dakota, New Jersey, Nevada, Florida, Washington, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oklahoma, Maryland, North Carolina.
We saw some of the top riders from around the country: the Blakeleys (they’ve won the Tevis Cup or Haggin Cup more than once), the Reynolds (they’ve won the Tevis Cup or Haggin Cup many more than once), Suzie Hayes (has one horse in the AERC Hall of Fame, Kootenai Zizzero, 2011), Hannah Johnson and Kourageus Hope (the one-eyed Stuart, winner of the Big Horn 100 three times - entered in this year’s 50 miler), and more.
20 started the 50 miler with 15 finishing. Hannah and Stuart crossed the finish line first in a ride time of 8:00. Stuart won the Best Condition award. The 50 milers rode the first half of the 100-mile loop, finishing at the highway crossing, and getting a trailer ride (eventually) back to camp.
80 started the 100 mile ride with 42 finishing. Gabriela Blakeley and LLC Pyros Choice crossed the finish line first in the 100, just after dark, but her horse didn’t pulse down in the required 30 minutes, hanging just above the criteria.
Which left the second horse to cross the line, Sanstormm and Suzanne Hayes the winners of the 100 miler in a ride time of 15:15. Most of you know that Suzie is an amazing horsewoman and human being. Some of you may not know that just 7 weeks earlier, Suzie had a terrible horse wreck where she broke 10 ribs (some in multiple places - Suzie said, “Go and google ‘flail chest’” (!!!!) ), punctured a lung, cracked a vertebra, and lacerated her liver. It was only Tuesday before the ride that her doctor approved her riding. Of course, she probably did not tell him what kind of riding she would be doing. She rode with a protective vest, a crash vest tethered to her saddle so that if she came off, the vest would inflate before she hit, and a Spot locator in case of emergency. And she looked better than I did on Sunday morning!
Ann Hall rode Suzie’s other horse Greenbriar Al Jabar (Atlas) to a third place finish, just 4 minutes behind Suzie.
Second place went to Cameron Holzer (in 15:15.02) a top rider from Texas who’s got over 11,000 AERC miles and 25 100-mile finishes, and Lily Creek Kong, who has over 1800 miles, with 9 50-mile wins, 1 75-mile win, and 4 100-mile wins over an 8-season career.
Colorado’s Sami Browneller and Annapurna finished 4th in 15:19.02. Fifth place went to Vicki Holzer - Cameron’s mom - and SW Majestica in 15:19.03. They also got the Best Condition award.
Sixth place was Sanoma Blakeley and OMR Quicksan (15:26), 7th place went to Jeanette Mero and Ozark Kaolena SWA in 17:08, 8th place was Jeanette’s daughter Reyna Mero and Vaz Djets On in 17:08.01, 9th was Heather Reynolds and ASuddenGift MHF in 18:10, and 10th place was Melissa Montgomery and Masterful. Of the top ten finishers, only Suzie Hayes and Sami Browneller had ridden the Big Horn trail before.
A few take-aways from this year’s event:
My heroes are:
10-year-old rider Cassidy Miller, from Colorado, was going for her third 100-mile completion (she finished the Big Horn last year, and the Vermont 100 in 2018!). Cassidy and her mom pulled at a vet check up on the mountain, “due to some mistakes I made preparing the horses (this sport is so humbling but they both are happy and doing great now),” said Cassidy’s mom, Kelly Stoneburner. “Cassidy was such a trooper and good sport about being pulled and I think sometimes learning to accept a different outcome is excellent character building!”
And Suzie Hayes, the winner. She was my hero anyway, but just the fact that she rode this Big Horn, not to mention winning it after being in ICU 7 weeks earlier, made her my super hero. As Connie Holloway said, “Suzie set the bar WAY HIGH!” Unattainable, for most of us!
At least 2 riders got their decade team status with this year’s Big Horn 100: Kristen Grace and HCC Elessar (aka Monster), and Michelle Seaman and Me Encanta Dinero (this was Dinero’s first ride of the season!).
The one mule entered on Saturday finished the 100 (completion only). Jet’s Danny Herlong and Nancy Sluys had never ridden the Big Horn before; Danny had never attempted a 100 before. This Arab-mule’s dam is Joni Burden’s mare’s half sister - Joni and Jambor be Petit Jet finished the Big Horn 100 in a ride time of 20:03.
And if you think riding the Big Horn 100 is hard, putting on the ride itself is not for the faint-hearted ride manager. Any endurance ride can knock the stuffing out of a ride manager, but adding the stress of COVID, a record number of riders on a remote trail, and taking over from the previous Big Horn 100 group that put it on, makes a big-loop 100-miler the stress test of the century. And that doesn’t count for the usual trail sabotage (though so many riders said the trail was excellently marked; Kristen Grace, who finished the 100, commented, “It was so well marked that parts of it were lit up like Christmas trees!”), the unpredictable weather (some riders got caught in a hail storm and were left with treacherously slick trails to contend with up on the mountain), and various other things that always come up.
Cindy Collins did a great job of putting the whole shebang together this year, and the veterinarians and the volunteers were stellar and tireless. Days after the ride Cindy and volunteers are still pulling trail markers.
And so ends another epic Big Horn 100 ride adventure. Jeanette Mero summed it up best: “The memories we made over the last couple days will keep us laughing and crying for years.”
For more stories and photos from the Big Horn, see http://www.endurance.net/international/USA/2020BigHorn/
Bill Speltz Aug 5, 2020
MISSOULA — Six weeks after landing in intensive care after being thrown from a green horse, Suzanne Hayes was back in the race Saturday.
The 10 broken ribs and collapsed lung couldn't stop the 66-year-old rural Arlee resident. Neither could the fractured vertebrae or lacerated liver.
Hayes' specialty is all about endurance. Her father, the late Bob Hayes, attained legendary status in Missoula as an endurance runner. His daughter, Suzanne, favors endurance horse races.
On Saturday, Hayes won the 50th annual Big Horn 100 in Shell, Wyoming, in a time of 15 hours and 15 minutes.
"My doctors probably aren't going to be happy to hear I did this, since I was in ICU for five days and the hospital for another 10 after that," she said...