Monday, December 31, 2007

Arabian Horse Association Now Included in World Registries

DENVER, CO - After nearly a decade of negotiations, an agreement has been made between the Purebred Arabian Trust (representing the Arabian Horse Association’s 100-year old purebred Arabian horse registry) and the World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO) that grants the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) Registry exclusive authority over American registrations as recognized by WAHO. This status change is effective January 01, 2008, and returns all associated responsibilities from the Purebred Arabian Horse Registry (PAHR) to the AHA Registry.

"We are delighted in the success of this agreement," said Bob Fauls, Chairman of the Purebred Arabian Trust (PAT), "and believe this to be a momentous occasion promising a bright future of significant benefit to the Arabian horse community."

While this changes nothing relating to domestic registration procedures for AHA members, it does affect registration activity requiring WAHO involvement - namely certain international importation and exportation procedures of purebred Arabian horses and semen. Beginning January 01, 2008, the PAT in conjunction with the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) will be the only registering authority in the United States recognized by WAHO.

In order to facilitate PAT’s admission to WAHO membership, PAHR has agreed it will cease its activities December 31, 2007 and refer new and pending transactions to AHA. Since the WAHO membership of the AHA Registry’s predecessor, the Arabian Horse Registry of America, was terminated in 1997, PAHR has provided to the American Arabian horse community a venue for international Arabian horse transactions, importations and exportations.

A major consideration in achieving this agreement with WAHO is the fact that the Studbooks have been closed and the purebred Arabian database is now firmly established and defined. Hans Nagel, president of WAHO, said From now on, the world-wide Arabian horse breed is an exclusive and closed population and will be guarded as such.

More information will be forthcoming, including but not limited to the next AHA President’s Letter, Modern Arabian Horse magazine, and

Saturday, December 22, 2007

About Birthdays and Riding and Getting Older

Hi Bob,

I don't think we've ever had a personal conversation, but I certainly always admire and respect your comments out there in the world of endurance.

A few years ago, a lovely lady named Connie Reeves came to ride on one of my week-long Redwood Coast Riding Vacations. Connie was 97 years old at the time. She was bringing with her 9 of her former riding students, who ranged from 47-72 years of age. I figured Connie would get on a horse, have her picture taken, and sit in a rocking chair for the rest of the week. WRONG!

Connie rode every step of the way, up hills and down mountains, walking, trotting and cantering. She'd never worn a riding helmet in her life, but in deference to me, she did that week... except for photos. At the end of the second day, she said "Tezero's Glory is a lovely little Arabian, Lari.... But I'm used to an Arab with a little more SPIRIT!!" So I put her on Chardonney, a Tevis horse who had completed the Kansas World Cup Endurance Race with his leaser from South Africa. Yeah, she and Chardy were a team! And Connie was the life of the party around the dinner table each night, in her fringed shirts, high-heeled knee-high red cowboy boots and lipstick to match.

You may have read about Connie... she was the first woman to be inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. She hit the dirt for the last time when she was 101, pushing cattle when her horse boogered and bucked her off.

Before meeting Connie, I used to think of myself riding seriously until about my 8th decade. Now, at age 62, I'm thinking that the colt I'm breaking this spring will probably die before I'm done competing!



Thursday, December 20, 2007

Laramie horse, rider celebrate 1,000 miles of endurance riding

Billings article
By The Associated Press
LARAMIE - It's an unlikely story of a 25-year-old mare and her 62-year-old rider competing on the endurance ride circuit.

Over a seven-year span, the duo, starting at age 18 and 54 respectively, completed more than 1,000 miles. The horse is now semiretired.

Bonnie Swiatek said she wanted to compete in the endurance rides because her husband Don had been competing. She went on a couple of non-sanctioned rides in the mid 1990s with a Tennessee Walker mare called Gleam.

In 1997, Swiatek decided to give the endurance riding a real go and began looking for the right horse. She said she had seen the trouble her husband had with his Tennessee Walker in the heat, so she began looking for an Arabian because they are thinner skinned, handle the heat better and are bred for long-distance riding.

She found a 16-year-old chestnut Arabian mare named Tala. Tala was trained at the age of 16 and 17 and the two competed for the first time in June 1999.

Swiatek admits she didn't really know what she was doing and started Tala out too fast on her first ride. She said when Tala stumbled she decided to pull the horse. Family commitments kept Swiatek and Tala off the circuit for the rest of 1999 and 2000.

Both were wiser and better conditioned in 2001 when the 1,000-mile journey began riding 41 American Endurance Ride Conference sanctioned races over seven years.

During the 2001 season, Swiatek and Tala completed 110 miles together, with a best finish of third, never finishing out of the top 10. The two had shortened seasons in 2002 and 2004, riding only 25 and 60 miles respectively.

They rode 130 miles together in 2003.

Swiatek said the two have learned a lot about endurance rides. Swiatek learned that it's a lot more technical than she realized. She said it is important to keep yourself and your horse as hydrated as possible before, during and after the ride.

She said she prepares by drinking V-8 a few days before the ride including the night before, the morning of, during the race and right after.

This season, Tala was fed a special senior feed and sugar beet pulp, Swiatek said. Swiatek also learned to wear appropriate clothing for the heat, taking tips from bicyclists and avoiding cotton, while Tala learned how to read the ribbons, usually bright orange or pink, which mark the trail.

"It's like having four eyes out there on the trail. She's an amazing old horse," Swiatek said.

The big push Swiatek said she and Tala made the big push these past three years in endurance rides, but she never expected to reach 1,000 miles when she started out in 1999.

She said when she first bought Tala she figured she would start riding with her and then look for a younger mare. Swiatek said she prefers mares because she's had nothing but trouble with geldings.

In 2005, Swiatek and Tala competed in nine rides covering 250 miles; the first time the duo topped 200 miles.

The duo competed in eight rides for 210 miles in 2006. Swiatek said she only competes in limited distance rides (25 to 30 miles) with Tala. The longest season was this year when the two competed in 10 rides covering 270 miles for a total of 1,055 miles.

Swiatek said they rode mainly for "completion" and not for place. She added that the motto for the AERC is "to finish is to win."

The 1,000-mile milestone came in August at the Colorado Horse Park Challenge. The duo rode 25 miles to put them at 1,005 miles that day. They finished in 13th place, completing the ride in three hours and 29 minutes.

Swiatek said an average ride for limited distance is four to 4 hours. Riders have six hours to complete the ride. The horse and rider have finished a few rides in 2 hours.

On Sept. 2, 2006, at the Colorado Horse Park Challenge, the duo finished in first place in 2 hours, 33 minutes. Tala was also honored as the best conditioned horse. The mare also won best conditioned in 2005 at the Black Hills I & II ride where Swiatek and Tala finished third. To finish first was an amazing feat, Swiatek said, because she and Tala are competing against much younger horses and riders.

To be honored as best conditioned twice in her career is also amazing, Swiatek said, since most horses are retiring at age 18, the same age Tala was when she started.

"She loves it. Obviously she was bred for it," Swiatek said.

Swiatek said that just this season, Tala started showing signs of aging. Tala will likely stay retired but she may go on a few endurance rides next season. Swiatek said since they ended their season in September, Tala will give her a look and then look out at the wide-open country, ready for a long ride.

Preparing for Tala's eventual retirement, Don and Bonnie purchased two mares that are the likely heirs apparent to Tala - a 10-year-old gray named Skylark and an 11-year-old black bay named Rocket.

Swiatek grew up a city girl in Lombard, Ill. At the age of 12 her sister married and lived on a farm. Swiatek would visit her sister in the summers and learned to ride a horse then. After the age of 15, Swiatek went 10 years without a horse.

She purchased her first horse when she and Don lived in Tucson, swapping her old car for a horse at the age of 25. She said she always had a love for horses, reading every horse book she could get her hands on.

She especially loved the stories by Mary O'Hara and told her mother one day she would live on a ranch in Wyoming. It took nearly half her life, but she and Don arrived in Wyoming when she was 51. She said she was fortunate to work on a ranch next to O'Hara's ranch for a short time.

For 12 years while in Laramie, Swiatek had plenty of horses while the couple raised Tennessee Walkers. Now they are down to four horses, Sage, Don's horse; and Bonnie's three mares, Tala, Rocket and Skylark.

Bonnie said when she first began looking for a horse she was looking for an Arabian, but truthfully she was looking for a short horse. Most of the horses she has ridden were 15 hands high. Tala is 14 hands. Skylark and Rocket are slightly taller than Tala.

"I look for short, safe, steady and smart," Swiatek said.

To celebrate Bonnie and Tala's 1,000-mile achievement, a party was thrown for them at the couple's home in September. Bonnie said many of her supporters were in attendance, including Barbara Burns, whom she rides with to stay in condition with; her trainers, her husband Don, Jack Evers and Bob Atherton; and Sheri Olson and Gary Brown, her teammates this season on team rides.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mountain Region Endurance Riders (MRER) Convention

The Mountain Region Endurance Riders annual convention will be held in Denver, Colorado on Feb 8-10, 2008. For more information go to the website link:

USEF Ranked Rider List - December 2007

USEF Ranked Rider Standings

December 2007

1 John Crandell
2 Steve Rojek
3 Margaret Sleeper
3 Kathy Brunjes
3 Valerie Kanavy
6 Darolyn Butler
7 Janice Worthington
8 Ann Hall
9 Heather Reynolds
9 Joyce Sousa
11 Jeremy Reynolds
12 Cheryl Dell
12 Danielle McGunigal
14 Jeremy Olson
14 Christoph Schork
16 Jennifer Poling
17 Hal V Hall
18 Fred Emigh
19 Lynn Kenelly
19 Cheryl Van Deusen
21 Suzanne Hayes
21 Heather Stevens
21 Jennifer Stevens
24 Tammy Robinson
25 Charisse Glenn
25 Sandra E Conner

Friday, December 14, 2007

Flu outbreak cancels show horse events - Dec 12 2007

THE equine influenza (EI) outbreak has claimed another victim, with the cancellation of horse competition from next year's Royal Easter show in Sydney.

Organisers today said they were left with little choice when faced with uncertainty over when the statewide restrictions on horse transport would be lifted.

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) president Rob Vickery said the 2008 Sydney Royal Horse Show had been cancelled.

"While it was our greatest desire to accept entries for the Sydney Royal, the reality is that come March the disease may not be at the stage where horses can be easily moved between zones, without extraordinary quarantine and biosecurity arrangements and some inherent risks," Mr Vickery said.

The Sydney Royal Show will not be totally devoid of horses however, with horse activities to include carriage displays, saddler and farrier demonstrations, along with horse and pony displays.

Quarantine zones remain in place across NSW, with testing for EI continuing on properties that have had direct contact with infected horses.

Getting the hump - Dec 14 2007 - Full Story By Mike Norrish

Cranky camels have been kicked out of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge after a mass show of desert defiance. The gruelling endurance event hit major problems during the desert trekking stage, after the 25 camels enlisted to carry essential supplies lived up to their cantankerous reputations.

And after camel-related problems prevented several teams from finishing the 87-kilometre journey, organisers decided to void the stage. That ruling meant the leaders before the desert trek - Team Eurosport NZ - returned back to first place ahead of the penultimate day's mountain bike trial.

The week-long, multi-event endurance event has been staged by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and features intrepid teams from all over the world. Although two teams from the UAE are taking part, many of the competitors were entirely unfamiliar with the 'ships of the desert'.

Camel training was provided...


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Western Slope No-Fee Coalition

P.O. Box 135, Durango, CO 81302


The day has finally arrived when we can begin to see the end of
access fees for public lands. A bill has been introduced in the
U.S. Senate, with bipartisan sponsorship, to repeal the Federal
Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, also known as the Recreation
Access Tax, or RAT.

Please take a few moments to celebrate, and pat yourself on the
back for all the effort over the last 10 years by every one of you
that has brought this about.

Then get ready to go to work. This landmark legislation is going
to require an all-out grassroots effort to achieve passage. We do
not yet have a bill number assigned, so hold off briefly from
contacting Congress, as having a number will be important when you
ask for their support.

We will be sending more details about the bill and how you can
help get it passed in the coming days and weeks.

THANK YOU for your support, which is what made this happen.

Kitty Benzar, President

*News Release*

Press Release of Senator Crapo


Montana, Idaho Sens. Team Up To Repeal Recreation Access Tax

*Contact:* Susan Wheeler
Monday, December 10, 2007

Washington, DC -- The U.S. Forest Service and other federal
agencies would be blocked from charging Americans higher fees to
access their public lands under legislation introduced today by
two prominent Western lawmakers.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today joined Finance Committee Chairman
Max Baucus (D-Montana) in introducing the much-anticipated Fee
Repeal and Expanded Access Act of 2007.

The bill would revoke authority given federal agencies, with the
exception of the National Park Service, in 2004 to institute new
fees and increase existing fees at campgrounds, trailheads, and
other public areas.

Specifically, the bill repeals the 2004-passed Federal Lands
Recreational Enhancement Act, sometimes called the recreational
access tax, and reinstates legislation dating back to 1965 that
limits the use of fees on public lands.

Baucus, a long-time critic of the fees, said the current system
amounts to double taxation.

"Americans already pay to use their public lands on April 15,"
Baucus said. "We shouldn?t be taxed twice to go fishing, hiking,
or camping on OUR public lands. It just doesn't make any sense.
That's why Mike and I are going to fight like the dickens to get
this bill passed."

The senators noted that both the Montana and Idaho State
Legislatures passed resolutions to repeal FLREA.

Crapo said, "As an outdoorsman and legislator, I have always
supported fair and reasonable access to our nation's public lands.
Mandatory user fees for access to many of those lands limits
accessibility to those who can afford the cost and results in a
"pay-to-play" system that is unacceptable. I also fully recognize
that we need to adequately fund recreation activities on federal
lands and will continue to fight in Congress to make sure the
funding needs of our public lands management agencies are met."

Debates have flared up in communities across the West as fees
began to rise after the 2004 bill was passed. Baucus said he hopes
his bill will help resolve those disputes.

Kitty Benzar, president of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition,
hailed the bill. Baucus worked closely with Benzar as well as the
late Robert Funkhouser, who recently passed away, in crafting the

"This bill will bring an end to a failed experiment that has for
10 years burdened Americans with a double tax and kept them away
from public lands they have always enjoyed, Benzar said. "I
applaud this bipartisan effort."

The Baucus-Crapo bill would:

Repeal the FLREA

Reinstate the fee authorities established by the 1965 Land and Water Conservation Act

Reinstate the National Parks Pass system

Cap the amount that can be charged for entrance to national parks. Wes

Additional Information:

Local horse, rider go the distance to win national championship endurance ride - Dec 13 2007 - Full Article By Cynthia Cather Burton - The Winchester Star

MOUNTAIN FALLS — A Frederick County horse’s ability to go the distance has made it a national champion.

Kody, a 7-year-old Arab-Appaloosa blend, was first across the finish line in the Appaloosa Horse Club’s second annual National Championship Endurance Ride on Sept. 8 in Oneida, Tenn.

The win earned Kody the title of 2007 Appaloosa National Champion Endurance Horse.

Kody is owned by Karen Wade of Willowbrook Farm in the Frederick County community of Mountain Falls. He was bred by Val Van Meter of Little Ripple Farm, also in Mountain Falls.

Wade’s son, 18-year-old Nicholas Irianni, a Virginia Tech freshman and 2007 Handley High School graduate, rode Kody to victory in the 50-mile endurance ride.

He competed for the title against horse-and-rider teams from seven states and Canada.

The event took place in the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area...


Ice skater turned horse rider gallops to success Dec 12 2007 - Full Story By Gordon McCully

A former Chorley ice skater has galloped to success in another sport.

Shelby-Jade France (pictured) has just taken the horse riding endurance event by storm.

Shelby Jade used to be an ice skating star until unfortunately her mum Michelle began to suffer from ill health.

Shelby started to ride her mum's horse and this year began competing on him in endurance riding.

Shelby has just taken the endurance world by storm and has just be crowned the Junior Endurance Champion of GB in this, her first season, beating 26 other riders from across the country to take the title.

Points gained from each ride are added together for the championship.

Shelby competes on her mum's horse Streamcross Dakota and rides on average 80k in one day and an average speed of 15kph over varying terrains.

The fitness of the horse and rider is paramount. Shelby is hoping to retain her title next year and will be competing on two horses. Shelby is always supported up and down the country by her mum and dad and brothers Johnathon and Thomas.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

AERC Regional Director Election Results

The regional Directors for AERC after the installation of
Directors at the convention will be

Mike Campbell
Monica Chapman

Susan Schomburg
Jan Stevens

Connie Caudill
Joyce Mocilan

Patti Pizzo
Sandy Terp

Tom Noll
Gail Williams

Pacific South
John Parke
Terry Woolley-Howe

Susan Kasemeyer
Joe Schoech

Roger Taylor
Jeff Trinkle

Maryben Stover
Vacant - Nomination by Maryben and approval of the BoD

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Horse welfare at top of FEI endurance review
Abigail Butcher, H&H news editor

2 December, 2007
A working party charged with developing new ideas for the sport of endurance submitted a raft of proposals to the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) last week.

Among them were suggestions for a new qualifying system for riders; suspending horses and riders from competition after they are eliminated from a race; and more specialised training for vets and officials.

The FEI announced plans to overhaul the rules of endurance in the spring, following vast growth in the sport, and a number of equine deaths in recent years.

Under review is qualification, organisation, equine protection, education, legal controls and competition structure — with the welfare of the horse a major priority.

Newmarket vet Fred Barrelet led a group charged with looking at horse welfare.

"One of the criticisms of endurance is that people can get on a horse and six months later ride in an international-level competition," he said. "A proper system of qualification could ensure that riders are competent to negotiate an endurance competition as they move up through the levels."

Mr Barrelet's group has also proposed more research is done on endurance, and that rest periods between rides be imposed.

"We've looked at whether a rider should be suspended if their horse is eliminated [at a vet check]," he said.

The introduction of an FEI-standard logbook and better training for officials have also been suggested, as well as ideas to make the sport more marketable and attractive to the public.

FEI endurance judge and technical delegate John Robertson has been chairing the group looking at competition structure.

"There's a lot of talk about different finishes, distances and the removal of weights for endurance horses," he said. "But nothing has been decided yet, these are only ideas."

Ian Williams, FEI head of endurance who presented the report, said: "The task force will produce their final recommendations by March 2008, after which the proposals will be sent to national federations for comment."

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 November, '07)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Auburn Laboratories Donates Product to SoCal Fire Horse Victims - Nov 28 2007

Auburn Laboratories, Inc. Donates Product to Help Horses Injured and Displaced by Southern California Fires

$12,000 of APF Plus, Auburn Laboratories, Inc. veterinary herbal supplement, donated to veterinarians providing aid to horses affected by the devastating fires.

The fires that swept through thousands of acres of Southern California last month displaced hundreds of horses. Evacuations of horses in emergency situations often result in separation from their owners, and frequently relocation to unfamiliar and often crowded environments.

Local veterinarians were active in coordination the evacuation and rescue effects. They were responsible for setting up information clearing centers, arranging stabling for horses being quickly evacuated, and tending to horses in need of medical attention, often in the absence of owners who had been separated from their horses.

Dr. Michael Van Noy, president of Auburn Laboratories, Inc., traveled to Southern California with a gift of $12,000.00 of APF Plus, the company’s veterinary label herbal formula. He met with Dr. Anne McCabe, who was instrumental in the relief efforts at Del Mar Race Track. Dr. McCabe welcomed the offer of the APF Plus, noting that many of the horses were showing obvious signs of stress. “There horses have been through a lot. The kind of sudden and chaotic events of the past week can be very stressful for animals. My chief concern for most of these horses is to adequately support their immune systems. I am grateful to Dr. Van Noy and Auburn Laboratories, Inc. for their generous donation.”

Like the company’s original formula, APF, APF Plus is a proven immuno-modulator. APF Plus helps protect and maintain proper immune response and cellular metabolism in horses experiencing significant stress. For more information, please visit their website,

Monday, November 26, 2007

“Right-To-Ride” Legislation - Nov 26 2007

American Horse Council

From 2006:

Many who enjoy recreational riding on public lands are concerned about the reduction of trails, trail heads and the closure of public lands to horses and pack animals. Access to areas to ride is one of the most important issues facing riders. To prevent further closures, recreational riders are working closely with their federal, state and local land managers and also looking for federal legislative solutions.

House Legislation
Representative George Radanovich (R-CA) reintroduced his “Right-to-Ride” bill (H.R. 586) in the House of Representatives in the first session of this Congress. The bill is intended to preserve the use and access of pack and saddle stock animals on public lands, wilderness areas, national monuments, and other areas that are administered by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Forest Service where there is a historical tradition of such use.

Specifically the legislation mandates that the lands should be managed by the federal agencies "to preserve and facilitate the continued use and access of pack and saddle stock animals on such lands, including wilderness areas, national monuments, and other specifically designated areas, where there is a historical tradition of such use."

In addition, the legislation requires that "as a general rule, all trails, routes, and areas used by pack and saddle stock shall remain open and accessible for such use."

The House bill was referred to both the House Resources Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.

Senate Legislation
On April 14, 2005 Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced a companion “Right-to-Ride” bill (S. 781) in the Senate. It is the same as the House bill.

The Senate bill has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Congressional Action
On May 16, the House of Representatives passed Congressman George Radanovich’s “Right-to-Ride” bill (H.R. 586).

During the House debate, Congressman Radanovich stated that “perhaps no other activity is more synonymous with the exploration of our vast open lands than that of the use of pack and saddle stock.” In response to the argument that this bill singles out pack and saddle use and affords it greater consideration than other forms of recreation or commercial use, Mr. Radanovich argued that “pack and saddle use has played a far greater historic role on our public lands, particularly in our western states, than simply recreation. What may be perceived by some today as recreation was once a vital part of everyday living throughout our Nation’s history.”

The bill was sent to the Senate and referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Committee that has jurisdiction over the Senate bill.

AHC Position
The AHC supports this legislation and asks all recreational riders to contact their Senators encouraging them to act on it in the Senate.

Bill Status:
Introduced to the House February 2 2005

Passed House May 16 2006

May 17 2006: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books.


American Horse Council


Many who enjoy recreational riding on public lands are concerned about the reduction of trails, trail heads and the closure of public lands to horses and pack animals. Access to areas to ride is one of the most important issues facing riders. To prevent further closures, recreational riders are working closely with their federal, state and local land managers and also looking for federal legislative solutions.

Senate Legislation

On November 1, 2007, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the Preserving our Equine Heritage on Public Lands Act (S. 2238). Senator Crapo introduced similar legislation in the last Congress.

This bill recognizes the importance of saddle and pack stock in the settling, exploration and recreation of our country by ensuring that the horse’s historic and traditional use is recognized as our public lands are managed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service.

The bill directs the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to manage the federal lands under their jurisdiction “in a manner that preserves and facilitates the continued use and access of pack and saddle stock animals” on lands on which “there is a historical tradition” of use. The bill applies to the management of the National Park System, BLM lands, National Wildlife Refuge System land, and National Forest System land.

The bill provides that such lands “shall remain open and accessible to the use of pack and saddle stock animals” where there is a tradition of use, but does not limit the federal agencies’ ultimate authority to restrict such use, provided the agencies perform the review required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The bill would also impose additional specific and designated procedures to be followed by agencies before any land closures to horses. These procedures include advance notice of any proposed reduction in use to allow public comment, convening a public meeting near the area involved, and collaboration with various users during the process.

The bill directs the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to issue a policy within 180 days of enactment that defines the meaning of “historical tradition of the use of pack and saddle stock animals” on federal lands.

Congressional Action

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

AHC Position

The AHC supports this legislation and asks all recreational riders to contact their Senators encouraging them to act on it in the Senate.

Read the Press Release!

Preserving Our Equine Heritage on Public Lands Act Introduced in Senate

WASHINGTON, DC– November 7, 2007 –Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the Preserving our Equine Heritage on Public Lands Act (S. 2283) on November 1st. This bill is similar to the so-called “Right-to-Ride” bill that was introduced in the last Congress by Senator Crapo.

“Senator Crapo has been a champion of preserving riders’ access to public lands,” said American Horse Council (AHC) President Jay Hickey. “He has retooled the bill he introduced in the last Congress and we appreciate his steadfastness in introducing the legislation again. Equestrians are going to have to let Congress know that they are concerned about access to trails and public lands and that they support this bill if we hope to get it passed.”

The bill directs the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture to manage the federal lands under their jurisdiction “in a manner that preserves and facilitates the continued use and access of pack and saddle stock animals” on lands on which “there is a historical tradition” of use. The bill provides that such lands “shall remain open and accessible to the use of pack and saddle stock animals” where there is such a tradition. The bill applies to the management of the National Park System, BLM lands, National Wildlife Refuge System land, and National Forest System land.

The bill does not limit the federal agencies’ ultimate authority to restrict such use, provided the agencies perform the review required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The bill would also impose additional specific and designated procedures to be followed by agencies before any land closures. These procedures include advance notice of any proposed reduction in use to allow public comment, convening a public meeting near the area involved, and collaboration with various users during the process.

Those who enjoy riding on public lands have been concerned about the reduction of trails and public lands available to horses and pack stock. This bill recognizes the importance of saddle and pack stock in the settling, exploration and recreation of our country by ensuring that the horse’s historic and traditional use is recognized as our public lands are managed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service.

Hickey further stated, “The AHC thanks Senator Crapo for introducing this important bill. Horses are an immensely important part of American culture, history and heritage. This bill recognizes the strength of the horse industry and helps to preserve time-honored American traditions and values.”

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kirsten Kimbler Awarded the 2007 USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award

Lexington, KY – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the National Affiliate Working Group (NAWG) committee is pleased to announce that Kirsten Kimbler is the winner of the 2007 Youth Sportsman’s Award. Selected from an outstanding group of young adults, Kimbler, of Aberdeen, SD, has demonstrated an ongoing commitment and dedication to the USEF and her affiliate organizations and has served as a role model for her peers.

Kimbler, 18, was nominated by two associations, the American Endurance Rider Conference (AERC) and the Arabian Horse Association (AHA). Kimbler was selected based on her impressive resume and contributions to the equine industry. Her sportsmanship, leadership, passion, dedication and horsemanship have made her an asset to the equine industry.

Kimbler also serves as a representative on the USEF Youth Council and is chairperson for the inaugural 2008 Youth Convention.

“Winning the USEF Sportsman’s Award is by far one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me,” said Kimbler. “Receiving the Sportsman’s Nomination from both the AERC and the AHA was so exciting. I am thrilled to represent the Arabian breed, endurance riding and the USEF. I am looking forward to representing these organizations and spreading my love of horses across America. I hope I will be able to touch some young rider’s hearts the same way that so many others touched mine.”

Kimbler has always loved horses throughout her life and has a passion for endurance riding. Kimbler has used endurance riding as a model for life and has developed a personal mantra “Triumph comes to those who try.”

Kimbler said that she is dedicated to promoting and supporting the sport of endurance because it has taught her so much about horses and the values that young people everywhere should learn.

“Horses have taught me so much,” said Kimbler. “Most of all, horses taught me patience and perseverance. It took me four attempts to complete my first 100 mile endurance ride but when I finally did, the success was that much sweeter.”

Kimbler will receive a trophy, a $1,000 scholarship to the educational program of her choice and a lifetime membership to USEF, valued at $2,500. The trophy will be presented to Kimbler at the USEF Annual Meeting in January, 2008.

“While all the candidates for this award had amazing contributions to the equine industry and truly set the bar high for the future, Kirsten was extra special because she is actively involved with equestrian sports on both a national level with the Arabian Horse Association and internationally with her FEI endurance riding competitions,” said Karen Homer-Brown, USEF’s Managing Director of National Affiliates. “In addition, with her passion for the horse industry, Kirsten truly lives up to the USEF motto, One with the Horse,” said Homer-Brown.

The USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award is designed to develop youths to become leaders in the equine industry from all breeds and disciplines. This program provides an opportunity for the USEF to recognize outstanding youth members for their achievements.

The award is named after the Sportsman’s Charter, which is the motto of the USEF. The first winner was Caitlyn Novotny from the American Morgan Horse Association. Novotny received her award in January 2007 at the Pegasus Awards Banquet at the USEF Annual Meeting.

For more information on the USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award, please contact Karen Homer-Brown, Managing Director of National Affiliates, via e-mail at or call (859) 225-6958.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

SEDRA - November newsletter

November Newsletter: SEDRA (Southeast Endurance & Distance Riding Association)

PDF File

The Path to the Top - Royal Rebellion

would like to blow a trumpet for all those who have a horse not
'bred in the bone' for endurance but have persevered with a horse who
they believed in

The story starts just over four years ago when we bought a four year
old Anglo Arab unseen (apart from some photos) from an internet horse-
selling site for 1500 pounds delivered. HIs registered name is Royal
Rebellion but we were going through a Magic Roundabout phase at the
time and called him Mr McHenry.

We broke him in and he stumbled a lot especially walking down slopes,
so we got in a physio who said she suspected he had all sorts of
problems in the stifle area and to give him a year off and see if
they improved. Which we didn't but did a year of walking barefoot
instead. Took him to France when we moved here four years ago where,
as a five year old and then a six year old he went through the French
qualifying system of a 20k followed by 40k followed by a 60k followed
by two 90k rides. The 90k has a pulse parameter of 56 and, in four
out of his six attempts, he failed the final vetting due to his pulse
being 60bpm. He had always passed the Ridgeway at vg2 with readings
like 52/48 or 54/50 but as he always started the ride with a pulse of
48 there wasn't much room to play with!

Anyway, fast forward to last August when Richard took him to his
first 120k at Tarbes and they qualified easily; 23rd out of 80 (but
still finishing with a pulse of 60, though it didn't matter for that
longer distance as the parameter was 64).
We then took him to Calais but withdrew after four loops as he wasn't
enjoying it and his parameters were too close to the limit for comfort.

He still stumbled more than one would have liked but is a nervous
fellow who paid more attention to other things than the state of the

Fast forward again to spring of this year when we sold him and he
went off to Dubai where we'd been assured they would appreciate and
spoil him with carrots and attention. He was a very very long way
from being traffic proof and, with that on our conscience, he could
never have gone to anybody in the UK, though we were approached.

Fast forward again to yesterday when he did his first ride for the
new owners and it was a 3* in Al Wathba with 92 other horses. At 8,
he was one of the youngest, and being ridden by the trainer's
brother. We were following the ride from freezing France on the
website and cheering to the cats as he came into vg1 in 7th position
at over 25kph.

Fast forward to the end when the nervous horse from Wales without a
drop of endurance blood in his veins crossed the line over 2 minutes
ahead of anyone else and pulsed at 58. He is down as having averaged
24kph but unlike most rides where the clock stops at the line, they
judged the finish as a vet gate (ie, though he crossed the line first
the time was calculated to when he presented six or seven minutes
later - does anyone know if this is going to be the new way of
judging speeds? It was the first time I'd seen it.)

Many of you met him over the years and know what an absolute sweetie
he is, we miss him tremendously but are happy that he no longer has
to cope with being bottom of the pecking order. Or the cold weather,
which he never enjoyed.

Apologies to those to whom this has not been remotely interesting but
I hope it gives inspiration to those who suspect that it's nurture
not nature.

Nicky (and Richard who rode, and sometimes fell with him, at every
ride up til yesterday!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 achieves cover of Endurance Equestre Magazine - November 2007

Jean Phillipe Frances of France, Gold medalist at the 2007 Endurance Championship in Portugal, is on the November-December cover of the French endurance magazine, Endurance Equestre.

Frances, riding Hanaba du Bois on September 8, 2007, finished second in the Open Qatar Challenge and captured the indivual Gold in the European Championship.

Merri Melde, roving photojournalist for and, took the photo.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tevis Cup Rider David Putnam Endorses Prime Performance Nutrition
Equestrian News Release
Cosby, MO. November 15, 2007 –It takes a strong and committed equestrian to complete the notorious Tevis Cup—the California-based, one day, 100-mile endurance ride with a reputation for only half the horse and rider entrants finishing. Prime Performance Nutrition is proud to announce that Tevis Cup finisher David Putnam (of California) uses the company’s supplements to keep his horses in top shape for big-time trail and endurance rides.

“I condition all my horses to a high standard,” Putnam says. “All my horses receive PPN products to help them stay healthy during intense conditioning.”

Putnam says ProbioForm and Prime Defense help his horses’ immune systems, keeping them healthy as they prepare for the big rides. Putnam made his great ride on WH Simon Phoenix, but also prepares other horses, just in case his favorite mount isn’t healthy enough for competition.

“The ride is different for all entrants,” Putnam says. “The ride went smoothly for the duration at the Tevis. My horse was eating and drinking all the way. It’s always hot during the ride and electrolytes were a must.”

PPN’s Re-store replaces the lost vitamins and minerals used along the way. “When my horse is ‘Re-stored’ along the way, I have a horse that is confidant, strong, and cognizant of the job at hand.”

Putnam’s horse, WH Simon Phoenix also completed the 160 kilometer Florac race in France—also with the help of PPN. Putnam says the usually lazy horse was energetic and ready to run—even at the end of the races.

“WH Simon Phoenix had his ears forward and an great attitude at the 86-mile vet check,” Putnam says. ”He was so ’on’ that I presented him for vet inspection without a cool down. Back on the trail, he immediately passed the other 25 horses that had been at the vet check. Without a doubt, I attribute that to the use of PPN products during his conditioning regime. I like the consistency of the products and that the formulas are easy to administer without unnecessary fillers, tricks, or gadgets.”

PPN Founder and President Jeff Butler is pleased to work with Putnam. “I’ve worked with David for a few years now, developing a program for him and his horses to prepare for the Tevis,” Butler says. “He has counseled me as to the conditions and we have designed a program of PPN products for him. This is the first year that David and his horse finished and he finished strong. He’ll be a major contender in the years to come.”

About Prime Performance Nutrition

PPN products provide horses with nutrition to help them perform on the race track, polo field, jumping course, reining arena, or show pen. With continuing research, you’ll know your horses are getting what’s recommended and what the container lists. As a long-time industry insider, Butler founded PPN to provide other horse owners with quality supplements and guaranteed content. He knew equestrians around the world were looking for high-quality, effective products. In addition to guaranteeing ingredients and testing, PPN is committed to working with international government agencies and organizations such as the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) to follow new supplement regulations. PPN products carry the NASC seal.

Horse Owners: Win a Year’s Supply of Supplements

Log on to for a chance to win a year’s supply of your horse’s supplements. For more information about Prime Performance Nutrition, please visit or call (888) 457-4235.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sinatra's Endurance Adventures : Tevis 2007

TCSinatra Blog

When I was about 7 years old, I was taking lessons and learning how to ride horses from a wonderful lady by the name of Terryl Reed in the Auburn, California area. Terryl told me about this 100-mile trail ride, that both she and her brother had completed, where you got to ride all day and all night through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. And you got a belt buckle just for finishing the ride. I remember being awestruck and totally inspired, thinking about HOW COOL that would be!

Fast forward to last year (2006), I had been competing (well, COMPLETING anyways) in the sport of Endurance for 4 years and had finished my first 100-mile ride at Sunriver, Oregon in June. I found myself entered in my first Western States 100-Mile Ride, better known at the Tevis. Last year was a big learning curve for us, and I eventually found myself 4 minutes overtime at the Michigan Bluff vet check with a horse that was done for the day (go here for complete ride story):

This year, was truly just MAGICAL. Fate was on my side from the very beginning. At the AERC Convention in February, I had purchased a bunch of raffle tickets and had put about half of them into the National Awards drawing, hoping fervently to win the single Tevis Entry that the Western States Trail Foundation had generously donated. My mom and I had gone out to lunch, and at lunch I had stated how much I hoped to win the entry, my mom stated how much she hoped NOT to have won the entry, since it is non-transferable and she didn’t feel up to riding that trail yet. Words cannot express my utter shock, amazement, and pure joy that I felt when we came back from lunch and went by the raffle booth to find MY NAME as the winner of the Tevis Entry! I was totally speechless, just making some strange noises and pointing, until much squealing ensued. I had a huge smile on my face and was walking on clouds for the rest of the day, heck, the rest of the MONTH.

I really feel that I did everything “right” this year in order to be my most successful at the ride. A big thank you to my friend Lucy Trumbull who met me in Foresthill and did several pre-rides with me. In April we rode from Foresthill to Deadwood and back, and in June we rode from Robinson’s Flat to Foresthill. Having this knowledge of the canyons and this critical section of trail was *invaluable* for helping me to plan our pacing for ride day. The other thing that was PRICELESS was attending the 2-day Educational Ride hosted by the WSTF at the end of June. At this ride I went with the faster group, led by WSTF President Tom Christof, and it allowed me to experience the trail at a faster pace and to push both Sinatra’s and my current conditioning up a notch. It also allowed me to realize that I “can” trot this or that section if I wanted or needed to on ride day. As things worked out, we did RF to FH with Lucy in mid-June (16th) and then two weeks later rode that same portion and then the final 32 miles of FH to Auburn the next day. Sinatra did great both days, in fact was feeling a little TOO good on Day 2. This combined with the other training we had done this year, including the Patriot’s Day 100, left me feeling that he was fit and ready for the ride. Fate was on hand again when I changed my desk calendar to the month of July – the title for the month was “ENDURANCE – Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened.” – Helen Keller

The week before the ride was pure chaos it seemed with finals at school (Summer Semester) and month-end close at work and I ended up scrambling around and trying to get the last of the stuff together on Friday morning, feeling way too stressed about all this packing and ready to just throw the horse in the trailer and say to hell with the rest of it. I ended up leaving Reno about noon, about two hours later than I had wanted to but at least we were on our way. My mom, sister, and husband would be crewing for me and Lucy would also be on hand to lend assistance when necessary and help to drive the small flotilla of rigs that I ended up with (don’t ask).

Finally arrived and got settled in up at Robie Park. Went to the new rider briefing, nothing unexpected, they talked about pacing and the change on the Michigan Bluff stop to a new vet check down the road, but it was nice to just have my thoughts reinforced and to know that there were no changes or surprises to the game plan I had in place. Got Sinatra vetted in, we were number 181 (which my mom pointed out, 1+8+1 = 10 = 1+0 = 1 = first buckle).

Full Story

New Windsor woman rides rescued horse to victories

Frederick News Post
November 14, 2007
By Adrienne Lawrence,News-Post Staff

Photo by Grookett Photography.
Kim Orr and Luke recently took first place in The Hallelujah Benefit Race, a 100-mile event in Rhode Island.

NEW WINDSOR -- Chewing his hay, carefully eyeing passersby, and neighing to make sure he's heard, Luke is king of his stable.

Luke is a champion endurance racer -- he's won all four of the 100 mile races his owner, Kim Orr, has entered him in. But Luke hasn't always had the pleasures of food, shelter and tender loving care.

He was starved and neglected by his previous owners and survived only thanks to Days End Farm Horse Rescue. In April 1999, Luke's weight was at a dangerously low 700 pounds and he was rather small for a Crabbet and Russian-mixed Arabian at 14.1 hands.

Over the next five to six months, he gained 280 pounds and grew another hand, or 4 more inches, going from pony-sized to a full-grown horse. What was unusual, Orr pointed out, is that most horses reach their tallest at about 2 years old. Luke was 6 years old and should have been at full height.

Now, Luke is a known champion. A few weeks ago he ran a 100-mile race, The Hallelujah Benefit Race, in Rhode Island, and took first place, said Troy Smith, spokesperson for American Endurance Ride Conference, the official U.S. organization for endurance riding.

"There is something about the way they move and the way they look," Orr said. "With Luke, I didn't know his genetics, but I knew there was something about him ... He came from hard luck, he's going to give you all he's got."

Orr has noticed that when other people ride him, Luke doesn't perform well. But when she rides him, he gives her 110 percent. Laughingly she said some on the farm call him a "momma's boy."

Orr believes the bond she and Luke share is the reason he competes well in races -- he knows Orr loves him and feels completely safe with her.

At her A.O.K. Farm, Orr implements a well thought-out training plan for her 13 horses, four of which are race ready. Going against the grain, she takes training a little bit easier, focusing on not just the distance, but also intervals, the type of ground they are running on and their gear. She has the best saddles, shoes and trainers.

It's not just the horses that go through training. The riders do also.

To keep herself in shape, Orr runs 20 miles a week, lifts weights, practices yoga and does pilates, in addition to the work that she does on the farm and the 10-hour days she puts in as a hairstylist.

She wasn't always so fit or ready to ride. A year ago, she was riding another horse, Chase, on her farm, just after he was broken. He bucked, she jumped off and broke her hip. The doctors said she had a 5 percent chance of being able to keep her own hip.

Orr was told that she wouldn't be able to ride for a year and that she'd have to learn how to walk again. Six months after the accident, she was riding again.

"Why was I able to ride in six months? Because a lot of people were praying for me," she said.

Sweet Briar Stable Manager Hangs on for Endurance Riding Triple Crown

Sweet Briar College News
Nov 13 2007

Amie Chenault, the stable manager at Sweet Briar College, and her 13-year-old Arabian, Zeek, are winners of Old Dominion Endurance Rides Inc.’s 2007 Triple Crown.

To receive the award, the same horse and rider team must compete in all three distance rides organized by Old Dominion, a Virginia-based non-profit group that promotes and supports the sport of endurance riding.

The first event, the 30-mile “No Frills” ride was held on April 14 in Front Royal. Chenault and Zeek tied for first place with a ride time of four hours.

The second ride, a 50-miler called the “Old Dominion,” was held June 9 in Fort Valley, Va. Zeek and Chenault rode to a second-place finish in seven hours and 56 minutes, winning the Best Condition Award in the process.

The final leg of the Triple Crown, the 50-mile “Fort Valley” ride, was held Oct. 27 in Fort Valley. Chenault and Zeek took first place with a ride time of six hours, 32 minutes.

“I was really shocked at how well we did at the last ride in Fort Valley because Amherst and the surrounding counties had a few cases of Potomac horse fever this summer,” Chenault said. “Zeek tested positive [for it] in July."

Chenault said she was one of the lucky ones who caught the signs of the disease in time.

“Zeek was treated and, as you can tell, he has fully recovered,” she said.

Chenault said she is grateful for her family and friends’ support, as well as her pit crews at home and on the road. Zeek’s home pit crew includes veterinarians Martha Moses and Anne Bonda and farrier Becky Vail. Chenault’s aunt Melissa Carter and her family and her friend Ellen Eagle supported them on the road.

“Without a great pit crew this would not have been possible,” Chenault said.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fish seen swimming on the course in MAS

I kid you not, Azrin and Zulu were on the trail, loop 3, driving it ahead of the riders when, much to their surprise, they noticed fish swimming on the trail! It is likely one of the only endurance venues in the WORLD where you will find our aqual neighbors on the trail! and yes, they were so surprised they stopped and checked it out. pictures on the evening news. In the meantime, you'll have to do with "Boy in the Rain"

Friday, November 09, 2007

California: Endurance ride draws largest crowd ever

Oroville Mercury Register Online
By Bridget Bowers/Sports Writer
Article Launched: 11/08/2007 07:36:40 PM PST

The Lake Oroville Vista Endurance (LOVE) group held the 9th annual endurance ride on Saturday with its largest field ever.

Laurie Anderson said that the turnout exceeded their estimation with nearly 200 entries showing up to take part in this ride.

The riders came from all over the western United States she said and were arriving late into the night on Friday until both levels of the parking lot were triple parked and overflowing.

"It was an amazing ride. I think we really surprised everyone with how many people showed up," Anderson said. "It took a lot of work to get everything started especially in the dark."

Anderson said that the help of the Department of Water Resources was really key in making sure everything went off without a hitch.

"They (DWR) did a lot of work to make sure it went well. They had patrols monitoring the area the whole weekend on their own time," she said.

The ride trotted out at 7 a.m. for the 50-mile ride and those going only 30 miles started out at 8 a.m. from the Diversion Pool.

The event was coordinated by State Parks Mounted Assistance Unit and Kathy Papa was the ride manager.

Anderson said that despite the overwhelming numbers the responses from both the volunteers and the riderswere positive.

"The riders (from out of town) couldn't believe the trails. They just loved them," Anderson said. "And no matter what was going on the volunteers always had a smile on their face."

The ride featured a who's who in endurance riding with a number of seasoned riders, champions and Tevis Cup winners.

The course began at the Diversion Pool and went up through the Loafer Creek area. It went across Highway 162 into Stringtown area.

And all along the trail, volunteers were stationed in order to help the riders and to keep them on the proper trail.

"It was actually unseasonably hot this year," Anderson said. "So it took a lot of hard work from our volunteers to help keep the horses cool."

Anderson said there were 100's of volunteers doing everything from manning the trails to taking pulses at the check points and serving food at the halfway point.

"A lot of the volunteers don't ride or even have anything to do with horses," she said.

A buffet was laid out at the halfway point and was donated by Dr. Shannon serving sandwiches and at the end of the ride, a barbecue dinner was set up.

Anderson said that the ride was also given the assistance of the Sweep Rider of the Sierras (SOS), the only mounted assistance rescue unit in the west.

SOS doesn't just ride with every event. Anderson said the LOVE ride was very lucky to get them involved.

The SOS riders are ham radio operators and are trained for emergency situations.

"They "sweep" along behind the riders checking the trails and are there to render assistance if needed," Anderson said. "They are a critical link for the Tevis Cup 100-mile ride."

Anderson said she wanted to stress how important the volunteers and DWR were to making the LOVE ride a success.

"We had a blast with the event. Even the riders coming in at 7 p.m. at the cutoff had huge smiles on their faces," Anderson said.

The motto to finish is to win was definitely seen in the riders.

She said that there were awards, donated from throughout the community, given to a variety of categories from the best conditioned to fun awards for oldest and youngest riders along with a tail end award for the final finisher.

Anderson said she wanted to thank DWR, the veterinarians and all the volunteers that made the ride possible. With a special thanks to Dr. Richard Smith who marked the trails.

"That's always a lot of work making sure the markings are easy to see in order to keep people on the right path," Anderson said.

The 50-mile top finishers were Kristine Hartman of Meadow Vista on 9-year-old Sam and Dennis Tracy on San Ffrancisco in five hours 34 minutes. 30-mile top finisher was Charlotte Fairbanks in four hours and one minute.

Best conditioned for the 50 miles was Suzanne Huff of Gardenerville, NV on Chase the Wind, her 17-year-old Arabian.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Gorgeous fall colors, cool temps. Cold in the AM, sunny but stayed cool
with a fairly sharp breeze all day. We never touched a sponge and
practically every horse there walked directly into the vet box after the
fairly long walk from the arrival timer. Josie said "lots of tripping"
with the leaves covering the ample rocks, could account for lameness
pulls. A few riders missed turns and had to go for completion only. Trail
was well marked *and* there were x's on plates if you passed the turn,
but if you did miss the well marked turn there was the opportunity to
accidentally take a shortcut. Larry Jordan is such a nice guy and works
really hard to put on this ride...and only the Boy Scouts profit, so it's
a labor of love on his part.

Grabbed my pen & a napkin when they started reading the results off last
night. Started a little late, don't have much on the 25. 47 started 39
finished. All I remembered on the top names was maybe a Carol Walker &
Liz Galloway. I underlined Melissa Hamilton...don't know if that meant BC
or what.

Did better on the 50's, started writing as they called them out.

36 started 24 finished. A few of those were riders quitting for their own
sake. Seemed like quite a few mentioned that they'd brought their green
horse they were starting, etc.

This is how I HEARD it so sorry if I got names wrong.

1st (tie) Kara Disbrow & Gooby 5:38
Ed Kidd & Merlin

3rd. Gene Dake
4th Joylen Carlson
5th Karen Isaacs
6th Tom Isaacs
7th Teresa Johnson
8th (tie) Cheryl Newman
Josie McGhee & TM Cade 6:36
10th Angie Fura
11th Debra McClarey
12th Sandy Thompson
13th (1st Jr) Joni Buttram
14th Jody Buttram
15th Lois? Wilson
16th Betsy Knight
17th Ann Videl?
18th Stephanie Smith
19th Trish Harrop
20th Joe Schoech
21st Cindy Belle
22nd June Jordan 8:09
23rd Susan Kasemayer

Best Condition Merlin

Only bad news was a horse was missing this morning and they were out on 4
wheelers searching for it. It did have on a bright purple blanket so
hopefully they were able to find it.

Angie McGhee

Friday, November 02, 2007

California fires: Update from Tammy Robinson

I just want to take a minute of your time and publicly say "Thank You" to all of those out there that called, emailed, and sent us donations for hay. It's wonderful to know that people like you folks are out there for support in time of need. We really did need support, but things are looking better 12 days after the fires.

A Little Update:
We are now doing demo & cleaning up of our Master bedroom, my Dads house, my Son's travel trailer, the 18 stall barn, the equipment and tractor shop (including tractors & tools), TR Products, Carol Resner's Car, the two big water tanks & trailers we use for the Git-R-Done rides. It has taken, as of today 8, 40 foot dump trailers to haul this stuff out and we're still not done! We had a nice Mexican Family haul off most of the metal to salvage yards (I hope they make some $ for there family) for recycle.

4 of our horses are back, The Twins, Sharkee, & Big Enough. Felina our goat (we got from Kim Fuess) is doing good. She's a little out of place without the barn but she either thinks she's a Dog or a Horse pending on the time of day & settles in. 4 more of my horses will not be able to return back here for a month or so. Carol's 3 horses are at Charlene's Ranch and will have to return when things get built back.

Some of you have called or emailed me and asked about "Money" my pet Peachick. He's doing fine and is with 3 ducklings and my Son's full grown duck "Clyde." All of these animals were also taken care of by my daughter "Charlene Lewis." She had my 5 Dogs for a few days too. Dogs, Cats & Birds are now back home. The 2 cats were in Carol's living quarters so they were returned back a few days after the fires along with the dogs. 5 Barn Cats were alive. 3 we saw right away, 1 we saw a few days later and we just had a sighting of 1 on Sunday. All seem in good shape...unbelievable! Food and water have been set out so I can see the cats at least once in a while. (Most of you don't know, but I've always rescued adult cats that can't be placed in homes after their allotted time. Most are very wild and can't be touched for a while or with some, never.) I never have rodent problems and the Cats have a chance for a life.

The trees that have been burned, some of the older ones will make it, but some were only 5 years old might not. It's sad to see. I hiked along the outside of our place, which is the area we used to put on the Hog Wild rides on, and it all looks like the moon. Some trees made it along the wash but the rest in the canyon areas are all black. All of that old wood in the Hog Ranch is gone, so all that is standing out there is concrete stuff.

The wildlife is all but gone. I saw one Coyote (alive) and 3 dead ones. A lot of small animals were burned, small bones everywhere, some a few days after the fire were half burned and we had to finish the suffering. My husband "Charlie" seem to get that job, I just couldn't.... Anyway, on a happier note. The Birds are returning, I have set out lots of wild bird feed and hummingbird food with good results. I haven't seen any deer, foxes or bobcats yet, but I have a water tank and a few buckets of lower water for them just in case.


Tammy & Charlie Robinson
Trail-Rite Products
18171 Lost Creek Road
Saugus, CA 91390
661/513-9269 office
661/713-3912 cell
661/513-9206 fax

Monday, October 29, 2007

Alberta to host Canadian National Championships

You are invited… To participate in the 2008 Canadian Rocky Mountain Challenge!

Come enjoy down home Alberta hospitality in the scenic foothills of the Rocky Mountains July 30 – Aug 4, 2008! We are very excited to announce that Alberta has been selected by CaLDRA and Endurance Canada to host the 2008 Competitive Trail, Endurance and Ride N’ Tie Canadian National Championships.

This multi-day equine event will be held at the beautiful Red Deer River Ranches, near Sundre, Alberta. The ranch boasts 1,000 acres of private land that is directly connected to over 50,000 acres of grazing lease. The majority of the land is open forest/range-land. There are numerous creeks to cross and ride along. Trails consist of open terrain, heavily wooded areas, logging routes and wildlife paths in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. This area is also known for its population of wild horses. Truly a ‘wild west’ location!

In addition to the National competitions, gorgeous scenery, ample camping space, catering, and souvenirs, many other family friendly activities will be made available. Amenities such as grocery, gas, restaurants, tourist attractions, hospital, etc. are located nearby in the town of Sundre. The community is warmly opening their arms to our Nationals visitors and welcomes you!

While there will be Provincial Team competitions (you will need to nominate you and your horse to your regional riding club), there is opportunity to ride as an individual in a variety of categories:

Competitive Trail:

– Novice Division 25 mile

– Intermediate Division 40 mile

– Open Division 80 miles over 2 days. Day one is pending as an AHA 40 mile ride.

Endurance (pending AERC sanctioning):

– 25 mile

– 50 mile FEI 2* including Junior and Young Riders. Pending as AHA ride.

– 100 mile FEI 3* including Junior and Young Riders

Ride N’ Tie:

– 10 mile

– 20 mile

Special Feature Competition – a relay race still in the works though will resemble the Pony Express.

We also look forward to welcoming individuals who will be able to offer their time and expertise in volunteering for this event.

There will be Opening and Closing Ceremonies including a Dinner and Awards Banquet – guaranteed to be very memorable. We promise an entertaining and exhilarating week of celebration.

Keep your eyes open for the launch of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Challenge Website, which will keep you informed of schedule of events, attractions, accommodations, etc. closer to the date of the Nationals. In the meantime, feel free to contact Sandra Nielsen (Phone: 403-637-0245 or Email: with any questions.

Thank you and see you next summer!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FEI CEI*** Competitions: FEI Passports and Registrations

Announcement from USEF:

All horses ridden by Senior riders at CEI 3* rides in this country must have an FEI passport next year (2008). We will not be allowed to accept National Passports for 3* events.

I am discussing with the FEI whether Young Riders will be required to ride FEI passported horses at 3* events. I will pass that information on to you.

Horses entered in 1* and 2* events do not need a passport.

Rider and Horse FEI registrations must be sent to USEF at least 3 weeks before a competition, and will not be accepted at the competition. You should make this clear in your flyers and on your websites. This includes all distances and all ages. (riders under 18 do not have to pay the 15. fee for their registration – but they must fill out the form and send it in to get a #)

Vonita Bowers
Endurance Director

Sunday, October 21, 2007

California Wildfires, Git-R-Done Endurance Ride Organizers Lose Home

Several wildfires are burning out of control in southern California, driven by Santa Anna winds with sustained wind speeds of 20-30 mph, and gusts up to 60mph.

Organizers of the October 27 Inyokern, CA Endurance ride Tammy and Charlie Robinson were forced to evacuate their home outside of Saugus as the fires overtook their property. They are currently staying at the home of their daughter Charlene Lewis of Leona Valley Riding Center.

Charlene reported on the situation:

"We have some bad news! We are canceling Git-R-Done ride due to some extremely unfortunate events, as today my parents home has burnt, Tammy and Charlie Robinson. We were barely able to get all 11 horses out, 5 dogs, 1 goat, and 2 cats. All the chickens and birds and 4 other cats did not make it. We just didn’t have enough time! As we were pulling out the driveway the trees and shop was on fire that’s adjacent to the home. Not a single fire truck in site, it was the most hopeless feeling! As most of you know this was a family built home and a lot of heart and soul went into it. Many of you have been there at the X-mas party. This is a huge loss and extremely sad for my family. We will not be putting on the Git-R-Done ride so please contact your friends and spread the word. My family is here at my ranch now. If you really have to contact me for any questions. All checks will be cancelled if they are not burnt already."

California fire officials caution residents that the winds are predicted to continue for at least another day and to have an evacuation plan in place if need be.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Endurance Expo rolls into Auburn Saturday

Auburn Journal

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Auburn's Endurance Expo won't just be a big party on the street this year.

Organizers of the expo, set for Saturday at the Gold Country Fairgrounds, have implemented a few changes this year.

"We changed the format," said Bridget Powers, chairwoman of the Auburn Endurance Capital Committee. "Last year, the event was more of a celebratory street party. This year will be more like an actual expo, where you have clinics, speakers and vendors."

The free expo is open to the public and will celebrate this year's main endurance events such as the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, Tevis Cup 100-Mile One Day Ride, Auburn International Triathlon and the Cool Mountain Bike Race, as well as many top endurance athletes in the area.

More than 40 vendors featuring biking, running, horseback riding and paddling gear will set up in the Armory Building of the Gold Country Fairgrounds.

The expo will also feature a multimedia show with photos and videos of this past year's main endurance events, food booths, an endurance sports bar with beer, wine and TVs, a silent auction and a raffle.

Free color posters will be available at the expo along with a signing table featuring many local endurance champions including Tim Twietmeyer, Hal Hall, Gordon Ainsleigh, Trent Klasna, Potato Richardson, Brad Kearns, Kathie Perry and Jimmie Brown.

Experts and professionals from the fields of running, biking, riding and rafting will be on hand to answer questions and offer clinics at the expo. Endurance games for kids, a climbing wall, raffle, silent auction, music and food can also be found at the expo.

"It's a lot of fun getting to see all the new stuff involving bikes, running, riding and rafting," said Lisa Kodl, owner of Auburn Bike Works and vendor at the expo. "Looking at all the footage from past endurance events is also fun. It's chance to see things you usually aren't able to because they happen in the middle of the endurance trail."

Kodl will have a booth at the expo and will be sponsoring valet bike parking.

"Anyone who want to ride their bike to the event will have a place to park it and someone to watch over it," Kodl said.

Powers said the expo will also provide a chance for residents to find out what's available in Auburn.

"A lot of people don't realize how much there is to do in Auburn," Powers said. "If you want to find out every possible outdoor activity there is to do in the foothills, everyone will be there that day."

The Journal's Jenna Nielsen can be reached at or comment on this story at

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Miracle" Of Hydrotherapy Heals, Strengthens Horses

(Left) David Voyles and his daughter, Lindsey, with retired champion Sahara at the start of a water-resistance exercise session. (Right) Sahara and Voyles, along with Miracle Farms owners Reg and Virginia Steele.

Nestled at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in eastern Shelby County, in an area abundant with equine-oriented estates and subdivisions, is a small building that houses one of the latest innovations in restoring the health of ill and injured horses.

About eight months ago, Miracle Farms owners Reg and Virginia Steele and the facility's manager, David Voyles, installed an AquaPacer Equine Underwater Treadmill and began helping horses recover from injury, regain mobility following surgery, and increase strength and endurance with an equine version of water aerobics.

When the Steeles purchased the property just a few years ago, the 16 acres of Miracle Farms was basically raw land with only the shell of a home under construction. Now, the house is finished, the surrounding acreage is beautifully landscaped, there is a first-class outdoor arena with all the accoutrement required for hunter-jumper riding, and a 7-stall barn sits just a few paces away from the hydrotherapy center. The unit is one of only four of its type in U.S., and the closest ones to Memphis are located at the University of Kentucky and the University of Mississippi.

The unit is designed to help animals recover more quickly from orthopedic surgeries, soft tissue injuries, provide relief from back and other muscular soreness, and for general conditioning and muscle development. The treadmill operates at speeds up to 7 miles an hour, and treatment or training is achieved through a specific combination of treadmill speed, water depth, and workout time.

Using hydrotherapy results in a 50% decrease in healing time and conditioning time, according to Voyles, and often more than that. "The main thing is the speed. All that healing time and conditioning time that you don't have to tie your horse up," he says. "Give me two weeks, and I'll give you a month's worth of impact...It doesn't matter which breed or which discipline they're in, it's effective for all of them." With regard to conditioning, he says that some "...want to leave their horse here for two weeks while they're gone on vacation. We can double the effect."

Miracle Farms existed in a previous incarnation as place where city kids could come to learn about nature and get some exposure to farm animals and biology, and when the Steeles relocated they asked themselves " do we fit into the equine community, what do we do? The name was already there, and we didn't want to 'compete.' And we said 'That (name) is perfect. We can create new opportunities and miracles for horses that have had bad experiences or just really need something that can take them to the next level. So the name kind of led the hydrotherapy...We call it 'an aquatic retreat for horses.'" An it is a very nice one, but it should be noted that nearly all of the 'clients' are referred by veterinarians or professional trainers.

That restorative mission seems perfectly suited to both the Steeles and Voyles. The Steeles are engaged in the medical industry, Voyles received extensive medical training in the military, and all three share a genuine love for horses. In fact, they met as a result of their daughters riding together at Spring Hill Stables, where he was the manager and the Steeles board some of their horses.

The stable is a real model facility, featuring a separate room where feed and medications are stored and charted, tack room, an office for David and a completely furnished apartment with full kitchen for use by vets, trainers or owners who have a horse being treated or trained at the farm. Two of the stalls double as a foaling unit, with a sliding door that separates them.

"If you're going to create an environment where you're going to recondition horses you've got to start with the basics," Reg Steele said. "It's got to be clean and well-vented, and well organized.," and Voyles keeps the building in a condition that can only be described as "pristine." In addition to the stalls, there are a half-dozen paddocks, some with run-ins, scattered around the property in close proximity to the barn. "We're set up to whatever we need to do to accomodate the horses," says David. "It's a clean, stress-free environment." The facility provides full board during treatment and training.

In a building about the size of a double garage sits the 1000-gallon tank, which is linked to an outside, sealed holding tank. The system has a non-chlorinated double filtration system and is temperature controlled "...just like a swimming pool," says Voyles. "It's in a continuous filtering cycle."

The animals are meticulously bathed and their hooves cleaned before they enter the unit, to prevent the introduction of dirt and other debris. It takes approximately 15 minutes to completely fill the tank but that's rarely done, unless treatment for a condition calls for the horse to be totally "floated." At very low water levels the unit provides mostly resistance, but as the depth increases the benefits begin to include reduced weight-bearing and impact, along with hydrostatic pressure to reduce swelling.

On this day, the lucky recipient of the poolplay is Sahara, a 16-year old retired National Champion from the hunter-jumper arena. He appeared to be completely at ease with being led into the chamber, and didn't display any nervousness during the roughly five-minute workout. The V-shaped tank has hinged doors at both ends, and the treadmill is only inches off the floor with gradual ramps leading in one end and out the other. It is situated so the animals can look out over one of the farm's paddocks through a set of wide double doors, which helps keep them calm as they get used to the swirling water and the hum of a powerful pump. The layout also permits trailers to back up right to the exit from the tank.

Virginia says the first couple of times a horse encounters the machinery, they can be a bit wary, as though they're wondering "..what in the heck are you asking me to do?" But they quickly become accustomed to the process and the real performance horses realize they have the opportunity to do what they were born to do, in spite of any injury or health condition. "The ones that really like to work, when they experience this and get into it, they love it," she says.

Anyone considering the filtration system might naturally wonder, what about those inconvenient "pool accidents" that happen from time to time, especially given the casual attitude of horse with regard to that sort of thing. Well, it takes at least two to guide a horse through the routine and one of them is the designated "pooper scooper," armed with fine mesh net mounted on a long handle.

The general conditioning regimen typically begins with 5-minute sessions the first week, and builds to 10 minutes the second, 15 the third, and by the fourth week the workouts are up to 20 minutes. Voyles says most conditioning programs last four to six weeks. Injury-related therapy can involve routines as short as couple of minutes the first few times.

As odd as it may seem, Voyles says the deeper the water gets, the more an animal tends extends its step. "You'd think, as it gets deeper, they would sort of start short-stepping, but the more drag there is, the faster they go and they tend to lengthen their stride."

Virginia says the conditioning regimen is not intended to replace trainers who would normally ride those horses, but does serve a very useful purpose in "complement(ing) the existing equine community...we don't want to compete with any existing organization...We're a small, private farm. We can give one-on-one attention to the animals, their owners and the vets, which is really our objective...We want to complement the existing equine community, which is why we went with the treadmill, because there's just not one here...There's a large horse community here that has a need for this, so we're excited about it."

She also noted that injured horses who would most benefit from water therapy would previously have been referred to out-of-state veterinarians during the treatment process. That puts them out from under the direct supervision of the "family doctor" who knows them best. Having hydrotherapy available locally lets both owners and vets keep a constant eye in the progress being made. "It really gives a contiuum of care here in Memphis that's been unavailable in the past," says Virginia. "It allows the horse's regular veterinarian to see what is being accomplished, rather than relying on the judgement of someone else, and adjusting the program as needed in the best interest of the animal."

That unbroken stream can mean a lot to an owner in terms of fewer medical fees and reduced transportation cost and effort.

Animals undergoing therapy or conditioning can actually be hooked up to certain monitoring eequipment while they are in the tank and Virginia noted that the arena, just a few feet away, provides a place for both vets and trainers to do some real-world testing of the results that have been achieved.

Since installing the unit, Miracle Farms has invited a number of regional vets to see a demonstration the system and discuss with them the possibilities for its use in the recuperative process.

And the system is not just for horses. While they haven't had occasion to use it with canines (and the company makes units designed for them), Virginia said the hydrotherapy unit would work just as well with dogs and other large animals and they would be happy to discuss the possibilities with owners or vets for treating illnesses like hip displasia. "We've got the biggest one, said Voyles, "so you can pretty much encompass anything."

Virginia jokes that she and some friends have talked about using the device for an exercise class, and David says that he has actually "tested the waters." "I've been in it, and it's work," he said. It's hard to imagine that anyone involved in sports or fitness wouldn't at least consider giving it a try.

Currently, Miracle Farms is only offering services centered around the hydrotherapy unit and some other rehabilitative equipment purchased from the same manufacturer. "We don't do any boarding, or training. At this point it's totally about being a therapeutic center for horses," says Virginia. "But we also have some other equipment...for icing injuries and compressing for fluid accumulation...The equipment is getting much more advanced, and we hope to build off the hydrotherapy and the other services that are therpeutic in nature." Voyles echoes those sentiments by noting that the focus helps keep things personal, which results in better care for the horses they do take in.

Virginia and David both stress that horses with injuries or surgery-related rehabilitative needs should be referred by a veterinarian, but that conditioning and strengthening cases are accepted as long as the animal's trainer is involved. "We're really not open to owners saying "I want to come out and have my horse swim," says Virginia. "We don't think that's in the best interest of the

owner or the trainer or the horse. It really needs to be directed by a professional. We know what we're doing, but we want them to say what their goal for the horse is, and each discipline and each trainer, and each rider has a different need."

She does note one case where they took on a horse without an official "referral," but the horse's regular veterinarian was heavily involved. The animal had a problem with overheating along with some serious gastric distress. "They just wanted to change his environment and get him in the water and cool him down every day. It wasn't really about an injury and it wasn't about conditioning." The owner found Miracle Farms through a friend, but the vet was soon part of the process and agreed the treatment might provide a needed alternative. "...and he improved," says Virginia. "He stayed here a month and we swam him and kept the fans on was during that heat wave and he couldn't sweat, so we just cooled him down with the water and controlled his exercise."

Toward the end of his session Sahara gets some encouragement to keep "working harder." As the treadmill slows to a halt and the last of the water drains away, he gratefully accepts a few horsey treats and head rubs as reward for his effort before being led back to the barn by David's daughter, Lindsey. He's sporting a bit of perspiration on his brow and there's that trace of muscle quiver that many athletes exhibit following a good workout, and he seems a lot more energized than when he first walked up the low ramp.

For more information on hydrotherapy for horses, you can contact Miracle Farms at 901-753-0747 or visit their web site at For more information on the Ferno AquaPacer, visit their site at

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

International News: FEI Ride Calendar for USA 2008

Tentative FEI ride calendar for USA 2008:

Mar. 8-9 - CEIY 3*, 2* - Morriston, FL - 'FITS' - Jan Stevens

Apr. 19 - CEI 3*, 2* - Inyokern, CA - Git-R-Done II - Tammy Robinson

May 25 - CEI 3*, 2* - Oreana, ID - Owyhee 100 - Steph Teeter

Jun. 7-8 - CEIY 3*, 2* - Ashland, MT - Fort Howes - Jan Stevens

Aug. 1 CEIY 3* - Parker, CO - North American Young Rider Endurance Championship - Jan Stevens

Sep. l6 CEIY 3*, 2* - Las Cruces, NM - Desert Classic - David Kaden

Oct. 18 CEI 3*, 2* - Asheville, NC - World Endurance Festival - Emmett Ross

Nov. 8 CEI 2* - Lexington, KY - 2008 WEG2010 Pre-Breeze - Arthur W. Priez, Jr.

South Dakota Endurance Riding Clinic

November 17, South Dakota State University Campus

Contact info:
Lisa Simpson
PH: 605.874.2293

Heather Dant-Benson
PH: 605.552.6782

Clinic Details Here (pdf file)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Del Dios Highlands Open Space Preserve

Below you will find info on the opening of the new Del Dios Highlands Open Space Preserve. This 350 acre preserve is the land that my late husband, Jerry Gradisher and the Escondido Creek Conservancy brokered to ensure it would never be developed. The land is a high ridge between Elfin Forest and Del Dios/Lake Hodges. It abuts the 750 acre Elfin Forest Recreation Reserve to the west and Lake Hodges to the east. This new link has trails that connect Elfin Forest to the Coast to Crest Trail (which travels from Del Mar to Julian). These are excellent horse trail with lots of climbing and magnificent views.

Here is the invite with a picture(PDF)

Needless to say, the dedication of this land as permanent open space is a dream come true. Sometimes good does win. Thank you Jerry! All your hard work has paid off, I know you will be with us.

Nancy Reed
Lazy J Ranch
Elfin Forest
PS If anyone is interested in doing a training ride, please contact me.

County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and the Department of Parks and
Recreation cordially invite you to celebrate the ribbon cutting and grand
opening ceremony of Del Dios Highlands County Preserve (9860 Del Dios Hwy)
on Thursday, October 18 at 11:30 a.m.

>From the I-15
Exit Via Rancho Parkway
Go west on Via Rancho Parkway for 4 miles to Del Dios Highway
Go left on Del Dios Highway a short distance
The preserve entrance is on the right (look for signs)

>From the I-5
Exit Loma Santa Fe Drive.
Go east on Loma Santa Fe Dr. for 11 miles to Escondido
At Del Dios Highway and Date Lane make a left into the preserve staging area.
For more information, visit, or contact:
Mina Nguyen
Public Affairs Officer
County of San Diego, Department of Parks and Recreation
9150 Chesapeake Drive, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 858-966-1331
Cell: 619-895-0524

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Training the Core

I admit it: last year I mocked Brookstone's OSIM iGallop and Panasonic's JOBA, both horse-riding fitness machines. I even tested one out at CES last year and just felt completely ridiculous sitting on a saddle-like seat with my feet in stirups.

Needless to say, I'm putting my foot in my mouth. Panasonic released a study conducted by researcher Neil Wolkodoff, PhD, which involved 11 participants ages 35 to 60. Each participant rode Panasonic's third-generation horse-riding fitness machine, the Panasonic Core Trainer EU6441A, for 15 minutes a day, five days a week, for two months. Here's what he found: "The Core Trainer performed beyond my expectations. Not only were the changes in core strength and flexibility statistically significant, but VO2 [endurance] levels also increased, while participants experienced a positive change in body composition. Core Trainer study participants showed results with 15 minutes of daily use that some more aggressive products don't show in the regularly recommended 30 minutes a day." See above for percentages of the results.

Complete Story

Monday, October 01, 2007

USEF Rider Ranking List. October 1 update

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) instituted an Endurance Rider Ranking List beginning this year, 2007. Nominated riders earn points according to placements at FEI 100 mile rides, and a few select non-FEI 100 mile rides (e.g. Tevis). Once a rider nominates with USEF to be ranked, all of their ranked ride points will be recorded. This list will be revolving, with standings being updated over a two year period for every nominated rider on the list. The rider ranking will be used as a determining factor in choosing riders to represent the USA at International events.

Rider rankings are based upon the two highest point standing of nominated riders (any horse). The following list represents the list effective October 1, 2007.

1. John Crandall 500
2. Kathy Brunjes 480
3. Valerie Kanavy 480
4. Meg Sleeper 480
5. Steve Rojek 450
6. Ann Hall 370
7. Heather Reynolds 350
8. Joyce Sousa 350
9. Jeremy Reunolds 300
10. Jan Worthington 260
11. Cheryl Dell 230
12. Danielle McGunigal 230
13. Jeremy Olson 220
14. Christoph Schork 220
15. Darolyn Butler 200
16. Hal Hall 195
17. Fred Emigh 190
18. Kirsten Kimbler 180
19. Lynn Kenelly 180
20. Suzanne Hayes 160
21. Heather Stevens 160
22. Jennifer Stevens 160
23. Tammy Robinson 125
24. Sandra Conner 120
25. Charisse Glen 120

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Horse is therapeutic for Parkinson's patient

Photo: Jason Hunter / The Capital-Journal

With a stethoscope around his neck to monitor the heart rate of his Arabian horse Josh, Mike Urschel, 54, of Wabash, Ind., relaxes with his companion Bev Staats following a seven-hour horseback ride to Burlingame. He is a rider in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race.

Rider with Parkinson's disease says time on his mount is therapeutic during 11-day, 800-mile journey
By James Carlson
The Capital-Journal
Published Friday, September 14, 2007

BURLINGAME — Trotting along the Santa Fe Trail on his purebred Arabian, Mike Urschel doesn't tremble, he doesn't shake and — if you can believe it — he feels better than when he is out of the stirrups.

Only when he is on solid ground again do you notice the slight hunch, the measured tones in his voice that hint at Parkinson's disease.

"When I'm riding, I don't feel anything, like every neuron is moving with that horse," he said half an hour after he and his horse, Josh, crossed the finish line first during Thursday's stretch of the 800-mile, 11-day Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race.

The 40 riders began their day at 7:15 a.m. in Council Grove and seven hours, 50 miles and 80,000 steps later, Urschel won the day's ride.

"I feel better today than I have all week," he said.

So far, he and Josh have placed first, second and third in some of the race stages.

The race began Sept. 1 in Santa Fe, N.M. Some days, such as Thursday, participants ride their horses for seven hours. Other days they are in the saddle longer.

From his early days in Wabash, Ind., Urschel loved to ride. He said that after his dad left for work each day, he would throw his leg over a horse and ride all day.

"You fool," his dad would say.

But when the disease's symptoms snuck around the corner of his 50th birthday, Urschel found solace in the saddle.

He takes Mirapex. He soaks his feet in solution. The gruff, mustached 54-year-old even does yoga. But nothing works like riding.

Urschel's neurologists don't know why. He isn't sure either, but everyone has got an idea.

Darolyn Butler should know. She has traveled the world, from Brazil to Portugal to the United Arab Emirates, riding in world championships.

"Time on a horse is time standing still," she said. "You don't age when you're up there."

Maggie Rankin, of Clovis, N.M., watched Urschel cross the line and commented about Josh, "That's one hell of a horse."

To why the symptoms of Urschel's Parkinson's might wane while riding, she offered an old cowboy saying, "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man."

As a salesman back in Indiana, Urschel doesn't "function too good sometimes," he said. Standing in a grassy field outside Burlingame, his shoulders fold inward, his mouth doesn't portray his often humorous tone.

"That's the Parkinson's for you," said Bev Staats, Urschel's companion of five years.

Maybe it is this intimate knowledge of life's edges that has Urschel not pushing Josh as hard as some other riders. An hour after he finished, Urschel popped open a can of Miller Lite and pointed to another horse lying in the grass receiving a veterinarian's care.

"I don't ever want to push my horse to the point he has to do that," Urschel said.

He called it a "shame, a tragedy" that two horses died Tuesday when they ran past the finish line and into a road where they were hit by an oncoming car in the central Kansas county of McPherson. The two riders were airlifted to a Wichita hospital.

Urschel said he always wants to win the "best condition" category, which is a combination of finish place and the horse's health.

As for his condition, Urschel knows it will catch up to him, and riding will someday cease its therapeutic affects and become impossible. That day is a ways off, he says.

In fact, with 105 miles to go, he may just keep on keepin' on after the race ends Sunday in Independence, Mo.

Maybe he will ride on through to home in Wabash, Ind.

"Nah, even then, I'll just keep riding and riding and riding," he said. "That'd be good. Never stop."

James Carlson can be reached at (785) 295-1186 or