Monday, February 26, 2007

Endurance.Net does the Scottsdale Arabian Show

By Merri Melde



I've seen a few jumping and dressage shows and 3-day eventing shows on TV, but I've never been to a big horse show like the Scottsdale Arabian Show, first held in 1955, and now one of the largest Arabian shows in the country. I know I'm going to catch flak from show people, but here's my astute analysis of the show world based on my observations.
Now, seeing that I ride Arabian endurance horses, I know a little bit about Arabians. In fact, I've ridden a lot of Arabian endurance horses, many many thousands of miles, in many stages of their training, over varied terrain and in all kinds of weather, Arabians that can go 50 or 100 miles in one day, or 50 miles several days in a row, and I've ridden one or two pretty good ones. Admittedly, I have terrible form, riding with my feet way out in front of me, probably leaning too far forward and hunching over my hands, (dressage teachers cringe when they see me coming anywhere near their arena), but this keeps me in the saddle with green spooky horses, which I've ridden a lot of. So, I know a little about Arabians. Or, I thought I did.

The Whole Story

Ride Over the Rainbow to AHA Regional Championship

Ride Over the Rainbow, a 50 and 100 mile ride in British Columbia, has been awarded the Region 17 Endurance Championships from AHA!

The championships have historically been held in Manitoba at Myna Cryderman’s rides however, I hope that we can alternate throughout Region 17 to afford everyone a chance to compete in a Regional Championship ride without travelling half way across the country! I am very pleased to promote the excellence of OUR wonderful Arabians in this discipline!

The rides will be held on July 1st, 2007 (yes, a Sunday) at our usual base camp near Merritt, BC. Trail includes 8,900’ of vertical gain over 100 miles on logging roads and cow and game trails. Views are of four separate valleys and mountain ranges. Start and finish lines are at base camp with one ‘out’ vet check for the 100 mile ride.

Contact Barbara Holmes-Balmer at (250)768-8206 edress: or check out Rainbow’s page on the ERABC website page for information as it becomes available!

Submitted by Barbara Holmes-Balmer
Ride Manager

Sunday, February 25, 2007

AERC Convention 2007

February 23/24
AERC National Convention

Reno, Nevada

AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) members gathered for the annual convention. NATRC (North American Trail Ride Conference) joined the AERC for a grand gathering of distance riders.

A huge trade show kept shoppers and vendors busy, and two days of presentations, lectures and hands-on clinics provided education and entertainment to convention goers.

The Saturday night banquet and awards ceremony was in a packed room. AERC presented awards to it's top riders and horses in many divisions.

The prestigious Hall of Fame and Pard'ners Awards were presented to:

Maryben Stover - California resident: long-time rider, ridemanager and supporter of junior riders.

Pandora's Pixy - owned by the late Randy Coleman, a mare that has achieved 11,000 lifetime miles in Endurance, and the 'Perfect Ten' award (10,000+ miles, 10 wins, 10 Best Conditions.

John Park and Remington - Pard'ners through 10,000 miles and years of trails and trials.

An assortment of photos can be found at Gallery

Friday, February 23, 2007

Scottsdale, Arizona: Got Endurance?

By Jenny Powers Feb 16, 2007, 13:50
Scottsdale, Arizona

For those of you who crave a bit of challenge in your trail and pleasure riding – why not consider limited distance endurance riding? You will meet great people, have the attention of a team of vets and vet check assistants, experience well marked trails with water for horses and perhaps even an opportunity to be photographed!

The American Endurance Ride Conference sanctions endurance and limited distance rides that meet strict criteria for the welfare of the horse and these rides provide a wealth of information on caring for your horse on the trail and after the ride. Ride meetings are held with the ride manager and head veterinarian to ensure you understand the criteria and routes for the ride.

Most relatively fit horses capable of several hours of trail riding over varied terrain averaging five miles per hour are capable of completing a limited distance ride. Why not see if you’ve got what it takes to conquer the trail and live the AERC motto “to finish is to win?”Limited distance rides are generally 25 miles in length with at least one vet check located near the halfway point of the ride. Horses must pass a pre-ride vet exam prior to starting the ride, meet criteria at the mid-point vet check, and satisfactorily complete a post ride check to earn a completion.

Limited distance rides are open to any breed of equine that is 48 months old or older at the time of the ride. There is no minimum completion time limit and a maximum of six hours is permitted for rides of 25 miles including a hold time at the vet check (generally one hour). To discourage racing, the ride time of the competitor continues until the horse meets a preset heart rate criteria of 60 beats per minute at the finish.

An excellent opportunity to try limited distance endurance riding is at the Scottsdale McDowell Mountain Ride on April 7 at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Trails for the limited distance ride are within Park boundaries and are well maintained and well marked. In addition to the pre-ride vet check and ride meeting on Friday, April 6, there will be a New Riders meeting to allow those new to the sport to receive an overview and introduction to endurance riding from riders with thousands of miles of endurance experience. This ride is well managed and every effort is being made to ensure the comfort of the horses and riders.

So take advantage of this chance to conquer the challenge of the trail, meet new friends and enjoy a wonderful day in one of our area’s best parks. Riders receive an informative rider packet at registration, lunch on Saturday is provided, participation awards, and an awards dinner at base camp is being catered by area restaurant, L’Amore on Lincoln Drive. Bridle & Bit is sponsoring promotion for the ride and prizes are being sponsored by Farnam. Additional promotion and graphic services are provided by Endurance.Net. Horses Dacor of Dewey, AZ is also providing prizes and will have products and equipment available for sale at base camp. For more information visit or contact ride manager, Rusty Toth at or 480-473-2141.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Gretchen and I set off for the 3-day Eastern Mojave Scenic ride, in the National Mojave Preserve outside of Baker, CA, whose claim to fame appears to be having the world's largest thermometer. Gretchen and I were a bit worried as the temperature started climbing... 68*, 71*... not bad. Then it got to 75*... 78*...

"If it hits 80* let's turn around and go home."


The traffic was awful - thousands of people heading for Vegas for the holiday weekend [Editor: The NBA All Star Game - LA -> Vegas....]. It appeared that thousands of Vegans were also fleeing Las Vegas for the better (?) environs of Los Angeles.

We pulled into ride camp where, by 2 PM, it was looking a little like the crowd at Burning Man: BIG. Lots of trailers, and more coming in. We unloaded the horses and saddled them up for a ride.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

20th Annual Forida Cracker Ride

FLORIDA CRACKER TRAIL: Participants train for 20th annual ride

Herald Staff Writer

EAST MANATEE - When Beverly Smith's daughter Megan wrote a speech about her family for school, her mother was intrigued.

She became even more curious when the now 14-year-old began to recite the speech about her surrogate family - her Cracker Trail family, as Megan called it.

"She embraced it," Beverly Smith said of the event, which commemorates the cross-state cattle drives of the 19th century and takes its name from the crack of a cowboy's whip.

For the years Megan rode the Florida Cracker Trail, Beverly Smith stayed home during the weeklong ride spanning 110 miles.

But watching the impact it had on her daughter made her saddle up as well. This year, the 20th annual ride, will be Beverly's eighth.

She serves as secretary for the Florida Cracker Trail Association, and her son Graham has begun riding, too.

"It's a family affair," she said. "You wouldn't think that riding a horse is that great of therapy, but it is."

Atop horses for six days, winding through the Florida landscape, a group of more than 200 riders keep alive the state's ranching history.

From Wyoming to Illinois and Indiana down to Georgia and Tennessee, horse riders head to the Sunshine State for the historic trail ride that begins in Manatee County and snakes through Highlands, St. Lucie, Hardee and Okeechobee counties.

"It's just you," Smith said. "You don't have the telephone calling. You're just so relaxed."

From the youngest of riders to the eldest, true stories and tall tales are passed around fires at night after grueling endurance rides by day.

But the ride is not an easygoing trot, said David Reed, the association's president.

Typically, fewer than half the riders complete six days of eight-hour rides.

"You and your horse both need to be in shape to do this ride," he said.

The trail grows shorter and shorter each year, the expanse of development and urbanization chewing up the pastures and ranches that once ruled this state.

"We're going to try and keep this alive for as long as we can," Reed said. "There's a lot of friendships that have been made on this ride."

Despite the change in scenery, the ride is still a priority and necessity for some, despite the daily grind of life.

"Everyone's always in the car just going, going, going," Smith said. "You come back in such a different mental attitude."

The ride begins with a steak dinner Feb. 17 at Kibler Ranch, 3715 Kibler Ranch Road, in Myakka City, where riders are briefed on guidelines. The night is open to all visitors, who must pay a fee to learn about the ride.

"Ride out," or the official kickoff, begins the following day at 8 a.m. Riders then finish Friday in Fort Pierce, where they celebrate with an awards banquet and live band.

The next day, riders will gather for the Frontier Fest in Fort Pierce, allowing horses to rein over automobiles. The fest runs from noon to 5 p.m. and is free of charge.

Pat's Bar-B-Que Take Out, in Lake Placid, caters the trip, cooking hearty meals along the trail and at the camps each night.

Camps are open to the public to enjoy the nightly music, games, storytelling and ceremonies honoring past trail bosses - the person who oversees the ride.

The Junior Wrangler games feature activities and contacts each night, including the arena night Feb. 21 when younger riders compete on their horses.

The Cracker Trail acts as an incentive for many of the younger riders. Reed said most parents only allow their children to ride if their grades are up to par because they are taken out of school for one week to participate. The incentive pushes them to work harder, he said.

"All these kids are just very well rounded, and they've got good values," Reed said. "It teaches self-sufficiency, self-reliance and teaches these kids to work together."

This will be Reed's daughter Megan's fifth Cracker Trail ride. What the 18-year-old looks forward to, she said, is mounting the horse in the morning and not getting down until night falls.

"You meet cool people," she said. "And you learn a lot about the history of Florida."

Registration is under way, and all interested riders must register by 7:30 a.m. Feb. 18. For those wanting to ride only one or a few days, they must be registered the night before or by 7:30 a.m. the day they ride.

For more information or to register, visit or call Beverly Smith at (941) 831-0359.

Maura Possley, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 2640, or at , secretary, Florida Cracker Trail Association

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Endurance horse race to ride into Springer

February 6
By Todd Wildermuth
for The Raton Range

RATON, New Mexico (STPNS) --
Springer will host a myriad of horse riders and their mounts later this year as they gallop along the Santa Fe Trail competing in a 10-day, 500-mile endurance ride from Santa Fe to Missouri.

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race is scheduled to take place Sept. 3-15, which includes some non-riding “days off,” the New Mexico Sports Authority announced Jan. 30. The event has been in the planning stages for a couple years or more.

The first two days of the race will take riders from Santa Fe to Las Vegas, N.M., and then to Springer, where the town plans to provide a meal — a barbecue has been talked about — and perhaps other accommodations or events. Town officials are still in the process of planning for the race’s stopover.

The race — which features riders using multiple horses during the trek — has already received entries from about 50 teams, from a variety of states, including four entries from New Mexico. A team consists of one or more riders and support people, but the overall winner will be a single rider who rides all 10 riding days, using a variety of horses. Organizers are hoping to get 100 entries.

The riders will complete the specified distance for each day then stop and spend the night at the “race village.” Each rider’s time will be recorded, and accumulated. The rider with the shortest time overall will be declared the winner.

The race village will cover about 30 acres and move each morning as the race progresses. The village will have things such as veterinarian tent, water and hay distribution points, food and merchandise vendors, dining tent, first-aid station, farriers, and trash dumpsters.

The riders and horses are scheduled to come into Springer Sept. 3, Labor Day, after completing the 68-mile journey from Las Vegas along the historic route of the Santa Fe Trail. The next morning, they head to Clayton.

“One of the main objectives of the race is to educate the public not only on the national historic Santa Fe Trail, but also to introduce the sport of endurance riding to thousands,” according to the race website (
© 2007 The Raton Range Raton, New Mexico. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from STPNS.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

2010 WEC: Fletcher seeks Horse Park funds

$38.3 million urged for games upgrades
By Gregory A. Hall

The Courier-Journal
Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced yesterday that he will ask the legislature to approve $38.3 million in construction projects at the Kentucky Horse Park, which will play host to an Olympic-style world equestrian championship in 2010.
Some of the proposals are needed specifically for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington in three years, but others would help the park attract other competitions and events beyond the games, said John Nicholson, the park's executive director.
This will make our horse park unquestionably the finest equestrian facility in the world," Fletcher said in Lexington.
The governor's biggest request is $24 million for an outdoor arena with permanent seating and other facilities for 10,000 people. It also would have space for temporary seating to accommodate 20,000 more.
The governor also wants $4 million to add 21,000 square feet of exhibition space to a previously approved indoor arena. The additional money for the arena, for which ground is yet to be broken, also would improve indoor sound.
Those stadium and arena improvements would be paid for through bonding, Fletcher spokeswoman Jodi Whitaker said.
Fletcher also is seeking $10.3 million in state road funds for widening and other road improvements in the park.
The games will take place between Sept. 25 and Oct. 10, 2010, and total attendance is expected to reach 500,000. More than 800 people and more than 900 horses -- representing more than 60 countries -- will compete in the world championships for eight equestrian sports.
State Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said he sees the need for the projects but did not commit to supporting them during the current legislative session, when a three-fifths majority would be required in both houses to approve an appropriation.
"The governor makes an excellent case on the need for these improvements," Thayer said, because they are time sensitive. But he said Fletcher "has a challenging sales job ahead of him on this."
One question is whether the projects could wait to be approved in next year's 60-day General Assembly session -- when budget issues are scheduled to be addressed -- in time for the games, Thayer said.
"The dilemma we face is that we are expected to run test events in 2009, and the test events are generally to be conducted in conditions replicating the 2010 games," Nicholson said. "So, it is desirable to have the funding for these projects secured as soon as possible so that we can get the facilities constructed in time."
Last night, Fletcher said the projects are of the magnitude that a governor would call a special session of the legislature, and addressing the projects during this session would be cheaper.
Another complicating factor could be the timing of the request during a gubernatorial campaign. Fletcher, pursuing re-election, is one of three Republicans seeking his party's nomination, while seven Democrats are vying for the job.
One of the Democrats is House Speaker Jody Richards of Bowling Green. Richards could not be reached for comment last night through a spokeswoman.
Fletcher said he hopes that all gubernatorial candidates support the improvements, and that they could share in the credit.
Some of the requests are the result of people planning the Kentucky games -- including Fletcher -- having attended last year's quadrennial event in Aachen, Germany.
Organizers of the Lexington games previously had planned for a temporary, outdoor stadium seating about 20,000 people, Nicholson said.
But from Aachen, Nicholson said it became clear that Kentucky needed to do more than what it had originally promised while bidding for the games in 2005.
"It really pointed out that the bar had been raised and that a proper outdoor stadium is now somewhat of an essential requirement" for venues that stage the World Equestrian Games, Nicholson said.
Fletcher previously said he thought new appropriations beyond what the legislature already approved wouldn't be needed and that any additional improvements could be paid for with the existing budget.
Last night, Fletcher said that a subsequent analysis of the Aachen games by event planners changed that view.
"This was something above what we imagined," he said.
Fletcher said he didn't want to invite a half million people to the Horse Park and not make a positive impression.
The legislature approved $36.5 million in bonds last year for a new indoor arena at the park. Fletcher is seeking $4 million to add 21,000 square feet of exhibition space.
Most equestrian events have trade shows associated with them, Nicholson said, and building the space when the arena is constructed would be cheaper than adding it.
The governor also is seeking $10.3 million for improvements to roads that were part of the Walnut Hall standardbred farm that preceded the park almost 30 years ago.

Pieraz clone to stand at stud in France

February 3, 2007

Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion The colt cloned from Valerie Kanavy's two-time World Champion endurance horse Pieraz will stand at stud in France for the first time this season.

Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion, who was born in Italy in February 2005, was bred specifically to become a breeding horse. He will stand at Domaine de Castelcerf, near Lyon, from April to September this year for fresh semen, and with chilled and frozen semen at other centres. His service fee is €1500.

Valerie Kanavy's Pieraz was twice world champion with two different riders. In 1994, he won at The Hague with Valerie riding, and again in 1996 at Fort Riley with Danielle Kanavy. He won 12 160km races during his career.

Friday, February 02, 2007

USEF selects Chefs d'Equipe for 2007 International Rides

February 2, 2007

The United States Equestrian Federation has appointed the following individuals as Chef d'Equipe for 2007 International Events:

February 10: Presidents Cup for Young Riders, United Arab Emirates, Bou Thib Endurance Village - Chef d'Equipe is Mark Dial
USA Young Riders:
Heather Stevens
Jennifer Stevens
Ashlee Van Raalte
Britany Dial

February 17: Presidents Cup, United Arab Emirates, Emirates International Endurance Village, Al Wathba - Chef d'Equipe is Grace Ramsey
Meg Sleeper and Susan Summers will be competing for the USA at the 2007 Presidents Cup.

July 20: Pan American Championship, Brazil - Vonita Bowers (USEF Director of Endurance)

September 9: European Championship, Portugal - Vonita Bowers