by Susie Vasquez
The freedom of an open trail is the best thing about equestrian endurance competitions for both the rider and in many cases, the horse, said Carson Valley resident Suzanne Ford Huff.
"I grew up in Montana and tried showing, but I didn't like being confined to an arena," Huff said. "It's more natural for a horse to be out in nature than an arena. They're happier - at least an Arabian is."
She has a right to that opinion. She's an avid competitor and this year won first place in the American Endurance Ride Conference 100-mile category for the 2006 season, a national award.
Endurance riding is a controlled long-distance race that can take up to 24 hours, the top-level races 100 miles or longer.
Huff said she is goal-oriented and loves the challenge. Fifty-mile competitions are a little too tame, so right now she is concentrating on the 100-mile.