Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ozark Club promotes sport of endurance riding

Ozark Country Endurance Riders sponsor 25-to-30 mile and 50-to-100 mile contests.

by Ann Keyes
For the

Who: Ozark Country Endurance Riders

Mission: Ozark Country Endurance Riders "believes in the integrity of the sport of endurance riding," says a Web link to the equestrian group. OCER strives "to encourage the education of equine enthusiasts, to promote the preservation and use of trails"; the group places the welfare of horses first and foremost.

About: OCER is a regional riding club that covers Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The group sponsors limited distance horse rides from 25 to 30 miles; endurance rides run 50 to 100 miles. All OCER rides are sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference, a group that serves as a national governing body for long distance riding. Rules and guidelines are provided that call for strict veterinary controls, according to American Endurance Ride Conference.

OCER sites the AERC guides as reason for membership: The health and well-being of horses is constantly checked throughout AERC and OCER rides. OCER, with nearly 100 members, also observes trail etiquette and expects members to reflect as much. Thrill of competition, by the adding of points in various areas on rides, is also included in membership with OCER, says group president Kathy Cruthers.

"We don't win a lot of money. No, actually, we don't win any money," says Cruthers with a laugh. "We win some nice awards at the end of the year, and we just enjoy going out and camping with our horses and getting together with friends. We pretty much all know each other and welcome newcomers, too, and before too long they feel like they're one of the family. It's one competition where you may be competing against somebody, but if they need something on a trail, then you're more than happy to help them out."

Cruthers says most horses ridden for endurance are Arabian or part Arabian, but any breed can participate; most members condition their horses by riding several days a week. Membership to OCER is $20 annually for individuals and $25 for families. The group has no formally scheduled meetings; members find out about rides via an occasional newsletter.

Upcoming: Clayton, Okla., is the site for OCER's "Mid-Summer Night's Madness" endurance ride. The nighttime event, scheduled July 28, includes contests for 25- and 50-mile horse rides.

Further ahead: Look for OCER to launch a Web site and increase newsletter mailings, says Cruthers. And OCER has endurance rides scheduled every two weeks from September through December. OCER comes to Missouri in mid-October, Cruthers says; the location is yet to be announced. Thanksgiving weekend OCER rides the Show-Me State in Collins.

Want to join or need to know more? Find a printable membership form at ocermembershipform07.pdf. Send postal membership inquiry to Belinda Skiles, 1914 Quail Creek Road, Marion, Kan., 66861. Call Cruthers in Fayetteville, Ark., at (479) 443-6595.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Japan: First 160KM Endurance Ride in Japan!

Endurance Riders from the USA and Australia share the trail with 15 riders from Japan in this first 160km ride. Said Hal Hall, "We want to express our gratitude for the invitation to attend and compete in Japan's first International FEI 160km CEI*** Shining Moon endurance ride. This is undoubtedly an exciting moment for the founders of the sport in your country as well as to the organizers and those who will be competing. Given our involvement over the years in assisting with Japan's progression in the sport of long distance endurance riding, we share in your excitement."

We wish the best for the future of the sport in this most unique equestrian environment!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

USEF: Open Endurance Clinic

This is a reminder that there will be a Clinic in Gladstone June 22, 23 and 24th at the USEF Headquarters. I have attached information regarding the clinic. Please register by Friday, June 15.

Please note the health requirements for bringing horses to Gladstone.

Rooms are available at $69.00 per night at the Courtyard by Marriot located in Basking Ridge, NJ. if reservations are made 5 days in advance. This is an easy drive to the Headquarters. The # is (908) 542 - 0300

Contact (908) 234-1251 for details

Vonita Bowers
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
USEF Endurance Director
(908) 326-1154 Direct Dial
(908) 234-9417 Fax
(908) 234-0848 Main Number

FEI Endurance Task Force Appointed

The FEI has appointed the members of the Endurance Task Force who have been asked to undertake a full review of the sport ahead of the disciplines major rule review due in January 2009.

Over fifty applications were received from FEI National Federations for persons to fill the twelve places available. In view of the number of applications and the wide range of skills and experience held by those who had applied, the FEI took the decision to increase the number of members to eighteen. However the original number of Divisions within the task force remain the same at six, each with a serving Chairman.

These Chairmen, together with their two co members, will work on the specific areas of review within their division whilst maintaining full communication with the other Divisional Chairman. Many of the areas of review are linked across all six Divisions and so no one part of the Task Force will be independent of another.

The FEI has established a communications portal which will allow the Task Force Members to directly communicate between each other and to receive comment and feedback directly from individuals from within the sport. Full details will be announced shortly.

A progress report will be issued in October with the full recommendations being finalised in early 2008. These recommendations will then be circulated to all National Federations for comment. The FEI Endurance Technical Committee will then fully consider the review proposals (amended as required following NF feed back) ahead of the establishment of the 2009 rule book.

The Task Force will consult widely to ensure input to the process is open to all those involved with the sport. Throughout the process will be open and transparent with regular updates published on the FEI web site.

The cooperative and unified approach to the review of the discipline, as seen at the World Forum in Paris last March, is indicative of the collective wish of FEI Federations to continue to develop and raise the standards of International Endurance sport around the world.

Details of those appointed can be found through the following link:

Link to list of appointments

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

OD Tribute to Maggie Price

I didn't know Maggie well -- she was in her declining years when I met her for the first time -- which was, not surprisingly, at the OD ride. I was new to endurance at that time and didn't know her history other than she was a staunch supporter of the OD, and on that day was doing what would be (I believe) her final endurance ride. Because her condition was such that she could only ride at a walk, not many were sure she would be able to do it. But, with the help of a corp of supporters and friends, and astride a wonderful mare, she rode, at a walk, the whole OD 25, crossing the Shenandoah River and back, and making it to the finish line with just moments to share. I remember the standing ovation she got at the awards ceremony, and her big smile -- all because she'd completed the OD once again.

For those who remembered Maggie Price's final desire for an OD dove release tribute -- a tribute which has now become an OD tradition for those who were instrumental to the OD ride, and the sport of endurance -- you'll be delighted to know she got her wish. And when I tell you that she got *exactly* what she'd wished for, I'm not kidding.

At the start of the Awards Program on Sunday several entertaining and touching stories about Maggie were shared with the crowd by those who knew her best, including an emotionally choked Stagg Newman -- which ensured there was quite a few moist eyes being dabbed at the end. The crowd was then invited to step outside the big tent to encircle a wicker basket containing 13 snow white doves owned by OD members Lisa and Andy Green. Their 9 year old son, Hunter (who had been first to finish the Friday 30 LD), performed the release.

It was a very moving scene as the beautiful creatures burst from the basket in a flurry of sparking white, and flew upwards in a magnificent spiraling group flight. All eyes turned heavenward as the flock circled wider and wider over the valley, turning and winging and glittering in a loose, yet perfect formation, going every higher until their flight turned into a magical sparkle of dotted white against a brilliant blue sky and the deep forest green mountains.

As the doves reached the height of the mountain crest they abruptly, and quite unexpectedly, converged into a tight formation, looking remarkably like a white arrowhead pointing west. It was so unusual that everyone gasped. Someone called out "they must have seen a hawk", but as everyone searched the sky ... lo and behold -- - a buzzard floated into view over the top of the western mountain range, directly above the doves! As everyone stood in complete amazement, an entire flock of buzzards drifted over the mountain to join the first, offering their own gentle, circular aerial tribute as the doves circled in flickering white just below.

Never in my life have I seen anything so incredibly perfect ... or so unreal. I'm sure that the entire delighted crowd felt, as I did, that Maggie had had a hand in this, and was sitting up there in the heavens, watching, just smiling from ear to ear.

She'd gotten her heart's desire. Buzzards for her OD tribute.

It couldn't have been more perfect.

Way to go, Maggie. Way to go.

Flora Hillman
President, OD