Monday, September 29, 2008

Man Against Horse turns 25 - Full Article

By Doug Cook, The Daily Courier

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thrilling, yet risky, the uniquely popular Man vs. Horse Race reaches a considerable milestone on Saturday, Oct. 4, with its 25th running at the base of Mingus Mountain.

The event's main 50-mile endurance race goes from 6:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m., with an open-to-the-public awards banquet and barbecue dinner to follow at 5:30.

For race director and longtime Prescott resident Ron Barrett, 57, the competition that typically attracts 300 competitors from around the United States owns an intriguing history.


Patriot's Day Ride: 50-mile equestrian ride has increase in riders - Full Article

Shannon Morrow
Sports Editor

A good number of horse trailers rolled into Indian Valley a couple weeks ago for the Patriots' Day 50-mile, multi-day equestrian ride Sept. 13-14.

Not to be confused with the Patriots' Day 100-mile ride in May, the multi-day ride featured a 50-mile ride on both Saturday and Sunday.

A total of 110 riders took part in Saturday's 50-mile ride, and Sunday's ride had 78 participants. There were also seven junior riders under the age of 16.

Even though last year's event had to be cancelled due to the Moonlight Fire, this year's ride fetched twice as many entries than previous years.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Never too old for a challenge

Original Article

A LEADING businessman came out of sporting retirement at the age of 84 to become the oldest man in the UK to compete in a gruelling endurance horse race.

Derek Francis, who owns the Francis’ chain of furniture shops in Worcester Road, Malvern Link, rode Imperial Prince 40 miles over two days to take home a prestigious grade one rating.

Mr Francis, who was national champion at the sport in his younger days, was swayed by an urge to find out whether he was still up to the considerable task.

He said: “I have been playing with the idea for age because it’s a wrench to give up a major sport. Endurance racing is a hard game. You are pushing yourself and your horse to the parameters of what is possible.”

The venue for Mr Francis’ comeback was the Sherwood Ride in Nottinghamshire, where he found himself pitted against dozens of younger riders at the weekend.

Endurance riding involves maintaining an average speed while ensuring the horse’s heartbeat is kept below 64 beats per minute.

Frankie Turley, Imperial Prince’s trainer and part of Mr Francis’ three-person support crew, said: “Mentally and physically it’s very demanding. Most teenagers wouldn’t be able to walk after getting off their horses.”

The list of injuries suffered by Mr Francis over the years is testament to this fact. He has had concussion 12 to 15 times but said he was lucky not to have broken any bones.

Being back in the saddle, however, has not managed to quell Mr Francis’ thirst for adventure.

He now intends to enter the lowest level of major competition in March, consisting of 10 rides of 25 miles each.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WEG 2010: Organizers release competition schedule - Full Article


Herald-Leader Staff Report

The competition schedule for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games was released Monday by the World Games 2010 Foundation.

Competition director Kate Jackson said the schedule would provide "an exciting variety of top sport on each of the 16 days of the Games.

"I am particularly happy that we are able, for the first time, to include para-equestrian as an integral part of the World Equestrian Games," Jackson said.

The Games will begin with opening ceremonies on Sept. 25, 2010. Competition will take place in eight equestrian disciplines, and a world champion will be selected in each. Organizers say the Games will attract more than 800 athletes who will have at least 900 horses

The first weekend will include vaulting and endurance. Vaulting will continue into week one, along with dressage and eventing.

In week two, competition will take place in jumping, para-dressage, driving and reining.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Australia: Horse council argues against EI vaccination - Full Article

September 20, 2008

The Australia Horse Industry Council (AHIC) says it does not support ongoing vaccination against equine flu - a position it will take into next week's summit to discuss strategies to manage the risk of future outbreaks.

Its position will pit it against racing interests which have expressed a desire for an ongoing vaccination programme.

"To continue to vaccinate against EI, when it currently does not exist in Australia, can compromise future efforts to eradicate the disease, should it enter Australia," said AHIC president Dr Barry Smyth.

He said the AHIC did not support ongoing vaccination against EI for "certain sectors of the horse industry".


WEG 2010: The Hand on the Reins - Full Article

WEG 2010 Foundation's chair John Long discusses preparations

September 19, 2008

by Tom Martin

Since former World Games 2010 Foundation CEO Jack Kelly resigned for personal reasons in July, John Long, chair of the Foundation's Board of Directors, has become both a public face and guiding force behind the planning efforts for the 16-day event that is now two years away. Long, who serves as CEO for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), recently returned from the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, where he participated in leading the U.S. Equestrian Team. Back in Kentucky, the Shelbyville resident and former chief operating officer of Churchill Downs is setting his sights on preparing Lexington to welcome its global equestrian audience in 2010.

He recently discussed those preparations with Business Lexington editor-in-chief Tom Martin. The complete interview is available by clicking on the podcast below.

TM: With Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games now just two years away, what's been accomplished since it was announced that the event was coming to Lexington and what challenges remain ahead?

JL: A lot has been accomplished. I think if you look at the Horse Park and if you've driven out there recently, you can see that it is a giant construction zone — with the new indoor arena and the outdoor stadium literally gone, and driving on dirt roads and cones everywhere to make sure that you don't go off the road. So you can see, one of the big changes over the last years has happened at the Horse Park. Now many of those changes would have happened anyway. But they've been accelerated and made even more important as a result of the Games coming in 2010.

I think organizationally much has been accomplished. We've got a first-class management team. We've got some of the best consultants in the world that are used to working in big game environments: everything from security, traffic, parking to planning. We have a hospitality consultant that we brought onboard a couple of months ago who is just finishing up work in Beijing. We've identified the consultant that will be working with us on the opening and closing ceremonies. He did the Pan Am Games in Rio this past year, and he's also just coming back from Beijing, will be doing the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010. So we've really, I think, been able to round out the organization with a very sophisticated and experienced batch of consultants, and then our cracker-jack management team within. I think we're really, really well prepared to enter into this last two years.

TM: How do the improvements of the Horse Park inform the future and what might be happening there?

JL: The United States Equestrian Federation itself does not host or operate any kind of competitions. Rather it is the national governing body of the sport which licenses many of the competitions which occur in the country. So when we look at the Horse Park, we see all kinds of opportunities which did not exist before, as a result of the construction of this new indoor stadium, predominantly. The Horse Park has not been able to be competitive with places like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Albuquerque for many of the breed and Western shows that occur over the winter months, simply because the Horse Park hasn't had a temperature-controlled facility to host them. So with this new arena ... it will be able to bid and compete for those competitions that they have not been able to chase before. The outdoor arena to have 6,500 or so permanent seats — expandable, which we will be doing for the Games, to in excess of 30,000 — will be another great opportunity to bring events that either were too small or too large to the Horse Park during the summer months.

And maybe the biggest thing of all to the horse lover and to the competitor is the quality of the footing that has been put into both the Walnut Arena, one of the current training arenas where there are competitions that are held, and that will be going into the new outdoor. It is state of the art. It's as good as anything that the Olympics have seen, and that kind of footing will be here at the Horse Park as well. So all of those things, with the possibility of new restaurants and new hospitality, new entry, new signage, it's going to look like a brand-new Horse Park ... at this time a year from now.

TM: Another big element that will have to be constructed during this time is the endurance course. Tell us about that.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Topekan learns about history, hardships on 15-day trek along Santa Fe Trail - Full Story

Published Monday, September 15, 2008

Topekan Becky McDowell recently participated in the Great Santa Fe Trail Endurance Ride, a 515-mile, 15-day horse race along a portion of the Santa Fe Trail stretching from New Mexico to Kansas. The race finished Saturday. The following are excerpts from McDowell's daily journal entries.

Day 1

The first night at Wagon Mound, N.M., there was the biggest lightning storm. My tent flooded, and when I was running to my truck, I dropped my cell phone. So much for an AT&T phone.

Our first day was riding through some ranches from Wagon Mound to Roy. Several ranches had different wildlife ranging from Przwalski wild horses and to Zebras.

The next section of the ride was through some canyons, then we crossed the Canadian River, which was up to my horse's belly because of the rain.

I ended up third and lost by five minutes due to my errors, not my horse's, One Eye.

Day 2

The second day I rode Prizzy...


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hot for trotting - Video and Full Article

Teams of three - two runners, one horse - compete for glory in the endurance sport called ride and tie
By Sam McManis -

Published 12:00 am PDT Thursday, September 11, 2008

COOL – Lore has it that ride and tie, an obscure three-way equine-human endurance sport, has a lawless, unpredictable, Wild West ethos. Anything can happen, they tell us city slickers, when two runners and a horse traverse rough terrain for a near-marathon distance.

But, heck, last Saturday's The Coolest Run and Ride and Tie at Olmstead Trail in this baja-Auburn burg seems downright tame and civilized.

Until the start, that is.

Off the teams – one runner on foot, the other on horseback – go in a cloud of dust. The rules and objectives are simple. Two humans trade off running and riding, tying the horse to trees, fences, bushes, anything handy, so the partner can untie, mount and take off. First team to cross together wins.

But when that initial dust cloud clears, not even a half-mile down the path, the first incident in this wild and woolly, not to mention wildly entertaining, event comes to pass.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Riding the Santa Fe Trail - Full Article

Daily Globe
Posted Sep 08, 2008 @ 11:40 AM

DODGE CITY — Riders traveled from as far as Australia to participate in this year's Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride, which covers 515 miles of the historic trail.

"It's a really nice thing, and it's interesting to watch them," said Jan Stevens, director of the Dodge City Center and Visitors Bureau.

The endurance ride is completed over a 14-day period, 10 of which are riding days. This year's ride began Aug. 31 in Wagon Mound, N.M. In order to complete the race in 10 days, participants ride approximately 50 miles a day.

The participants raced down the Arkansas River bed into Dodge City Roundup Arena Saturday afternoon and spent the night at the fairgrounds. Sunday, they spent the day resting and preparing for their next ride.

Nineteen riders began the ride, but not all of them signed up for the full race. Approximately 10 riders remain to complete the final few days of the course.

Charlie Gauci came from Sydney, Australia, to ride in the race this year. He found out about the race from other endurance riders online and spent a year planning for the trip.


Monday, September 08, 2008

ThinLine and Back On Track Join Forces to Develop the Contender II Saddle Pad

ThinLine and Back On Track Join Forces to 
Develop the Contender II Saddle Pad

Wellington, FL-Two of the leading manufacturers of equine back care products joined forces to develop what is now being touted as the "ultimate saddle pad." A joint effort of ThinLine® and Back on Track® has resulted in the Contender II Saddle Pad which is undeniably the most technically advanced saddle pad available in the world. The new saddle pad delivers therapeutic thermal heat from the Back on Track fabric combined with the renowned shock absorbing properties made famous by ThinLine. The technologically advanced Contender II Saddle Pad from ThinLine and Back On Track is available for Dressage and Jumping.

Top jumper and dressage riders who tested the Contender II Saddle Pad were overwhelmed by the pad’s performance. "I love the fit and stability that ThinLine brings to this pad," said former US Team rider, Betsy Steiner. "The rider’s impact is diffused across the horse’s back while the Back on Track fabric increases the blood flow and reduces inflammation during the ride. It is a powerful combination. I also notice that my horses supple more quickly and they show improved freedom of movement in the back and shoulder s with this perfect marriage of technology," she added.

Four-time Olympic jumper rider, Ann Kursinski also gave the saddle pad high praise. "The combination is simple and eliminates fitting challenges," said Kursinski, "Incorporating the Back on Track fabric with the ThinLine shock absorber in a single pad is better for horse and rider. The Back on Track fabric keeps my horses back soft and relaxed and the ThinLine pad is great for concussion," Kursinski added. She went on to praise the pad’s fit and stability on the horse and summed up it saying, "This pad allows my horses to use their backs properly and be more elastic because it makes the horses more comfortable."

Olympic medalist Michelle Gibson agrees, "I've started using this saddle pad on 95% of my horses. I like it because the ThinLine pad is thinner than a fleece pad, allowing you to be closer to the horse. Combined with the benefits of Back on Track, this saddle pad is excellent."

ThinLine is very well known for their lightweight shock absorbing saddle pads. The Ultra ThinLine is a popular item and the same technology is utilized in the Contender II saddle pad. Many top riders have ridden in the traditional Ultra ThinLine for years to absorb shock, distribute weight and stabilize the saddle by using a wonderful no-slip impact technology. The shock absorption is designed to help horses and riders reduce back pain.

In addition top riders in a number of disciplines depend on Back on Track products to maintain their horses in the best condition possible. Back on Track products are made from a one-of-a-kind fabric that blends ceramic powder into polyester threads. The result is the horse's body heat is reflected back in the form of a soothing thermal infrared ray that increases circulation. For horses, Back on Track manufactures a number of products including stable blankets, hock boots, saddle pads, and leg wraps. Each product has the ability to help reduce muscle soreness, inflammation, and stiffness. Back on Track products are recommended for both the treatment and prevention of stress related injuries.

Elaine Lockhead, President of ThinLine, has been using a ThinLine pad over her Back on Track saddle pad for sometime with her own horses. That’s what inspired her to develop the Contender II , which combines these two products in one pad. Lockhead commented, "With both products in place, my horses have the best of everything I can provide them with. Now, I can have a single pad where my ThinLine is always in the right place on my favorite Back on Track pad. In conjunction, the two products provide the perfect amount of heat, stability and shock absorbsion under the saddle. The ThinLine will ventilate the excess heat trapped by the saddle and leave only the best therapeutic warming."

"Word has spread quickly and the demand for the Contender II pad in Europe has been exciting," says Lockhead." We are even offering a reduced international shipping fee on this pad, so more horses and riders can take advantage of all this pad has to offer," she added.
For riders who want to put this technologically advanced pad to the test for both themselves and their horses, the Contender II pad can be found in stores or online at or

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Elmer Bandit, 37, Completes Another Ride, On Track for Record - Full Article

by: Marsha Hayes
September 02 2008, Article # 12615

Elmer Bandit, the 37-year-old Half-Arabian gelding nearing a lifetime competitive mileage record, boosted his mileage to 20,480 over Labor Day weekend after completing the Nebraska National Forest event.

"Elmer loved trotting over the rock-free trails," reported his owner and rider, Mary Anna Wood of Independence, Mo. Elmer placed fourth in the open lightweight division and Wood garnered first place horsemanship honors.