Friday, October 29, 2010

MILITARY: Horses help heal war's trauma - Full Article

By Tom Pfingsten - For the North County Times North County Times - Californian | Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010

RANCHO SANTA FE ---- Behind the gates of an exclusive neighborhood a few miles from the Del Mar racetrack, a group of volunteers who call themselves "Pegasus Rising" is taking a novel approach to post-traumatic stress disorder: Pairing sufferers with horses for an hour a week.

President and CEO Gary Adler said this week that because horses are deeply sensitive to human emotion, they make perfect partners for combat veterans, whose psychological wounds run deep.

"For post-traumatic stress disorder, horses are uniquely situated because they're prey animals ---- their very survival depends on being sensitive to smell, sound and movement," Adler said. "Those are all triggers for people with PTSD. They don't want to deal with human interaction because they've lost trust, constantly dealing with people who want to kill them."

Vietnam veteran Willie Baumann said his post-traumatic stress disorder surfaced in the mid-1970s after two tours with the Navy but was not diagnosed until 2008. Shortly thereafter, he was one of the first veterans to receive help from Pegasus Rising.

"The animals ... gave me an inner peace, and I'm hardly even able to find the words to tell you how relaxing and calming it was," he said...

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New AERC Members Eligible for Heart Rate Monitor Drawing

October 27 2010

For trail riders who wish their rides didn’t end at five or 10 miles, endurance riding is the perfect next endeavor. “Our rides range from 25 to 100 miles, and our motto is ‘to finish is to win’,” said American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) Executive Director Kathleen Henkel. “Many fit trail horses are certainly capable of finishing one of the shorter distance rides, and the satisfaction that riders get from completing an AERC ride is incomparable.”

To welcome riders new to the sport, AERC is offering a drawing for a new Polar® Inzone Equine Heart Rate Monitor, sponsored by, for brand-new members who join by January 1, 2011. Using a heart rate monitor is popular with distance riders as it allows them to exercise their horses within a specific target heart rate zone.

Membership in AERC includes a subscription to the monthly Endurance News magazine, plus rider and equine mileage tracking in the organization’s mileage award program. Each new member also receives an endurance handbook, which introduces riders to the sport, plus a packet of education information, a rule book and eligibility in annual regional and national awards programs.

“Endurance riders take their sport seriously, because care for the horse is vital,” said Henkel. “But our members also enjoy being out with their horses and their fellow riders in beautiful locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

AERC’s ride season opens December 1, and prospective members can visit to check out the endurance ride calendar and explore the website’s extensive educational information and back issues of Endurance News, or phone AERC at 866-271-2372. The organization’s national office is in Auburn, California, home of the first modern endurance ride, the Western States Trail Ride, more often known as the Tevis Cup.

“The Tevis Cup is still the one ride that many new members aspire to ride. It’s a tough 100-mile ride and a true test of horsemanship and stamina,” said Henkel. “But once members try their first 25-mile ride, they know that even a 100-mile ride is not out of their reach, with proper knowledge and many miles on the trail together with their horse. Those miles together really bond the horse and rider into a true team, and that’s what endurance riding celebrates.”

To join AERC, or for more information about endurance riding, please contact the AERC office, located in Auburn, California, at 866-271-2372, email, or visit

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Girl And Her Horse Take A Cross-Country Trip

WBNG News: Link to full article and video
By WBNG News
October 23, 2010

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) - A girl and her horse showed up in Binghamton today after a long journey that began nearly eight months ago.

Most people don't usually think about riding a horse all the way across the country but one girl has done just that and is encouraging others to follow their dreams.

On March 1st, 29-year-old Linny Kenney and her horse Sojourner began a coast to coast journey.

They took off from Los Angeles and Binghamton marks the near finale of their 3,400-mile trek.

Kenney says this has been a dream of her's since she was a little girl, getting her first horse at the age of 10.

5 years ago, her parents got a divorce, and that's why she rides.

"It's really just about endurance and getting through hard times and I try to focus on the good things that can come out of difficult times," said Kenney.

She rides in celebration of strong families and those dealing with divorce-related depression.

Kenney invited long time friend Walter Rowland along for the ride, and her four-legged friend has brought strangers together during their trip.

"You know he's an incredible wall breaker with people I mean just today we were riding through town and two neighbors met each other for the first time because a horse was in front of the house and it's been that way you know examples of that across the whole country," said Kenney.

Just a girl, a boy, and a horse. On the ride of a lifetime.

In Binghamton, Lindsay Nielsen, WBNG-TV Action News.

To keep track of where Kenney and Rowland are on their cross-country trip, go to

Sunday, they begin a 375 mile ride to their last stop in New Hampshire.

WBNG News: Link to full article and video

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Australia: New venue for Wagin Endurance Ride - Full Article

14 Oct, 2010 05:11 PM
FOR the past nine years the Wedgecarrup Hall has been the venue for the Wagin Endurance Ride which is organised by David and Anita Lunt in conjunction with the WA Endurance Riders Association.

The Wedgecarrup Hall has been an ideal venue in the past however with the event set to be promoted as an FEI international ride next year, a new venue has had to be sourced in order to comply with international standards.

With this in mind the organisers approached the Wagin shire, the Wagin Pony Club and Wagin Trotting Club resulting in the ride now being hosted at the Wagin Pony Club and adjacent trot training oval.

Organiser Anita Lunt said moving the ride to town this year will allow them to run their normal annual ride as a 'dummy' event in a lead up to the FEI ride giving them a chance to see how the course will run and what improvements and changes will need to be made for next year.

With the change of venue a new course covering two legs of 40 kilometres starting and finishing at the pony club has had to be sourced.

“We have been privileged in past years to have been granted access to a variety of properties west of Wagin,” Mrs Lunt said.

“This year new landholders have been approached in order to accommodate the new course and once again the support shown has been fantastic...

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Family has ‘enduring’ love for horses - Full Article

Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010 6:00 am | Updated: 11:38 pm, Wed Oct 13, 2010.

BY RANDY BURNS Special to The Item

BISHOPVILLE - A Lee County woman will spend time behind-the scenes at this week's national championship for endurance (horse) riders, but her impact and influence will be felt all the same.

Luciee Hancock, 64, the 2002 National Champion in the middleweight division, will have to sit out the 2010 American Endurance Ride Conference National Championship at Sand Hills State Forest in Chesterfield County. Hancock was forced to the sidelines when her mare Prissy was injured after they qualified for the national title.

A Spring Hill resident and wife of Harold Hancock, Luciee will instead serve as a volunteer on Wednesday through Friday, and then will become a fan on Saturday during the 55-mile championship ride. Luciee will then devote full attention to the rides of two granddaughters, a daughter-in-law and a close friend.

"I will be doing what I can on the ground to help and encourage them," Luciee said...

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Australia: Endurance riders winning top awards

13 Oct, 2010 09:36 AM

Kylie Jonkers who lives at Broula just out of Cowra took part in her first 160km ride at the NSW State Championships held at Woodstock recently.

Her mother Linda rode the same stallion at the Shahzada memorial 400kms in August successfully.

Sarah Lymbery from Wagga Wagga was the second junior in the 160kms State Champions, her first attempt at a longer ride.

Lymbery won the rug donated by Cowra Machinery Centre and her horse Garonne Park Tiara also won the Junior Best Conditioned rug donated which was

donated by Jon-de-le Arabians.

The third placed Middleweight rug was donated by Helen and Alan Lindsay of Kintamani Arabians at Cowra and this was won by Kristie Tapprell of Castlebar Endruance Arabians riding Castlebar Dolittle.

During the weekend Kristie won the South Australian Championships 160kms and also recently won the FEI Australian Championships 160 in Queensland at Kenilworth.

The fourth Middleweight rug donated by Beechers Wool Services of Cowra was won by Jennifer Gilbertson of Webbs Creek.

The first Lightweight rug donated by Cowra Tyrepower was won by Carol Layton riding Omani Mr Sqiggle.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

U.S. disappointed in showing at World Equestrian Games - full article

October 10 2010
Nancy Jaffer/For The Star-Ledger

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- As the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games ends Sunday at the Kentucky Horse Park, the U.S. has a few more chances for glory, but there will be a lot of self-examination to analyze what happened with missed medals.

"We need to evaluate what went wrong and what went right; what we could have done differently. While we can't disregard the bad performances here, we don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water,'' said Jim Wolf, the U.S. Equestrian Federation's director of sport programs.

A question that needs to be answered, he explained, is, "Are we spending money the right way? We invest a lot of money to prepare teams..."

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Endurance in France - Full Article

Endurance Competitions are very well supported in France. It is a highly respected and growing sport with promotion and marketing of competitions on large billboards before events. Those competing for France at International level are (as in most equestrian disciplines in France) held in high esteem and complete respect as athletes, both to horse and rider is afforded. The demands and scientific/technical knowledge required plus the complete rapport between rider and horse and crew are not understated as they may be in other countries from time to time...

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Woman Keeps her Distance - Full Article

Friday October 8 2010

Scales Mound woman, 70, competes in endurance equestrian events around the nation and world.

SCALES MOUND, Ill. — Jan Worthington recently rode 100 miles in one day, on a horse.

That is not uncommon for an endurance rider, except Worthington is 70.

The mother of three and grandmother of four competed last week on the five-woman team representing the United States at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky. Her event required a one-day ride of 100 miles at roughly 13 mph.

Worthington said competitive endurance riding is a race with mandatory stops for veterinarian checks.

"They check the horses for lameness and metabolics," she said. "They don't check the riders. We are human and can talk."

She said veterinarians pulled her from competition last week in Lexington at the third check, or about the 60-mile mark.

"I have a really good horse and he had never been lame, but he went lame at the big deal," Worthington said.

Worthington said a veterinarian checked her horse, named Golden Lightning, by using ultrasound and found no major muscle tears...

Read more here:

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Trade-off brings first Arabian race to Keeneland - Full Article

By Marty McGee

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The genesis of the first Arabian race in Keeneland history stems from conversations that track officials had last winter in Abu Dhabi, the capital and government seat of the United Arab Emirates.

“We’re always looking to extend our sales reach, and there has been increasing interest in Thoroughbreds in that part of the world,” said Rogers Beasley, director of racing at Keeneland. “Basically in exchange for their sponsorship of one of our Grade 1 races,” referring to the $400,000 First Lady, “we agreed to stage an Arabian race, with them putting up all the purse money. We believe it’s a worthwhile thing to do.”

The result is the $50,000 President of the UAE Cup, part of a worldwide series of Abu Dhabi-sponsored races for Arabians, a breed far better known for endurance than speed. The 1 1/4-mile Polytrack event is carded as the third race Saturday, with the 4-year-old filly Sand Witchh, unbeaten in nine career starts, likely to be the heavy favorite in a field of 10...

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Horses must endure at the FEI World Games. - Full Article

Tuesday, October 05, 2010 By Mary Chesnut

When Kentuckians think of horse racing, they think of the most famous two minutes in sports, the Derby. The horses fly past with impossible speed. But there is a new kind of race in Lexington that is much more extreme.

The World Equestrian Games have arrived, including the Endurance Competition, which sends horses racing along a 100 mile long course. The endurance competitors start at seven in the morning, riding all day long and into the night. Three hundred glow sticks were used to light the path after sunset. The race involves four types of terrain, mostly grass trails and pastures with three miles of paved road, two miles of gravel, and some dirt trails. Due to the extreme conditions of the competition, horses have to be checked by a team of equine vets six times during the race, each round leading to several disqualifications.

“They check for almost everything: capillary refill, jugular refill, skin tinting for dehydration, gut sounds in all quadrants, muscle tone, tack and leg area for injuries, and heart rate for regularity,” Jack Weber, one of the vets working in the competition, said.

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World of endurance sport mourns loss of Moorthy
By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: 00:00 October 6, 2010

Abu Dhabi: Endurance sport suffered a major loss when Vijay Moorthy, the former Head of Endurance and currently the Technical Advisor at the Emirates Equestrian Federation, passed away in Pune, India on Tuesday morning.

The 61-year-old Moorthy, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about a year ago, breathed his last at a Pune hospital after a multiple-organ failure, according to his daughter Vijaya Moorthy.

He was buried on Tuesday afternoon, leaving behind his wife Phalguni, son Raja Moorthy and daughter Vijaya.

Moorthy, who first joined the then UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation as a Handicapper for thoroughbred horses, later became the head of Racing Department before he took a keen interest in endurance and went on to head the Endurance Department at the UAE Federation.

He was one of the pillars of endurance sport both in the UAE and in the world and officiated at major international endurance rides. Vijay was one of the members of the FEI (World Equestrian Federation) Task Force set up in January 2009 to formulate endurance rules and regulations.

Aziz Sheikh, Endurance Chief at the Federation, who has been working with Moorthy since 1986, said, "We were together in Bombay/Pune until 1992 and he came first here in November 92 and brought me here in April 93. Ever since we have worked together and he was the first Handicapper here before the ERA was formed."

"Very straightforward in his approach, Moorthy maintained a high standard and applied the rules uniformly. He always used to tell me 'Rules are like a bible for us'. We will miss him and his helpful nature," Aziz said.

Esmaeel Mohammad, who trained the UAE endurance horses when they won the first European Open team gold in 1999 and has chalked out many medal-winning horses for the UAE riders said, "Vijay has done a lot for endurance in the UAE and most UAE riders and trainers will miss him. He laid great emphasis in regulating the sport."

Former FEI Endurance Chief Dr Hallvard Sommerseth, who is now Head of Veterinary dept at the EEF, said, "I dad the privilege of traveling to many countries with Vijay, apart from officiating in the local endurance championships. An endurance expert of international repute, Vijay Moorthy was very fair, gracious, polite and friendly in his judgments and he never worked as a 'policeman.'"

"The Emirates Equestrian Federation he called his home. He will be dearly missed," the Norwegian said.

Dr. Surendra Babu Bobby, Veterinarian doctor at the Dubai Equine Hospital said, "I know Vijay as a little humble man who joined the Bangalore Turf Club in 1984. We came closer after we started working together in the UAE. His acumen, dedication and sacrifice for the development of endurance sport have no parallels and I salute him for that. A man of great principles, he practiced what he preached."

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Horsewoman rides 600 miles in Mongolia

Orange County Register

photo: Kathy Swigart of Orange Park Acres gets ready to take her horse Windy for a ride. Swigert was chosen to compete in the 2010 Mongol Derby last August. PAUL RODRIGUEZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

There are times when we take a deep breath, leap over the precipice that marks the end of our comfort zone and discover we can fly.

In many respects, Kat Swigart embodies the bold men and women who built Orange County astride thousand-pound animals that could carry them from San Clemente to La Habra in a single day.

In short, Swigart is a self-described horse person.

But you might call her a horse whisperer. She doesn't just ride, teach riding and care for horses. This woman who chucked her MBA and a Wall Street career tackles the tough horse stuff too.

She transforms untamed beasts into animals that stand stock still when you tighten a saddle beneath their belly and climb aboard.

But as talented a horse whisperer as Swigart is, nothing prepared her for looking out the plane window at the vast steppe below and seeing for the first time the quest on which she was about to embark.

Riding 600 miles, on horse, across Mongolia.


Swigart and I ride through Santiago Oaks Regional Park. I'm on a big boy named Jackson, a powerful animal with the loyal disposition of the Lone Ranger's horse, Silver.

Swigart is working. She rides one of her four horses, a frisky pony named Windy. As she rides, she clutches a short green rope tethered to a larger horse that she is exercising for its busy owner.

This means Swigart is riding with one hand – a significant thing considering what happens next.

We break into a trot. Then a canter. Soon, we're going about 15 mph, slow in a car but not so slow when you are seated five feet above the ground bouncing along over hilly terrain.

"You only have as much control as the horse lets you have," Swigart reminds me. "The horse is in control."

Like, I get that.

I resist reaching for a leather strap at the front of the English saddle. But I grab it with my left hand and hold the reins in my right, doing my best to avoid bouncing down on Jackson's up or up on Jackson's down.

Swigart canters with the grace of a dancer. Horse and human move in harmony. It's the kind of moment when someone is so good at what they do, you think, "Hey, that's easy."

And it is – when you've chosen to live your passion.


The connection between horses and Orange County goes back half a millennium, to the Spanish conquistadores. It continued through the rancho and ranch periods when men with names such as Jose Yorba and, later, James Irvine hired cowboys to run huge herds of cattle.

How many horses today in Orange County? Swigart estimates at least 5,000.

For some, horse people are difficult to fathom. But, fortunately, Swigart, of Fullerton, is as adept with analogies as she is with riding.

If you're a dog or cat person, you share a similar gene with horse people. If you're a motorcycle-loving dog person you're even closer to being a horse person.

Part of the appeal for many is the majesty and power of the animal, Swigart explains. Imagine something so strong it can easily carry its 1,000-pound weight – plus a human adult and saddle. Now imagine that something bounding uphill with you on top.

Exciting? You bet.

Jackson waits at the bottom of a steep rocky trail. Swigart and horses move up. With a twitch and a nod, Jackson signals he's ready. With a little more give on the reins, so do I. Jackson surges.

Massive shoulder and haunch muscles click into action. The pure power is something I've not felt since climbing on a Harley. And this is bigger. Much bigger.

But the real magic of riding is the bond with a living, breathing mammal. Riding is a partnership; you may be smarter, but the horse is stronger.

Swigart started riding bareback as a kid on neighbors' horses. She was 25 when she bought her first horse, her current stallion's father. He was untrained, "unbroken" in horse-speak.

Soon, Swigart discovered she had a gift for breaking horses. And it reached deeper into her soul than corporate finance. These days, she cares for up to 10 horses a day and averages 30 hours a week in the saddle.

She's had her nose broken and her feet stomped. She's been pushed against walls; bitten, flipped.

But that's nothing compared to what happened in Mongolia, where riding is more than a livelihood — it's a way of life.


As the plane drops out of the clouds, Swigart sees nothing but grassland and a few dirt roads.

"That's what I'm going to be riding across," she tells herself. "Boy, that is a big empty place."

And she's right. Mongolia, which shares a border with northern China, is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Mongolia has 100,000 fewer people than Orange County, but they are spread out over about 600 times more land.

Swigart has signed up for something called the Mongol Derby. It is an endurance race over nine days that requires riders to navigate their way from yurt to yurt over land they've never seen – with endless plains and few distinct markings.

They will ride a breed of horses that has changed little since the days of Genghis Khan.

And the horse whisperers for such beasts? Mongolian nomads, who are considered some of the finest riders on the planet.

Swigart, however, was a Boy Scouts of America Explorer, (yes, Scouts!), and has ridden 100-mile endurance races that meant 22 hours in the saddle. She knows her way around a GPS unit.

Her stirrup leathers break after a few days. She fixes it. A horse falls, her with it. Her metal water bottle is crushed. But her helmet saves her skull. A fellow rider gets lost overnight. But Swigart stays on course, her spirit in flight.

"There's nothing better than galloping across an open field," she tells me.

She doesn't win, but she doesn't come in last either. When you hurl yourself over the precipice in Mongolia, finish times don't matter.

The only thing that matters is discovering you can fly.

On a horse with wings.

full article at