A 2010 BLM newsletter, but worth reading again. posted by Steph Teeter, Endurance.Net:
BLM newsletter - full article
America's wild horses have long been praised by their owners for their toughness, intelligence and endurance.
Now, two Northern California wild horses, and their owners and riders, have received national recognition from the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Wild Horse and Burro Foundation for their excellence in endurance competition.
"Sir Kai" and Ray Bailey"BLM 2003 Endurance Wild Horse of the Year" awards were presented to Lincoln resident Ray Bailey and his horse "Sir Kai," and to Santa Cruz resident Dr. Philip Ottinger and his mount, "Robin Hood." Additionally, AERC honored Dr. Ottinger and Robin Hood for finishing first in the organization's West Region Featherweight Division in 2003.
The honors were presented Saturday, Feb. 28, during the American Endurance Ride Conference's annual awards banquet held in Reno.
Dr. Ottinger said time, patience and understanding in training have been the keys to his success in using wild horses in endurance competition.
"Once a wild horse connects with you, there is nothing he won't do for you," Ottinger said. "You have to take the time to understand how he thinks and to understand his physiology. You have to be open and clear about what you want."
Robin Hood, owned by Dr. Ottinger and currently ridden by Lincoln veterinarian Dr. Vicki Giles, was honored in the AERC's featherweight division. Dr. Ottinger adopted Robin Hood from the BLM in 1993, when he was just a yearling. Robin Hood finished 46th in his first endurance race in 1996. The following spring, he placed 10th in the 50-mile "Shine and Shine Only" race, and has continued to excel since then.
"Robin Hood" and Vicki GilesAs of this February, Robin Hood has completed nearly 4,000 miles in endurance ride competition and placed in the top 10 in the majority of 78 endurance rides. He has received 14 "Best Condition" awards. Ridden by Dr. Giles, he ended the 2003 competition season as points champion in the AERC West Region Featherweight Division.
Sir Kai, currently ridden by Lincoln's Ray Bailey, also was originally adopted by Dr. Ottinger. Bailey acquired the titled three-year-old from Dr. Ottinger in 1997. Sir Kai placed ninth in his first limited-distance ride, the "Death Valley 25," in 1999. He followed that performance with a third place and best condition award in the Lake Oroville Vista LD ride. During the 2003 AERC National Championship Ride, Sir Kai and Bailey placed first in the heavyweight division of the 50-mile ride.
They placed eighth in their first 100-mile ride this February. Sir Kai has now completed more than 1,300 miles in endurance competition.
The BLM, AERC and the National Wild Horse Foundation joined as partners this year to sponsor endurance awards for wild horses.
The BLM is the federal agency responsible for managing wild horse and burro herds on public lands. Some wild horses are periodically removed from the range to control wild populations, and are made available for adoption by the public.
Supporting the adoption program is the National Wild Horse and Burro Foundation, a private, non-profit organization. It helps the BLM with promotion of the adoption program, to increase successful placement of wild horses in adoptive homes.
The AERC is the official sanctioning body for horse endurance competition in the United States.