Saturday, November 30, 2013

Arabian Nights Announces it Will Close Permanently on January 1

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2013) - After a wonderful 25 year run, Arabian Nights Dinner attraction in Kissimmee has announced it will close permanently on January 1st, 2014.
The dream and vision of owner, Mark Miller became reality on February 29th, 1988.  Since then, it has presented more than 10,000 performances for more than 10 million guests.
Miller says, "It has been an honor sharing my passion for the beauty and magic of horses with people from all walks of life over the last 25 years. Unfortunately, we have reached a point where the marketplace demands a cheaper product than we can provide."
"Arabian Nights, which is the most honored dinner show of all time, was built for the highest excellence, not the lowest price," Miller explained.  "Just this last August, we once again won the 2013 Orlando Sentinel Award as Best Dinner Show, proving that our quality is still unmatched. I always believed there would be a place for a first class secondary attraction in this market.  I was mistaken."
"Our mission now is to present the best possible product for the rest of the year so that the people who have loved us over the years will be able to come back and experience the magic of our show one last time.  Then we will be concentrating on how to assist our incredible staff in handling this transition," Miller added. 
"There is no question that the skill, dedication, work ethic and people skills of our employees have enabled to be the best there is," Miller said.  "Anyone looking for an incredible employee after the first of the year should call our human resource department immediately."
"The Arabian Nights Christmas show runs from December 1 - December 31.  We know a lot of Central Florida Residents will want to see the show before we close, and we are offering them half price admission," Miller said.
Arabian Nights' parent company, Park Equus Inc., will continue operations and has stated that at the time of closing on December 31, Arabian Nights will have no due payables. 
Arabian Nights is located at 3081 Arabian Nights Blvd. in Kissimmee.  
Media Contacts:
Mark Miller
Owner, Al-Marah Arabian Horses and Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction
Frank Wolff
Wellons Communications
407-339-0879 office
407-637-6000 cell

Friday, November 29, 2013

McCamey Kimbler Reserve Winner of 2013 USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award

November 29 2013

The USEF Youth Sportsman's Award is designed to identify potential future leaders in the equine industry and provides an opportunity for the USEF to recognize outstanding youth members for their achievements.

17-year-old vaulter Miranda Prints was the winner of the 2013 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award, while endurance rider McCamey Kimbler of Aberdeen, South Dakota was the reserve overall winner. The American Endurance Ride Conference nominated Kimbler. She will receive a $500 grant.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ozark National Scenic Riverways: Draft plan includes restrictions on motorboats, horses in some areas - Full Article

November 11 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Motorboats, horseback riding and river access would be restricted in some areas of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways under a draft management plan released Friday.

The riverways are under the direction of the National Park Service, which oversees sections of the Jacks Fork and Current rivers, along with stretches of nearby creeks and streams within the park. The public has 60 days to comment on the plan that will direct management of the national park area, the first in the country specifically designated to protect a wild river system, for about the next two decades.

Environmentalists long have sought changes for the riverways, which they say are mismanaged. About 1.3 million visitors come to the park area each year to canoe and kayak, fish and camp, and ride horses and all-terrain vehicles. The spring-fed river system is also home to the Ozark hellbender, a salamander subspecies that exists only in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas...

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning 11/12/13


Episode 786 of Horses in the Morning radio show, Endurance Day hosted by Glenn the Geek and Karen Chaton, featured authors Aarene Storms (author of Endurance 101) and Angie McGhee (author of The Lighter Side of Endurance).

Karen Chaton also presented a Top 10 list to ensure endurance horse durability and reviewed the Da Brim helmet cover.

Every second Tuesday of the month is Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning.

Listen to the 11/12/13 episode here:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Should AERC sever ties to AERC-International?

On October 20, AERC member Ed Hauser wrote the AERC board (and copied to Ridecamp at the following recommendation: “The AERC-I should be spun off as a completely independent entity with absolutely no connection with AERC.” This suggestion literally cracked the flood gates with the volume of AERC members writing directly to the entire Board or Board members they knew personally with comments both pro and con on this recommendation. This was an unprecedented outpouring of thoughtful, well-reasoned, heart-felt comments, eclipsing any other issue previously facing the AERC in our experience as Board members.

Since spring, the Board has been deeply troubled by documented doping and horse welfare abuses in some elite international FEI endurance rides, particularly in FEI Zone VII. On June 15, the AERC released a very specific and powerful letter to USEF (and thus FEI) recognizing the gravity of these issues and encouraging specific and forceful action to address a profoundly unacceptable circumstance; that letter is archived both on the AERC website and Indeed, because of this letter and similar letters from other countries, the Endurance Strategic Planning Group at the FEI Generally Assembly in Montreux last week called for “Immediate and sustainable action to safeguard the welfare of horses and reinforce the FEI’s anti-doping and fair play policies at Endurance events globally.” But words alone are not sufficient.

Given the growing toxic nature of the FEI controversy and the obvious controversy within AERC about the future of AERC-International (AERC-I), the Board has prepared a more detailed, more explicit letter addressing the FEI controversy that will be sent directly to FEI. We are hopeful that this letter will be ratified by the AERC Board of Directors and distributed as soon as possible.

Unlike other previous AERC issues, we are taking unprecedented steps to comment publicly and in detail about an issue that is currently before the board. We are doing this because we are both deeply and profoundly disturbed by the doping and on-going welfare abuses. Also, we are doing this publicly since we are Directors-at-Large. You as our constituents deserve to know our opinions about issues that obviously move a great number of AERC members to express such strong positive and negative feelings.

It is important to realize that this is our personal analysis of the situation and only that. It does NOT necessarily reflect an official AERC Board opinion or the opinion of any other AERC Board members.

Undisputed facts

1) Number of positive medication and doping cases is much higher in FEI endurance than other FEI disciplines (, Tables 1 – 4). Most of the horses suspended originate from FEI Zone VII (specifically United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Jordan), and most of the suspended riders are endurance riders.

2) Orthopedic injuries in FEI horses competing in the 2007-2008 season were similar in nature and frequency to those in flat-track racing horses (Misheff et al, 2010; Nagy et al, 2012, Coombs, 2012). During that season, treating veterinarians recorded one fracture per 236 starts. To provide a perspective on these numbers, consider the following: If a similar frequency of orthopedic injuries occurred in the roughly 140,000 AERC endurance starts (50 miles or greater) from 2002 through 2012, we would see nearly 600 AERC horses with such crippling orthropedic injuries to require either surgical repair or euthanasia.

3) FEI is entirely nontransparent about the number of injuries and deaths occurring in their sport events. The orthopedic injuries in endurance horses were compiled and reported in European scientific papers by treating veterinarians and surgeons. While there are many anecdotal reports of multiple horse fatalities at FEI endurance rides abroad, FEI refuses to release fatality statistics.

4) AERC-I is a relatively small subset of the AERC membership. Its formal membership over the last four years ranged from a high of 352 in 2010 to a low of 328 in 2011 and 2012, representing roughly 6% of AERC members. Not all these AERC members participate in FEI rides that in the United States are, for the most part, dual sanctioned with AERC, but these are AERC members who made a monetary contribution to AERC-I. (Full disclosure: we are not AERC-I members.) Based on the results of last year’s survey, the general AERC membership ranked “International/FEI” as the lowest priority of all activities surveyed, even below Breed awards.

5) Over the past four years, the AERC has dual sanctioned with FEI between 8 -11 rides annually. There is good evidence that the FEI co-sponsored events robustly supports concurrent AERC events and synergistically generates a higher total rider attendance than would be possible without FEI involvement.

6) To the best of our knowledge, the FEI rides dual sanctioned with the AERC over the last ten years have a history of no drug violations. Frequency of fatalities is unknown as FEI is not forthcoming with those statistics describing equine deaths in North American FEI endurance events.

Our interpretation

1) There are profoundly unacceptable doping and welfare issues occurring in elite FEI overseas endurance rides, and these abuses originate largely from FEI Zone VII countries. But these abuses are not occurring in AERC-dual sanctioned rides in the US and Canada (and likely not in various other countries such as Australia and Japan).

2) While we are not FEI veterinarians, we have vetted roughly 20 rides that have had concurrent FEI events. Also while vetting strictly AERC rides, we have directly observed AERC members who on occasion will participate as FEI riders. Whether they are riding FEI or riding AERC, these AERC members, as a group, are as committed to horse welfare and a level-playing field as any other group of AERC members. As one FEI/AERC member wrote colorfully to the board: “There is only one butt in each saddle, and only one person ultimately responsible for the horse. Attached to that butt is a code of ethics, which is completely up to the rider.”

What are our fundamental guidelines that we use to make decisions as AERC board members?

1) The AERC’s first job is to promote diverse, quality endurance riding opportunities in North America and elsewhere for AERC members. These endurance riding opportunities are truly the AERC’s “big tent” ranging from limited distance rides to 100-mile rides to multi-day endurance rides that might be better called endurance expeditions. This “big tent” philosophy also embraces very competitive events where horses are allowed to work at speed on challenging courses but under very strict veterinary control. Whatever level our AERC members aspire to in endurance, we want to personally support them and believe the AERC Board should enthusiastically support them as well.

2) Here’s the only caveat on the above statement: We use the AERC mission statement as our primary guideline to identify which AERC initiatives to support and which other international endurance groups to liaison with. We emphatically believe that “Part of AERC's mission is to attract and reward members who act to insure the highest priority for their horses' immediate and long-term physical and emotional health and well-being.” It is worthwhile for every AERC member to review the four sentences in our mission statement.

So what should the AERC do in view of the current FEI endurance debacle?

1) There are significant rumblings in Europe about the formation of a new international equestrian association to promote endurance riding worldwide that will truly make horse welfare paramount. AERC should monitor and even participate in these discussions. If FEI does not act, then AERC should consider severing current ties and developing new ties with a new international association. We think this course of action is entirely appropriate, unless FEI can demonstrate extraordinary efforts to enforce their rules and show positive results in horse welfare issues. As veterinarians and scientists, this mandates transparency of fatality data, at least at a level that mirrors AERC’s own policies.

2) Rather than cutting the umbilical cord between AERC-I and AERC, we would rather see the AERC-I committee become much less FEI-centric. AERC-I should also promote AERC members riding in overseas events that are not-FEI sanctioned and frequently more in sync with the AERC philosophy “To finish is to win” and celebrating horse longevity (miles and years) in this endurance sport. Exemplifying this positive synergy is the interchange between two of the most premiere 100-mile endurance rides in the world - The Tevis Cup in California and The Tom Quilty Ride in Australia. Organized at the ride level, there is a regular exchange of veterinarians between these two rides to encourage worldwide appreciation of cutting edge veterinary control and treatment. Whether formally organized or not, there is a surprising number of AERC members who have already taken great pride and pleasure in riding the Quilty. We are also pleasantly surprised by the number of Australians that have ridden the Tevis. (Full disclosure: we are riding on the coat tails of another AERC Board member who suggested this idea on the board forum.)

3) In summary, we cannot support severing AERC-I from the AERC as we believe that would reduce riding opportunities for AERC members who respect horse welfare. However, we will advocate that AERC officially sever ties with FEI unless: 1) the FEI can expeditiously and convincingly address the above abuses and, 2) becomes transparent with fatality and injury data to provide independent confirmation of the success of their reforms. Additionally, we advocate that AERC-I be restructured to support non-FEI international riding as well as FEI-riding overseas for AERC members, but predicated on the condition that FEI genuinely and permanently reforms itself. Least we forget, our AERC Vision Statement is “To be the preeminent authority and leader in developing and promoting the sport and pastime of endurance riding in the United States, Canada, and throughout the world.”


Olin Balch, DVM, MS, PhD
AERC, Director-at-Large

Susan Garlinghouse, DVM, MS
AERC, Director-at-Large

Co-signers: Bruce Weary, DC, AERC, Director-at-Large; Maryben Stover, Regional Director - West; Steph Teeter, Regional Director

Monday, November 11, 2013

Minot parade celebrates women's spirit of adventure - Full Article

Lindsay Tice, Staff Writer
Lewiston-Auburn | Saturday, November 9, 2013

MINOT — Fifty-nine years ago, Annie Wilkins left her Minot home to travel to California.

On a horse.

With her dog.

At nearly 63 years old.

A woman who liked to wear pants and speak her mind, she wasn't well-regarded by local folks at the time. Some breathed a sigh of relief when she left.

But Wilkins — also known as Mesannie or Jackass Annie because she rode a donkey to her job at a Lewiston shoe shop — would become famous for the journey. And her odyssey, documented in her book, "Last of the Saddle Tramps," would inspire others to ride across the country.

On Saturday, nearly 59 years to the days since Wilkins left for her trip, Minot welcomed the latest of those riders — and celebrated Wilkins' spirit — with a 100-person parade along Jackass Annie Road.

"Women can do stuff just as good as the guys, maybe different stuff, maybe in a different way," that latest cross-country rider, Sea G Rhydr, told the crowd...

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Friday, November 08, 2013

November 12: New Episode of Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning

Next Tuesday morning, November 12, is Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning. Tune in live from 6 to 7:30 a.m. PST, or listen to the recorded show later in the day. Aarene Storms will be talking about Endurance 101 and Angie McGhee tells us all about The Lighter Side of Endurance. To get the phone app, or listen online: Please share with your riding friends - the endurance show has become their most popular morning show on the Horse Radio Network!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Endurance rider writes about going bitless - Full Article


A FAVORITE TRAIL ride of mine is from Littleton Horse Camp to the Mount Muller summit.

I've ridden it several times, and each time, I find myself awestruck by the majestic views of Sol Duc Valley, Lake Crescent and the Olympic Mountains.

It should be said a horse needs to be in shape to travel the roughly 13-mile loop because it has a fairly steep incline and decline.

And while Lisa claims her Akhal-Teke, a horse bred for speed and endurance, was “not in race shape” for their October trek up the mountain, I happen to know the two, who compete in endurance racing, are always in good condition — even in the winter.

I know because almost daily, I can look out my window — where I sit perched atop my easy chair and sipping tea next to my warm wood stove — and see them journey past to embark on the Cassidy Creek DNR trail system...

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Memorial Donations honoring Jim Larimer

MEMORIAL DONATIONS in honor of longtime endurance rider Jim Larimer, who passed away recently, may be sent to the Wendell and Inez Robie Foundation, P.O. Box 714, Foresthill, CA 95631. Jim had 8 Tevis Cup completions and was instrumental in developing the California Loop section of the Western States Trail.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

AERC Regional Director Ballots

November 2 2013

Regional Director ballots have been mailed to the 3 regions with elections: Northeast (running are Robert Gielen, Skip Kemerer and Nick Kohut, DVM); Northwest (Paul Latiolais, John Parkey and Steph Teeter), and West (Dianna Chapek, Antonio Corbelletta, Andrew Gerhard and Forrest Tancer). Please read over the candidates' statements and contact the candidates if you have any questions. Ballots are due to the independent counting agency by the end of November. Send in your votes in the envelopes provided!

Horse Hit the Trail for 600 Mile California Mission Ride

California’s 21 missions were founded by Franciscan missionaries and built by Indian tribes during the Spanish colonial era. The missions dot the coastline from Sonoma to the Mexican border.  Meet two women who decided to ride and film an educational documentary as they ride horseback from mission to mission.  “If It’s About Horses, We Cover It.” 
Equine VIP can be seen on RFD-TV’s “Rural TV” line up. 
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