Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Many Miles Make a Rider

**please make sure you read the last paragraph of this story on the horseandrider link!** - Full Story

Always up for a new adventure and a fresh challenge, a versatile young horsewoman keeps proving she’s got what it takes.

By Mary Homicz

I’ve done a lot of riding in my life. I’ve gone on 30-mile and 50-mile endurance rides, and competed in state horsemanship contests. I’ve ridden many different horses—a total of 17 so far, which may not seem like a lot unless you consider that I’m only 12 years old.

I think all the time I’ve spent in the saddle and on different horses and participating in various programs has helped me become a better rider. Plus it’s been great fun—I highly recommend it.

‘Kung Fu Pony’
I began attending American Endurance Ride Conference events at the age of 3. I didn’t ride then, of course. My mom rode and I stayed in camp with my dad.
At 6, I participated in my first AERC 10-mile fun ride. It was in the Redwood National Park near Orick, along California’s far northern coast. I rode Patches, my then 10-year-old Shetland Pony mare. Actually, we called her “Kung Fu Pony” because she’d buck and kick if other horses came too near. Sometimes I’d end up in front of the saddle horn. Then my mom, also on the ride, would trot up, lift me by the back of my shirt, and plunk me back in the seat.

I learned I prefer to ride in saddles without horns!

I did my first AERC 30-mile ride a few weeks later, the Cuneo Creek ride in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. After a couple of years, I moved up to riding my mom’s Morgan/Arabian endurance horse, Chief, then 20. A real “steady-Eddie,” Chief took care of me and was actually easier to ride than Patches.

My first AERC 50-mile ride was the 2014 Chalk Rock at the Chalk Mountain Ranch in Bridgeville. This time I rode Katir, a veteran 14-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Sharon Wimberg...

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