Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Breeding Program of Belesemo Arabians

Belesemo Arabians stallions carry on after foundation stallion Belesemo Trad

December 27 2016
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Belesemo Arabian's foundation sire, Belesemo Trad, died in 1997. His sons Belesemo Magic, Belesemo Image, and Belesemo Ibn Trad have carried on their sire's lines during and after Trad's death. They were outlined in this story - Belesemo Arabians: Beautiful and Enduring.

The breeding program of Belesemo Arabians continued through other stallions during and after the time of Belesemo Trad.

Owner Kim Johnson said, “In looking for outcross stallions to use on the Belesemo Trad daughters, we were extremely blessed to be gifted with the stallion RD Arizon, a Crabbet Ferzon/Raffles cross stallion that had a successful show career in many different divisions including Scottsdale.”

RD Arizon (Perlezon X Na Warda, by Comar Garit) is the sire of many successful show and endurance horses for Belesemo Arabians, including Belesemo Sundance, who accumulated nearly 1000 miles, and BA Fantizon, bred by Belesemo Arabians and bought and campaigned by Ralph & JoAnn Kewish, earning 2,640 miles and the AERC National Jim Jones Champion stallion award.

RD Arizon’s offspring, who are still producing the next generation at Belesemo Arabians, include Belesemo Obsidian and Belesema Arizona.

Belesemo Obsidan (RD Arizon X Velvet Dawn, by Misimma Ibn Shiko), an Idaho Futurity Champion Stallion, has produced several more winning grand-get for RD Arizon in the U.S. Reserve National Champion Sport Horse Yearling Colt, and several up-and-coming endurance and sport horses. RD Arizon's great grandson, HHR Jammazon, has over 1400 miles with Tamara Baysinger.

“RD Arizon’s most famous offspring, BA Fantizon (RD Arizon X ASA Miss Fantasia, by Barich de Washoe), came back to stand here at the farm in 2000 and 2004,” Kim said. “To date, Fantizon has produced 12 winning offspring that have over 1,000 AERC miles, and they will still be racking up the miles and titles for years to come.”

Four of BA Fantizon's best offspring sired on his return to Belesemo Arabians include Belesemo Impresario (over 3,800 miles, National Pioneer Heavyweight and Lightweight Champion, and 2016 100-mile AERC National Championship 1st place Heavyweight), Kismet Fandansk, (5,400 miles and 3rd National Champion Pioneer Award), Belesemo Emperor (over 1,100 miles), Belesemo Odyssey (over 1,000 miles), and Performizon (over 1,300 miles).

BA Fantizon continued prior to his death in 2014 to produce 1000+ mile offspring for his owners, the Kewish's Kismet Arabians, including Kismet Janina, WF Fantazee, Kismet Bolero, and Beauty’s Fantasy.

“The next stallion to become a part of the Belesemo program with RD Arizon was Overlook Farwa (Abu Farwa X Al-Marah Zaibaq, by Indraff), acquired in 1994,” Kim said. “Overlook Farwa had been a National Champion cutting horse owned by the Guytons from Nevada. Due to his advanced age, we were able to get 9 of 21 foals he produced during his time with us.”

Of those 9 foals for Belesemo Arabians, his most noted offspring were Belesema Keepsake (1,120 miles; 23 completions in 24 starts), Belesema Charrika (over 1,400 miles; holder of multiple AERC regional mileage awards), Belesemo Legend (3,200 miles; AERC title holder), and Belesema Silvress (805 miles). “Overlook Farwa was indeed a piece of history we were blessed to have for a short time.”

“We were also blessed to have Belesemo Epic+++/ , a multiple sport horse/dressage stallion purchased from Belesemo Arabians by Mona Tobias, return to stand at Belesemo Arabians for two seasons,” Kim added. This Belesemo Trad son has produced several National Sport Horse offspring which include National Champion Half-Arabian In Hand mare, four National Top Ten Jackpot 2-year-old colts, and multiple others. “He has been a phenomenal sire with limited offspring being shown.”

A third stallion to join the Belesemo roster late in life was Sanskrit (*El Shaklan X KA Samantha, by Boreau), at age 26, owned by Dee and Victor Matlock of Singing Springs Ranch. “Sanskrit was a true gift from his owners, as he came to us as an already well established sire of endurance and sport horses,” Kim said.

“He brought in different bloodlines to Belesemo Arabians through his sire, *El Shaklan, but his dam line still possessed the CMK breeding we value so highly through Raseyn, Abu Farwa and Naseem. His cross on our Belesemo Trad, Belesemo Magic, and BA Fantizon daughters is phenomenal, and although we only had him for 3 short years we still have frozen semen we are using from him that will ensure more of his foals in the future.”

Prior to coming to stand at Belesemo Arabians, Sanskrit had many notable offspring. Excalaber+/ was bred by the Matlocks and owned and ridden by Sue Nance. He had over 2,000 miles to his credit with 30 1st place finishes, including 16 Best Conditions and many titles. Sancja earned over 2,600 miles with 29 Top Tens and 4 Best Condition awards. Bailie Skrit Ablaze currently has 1,830 miles and 17 Top Tens, including four Tevis completions. In 2016, he and Pam Bailie were 1st Featherweights in the 100-mile AERC National Championship. Jessie Caswell's Sanskrit son, Appolo LH, has 1,065 miles to date with 6th place in the 2016 Tevis and 7 Best Conditions. Sans Premium Edge and Six Shooter Ruger are among some of Sanskrit's National Champion sport horse/dressage competitors.

Belesemo Arabian's most recent addition to the stallion roster is the pure Crabbet stallion BR Gold Sovereign (Seffer X PR Silver Dream, by Silver Vanity). He achieved 3 National Top Ten Sport Horse Stallion in hand wins, in addition to Regional Reserve Champion Stallion and Top Five Sport horse under saddle. His first foals arrived at Belesemo Arabians in 2016. “We are looking forward to his great addition to our breeding program for the future,” Kim said, “returning to even more Crabbet infusion.”

The broodmares of Belesemo Arabians have also contributed to the ranch's legacy. “We have been so blessed in not only the great stallions that have been a part of our breeding program, but the phenomenal mares that have produced outstanding offspring,” Kim said.

“Many of our broodmares are top endurance and sport horse champion mares themselves. They have thousands of endurance miles to their credit and many show ring placings. Our mares include multiple 1,000+ mile mares, National and Regional AERC winners, AHA 50 Mile Champion, Pioneer Award winners and WEG alternate team mares. These mares are bred to excel in the performance divisions but can still win in beauty and conformation classes.

“Mares are the bread and butter of any breeding program and are even more important than the stallions, especially in the disposition department.”

Kim sums up the challenges, hard work, successes, and joys of her lifetime developing the Belesemo breeding program:

“One, is that a breeding program should not be judged just by the number of winning horses produced or seen out on the trail, but by the percentage of winners vs. the number of horses produced. A breeding program can produce 30 foals per year and perhaps have 2 or 3 winning horses out of each foal crop. However, if a breeding program is producing only 5 foals per year and has the same 2 or 3 winning horses out of each crop, that is the true test of breeding success.

“Secondly, all of the Belesemo horses have been taken to their wins by their respective purchaser/owners. We ourselves have never ridden any of our horses to their titles – their wonderful owners have. We offer this as proof that the Belesemo horses are some of the most versatile and competitive horses being produced, with multitudes of different individuals having accomplished wonderful goals with their trail companions.

“This is the real test of a breeding program. We have been supremely blessed in the individuals that have taken our horses to ride and compete with. They are truly the wind beneath our wings as breeders, and we give them all the credit for our horses achieving their success on the trail and in the ring.

“We are honored they chose a Belesemo horse to share their journey with. We cannot thank them enough for their confidence in our breeding program. We look forward to the future welcoming even more members, both human and equine, to the Belesemo family.”

For more information on Belesemo Arabians, see:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Marci Cunningham's Fire Mt Zoom+/ is 2016 AHA Distance Horse of the Year

December 21 2016
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

15-year-old Fire Mt Zoom+/ , owned and ridden by Marci Cunningham of Bakersfield, California, is the recipient of the Arabian Horse Association's 2016 Distance Horse of the Year award. He was chosen from among 15 nominees.

Recognizing the significant accomplishment of an Arabian or Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian horse in distance riding, the award was instituted in 2004.

"Zoom," bred by Mary Dale Underwood, is by Sierra Fadwah X Rushcreek La Hand, by Cougar Rock. Cunningham bought the gelding in 2011 from Steve and Marsha Workman, and she started him in endurance in 2012.

Over 5 seasons, Fire Mt Zoom has accumulated 3940 miles, with 76 completions in 76 starts, including the 100-mile Tevis Cup. During 2016, the pair completed all 24 of their rides for a total of 1205 miles.

"I've always loved Fadwah horses," Cunningham said. "Zoom is one of the toughest horse I've ever ridden."

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Endurance Riding Convention Set for March 10 and 11, 2017

December 19 2016

Endurance competitors and enthusiasts from all over the United States and Canada will gather for the annual American Endurance Ride Conference convention March 10-11, 2017, in Grapevine, Texas.

Education is a main component of the 44-year-old nonprofit organization, which sanctions rides ranging from 25 to 100 miles in one day, and the convention’s eight seminars will provide cutting-edge knowledge for current and prospective endurance riders.

Seminars at the 2017 AERC convention:

· Seeing Yourself as a Public Lands Advocate with Back Country Horsemen of America’s Randy Rasmussen

· Gadgets for Gait Analysis with Yvette Nout-Lomas, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVECC, an assistant professor of equine internal medicine at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary and Medical Science

· Equine Transport Research Results – a look at breaking research into transport stress on horses, with Jerry Gillespie, DVM

· Equine Learning and Human-Horse Relationships with Jessica A. Klassen, PhD, a lecturer at Texas A&M University in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences

· Colic and the Endurance Horse with AERC Veterinary Committee Chair Jeanette (Jay) Mero, DVM

· 2016 Member Survey Results with AERC Education Chair Susan Garlinghouse, DVM, which will discuss member opinions on the future of the sport of endurance riding

· Murmurs, Arrhythmias and Heart Rate Recovery with Meg Sleeper, VMD, DACVIM, of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

· Simple Carbohydrates: Rocket Fuel or Failure to Launch? A second seminar presented by Dr. Garlinghouse, a well-respected equine nutrition expert.

Two early-morning free “hot topic” sessions involve endurance riders in thought-provoking discussions. This year’s topics include “Revisiting the AERC Drug Rule” (one of the strictest in all equine sports) and “Responsible Equine Management.” Both are hosted by AERC legal counsel and board member John Parke.

But the convention isn’t all serious education. It’s also a celebration of accomplishments, with both regional and national award ceremonies, and a Friday night dance.

In addition, conference attendees always enjoy the popular annual Tack Swap that allows riders to pick up tack and related items at bargain prices, with 10% of proceeds benefitting the AERC.

All visitors are welcome at the free trade show which runs Friday 9:00-6:00 and Saturday 9:00-5:00 and features a wide variety of vendors offering endurance gear—everything from tack and saddles to heart rate monitors and rider clothing.

Located a quick shuttle ride away from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the Hilton DFW Lakes (800-984-1344) is a spectacular site for the midsize convention, with plentiful public and private hotel space, dining options, and indoor gym and pool. Special AERC convention rates are limited so early reservations are a must.

For more information, and to register and receive the best pricing on conference seminars, please visit https://aerc.org/convention.

About the AERC

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) was founded in 1972 as a national governing body for long distance riding. Over the years it has developed a set of rules and guidelines designed to provide a standardized format and strict veterinary controls. The AERC sanctions more than 700 rides each year throughout North America and in 1993 Endurance became the fifth discipline under the United States Equestrian Team.

In addition to promoting the sport of endurance riding, the AERC encourages the use, protection, and development of equestrian trails, especially those with historic significance. Many special events of four to six consecutive days take place over historic trails, such as the Pony Express Trail, the Outlaw Trail, the Chief Joseph Trail, and the Lewis and Clark Trail. The founding ride of endurance riding, the Western States Trail Ride or “Tevis,” covers 100 miles of the famous Western States and Immigrant Trails over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These rides promote awareness of the importance of trail preservation for future generations and foster an appreciation of our American heritage. For more information please visit us at www.aerc.org.

Contact: Troy Smith, AERC Publications, 866-271-2372, endurancenews@aerc.org

Friday, December 16, 2016

2017 Owyhee Endurance Ride Dates Sanctioned

December 16 2016

The long-running Owyhee endurance ride dates in southwest Idaho have been sanctioned for 2017.

The Owyhee April Fools 25/50 (Tough Sucker) is April 1.

The City of Rocks Pioneer 3-day ride is June 8-10 in Almo, Idaho (almost Owyhee!).

The Owyhee Canyonlands Pioneer, which also includes the 2017 Distance Horse National Championships AHA & ApHC (Appaloosa) hosted by the Arabian Horse Association, is October 6-8.

The Owyhee Hallowed Weenies 25/50 is October 28.

For more information as it becomes available, see

Thursday, December 15, 2016

2017 AERC National Championships to Colorado

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
December 15 2016

The 2017 AERC National Championships have been awarded to Tennessee Lane's SoCo Endurance venue at the base of the Spanish Peaks in La Veta, Colorado.

Tennessee has designed the trail loops "to mix it up, nice easy fast stretches interspersed with slow challenging climbs, descents, and fun technical stuff to keep you awake and give you something to write home about.  

"The scenery is truly unbeatable, the ride camp setting is gorgeous, and as I said, the trails are diverse, with footing varying from flat, canterable-sandy-loam, to steep, walk-it-rocky."

Last year was Tennessee's first year to host Spanish Peaks rides out of her Remuda Run ranch, from 25 to 100 miles, and they proved highly successful and satisfying to competitors.

The AERC National Championships will be held August 18th (50 miles) and August 20 (100 miles).

Tennessee is delighted to host the championships. "Game on! This is God's country. The Rockies are what endurance legends are made of.

"Let's remind the world what real endurance is about: not just speed, metabolics and logistics... but a horse and its strategic and attentive partner, overcoming gorgeous, fun, and challenging terrain.

"I'm stoked. You'll love the trails. See you in SoCo!"

For more information, check back at

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Oreana Idaho to Host 2017 Distance Horse National Championships AHA & ApHC hosted by the Arabian Horse Association

December 14 2016

Oreana, Idaho will repeat as host for the 2017 Distance Nationals in October, newly renamed as the "Distance Horse National Championships AHA & ApHC hosted by the Arabian Horse Association." The new name is because the event is starting to include different breeds in the Distance Championships. The dates will be October 6-8.

The ride will be held in conjunction with the annual Owyhee Canyonlands 3-day Pioneer endurance ride. Additional events in 2017 will include the AHA (Arabian Horse Association) Distance Nationals (endurance 50 miles, endurance 100 miles, and Competitive Trail for purebred and half Arabians), and the ApHC (Appaloosa Horse Club) Appaloosa National
Championship Endurance Ride.

More events may be added. Stay tuned for more information at:

December's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning

Horsesinthemorning.com - Listen


Today on Karen Chaton's Endurance Episode Valerie Ashker talks about what she learned on her 3,000 mile ride across the U.S. and Matt Scribner shares his adventures at the Equus Film Festival where his film "Untethered" won a Winnie. Listen in...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

AERC Director at Large Election Results

The following individuals have been elected to serve on the AERC Board of Directors as 'Directors at Large' for the 2017 and 2018 ride seasons. The board is composed of 18 Regional Directors elected by members of their own region (two from each of the nine regions) and eight Directors at Large elected by the entire membership.

Susan Garlinghouse

Michael Maul

Olin Balch

Mollie Krumlaw-Smith

Heather Reynolds

Robert Marshall

Christopher Schork

Paul Sidio

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

AERC Lauds Passage of Trails Stewardship Act

December 5 2016

Late last month, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (NFSTSA) was signed by President Obama. The American Endurance Ride Conference, along with partner organizations like the American Hiking Society, American Horse Council, Back Country Horsemen of American and the Wilderness Society, were proud to be proponents of the bill.

The bill requires the U.S. Forest Service to partner with organizations that can help to decrease the backlog of trail maintenance plans, currently at $314 million. With 158,000 miles of trails, the U.S. Forest Service’s trails are integral to many endurance rides, and AERC welcomes the opportunity to work with the USFS to plan and coordinate trail maintenance wherever possible.

“The signing of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act by President Obama is a great opportunity for volunteer trail advocates of America to keep our trails open on United States Forest Service property. So much of the forest service budget is used yearly to fight wildfires, leaving little funds to maintain trails,” said AERC Trails and Land Management Chair Monica Chapman of Pleasanton, Kansas.

“Now is the time for AERC members and other interested equestrians to get organized and contact your local Forest Service Ranger and ask how you can help keep trails maintained for an endurance ride, to condition your horse, or just enjoying nature,” Chapman said.

Chapman traveled multiple times to Washington, DC, to promote the bill and expressed her gratitude to Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), the bill’s sponsor.

Because AERC members compete in distances from 25 to 100 miles per day, well-maintained trails are an integral part of the nonprofit organization. The group has more than 100 members who are AERC-Certified Trail Masters, who have the knowledge to properly design and build new trails and maintain and improve existing trails.
The organization, founded in 1972, also has an active trail grant program and is the nation's leader in encouraging the use, protection and development of equestrian trails, especially those with historical significance.

More information on endurance riding is available by visiting www.aerc.org or by calling the AERC office at 823-2260. By request, the office will send out a free information packet to prospective members.

Contact: Troy Smith
American Endurance Ride Conference
866-271-2372, 530-823-2260

Monday, December 05, 2016

18,000 Miles for Karen Steenhof: A Long Way From Sunday

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
December 4 2016

It's a ways back to 1985 and Karen Steenhof's first endurance riding season aboard her little pony cross mare, Sunday. But she remembers the most fun ride she's ever had like it was last week.

"That was the year we had a very early snow. It started snowing on November 2nd, and it never stopped. We did not see the ground until February. There was a Cold Turkey endurance ride on Thanksgiving weekend in Eagle, Idaho. And this was my first year, so i didn't know that much about anything. And Sunday's shoes had been pulled because of winter."

Karen ran into someone in the grocery store who asked if she was going to the ride. "I said, 'They're not really having the ride, are they?' Well of course they were! I said my mare didn't have shoes, and they said, 'So much the better! We're on a foot of snow, you don't need shoes!'

"The ride was on a Saturday and Sunday, and I drove my car out on the first day just to see, and everybody was having a great time. So I hitched up my trailer and drove out there with little Sunday - and I got the trailer stuck in the ditch on the way.

"But that ride was the most fun. It was the last ride of my rookie season. Sunday just went along on this 50 mile ride in the snow, and the great part was learning that you could do things that you never thought you could do."

31 years and some 17,655 miles later, Karen Steenhof is still having the same enjoyment riding the endurance trails aboard her current gelding, WMA Proclaim (Riley).

Born in Illinois outside of Chicago, Karen grew up in a very horsey community. "There were 14 polo fields and a fox hunt, so I started riding when I was 6. I got my first horse when I was 11. I rode English hunt seat; I was a junior member of the hunt, which was fun. Endurance riding is kind of like fox hunting without having the jumps."

Karen moved to Colorado in when she was 14, then attended Colorado State University, then the University of Missouri before moving to Idaho where she started working for BLM as a graduate student. She became an analytical wildlife biologist then ultimately retired as a research wildlife biologist for the USGS in 2008. If you're a birder, it's a real treat to ride the trails with Karen.

Sunday was Karen's first horse she owned as an adult, after finding her in the newspaper in 1983. "I boarded her near Eagle, and I would go out riding in the foothills every once in a while. I used to have a dog, and in his last days, just before and after he died, my grief was to kind of transfer my attention to the horse and ride farther and farther into the hills. At that point I started running into endurance riders.

"I finished my first 2 LDs (Limited Distance - 25 miles and 30 miles) on Sunday. She had amazing sickle hocks, and the veterinarian Loretta Burman told me when she completed me on the second LD, 'You're fine, but don't ever take this horse on a 50!'

"2000 miles later…" Karen laughed.

"Sunday did fine. But after 2 years in endurance, I realized I had to get an Arabian."

And so started Karen's lifetime of endurance riding aboard Arabians. She's put serious miles on almost all of them, and each one found a good home - often Karen's back yard - after their endurance careers. She's ridden mostly in 50 mile rides, though she's completed 19 out of 20 75's and 9 out of 13 100's along the way. "I always loved 75s and multi days. But I don't know if my body's up for 75s anymore."

Her seasons have ranged from 50 miles to 1290 miles completed. She snagged 25 Best Condition awards along the way (thank her previous gelding Rusty for most of those), and with 336 completions in 357 starts she has a 94% completion rate.

Two of her most favorite rides over the years - which exist no more - have been the 5-day Ft Schellborne XP in Nevada, and the 50-mile Buckskin Challenge in eastern Idaho. "Ft Schellborne was peaceful. It was the hidden Nevada. You know, the Nevada you see on the highway is flat, and then you go into this beautiful country on horseback.

"The Buckskin Challenge was a really hard ride. There aren't that many rides that I can remember saying, 'Oh no, it's over already!' Usually you're like, 'Whew - finally, I'm finished!' But this one I was thinking, 'Oh, I wish we could go longer!' I was crushed when they decided not to have that ride anymore."

Ambers Thorn was Karen's first Arabian, and her "most special horse."

"Where I grew up was all Thoroughbreds; Arabians were these little prissy horses. So I found this ad on the outhouse door at one of the rides, about this 5-year-old chestnut gelding named Ambers Thorn (War Zarim x Amber) with chrome, 14.1 hands, and a big trot.

"I went and picked him up at my friend Andrea Day's. She jumped on him bareback and rode him around in a circle. I guess I didn't ask her that much; he just looked very broke. So I just got on him and started riding him at home.

"I'd call Andrea now and then and say, 'Oh yea, we had a great ride,' and every time she'd say, 'Wow, that's amazing, he didn't really have that much time under saddle.' Each time I'd tell her about some progress, and she finally said, 'You know, he only had a saddle on twice when I sold him to you!'" Karen laughed.

Karen and Thorn covered 7200 miles of endurance trails together, (they ranked 8th in National mileage standings in 1995), though he actually wasn't that easy to ride and he had a lot of physical issues.

"I worked through so many problems on him. He was the next best thing to going to vet school, because he had almost every kind of issue there was." The gelding was diagnosed with osteochondritis dessicans (OCD) in his shoulder, and he came back from that. He had 2 annular ligament surgeries - one in front, one behind, and he came back completely from the first one in front, though the second one in back he never completely came back from. He also had an anterior enteritis where he almost died in Calgary in the North American Championships (one of Karen's 1 3/4 FEI rides). Then he started having tying up issues, and it took a while for Karen to figure out that her cross-training in dressage was causing that.

"Thorn was also always a challenge in that he was very hard to rate. And he did spook at things, but I was elastic back then!"

Karen started looking for another endurance horse after the Calgary ride. She got Cyandarac (Cyam x Prairie Dawn, by Gallant Royal) from Andrea Day again. "'Simon' had a few more miles on him than Thorn had, but he also was very opinionated!" Karen said. "In a 5-day ride I could never get him to relax and stand at one of the out checks and eat his own food. He would always drag me around until sometimes maybe on day 5. He was a character. He still is a character!"

Karen's first ride on Simon was in 1994 (Thorn's last ride, at age 19, was in July of 2000). They went on to earn a little over 4000 miles together. Simon was the PNER (Pacific Northwest Endurance Riding) Champion in 2002.

"Simon is not a personable horse. He's the boss of the pasture, even though he's 28 now. He's still just always kind of cranky and opinionated."

WSR Spellbinder was Karen's next endurance horse. This gelding came from Gail Williams in Washington in 2000. "Spellbinder was a character too. I think I put 1300 miles on him. He was just a handful - he just wanted to race. So he was kind of not that fun for me to ride.

"When he came up lame in the fall of 2005, Ona Lawrence decided to trade me him for her gelding El Jay Zalal (Willow).

"What a sweet little horse he was. He came to me having done 2 endurance rides. On the second one with me, he broke my wrist when he fell down and tripped." Did she finish the ride? "Of course! it was 45 miles into a 60, and it never occurred to me not to go on. Never crossed my mind." And of course, she was still elastic back then!

"I kept riding Willow after my arm healed, but not in endurance, because he kept stumbling." Willow ended up with the life of luxury, after Karen's neighbor Tish bought and lavished love on him. "Willow hit the lottery!" Karen said.

Admiral Gil (AM Gilded Gypsy x AM Bay Bridge, by AM Sea Captain) was Karen's next endurance horse. He was 5 or 6 years old when Karen found him in Oregon on the Dreamhorse website.

The pair rode 1500 miles of trail together starting in 2006, even though Gil turned out to be Karen's most insecure horse to ride. He was a stumbler and a spooker too, and she came off him many times.

Looking for an additional endurance horse, Karen tried out a mare for a couple of months. Getting off to lead her across a creek when she balked, the mare knocked her down, ran over her ankle, and broke her fibula. The incident only added to her own growing insecurities.

"By now I'd had a couple of these injuries, and I was losing my confidence. And Gil is the most insecure horse I've ever had, so I was in a slump for a while there. Because Gil wasn't giving me the confidence, and I wasn't giving him the confidence, it was kind of a bad mix."

When in the fall of 2009 Gil started having some lameness issues, Karen put out the word she was still looking for another endurance horse. Her friend Skyla send her an ad of a horse to check out. "The person who had him had no ideas how to take pictures," Karen recalled. "The horse had this giant head, and this teeny little butt. I thought he was the ugliest horse I'd ever seen! He was advertised as half Arab and half Quarter horse."

But when Karen went to look at him, the horse didn't look like that at all - he looked much better. And when she lunged the horse she really liked how he moved, and she knew she wanted him. Turned out a neighbor Regina had owned this horse several years prior and she recognized him and confirmed that HMR Redstone (Rusty) was no part Quarter, horse, but purebred Arabian (DA Athir Muharrik X Mistanny Dab, by HMR Mistabi).

Rusty was 10 when Karen got him, and the pair started down the endurance trails in 2010. "He was such a handful. He was always competitive. You had to have him near the front so he couldn't see a bunch of horses in front of him. And that was hard."

Over 1830 miles together, Rusty was PNER champ in 2013, 7th in the National Best Condition standings in 2012, and 2nd (reserve champion) in the National Best Condition standings in 2013. 

It was ultimately bilateral lameness - caused by bad shoeing - that did Rusty in. That happened roughly around the time Karen had major family issues to take care of, so she had a forced sabbatical from endurance for almost 1 1/2 years. Because of this she wasn't in a rush to find another endurance horse, and she had time to shop around.

Last year she was turned onto a gelding in Oregon owned by Karen Standefer. Friends pointed out he had great racing bloodlines, to which Karen replied, "I don't need another hot horse! I don't want to race!" WMA Proclaim (Riley) actually had raced on the track, twice, and race results say he was "not a factor."

WMA Proclaim had already done a few endurance rides (several LDs and 2 50s), and he had proved to be calm and rate-able, finishing first, top ten, or mid-pack, and earning a Best Condition award. Karen arranged to try him out during a fall endurance ride, riding him by herself and trail riding with a friend, and he never got excited or worried, nor spooked from anything.

So it was Riley who brought Karen back to the endurance trails in 2016. The pair got to know each other, as they established a strong base together of 12 LDs and 3 50 mile rides, in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah, finishing top ten, or mid-pack, and earning a Best Condition award.

And Karen timed it just right to earn her 18,005th endurance mile in her Idaho back yard with a 6th place finish in the October Owyhee Hallowed Weenies, the last ride of the season.

She looks like she's found her "safe, sane, short" endurance horse - as Julie Suhr has put it - for the older rider, because, as Karen said with a laugh, "I'm 63, and my body's falling apart!"

Karen can look out her back window and see both her past in endurance and her future: she still has 4 of her endurance horses. Simon is 28, Gil is 20, Rusty is 17, and Riley is 9. (Thorn died in 2012 at age 31.)

"I seem to get roughly 1000 miles every 2 years, and it would be fun to get to 20,000 miles, but I don't know if my body will hold up. And now my whole thing is to go to different rides that I've never been to. I really want to do that."

During the 2016 season, she and Riley competed in 3 new rides for Karen: the Pacific Crest in Oregon, and Strawberry Fields and the Outlaw and the Virgin in Utah.

The future trails look bright and inviting, as Karen and Riley have a good start on their way to accomplishing her new endurance goals.

Top photo: Karen and Riley finish 3rd in the 2016 Old Selam, their first 50 miler together

Sunday, December 04, 2016

10,000 Miles for Gretchen Montgomery

December 1 2016

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

The West region's Gretchen Montgomery reached the 10,000 mile mark in AERC competition at the Gold Rush Shuffle over Thanksgiving weekend. Spending her retirement time between Bridgeport and Ridgecrest, California, Gretchen hit the cent-mark aboard her part Standardbred mare HS Coquette.

Gretchen and Coquette have over a thousand miles, and many other thousands of miles have come aboard her mare Definetly Spice (formerly known somewhat affectionately as "Bitchy Spice") - her Decade Team horse, and the gallant gelding Royal Raffiq, who died in 2010.

Gretchen manages the Fire Mountain ride in Ridgecrest in January, and the Eastern High Sierra Classic in Bridgeport in August.

See more on Gretchen here:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sign Up Now for the 2016 AERC Convention


March 10 and 11, 2017 - Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center - Grapevine, Texas

We're counting down the days!

We're looking forward to heading to Texas for the 2017 AERC convention! AERC's convention is the most fun you can have without your horse! Two days of informative and thought-provoking seminars on Friday and Saturday, shopping galore, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, awards presentations, Hot Topics seminars, plus fun Friday night entertainment and the awards banquet on Saturday night.


Prefer to send in the form by mail or fax? Click here for the printable registration form.

Other options: You can sign up by phone: 866-271-2372, or fill out the form in your December EN and mail it to AERC, PO Box 6027, Auburn, CA 95604. (You can even fax it: 530-823-7805. Our fax machine doesn't get much of a workout lately and it would welcome your faxed form.)

Friday's speaker lineup includes Randy Rasmussen of Back Country Horsemen of America and Dr. Yvette Nout-Lomas, Colorado State University Vet School Assistant Professor (plus one additional speaker TBA). Saturday's speakers are Drs. Jeanette Mero, Meg Sleeper and Susan Garlinghouse. These will be two days of intense learning, all at the spectacular Hilton DFW Lakes

From the Hilton DFW Lakes website: "We offer everything you need on 40 lushly landscaped, lakeside acres. Our award-winning hotel features a refreshing blend of spacious accommodations, limitless recreation and unmatched conference facilities. Lose yourself in a unique resort-style setting while enjoying all of the services and amenities of a modern conference center. Recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award for the past six consecutive years. Find out more at the hotel website.

FREE airport shuttle provided from nearby DFW Airport (but not Love Field, which is about 20 miles away).

Make your hotel reservations! Call toll-free 800-984-1344, and reference 2017 AERC Convention, or use this Hilton DFW Lakes online reservation link.

What to do before or after the convention? Check out some Dallas area attractions.

VETERINARIANS: The Veterinary Committee will be hosting a two-day Veterinary Continuing Education course in conjunction with the convention. Watch for details coming your way in late Fall 2016.

TRADE SHOW EXHIBITORS: We'd love to have you! Trade show information will be available in the Fall.
For more information on the convention, and to sign up for 2017 Trade Show see

Monday, November 28, 2016

Perfect Ten Equine: LV Integrity +/

November 28 2016
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

LV Integrity +/ , owned by Joyce and Dennis Sousa, achieved the exceptional honor of "AERC Perfect Ten Equine" over the weekend at the Gold Rush Shuffle in California by surpassing 10,000 AERC miles.

Created in 1997 and sponsored by Joe Long, past AERC president, former Southeast Region director, and member of the AERC Hall of Fame, this award is for equines that have completed 10 years, 10,000 miles, 10 first place finishes and 10 best conditions throughout their career.

LV Integrity +/ is only the 9th horse to achieve this honor since the inception of the award.

Ridden by Joyce for most of his career (he also carried Dennis, and their daughter Jennifer Niehaus), 23-year-old "Ritzy" earned his miles and Perfect Ten award over 18 seasons.

This year was arguably one of Ritzy's best. In addition to his Perfect Ten Equine accomplishment, he achieved his 2016 Hall of Fame induction and his 40th 100-mile completion. Additionally, Joyce and Ritzy escorted Joyce's granddaughter, Alex Niehaus and her gelding Airborne along 855 miles of trail, including 5 100-mile rides.

"Yes, it was a great ride season," Dennis wrote. "We have been truly blessed."

For more on Joyce and Ritzy, see:

AERC Juniors Kick 100-Mile Butt

or, Ride Like a Girl! Anya Levermann and Alex Neihaus Set New Junior National 100 Miles Championship Standards for AERC in 2016

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
November 28 2016

What started out as a simple personal goals for two endurance riding Juniors ended up as an exciting, neck-and-neck 'race' throughout the 2016 season for the Junior National 100 Miles Championship.

14-year-old Alex Neihaus, of Cloverdale, California, and 16-year-old Anya Levermann, of 100 Mile House, BC, Canada, both surpassed the previous record of 500 miles in their 100-mile adventures around the country.

Alex ultimately finished the 2016 season with 605 miles in 100 milers, riding two different horses, and Anya finished with 805 miles in 100-milers aboard four different horses.

Alex and Airborne in the 2016 100-mile AERC National Championship

For Alex, the competition for the Junior National 100-mile champion "just sort of happened. We just wanted to get out there on the trails," she said. "It was only my first year of doing 100s, so I just wanted to learn about it, how to do it, really. So my grandma decided that she would help me along the way." That Alex's grandma happens to be 24,000-mile endurance rider Joyce Sousa who happens to have two horses in the AERC Hall of Fame, including her 23-year-old mount LV Integrity (Ritzy), was just icing on the cake. "We just did as much as we could, and it was really fun."

Alex started riding endurance in 2010, finishing her first LD with her mom Jennifer and dad Jon. Before this season, she had accumulated 1085 lifetime endurance miles and 310 LD miles.

Throughout the 2016 season, but for one of the 100-mile rides, Alex rode her 15-year-old gelding Airborne. "I got him in 2014 from a friend, Robert Weldin, who lives in my area in California. Robert got hurt and thought he wasn't going to be able to do any more 100 mile rides. So he gave Airborne to me." Alex and Airborne completed 305 miles together their first season, and 730 the next season. "We've just been really good together," she said.

The 100-mile odyssey started in the 20 Mule Team in southern California in February. Joyce and Alex finished near midnight in a ride time of 15:33, for Alex's first 100-mile completion. "I was ecstatic," Alex exclaimed. "I thought it was so cool. It was tiring! I remember we were on the last loop, and I was practically sleeping on Airborne - I couldn't hardly keep my eyes open!"

Alex and Joyce's next 100-miler was at Mt Adams in Washington in May. It was one of Alex's favorite rides. "It was hard mountainous terrain, but it was really fun and really well marked," she said. It was a ride where Alex learned about doing what was best for a horse to get him through a 100. Ritzy was a bit tight in the hind end with 15 miles left, so they walked most of that 15 mile loop in the dark. Their finish time of 14:58 still put them in the Top Ten at the finish with horses fit to continue.

In June, chalk up another 100-mile finish - and win - in the 105-mile Sunriver Classic in Oregon in June. (105 miles because some radio guys on the last loop accidentally sent riders the wrong direction.) This ride was also, needless to say, one of Alex's favorite rides.

Alex recalled, "The weather was pretty crazy. It was sunny sometimes, raining sometimes, snowing sometimes. We stayed in around fifth place all day, then on the last loop we just started passing people. Our horses felt great. We finally caught up to the first place rider, and we cantered past her, and we stayed up in front the rest of the loop! It was pretty amazing!" Their finish time of 13:48 brought them home just as it was getting dark. (Anya also rode and finished Sunriver.)

Both girls were tied at 305 miles when they both rode the same course in the 100-miler at Santiam Cascade in Oregon in August. They both also finished this challenging ride to remain tied at 405 miles. Alex said, "I wore a bandana around my face the whole day because I rode behind my grandma, and the dust was just terrible. It was a very tough ride. We got lost on one of the loops; we were doing circles. At the end of the ride we figured that we probably did about close to 120 miles." Alex admitted that being lost in the dark was frustrating, but that's all part of endurance riding. "I just dealt with it!" Joyce and Alex finished in eighth and ninth place in a ride time of 17:21 hrs.

Alex and Airborne in the 2016 100-mile AERC National Championship

Alex and Anya were the only two Juniors to ride in the 100-mile AERC National Championship in Utah in September. Both finished to remain tied at 505 miles. Despite Joyce, on Ritzy, and Alex, on Airborne, missing a turn (some bikers had politely pulled over to let them ride by - accidentally obscuring a trail turn sign) and doing extra mileage again, it was an exciting experience for Alex, both for just participating and for completing, finishing eleventh in a ride time of 17:48.

It was only a week after the AERCNC that Alex found herself at the starting line of the the iconic Virginia City 100, in Virginia City, Nevada, on a different horse. Airborne needed a rest, and Robert Weldin had hoped to provide a horse for Alex, but it didn't work out. So he enlisted the help of Carolyn Meier, from Nevada, who offered up her horse Silmarils Diamond. "I just hopped on him," said Alex. "I had never even ridden him before, and that was a tough, tough ride. I can't even believe I finished it. I was ready to Rider Option! But I didn't.

"The SOBs (the infamous Sons of B*tches hills that you hit during the hottest part of the day) - those were extremely hard. And Diamond was a tough horse, one of the toughest horses I've ever ridden. It was only his second 100 mile ride. He was really extremely headstrong; it was a lot different from riding Airborne! But he was sure on his feet, and he never got tired, it seemed. That was really awesome."

Alex's Virginia City 100 buckle left her tied yet again with Anya (who finished a 100 that same weekend across the country) at 605 miles, but it ended up being her final 100-mile ride of the season, while Anya ultimately went on to complete two more.

But Alex accomplished her original goal of learning all about riding 100s and completing them. "I learned a lot about pacing and horsemanship and taking care of the horses at the vet checks, that the horse always comes first. And on the trail, whenever we would get the chance, we'd get off and walk or run the horses to give them a break."

Anya and Monk in the 2016 100-mile AERC National Championship

Anya Levermann's goal was simply to ride as many 100 mile rides as possible during the season. "I knew the 100-mile Junior Championship record was 500 miles, but I didn't necessarily want to beat the record. I just wanted to win the award since it was my last year as a Junior rider."

That quest didn't start out so well, when Anya was pulled from her first two 100-mile rides. At the Biltmore 100 in May in North Carolina, Anya's mount Amber Kiera, owned by Dessia Miller, was pulled at 86 miles.

At the Titanium 3-day Pioneer FEI ride two weeks later in Canada, Anya planned to ride the 100-milers on both Saturday and Sunday - because what endurance rider wouldn't be up for riding two 100s in a row? It turned out to be a rainy-snowy-muddy weekend.

Riding her own 14-year-old gelding, Sey Wiking Tu (Tootsie), on Saturday, resulted in a pull at 40 miles from a slight lameness. The next day she hopped on her sister Katya's horse, 11-year-old Kharmichel LK (Draco), and, riding with mom Katrin aboard Double Exposure PW (Buddy), finished third and fourth in 18:35. "There were only five riders, and one pulled, so we finished third and fourth and last!" Anya said. "My sister is focusing on school this year, so she let me ride her horse."

Anya's next 100-mile ride was the Sunriver Classic in June in Oregon aboard the top international horse Monk (the same ride that Alex won). Owner Chris Martin had contacted Katrin earlier in the year, looking for a rider for Monk, because regular rider Lindsay Graham had a baby, and Monk was idling and itching for a ride.

What was it like climbing aboard this fast horse, who was part of the USA Team at the Kentucky World Equestrian Games Endurance Championship in 2010? "He did really well; I had a lot of fun riding him. And it was really to nice to ride with Hannah Pruss and Salome." Anya and Hannah had met briefly at an AERC Convention, and she volunteered to sponsor Anya at Sunriver when the word went out.

What Anya doesn't mention is that she got sick the last part of the ride and started throwing up. And every endurance rider either knows or can imagine that it's no fun being sick and throwing up while riding on the back of a horse. Owner Chris Martin recalls, "The ride went horrible; it rained and snowed. Anya and Hanna were top 3 or 4 during the last half of the ride, then Anya got really sick. I still remember the look on her face when I told her I had no problem with her pulling. She let us know that she was not pulling!" The pair finished fifth and sixth in a ride time of 14:17.

Next, Anya earned a coveted Big Horn 100 belt buckle in July. Riding Draco again with her mom (aboard Buddy) the pair finished the historic ride in 13th and 14th place, in a ride time of 20:26.

"That was a hard ride!" Anya recalled. "The whole time we knew we were under a time pressure. And we had heard the stories about getting lost, and we didn't want to get lost. And my mom was also worried about how the horses would do, because they hadn't really done a big mountain ride yet. But the horses did great. They finished with all A's and pulses in the 40's."

Next up: the dusty and rocky Santiam 100 in Oregon in August aboard Draco again. Riding with her mom, and with Junior Sanoma Blakeley, the trio ended up finishing second, third, and fourth, when several of the front runners ended up being pulled. They finished in a ride time of 16:30.

Anya and Alex - now tied at 405 miles - next shared the trails in the AERC National 100-mile Championship in September. Anya's ride aboard Monk in this one was a bit less tame than her previous one. He was fast and full of beans. "Monk knew horses were in front of him all day. And once we turned for home - forget it!" Riding with sponsor Pam Bailie aboard Bailie Skrit Ablaze, the pair finished second and third in 10:34.

Just a week later - the same weekend that Alex was adding the Virginia City 100 to her resume, Anya and Draco, and Katrin and Buddy, zipped down south for the Oregon 100. Riding with Sanoma Blakeley again the trio completed that ride in 15:56, again finishing second, third, and fourth.

By this point, both Alex and Anya - tied at 605 miles in the Junior National 100 Miles Championship, had exceeded both their personal goals and the previous record, and it had provided an exciting 'horse race' for those following these two young, tough, enthusiastic riders.

Anya went on to complete two more 100s this season. Kevin Waters had offered his horse DE Golden Ali to Anya for the October Las Cienegas ride in Arizona, but when Kevin was unable to ride with Anya, he enlisted Christoph Schork's help. Christoph provided her with GE RR Jazz Dancer (Pinky), and, riding with Kerry Redente and Rushcreek Stub, the pair finished sixth and seventh in 17:15. "Pinky was great!" Anya said. "He was still bouncing down the trail on the last loop!"

Anya wrapped up her 100-mile season, finishing the November Broxton Bridge 100-mile ride in South Carolina aboard Dessia Miller's horse Cognac Amberfyre (Farley). (And with the ever-unending energy of youth, she also finished the 75-mile North American Young Rider Team Challenge the next day.)

It's not so easy for aging endurance riders to climb aboard strange horses for an endurance ride, and while Junior riders make everything look easy, it gave Anya pause for thought. She said, "This year I rode a bunch of different horses, but most of the horses are trained very well. I'm just nervous sometimes for the start because I don't know how they're going to react.

"But I never had a problem. A couple of the 75s I rode this year, I got bucked off on the pre-ride. Most of the horses are very competitive for the FEI, but most of the horses I rode were all really good horses."

While the two girls jet-setted around the country in what turned out to be a friendly, mild 100-mile championship 'race' throughout the season, neither rider saw it as much more than accomplishing a personal endurance riding goal. And in doing so, both passed the previous 100-mile mileage record of 500.

And lest you think the girls rested on their laurels between their 100-mile rides, think again: Alex added 300 more miles of 50s, for a perfect 12 for 12 season and a total of 905 miles, and Anya added another 175 miles, for an 11 out of 13 season and a total of 980 miles. Both girls plan to have a little more relaxed season next year.

"The last two years we've really been going hard," Alex said. "So I think next year I'm just going to ride with my dad; he's bringing up a horse that's only done one 50. Maybe I'll do a 100 or two with my mom, and I think that'll be about it."

"I kind of have to go to school sometimes," Anya laughed. "I didn't know I was going to the AERC National Championship until the Tuesday before, and on Wednesday school started. The first thing one of my teachers had said was that to pass his class, we had to have good attendance. And then I left for two weeks.

"But I still get good grades; I have all As, so I think that's pretty good. But I think I already have 15 absences this year.

"Next year, for FEI I want to get my elite status, which is ten 75-mile rides. I think I want to do some more 100s, and do some more rides with [my horse] Tootsie because I didn't get to ride him very much this year."

Families and friends of the girls are understandably delighted by their accomplishments.

"I am sooo proud of my girls (mom Joyce and daughter Alex)," Jennifer Neihaus said. "It was a wonderful finish to the season."

Katrin Levermann echoed that thought. "I am worn out by the travels, but that's what we do for the girls... right!? They work hard for it. And it does seem to pay off at the end. [Katya just got awarded a full scholarship for University - top academic student in her school]. I'm proud of both of my girls!"

This season, these two gracious, poised young Juniors set a stellar example for AERC endurance riders of what it means to just get out and Ride.

Top photo: Anya Levermann and Monk, Pam Bailie and Bailie Skrit Ablaze in the 2016 100-mile AERC National Championship

Sunday, November 20, 2016

USA’s forest and horse riding trails to get TLC at last

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

November 20, 2016

The US Senate has passed the National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act (H.R.845/ S.1110), which would direct the Forest Service to take action to address the current trail maintenance backlog.

The move has been applauded by the American Horse Council, which has made trails a priority. The AHC has been working with Backcountry Horsemen of America, the Wilderness Society and many other recreational groups to advance the bill.

The passing of the act follows House passage of the bill earlier this fall, introduced by Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

A June 2013 study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Forest Service has deferred trail maintenance needs that exceed half a billion dollars, and only one-quarter of the agency’s 158,000 miles of trails meets agency standards for maintenance. This maintenance backlog is causing access and safety issues for equestrians and all trail users on national forests.

The AHC’s Ben Pendergrass said many people had worked to achieve passage of the bill over the last couple of years, and it was an important victory for equestrians and everyone who enjoys national forests...

Read more: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2016/11/20/usa-forest-horse-riding-trails-tlc/#ixzz4QZICvLUj

Walter Tibbitts: October 14, 1923 - November 07, 2016

Teviscup.org - Full Article

Posted Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Board of Governors of the Western States Trail Foundation honors the memory of Walt Tibbitts, an amazing man whose devotion and contributions to the Western States Trail, to the Tevis Cup Ride, and to the horses and people who challenge them, is legendary. Walt passed away after a short illness on November 7, 2016 at the age of 93.

Infusing the imperatives of the present with the best of the past, Walt’s steady guidance helped the WSTF meet many challenges along a winding trail that spanned 45 years. With the wisdom of experience and unfailing good humor, his values were a keystone for the Foundation, and the energy and motivation he possessed continue to inspire.

As a young horseman with the heart of an explorer, Walt was intrigued when he first heard about this crazy 100-mile adventure held annually in his beloved High Sierra. After a successful Tevis debut in 1967, he was totally hooked — by both the excitement of the sport of endurance riding and the magic of the Western States Trail. With Tevis Cup completions in each of four successive decades (1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1996), Walt earned the coveted 1000 Mile Buckle in 1996, notching a Haggin Cup win along the way in 1969 with his wonderful Appaloosa gelding, Ruff Spots Banner.

Walt lent his prodigious organizational talents to the Western States Trail Foundation when he joined its Board of Governors in 1971. He served as WSTF President in 1995 and 1996, and was particularly instrumental in securing safe access through Section 29 in the high country. Adapting the proven principles of Wendell Robie’s founding vision to the changing face of the future characterized Walt’s 40-year tenure on the Board; he guided the Foundation toward strategic decisions which have kept the Ride at the pinnacle of the sport...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning with Karen Chaton

Horsesinthemorning.com - Listen

This month on Karen Chaton's Endurance Episode we get to know some endurance Mustangs with Mark Montgomery, and Long Rider Samantha Szesciorka talks about her Nevada Discovery Ride. Listen in...


Friday, November 11, 2016

Kristina Chesterman Memorial Ride Pays It Forward

November 9 2016
by Ride Manager JayaMae Gregory

What makes the Kristina Chesterman Memorial Ride so special isn't just the riders, the horses, the camp, the trail, or the prizes, or even the cause, but the feeling. It's going down the trail and knowing you are riding for something beyond just miles, points, or finishes. It's that feeling you get that you are keeping a memory alive, that feeling that we are all connected somehow, in our shared passion for horses with a girl who died too young.

It's also that feeling that we get knowing our entry fee is being used to help another someone, someone just like ourselves, from our own endurance family...

Sunday's Pay-It-Forward ride benefitted two of our fellow endurance riders this year (I couldn't pick just one recipient this year)...

Amber Clark is a local Northern CA rider and trainer who broke her back earlier this year after falling from a horse. She will be going through extensive rehab, and won't be able to train or ride for awhile. She has been an active member of the endurance community and a good friend to many, and we are proud to give a little Pay-It-Forward to her!

Kevin Myers left us earlier this year. He was such an influential human being, a talented ballet dancer, a runner, a rider, an advocate for the well being of horses, and progressive in his hoof care work with horses and the EasyCare company. A small donation is being made to Rusty James Toth, in Kevin's memory, which will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Pyramid Society Announces Enrollment Dates for This Year’s Egyptian Arabian Performance Horse Award Program

November 9 2016

Lexington, KY – (November 10, 2016) The Pyramid Society’s Performance Horse Award Program is now open for enrollment through March 31st, 2017. Designed to support and promote the versatility of Egyptian Arabian horses in a wide range of performance disciplines, this innovative program will recognize those Straight Egyptian and Egyptian Sired/Bred horses competing throughout North America during the 2016 competition season. This program offers complimentary enrollment for all eligible horses with no Pyramid Society membership requirements.

“We are so pleased to provide this world-wide visibility for our talented Egyptian Arabian performance horses. Although representing a small percentage of bloodlines throughout the Arabian breed, Egyptian Arabians continually take home a high percentage of top awards in the show ring and in other competitive disciplines. We invite and encourage your participation and sponsorship to help assure the continued growth of this valuable program.” states Jaleen Hacklander, Chair of the Performance Horse Award Program Committee.

The 2016 point system and awards are divided into four specific competitive divisions including disciplines ranging from Hunter to Dressage and Endurance to Driving, Sport Horse, and more. Respective winners will be recognized at the 2017 Egyptian Event and will receive custom awards, as well as visibility through international publications, and extensive online promotions.

The Performance Horse Award Program is made possible solely through the generosity of our Supporting Sponsors: Hadaya Arabians, Miars Arabians, Kehilan Arabians, J&J Arabians, Cariswood Farm, Al Ameen Arabians and Aimbri Arabians.

For complete program information and guidelines and sponsorship information, visit www.RideEgyptians.com; call (859) 231-0771 or email Carol@PyramidSociety.org.

The Pyramid Society is the world’s leading international membership organization dedicated to the Egyptian Arabian horse. Founded in 1969, it has maintained its mission to promote and advance these unique bloodlines through educational venues, local and regional activities, international representation and an active online community. The Society’s focus culminates at the Egyptian Event, the organization’s breed showcase and competition held at The Kentucky Horse Park annually the first week in June.

The Pyramid Society
Carol Aldridge, Member Services
Ph: (859) 231-0771

The Future of Green Bean Endurance Competition

Endurance Granny Blog - Full Article

November 1 2016

That Lovin’ Green Feeling

As many of you may be already aware from the many t-shirts scattered among the regions. the Green Bean Endurance competition continued to draw new riders together, inspire, and foster belonging in the sport. Our little crew’s personal 2016 stats as of October of this year:

Total Miles Attempted: 15,330
Total Miles Completed: 12,650
Overall Completion Rate: 83%
Total Metabolic Pulls: 7
Total Lameness Pulls: 26
Total OT: 9
Total Rider Options: 27
Percent LD to Endurance: 54%
LD Completion Rate: 86%
Endurance Completion Rate: 80%
75's Attempted: 2
75's Completed: 2
Shannon Conrad - Biltmore 75
Kristen Gonyaw - Mustang Memorial
100's Attempted: 7
100's Completed: 5
Phylicia Mann - 20 Mule Team
Sara Borkosky - Biltmore Challenge
Laura Spear - Sunriver Classic
Jenny Gomez - Tevis Cup
Abigail Madden - Tevis Cup
Current TEAM leaders as of October: OTV Pony Tails, Picked The Blazin Belles, High point individuals in the TEAM competition are Debra Tibbitts, Heather Accardo, Cassandra Green and Claire Morris.
In the One Horse One Rider competition: Erin Hurley is leading in OTV and Jen Moore in the Picked/Cooked division.
Seedling Success: Leonardo Fuentes is our “out of the pod” leader.

Our group has had a few regional meet ups this season. The last was hosted by the Daniel Boone Distance Riders at Rendezvous October 8th. Nearly all of our Midwestern riders showed up for the gathering and Two Horse Tack graciously sponsored some beautiful prize give-aways to those in attendance.

2015 was our first season of competition and we had many members among AERC endurance riders at large who helped support the cause. As we segued into year two we focused more on commercial sponsorship, lower rider fees, and bringing our “brand of bean” forward to make our riders recognizable as a vital segment of the endurance riding community with t-shirts and matching splashes of lime green tack.

Deb Moe kept the technology straight, and I have worked the sponsorship end and served as emotional cheer leader for the group, while Maranda Bibb has lovingly nurtured a new small but important segment of our group called Seedling. The cuteness and effort of these kids is amazing. .

All said, we have impacted the sport. We helped to generate close to $12, 000 a year in AERC memberships. Our attendance at rides brought ride managers an estimated $30,000 plus in ride entries. There are also many, many Green Bean riders who are out there winging it independently with their regional groups, totally unrelated to us. This new and younger demographic helps to build AERC strong, and bring fresh excitement to the sport. GBEcompetition is small at about 158 members, and 500 associate (interested) members...

Read more here:

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Thoroughbred Incentive Program Introduces Recreational Riding Program


November 2, 2016 12:12 PM
Industry Press Releases, Off Track Thoroughbreds

To showcase Thoroughbreds that are not competing in shows but are still successful in a second career as recreational mounts, The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) today announced the Thoroughbred Recreational Riding Incentive Program.

The program is designed for Thoroughbred owners who spend most of their time outside of the show ring, whether on trails (including competitive trail rides), endurance rides, or even driving.

"Many off-track Thoroughbreds and owners are more suited to recreational riding than to showing," said Kristin Leshney, T.I.P. coordinator. "The Thoroughbred Recreational Riding Incentive Program enables recreational riders to be rewarded for choosing Thoroughbreds."

Multiple awards are offered depending on the number of hours spent riding or driving, ranging from a T.I.P. patch for 25 hours to a T.I.P. fleece jacket for 10,000 hours. To receive awards, riders must record their riding time in one-hour increments, rounding down to the whole hour. Arena riding, lessons, and show hours are not eligible for awards.

"We are excited to have more Thoroughbreds becoming part of the T.I.P. program and gaining recognition for their diversity as equine partners," Leshney said.

For purposes of eligibility for Thoroughbred Recreational Riding Incentive Program, a "Thoroughbred" is defined as any horse that has been registered with The Jockey Club or a foreign Thoroughbred stud book recognized by The Jockey Club. All horses must have a T.I.P. number with the correct rider listed.

More information about the Thoroughbred Recreational Riding Incentive Program can be found on the T.I.P. website at tjctip.com.

Created and announced in October 2011, T.I.P. recognizes and rewards the versatility of the Thoroughbred through sponsorship of Thoroughbred classes and high point awards at sanctioned horse shows, performance awards, and non-competition awards. Additional information about T.I.P. is available at tjctip.com and on the T.I.P. Facebook page at facebook.com/tjctip.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Anne Ayala Scholarship Applications Open!

The 2017 Anne Ayala Scholarship applications are open to AERC Juniors and Young Riders in good standing from their high school senior year through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of 1/1/2017).

The award honors Anne Ayala, who with her horse Overlook Nuryev ("Beau") received the Pard'ners Award in 2000 and became a Decade Team in 2003.

Be sure to fill out the application and send it in for arrival by 1/7/17.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New AERC Member Page Added Benefit of Membership

October 21 2016

One of the many benefits of being an AERC member is the enhanced Member Page on www.aerc.org.

The AERC Website Committee has worked diligently to provide enhanced personalized member pages complete with new information and better access.

When paid members log in to their page, they can view their official record, information on their horse registration, mileage records on their horses, and directories for looking up individual members by region. If you're a ride manager, there's a section for ride manager use.

Members can also set up a personal calendar where they are notified with email alerts of online calendar changes, online posting of ride results, updated point standings, new rides in your selected regions, and more.

The website committee was led by Lisa Schneider with members Steph Teeter, Troy Smith, Eric Rueter, Mike Maul, and programmer Russ Humphrey.

And it's time to join or renew for the 2017 ride season at:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

AERC Approves New Young Rider Division

October 24 2016

The AERC board passed the proposal to create a Young Rider Division for regional endurance awards. It will be a new division with the same awards rules as the weight division awards.

Young Riders (ages 16 - 21, and unsponsored juniors) will get points and awards in their own division, and will also be able to compete with the other (Feather, Light, Middle, Heavy) divisions for overall points and awards.

Thanks BOD Junior representative, Sarah Holloway, for making a great case to the board during the meeting!

More information will be coming from AERC once the details are finalized. The division will be active for the coming ride season (starting December 1 2016), but there will be a transition time for results publication while the computer system and data entry are updated.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning with Karen Chaton

Horsesinthemorning.com - Listen in

October 11 2016

On today's Endurance Episode we chat with author of Endurance Years Gone By Lori Oleson, Christine Amber helps us stay safer on the trails and Valerie Ashker has an update on her cross country ride aboard her OTTB's. Listen in...

Listen here:

Miniature Horse Completes Endurance Ride

Holistichorse.com - Full Article

Mini completes 25 mile endurance course.

Completing one of the American Endurance Ride Conference’s rides can be quite an accomplishment for any horse, but for Wee B Jelly Bean, it was a truly heartwarming athletic achievement.

You see, Jelly is a miniature horse (AMHR #271916A), and her completion at the Hat Creek Hustle 25-mile ride in Northern California was the first of a kind.

After scouring AERC’s rule book and consulting with the AERC national office, Jelly’s owner, Elicia Kamberg of Smartsville, California, discovered there is nothing in the organization’s rules that requires the horse to be ridden during the competition, so . . . well, let’s just let Jelly tell it:...

Read more at:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Horseriding accident results in demonstration of kindness

Sunews.net - Full Story

by Dixie Brunner

While no one wants to have an accident, occasionally a difficult circumstance leads to finding humanity in others. Brooke Benner, from Los Angeles, Calif., learned the hard way about a stranger and his family’s kindness toward others.

Benner was visiting the area in early September, when she had a bad horse accident in the middle of a 50-mile endurance race on the Kaibab near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. She e-mailed the Southern Utah News to express her gratitude to her knight in shining armor, for his prompt action in getting her help.

Kanab City Mayor Robert Houston happened to be waiting for a different riding group, the Red Rock Ride participants who were arriving the same day, when he observed the woman waiting for some emergency help.

“She had experienced a bad accident and was at the park entrance,” said Houston. “She looked as though she needed emergency help quickly.”

Houston drove the woman to the base of the Kaibab and met up with a Kane County ambulance that was enroute. He said it had been a long drive with the sick woman, and he was very concerned that she had experienced a bad head injury...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Endurance riders ride for love, not money

Vonnie Brown pauses on the trail to take in the scenery. Endurance riders often get to see places that the average person does not have access to.

Greatfallstribune.com - Full Article

Traci Rosenbaum , trosenbaum@greatfallstribune.com
October 4, 2016

Big Sky Country was settled by people on horseback, and the state has always been associated with the days when cowboys rode from horizon to horizon with just their horses for company.

A small group of local riders keep in touch with those Montana roots through a group called the American Endurance Ride Conference, an organization that sponsors 25- to 100-mile endurance rides across the country.

Endurance riding is a home-grown sport that started in the U.S. and has spread throughout the world since it was formalized in 1955. Riding takes a lot of time and money, and in rider Bill Miller’s experience, the average age of riders is 50-something, and most are retired or semi-retired...

Read more here:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

AERC 2017-18 Director-At-Large Nominations Close Tomorrow

AERC 2017-18 DIRECTOR-AT-LARGE NOMINATIONS close Friday, September 30. There is a full slate of candidates but it's not too late to toss your riding helmet into the ring.

Requirements: current AERC membership, a $5 nomination fee and a nomination statement (up to 600 words, due next week).

Call the AERC office until 4:00 Pacific today, 866-271-2372, or use our handy online nomination form:

Winding Trails: Sleeper competes in World Championships

NJ.com - Full Article

By Staff | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on September 28, 2016

SAMORIN, SLOVAKIA — The United States' Meg Sleeper and Tom Hagis gave a strong effort across a rugged five-loop course at the 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championships for Seniors on Saturday.

Although they rode with confidence, they were unable to overcome the vigorous challenges the course presented and were pulled at vet checks along the way...

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Blood on the Trail: The history that equine endurance racing will never escape is back to haunt it

Equusmagazine.com - Full Article

New book "American Endurance" looks back at the controversial roots of endurance racing in the United States

By Fran Jurga | 9/26/2016

When last week's FEI World Endurance Championships ("WECH")in Slovakia made the news for all the wrong reasons, echoes of endurance races of the past rumbled to the surface. For the past 125 years, organized equine endurance spectacles have pitted horses against fate. Thanks to FEI TV, we could all watch the WECH horses in action, acting out the latest chapter in endurance history, for better or worse.

This fall, that colorful and often controversial history will be spotlighted in a revealing new book that cannot--and should not--be ignored.

To be truthful, the only time we usually hear about endurance at the international level is when something goes wrong, and it usually has to go very wrong to attract the media's attention at all. How much worse can it get?

Last week, Ajayeb, the 15-year-old chestnut mare ridden by Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum (UAE), was euthanized on the trail, after she tripped and fell on the fourth loop of the track, suffering an irreparable injury to her right front leg. Fair-endurance.net reported that he mare allegedly slipped on a plastic water bottle discarded by riders who came before.

Victory celebrations for some countries stopped short when the first group of finishers didn't meet the veterinary inspection criteria. Two horses ridden by United Arab Emirates riders,Napoli Del Ma (Saif Ahmad Al Mazroui) and Quran El Ulm (Ganem Abdullah Al Merri), were vetted out and Uruguay’s LG Muneerah wasn’t presented by Jonatan Rivera Iriarte.

Grumbles and growls from around the world criticized the race on even more issues than direct welfare questions related to the fatality and the condition failure of the first to finish. Many competitors rode rented European horses that they did not own or even normally ride because the transport for their own horses was not paid for by the event.

The required FEI necropsy of the deceased horse was bypassed because the horse could not be transported across the border to Austria to undergo post mortem tests at the University of Vienna. According to news reports today in the British magazine Horse and Hound, the horse's remains were shipped to a crematorium instead.

All of this might have been written last week--or 100 years ago. Endurance--at least the American version of it--is about to look itself in the mirror when Random House Penguin's new book, American Endurance: The Great Cowboy Race and the Vanishing Wild West by Richard A. Serrano hits the bookstores...

Read more here:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 Distance Nationals 50 and CTR

September 25 2016

The 2016 Distance Nationals are underway in Vinita, Oklahoma, this weekend. They are being run in conjunction with the Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Ride.

Jacoby Hayes and DJBCC Mattingley Wizard won the AHA Purebred 50 Mile Championship in a ride time of 5:44. Terry Reed and TR Olena were second in 5:46, and Kathy Broads and Fougueux were third in 5:56. 9 out of 10 starters completed the ride.

Wendy Justice and Rococo Amber won the AHA Half/Anglo Arabian 50 Mile Championship in a ride time of 5:44. Louise Burton and CR Blonde Bombshell finished second in 6:12, and Kerry Lowrey and Takoda were third in 6:30. Junior Skylar Zortz and Rococco Safire finished 5th in 8:05. Five of six starters completed the ride.

All 3 starters completed the AHA Purebred CTR Championship, with Terryl Reed and TR Olena taking the Championship win with a score of 197. Deanne Prusak and TA Kaiser were Reserve Champions with a score f 194.

2 starters were in the Half/Anglo CTR Championship, with Taylor Walker and Backstreetstrutter GSA taking the Championship with a score of 193. Miranda Miller and Brittany Rolsthedice were Reserve Champions with a score of 188.

The 100 Mile ride is underway today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

14th Annual Arabian & Half-Arabian Sport Horse National Championships are Nampa, Idaho Bound

(16- Sept.-06) − AURORA, COLO. – The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) is celebrating the 14th anniversary of the Sport Horse National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show September 21 – 25, in Nampa, Idaho at the Ford Idaho Horse Park.

This horse show is unique - not just to the Arabian horse breed, but to other breeds as well. AHA is the only breed association that offers a Sport Horse only, National Show for its horses and exhibitors.

Arabian Sport Horses are known for their athleticism, strength and diversity and will showcase these abilities at the National Event. From Dressage to Hunter/Jumper, Pleasure Carriage Driving to In-Hand classes and much more, AHA invites the residents of Nampa and surrounding areas to come out and see the best equine athletes in the industry. Class sessions begin respectively at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The show is FREE to the public and also offers the Total Arabian Interactive Learning (T.A.I.L) tours on Thursday, September 22 at 6 p.m.; Friday, September 23 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and on Saturday, September 24 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Tours are FREE and open to all ages. Tours are led by an expert guide and invite attendees to participate in a behind-the-scenes view of the show. Kids and families on the tour will meet Arabian horses, watch classes and take home information on the Arabian horse. Contact AHA at youth@arabianhorses.org or call (303) 597-8251 to schedule a FREE tour of the facility and meet some Arabian horses!

Event attendees can learn more about the history of the Arabian horse by enjoying the Tour of Arabian Horse Legends: A Miniature Exhibit. The exhibit will be open daily and boasts a timeline of where the Arabian horse started, and where it is today.

Additionally, the Sport Horse National Show is hosting a silent auction to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa and the Arabian Horsemen’s Distress Fund (AHDF). Donation items, both equine and non-equine will be accepted at the horse show. AHA invites the community to participate in the auction and help to support these two organizations. Contact Dana.Bechtel@arabianhorses.org for more information on the Sport Horse Nationals Silent Auction.

For more information on AHA’s Sport Horse National Championship Horse Show, visit www.arabianhorses.org/shn.

Contact: AHA

Three Events – One Breed: Experience the Diversity of the Arabian Horse

(19-SEPT.-16) – AURORA, COLO. – Heralded as the most diverse and athletic horse on the planet, the Arabian horse excels in a variety of disciplines, all with grace and beauty. This week kicks off three prestigious events for the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) – the Arabian breed registry in North America.

First, on Wednesday, September 21, the 14th Annual Arabian & Half-Arabian Sport Horse National Championship kicks off at the Ford Idaho Horse Park in Nampa, ID. Running through the 25th of September, Sport Horse Nationals is the only Sport Horse show offered by a breed association.

From Dressage and Carriage Driving, to Hunter/Jumper and In-Hand classes, Sport Horse Nationals demonstrates the athletic diversity of the Arabian and Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian horse. A live-stream of the indoor arena can be viewed at www.ArabianHorseResults.com. Learn more about the show at www.ArabianHorses.org/SHN.

Then, on the evening of Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00 PM EST, the Arabian horse will be presented at the Arabian U.S. Open Horse Show, as part of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in New York City, New York. While not a national or rated show, this platform displays the Arabian horse on a worldwide stage, potentially to an audience that has never before experienced their magic.

Horses and riders at the Arabian U.S. Open attend by invitation only, with just eight classes offered: Arabian Mounted Native Costume, Arabian Junior Mare Halter, Hunter Pleasure Pro/Am, Arabian Junior Stallion Halter, Western Pleasure Pro/Am, Arabian Senior Mare Halter, Country English Pleasure Pro/Am and Arabian Senior Stallion halter.

This unique setting is a huge marketing opportunity for the Arabian breed and is presented by AHA and Aljassimya Farm. To learn more about this show, visit www.ArabianUSOpen.com. The show will be live-streamed Wednesday evening by the Arabian Horse Global Network on www.ArabianHorseResults.com.

Finally, on Thursday, September 22, the first ever multi-breed National Distance Ride will take place in Vinita, Ok. The AHA Distance Nationals has teamed up with the Appaloosa Horse Club for a four day competition that proves the endurance of the Arabian horse; challenges rider and horse teams to compete to their best ability; and awards hard work and determination.

The Arabian horse has dominated the Distance sport for years due to the breed’s stamina and natural endurance abilities. The event is comprised of a two day Competitive Trail Ride National Championship and a 50-mile and 100-miles National Endurance Championship Ride for both Purebreds and Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian horses, along with several open Endurance and Competitive Trail rides. Distance Nationals wraps up a year of hard work, determination and many miles for AHA distance riders and their horses. Learn more about the AHA Distance Nationals at www.ArabianHorses.org/DNL.

Three events – one amazing breed. The Arabian horse will truly set the standard this week for diversity and athleticism in motion. Endurance, Sport Horse, Halter and Performance horses will all prove to the world why the Arabian horse is the best – all within the same 48 hours!

To learn more about the most amazing breed on earth, visit www.ArabianHorses.org and discover the Arabian horse!

Contact: AHA

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Brandon Reed and BA Treacle Win Virginia City 100

September 18 2016

Brandon Reed and BA Treacle won the 49th annual Virginia City 100 endurance ride Saturday near Virginia City, Nevada. They finished at 10:55 PM. The start was 5 AM, in front of the Bucket of Blood Saloon in downtown Virginia City. The mare is owned by Hugh and Gloria Vanderford; Brandon rode her to a 14th place finish in the Wild West 50 in June, and a second place finish on the Camp Far West 50 on September 3.

BA Treacle also won the Best Condition award. High vet score went to 4th place MM Cody, ridden by Samantha Ellis.

44 riders started, 29 finished.

Interesting stats from the ride (thanks Lucy Trumbull!)
• Robert Ribley's 27th place finish was his 97th 100-mile finish
• Jamie Kerr finished 26th, after years of being head vet for the ride
• Carolyn Meiers completed her 10th VC 100. She sponsored
• Junior Alex Neihaus, who finished her 6th 100-mile ride this year!
• Gina Hall and Fire Mtn Destiny - Destiny's 12th VC 100 finish! an all-time record
• there were 11 first-time VC riders who completed
• Pat Chappell got her 17th VC 100 completion
• 5th place Suzanne Ford-Huff finished her 47th 100-mile ride
• NASTR Triple Crown winner (NV Derby 50 in the spring, NASTR 75 in the summer, and VC100 in the fall) - Leigh Bacco and Picante

Full results, photos can be seen here:

Saturday, September 17, 2016

2016 AERC National Championships in Utah: Riding With Buffalo - Part 3 (the 100)

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.

Just 17 starters in the AERC National Championship 100 on September 10, but it was a strong, competitive group. Riders left on the trail at 5 AM, dark.

Suzy Hayes and Greenbriar Al Jabal ("Atlas") led the way out, and yes, it was quite dark. "I couldn't see anything!" Suzy said later. "Like my husband says, 'It was darker than the inside of a cow!' I just had to trust Atlas and let him go." Just four miles out, she found herself splitting a herd of buffalo, but Atlas just carried on.

An expectant group gathered at the out vet check at the White Rock Bay parking lot: vets (head vet Olin Balch, Karen Balch, Greg Fellers, and Jared Christensen), vet students, who would be taking pulses and getting a taste of vetting at an endurance ride, crews, and friends of crews.

Out to watch and participate for the weekend was Robert Bouttier of Drinkers of the Wind Arabians, sponsor of the 50 and 100 Mile Championship winners and Best Condition, with custom blankets. Robert enjoyed jumping in to help Christoph at the vet checks; Christoph has partnered in the past on several successful horses bred by DWA Arabians.

Anya and Monk
It was a treat seeing Junior Anya Levermann's father, Peter, present at this ride. He was giving his wife Katrin a break for the weekend. Peter and Anya drove down from BC (Canada) in their car, taking two days to get here. Anya was riding Chris Martin's Monk, whom she rode to a 5th place in the Sunriver Classic 105 in June. I like to call the Levermanns endurance jet setters, as this year, Anya and, often, her mom, are traveling all over the country doing 100 mile endurance rides together, including the Titanium Run, Big Horn and Santiam Cascade. Anya is, in fact, tied with fellow Junior rider Alex Neihaus for the Junior National 100 mile award - both were at 405 miles before the National Championship. Alex was also riding this AERCNC 100 on her horse Airborne, with her grandmother Joyce and Joyce's newly minted Hall of Fame gelding, LV Integrity.

Alex and Airborne

The first riders began arriving into the first pulse-down-trot-and-go vet check at 14 miles in just under 1 1/2 hours. It's a flat, nice, rockless stretch that horses can move out on.

The leading riders into this first check were a hint as to how the finish would ultimately turn out late in the evening. Dean Hoalst (Pay Attention) and Melissa Ribley (Ever Ready) were the first to arrive, with Suzy Hayes close behind. Dean and Suzy pulsed down first ahead of Melissa. Just after them were Leah Cain (OT Dyamonte Santo), Pam Bailie (Bailie Skrit Ablane) and her sponsoree, Anya Levermann (Monk). After a gap of 9 minutes, Ann Hall (HCC Zara RR) pulsed down, followed by "the two Jennies," Jenni Smith (M Dash Stella) and Jennifer Waitte (M Dash Czoe), aboard Waitte's two homebred mares.

The rest of the riders trickled in over the next 23 minutes, a spread of 41 minutes between first and last: Christoph Schork (GE Pistol Annie), Alison Farrin (Shalimar Yukon), Kevin Waters (Belesemo Impressario), Joyce Sousa (LV Integrity) and her granddaughter Alex Niehaus (Airborne), Robert Ribley (Regret), Kecia Smette (LC Tripleplay) and Kathy Backus (Dynazel).

Thursday's 50-mile winner, Jill Haunold, helped crew for Dean Hoalst. Jill and Dean rode together for the first 14 miles of the 50. Dean had the smallest crew bag ever in the 100 mile ride. It was so small - it was packed for 4 out checks at this spot - ride management overlooked it off-loading everybody else's crew bags. In fact we were so astounded by Dean's tiny bag, that we rummaged through it, so that we could perhaps learn how not to pack body bags full of things for single out vet checks.

Seriously, look how small Dean's vet check bag is!!!

I mentioned in Part 1 how this ride was small in numbers, but big on friendly competition, and seemed like one big family. At this vet check, and throughout the day, while crews waited around for their own riders who were on trail, almost all of them jumped in to help other riders when they came in to the vet checks.

L-R: Leah, Anya, Pam
The horses headed out onto the mountain to finish their 14 mile loop, back into this out vet check for their first hour hold. Dean, Suzy, Leah, Pam, Anya, and Melissa were still within 3 minutes of each other at the end of the 14 miles. This group kept up their fast pace and left a gap between the next group of nearly 30 minutes. Ann and the Two Jennies arrived next, and unfortunately Jenni Smith's mount M Dash Stella was pulled for lameness. Jenni and Jennifer always have a good time riding together, "chattering away," Waitte said, but Waitte and Ann Hall teamed up the rest of the day, also having a great time together and chattering away whenever I came across them. The great smile never left Ann's face all day; she was thrilled to be riding on Antelope Island for the first time, and for the stars to align for her to be riding her beloved Zara in the Championship 100.

Following them 10 minutes later were Christoph, Kevin, and Alison. There was an approximate 45 minute gap back to Joyce and Alex, followed by Robert, Kecia, and Kathy.

Next was a 22 mile loop, back up the mountain for an abbreviated repeat of the previous loop, then the 12 mile stretch back to basecamp at 50 miles and another hour hold. The morning had started out quite chilly - cooler than all the previous mornings - but the day was quickly warming up and, with no wind, becoming the hottest day of the week.

Leading the way into camp at the 50 mile mark were Anya and Monk (he was full of beans today for Anya, who was riding him in a sidepull) and Pam and Bailie. Melissa and Leah, then Dean and Suzy, were hot on their tails. Leah's and Pam's horses pulsed down first; Pam would wait for Monk who pulsed down 4 minutes later, so it was Leah and Santo who would head out first on the second half of the hundred.

The next few miles were a long, hot climb up the south end of the island's mountain, 14 miles before the next water stop (it was impossible to haul water anywhere on this loop, "so make sure your horses are well hydrated before you leave camp," ride manager Jeff Stuart cautioned, "and ride accordingly"), and another 6 miles into the out vet check at 70 miles.

Leah and Melissa

All 6 of the front horses pulsed down within 5 minutes of each other and passed the vet check, cleared to go. But as the lunch stop went on, Dean was concerned that his horse wasn't eating. He opted to stay longer in the vet check, and eventually pulled rider option, because he decided it was not their day. Kathy Backus' horse Dynazel pulled here for lameness.

Suzy Hayes and Atlas left in second place on the next loop, but Atlas also had not eaten all that well at this vet check, which was unusual for him. So she was going to baby him the next stretch, ride him according to how he felt, and not push to stay in or near the lead.

Ride manager Jeff took me on the ATV on the start of this loop, the long, sometimes steep climb up this Sentry trail to the ridge on the southern half of the island, with a terrific view of the eastern half of the Great Salt Lake (and ridecamp far below) and the western half of the lake. I hung on for dear teeth-gritting life and thanked my lucky stars for a good driver and trusty ATV! We passed Ann and Zara, Jennifer and Czoe going up the hill; then we waited for them on top to trot on by us. Of course they wore big smiles on their faces. These two got a lucky glimpse of a few of the island's big horn sheep herd.

As Jeff and I headed back down on the ATV, we met Christoph, Kevin, and Alison coming up the mountain. Christoph and Kevin were on foot. Running. Uphill. In the heat. Christoph estimates he was off and running some 10-15 miles of the ride - his customary MO for endurance rides. (Kevin may have run double that; leaving the last out vet check in the late afternoon with 28 miles left, he walked and ran on foot, managing his horse who had earlier had an occasional hitch in his hind giddyup.)

First into the 70 mile out vet check for a 1 hour hold, just after 2 in the afternoon, was Leah and Monte, 2 minutes ahead of Pam and Bailie, Anya and Monk. Melissa and Ever Ready were another 2 minutes back, followed by Suzy and Atlas a minute later. The gap to the rest of the group was 52 minutes. There were still approximately 30 miles to go, where anything could happen, but these front runners still looked strong after this hot loop.

Ann and Jennifer arrived next. "That stretch was amazing," Ann enthused. "It was beautiful! We rode up to these big cliffs, and I watched Jen up ahead of me, and it looked like she was going straight up this rock wall." Those two were followed 40 minutes later by Christoph, Kevin and Alison. Still later were Joyce and Alex, Kecia, and Robert.

Heading out for one more loop in the mountains of around 14 miles, riders came back through the vet check for one more 20 minute hold. First in again was Leah, maintaining a two minute lead over Pam and Anya. Suzy Hayes and Atlas had moved into 4th, 5 minutes behind Monk. Atlas ate better at the out vet checks, and he perked up more as the weather got cooler. Suzy was letting him dictate his own pace. With only 7 minutes separating these top horses and riders, with 16 miles to the finish, and with the weather cooling down, any of them could arrive home first.

The sun fell behind the mountains, but it was still daylight when, at 6:52 PM, Leah Cain and OT Dyamonte Santo crossed the finish line in first place, in a ride time of 10:32. The pair was 2 minutes ahead of Pam Bailie and Bailie Skrit Ablane, and Junior Anya Levermann and Monk. Suzy Hayes and Greenbriar Al Jabal came in 4th, in a ride time of 10:51. Leah was first Lightweight, Pam was first Featherweight, Anya was first Junior.

There was almost an hour gap to 5th place Ann Hall (12,000 miles) and HCC Zara RR, 6th place Jennifer Waitte (10,000 miles) and M Dash Czoe, and 7th place Melissa Ribley (21,000 miles) and Ever Ready, in a ride time of 11:48. It was Jennifer's 23rd 100 mile completion, and Melissa's 53rd 100-mile completion.

Christoph Schork (30,000 miles) and GE Pistol Annie, coming off a 50 mile win at the Grand Canyon just 6 days earlier, finished 8th in a ride time of 13:18. Christoph was first Middleweight. Alison Farrin and Shalimar Yukon finished 9th in 13:19. Finishing 10th in 16:09, and first Heavyweight, was Kevin Waters (27,000 miles) and Belesemo Impressario. It was Kevin's 37th 100-mile completion.

The next three to finish, in 17:48, were a picture of perseverance. Junior Alex Niehaus and Airborne, her grandmother Joyce Sousa and LV Integrity, and Kecia Smette and LC Tripleplay, were worth waiting up for. Leaving the last out vet check, Joyce and Alex actually went off trail up on the mountain - not their fault, because some kind bicyclists had pulled over and stopped to let them by - and had stopped in front of the red pie plate indicating a turn. People far below in the vet check actually saw them going the wrong way, and a series of frantic texts were sent to Joyce, but Joyce didn't see them until they'd gone several miles out of the way. So you can call that a 105+ mile ride they completed!

The completion was Alex's 5th 100-mile ride of the season. When I need advice on how to ride 100's, I am going to talk to 15-year-old Anya Levermann and 14-year-old Alex!

LV Integrity: what more can be said about this 23-year-old Hall of Fame horse that hasn't been said already? This was his 40th 100-mile completion, out of 46 100-mile starts. Some horses don't have an entire career with a record of 40 out of 46 starts at any distance. His mileage stands at 9845 miles over 18 seasons. No wonder he's in the Hall of Fame. (To read more on Joyce and LV Integrity, see From Bucker to Blessing, written after he reached 9000 miles last December.)

Not to mention it was Joyce's 90th 100-mile completion, and she has two horses in the Hall of Fame (Ritz and Jim Bob), but this 24,000-mile rider would always rather talk about her amazing horse anyway.

LC Tripleplay, on the other hand, completed only his second 100-mile ride in the Championship. But who knows, Ritz probably gave him plenty of endurance tips on the trail under the moonlight!

The final rider was Robert Ribley and Regret, a leggy handsome 17-year-old chestnut gelding in his 10th season of endurance, who is now 5 for 5 in the 100-mile ride department. Not to mention Robert is another AERC Hall of Famer (Pard'ners Award in 2009 with Tari), a 35,000-mile rider, and it was Robert's 96th 100-mile completion.

Next morning, 6 of the Top Ten horses showed for Best Condition: Leah Cain and OT Dyamonte Santo, Anya Levermann and Monk, Suzy Hayes and Greenbriar Al Jabal, Ann Hall and HCC Zara RR, Melissa Ribley and Ever Ready, and Christoph Schork and GE Pistol Annie.

It was Leah's OT Dyamonte Santo who won Best Condition, and Melissa's Ever Ready who won High Vet Score.

So it was a small but excellent field of horsemen and horses who contested the 2016 AERC National Championships at the beautiful, unique, and challenging Antelope Island State Park. Head vet Olin Balch complimented the horses and riders at the awards ceremony. "You all did a fabulous job as riders. There were no treatments on the 50 or 100."

Though Dudley and I finished next to last on the 50 on Thursday, it truly was an honor to be in such estimable company on the endurance trail.

top photo: Leah and Santo trotting out at the out vet check