Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Belesemo Arabians: Beautiful and Enduring

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Call it a fluke, or divine intervention, but the chestnut yearling that 15-year-old Kim Frerichs Johnson picked for his beauty in 1973 at Idaho's War Eagle Arabians was destined to become the foundation sire for a successful line of purebred Arabians and the dream of a lifetime. Her parents presented her with this colt, Belesemo Trad, as a surprise for her 16th birthday.

I met with Kim at her Belesemo Arabians ranch, in Caldwell, Idaho, on a May afternoon. Lulls in activity are rare during and after foaling season, but she took a break from her non-stop work to talk with me.

"Trad was never picked because of his outstanding conformation, because of his outstanding pedigree, or any of that," she told me. "It was a total fluke. It was not something that was planned. Actually, I don't call it a fluke. It was a blessing."

"Belesemo Trad was simply a fantasy, larger than life," Kim wrote about the flashy chestnut in 1985. "He was the culmination of all my dreams after reading stories such as King of the Wind and the Island Stallion. He was perfection personified."

"Belesemo" is Italian for "beautiful," and Belesemo Trad (Las Trad X Alla Mem, by Alla Kas) was certainly that, with his 4 perfect stockings and perfect blaze. Kim and Trad had a successful show career in high school and college back in the late '70s and early '80s when the class A show ring was huge. "He was very, very versatile," Kim said. "He won 5 different divisions, and neither one of us knew what we were doing. We had no professional training. We just watched all the videos and went to all the clinics we could. He was the true all-around Arabian."

Trad was left a stallion, simply because Kim and her parents never gelded him. "There wasn't a person in the horse industry who didn't tell my folks he should be gelded, because I was a young girl with a stallion. And I totally understand why they all thought that. It was just kind of assumed he would be gelded, because he was supposed to be my show horse in the future. But we never got around to it."

He was not an easy horse to handle. "He was a very tough horse from the aspect of he had a mind of his own. He wasn't mean; there wasn't a mean bone in his body. But he was tough, which I think is the reason it stood him in good stead in his offspring, their toughness on the trail later."

After Belesemo Trad started winning in the show ring, people became interested in breeding to him, even though Kim and her family had no place to stand him at stud. He was 9 when his first foals hit the ground. Endurance riding was nowhere on Kim's radar at the time, but those genes for natural endurance talent would still find their way to the surface in many of his offspring.

One of Trad's first foals was out of his full sister, Krija Beden. "That's not even something I could consider now! But she was one of the only purebred mares I could find at the time," Kim said.

The resulting filly from this cross, Belesema Flirtasia, became an outstanding endurance horse. Ridden her first 2 full seasons by Bob and Arlene Morris, she was then bought by Dean and MJ Jackson, of Idaho. Dean took Belesema Flirtasia on to over 4100 AERC miles, and several national titles including National AERC Mileage Champion, and National AERC Best Condition Champion, in addition to numerous Regional awards.

Belesema Flirtasia was the first horse of Trad's that did well, but by the time she started showing her best stuff, she was 9 and 10 years old, which made Belesemo Trad 19 and 20 before he started getting discovered as an endurance sire.

"Trad came to that late in life, simply because breeding for endurance was not something people did at that time, unless you were Rushcreek, or HCC [Hyannis Cattle Company]. We didn't really know anything about endurance until his offspring started doing really well."

A number of endurance horses sired by Belesemo Trad during his late demand as an endurance stallion garnered impressive records and awards throughout their careers.

Belesemo Tradition (out of Velvet Dawn), owned by Dean and MJ Jackson, earned over 5300 AERC miles, and titles of National AERC Mileage Champion, National AERC Husband/Wife Team Champion, 18 Best Condition awards, and an 8th place Tevis Cup finish. Belesemo Bolero has over 3500 miles. Belizair, Belesemo Legacy, and Kismet Flashdance have crossed the 2000 mile mark; and a number of offspring have reached over 1000 AERC miles.

Belesemo Trad also sired numerous successful offspring in the show ring, with Belesemo Epic+++/ topping the list, receiving many National Sport Horse awards, and going on to become a successful sire himself.

Tragically, Kim's foundation stallion died in 1997. "When I lost Trad, that was extremely tough," she said. "I lost him the day before he turned 25, and I lost him before I got any mares bred to him that spring. So I had the last foal crop coming from him, and that was all that drug me back out to the barn, because I just couldn't go out there and see his stall empty."

Belesemo Magic (by Belesemo Trad out of Zimara, by Gazi) stood at stud at the ranch beside his sire until his death in 2014 at the age of 33. Despite standing in the shadow of his sire for many years, Belesemo Magic also became a successful sire of sport horses and endurance horses, with several AERC National Champions to his credit. "Magic represented the best of the Belesemo Arabians breeding program. He added the quiet, gentle spirit that Belesemo Arabians have become known for from his wonderful line-bred Abu Farwa dam, Zimara."

Kim still has 2 of Belesemo Trad's sons standing at her ranch, carrying on his legacy. Belesmo Image is 25. He's out of Farweyna, one of 5 Abu Farwa granddaughters that Dirk and Kim obtained in the early 1980's to breed to Trad. "Nobody wanted the mares anymore because they were over 20 years old. Belesemo Image is the last foal out of those old foundation mares." Image carries old line CMK/Davenport pedigree that features close-up breeding. His foals inherit his size and substance and are finding success on the endurance trails and in the show ring.

The other son of Belesemo Trad standing at the ranch is 19-year-old Belesemo Ibn Trad (out of Velvet Dawn). He's a full brother to Belesemo Tradition, mentioned above. Ibn Trad's offspring are on the way to success on the endurance trails and in the show ring, but, Kim said, "at 19, he is really just now getting a chance to produce some bigger foal crops.

"It takes SO LONG," Kim said. "People don't understand, when you're trying to prove a stallion in endurance, they're only 5 when they start competing, and they may not get good till they're 10. And most stallions are not bred when they're out running on the trail, because you don't know how good they are. So usually they don't even get a chance to start siring endurance horses till their mid-teens. And by that time it takes another 5 to 6 years before their offspring are doing well, so consequently these horses are 20-some years old before they become established endurance sires.

"Breeding is a waiting game. It's a lifetime commitment, and unless you have a passion for it, you don't get into it."

Kim currently stands two other stallions at Belesemo Arabians.

BR Gold Sovereign (*Seffer x PR Silvern Dream), a winning National Sport Horse, is an almost 100% pure Crabbet Arabian stallion from Sojourn Arabians in Pulaski, Tennessee. The 15.1 hand stallion provides a great outcross for the continuation of the performance and sport horse halter blood lines sought by Belesemo Arabians. He is also a Breeders Sweepstakes Nominated Stallion.

Belesemo Obsidian (RD Arizon x Velvet Dawn) is a Class A Reserve Grand Champion Futurity Stallion and the Idaho Breeder's Champion Futurity Stallion at halter. He is a paternal sibling to National Champion endurance stallion BA Fantizon, and out of the same dam as AERC National Champion Belesemo Tradition, making him both a maternal and paternal sibling to AERC champions. He has already sired halter, pleasure driving, and trail winners.

Belesemo Arabians produces a few select foals from proven matings every year, and the ranch primarily deals in selling young stock.

Kim points out that the Arabian breeding industry is going through a metamorphosis. "When I was getting into this in the 1980s we were breeding 35,000 purebred Arabians a year. Every decade that is halved. In 1990 it went to 17,500. In 2000 it went to 8500. In 2010 it went to 4500. But now, 2015, it was just over 3000 in the whole United States."

If one can assume two-thirds of those 3000 Arabians were bred for the show ring and likely don't have the bone or feet or mind or conformation for work, that probably eliminates a good number for the endurance trails. And with several major breeding programs now gone (Hyannis Cattle Company, Rushcreek, Suzie Creek Arabians), and the recent deaths of major players in the breeding industry (Al Marah's Bazy Tankersly, Varian Arabian's Sheila Varian, Om El Arab International's Sigi Constanti), the numbers of purebred Arabians available with long-established, proven bloodlines diminishes. Belesemo Arabians strives to continue Belesemo Trad's validated lines.

It keeps Kim busy, with around 50 head of horses at all times on the ranch. "You just can't leave. Horses are horses. Invariably they colic, they get upside down cast, they get out - it's just the nature of the beast."

Kim could not run the ranch, weather the storms, and enjoy the successes without her husband Dirk. "By nature he is not a horse lover. He's a farmer. He just doesn't have that empathy with the horse type thing that all the rest of us do. He just does it for me.

"He has been my literal absolute mainstay. He takes care of all the facilities, he irrigates all the pastures, he catches all the gophers, he changes all the hands lines, he hauls all the hay. He's given wings to my dream as far as it being a breeding program.

"I could only do so much of that on my own. I can't do the breeding program, I can't take care of the horses, I can't handle the horses, I can't foal the mares, I can't breed the mares, I can't daily handle the babies. I can't do all that - a full time job - and take care of the place. So I'm very sensitive to his ability to keep me going all the time as well. It's a pretty big undertaking.

"The day he says 'I'm done,' then I'm done."

But they'll still be around for the foreseeable future, breeding and raising excellent purebred Arabian endurance and sport horses, continuing the lines of her foundation stallion beautiful Belesemo Trad.

"Trad was something that we didn't set out and search for a foundation stallion for a breeding program. But it was obviously the Lord's plan. Just because of the unique individual he was, he became very dominant as a sire of that type of horse.

"I have been so blessed, and there have been so many neat people that I've met in the sport that ride our horses. We've made some life-long friends through it."

For more information on Belesemo Arabians, see:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Application Extended for AERC Ann Ayala Junior Scholarship


May 23 2016

AERC Juniors and Young Riders in good standing from their high school senior year through age 21 (must be younger than 22 as of 1/1/2016) are invited to apply for the 2016 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship. The deadline has been extended to June 1.

Applicants must have a minimum of 500 AERC lifetime miles and an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0. Applications will be reviewed by the AERC Hall of Fame Committee.

One scholarship of $1000 will be awarded, and the recipient will be announced at the AERC Annual Convention in 2017

Get your applications in by June 1!

Application is here:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Support Juniors at NAJRYC

NAJYRC Fundraising

With your support, AERC young riders will compete at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships this July at the Colorado Horse Park. Please consider making a donation. Check out the YoungRiders.org Flyer.

The Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) is the premier equestrian competition in North American for junior and young riders, age 14-21. Young equestrians vie for team and individual medals in the 3 Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, venting, the Para-Olympic discipline of para-dressage and the FEI Equestrian Games disciplines of reining and endurance.

Friday, May 20, 2016

New AERC Decade Team - Karen Bumgarner & Z Summer Thunder

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

May 19 2016
by Karen Bumgarner

The Owyhee River Challenge endurance ride marked Thunder's and my tenth year of completing AERC rides. Thunder is my second AERC decade horse. Zapped+/ was my first.

Back when Karen Chaton interviewed us about Zap and our Decade award, a question asked was "In choosing my next horse what would I look for?" I replied that I already had him. Thunder was two yrs old then, I'd owned his mother, Rushcreek Hollie, and his sire, Z Mufaurwa. He was born with that attitude that you knew would make him a good tough horse...

Read more here:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Volunteer at the 2016 Tevis!


Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Tevis Cup Ride. About 800 people participate each year on Ride Day – more than four per rider! The Ride is a huge effort that relies completely on volunteers. There are Head Volunteers who provide the leadership for each of the many vet checks, as well as other areas of Ride activity. These "HV's" necessarily operate with a good deal of independence, but under the overall guidance and coordination of the Ride Director and the Core Ride Committee. The need for volunteers in some areas may not be known until late in the weeks leading up to Ride Day.

There are many jobs available for the 800 volunteers who help out each year, everything from mixing mash and holding horses, to directing vehicles or helping the vets. This event would not happen each year without AWESOME volunteers like you! 

Sign up at

2016 Tevis Sweep Riders Sign Up

Would you like to be a sweep rider for Tevis? 
Did you know that you have to qualify? 

Go to the website for Sweep Riders of the Sierra at http://www.sweepriders.org . They are always in need of good riders on good horses and it is a good way to see different sections of the Western States Trail, on the day of the ride! There is helpful information on their website and calendar dates are listed for meetings, training, and qualifying. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Applications Available for 2016 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award

USEFNetwork.com - Full Article

RELEASE: May 11, 2016
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. - The search is underway for 2016 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Youth Sportsman's Award nominees. The award recognizes young equestrians who exhibit exceptional leadership potential, serve as positive role models for peers, demonstrate an ongoing commitment and dedication to the promotion of equestrian sport, exhibit substantial community involvement, and exemplify positive sportsmanship principles.

The overall winner of the 2016 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award will receive a $1,000 grant payable to the educational program of his/her choice and a commemorative trophy. The winner will also be nominated for the USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year Award. The reserve winner will receive a $500 grant payable to the educational program of choice.

Applications are available online at usef.org or through any USEF Recognized National Affiliate Association or International Discipline Association. Required materials should be submitted directly to the applicant's respective USEF Recognized National Affiliate Association or International Discipline Association and received by the respective office on or before September 1, 2016. Each USEF Recognized Affiliate may select a National Winner, who will be considered for the overall award.

To be considered for the 2016 USEF Youth Sportsman's Award, applicants must:

· Have a current membership in good standing with the USEF
· Have a current membership in good standing with a USEF Recognized Association or International Discipline Association
· Be 17 years of age or under, as of December 1, 2015
· Demonstrate an ongoing commitment and dedication to the promotion of equestrian sport
· Serve as a positive role model for peers
· Participate at any level of competition, including local, regional, or national events
· Exemplify community invovlement
· Exhibit characteristics that exemplify positive sportsmanship principles

For more information regarding the USEF Youth Sportsman's Award, please contact Natalie Norwood, Director, National Breed/Discipline Affiliates, via email at nnorwood@usef.org or call (859) 225-6951.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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

Horsesinthemorning.com - Listen in

May 10 1026

On today's AERC Endurance Episode Endurance Episode Karen's hair raising road trip prompts a discussion about cameras with Distance Depot's Kristen, Mike from Redmond Equine talks about bentonite clay, Dr. Mero updates us on the AERC's drug policy and horse heroes Devan Horn and Justin Nelzen tell us about anew ride in Africa. Listen in...

Listen here:

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Best of the Best 100 Competition


A new AERC ride has just been sanctioned for 2019. You must have 5 - 100 mile rides SAME HORSE AND RIDER. One of those must be a top ten finish/completion. 2 of the completions may be Pioneer rides with all days completed, but may not count as the top ten completion. Lifetime records will count!

Our hope is that it will move around the country and will be held every 2-3 years. This will save from volunteer burnout and hope to get riders excited about setting goals and meeting them.

The US fielded the best teams when the old Race Of Champions was held, and it is our belief that it was because there were more 100 mile riders out there to choose from. We want to see that happen again.

The first Best of the Best 100 will be held in Ridgecrest, California on October 12 by ride manager Cindy Simcox. For more information contact Cindy at quadequine@wyoming.com or Becky Hackworth at bechack@yahoo.com.

2016 AERC Specialized Saddles Rookie Award

All new AERC members are invited to apply for the first-ever Specialized Saddles Rookie Award -- for riders who have not entered any AERC rides of 25 miles or more before 12/1/15. Great prizes for the top 3 in both LD and endurance divisions.

Sign up by May 31, 2016 to be eligible for this High Mileage Award for Rookie AERC members. The award is based on one rider and one or two equines. Equines must be a minimum of 6 years old at the start of the first sanctioned ride. In the event of a tie, the higher number of completions will break the tie. Second tie-breaker will be the higher number of longer ride completions (55 miles and up). Riders with a completion rate of less than 80% at the end of the season will be ineligible for the Rookie Award.

For more information and to register, see

Western States Trail to be Captured by "Street-View" Imagery

Trailrunner.com - Full Article

The American Trail Running Association is partnering with the Google Maps team to capture 360 degree panoramic “street-view” imagery of the entire Western States Trail using the Street View Trekker backpack.

Our expedition will take place the week before the 2016 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run on June 25. Led by our Director of Online Marketing, Richard Bolt, and supported by several prominent ATRA corporate members, the expedition will be documented by iRunFar and experienced trail running race photographer Mike Hermsmeyer. iRunFar will be publishing exclusive stories about the Western States Trail as a companion to the Street View images.

Once the street-view imagery has been processed, it will be embedded into this webpage as well as onto selected sponsor websites. Stay tuned for a Go-LIVE announcement online & from our booth at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 3-6.

Follow us on social media feeds & subscribe to our Trail News blog to get updates from the team as they traverse 100 miles of rugged Sierra Nevada mountain trails from Squaw Valley to Auburn, California.

See more at: