Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Antelope Island State Park: Extraordinary Setting for AERC National Championships

August 30 2016

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

When you come to Antelope Island for the AERC National Championships on September 8-10, you'll be riding in "one of Utah's most extraordinary parks," according to Lonely Planet.

Inside the Great Salt Lake, the island was established as a State Park in 1981. Originally used as a cattle and sheep ranch in the 1840's, the island is now home to one of the largest bison herds in the country, as well as herds of deer, pronghorn antelope (the island got its name when Kit Carson and John C Frémont hunted them in the 1800's) and bighorn sheep.

"The island is only 16 miles long, 4 miles wide," said ride manager Jeff Stuart. "The entire island is a state park. They do a great job of managing it in terms of access, wildlife, and tourism."

Ridecamp will be at the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, originally established in 1848 by Mormon pioneers and one of the oldest working ranches in the Western US. The 50 mile ride on Thursday will have 3 loops, with one out vet check and one vet check in camp. The 100 mile ride on Saturday will consist of 6 loops between 14 and 21 miles, with 4 out vet checks (at the same spot) and one vet check in camp. Finish for both rides will be in camp.

"Trails are long sections of flat/rolling with about 6 climbs up over the spine of the island," Stuart said. "Elevation goes from 4000 to 4800 feet above sea level. Footing is really good in most places, with some sections of rock that are easily traveled at a slower pace. Hoof protection is a must. Over the course of the ride, you will circumnavigate the entire island."

Scenery on and around Antelope Island State Park ranges to the spectacular, from Frary Peak - the highest point on the island at 6594 feet, to the Wasatch Range in the east, to sunsets over the Great Salt Lake in the west.

Long range forecast predicts mid to upper 70's during the days, and mid 50's at night, with no rain in the forecast.

Deadline for registration is September 5. To register, or for more information, see:

Run for AERC Director-at-Large

August 30 2016

Nominations are open for the eight AERC Directors-at-Large positions, now through 9/30/16. Online nominations are available. The term will be from March 11, 2017, to the 2019 AERC Convention. We anticipate at least a couple of open seats, and all current directors who plan to run must also re-nominate. You can nominate by phone to the AERC office, 866-271-2372, or using this online form. (You may nominate yourself or another person). Thanks for your consideration!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Horseback riders come together in Conover for long-distance endurance ride

WJFW.com - Full Article


Conover - Normally when you think of horse races, you think short sprints, but that wasn't the case in Conover on Saturday.

The Northern Highland Endurance Ride brought riders from all over the Northwoods together.

"Often you're out there alone and it's just you and your horse," said longtime rider and veterinarian Taryn Lindbeck.

She says riders and horses share a bond that's strengthened with each mile of long-distance endurance riding.
"It's really a partnership. It's not just the person competing on a horse. It's really the two of you competing together," said Lindbeck...

Read more here:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The 1976 Great American Horse Race Was Won By A Mule Named Lord Fauntleroy

Atlasobscura.com - Full Article

The ultimate underdog story.

By Cara Giaimo AUGUST 08, 2016

On May 31st, 1976, about 200 well-muscled animals lined up in Frankfort, New York, ready for the race of a lifetime. Bred to perfection, there were Arabian stallions, arch-necked and strong-boned and favored to win by almost all observers and Icelandic ponies, famous for their smooth gait and Viking pedigree. There were the tall Irish thoroughbreds, and there were striking Appaloosas.

And then there was Lord Fauntleroy the mule.

Lord Fauntleroy—"Leroy" for short—was the choice steed of Virl Norton, a steeplejack from San Jose, California. Along with their many rivals, Norton, Leroy, and his backup mule, Lady Eloise, were set to travel 3,500 miles through 13 states for the "Great American Horse Race." They would challenge history, expectations, and a whole lot of fancy horses.

The United States spent 1976 gripped by a sort of bicentennial fever. Stir-crazy after 200 years of freedom, citizens nationwide took the opportunity to throw themselves into patriotic passion projects. America has always been sweet on its own land, and many of these tributes took the form of long, winding journeys across it. Millions turned out to watch the Freedom Train, a traveling museum that chugged through 48 states, and nautical parades, in which tall ships sailed up the coast, flags flying. Railroads companies even gave regular trains new paint jobs, sending them criss-crossing the country in red, white and blue.

Into this atmosphere high-stepped the Great American Horse Race. Dreamed up by Chuck Waggoner and Randy Scheiding, two horse-loving salesmen from the Midwest, the race offered a more historically authentic nationalist experience, molded on that of early European settlers, who lacked trains and automobiles. "This race will give people a chance to see the country in a way it has not been seen in 100 years," Waggoner told the Los Angeles Times before it began...

Read more here:

What's It Like To Compete In A 10-Day, 600-Mile Horse Race?

WBUR.org/Hereandnow - Listen in

Last month, Here & Now spoke with a U.S. Air Force captain departing for Mongolia to compete in the world's longest and toughest horse race. The Mongol Derby spans more than 600 miles and takes about 10 days. Tim Finley is a U.S. Air Force captain and was a first-time rider in this year's Mongol Derby.

Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti checks in with Capt. Tim Finley to see how he did.

Listen to the interview:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Entry Deadline for AERC National Championships Extended

August 24 2016

The deadline for entering the September 8-10 National Championship Endurance Ride at Antelope Island, Utah, has been extended to September 5. You must pre-enter for the September 8th 50 mile Championship and the September 10th 100 mile Championship. A 25 mile non-championship ride will be held on September 9th.

"We welcome any and all entries," said ride manager Jeff Stuart.

Antelope Island State Park is one of 10 islands in the Great Salt Lake, and home of a herd of bison, big horn sheep, and antelope. The island is at 4200' at the shoreline, with Frary Peak the island's highest point at 6,596 feet.

For an entry form, see:

Ellen Olson and Bey Gibby Withdraw from 2016 Longines/FEI World Endurance Championships


RELEASE: August 24, 2016
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation has announced that Ellen Olson has withdrawn her and Jeremy Olson’s 2001 Arabian gelding, Bey Gibby, from the 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championships due to veterinary concerns. Although, there is not a definite timeline for Bey Gibby’s return to competition, Olson looks forward to competing with the gelding following recovery.

As a result, Olson (La Motte, Iowa) will not substitute a horse for the competition so the following combinations will represent the United States as individuals:

Thomas Hagis (Fries, Va.) and his own Indian Reinman, a 2006 Arabian gelding

Dr. Margaret Sleeper (Frenchtown, N.J.) and her own Shyrocco Rimbaud, a 2006 Anglo Arabian gelding

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members. Without the support of these organizations and individuals, it would not be possible to support U.S. athletes. The USEF is especially grateful to individuals who give generously of their time and money to support the equestrian teams.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

From shore to shore: Marine City's Humble enjoys epic ride across state

Thetimesherald.com - Full Article

Joseph Hayes, Times Herald
August 22, 2016

It was quite the adventure.

Teachers find many things to do over the summer as they enjoy a vacation far removed from their classrooms. Some might keep it simple, but Marine City High School Spanish teacher and track and field coach Kristen Humble always seems to find an adventure.

For the fourth year, Humble participated in the Michigan Trail Riders Association event that took her on a 240 mile excursion over 16 days from Oscoda on the east side of the state all of the way to the city of Empire on the west side of the state.

"It started out as a lifelong bucket list dream," said Humble, who graduated from Marysville High School in 1999. "I think that is how it begins for a lot of people. You want to ride your horse that far and you have it in your mind as a destination journey...

Read more here:

A Mount Laurel veterinarian and her horse prepare to take on endurance event

Burlingtoncuntrytimes.com - Full Article

By Kristen Coppock
August 22 2016

Riding 100 miles on horseback in Europe is just what the doctor ordered for herself.
A veterinarian and accomplished equestrian, Meg Sleeper is preparing to compete next month in the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016 with her appaloosa, Shyrocco “Rim” Rimbaud. Held at the Samorin Equestrian Center in Slovakia, the event runs Sept. 15-18 and features some of the world’s most committed athletes.

“It’s an event that’s done in one day, usually about 12 hours,” said Sleeper, whose practice is affiliated with the Mount Laurel Animal Hospital. “There are multiple checks along the way. Horses are evaluated to make sure they’re fit to go on...”

Read more here:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Racehorse to trail horse – 800 Miles on the Arizona Trail

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

Pamela Burton

Carol Fontana found her dream partner in ex-racehorse Tiki Barber to ride the scenic Arizona trails - 800 mile of trails

21 August 2016, Arizona ~ Carol Fontana riding Tiki Barber completed the final segment of a remarkable ride on 15 August 2016, finishing the 800-mile Arizona Trail with the ride down the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona to the bottom, then up the other side to the South Rim.

“I rode the entire Arizona Trail solo and my husband served as my crew with occasional help from friends,” said Fontana. “We began at the Mexican border near the Coronado National Monument. \We were on the trail about 2-1/2 months, although it took about 4 months all together as we had to return to Prescott several times for personal matters and had to wait out wildfires on two occasions plus some monsoon rains. I saved the grand finale for the Grand Canyon, and it was a perfect way to end it. Of course, the views are astonishing, particularly at sunrise and sunset. We saw both.”

“To avoid the heat of the day, I often rode very early,” Fontana explained. “In the case of the GC, I started at Kaibab North Rim in the late afternoon and arrived at Phantom in the evening. I got a bit of sleep on a picnic table at a private horse camp with hitching rails. No corral unless you are a mule. We left at 5:00 a.m. and arrived at Kaibab South Rim at 9:30 am...”

Read more here:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coronadan Shines In Her First Ever American Endurance Ride Conference

Coronadonewsca.com - Full Article

August 19, 2016

Coronadan Camelia Tzadok, 11, entered her very first 25 mile endurance ride and won the most coveted and sought after award, “Best Condition” in the American Endurance Ride Conference.

This is an adult dominated sport which is taxing on the horse and the rider, requiring good horsemanship throughout the ride. Camelia was one of the youngest participants and one of the few children to ride. The ride took place in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in Descanso, Ca, and includes difficult rocky terrain and stream crossings.

To win the highly desired “Best Condition” award, the horse must be given the highest marks in 12 categories by veterinarians at each vet check. Because of this, the rider’s focus is on the health of the horse, not being the first to finish. Riders must finish the ride in six hours to be considered having completed the ride. Riders are required to get their horses checked by veterinarians three times during the competition. The vet check is detailed and is used to ensure that the horse is fit to continue the ride...

Read more here:

Lynne Glazer Imagery captures the Tevis Cup experience

Lynne Glazer’s images are anything but cookie-cutter. Her specialty is horses in motion, whether at liberty, in sport or portraits on the move. She is one of five sanctioned Tevis Cup photographers who was there to record this year’s 2016 Tevis Cup winner crossing the finish line, local woman, Dr. Karen Donley. Photo courtesy Anzavalleyoutlook.com - Full Article

By Newsroom on August 19, 2016

Lynne Glazer Imagery captures the Tevis Cup experience as one of the five sanctioned photographers for the event.

This is not an easy task as most of the trail is too remote to be reached by any form of vehicle. One either walks in or rides in to capture the great shots along the Tevis Cup Trail.

Long fascinated with the form and spirit of the horse, in 2003 Glazer began shooting professionally. Lynne’s images are anything but cookie-cutter. Her specialty is horses in motion, whether at liberty, in sport or portraits on the move. Other areas of interest are horses with their people, companion animals and livestock.

Her work has ranged from catalog covers to clinicians’ books and websites, newspapers, magazines and equine product catalogs. Lynne travels for event photography, as well as for farm and ranch shoots...

Read more here:

Friday, August 19, 2016

AERC Board Members Convene for Mid-Year Meeting

August 19 2016

AERC Board Members are gathering in Dallas, Texas this weekend for the mid-year meeting. They will be discussing the Midyear Draft Agenda, which you can see here:


USEF Youth Sportsman's Award Applications Due September 1, 2016


RELEASE: August 18, 2016
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. - Applications for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Youth Sportsman's Award are being accepted through September 1, 2016. Applications must be submitted to a USEF Recognized National Affiliate Association or an International Discipline Association.

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

Applications are available online at usef.org or through any USEF Recognized National Affiliate Association or International Discipline Association. Required materials are to be submitted directly to the applicant's respective USEF Recognized National Affiliate Association or International Discipline Association and received by their 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.

This award recognizes young equestrians who serve as positive role models through their commitment to equestrian sport and exemplify positive sportsmanship principles.

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
· Be involved with their community
· Exhibit characteristics that exemplify positive sportsmanship principles

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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

AERC Fall Membership Special

August 17 2016

Ready to get started in endurance riding? Join the American Endurance Ride Conference with our Fall Special and your membership will be active through11/30/17! Cost is $88.75 ($25 for 2016/$63.75 for 2017). Join by Monday morning, August 22, and you'll be on the mailing list for the September Endurance News (and you'll want to get it, it's a great issue!). https://aerc.org/AERC_FallSpecial

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Three Weeks till the AERC National Championships

August 17 2016

We are only about 3 weeks away from National Championship ride and have started to receive ride entries. Please keep them coming in to us. The entry deadline is August 26th. We (Management) want to keep you as updated as possible on the event and will try and post as often as needed.

As many of you know/heard there was a wildfire on the island that was started by lightning. Although 1/2 the island was burnt the pasture where we hold RideCamp at Garr Ranch was not. Jeffrey L. Stuart and I where just out there and although there are some spots that are now a little darker then others, the trails still look good and will be ready to go for the ride.

Things you need to know-

*RideCamp will be held at Garr Ranch (same as the spring ride if you were there) in the pasture. There will be plenty of parking even for the biggest rig down to my old school rig.

*The camping fee for the island is $15 a night and will be paid at the guard house as you come onto the island. This is an island fee that is charged by the island.

*Wynne Teeter (many of you know her from City of Rocks & Steph Teeter's rides) has agreed to travel down to us and prepare wonderful meals for the NC. She will be putting together a wonderful menu for us and will have breakfast, lunch & dinners to purchase on days you are not riding & for your support crew.

*Steve Bradley will be coming to the NC as our photographer. He has a unique eye for taking photos and does an amazing job. Most of you will recall the finish line photo Steve took at City of Rocks. His pictures have been in Endurance News more times then I can count. We look forward to having Steve with us.

*We will have water for your horses at RideCamp, but please bring people drinking water. We will have horse water on the trails and at vet check.

*There will be one out vet check (White Rock Bay) that will be utilized thought the ride. There is also a stop (freary peak) that will have horse water and potties if needed. Easy access for support crew. The other vet check will will be in camp. We will provide hay and water for your horses.

*We will have a dumpster at RideCamp for all horse and people trash. This is a state park so we have been asked to leave that park as we found it. That means all horse extras need to be cleaned and in the dumpster before you leave.

*We do a few corrals that can be rented for the NC. The fee is $10 a night and MUST be paid with your ride entry. I will post when all corrals have been rented.

*We will have potties in RideCamp, but the island does provide a FREE dump station if you would like to use your own and dump before you leave.

*On September 9th we will be offering a non NC LD & our first ever 25 mile Ride & Tie. The LD entry is already posted on the NC entry and the Ride & Tide entry will follow soon. Please remember if you do not have a current AERC membership card with you that you will be charged a $15 day use fee in addition to your entry fee. All Ride & Tie entries MUST have a current membership with your entry.

*The one topic we all dislike.... We love having your dogs at RideCamp, BUT the park has a very strict DOGS ON LEASH rule. If your dog is caught without a leash (and having the leash on your dog while they drag it behind them does not count.) they WILL ticket you. The ticket is not cheap so please keep your pets on a leash.

*I will be updating this often as we get closer to the ride.

For registration, go to:

If you have any questions please feel free to ask us or PM us. Hope to see you all soon.
Your Management Team.

Tonya Cmannie
Shirley Fox Brown
Jeffrey Stuart

Monday, August 15, 2016

Senior Horse Superstars: 2016 Tevis Competitors

CS.Thehorse.com - Full Article

By Erica
12 Aug 2016

Each year, some of the top endurance horses and riders in the country flock to California to try their hand at the Tevis Cup, a grueling 100-mile ride through the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s no easy task for the most well-conditioned equine athletes in the prime of life. But what really impresses me is that each year, a handful (or more!) riders bring older horses to compete at Tevis … and many of them do very well!

This year, as in past years, our roving reporter Marsha Hayes was on-site with photographer Ron Osborn to cover the ride for TheHorse.com. She kept tabs on the golden oldies during the ride, keeping a special eye on the oldest horse in the field: 25-year-old PL Mercury (or “Merc” for short), owned by Claire Godwin, DVM, and ridden by Lisa Bykowski, both of Laytonsville, Maryland.

Here’s what Marsha had to say:
Compared with Tevis 2015, the older equine population seemed to have chosen to stay home and skip the 100-mile challenge this year. Only six horses out of 165 equine entrants were listed at age 18 or older. And of those six, one completed the 100 miles within the allotted 24 hours to win a coveted Tevis belt buckle.

The oldest horse, PL Mercury, at age 25 was my favorite. I watched Merc and his pilot Lisa Bykowski cruise to 14th place at last year’s Tevis Cup.

Merc’s story this year ended differently at Mile 94 (just six miles from the end!) when his heart rate failed to drop to the required 64 beats per minute within the allotted 30 minutes...

Read more here:

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Lora Wereb and Spin-Out Merlin are Tevis Cup's most unlikely finishers

Santamariatimes.com - Full Article

Mary Ann Norbom mnorbom@leecentralcoastnews.com
Aug 4, 2016

Finishing 72nd in a race might not seem like anything to brag about, unless you're Lora Wereb, and you and your horse, Spin-Out Merlin, have just completed The Tevis Cup. That's the famed 100-mile horse race, run in 24 hours through the roughest of terrains between Lake Tahoe and Auburn.

There were 175 entries, 10 dropped out just before the race started and 78 dropped out or were eliminated during the race, leaving just 87 finishers. Wereb's 72nd spot put her in the top half of the competition.

Wereb, a survivor of stage 4 breast cancer, is now battling inoperable liver cancer with daily oral medication. Merlin is her beloved 18 1/2-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse. He was an abused, broken down rescue when Wereb took him in three years ago.

That the pair would even qualify to compete in The Tevis is remarkable.

"He is unrecognizable from the horse I adopted," Wereb said before the July 23-24 race. That's the result of the the loving care the veterinary technician has given him, and in recent months, to the support from several in the Valley horse community, especially Peg Crowley, co-owner of Pegasus Estate Winery...

Read more here:

Saturday, August 06, 2016

AERC Ride Structure Survey

August 6 2016

The Board of Directors has tasked an ad hoc Ride Structure Committee with collecting and analyzing input from the membership in regards to a number of concepts being considered for possible further development. Those concepts include issues such as including non-competitive divisions, changing some conditions by which limited distance events are held, changing the name of distance divisions and other myriad ideas. 

We are asking for the careful and considered input from all full members of AERC. Sorry, we are not collecting data from non-members or day members at this time (and yes, we will be checking and excluding those who don't fit the bill). 

The survey is 17 questions long and should take less than ten or fifteen minutes. The results will be presented to the Board after analysis, and those ideas receiving significant support from the membership will be recommended for further development by the appropriate committees. Note that none of these concepts are anything other than concepts under consideration. Nothing is set in stone at this point, which is why we are seeking member input. 

If you are an AERC full member, please go to this link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S8NRZF8 . The link is also available on the AERC homepage, and will be posted on other Facebook pages, list serves and via member emails. While you might receive multiple notifications of the survey, please only take the survey ONCE. 

Thanks for your participation!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

2016 Tevis Cup: Part 2


by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
August 1 2016

Part 1 is here.

There is a whole 'nother science to crewing for the aspiring top 20 or so Tevis finishers, which I discovered inadvertently, when, on Friday evening, I drove up to Sailor Flat - closest spot you can get to Robinson Flat, the first hour hold vet check at 36 miles. I thought I'd camp close by Robinson in the cool mountain air, instead of staying in hot Auburn or instead of getting up at o'dark:30 Saturday morning at Robie Park and joining the 5:30 AM 3-hour race down the mountain, to Auburn, (and Starbucks), and up to Robinson.

To my surprise, I discovered many crews already set up to camp at the bottom of the hill, loaded up and ready to get in the morning line to drive up to Robinson to drop off the crew gear. One man discussed with his crewmates, "Should we be ready to go at 5:45? 5:30?" I said, "What, 5:30 in the morning?"

"Well, yes, the line-up of cars starts  before 5:30, and the first ones allowed up the hill started at 6 AM." Seriously?

They were serious. The top riders don't just have one set of crew. They have at least 2 sets - sometimes 3, I was told - crews that drive the rig to auburn saturday morning, crews whose sole goal is to get set up at Robinson flat early to get a good shady crew spot, and crews who go straight to Foresthill (the second hour hold vet check at 68 miles) to set up and get a good shady spot. I was rather blown away by this 'secret society' - which was not secret at all, just something I was completely unaware of, since I've only ridden at the back of the pack, or crewed for back-of-the-pack riders!

Everybody was indeed gone by the time I got up at 7:30 AM, and I enjoyed a leisurely camping breakfast with coffee. I caught the bus shuttle up the hill at 8:30 AM to Robinson Flat, and waited for the first riders to come in after 9 AM.

And powering down the tree-lined dirt road into Robinson Flat at 9:20 AM flew Kevin Myers' two geldings, Stoner and Far, with Jenni Smith and Rusty Toth aboard. Arriving 6 minutes later came a crowd of horses, led by 75-year-old Jesse Caswell, his gelding Appolo LH trotting along just like he knew what he was doing, since Jesse wasn't holding onto the reins. Neither appeared concerned about that.

30 riders, including the usual expected front-runners arrived within 10 minutes of Stoner and Far. Suzy Hayes and Tony Benedetti were just 10 minutes back of them.

The big, unexpected disappointment was the elimination of Jenni and Stoner with a front lameness. After his hour hold, Rusty led out of Robinson alone on Far.

Julie White and LR Bold Cody were next, followed by Jesse Caswell, Coloradoan Jacob Cukjati, the Fords, Jeremy Reynolds, Christoph Schork, the Blakeley family, the Donley family. Lindsay Graham and Monk were in 15th place, just 13 minutes back of Rusty and Far.

the Blakeley family leaving Robinson

Positions held pretty much the same coming into Last Chance at 50 miles just before noon. The top 16 riders were within 24 minutes of each other, with Julie White and Cody leading Rusty and Far by a minute. Christoph's GE Pistol Annie was pulled at Last Chance for metabolics.

Christoph and Annie leaving Robinson

And next on the trail came those formidable canyons, those hot muggy long steep climbs and descents, where, as Suzy Hayes put it, "That's where strategy comes into play. Tevis is a thinking man's game."

You can see who handled the hot canyons best by how the horses look coming into the second hour-hold vet check at Foresthill, at 68 miles. Karen and John Donley were the first to trot up the long paved road lined with spectators and crew, 14 minutes in the lead. The Fords were next, their crew waiting with buckets of ice water and sponges.

The Fury getting sponged down

Rusty and Far were next, 12 minutes later, with Rusty leading his hot horse in.
Another 5 minutes back came Lindsay and Monk, looking perkiest of all, trotting up the hill right on to the in-timer.

Julie White was 7th. Jesse Caswell was 8th, with Appolo still steering, 43 minutes back of the leaders. Jeremy was next, followed by the Blakeley family.

You won't see the Blakeleys with a well-oiled machine of crew members. In fact, you often don't see them with any crew. Parents and Junior son and daughter are completely self-sufficient and will always cool their own horses and vet them in, whether anyone is there to help them or not. Wasch said, "We have some really nice older folks who take our trailer back to Auburn, and then bring our stuff to Robinson and Foresthill. They have been doing this now for a couple of years, and it worked really well for us. But we don't need much help, we are used to taking care of our horses." Riding Tevis cavalry style - carrying everything they need on themselves or their horses' backs would probably not be much more difficult for them, and if they had to ride the 100 miles back to Robie park to fetch their trailer, they'd probably contentedly do that, too!

Suzy and Tony arrived next into Foresthill. With their steady pace, and eliminations of riders ahead of them, they'd moved up to 13th and 14th place, 1 hour and 8 minutes behind the leaders.

I enjoyed watching the well-orchestrated pit crews working on Suzy's horse Atlas, and Tony's horse Antez in a shaded crewing area. Different people kept an eye on the horses' feed, ice boots, prepping gear for the last 32 miles of trail, keeping the horses cool, and cleaning them off, while Suzy and Tony got to rest up and eat. First class horse and rider pampering!

The Donleys left Foresthill at 5:05 PM with a shrunken 9-minute lead over the Fords (The Fury and Cyclone pulsed down a few minutes faster when they arrived). It's the last third of Tevis, with 32 miles to go. The Blakeley hopes of finishing the whole family ended at Foresthill as Sanoma's gelding Karahtys Last Dance was eliminated for surface factors. Wasch had stayed back to wait for them to get a re-check with the vets, so he left for Auburn 16 minutes behind Gabriela and Barrak. 

Gabriela and Barrak leaving Foresthill

After The Longest 17 Miles Of Trail Ever, riders arrive at Francisco's checkpoint at 85 miles. The Donleys, arriving at 7:36 PM, still held a 6-minute lead over the Fords, with Jeremy and Lindsay 16 minutes back. Just 47 minutes separated the top 11 riders; and with 15 more miles of rocky trail and a river crossing with darkness coming, anything could still happen. And it did - John Donley's mare My Mamselle was eliminated for metabolics, a tough ending after a long day.

John and My Mamselle leaving Robinson

Karen Donley and Royal Patron left alone with an 8-minute lead over the Fords, but they caught her over the 9 miles to Lower Quarry, the last check at 94 miles, all 3 pulsing in at the checkpoint at 9:04 PM. Jeremy and Danire arrived 4th, 28 minutes back, and 14 minutes ahead of Lindsay and Monk. Julie White and Cody were next, followed by a close group of Jesse Caswell, and Gabriela and Barrak. Coming in together in 10th, 11th, and 12th, were Tony, Suzy and Rusty.

Karen and Royal Patron left Lower Quarry in the dark, two minutes ahead of the Fords, and she was stalked every step of the way. She made her way solo to the finish line, arriving at 9:48 PM, after 16 hrs and 33 minutes on the trail, in first place, 19 minutes ahead of Lisa Ford and GE Cyclone, and Garret Ford and The Fury. "She was so full of go," Karen said at the finish. "They [the Fords] were pushing me so hard! I couldn't take it easy. Today was the day!"

The Fords congratulated her after they had all passed the final vet exam. "Congratulations. We tried, but we couldn't catch you," Garrett said, shaking Karen's hand.

The rest of the Top Ten finishers trickled in over the next 2 hours. Jeremy and Danire finished 4th, Lindsay and Monk 5th, Jesse Caswell 6th.

Who is this Jesse Caswell from Redding, California? He was a West region fan favorite, for sure. "All in a day's work," he said after crossing the finish line, though he was likely more thrilled than he let on.

Since officially starting endurance riding in 2009, he's done just 49 rides (completing 33 of them), but has been dreaming of finishing the Tevis "all his life." He'd previously only attempted a 100 mile twice, once in 2011 and the Tevis Cup in 2012, both resulting in pulls. But he expected he had a Tevis horse in Appolo LH, a 10-year-old gelding, whom he bought as a yearling because he liked the "Tevis sire," Sanskrit. "I didn't put a saddle on him until he was 5, and I didn't race him until he was 8," Jesse said at the finish. "I've been dreaming of this for 50 years," he said of his Top Ten finish. "Now I've gotta go find a new goal." Jesse gave credit to Easycare for help with horse feet and boots, and to his enthusiastic, dedicated crew. "I couldn't have done it without them!"

Gabriela and Barrak Blakeley finished 7th and 8th.

But wait! After soundly covering 100 miles of challenging trail, and after walking in the last mile or so from the finish line at the Auburn staging area to the Auburn stadium, where the mother and son remounted and took their victory lap, as Barrak's horse MCM Last Dance - the 2014 Haggin Cup winner when finishing in 7th place -  entered the vetting lanes for their final vet exam, "Emmers" trotted out lame! He had cramped up behind. "We'd been worried about a bruise in his front foot before the ride, but he was perfect all day - and now this!" Gabriela said.

It was a great disappointment, but Barrak took it so well, smiling and shrugging and gently stroking his horse - the perfect young example of sportsmanship. Garrett and Lisa Ford came up to congratulate him and commiserate. "I've been pulled at the finish," Lisa told him.

"You did great," Garrett assured him. "You've finished Tevis 3 times, you've been pulled late in the ride, you've been pulled at the finish, and you have a Haggin Cup. That's not bad!" Garrett and Lisa took over sponsoring Barrak in last year's Tevis when his mom was pulled in the last half of the ride. Lisa and Cyclone, who finished 3rd, escorted Barrak and MCM Last Dance to a 4th place finish.

Barrak's pull moved Julie White and LR Bold Cody into 8th, Tony Benedetti and FV Abu Antezeyn to 9th, and Suzy Hayes and Greenbriar Al Jabal to 10th. Rusty Toth and Auli Farwa finished 11th.

Many a tear was shed as Rusty and Far arrived at the stadium, with the IR4KM inked on Far's butt. Rusty called it "undoubtably the hardest ride I've ever done."

It was Far's 7th Tevis finish in a row, his 68th completion in 68 starts. It was Rusty's Tevis 5th finish, a happy, sad, emotional ride on Kevin Myers' beloved horse.

The night crept on toward dawn as the clock ticked down to the 5:15 finish deadline. 87 out of 165 starters completed the ride, a 52.7% finish rate.

Crystal Turnage and Dream Makker crossed the finish line at 4:53 AM in 73rd place. "We did it. No words, only happy tears. My heart overflows," she said afterwards. "I honestly did NOT think we were going to finish - I didn't. I just figured we'd get as far as we could and help to mentor Pam Anderson along the way. [Pam rode her gelding Shezada Saheem in their first Tevis.]

"We had to trot twice for the vet at Robinson Flat; the vet saw something but it was inconsistent. He couldn't even pick a leg, just 'hind end,' and we were cleared to go. At Foresthill we had to trot THREE times, and then they held our card and we had to come back for a recheck before leaving. Again hind end; Digs was just getting stiff standing around getting cooled and pulsed down. He felt great once moving out on the trail. Talk about nerve-wracking! 

"Leaving Foresthill I put his rump rug on to throw down coming into every check and would walk him around and massage him before vetting. It worked!" Kevin Myers - who gave 4-year-old Digs to Crysta in 2010 - would be so proud of their accomplishment.

At 3:44 AM, the gaited horse with the now-most finishes at Tevis ever, John Henry, crossed the finish line, for his 5th Tevis completion, earning Lisa Schneider her 6th buckle. Team John Henry was thrilled. Is it any coincidence he shares his name with of one of the toughest most successful Thoroughbred racehorses ever?

Lisa and John Henry leaving Robinson

4:58 AM: Kyoko Fukumori and Rushcreek Shawna cross the finish line, the first Tevis completion for both of them. Kyoko finished with Shawn Bowling on Rushcreek Spur and Frank Smith on Rushcreek Swoosh. Lisa Bowling, Shawn's wife and crew, said afterwards, "They all finished the Tevis Cup with smiles on their faces after 24 hours of grueling heat and trail! Horses looked great all day!"

A few other notables on this year's Tevis: Barbara White's attempt to earn her 34th Tevis buckle aboard the 15-year-old mare Djubilee (they'd finished Tevis together in 2014 and 2015), ended early with the mare's elimination for "surface factors" - in this case back issues - at Robinson Flat.

Pat Chappell completed her 21st Tevis aboard the 12-year-old mare Dusty Starshine Zarif.

Pat and Dusty, left, leaving Robinson with Janet Walker and Echcentric DPA

Heather Reynolds and Elaine Lemieux finished Tevis in 61st and 62nd place at 4:41 AM after a rather adrenalizing event on the trail climbing the cliff trail into Michigan Bluff near 62 miles. Elaine's mare "Benz" took a mis-step off the trail. "I looked down and it was crazy STEEP and about 1000 feet down," Heather wrote in her blog. "I yelled to Elaine to jump off. She quickly bailed off as the mare went off the edge that was on our left…" You know the ending of the story - a silver buckle for them - but you can read the rest of Heather's hair-raising account here!

World adventurer and endurance rider Devan Horn - second in the 2013 1000-km Mongol Derby,"the longest and toughest horse race in the world" was attempting to earn her 3rd tevis buckle, riding Willemina DeBoer's 10-year-old gelding, Frisia Maas Armando. They crossed the finish line at 2:18 AM, but were pulled at the finish line. It's always a big blow to get disqualified at the finish line - that very thing happened in the Mongol Derby when Devan finished first, but her horse failed to pulse down (it was later determined the horse had a cold). But Devan took it in stride. "I had a great time. I love this ride."

Willemina, left, and Devan, right, leaving Robinson

And it wasn't till several days after the Tevis that I discovered I'd been talking to yet another Mongol Derby competitor, and winner from 2014, Sam Jones from Australia. We were sitting on the fairgrounds bathroom floor waiting in line for the shower Sunday morning, and talking about her first Tevis ride.

"I'd been posting around looking for a Tevis horse and wasn't having much luck. I went ahead and booked my ticket anyway, then Jesse Jarret provided his wonderful stallion Itinerent Majestic." Jesse accompanied her on the ride aboard his gelding Smoke Deuce. Stevie Murray was "Tevis Crew Extraordinaire," for them. "We simply could not have done it without her."

Jesse was in fact the 87th and last finisher at 5:01 AM (Sam clocked in 81st, at 4:58 AM). "The whole ride was stressful," Sam said, "due to some decisions we made early in the ride. We were always up against the cutoff times. And later in the day my little stallion would start to stiffen up at the vet checks. I was worried since the Quarry [at 94 miles], and I was worried about him when we got to the finish line. But he got himself together, and that amazing little stallion trotted right out for a completion."

Jesse hauled 3 horses across the country from North Carolina. Sam said later, "It was a major achievement to get a team of horses across the US to the ride, and to have two out of three horses finish at Tevis is testament to Jesse's training and dedication."

That's what Tevis is for all the participants, from riders to crews to ride management to the hundreds of volunteers helping to hold the epic event - it's all dedication, it's great leaps of faith; it's hopes and dreams of good luck.

And it's the sharing of good memories and happy times with those friends and horses that we forever hold tight and dear in our hearts.

Kevin, 2011 in Colorado on Far

top photo: the Blakeley family riding into Robinson

More from the Tevis Cup here: www.endurance.net/international/USA/2016Tevis

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

USEF Announces Team for the 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championships


August 2, 2016
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: USEF Communications Department
Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the combinations that will represent the United States at the 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championships in Samorin, Slovakia, September 16-17, 2016. They will be led by U.S. Endurance Chef d’Equipe Mike Dial.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations will represent the U.S. in the 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championship (listed in alphabetical order):

Thomas Hagis (Fries, Va.) and his own Indian Reinman, a 2006 Arabian gelding

Ellen Olson (La Motte, Iowa) and her own and Jeremy Olson’s Bey Gibby, a 2001 Arabian gelding

Dr. Margaret Sleeper (Frenchtown, N.J.) and her own Shyrocco Rimbaud, a 2006 Anglo Arabian gelding

Monday, August 01, 2016

Tevis Cup: Former Marion resident wins famous 100-mile horse race

Southcoasttoday.com - Full Article

Former Marion resident wins famous 100-mile horse race
“We’re just overjoyed,” said her husband Ronald, who was one of her crew members during her 16-plus hour trek across ragged terrain. “You can run the Boston Marathon and hope to finish well, but to win it is beyond anything you can dream.”

By Brendan Kurie

Posted Jul. 29, 2016 at 10:09 PM

Over the last 61 years, more than 12,000 riders have set off on one of the world’s most grueling horse races: The Tevis Cup.
Just 50 can claim to be champions.

Who just became a member of this extremely selective club? Former Marion resident Dr. Karen Donley.

Donley, who spend many years as an OBGYN in New Bedford and was a member at the Kittansett Club in Marion, has lived in California for the last dozen years and on Saturday became the 50th winner of the Tevis Cup, a 100-mile horse ride from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California.

“We’re just overjoyed,” said her husband Ronald, who was one of her crew members during her 16-plus hour trek across ragged terrain. “You can run the Boston Marathon and hope to finish well, but to win it is beyond anything you can dream.”
The Tevis Cup is the world’s premier endurance horse race, and was first held in 1955 and is best described on its website: “The weather conditions from year to year are the mostly the same: HOT and DUSTY.” TIME Magazine named it one of the Top 10 endurance races in the world, alongside the Tour de France, Iditarod, Cannonball Run and Marathon de Sables...

Read more here:

Former La Quinta resident wins prestigious endurance horse race

Desertsun.com - Full Article

Nathan Brown, The Desert Sun 9:52 a.m. PDT July 30, 2016

Like a marathon, most endurance horseback riders who enter the prestigious 100-mile Tevis Cup in Northern California just hope to finish.

In fact, each year, close to 50 percent of the riders and horses qualified to enter such a rigorous, grueling event that's considered the Tour de France of horse racing are pulled due to horse injury or overwork. Crossing the finish line in Auburn, Calif., and being handed the prestigious belt buckle for finishing is plenty accomplishment on its own.

But Dr. Karen Donley, a former La Quinta resident who now lives in Mountain Center and works at the Eisenhower Medical Center Women’s Health Clinic in La Quinta, decided four years ago that simply finishing wasn’t good enough...

Read more here: