Saturday, December 23, 2017

Patti Jo Duncan Crawford Passes Away

Patti Jo Duncan Crawford of Shawnee, Kansas, passed away at her home, on December 19, 2017, due to complications of rheumatoid arthritis. She was born May 28, 1941, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Lester LeRoy and Dorothy Creason Duncan. Before moving back to the Kansas City area in 1949, she lived with her parents in Oklahoma City, OK, Minneapolis, MN, and Los Angeles, CA.

She attended Roesland Grade School and graduated in the first class of Shawnee Mission North in 1959, where she was editor of the year book. She attended Stanford University and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in zoology. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Later she received her nursing degree from Johnson County Community College and worked in the allergy clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital for 6 years. On July 16, of 1975 she married Samuel J. Crawford. Together they formed Crawford and Kinder, a building company, and for 9 years she had a house painting business employing the neighborhood high school and college students.

In 1975-76, they lived in Germany for a year with their sons Kurt & Kyle, who were 9 and 6 at the time. They spent that summer traveling and camping all over Europe. Her love for horses began in 1978 when her son Kurt bought his first horse, Butterscotch. This was the beginning of what was to become her life’s passion in the world of endurance riding and racing. She eventually owned as many as eight horses. She was a member of the equine associations AERC, OCER, & MOTDRA. Some of her favorite memories were of the Great Santa Fe Trail Ride, a 500 mile ride from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Hillsdale, Kansas; riding in the Pan American Championship in Woodstock, Vermont; being on the organizing committee for the 1996 World Championship for endurance held in Junction City, KS and especially organizing and finding trail for the 100 mile ride to open the American Royal on their 100th anniversary. Patti and Sam built a second home in Arkansas where they hosted many endurance rides and racing events, and had great fun with their kids and grandkids. Patti loved to spend time on her horse marking and clearing trails for events. But the most fun she had was competing in the 50 and 100 mile rides with her faithful loving sherpa, Sam. She enjoyed playing Bridge, Gin Rummy, and other challenging games. She loved all animals, and saved many in need.

She is preceded in death by her parents, and son Kyle Robert Niemackl (2009). She is remembered by her husband Sam of 42 superb years, her sister Judith Duncan Stanton (Roger) of Prairie Village, KS; son Kurt William Niemackl (Aimey) of Lenexa, KS; Sam’s children Kimberly Jensen (Dave) of Overland Park, KS, and their children Mallory, Lauren, and Sarah; Stephanie Sitko (Phil) of Corona, CA, and their children McKenna and Hayden, and Weston Crawford (Mary) of Seattle, WA; and her grandchildren Nick, Maddie, Jason and Joseph Niemackl of Lenexa, KS, and Allison and Mason Niemackl of Shawnee, KS; Kyle’s widow Vanessa Hamm; and cousins, nieces and nephews. Also special to her is a “daughter” Kirsi Vaarama, of Helsinki, Finland, her husband Juha and their children Roope and Ronja.


A memorial celebration will be held at Old Mission United Methodist Church, on Wednesday, December 27, @ 2:00 pm, where she has been a member since 1950. Reception to follow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What the Hell is Rose Doing Now? - A Camel Trek in Mongolia. In January.

December 20 2017
by Merri

It seems that Poway California's Rose Sandler can't get enough adventure.

She finished the Mongol Derby in 2014. She finished South Africa's Race the Wild Coast in 2015. She finished Tevis in 2017.

And then what? Post adventure letdown. "There’s a certain letdown after a huge accomplishment."

The antidote for that is, of course, another adventure. Rose was hoping to be chosen to participate in the Fjallraven Polar, an epic annual event where 20 people from around the world have the opportunity to compete in an Iditarod style dogsled race in the Norwegian arctic. For each of 10 regions of the world, two people get a spot. One is selected by Fjallraven jury, the other by popular vote. (This adventure is still possible: while Rose didn't win the popular vote, she could still be juried in by Fjallraven).

But of course she had a backup plan. A 200-mile winter camel trek in the Gobi desert with friend and fellow explorer Chloe Phillips-Harris. What else?

"In January 2018 with the help of Tsestgee and Unenburen, Chloe is leading a winter expedition through the Gobi Desert. The inspiration came from a trek she did in the Simpson Desert of Australia. 

We will be trekking across the Gobi by camel, covering about 300km in total. As part of this we will be saddling, packing and caring for the camels with the help and guidance of local herders. We change camels every two days as not to take them to far out of their home range.

Why winter? Because the camels look truly beautiful this time of year with their winter coats, and its a very different way of life to experience compared to the summer months. There will be snow and its going to be cold.  Average temperatures in January in the Gobi range from -4 F down to -40 F.  

We will be staying with different families along the way in gers and will give us a chance to experience a way of life that hasn’t changed in hundreds, even thousands of years. 

Unenburen has already selected the route and it looks amazing. Everything from mountains, flat steppe to sand dunes.

Some of the highlights will obviously be the scenery, but also traveling through areas rich in wildlife ( antelope, saga, camels, horses, foxes, wolves, big horn sheep, snow leopords etc), and historically significant mountains where monks used to hide in caves from persecution. We should also be able to see some bronze age cave paintings and a huge frozen waterfall. But most of all getting to learn how to care for, ride and travel with camels, in a very unique way. 

One last bit of great news is that we are going to start  our trek from a Camel Festival. There will be 300 camels in one place, with beauty competitions, races and a chance to milk camels and taste camel vodka. 

Who has a proper parka and -20 sleeping bag I can borrow??" 

To keep up with Rose and her adventure(s), see

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Arizona: Endurance horse riders hit the trails Jan. 20 in Apache Junction - Full Article

Dec 17th, 2017 · by Apache Junction Independent staff reports

A fast-growing equine sport, endurance riding, combines the appreciation for nature and a trail ride with the athleticism of extreme endurance sports. On Saturday, Jan. 20, riders will be hauling trailers from miles to converge on Apache Junction for the inaugural Tonto Twist 50 Endurance Ride.

The Tonto Twist 50 is the first endurance ride to be held in Apache Junction since 1991 and will support the Western heritage of the area. Base camp is at the Rodeo Park Event Center, 1590 E. Lost Dutchman Blvd. in Apache Junction.

The public is invited to cheer on the horses and riders as the course passes by Prospector Park three times during the day...

Read more here:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Virginia: HItting the Trail - Full Article

By Lauren Wester
Published 6:07 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spectators watch with bated breath then cheer as cowboys and cowgirls alike mount bucking broncos, speed around barrels on horseback or skillfully execute pistol shoots from the backs of their equestrian counterparts at rodeos and specialized events. These equine sports and more are showcased at these events – but there is one sport that is not represented because of its extended nature.

Many people might not even be aware of the challenging sport of endurance riding and racing.

Vina resident Elizabeth Turbyfill has recently started competing in this sport and has placed first in the three competitions she has participated in so far...

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

$5 OFF AERC Horse Registrations on National Day of the Horse

December 11 2017

$5 OFF AERC HORSE REGISTRATIONS on December 13 in honor of the National Day of the Horse!

If you've been waiting to register your equine with AERC, it will be $15 instead of $20 on Wednesday, December 13 only.

Happy trails! For current AERC members only (or you can call the office to renew AND sign up your equine at the same time!).

This is the horse registration link to use:

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship Applications Due January 5

You are invited to apply for the 2018 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship

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)

Applicants must have a minimum of 500 AERC lifetime miles

Applicants must have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0

One scholarship of $1000 will be awarded. This scholarship can be applied to colleges and universities as well as technical schools and specialized training programs.

Applications will be reviewed by the AERC Hall of Fame Committee

The 2018 AERC scholarship recipient will be announced at the AERC Annual Convention on March 10, 2018, in Reno, Nevada

Past recipients are not eligible

Applications must be received by January 5, 2018, and must be submitted to the AERC office via mail:
AERC, Attn: Scholarship, P.O. Box 6027, Auburn, CA 95604

or e-mail: (see application form for details)

For the application see:

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Canadian Riders Swarm the Finish Line at USA Fall FEI Fundraiser Rides - Full Article

Canadian endurance riders had strong performances across the board at the USA Fall FEI Fundraiser Rides at Broxton Bridge Plantation in Ehrhardt, SC, held Nov. 9-12, 2017.

Robert Gielen of Flesherton, ON was first to cross the finish line in the CEI 2* 120km division on his eight-year-old Arabian gelding, More Bang for Your Buck (Doran x Forty Thieves). The two averaged a speed of 15.11 km/hr to complete the course in just under eight hours – an impressive feat, particularly when considering that Gielen underwent knee replacement surgery just four months earlier in July, and hadn’t ridden such a distance since.

“I had quite a layoff with my horse this summer, so I wasn’t really planning to go out and go for a win,” explained Gielen. “But, we just kept going along at that regular pace and on the second-to-last loop I passed the person who was in first place and I thought, ‘Well, might as well just go for it then.’ So, we just kept going and ended up crossing the finish line 10 minutes ahead...”

Read more here:

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The Endurance “Green Bean” Movement — an evolution! - Full Article

by Patti Stedman | Nov 26, 2017

I’m the first to admit that I was primarily a sidelines spectator and cheerleader for the Green Bean movement in endurance riding.
Like most movements, it was started by a small group of motivated people who saw a gap and found a way to fill a need. It started with the term Green Bean, which came via the Pacific Northwest region and Sharalyn Hay, and then it spread and grew and evolved, changed course a time or two and continues to grow and evolve today.

(Note: As a witness more than a participant in the cause, I hope I will be forgiven any errors or omissions about its roots and its history! Be gentle with me, dear readers.)

In this case, the crusaders were a group of relatively new endurance riders who found that the world of social media was not always particularly kind and welcoming to prospective or sniffing-at-the-collective-water-tank endurance riders. For those of us who have been around for a while, well, we survived the hazing. The folks were around for Ridecamp in the ’90s probably still bear some bruises. The reality is that one could and should assume that a lot of folks interested in the sport found it unwelcoming and simply turned heel to head in another equestrian direction.

The Green Bean crew was determined to help new riders find their way to the sport and the endurance riding family so many of us know and love, to build a sense of community...

Read more here:

Saturday, December 02, 2017

2018 AERC Convention Information

March 9 and 10, 2018 - Grand Sierra Resort – Reno, Nevada

We're counting down the days!
96 days, 23 hours, 44 minutes, 28 seconds

We're looking forward to heading back to Reno for the 2018 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.

Convention registration is now OPEN! Sign up with our simple, secure 2018 AERC Convention Registration, or by phone: 866-271-2372, or fill out the form in your December EN or print this 2018 AERC convention form PDF.

Seminar schedule (subject to change):

Current Topics in Nutrition with Joe Pagan, PhD, of Kentucky Equine Research
Research Findings from the Virginia City 100 Mile Dehydration Study with Jerry Gillespie, DVM, AERC Research Committee Chair
Tevis Ultrasound GI Study (from 2017 ride) with Melissa Esser, DVM, MS, DACVIM, of Michigan State University
Trail Marking: Incorporating the Best from all Regions with Michelle Grald of GMHA

From Start to Finish: Managing the 100 Mile Endurance Horse with Jay Mero, DVM, AERC Veterinary Committee Chair
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (Tying Up): What You Need to Know with Stephanie Valberg, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, ACVSMR, of Michigan State Univerity
Health Tips to Keep Riders Strong in the Saddle with Lori McIntosh, Health and Wellness Coach

HOTEL: A favorite of AERC members, the Grand Sierra Resort has everything all in one spot, so it's a great place to stay, and eat, and shop -- all under one roof.

Grand Sierra reservations are now OPEN! Use this AERC Booking Link. Or call directly, 800-648-5080; note you are with the American Endurance Ride 2018 Convention. Reservations MUST be made by February 4 to qualify for the special group rate.

2018 AERC Grand Sierra Rates -- 13% room tax will be added: Wednesday and Thursday nights (3/7 and 3/8): GSR room-$59; Summit room-$79; Friday and Saturday nights (3/9 and 3/10): GSR room-$99; Summit room-$119. These are rates for single or double occupancy; third/fourth person in room will be an additional $25 each.

Room rates include unlimited fitness center use, in-room wireless internet, and round-trip shuttle to/from Reno Tahoe International Airport.

VETERINARIANS: The Veterinary Committee will be hosting a two-day Veterinary Continuing Education course in conjunction with the convention. Tentative dates: March 8 and 9, 2018. This two-day program is very popular with AERC veterinarians and we hope you will join in.

TRADE SHOW EXHIBITORS: We'd love to have you be part of the 2018 convention! Click to see the 2018 Trade Show information/registration. Contact the AERC Office if you have any questions or to reserve a booth by phone.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Lots at stake at Broxton Bridge Plantation, Ehrhardt SC. - Full Article

30 November 2017
Race Report made with the assistance of Cheryl Van Deusen

Broxton Bridge Plantation, Ehrhardt SC, United States of America. Friday 10 and Saturday 11 November. Broxton Bridge Plantation and USA South East Endurance were pleased to host the 2017 Young Riders Endurance Team Challenge in the Low Country of South Carolina.

Grace Ramsey and Jan Worthington came down to manage the ride making it possible to provide a fun and learning environment for the young riders. This event was held with one 160 and two 120 senior events as athletes work towards WEG 2018 qualifications.

In the senior event, 160km race, 32 horses started. The event comprised of CEN and CEI3* combinations. In the FEI division, 13 of the 26 pairs with athletes from ten different countries successfully completed the course. There was a strong rivalry all day between Kelsey Russell – USA (Fireman Gold) and Pilar Saravia – URU (Am Mysterious Mopsa), both riding horses owned by Valerie Kanavy – USA...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Peter Hommertzheim Passes Away

Peter J. Hommertzheim, age 54 of Salida, passed away on Saturday November 18, 2017 at his home in Salida. Mr. Hommertzheim was born May 24, 1963 in Wichita, Kansas to Francis Peter and Doris (Clawson) Hommertzheim.

Peter graduated from Cotopaxi High School in 1982. After graduation, he severed his country for 4 years in the United States Army. Mr. Hommertzheim worked for the Federal Aviation Adminstration as Air Traffic Controller until his retirement in 2011. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding his horses.

Mr. Hommertzheim was preceded in death by his parents, brother Gregory Francis Hommertzheim and sisters Debby Youngblood and Deann Hommertzheim. He is survived by his sons Levi and Taylor Hommertzheim and their mother Judi Ready all of Salida. Sisters Barbara (John) Mehos of Clearwater Fla, Shirley (Gene) Homer of Cedar City, UT , Judy (James “Butch”) Moore of Pueblo, CO and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Friends who desire may make memorial contributions to the family of Peter J. Hommertzheim through Lewis and Glenn Funeral, PO Box 925, Salida, CO. On line condolences may be sent to the family at

Saturday, November 25, 2017

AERC's First 8000-Mile Raven*

November 25 2017
by Merri

The Raven made AERC history* at the 2017 Moab Canyons endurance ride in Utah when he hit 8000 AERC miles.

He's done a lot in his lifetime: besides being an avid US endurance rider, he's
ridden horses around the world (he even rode an official 20-km endurance ride in France on God's Horse!,

and a New Zealand endurance horse who was in Lord of the Rings!),

worked as a sound engineer for a black gospel musical around the world,

been immortalized in a tattoo,

visited many US National Parks, climbed Mt Whitney, sat on the King's Royal Yellow Carpet in Malaysia,

got lost/Ravennapped/disappeared/gone in Brisbane, camped out overnight solo in Escalante Canyon in Utah (which took me a 20-mile hike to retrieve him…).

And of course he owns the Most Beautiful Horse On The Planet, Stormy.

The Raven's most favorite spectacularly scenic endurance rides have been Moab Canyons in Utah (in 2013 and 2017), the Eastern High Sierra Classic in California (many times). One of his most adventurous rides was the Tevis Cup. In fact, The Raven has two Tevis Cup buckles, and I only have 1!

His toughest ride may have been aboard DWA Saruq in the 2014 Owyhee Tough Sucker, where The Raven and I were both wore plumb wore out after that one! Two of his funnest rides were the 4-day Death Valley Encounter in California aboard the great Zayante in 2002, and the 5-day Owyhee Canyonlands on the Best-Ever Jose Viola in 2011.

You may not always see The Raven, because he's always stuffed down in his Raven Bag attached to the saddle. And lately, particularly in the summers, I've learned to put him inside a gallon ziplock bag inside his Raven Bag, so he doesn't come out smelling like horse sweat. In which cases he gets to take a bath afterwards. Ravens enjoy hot baths after 50 mile rides just as much as human endurance riders do.

He's always happy, always has a great and easy time of riding many different horses (even if it's not always easy for his rider!). He doesn't have a favorite. He loves them all, through 17 seasons of 8000 miles and endless adventures around the world.

If we could all ride endurance like Ravens, the world would be a happier place.

*This claim is totally undocumented, except in my head. But I'm 99.99% sure it's true, because who else is riding with a Raven? Speak up now, or forever hold your Raven Peace!
**Because I said so.
***Technically, The Raven actually has 55 more miles than I do, including 2 more 100s than me… it's complicated to explain, but he does!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

USA Young Rider: Hannah Weightman - Full Story

08 November 2017

There’s a new breed of rider breathing fresh life into the sport of Endurance

One such athlete is 19 year-old Hannah Weightman from New Jersey and is currently a freshman at Stockton University majoring in business. Her career plan is to enter the business side of the equestrian world.

When Hanna was eight years old, her parents signed her up for summer pony camp. She spent six years riding at a local eventing barn before being introduced to Hugh and Holly MacDonald, also of Shamong. The MacDonald’s offered Hanna a young Morgan gelding named Gomez to train.

“While riding at Holly’s I was introduced to trail riding and started to compete in competitive trail rides,” Hanna recalls. “During the time I spent at Holly’s I have learned so much about horse care, hard work, and responsibility. My work with Gomez has built my confidence on the ground and in the saddle.”

Hugh and Holly also introduced Hanna to Meg Sleeper of Frenchtown, New Jersey, who is an international Endurance competitor, and veterinary cardiologist at the University of Florida. “I thought it was the coolest thing that I was riding one of her horses in 2014, I really look up to her as a rider, vet, and friend,” Hanna says.

Hanna’s first FEI ride was the Greenway Getaway in Dunnellon, Florida. She rode the 50 on Meg’s horse Syrocco Rabia (Rabi). She completed a 50-mile ride the day before on Syrocco Harmony (Harmon) as well. Of her 11 FEI rides, she completed nine of them, and was first in six of them. She’s competed throughout the East Coast, in Kentucky, and Ontario, Canada...

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2018 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship Applications Available

You are invited to apply for the 2018 Anne Ayala Junior Scholarship

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)

Applicants must have a minimum of 500 AERC lifetime miles

Applicants must have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0

One scholarship of $1000 will be awarded. This scholarship can be applied to colleges and universities as well as technical schools and specialized training programs.

Applications will be reviewed by the AERC Hall of Fame Committee

The 2018 AERC scholarship recipient will be announced at the AERC Annual Convention on March 10, 2018, in Reno, Nevada

Past recipients are not eligible

Applications must be received by January 5, 2018, and must be submitted to the AERC office via mail:
AERC, Attn: Scholarship, P.O. Box 6027, Auburn, CA 95604

or e-mail: (see application form for details)

For the application see:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

How A Steeplejack, A Teenager And A Mule Won The Great American Horse Race - Read or Listen

July 28, 2017
Martin Kessler

The year was 1976.

"People were looking for a party," recalls Curt Lewis, who in 1976 had just finished his journalism degree at Wichita State. "Vietnam was just over in '75. Watergate was over. Nixon was gone," he says. "Everyone was looking for a good time."

And there was an excuse to celebrate. The U.S. was turning 200 — and the birthday party seemed to last all year.

In honor of the bicentennial, trains and airplanes were painted red, white and blue. A fleet of tall ships sailed down the Hudson River.

And there was a horse race unlike any other.

The Great American Horse Race

It was called the Great American Horse Race, and it would span nearly 100 days and 3,500 miles, starting in New York, heading to Missouri, and then following the Pony Express route to California.

Lewis was hired by the race organizers to document all the greatness and Americaness of the Great American Horse Race. And also the competition.

The rider who covered the distance fastest would get $25,000 – worth about $100,000 in today’s dollars.

About 100 riders signed up. Cowboys took a break from rodeos. World War II veterans, finished with their missions on submarines and B-17 bombers, also entered. So did a sheriff — and even an Austrian count...

Read or listen for more:

Friday, November 10, 2017

Canada's Anya Levermann Wins CEI 3* Get-R-Done Endurance Ride - Full Article

November 9, 2017 | Comments
by: Equestrian Canada

Anya Levermann, 17, of 100 Mile House, BC continued to prove she is a force to be reckoned with in international endurance after her first-place finish in the CEI 3* division of the Get-R-Done Endurance Ride in Inyokern, CA, held Nov. 4, 2017.

Levermann was partnered with Monk, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Chris Martin that she first began riding in 2016. Inyokern marked the pair’s second victory to date, having also won the CEI YJ-2* 120km division in Trout Lake, WA this past May.

“I really like riding him,” said Levermann of Monk, who helped her become Canada’s first Young Rider to earn FEI Elite status following their performance in Washington. “He’s really competitive and he doesn’t really like to slow down...”

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Owyhee Hallowed Weenies: The 2017 Finale

Tuesday November 7 2017
by Merri

We had it all for the last ride of the season, the Owyhee Hallowed Weenies: gently watered trails (after 4 months of no rain), a little morning sleet/snowballs, a little afternoon sun, 1 little bouquet of purple asters on the trails, a glimpse of the Owyhee mountains blanketed in a heavy coat of snow, a couple of new riders all the way from Portland, a bonfire in the driveway, a modest group of riders, good chili, good bluegrass jamming, several Princesses, an eye-popping Lady Godiva, a butterfly, and Winnie the Pooh (winner of the Halloween contest).

18 started the 50 with 17 finishing. Dick Root and OFW Alivia nipped Lynn Rigney and Predictable, with Predictable getting Best Condition. Junior Laura Nicholes finished her first 50 on her little gray gelding Hugo, riding with sister/sponsor Beth Nicholes on DWA Zifhaffir. They were the Princesses on trail. We all forgot to throw Laura in the water trough afterwards for her congratulations, so, next year, watch out, Laura!

9 started the 25 with 8 finishing. Debbie Grose and her super horse Jack out-squeaked Nance Worman and Fancy for the win, with Jack getting Best Condition.

Our horses were fast and forward and fun on the 50. I book-ended my ride season with a substitute jockey ride on Sarah's horse Dezzie (thanks Sarah!) - started with the Owyhee Tough Sucker in April and ended with the Owyhee Hallowed Weenies. We followed Connie and DWA Saruq, and that made a most excellent 665-mile season for both horses and a first 100-miler for both (and for Junior Sarah!).

A good part of the little village that is SWITnDR came out to ride (including The Raven), or hang out and help, and to bring down the curtain on the 2017 Northwest ride season.

Bring on hairy horses and winter!

More on the ride at:

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Endurance Riding Made Easier with Help from the Green Beans

October 31, 2017

Endurance riding can be an intimidating equine sport. After all, the shortest distance offered is 25 miles long. But a grassroots effort has been growing for the past few years to help the newest riders to learn the sport, meet other new riders, and compete for fun awards just for their group of “newbies.”
Named after the green ribbons new members often tie into their horse’s tails, the group came to be known as the Green Beans. With a clever sense of humor, they further divide themselves into “on the vine” (less than 100 miles completed), “picked” (100-499 miles) and “cooked” (500-999 miles). Riders with more than 1,000 AERC miles can support the organization as mentors but are considered to have “miled out.”
There are individual and team competitions as well as prize drawings. Green Bean participation is an optional add-in for AERC members, with a nominal fee to cover prizes. “It’s not always easy being ‘green,’” said Deb Moe, one of the program administrators. She noted that sometimes just making a connection to another rider makes a huge difference in being successful.
The mainstay of the Green Beans is their educational support and social networking. There are a multitude of Facebook “Green Bean Endurance” pages specific to local areas or regions, with people willing to share their knowledge and create welcoming places where there are no silly questions.
Erin Hurley-Rosser of Texas, participates in the One Horse One Rider (individual) competition: “The Green Bean group keeps me motivated, even when my ride and ride season plans fall apart. I cheer on other teams and riders because this movement is about our combined successes. We learn and grow together, from the person who has yet to begin to conditioning, to the Green Bean who ‘miles out’, we all have something useful to share.”

Lindsay Waddell of South Carolina is on the team called High Voltage Horses: “Knowledge, encouragement, and competition all in one place—it’s a great way to start!”

Audrey Hager of Texas (team: May the Horse Be With You): “The team camaraderie is great, we share knowledge and stories and help each other out, even if we're in different regions!”

Jaime McArdle of Virginia (team: Rockin Mountain Monstas): “I love the Green Bean program because it takes a pretty individual sport and gives you a 'team' to help encourage and support each other, especially because we are new. At the rides I've begun to meet friends and create an endurance family but the Green Bean team is my first family!”
Find more about the Green Bean Endurance program at To find out more about AERC, which has been sanctioning endurance rides across the U.S. and Canada since 1972, visit AERC’s educational program, aside from the Green Bean program, includes mentoring with longtime endurance riders, an extensive rider handbook and educational materials sent to every new AERC member.
More information on endurance riding is available by visiting or by calling the American Endurance Ride Conference office at 866-271-2372. By request, the office will send out a free copy of the 16-page Discover Endurance Riding booklet to prospective members.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Los Altos Hills-trained endurance rider Wyatt participates in challenging 100-mile Tevis Cup - Full Article

25 October 2017 Written by Sarah Feng - Town Crier Editorial Intern

Jody Wyatt competes in an endurance sport that requires help from a four-legged friend.

Five to six days a week, she and her 11-year-old daughter, Leyla, rigorously train with their horses in open space preserves, often in Los Altos Hills. They do this to improve their endurance riding – an equestrian sport that requires riding horses anywhere from 5 to 100 miles over difficult terrain.

Because of the sport’s demanding and often dangerous nature, intense training is necessary to create a strong bond between the rider and the horse. According to Wyatt, trust is imperative.

Wyatt’s three years of training recently culminated in the 100-mile Tevis Cup. She and her horse, Amira, finished in 23 of the 24 allotted hours. Out of 175 starters, the pair was among 50 to finish the ride across Squaw Valley to Auburn.

The connection between Wyatt and Amira was crucial to their success.

“I think Amira knew that she was at Tevis, that it was a unique ride and that it was her time to take care of me,” the former Palo Alto resident said...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board - Oct. 19, 2017


I sit as the Wildlife Management Chair on the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. My responsibility is to represent the interests of wildlife on 30 Million acres of public land in the American West as they are affected by Wild Horses and Burros. That is an area the size of nearly 15 Yellowstone National Parks. I’m honored to have been nominated to sit in the unpaid volunteer position and I take it very seriously. It is a tremendous responsibility in a truly tragic situation.

Simply put, the Wild Horse and Burro Program is a complete wreck. It is a toxic, ugly, finger-pointing, emotional, and controversial subject that for decades our society, politicians, the BLM, and congress have failed to enact a sustainable management plan to avoid a large and looming ecological disaster. Right now there are over 3X the target population of Wild Horses and Burros nationwide and in some areas they are causing severe ecological damage. In other areas, they aren’t. History and common sense tells us that when a population exceeds its carrying capacity in a confined area with limited resources, there is a population crash. When those population crashes occur, it affects all the wildlife in an area along with vegetation, soil, water quality, etc… Much worse than the population crash are the long-term effects, especially in desert environments, where native plant communities can take decades or centuries to grow back. In arid deserts of the Great Basin where most wild horses roam, disturbed native plant communities are often replaced by fire-prone annual invasives, especially cheat grass, that can dominate a landscape. An estimated 50 million acres of the American West has already been converted into an invasive cheatgrass monoculture and as a society, I believe we should direct our land managers to put ecosystem health as #1 top priority. Some of the ecological degradation could be permanent and may never recover in our lifetime. The very worse case scenario for Wild Horses and Burros, your public land that they depend on, and all the wildlife that require that habitat, is to take a no-management approach when it comes to wild horses and to allow nature to take its course.

Today I supported the recommendations brought by the Advisory Board that allows for a lethal management of the wild horses and burros. Already, a mere two hours after the meeting, there have been multiple organizations directing social media hate mail towards me and my pages. If you’re one of those people who came to this page wanting to hate me, I understand. Please take the time to read the rest of this post and I would love to hear your thoughts about how to create a sustainable path forward. Unfortunately, I don’t see one and I have studied this issue extensively. This is a hard pill for me to swallow because for the past several years of my life I’ve tried to find a solution to the Wild Horse & Burro dilemma that got every single horse adopted. I’ve adopted numerous mustangs personally, have helped make multiple films promoting adoptions, and have raised over $100k for wild horse adoption organizations. I’ll try to explain how this situation has spun so out of control and why I made the recommendations that I did.

The Ancestors of Wild Horses evolved in North America and went extinct in the Great Pleistocene Extinction around 10,000 years ago. Fortunately, they migrated across the Bering Strait prior to extinction where they were eventually domesticated, breeds developed, artificial selection occurred, and horses were ultimately brought back to the Americas during European Expansion. Horses escaped, were set free to breed, and multiplied in a “Wild” or “Feral” state for hundreds of years. As the West was settled, these Wild Horses, often called mustangs, were rounded up to the point that Velma Johnson, AKA Wild Horse Annie, pushed for legislation to protect the remaining Wild Horses. This culminated in the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 that protected the 15,000 or so Horses and Burros remaining in the American West. Today Wild Horses and burros are managed on about 30 million acres of land in about 179 Herd Management Areas (HMAs).

Under protection, the Wild Horses and Burro populations grew about 15-20% annually and threatened overgrazing on the rangelands that they shared with wildlife and in some cases livestock. So the BLM, the government agency in charge of managing the Wild Horses, created Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) which is the number of horses that each Herd Management Area (HMA) can supposedly sustain in a thriving ecological balance with wildlife and in some areas livestock. Currently, the nationwide AML is 27,000.

While the Appropriate Management Level is 27,000, the current population is estimated to be between 80,000-85,000 Wild Horses and Burros (including 2017 foals) which is over 3X the target population. For reference, when I first became involved in the WH&B issue there were less than 50,000 in the wild. The BLM is supposed to gather excess horses to prevent overgrazing but they can’t because they don’t have a place to put them because they’ve already gathered and are boarding 45,000 Wild Horses and Burros in feed lot-style holding pens and leased pasture. The BLM is spending $50 Million annually (2/3 of its Wild Horse and Burro budget) to feed these horses in holding. Each individual horse that goes into the holding pen process is estimated to cost taxpayers $50,000 per individual. For the price of all the horses being kept in holding pens, you could send 90,000 students to an in state 4-year college. To me, that level of government spending is completely unacceptable. That is why I made the recommendation to: “Phase out long-term holding over the next three years and apply that budget to on-range management and adoptions.” This recommendation passed the board 6-1. To phase out Long Term holding, the public would have the opportunity to adopt the horses and acquire the ownership and expenses involved.

Unfortunately, the horse market is saturated, many rescue facilities are full to the brim, and adoption has fallen over the past decade. If the public didn’t adopt them all, it’s possible some non-reproducing herds could be established on public lands. Most likely, some horses would have to be euthanized. This is not a crazy thought. People euthanize millions of dogs and cats every year, Bison are culled in Yellowstone to prevent overgrazing, and Elk are culled in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s not a fun topic to discuss so I’ll move on...

Read more here:

Susan Anderson institutes The Iron Horse Challenge endurance race - Full Article

By Diane Sieker on October 21, 2017

Local resident Susan Anderson is most recently well-known for her secret passion for art as the Anza Phantom Artist, having secretly painted and placed large colorful road signs all over the area. Besides being a vet and avid horsewoman, she recently organized and hosted a local equestrian event, The Iron Horse Challenge, which was held Sept. 23 and 24.

The Iron Horse Challenge was an “endurance race” and involved testing both rider and animal to the extremes without causing detrimental harm to either one. Vet techs were on hand during the event to check the well-being of the horses. Water and other essentials were provided at intervals during the competition. Generally, endurance races range from five or 10 miles to hundreds of miles long.

“I got involved with endurance back in 1991, when I lived in Northern California and became friends with Bobbie Haskall, who put on a ride every six months up at Whiskeytown Lake by Redding,” Anderson said. “First, I started vetting the rides for her, then I bought one of her horses and competed briefly. My first ride was a 50-mile ride, and I came in ninth out of 65 riders, I believe. What a kick! I was amazed and inspired. I have always loved this sport. It is lot more regulated and complex than people think, and when done properly is a wonderful example of how people and horses can work together to achieve amazing things...”

Read more here:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Nomination Time for Distance Horse of the Year Award

October 13, 2017 

The Nomination Deadline is Approaching Fast for Distance Horse of the Year Award 

The Distance Horse of the Year Award is presented to an Arabian, Half-Arabian or Anglo-Arabian horse for outstanding achievements in distance events for the current year. The award recipient is honored by a name plate on the perpetual trophy and listed on the Arabian Horse Association's (AHA) website

In addition, the owner of the horse receives a take-home trophy to display. The winner of the award will be chosen at AHA's Annual Convention. 

Anyone may nominate a horse for this award by filling out the nomination form and submitting it by November 1. The owner of the horse must be a current AHA member with a Competition Card. To view previous Distance Horse of the Year award winners, click here

You can download the Nomination form here. Forms can be submitted by fax to (303) 696-4599, emailed to Devin Smith at, or mailed to the following address: 

Arabian Horse Association 
C/O Devin Smith 
10805 E Bethany Dr. 
Aurora, CO 80014

Friday, October 13, 2017

AERC: Time to Join or Renew!

"LAST CALL FOR FALL" SPECIAL! Haven't renewed or joined yet but going to a ride or two before the season ends? Renew or join by Oct. 30 and be entered into our drawing for a chance to win an awesome #aerc package!

Winner receives one of our popular "Don't Saddle For Less" t-shirts, an AERC picnic blanket, and an AERC swag bag! There are lots of rides left in the season! Open to new AND renewing members.

Easy link to join/renew:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Young Rider Team Challenge

(photo: Tessa Kimbler)

With only a month to go, the AERC Young Rider Team competition is fired up. AERC's Young Riders (aged 16 - 21) formed 5-member teams early in the 2017 ride season, with competition points earned by each individual to be tallied for a team score.

For more information on the Young Rider Team Challenge, visit the website:

It's not too early to be thinking about next season!

Here are the team scores to date:

1) Southern Reins- 574.5
2) MW/Aussie Exchange Riders- 568.25
3) Northern Lights- 526.25
4) Hot to Trot Trixies- 425.25
5) NE Endurance Divas- 387

The following is a list of the members of each team:

Southern Reins
Hannah Crenshaw
Abbey Crenshaw
Abbey Kay Moore
Caroline Guy
Annie Whelan

Hot To Trot Trixies
Ragan Kelly
Haley Moquim
Windsor Mundy
Eilish Connor
Kayloni Carrol

Northern Lights
Solstice Pecile
Mackanzie Coffey
Rhyne Maas
India Orino
Cali Orino

NE Endurance Divas
Maria Muzzio
Amelia Young
Kelsie Lewis
Hanna Weightman
Sarah Buckley

MW/Aussie Exchange Riders

Tessa Kimbler
McCamey Kimbler
Charlie Koester
Lexi Vollman
Tahlia Franke

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2017 Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals/Owyhee Canyonlands

October 11 2017
by Merri

Endurance riders, Arabian Horse Association people, Two Trees catering by the fabulous Wynne Teeter, evening jams, an even better band, Country Club (classic country, honky tonk, old time, and bluegrass, starring Steph's fiddle teacher), the local Radio Club (who came in very handy when a rider was injured out on trail), and the stars of the show, the endurance horses, merged and mingled at the Teeter Ranch the weekend of October 6-8 for the 3-day Owyhee Canyonlands/AHA Distance Nationals.

Not only did the Arabian Horse Association hold their 50-mile and 100-mile Purebred Arabian, and Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian Championships, but they also hosted the Appaloosa 50-mile Championship (ANCER) and the Paso Fino National Championship. The Teeter Ridecamp looked like Days of Old, when trailers squeezed into every conceivable space both in front and in back.

While more horse trailers continued to pull into camp on Friday, the Day 1 25-mile ride and the AERC 50-mile ride took riders into the Owyhee desert, down to the Snake River and around Wild Horse Butte.

39 riders started the 50, with 36 finishing. Winner was Christoph Schork, riding RR Jazz Dancer in 5:13. Daneila Lambeck was second (also 5:13) aboard Christoph's GE Berry Haat Salza. Karen Steenhof and WMA Proclaim came in third in 5:50. GE Jazz Dancer won Best Condition.

20 started the LD, with 15 finishing. Vonnie Brown aboard Chipikiri won the ride in 4:04, a minute over Leonard Bottleman and APP Taylor La Esplendida Mirada. Bill Miller, riding Tezeros Annie Sue, and David Brown, riding Tezeros Hot Shot, finished third and fourth in 4:10. Tezeros Hot Shot got Best Condition.

Day 2 was a busy ride day, with a 25-mile LD, an open 50-mile ride, and the 4 50-mile Championship rides: Purebred Arabian, Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian, Appaloosa, and Paso Fino.

14 riders started the AHA Purebred Arabian Championship, with 12 finishing. John Stevens, from Lincoln, California, took the Championship honors with his 9-year-old gelding Rabbalad (FV Classic Farwa x FV Farabba, by Haji Rabba) in 5:08. Reserve Champion went to Christoph Schork, from Moab, Utah, aboard GE Haat Rod Express (DWA Express x Pico Stardust +/, by Pico Haat Shaat) in 5:33. Jeff Stuart, from Ogden, Utah, took third with JV Remington (JV Shadow Dancer x Sugar is Fine, by *Patriark) in 6:27. GE Haat Rod Express won Best Condition.

7 riders started the Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian division, with 5 finishing. Jeff Loe from Trail, Oregon, and Hillcreek Pyra (SFF Pyro x Zephyr) won in a time of 6:27. Denise Obray, from Auburn, California, and TM Dunit in Gold (Ima Dun Kid x Faireshine Padron, by *Padron) finished second in 7:06. Junior rider Sarah Holloway from Maple Valley, Washington, finished third aboard Phinneas (Grandson of the Black Stallion) in 8:28. Phinneas won the Best Condition award, much to his approval.

Top honors in the Appaloosa Championship went to Siri Olson from The Dalles, Oregon, and EZ To B Perfect, in a ride time of 7:52. Jessica Cobbley, from Blackfoot, Idaho, and The Big Brass finished second in 7:58. Third place went to Kathleen Jepson, from Independence, Oregon, aboard Spotted Wap in a ride time of 8:21. EZ To B Perfect also won Best Condition. 6 started and 4 completed the ride.

The Paso Fino Championship had 3 starters and finishers. Chris Cane, from Olympia, Washington, and Marco del Padre finished first in 8:59, and earned the Best Condition award. Lindsay Campbell, visiting from Lake City, Florida, finished second aboard Cane's horse Magico del Padre in 9:00. The current AERC President, Paul Latiolais, from Milwaukie, Oregon, finished third aboard Francisco Adan CuGR in 10:13.

50 riders started the Open 50 mile ride, with 41 finishing. John Stevens and Rabbalad were first in 5:08. Christoph Schork and GE Haat Rod Express were second in 5:33, and Dean Hoalst and Redwing Ofcourage finished third in 5:56. GE Haat Rod Express won the open AERC Best Condition award.

The Racing Mules put on their fun and excellent show in the LD (3 of them carrying Juniors). They took the top 4 spots, with Junior Parker Eversole and out of Idaho winning in 3:10, with sponsor Trinity Jackson aboard Gracie second (also in 3:10). Junior Sidney Jackson was third on Bear in 3:11, and Junior Lucy Martin was fourth on Irish in 3:12. 8th place Stace Moss aboard Top Hat Frost won Best Condition. 20 started and 18 finished the ride.

Day 3 saw a 25-mile ride, an open 55-mile ride, and the 100-mile open, Purebred Arabian, and Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian Championships. The 100-milers got to visit Wild Horse Butte, the Snake River, and one of the more scenic canyons in the area, Sinker Creek, which runs through the historic 150+-year-old Joyce Ranch.

All participants this day, horses, riders, and volunteers, got the added bonus of cold gale winds, which were actually acceptable, because they blew the gnats into the next county. It was fine 100-mile horse weather, reflected by the most excellent high completion rates, particularly in the 100.

"Team Stevens," from Lincoln, California, and their sleek Purebred Arabians were the stars of that 100-mile division. Crossing the finish line in 8:57 were Diane (first place) aboard the 15-year-old gelding Banderaz LC7 (Jazzman DGL x Zordosa, by *Bandos PASB), and John (second place) aboard the 9-year-old gelding Justin SF (Sir Fames HBV x NNL Just a Heat, by Don El Chall). Justin SF won the Best Condition award. Third place went to Jeanette Mero, of Mariposa, California, and Jet Setting Sandrita (Djet Set De Falgas x Tiki Destiny, by Sambors Destiny) in 10:40. Jeanette rode and finished with her 16-year-old Junior daughter Reyna, aboard Triomphe. This made the Team Mero weekend a complete success (they also finished the AHA 50 the day before), after 2 breakdowns on the way to Idaho and arriving at camp in the middle of the night. The AHA finish made 4 100-mile completions for both horses for the year.

The only other Junior in the AHA Purebred ride was 14-year-old Sarah Holloway, of Maple Valley, Washington, riding with her aunt Connie Holloway aboard DWA Saruq. Sarah and her 14-year-old gelding Noble Desperado finished in 13th place in a ride time of 15:40 in their first 100-mile ride. 15 started and 14 finished the ride.

A literal coin toss determined the winner of the Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian 100-mile Championship, because they could not be separated by a nostril wrinkle or a tail hair at the finish. Winner was Suzanne Hayes, of Arlee, Montana, riding her 9-year-old half-Thoroughbred gelding Sanstormm (Sanskrit x Alta Snow), in a time of 9:45. Reserve Champion was Christoph Schork aboard the half Quarter horse mare GE Pistol Annie (Sulte x Sissy). Annie won the Best Condition award. Third place out of 3 starters went to Carson City, Nevada's Connie Creech aboard LS Steele Breeze (Remington Steele x LS Shareem, by Luzero), in a ride time of 15:07. This was Breezy's 16th 100-mile completion. Her previous ride was a finish in the tough Virginia City 100 three weeks earlier.

The open AERC 100-mile ride had 26 starters and 23 finishers. Diane and John Stevens tied for first, and Christoph Schork and Suzy Hayes tied for third place along with Meridian, Idaho's Lynn Rigney, aboard Predictable. That pair also finished the Virginia City 100 three weeks earlier, in 6th place. Justin SF won the open Best Condition award.

10 riders started the 50-mile ride, with 8 completing. First place went to Jeff Stuart and DWA Malik in a ride time of 6:30. Tani Bates and CR Marjan Roars were second in 6:35, and Beth Nicholes and DWA Zifhaffir were third in 7:08. Best Condition went to DWA Zifhaffir.

All 19 starters finished the LD ride (5 mules again!), with Bill Miller finishing first in 2:41 aboard Raffons Noble Dancer. Second was David Brown aboard Tezeros Hot Shot. The 5 mules were next, carrying 3 Juniors. Tezeros Hot Shot won Best Condition.

For more photos and stories on the ride, see:

Monday, October 09, 2017

Team Stevens Dominates 2017 Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals Purebred 100 Mile Ride

by Merri
October 9 2017

The wife and husband team of Diane and John Stevens, from Lincoln, California, took top honors in the AHA Distance Nationals Purebred Arabian 100 Mile ride in Oreana, Idaho on Sunday October 8th.

Diane and her gelding Banderas LC7 took first place in a ride time of 8:57. John and his gelding Justin SF took second place (also ride time of 8:57), and, next morning, the Purebred Best Condition award. 15 started the division with 14 finishing.

Winner of the AHA 100-mile Half Arabian/Anglo Arabian division was literally determined on a coin toss. Suzanne Hayes, from Arlee, Montana, aboard Sanstormm tied with Christoph Schork, from Moab, Utah, aboard GE Pistol Annie right on the finish line with a ride time of 9:45. A coin toss gave the win to Suzy Hayes. Christoph's GE Pistol Annie won the Best Condition award the next morning. Connie Creech and LS Steele Breeze finished third in a ride time of 15:07, making 3 starters and 3 finishers in this division.

More to come at:

Sunday, October 08, 2017

2017 Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals 50 Mile Winners

October 8 2017
by Merri

The 50-mile Arabian Horse Association Distance National 50-mile ride was held Saturday October 7 at the Teeter Ranch in Oreana, Idaho.

Winner of the Purebred Arabian division was John Stevens, of Lincoln, California, aboard Rabbalad in a time of 5:08. Second place went to Christoph Schork, of Moab, Utah and GE Haat Rod Express in 5:33. Jeff Stuart, from Ogden, Utah, was third aboard JV Remington in 6:27. GE Haat Rod Express won Best Condition. 14 started the ride with 12 completing.

In the Half-Arabian/Anglo Arabian division, Jeff Loe from Trail, Oregon, and Hillcreek Pyra won in a time of 6:27. Auburn, California's Denise Obray and TM Dunit in Gold finished second in 7:06, and Junior rider Sarah Holloway from Maple Valley, Washington, finished 3rd aboard Phinneas in 8:28. Phinneas won the Best Condition award. 7 started and 5 finished the ride.

Held in conjunction with the Arabian Distance National were the ANCER (Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Ride) and PFHA (Paso Fino Horse Association) 50 mile championships.

6 started and 4 completed the ANCER Championship. Siri Olson from The Dalles, Oregon, and EZ To B Perfect won first place and Best Condition in a ride time of 7:52. Jessica Cobbley, from Blackfoot, Idaho, and The Big Brass finished second in 7:58. Third place went to Kathleen Jepson, from Independence, Oregon, aboard Spotted Wap in a ride time of 8:21.

3 started and finished the PFHA Championship, with Chris Cane, from Olympia, Washington, and Marco del Padre finishing first and winning Best Condition in a ride time of 8:59. Lindsay Campbell, from Lake City, Florida, finished second aboard Cane's horse Magico del Padre in 9:00. Paul Latiolais, current AERC President, from Milwaukie, Oregon, finished 3rd aboard Francisco Adan CuGR in 10:13.

The 100 Mile Championship is being held Sunday October 8.

More information at:

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Miles to go - Full Article

I didn’t think I was the type of person who could succeed at a demanding sport like endurance riding. But with the help of two insightful coaches and their talented horses, I learned that I am.

October 5 2017

I was up at 6 a.m. on the Saturday before Labor Day, getting ready to drive 30 miles into the hills north of Los Angeles to meet someone I’d seen once at a party. Her name was Lisa, and she’d told me that her endurance horses needed exercise while she recuperated from foot surgery. For me, her offer presented an opportunity to try something new---and to take a step toward a dream that has been nipping at my heels for a long time.

“Oh! Do you ride, too?” I asked, surprised, when I pulled up at Lisa’s farm. I’d found not Lisa, but her husband, saddling a horse.

“Everyone asks that question,” Shel grumbled.

Women may make up the largest demographic of endurance riders, but Shel has logged more miles in competition than most riders ever will. He began riding in midlife and rapidly became an accomplished competitor. My surprise didn’t get me off on the right foot with Shel, but fortunately, he gave me a second chance.

I didn’t embarrass myself again during my first five-mile ride with Shel. I embarrassed myself the next day instead...

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Mongol Rider Part 2 - Full Article

By Judy Heinrich
October 2 2017

Regular readers of Appointments will remember that we recently featured endurance rider Marianne Williams of Tryon, who was heading off to compete in the Mongol Derby. Deemed “the longest and toughest horse race in the world” by the Guinness Book of Records, the Derby gives riders up to 10 days to cover 621 miles across high passes, open valleys, wooded hills, floodplains and the expansive grassland “Steppe” that covers much of Mongolia. And they do it all on a changing cast of semi-wild Mongolian horses who are switched out every 25 miles, first-come, first-served.

Derby organizers are blunt in telling would-be competitors that they stand a high chance of being seriously injured during the race. And that’s what happened to Marianne, who fortunately lived to tell the tale.

“I had been riding for four days, and had already covered about 350 miles,” she recalls. “The variety of terrain was just amazing. We would be riding in the desert but looking at snow-capped peaks. One day we’d have 80-degree temperatures and the next we’d have 30 mile-per-hour winds and sleet hitting you on the left for two-thirds of the ride and full in the face for the rest. And we rode through herds of wild horses, goats and sheep along the way.

“There were probably 40 horses to choose from at every station, with a mixture of good, poor, and some just plain evil. I had one that kept wanting to throw me off – it did throw me off twice. Then I had a stallion when I was riding with a group of five people, and he and I went out front and led the group the whole day, with the reins down on his neck.”

But as unpredictable as the horses could be, it was a much smaller animal that ended Marianne’s ride: a Mongolian Marmot, a relative of our very own domestic groundhog. Actually many marmots were probably involved, since it was a tunnel system they’d built which collapsed under Marianne’s horse. Both horse and rider fell, and Marianne was knocked unconscious and had her left clavicle broken in four places...

Read more here:

A Brit in our Midst - Full Article

By Judy Heinrich
October 2 2017

Young UK farrier works with Landrum’s Jeff Pauley

Even among the diverse group of farriers we have working in the Carolina Foothills, there are several things that set Tom Holliday apart. First he didn’t grow up around here: he’s from Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England, a market town with farming and foxhunting traditions. He’s also young compared to our average population – just 23. And he’s a graduate of the very rigorous system of study, apprenticeship and certification developed by Great Britain’s Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF), which was established in the year 1356 a.d. and given a Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1674 (see pg. 56).

Tom spent his boyhood around horses, starting with a Shetland pony and then riding a variety of breeds. His father was a huntsman, so naturally Tom hunted a lot. He also developed an early and enduring interest in farriery: “I always wanted to be a farrier,” he says. That began with his grandfather, who trained as a farrier in the army and then did all his own shoeing for the Appaloosa stud farm he owned.

Tom’s riding was curtailed as a teenager when he spent several years between Germany and Northern Ireland, where the family followed his stepfather’s army career. After finishing high school in Germany, Tom applied to the WCF certification program.

His first step was a pre-farrier course (forging) at Herefordshire College of Technology, and he then completed the required apprenticeship with an Approved Training Farrier (ATF), in Shropshire, England. He now has his Diploma from the WCF, which is the first of three levels of accreditation; the second and third are Associate and then Approved Training Farrier. If Tom hadn’t passed his exam for the “Dip-WCF” level, he’d have been pushed back in his training for six months before getting to try again.

Meanwhile in Burnsville…

For longer than Tom has been alive, Jeff Pauley has been a farrier in the Carolinas, starting in 1989 in Burnsville, N.C. His primary career was in engineering for the Rockwell Corporation in Weaverville, and he got interested in farriery through his hobby of competitive roping. “I watched the farrier work and liked what he did so much that I took a leave of absence from work to attend farrier school,” he says. After starting farriery part-time he turned it into a full-time career in 2002...

Read more here:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Chemainus man completes 800 km horseback ride in Mongolia - Full Article

Wed Sep 27th, 2017

When Chad Deetken first glanced at an ad describing the Gobi Gallop, he quickly dismissed it as too crazy to consider.

Once the next edition of Saddle Up magazine arrived a month later and he took a closer look, the 69-year-old Chemainus resident had an immediate change of heart.

“It struck me like lightning. I thought you have to do this,” he said regarding the Gobi Gallop, hailed as the longest annual charity horseback rides in the world. The event covers 700 kilometres in 10 days, tearing up rolling hills, galloping across green pastures, fording streams, and occasionally sleeping in yurts with the Mongol nomads

“It turned out to be an endurance ride with a capital E, one of the toughest rides out there,” recalled Deetken, one of only eight people to sign up for the event in 2014...

Read more here:

Monday, September 25, 2017

Endurance Rider Earns Full Scholarship to Georgia Tech

September 19 2017
Arabian Horse Life Magazine

Endurance rider Lily Turaski, originally from Friendsville, Tenn., has received the Stamps President's Scholarship to attend Georgia Tech. The Stamps President's Scholarship is a nationwide, full-ride scholarship program. It is awarded to students showcasing strong scholar-ship, leadership, progress, and service, and the program gives students an opportunity to build and grow in these four pillars.

Turaski was introduced to endurance riding at age eight by her nana, who also races, and has been riding her purebred Arabian gelding, Chance of Freedom (by Belesemo Chance) for eight years. She has competed in the national championship, completed over 3,000 competition miles, and placed in the top three nationally four times. Lily and Freedom make a great team, and they have completed 7 out of the 10 years needed for the Decade Team award. Her horse, Freedom, is one of the top 20 equines in the U.S. for lifetime mileage.

Turaski mentions the life lessons she's learned from endurance riding and taking care of her Arabian horse.

"It's important to be able to set goals; some are long term...some short term," she said. "That's something that you learn in endurance, and it has a correlation to academics and being in college. For example, the goal to com-plete the Decade Team award repre-sents a lot of commitment to the sport. Being 7 years into it, I want to finish it. I'm in college now, but I would like to be able to finish that award."

She says that the dedication it takes to care for her horse has taught her responsibility, something she can carry with her throughout her college career and beyond.

"I have learned to be dependable for my horse, my schoolwork, my commit-ments, and myself."

Turaski says that endurance riding is part of her life, and, although she won't be racing as frequently during college, she hopes to stay involved, perhaps by volunteering at races.

"After college I definitely plan to stay involved in the sport. It's a big part of my life, and I want to continue," Turaski said.

The Legacy of Sheila Varian DVD

History has always been very important to me, particularly as it pertains to the Arabian horse.

This year marks the 60th anniversary for Varian Arabians. And what a story it is. In a twist-and-turn adventure, the film walks viewers through the epic story of Sheila Varian, known to be one of the world's elite horse breeders and trainers, and includes never-before-seen footage of her early years and her horses. It is the ultimate underdog story.

You'll walk alongside a young Sheila as she learns from famous mentors and carries life-long friendships. You'll ride with her as she breaks world-records to a stunned audience of more 15,000 people. You'll feel the exhilaration of watching her first three Arabian mares step off the trailer after their overseas trip from Poland in 1961. You'll share her hurts, struggles and ultimate triumphs from walking a road less traveled. You'll be swept away by the beauty of her stallions that changed the Arabian breed forever, and her unique relationships with them. But most of all, you'll be inspired by what can happen when you dig deep to follow your calling, and end up changing the world.

Evie Tubbs Sweeney
Executive Producer

Dive into this inspirational story of one of the world's most revered horse women and breeders. You'll follow her epic journey through adventures, trials, lessons and joys. But most of all, you'll be inspired by what can happen when someone digs deep to follow their calling... and ends up changing the world.

Running time: 128 minutes

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Distance Depot/U.S. Endurance Team Seeks Successful Finish at 2017 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Sep 22, 2017, 3:05 PM EST

Valeggio sul Mincio, Verona, Italy – The Distance Depot/U.S. Endurance Team will compete in the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors on Saturday, September 23. Chef d'Equipe Mark Dial will guide the team, newly sponsored for 2017 by The Distance Depot, of Katelyn Baldino, Ragan Kelly, Ainsley Suskey, and Annie Whelan as they join 110 combinations from 33 nations racing towards top team and individual honors.

With the beautiful city of Valeggio sul Mincio serving as the backdrop, combinations will set out on a four-loop 120 km race across soft hills and country lanes and tracks alongside the banks of the Adige and Mincio rivers.

Baldino (Marietta, Ga.) returns to these championships after competing in the 2015 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors. She will ride Melody Blittersdorf’s Synthetic. She and the 17-year-old Arabian gelding started working together in May. In June, they placed first in the Fort Howes Endurance Ride CEIYJ2*. Baldino will use her experience to guide her teammates, who make their world championship debut.ain

Photo by: Becky Pearman Photography
Kelly (Waco, Texas) will compete on Tracy Kelly’s HK Kruizer, the team's reserve horse. She and the 12-year-old Arabian gelding placed third at the 2016 Broxton Bridge CEIYJ2* in April. Kelly originally was scheduled to compete on Tracy Kelly's Kharismas Grace, but the nine-year-old Arabian mare was withdrawn due to veterinary concerns.

Suskey (Iola, Wisc.) will team up with Julie Jackson’s Princess Deelites MHF. She and the 10-year-old Arabian mare placed second at the Fun in the Sun (FITS) CEIYJ2* in March 2016.

Whelan (Louisa, Ky.) will tack up Wallace Hill Leo, owned by her mother, Amy Wallace-Whelan. The younger Whelan took over the ride from her mom who competed the 13-year-old Half-Arabian gelding at the high-performance level. She and Wallace Hill Leo have earned three first-place finishes, including the 2017 FITS CEIYJ2* and 2016 and 2015 Broxton Bridge CEIYJ3* and CEIYJ2*, respectively.

Eilish Connor (Spring, Texas) and Darolyn Butler’s 15-year-old Arabian gelding, DJB Jolly Roger, were originally scheduled to compete but withdrew due to veterinary concerns. Connor will remain in Italy with the rest of the team to serve as a groom and support her teammates.

Find out more about the 2017 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors.

The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF Sponsors and Members.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Virginia City 100 - 50 Years of Memories… and Rocks

September 20 2017
by Merri

Rock, rocks and more rock! You couldn't see the trees for the rocks. - Kipling the horse, 7th with rider Ronda Eden

I think it [the first loop] was rockier than cr@p, but it was so dark, I couldn't see. - Matt Scribner, 10th on MM Cody

If you see enough rocks on the trail over all daylight hours then it is quite possible you will see rocks at night when there are no rocks! - Max Merlich, 11th on TCF Miles High

The rocks - you guys got that nailed! - Darlene Anderson, 12th on Xtreme Surprise

I love the trail. And the rocks - I don't care, I still love 'em. - Kaitlyn Cummins, 13th on VA Anastahzi

Nevada does have the record for most rocks in the US. We rode over most of them yesterday! - Janet Worts, 14th on MG Sedona

Thanks for letting me ride through your rock garden! - Troy Eckard, 15th on OT Rymoni GLY

You don't have to squint too hard, as you drive up the narrow canyon and incline from Dayton, Nevada, past Silver City and Gold Hill and on up into Virginia City at 6200 feet, to imagine how it was in the old days: loaded wagons pulled by horse and mule teams up the rough steep canyon roads, wild horses, unforgiving rocky mountains, a multitude of gold and silver mines, shafts and tailings, and rocky trails.

The first gold discovered in Nevada was in 1849 in Dayton, and with the discovery of the Comstock Lode strike in 1859 (the first major silver strike in America), Virginia City sprang up more or less overnight. Much of the old time panache is still alive, with people strolling boardwalks and visiting saloons lining a narrow main street, and much of the city is perched on the terraced multitudes of old mine tailings.

It's not too hard to imagine the horses and riders of yesteryear, gathering in a group in front of Virginia City's Delta Saloon (est. 1865), forming a posse or gearing up for a cattle drive, striking out early on the trails out of town. Those old trails in the rugged desert mountains are still there, and for 50 years, on an early morning in September, endurance riders have congregated in front of the Delta Saloon, and ridden 100 miles in this rocky, mountainous terrain for the bragging rights of earning a Virginia City 100 buckle upon finishing with their amazing equine equine partner within 24 hours.

The 100-mile Virginia City trail is itself one of the stars of the show - a demanding, unforgiving trail. It's always been rocky, but after last winter's heavy snowfall (after years of drought) and spring rains, much of the topsoil washed away to - you guessed it - expose more rocks. One rider said, "My mare remembered every rock from last year… there were just more of them!" If you think about it, it's very possible that riders probably trampled over some of the very same rocks the miners and their burros stumbled over 157 years ago! (People new to southwest Idaho endurance rides often ask me, "Are the Owyhee rides rocky?" I say, "I don't know, have you ever ridden in Nevada?" Because it all depends on your perspective.)

And Bailey Canyon, on the first loop, is extra famous for its extra rocks. It'll take you about an hour to get through there if you take it steadily and carefully. If you try to rush through it, you might shave a whole 5 minutes off your time.

And there's not just rocks, but 12,064 feet of elevation gain and loss to shoulder through. The SOB's are famous - 3 short but very steep Sons o' Bitches hills (which you will agree is a wholly appropriate name, once you have ridden or walked or tailed them, particularly in the high desert heat of an afternoon) that test your horse's mettle. There's the climb up Jumbo Grade to 7629 feet not that far from the top of Mt Davidson (and don't discount the climb down), plus myriad little mountains between the start and finish lines.

With the spirits of endurance riding history and tradition behind it, 70 riders showed up at the starting line for the 50th anniversary of the Virginia City 100 at 5 AM on September 16, 2017. The ride hadn't seen that many participants in 17 years.

Horses and riders were obviously stars of the 50th Anniversary show, as well. "Magnificent horses," said Jerry Gillespie, who, with his wife Martha and daughter Cheryl and son-in-law, plus a whole group of volunteers, were on site with 2 giant horse scales to conduct a dehydration/weight loss study with willing participants. The Virginia City 100 competitors were indeed a fabulous looking group of horseflesh - sleek, fit, athletic, none too heavy, none too skinny, but just right for the rigors of the trail ahead.

The biggest star on Saturday was the 10-year-old mustang named MM Woodrow (Woody), who carried his rider, Mark Montgomery to the win in a ride time of 15:13.

Mark and Woody were in third place leaving the out vet check at 24 miles, 11 minutes behind the leader Leah Cain and OT Dyamonte Santo, and 6 minutes behind Ann Marie Barnett aboard Ravens Allure. Coming up in the next 15 mile section was Bailey Canyon. "Bailey Canyon is not the place you're going to make up time," ride manager Crysta Turnage said Friday night at the ride meeting. "Be smart, take your time through there."

But Bailey Canyon is exactly where Mark and Woody made up time, and possibly even where they won the ride. They passed both Leah and Ann Marie in that canyon, arriving at the Washoe Lake vet check and 20 minute hold at 39 miles with the lead. Ann Marie was hot on Mark's tail, (both had the same out time of 10:31 AM), with Leah 25 minutes back. "That's his kind of trail," Mark said. "I wish the whole ride was like that! He just skipped through there."

Mark and Woody retained the lead throughout the ride, getting a little breathing room twice, when his nearest competitors were eliminated, first Ann Marie and Ravens Allure at 51 miles, then Leah Cain and OT Dyamonte Santo at 92 miles. The mustang finished at 11:33 PM, 36 minutes ahead of Lois Wifall and Morroccan Spice (ride time of 15:49).

Mark, from Penn Valley, California, first started in endurance in 2010 and has over 4000 miles. He's well known for the mustangs he trains and rides.

MM Woodrow has been somewhat of a phenomenon since Mark started him in endurance. He got Woody from a woman in Wyoming who couldn't train him, and who gave him to Mark as a 5-year-old. The now 10-year-old gelding has a record of 1905 miles with 33 completions in 35 starts, all but one of those in the Top Ten, and 17 first place finishes. His 4 100-mile completions include a first place in the 2016 Twenty Mule Team and a 34th place finish in this year's Tevis Cup (with rider Simone Krahnen), his last ride before Virginia City.

10th place Matt Scribner (who rode another of Mark's mustangs, MM Cody) said, "Mark made that horse. He was amazing."

Second place went to Lois Wifall and her 15-year-old gelding Morroccan Spice in 15:49. She was followed by the mother-son team of Peg Murphy-Hackley aboard HE Khem Chee and Bryce Hackley riding Sericko, in 16:14.

The biggest star on Sunday was HE Khem Chee. All the 4 horses (2nd place Morroccan Spice, 3rd place HE Khem Chee, 4th place Sericko, and 6th place Lynn Rigney and Predictable) that showed for Best Condition Sunday morning looked good - certainly not looking any worse for 100-mile wear - but Khemi looked absolutely fabulous in her trot outs.

Peg Murphy-Hackley bred her 11-year-old mare, by Khemistreetu x RT Johanna, by Wazirs Karahty. The mare has a record of 935 miles over 7 seasons, with 22 completions in 25 starts, and 4 100-mile completions, including Tevis (2013 and 2016), and last year's Virginia City (10th place). This year Peg, from Foresthill, California, earned her 1000-mile Tevis buckle, (she has also finished Australia's Tom Quilty twice) and with her second Virginia City buckle, she's hooked. "I'm a Tevis person, and now I'm chipping away at Virginia City. We'll be back!"

The ultimate star of the Virginia City 100 event is NASTR. Organized in 1968, the Nevada All-State Trail Riders came together for the purpose of preserving historical trails in Nevada by sponsoring and promoting horse back riding on these trails. It's made up of a grand group of dedicated individuals who diligently maintain the legacy of these Nevada rides with old photos and stories (did all of you get to page through the photo albums on the tables in the Ice House?), and who sink their heart and teeth into putting on several Nevada rides throughout the years, including the crown jewel, the Virginia City 100.

This year's ride manager, Crysta Turnage, declined credit. "It's all of you [NASTR members]. I'm just the face of it. This wouldn't happen without everybody's help." Consensus was that this year's was the best marked trail ever. Extra effort was put into not only the awards for the finishers (and each sponsor/award was recognized at the Sunday awards presentation), but each rider received a special 50th anniversary program, "Virginia City 100, 1968-2017 - 50 Years of Memories," containing stats of past VC rides and riders and horses, and special stories from some of the early ride pioneers.

And NASTR knows how to put on an awards ceremony. Special speakers Cliff Lewis (first VC 100 winner, and a founding member of NASTR), Phil Gardner (first 2000-mile VC buckle recipient), Connie Creech (2000-mile VC rider), and Gina Hall (owner of Fire Mt Destiny, who holds the record of 12 VC finishes and a 100% completion rate) gave a short talk, some of which had the audience either laughing or wiping away tears. Each finisher got a chance to speak if they wished.

A few more milestones were reached during this year's 50th anniversary. Shawn Bowling got his 1000-mile buckle award. Dave Rabe finished his 16th VC 100. Pat Chappell completed her 18th VC 100. And Connie Creech not only completed her 26th Virginia City ride, but her mare LS Steele Breeze finished her 4000th AERC mile, her 15th 100 mile ride, and her 5th Virginia City ride. That makes five horses that Connie has ridden to 5 Virginia City completions. (And for those of you who did not complete your first attempt at the VC ride, just keep in mind that Connie didn't finish her first one. :)

I'll conclude with a few more memorable quotes from this iconic 50th anniversary ride, which don't refer to rocks:

There's nowhere else I'd rather be then riding a horse here today. I don't have to be anywhere else. I don't have to do anything else but ride the VC 100! - Matt Scribner, 10th on MM Cody, at the 5 AM start

Last year I had "Virginia Shitty" engraved on my buckle. I like punishment. - Shawn Bowling, 37th on Rushcreek Spur, after receiving his 10th buckle

I swore off Virginia City after my second finish, but, oh well. Fergus just gets better and better. Now I have to come back. - Lucy Trumbull, 32nd on Fergus, her 5th buckle

Thanks for making me skip class and show up! - Bryce Hackley, 4th on Sericko, to his mom

You know you've *been somewhere* when you finish this ride! - Darlene Anderson, 12th on Xtreme Surprise

Folks in the know have said this ride is tougher than Tevis. It is possible they are right. - Max Merlich, 11th on TCF Miles High

Best ride EVER! - Tracy John (an Aussie), 31st on Al Marah Land Robin

Real Men Wear Jeans - Junior rider Jack Bowling 34th aboard Rushcreek Caribou, his second VC finish

To the little guy [Jack Bowling] who said real men wear jeans, Real Men Wear Shorts. - Dave Rabe, 20th on Cocamoe Joe

Well, ultimately the stars weren't quite in alignment for us yesterday and we were pulled at the 76-mile point...a combo of being both overtime and Beeba was off on the right hind at the trot.
Still, can't complain...that red mare poured her heart out for me all day long over some incredible and challenging trail. This was the longest either of us have gone before, and she headed out of camp for that second loop after 50 miles without any fuss or question. She was an energizer bunny all day, steadily eating up the miles, and eating and drinking amazingly well.
And me? More 75s and 100s, please! There's something special about these longer distances and I can't wait to do more of them.
Much more later...this was an incredible ride and I'm glad to have had the chance to start it this year. The VC magic got its hooks in me and you can be sure I'll return for another go at it! - Ashley Wingert, OT pull on The Habibah RA

Success. So grateful for all the support. I feel like one must feel when standing atop Mt Everest. To take on the huge challenge and achieve that goal. Knowing you still have work ahead to complete the journey. But treasuring the moment and the intense feelings. - Crysta Turnage, Ride Manager

More from the ride at:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mustang Wins 50th Virginia City 100

September 18 2017

Mark Montgomery of Penn Valley, California, and his Wyoming mustang WW Woodrow (Woody) won the 50th running of the Virginia City 100 ride out of Virginia City, Nevada on September 16th. They completed the ride in 15 hours 13 minutes.

Coming in second was Lois Wifall aboard Morroccan Spice in a ride time of 15:49.

Third and fourth went to the mother-son Hackley team. Mom Peg Murphy-Hackley rode HE Khem-Chee, and son Bryce rode Sericko to finish in 16:14. HE Khem-Chee won Best Condition the next morning.

41 completed the ride out of 70 starters.

Finish list, photos, and more stories to come at:

AHA Distance Nationals - update from Ride Management

Tentative Schedule *modifications below

Ride Entry Form

Corral Rentals - there are several stock panel corrals available for rent, $30 for the week. If you wish to reserve a corral, please email Regina or Steph

Maps (click to download) or view at

Day 1, October 6

Day 2, October 7

Day 3 100 Miles, October 8

Day 3 25/55 Miles, October 8

Live Music Saturday night! The Country Club will be playing country/bluegrass music Saturday evening from 5-7pm. Be sure to bring your 'horse/cow/ranch/rodeo' song requests!
Country Club facebook page

Update, trail modifications:

Footing is generally good with trails and dirt 2-track roads but there are rocky sections, shoes or hoof protection advised. Trails will likely be dusty in places.

Day 1 : AHA CTR Championship(40 miles), AERC 30, AHA National and AERC Open 50 mile rides will be one loop out of camp to Wildhorse Butte with a single out-vetcheck location.

Day 2 : AERC open 25, AHA/AERC open 50, ANCER/PFHA (Apaloosa, Paso Fino) 50 mile Championships will be 2 loops out of basecamp, north into Birds of Prey and south to Hart Creek (there will be more rock on this loop). Holds will be at basecamp.

Day 3: AERC open 25, AHA/AERC open 55, AERC open and AHA Championship 100 will be one big loop out of camp for 25 and 55, and 60 miles of the 100 mile event. Ride along the base of the mountains (some rocky sections along the road), drop down and ride around Sinker Reservoir, then to Wildhorse Butte and the Snake River, then home. 100 mile riders will have a 20 mile loop out of basecamp in the morning, then repeat the 20 mile loop out of basecamp for the final 20 miles.

Dinners by Two Trees Catering will be provided with ride entry, and all meals available for purchase beginning Thursday evening.

Ride entry is through AHA, so fill out their registration form at

See ya there!

Steph Teeter