Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Hometown boy makes good: Wyoming native wins world’s longest horse race

Cowboystatedaily.com - Published on August 19, 2019August 18, 2019 in Community/News
Nicole Blanchard, special to Cowboy State Daily

It’s only fitting that a man dubbed “the most badass cowboy you will ever meet” hails from the Cowboy State.

Robert Long, a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, earned the title after winning the Mongol Derby, a 620-mile race across the Mongolian Steppe, earlier this week. At 70 years old, Long is not only the oldest person to win the race but the oldest person to even finish the grueling trek, designed to replicate the route of Genghis Khan’s 13th century postal system.

“I’ve never in my life seen anybody as intense, as skilled, as intelligent, as driven as Bob,”said Gary Schaeffer, former Cheyenne mayor and one of Long’s closest friends. Both men now live in Boise, Idaho.

Long crossed the finish line on Wednesday, Aug. 14, the eighth day of the race. He and 41 other competitors had ridden upwards of 12 hours a day on “semi-wild” Mongolian horses, switching out mounts at checkpoints to ensure the horses didn’t become fatigued.

“Those horses aren’t ridden every day like ours,” said Cheyenne rancher Doug Samuelson, who has spent time hunting in Mongolia. “They’re not our highly trained quarter horses.”

By the end of the race, Long had ridden 28 different horses.

Schaeffer, who first met Long in 1968, said his friend’s upbringing in Cheyenne no doubt came in handy in the race.

“He was born and raised on horses, used to break them, train them for people,” Schaeffer said. “Besides being a confident horseman and cowboy, he always takes care of his animals, and that shows in the race.”

Samuelson, who doesn’t know Long, joked that Long must be something of a horse whisperer.

“I’d love to shake his hand,” Samuelson said. “Maybe it’ll rub off on me.”

At each checkpoint, veterinarians inspected the small, hardy Mongolian horses to see that they hadn’t been overworked.

“They’re small horses, but they’re tough,” Samuelson said. “They’re incredibly agile and surefooted.”

Riders received penalties if their horses weren’t in top condition, but by the end of the derby, Long earned a perfect record from the race vets.

“At one point they said he veered off-course to go get his horse water,” Schaeffer added. “I’m sure it cost him some time, but he was more worried about taking care of his horse. And he’s always been that way.”

Schaeffer said Long was matter-of-fact when he first shared his plans to ride in the Mongol Derby, which holds the Guinness World Record for longest horse race.

“He came over to the house and told us ‘I’ve entered the Mongol Derby,’” Schaeffer said. “We said, ‘What? Why?'”

“He said, ‘Because people told me I couldn’t. It’s there, it’s a challenge. I don’t like people to say because of my age I won’t be able to make it. It’s the toughest, most grueling thing a horseman can do, and I want to prove I can do it,’” Schaeffer recalled.

From day one, Schaeffer said, Long’s loved ones had no doubt he could complete the race, in part thanks to his impeccable research, planning and preparation.

Because Mongolian horses tend to be under 14 hands, there’s a weight limit for riders and gear to keep the horses safe. Long lost 30 pounds and practiced packing and repacking his bag to be sure he could make weight. He consulted with previous Mongol Derby riders and spent months building his riding endurance.

“He had this planned down to the inch,” Schaeffer said.

And while Long already had impeccable navigation skills (Schaeffer recalled how Long could always find his way back to the horse trailer during hunting trips in the Snowy Mountains), he honed those skills even more to prepare for the unmarked Mongol Derby route.

“He would try to get himself lost and work with the GPS to get himself back on course,” Schaeffer said. “Though I doubt if he ever got lost. He just doesn’t do that.”

According to a Mongol Derby news release, the riders faced arctic winds and downpours at the start of the race. They also had to watch out for rodent holes and marshy areas as they trekked across the steppe.

“(The terrain there) is a lot like Wyoming,” Samuelson said. “You’ll see really flat plains areas and kind of high mountains on the side. The grasses are also similar.”

As the weather cleared up later in the race, Long took a lead that he maintained until the end.

Schaeffer wasn’t surprised when Long galloped across the finish line in a live video broadcast on Facebook by the Mongol Derby –but he was emotional.

“I was crying, tears were streaming down my face. We knew he could do it,” Schaeffer said.

“I’ve never seen anything he can’t do,” he added. “If he says he’s going to do it, he’s going to do it.”

Long, on the other hand, was cracking jokes the moment he dismounted.

“My horse just won the Mongol Derby,” he said. “It’s nothing, you just ride 650 miles on a death march. There’s nothing to it.”

Find out more about the Mongol Derby here. And for a great read on the Mongols and Genghis Khan’s 13th century postal system check out Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford.

Monday, August 19, 2019

2019 Midnight Rider: The Magical Experience of Riding in the Dark

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
August 19 2019

The Northwest region's Bobbi Walker put on the Midnight Rider endurance ride outside of Chehalis, Washington this past weekend.

The previous two years Bobbi put on an unofficial 25-miler and a trail ride to work out the kinks; this year the Midnight Rider was PNER-endorsed and AERC-sanctioned. Bobbi is an avid endurance rider who loves riding in the dark, and wants to help acquaint and encourage inexperienced night-riding endurance riders to dip their toes into the magic of night riding, to help them with long-range goals of attempting 100-mile rides. Starting times - from afternoon to evening - were arranged so that each distance would ride at least part of their second loop in the dark.

It was a bit of a blow when, during the summer, Tevis was rescheduled to the same weekend as Midnight Rider (due to concern over late snowpack in the High Sierra trails), but it was fitting (and certainly exciting!) that the Northwest Region's Sanoma Blakeley won Tevis right around the same time the first riders were crossing Bobbi's finish line at Midnight Rider.

Supported by PNER - Pacific Northwest Endurance Riders - Saturday morning, a night riding clinic was held, designed to give first-time night riders an idea of what to expect, tools to use, and tips on being brave and staying confident. Conducted by Northwest rider Merri Melde, she led a lecture and demonstration and discussion session on riding in the dark, and related experiences of her rides and tips from other highly experienced international endurance riders.

An after-ride session on Sunday morning indicated that the first-time night riders (who numbered around 20, including an 11-year-old Junior who also rode her first 50) had very good experiences, and an eagerness to try night riding again.

Taking place on the Willapa Hills State Park trail - one of five long-distance routes managed by Washington State Parks - this relatively flat, multi-use 56-mile trail is a key segment in the cross-state network spanning from the Idaho border to the shores of Willapa Bay. It was originally acquired by State Parks from the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1993. 

Here's the history of the trail:
"In the late 1800s, the Northern Pacific Railway used the line as a spur track for logging. Train tracks once crossed more than 2,000 miles from Willapa Bay to Lake Superior, but freight traffic declined in the late 1950s, and the Willapa Hills route was abandoned in 1990. State Parks acquired the railroad right-of-way for use as a trail in 1993.
The railroad brought rapid change to the land around Willapa Bay. Small communities, many with sawmills, rose up to process lumber. Newly cleared acreage was converted into farmland. Crops were loaded onto railroad cars and carried to markets throughout the American West. Railroad bridges and trestles were also added, spanning big and small waterways along the route.
With the rise of automobiles, passenger service along the route ended in 1954. Freight traffic declined during this period as well, and the route was abandoned in 1990. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission acquired the railroad right-of-way for use as a trail in 1993."

The Willapa Hills trail is in Bobbi's back yard, and one day while riding the trail, she passed the Willapa Hills Farm and pegged it as a great place for a Ridecamp. She rode in, introduced herself and her idea, and the owners were all in, offering the fields for parking and their gorgeous restored 1938 barn as a meeting spot for ride meetings. Willapa Hills Farm is a working family farm nestled on the banks of the Chehalis river, with a committed goal of natural farming, sustainability and environmental Stewardship.

The successful turnout for the trail rides, 25-miler and 50-miler, and the great night-riding experience for the majority of riders gives Bobbi hope that she can continue to put on this ride, and continue to provide a safe and fun environment and trail experience of riding in the dark, with a long-range goal of elevating more endurance riders to 100-mile endurance riders.

Endurance riders hit trail in fast growing equine sport

WisFarmer.com - Full Article

August 16 2019

The world’s fastest growing equine sport, endurance riding, combines the appreciation for nature of a trail ride with the athleticism of endurance sports.

This Oct. 4, 5 and 6, riders will be hauling their trailers from miles around to the Horserider’s Campground in the stunning Southern Kettle Moraine State Forrest for the first running of the DRAW Festivus Ride. DRAW, the Distance Riding Association of Wisconsin, sponsors several distance trail rides each year. Riders will choose distances of 15, 25, 50 or a 2-day 100 mile event. The 15-mile ride for novice horses or riders is approximately three hours with the 25-mile course generally taking four to five hours to complete.

The night before the ride, horses will be examined by a ride veterinarian, and then during the event, there will be checks during the ride and again during a final veterinarian examination shortly after the finish. Each 25-mile ride has one mandatory rest period and, 50-mile rides have at least two mandatory rest periods.

This year’s Festivus theme will have the traditional airing of grievances and feats of strength...

Read more here:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sanoma Blakeley and RA Ares Bay Win 2019 Tevis Cup

Thehorse.com - Full Story

The 18-year-old and her Arabian edged Jeremy Reynolds and RTR Rimfires Etta to win.

Posted by Marsha Hayes | Aug 18, 2019

Eighteen-year-old Sanoma Blakeley of Terrebonne, Oregon, and 10-year-old dark bay Arabian gelding, RA Ares Bay, crossed the 2019 Tevis finish line at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, in Auburn, California. They were just feet ahead of three-time Tevis winner Jeremy Reynolds to claim the Tevis Cup.

Both RA Ares Bay, aka “Goober,” and Reynold’s mount, bay mare RTR Rimfires Etta, pulsed down quickly (heart rates recovered) and vetted out sound after the 100-mile journey, which Blakeley said involved some intense racing during the last several miles.

“I left Lower Quarry (six miles from the finish line) first, but Jeremy and I leapfrogged a couple of times before the finish,” said Blakeley...

Read more here:

Young Regina woman heading to Italy for world riding championship

Growing up with mother Tracy Vollman — a competitive endurance rider — being around horses was normal, but a couple of tumbles as a young child left Lexi frightened to climb in the saddle. Her mother’s gentle and persistent coaching, however, always convinced her to get back on a horse.

While she did come to enjoy horses, Lexi was not interested in the sport of endurance riding her mother loved. Endurance riding is a timed race where an individual horse and rider duo have to travel a distance ranging from 80 to 160 kilometres over a marked cross-country trail in a single day. Instead, she only began riding longer distances as a 12-year-old as a way of spending time with her mother.

“I was going to do it with her because I loved my mom and then one day it was like something switched and it was like, ‘Oh you know, I really like doing this,’ ” said Lexi in a recent phone interview.

But Tracy said Lexi’s shyness initially held her back from excelling in the sport. Lexi declared she would never ride a race by herself and would never ride anyone else’s horse, and Tracy didn’t push her. A few years passed of Lexi continuing to ride longer distances — up to 80 kilometres — with her mom, but refusing to go any further.

Then when Lexi was 16, an opportunity came up to take part in a young rider endurance challenge in North Carolina. Because she would have to ride 120 kilometres by herself and ride someone else’s horse, Tracy was sure Lexi would turn the invitation down, but asked her anyway.

“I guess I was in a good mood and I was like, ‘Sure, yeah of course.’ And now that’s I think my favourite distance,” said the now 19-year-old with a laugh.

Her parents were shocked, but thrilled, at her response.

“We thought either she’s going to absolutely hate it … or maybe she’ll blossom. And lucky for us, she really blossomed. She got to know the other girls. She went out, she rode the 75-mile race,” said Tracy. From that point there was no turning back, and Lexi began endurance riding competitively around the world.

“All of a sudden now she’s travelling around the world, riding all these different horses for different people. She’s a completely different kid. It has done so much for her, and now here she is going to worlds.”

Full article at Star Phoenix

Sonoma Blakely and Jeremy Reynolds win Tevis 2019

Top Ten Tevis finishers:

1 Blakeley, Sanoma (#203) 09:27PM
2 Reynolds, Jeremy (#12) 09:27PM
3 Moquin, Haley (#112) 09:36PM
4 George, Richard (#158) 09:37PM
5 Huff, Suzanne (#142) 09:54PM
6 DONLEY, KAREN (#14) 09:54PM
7 Meuten, Nicki (#114) 10:06PM
8 HALL, GWEN (#150) 10:20PM
9 Fisher, Lindsay (#4) 10:28PM
10 Hayes, Suzanne (#147) 10:29PM

(from http://webcast.teviscup.org/ )

Official Tevis Cup webpage: www.teviscup.org

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

How to Follow Tevis Online

IT'S THAT TIME!!! Here's your annual summary of how best to follow along online:

The Western States Trail Foundation has a loyal group of volunteers that will be working hard to bring you up to date information during the ride weekend. When the ride starts, there will be a link on the main website http://www.teviscup.org/ to the LIVE WEBCAST. That link will allow you to search the progress of a specific rider, information status by checkpoint, current leaders, and a list of pulled riders. You can even save a list of Favorites to make checking on their progress throughout the day more streamlined! http://webcast.teviscup.org/

You can also find ride updates, **LIVE** streaming videos, photos and more during the course of the ride on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TevisCup/ We have webcast photographers and crew at nearly all checkpoints. We will be doing our best to provide continual coverage, upload pictures and video live during the event. Live streaming is always a big hit and we try to provide as much as the service allows!

Additionally, this year we have a GPS tracking for riders! For an additional fee, riders can elect to carry a live tracker, which will send pings to update the riders’ status on the trail every 5 minutes. There may be locations on the trail where GPS signal is too weak to successfully send a ping, the unit will try three times before waiting for the next 5 minute interval. You can follow along with those riders who have elected this optional service here: http://trackleaders.com/teviscup19 Individual riders GPS units should also be linked to their “Where’s My Rider” webcast page.

All of the people helping to man our EIGHTEEN various checkpoints are volunteers, typically working long hours for nothing more than the love of the event and a spiffy Tshirt. They do their best. Several new innovations have been introduced to provide updates as quickly and error-free as possible. Most stops are either direct internet uploading from the checkpoint or through technology which enables emails/uploads to be sent over HAM radios run by our communications volunteers. These two things allow us to be as accurate as possible. We will do our best to keep everyone up to date on their rider. Lag time from the rider checking in to the webcast being updated may be around 20-30 minutes for the more remote locations, others may be nearly real time!

You can imagine how hard it is to not transpose numbers, either verbally when reading/calling them out (especially for tired riders), or while writing them down/typing them in (think of 3-4 people having to hear/write the number for each instance), especially when you've been awake 20+ hours. Keep in mind it's possible to miss a rider # if they all arrive in a big group. If your rider shows up pulled or in a strange place - check again later and don't automatically take it as gospel. There are automated database checking tools to help the webcast volunteers find and correct a mistake at the next update.

Also just because your rider stops at a particular location for longer than usual/planned, it's not necessarily significant. It could be that the spotters missed their number going out, or perhaps they stayed longer than planned to let their horse eat or rest for the upcoming trail segment. There will be volunteers in Foresthill with computers if you need assistance in looking up a rider.

Summary of how to follow us online:

Main Tevis Website: 

Official Checkpoint Webcast: 

Official Tevis Facebook page:

Event GPS tracking: 

Twitter Account: 

Flickr Photos: 


2019 Tevis Equine Research to Focus on Weight and Hydration

Thehorse.com - Full Article


Posted by Marsha Hayes | Aug 13, 2019

Horses competing in the 2019 Tevis Cup endurance ride are prepping to hit the trail on Saturday, Aug. 17. But before they load up for the trip to Northern California, they’ll get weighed as part of a research project to investigate the correlation between weight and hydration in horses during endurance competitions. Jerry Gillespie DVM, PhD, of Hopland, California, will conduct the research project.

Tevis offers unique equine research opportunities, because it gathers nearly 200 top endurance athletes from across the country to traverse the difficult 100-mile course. Gillespie’s study actually begins when competing horses leave home. “We know horses dehydrate when traveling, and knowing the magnitude and starting point of dehydration is important,” he said.

The voluntary study requests competitors weigh horses before transport and keep a detailed log of the horses’ food and water intake, stops, and miles and hours traveled per day...

Read more here:

Friday, August 09, 2019

2019 August's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning

Horseradionetwork.com - Listen

Aug 10, 2016

On today’s Endurance Episode features reports on the Olympics, Mongol Derby and of course Tevis Cup with Darice Whyte and Wayne Woolway talks about the Tahoe Rim Trail. Listen in...


Wednesday, August 07, 2019

What’s So Great About Tevis

August 6 2019

The 64th running of the Tevis Cup (aka Western States Endurance Ride) gets underway on Saturday, August 17. This is one of the best-known endurance rides in the world, and attracts riders from all corners of the U.S. and around the world to follow 100 miles of single-track trail from Robie Park, outside of Truckee, California, to Auburn, California, known as the “Endurance Capital of the World.” It is sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference, headquartered in Auburn, just a stone’s throw from the ride’s finish line.

Among those attempting the grueling test of equestrian skill will be Bruce Weary, DC, of Prescott, Arizona, whose mount this year is an 11-year-old Standardbred gelding named Trooper. Bruce has a history with the Tevis Cup ride: he’s attempted it multiple times, and has only completed the ride once, in 2009, with John Henry, a Tennessee Walker owned by Susan Garlinghouse, DVM.

Let’s let Bruce tell the story:

In anticipation of the annual of the Tevis Cup, aka Western States Trail Ride, I was asked to share some thoughts about my experiences with this ride, what it means to me, and what it might mean to those who dream of swingin’ a leg over a good horse and meeting the Tevis trail head-on.

I’m not sure if being asked to do so was a compliment or not. You see, it took me 15 years and seven attempts to finish this ride—just once. Compared to the efforts of some select riders who have collected a couple dozen buckles or more, I might just as well be the poster child for how not to conquer the Tevis trail.

My first attempt was in 1994, on a grade horse named Thor who had a few hundred miles on him. I had heard of this 100-mile ride in the Sierras, and I decided we’d take a shot at it—with two weeks of preparation. I worked him on some steep hills a few times, put new shoes on him, and figured we were ready.

I planned to get off and lead Thor any time I came to a hill, just to help him out a little. I tried that all the way to Robinson Flat and, upon my arrival, I promptly told my crew, “I wish to die now. Please kill me.”

I had never been so exhausted in my life. With fluids and food I regained some strength, however, and the Mighty Thor, as he was affectionately known, dragged me onward—through Dusty Corners, Last Chance, Deadwood, Michigan Bluff, and the hot, steep canyons that link them together.

Thor literally learned to tail at the bottom of the first canyon, and did it like he had known how all his life.

On reaching Michigan Bluff, I silently prayed that the control judges would find something wrong with Thor, that this madness might end. “You’re good to go!” bellowed the vet who examined Thor. Certain that this vet probably never entered, much less graduated from vet school, and that he was likely taking pleasure in my suffering, I begrudgingly took Thor’s reins, swung my dying carcass up on his noble back and headed into “The Darkness.”

If you’ve never ridden this ride, you don’t know what darkness can be. At times you can wave your hand in front of your face and can’t see it. I was greeted every few minutes by waves of increasing nausea and delirium as we wound our way down, down, down to the Francisco’s vet check, a God-forsaken patch of grass that seemed as good a place as any to die.

I offered my horse to the control judge, and I cursed him under my breath as he told me, “Your horse looks good. You better get moving.” And then “those words” came out of my mouth. Words I hate to ever say, that sounded as if someone else was speaking them, that tasted bitter as I said them, that were driven by nausea and fatigue: “I can’t.”

I remember lying down on a lounge chair. Someone threw a sleeping bag over me, and I passed out. I slipped in and out of consciousness for a few hours, and I remember Thor’s soft footsteps as he quietly grazed next to me and never left my side. Then there was the arduous trailer ride back to Auburn—rough and slow, perfectly punctuating the end of that fateful day. That moment—when I decided I couldn’t go on—haunts me to this day, and likely is a large part of what drives me to accept the challenge of the Tevis trail every year that I can.

I have learned to enjoy the beauty of that trail, and to relish the sometimes harsh lessons it can dish out. There are few adventures left for us to experience in today’s world that challenge us, show us what we’re made of, force us to face our fears, overcome our weaknesses and keep moving on the way that the Tevis does. Sunburn, the sting of sweat in your eye, the gritty feel of Tevis dust between your teeth and in your nose and ears and socks and eyes and hair and places I can’t mention here. Chafing, aching, fatigue, sleep deprivation—you name it, it’s all there for you.

As Hal Hall, 30-time Tevis finisher, is fond of saying, the Sierras are “unforgiving to the ill-prepared.”

(Incidentally, Thor’s final career record was perfect—except for the day I asked him to quit at Tevis. Dang.)

I made five more attempts, each ending short of the finish line. Some were due to unpreparedness on my part, one lameness, and one very frightening colic that could have easily taken the life of my horse if not for the caliber of vets that work the Tevis each year.

I have watched my wife, whom I introduced to the sport, win a 50th Anniversary buckle while I was still holding my pants up with baling twine.

Then, finally, the Tevis gods had apparently had enough entertainment at my expense, and something magical happened. I had converted to riding gaited horses around 2002, and in 2008 I bought an unlikely looking, unpapered Tennessee Walker named John Henry. He’s compact and muscley, and not much to look at. I just thought he would be a fun play-thing kind of horse, but I soon saw that this horse had a toughness that came from within—he showed up with it, so to speak.

He cruised easily through his first few 50s, and I decided (well, my wife gave me permission) to see if I could get him ready for Tevis. I groveled so thoroughly that Dr. Michele Roush agreed to coach me, and we set about the job of getting John Henry fit enough to tackle something as brutal as what the Tevis offers up. John Henry took everything we threw at him, and I swear I could hear him laughing at me down at the barn late at night. Probably while he was getting another tattoo.

Ride day finally arrived in 2009, and John Henry fought his way valiantly to Robinson Flat, but Coach Roush said she didn’t think he looked as good as he should at that point in the ride. With my heart in my throat, almost fully expecting another pull at some point that day, we headed out from Robinson to tackle as much of the trail as we could. I felt we at least had to put in a good effort.

Michele stopped me before I departed, handed me four double-dose syringes of electrolytes, looked at me sternly, and said, “These will be gone by Foresthill!” I remember mumbling, “Yes, ma’am,” as we turned to leave, and I think I sucked my thumb halfway to Dusty Corners.

Well, I did what I was told, and John Henry began to drink like a sailor on shore leave in response to his electrolytes. At Foresthill, Dr. Jim Baldwin examined him and told me, “Let him rest and get some chow, and he’ll take you home. You have a lot of horse here.”

From that point on, John Henry became nearly unstoppable—a runaway freight train. He ate and drank feverishly, pounded through the night and, finally, deposited me at the finish line for my first Tevis completion. Ever. I still have to take a moment whenever I remember it.

Nice story, but what could it mean for those who aspire to wear that elusive Tevis buckle? (Side note: More people have summitted Mt. Everest than wear a Tevis buckle.) I hope it can mean that the longer and tougher the journey, the sweeter the rewards. It can mean finding something in yourself and your horse that you have felt but have never proven to yourself is there. It can mean that several failures can be the stepping stones to success. Or, it can simply mean a very scenic ride on a good horse for as long as the two of you choose to carry on. All pretty heady stuff, and worth lying awake a few nights to ponder.

With a little luck I hope to ride the Tevis once again. Oh, and John Henry? He has finished three in a row—2013, 2014 and 2015—under the guiding hand of his new owner, Dr. Susan Garlinghouse. Together, they have found things in each other they might not have found otherwise. It’s all good stuff.

Lastly, some words for you Tevis dreamers, and I know you’re out there: Life is so very short. It’s good to get a little dirty every now and then. I double-dog dare ya.

You can follow Bruce and Trooper and all the entrants at this year’s Tevis Cup ride via http://teviscup.org/.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Winners of Endurance.net's "HORSIE" Photo Contest Announced

August 5 2019

Endurance.net's second photo contest, "HORSIE" (Horse+Selfie) displayed the enjoyment and hilarity that our equine companions can give us. Riders shared their favorite photos of some of their favorite companions.
The gallery is here:

First place winner, by highest number of votes, is Michelle Sharp. Her HORSIE photos included her 16yo Arab gelding Sterling (GAA Sterling Grey) -"He LOVES having his picture taken and is always game for a photo bomb", her 17yo Arab gelding Dream (Dream on SA) - "He thinks the only reason to take a sefie is to get a cookie and he nudged a little reminder here", her 26yo gelding Zyn (Zynzation) - "after a ride and a friend's horse decided to photo bomb. Zyn did 2 LD's last year at the ripe age of 25!", and her mare Rue (ROL Burning Love) - "with our Tevis buckle from 2016!".

Congratulations Michelle! She will receive a small painted portrait of her choice, courtesy Steph Teeter (http://stepht.faso.com/).

Second place goes to Linda Ferguson. Linda's endurance horse, Menominee Windstorm, also serves as a qualified police horse for the Wyoming County, NY, Sheriffs Department Mounted Unit. Proud mom Linda is a mounted officer as well. Linda will receive a copy of Merri Melde's book Tevis Cup Magic: Taking on the World's Toughest Endurance Ride.

Third place goes to Sandi Harris. Sandi sent in two photos. One is of her 18-year-old Arabian cross Sayir, riding in the Southern California desert, about 5 miles form the US/Mexico border. Together they have over 2000 LD miles. The second photo is of her Arabian Aart AJF. She rescued him in Southern California, "and now he's a beautiful 3-year-old!" Sandi will receive a copy of Leonard Liesen's book, Leonard Liesen’s book ‘Endurance: a French Perspective'.

Fourth place goes to Cat Cook. Cat calls her horse Diamonds her "better half." Her photos show them after 10 miles of training in the sand dunes and heat in Bruneau, Idaho. Cat will receive a $50 Riding Warehouse gift certificate.

Fifth place goes to Chris Samson, of Ola, Idaho. Chris sent in photos of her BLM mustang Shaman Samson. Shaman came from the HMA herd in Nevada. "He is a sweet big boy, 15.2 hands at 4 years old." Adopt a mustang, Chris says. "They are awesome!" Chris will receive a $25 Riding Warehouse gift certificate.

Sixth place goes to Karen Bumgarner of Parma, Idaho, who sent in a selfie of her new Appy foal, Pard. Karen will receive a $10 Riding Warehouse gift certificate.

Thanks to all who participated in our second photo contest!

Endurance.net's first photo contest was "Between the Ears". Stay tuned for the next one this fall!

Friday, August 02, 2019

2019 Tevis Cup Headlamp Policy

RIDERS: Don't forget about the Headlamp Policy this year. Headlamps or any other devices providing light during the Tevis Cup Ride are subject the following policy:

- Headlamps shall not exceed 250 lumens

- Riders shall turn their headlamps off as they approach other horses and riders from behind.

- Riders shall turn off headlamps at the request of other riders.

- Glow sticks attached to the front of a horse are allowed

- Red or other colored lights are subject to the same lumens restriction as white lights

The Cup Committee will monitor for lights that are too bright and ask riders to not use them. The Cup Committee will also address complaints about riders that are disrespectful with their use of headlamps. The intent of this rule is to find a middle ground where some lights can be used but not to the annoyance of other riders.

More information at:

Thursday, August 01, 2019

American Endurance Ride Conference 2019 Endurance Championships

July 31 2019

This year’s American Endurance Ride Conference National Championship Ride will be located in Ridgecrest, California, home of the spectacular Mojave Desert (and the recent series of earthquakes). Luckily, there was no damage to the ride area and the event should be an unforgettable celebration of distance riding from October 31 to November 3.

While there are qualifying requirements for the National Championship 50- and 100-mile rides, there are open rides beginning at 25 miles (on October 31) and 35 miles (on November 2). Most riders with fit trail horses are capable of competing in the limited distance rides and are welcome to attend the ride, regardless of AERC membership.

Ridgecrest is located at the base of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains between the continental United States’ lowest point of elevation, Death Valley (282 feet below sea level) and highest peak, Mt. Whitney (14,505 feet). The fall is a beautiful time of year for a visit to either of these destinations and the timing is perfect for your journey.

Of course the focus of the rides will be the Championship events, where top endurance riders from across the U.S. and Canada come to compete in the classic endurance distances of 50 or 100 miles with their equestrian partners. Last year's event was held at Biltmore in North Carolina, and Holly Corcoran and Poete, from Pennsylvania, were first to finish and earned best condition in the 100 mile ride, finishing in 12 hours and 26 minutes. The 50 mile winners were Erin Lemmons, DVM, of Texas, riding Tuscarora John, and Jeremy Reynolds of Florida riding Anydaynow in a tie at 5 hours and 20 minutes of riding time.

Every weight division winner and the junior division winner in the 100-mile Championship ride will take home a brand new saddle, thanks to the generous donations of Ghost Treeless Saddles, Pandora Saddles, Saddle Up/Freeform Saddles, Specialized Saddles and Stonewall Saddle Company.

Top ten riders in the 100-mile Championship division will receive HAF saddle pads, and every completing rider in the 50- and 100-mile rides will earn a buckle commemorating their finish. There are special awards for top 10 in both distances and for the top 3 winners in each of AERC's four weight divisions, and the junior division, for riders under 16.

Riders in the open events will take home finish awards (it's one of AERC's rules that all who finish a ride must be awarded a completion award) handmade by a local petroglyph artist.

This year's ride, according to ride managers Robert and Melissa Ribley, is highlighted by spectacular scenery. The trail boasts "water from the ancient glacier-fed lakes below the desert," plus "forever Kodak moments of incredible sunsets upon the towering Sierra Nevadas" and "dark sky locations where glimpses of the Milky Way and a star-filled sky are a welcome treat," according to Melissa.

The ride is held on the site of the annual Twenty Mule Team AERC ride—and would not be complete without mules! The organizers will have a special demonstration in the main arena of the Desert Empire Fairgrounds, the ride's base camp, by local mule trainer JoDe Collins who will show what mules and donkeys can really do. Fun local activities are on the schedule as well: a tour of the BLM horse and burro facility, a group trip to the Trona Pinnacles and a group trip to the Maturango Natural History Museum.

To find out more about the ride, or to sign up to ride or come volunteer, visit http://2019nc.com/

The website also lists the ride’s many sponsors who have generously donated numerous completion awards for the seven separate competitions.

For those wanting to follow the excitement remotely, rider updates will be available on the ride website each ride day and on the ride's Facebook page: facebook.com/AERC2019NC/. You can easily follow your favorite rider throughout the day as he or she progresses towards the finish line and a successful completion.

Make the AERC Championship Ride a goal in 2019 for you and your equine, and join us this fall at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds in Ridgecrest, California, for a festival of endurance riding fun, competition and camaraderie.