Sunday, October 27, 2019

National championship endurance rides slated - Full Article

By KELLY COSNER, News Review Correspondent

Each year the American Endurance Ride Conference selects a different region to host its premier event, the AERC National Championship Ride — and this year the conference selected the local 20 Mule Team 100-mile route.

This championship is considered the destination ride for America’s most dedicated endurance riders. And what better route to choose than one that recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary?

The 20 Mule Team ride route is one of four rides founded by Jackie Bumgardner who also managed and participated in the rides for more than 30 years. The route spans both day and night starting on the valley floor, heading west to the base of the Eastern Sierra and climbing back over the foothills crossing roads, highways and rugged terrain...

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

High Number of Entries for AERC Nat'l Championship Entries

October 22 2019
by Merri

More than 150 endurance riders will take to the Mojave Desert trails outside of Ridgecrest, California, on October 31 and November 2 for the 2019 AERC National Championships.

Some of the trails will be familiar to those who have ridden the Twenty Mule Team endurance ride, which is one of the longest-running 100-mile rides in the country.

The Twenty Mule Team ride was started in the mid-1970's, hosted by the Valley Riders club and managed by AERC Hall of Famer Jackie Bumgardner. Robert and Melissa Ribley took over as Ride Managers from 2007 to 2015; they are the RMs for this year's National Championship.

As of October 21, 77 are entered in Thursday's 50-mile Championship, and 63 are entered in Saturday's 100-mile Championship (with 3 in the open division).

In addition to these two rides, on Thursday there will also be a 25-mile ride, and Saturday will have 35, 50, and 65-mile rides.

Within each Championship ride, riders will also compete in their own weight divisions, so there will be layers of strategy in each race. During the rides, you'll be able to track the riders via You can see the tracking details, and the list of riders on this page:

A livecast, with streaming video, photos, and updates, will be coming from the AERC National Championship Facebook page: 

Alternatively, you can follow along on Twitter at:

If you were a betting person, here are just a couple of horse and rider teams you might want to keep an eye on.

In the Nat'l Championship 100 watch for:
• Gwen Hall and Sizedoesntmatter (4th in 2014 Tevis, 2nd in 2015 Tevis, 8th in 2019 Tevis)
• Jenni Smith (2015 Haggin Cup) and French Fry (3rd and BC in 2018 Twenty Mule Team 100)
• Ann Hall and Monk (5 time Tevis Cup Top Ten finisher, 2019 Haggin Cup; Ann and Monk 1st in 2019 Twenty Mule Team)
• Jacob Cukjati and Melika Kamaal (1st in 2018 Virginia City 100)
• Mark Montgomery and MM Woodrow (1st and BC in 2016 Twenty Mule Team; 1st in 2017 Virginia City 100)
• Jeremy Reynolds (2004, 2011, 2017 Haggin Cup; 2004, 2007, 2011 Tevis Cup winner) and RTR Rimfires Etta (2nd in 2019 Tevis)
• Christoph Schork (AERC's winningest rider) and GE Haat Rod Express
• Melissa Ribley (2009 Haggin Cup) and Ever Ready (3 time Tevis Cup finisher)

In the Nat'l Championship 50 watch for:
• Karen Donley and Royal Patron (2016 Tevis Cup winners)
• Heather Reynolds (1999, 2003 Haggin Cup; 2003, 2014, 2018 Tevis Cup winner) and Madgicall
• Diane Stevens and Rabbalad (1st in 2018 Twenty Mule Team)
• Jeremy Reynolds (2004, 2011, 2017 Haggin Cup; 2004, 2007, 2011 Tevis Cup winner) and Rictik
• Christoph Schork (AERC's winningest rider) and GE Pistol Annie

...and so many more!

Life After Standardbred Racing: Solar Partner - Full Story

September 30, 2019 Hoof Beats Magazine
by Megan Rider

Reaching the Summit

Solar Partner finds second career as an elite endurance horse

Standardbreds are consistently showing their versatility, whether it’s for riding or driving, for show or pleasure. Hoof Beats is happy to share stories from readers about their favorite retired Standardbreds. This month, Megan Rider writes about retired pacing gelding Solar Partner, who now goes by the name Trooper.

Bruce Weary has been an endurance rider for more than 35 years and has traveled over 13,000 miles in competitions. When he first began, Weary rode mostly Arabians.

“The sport of endurance is dominated by Arabians because they are desert-bred animals,” he said. “They are efficient with hydration, have denser bones, handle the heat well, and are bred to run like the wind across the desert.”

Weary, however, began to experiment with gaited horses about 15 years ago and has enjoyed success with them, including one by the name of John Henry, a Tennessee Walking Horse.

Hundreds of miles and many competitions later, John Henry and Weary conquered the Tevis Cup Ride and earned Weary his very first buckle in 2009.

Instituted in 1955, the Tevis Cup is the world’s best known and most difficult equestrian endurance competition. It consists of 100 miles of historic trails ranging from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to just east of Squaw Valley in California. Weary has continued to search for endurance prospects who have a chance at conquering this event yet again and he may have found a new partner in a Standardbred by the name of Solar Partner, who is now known as Trooper...

Read more here:

Friday, October 18, 2019

2019 Arabian Horse Association Scheduled for November 13-16 in Oklahoma

On behalf of the Arabian Horse Association, we are pleased to invite you to our Annual Convention. Our Convention is not like any other. Here you will collaborate with some of the top members within our industry. You will have access to numerious educational opportunities and have a little fun in the process.

The 2019 AHA Convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Tulsa, Okla. Located in the heart of Downtown Tulsa's cultural, entertainment, businesses and art districts. Explore the Tulsa Performing Arts Center of the BOK Center or enjoy fine dining at a local restaurant.

Click here to reserve your room today! Hyatt-Exteriors-1

Room rates are $99 USD plus applicable taxes and rooms will be booked on a first come, first served basis. All meetings will be held at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa:

100 East 2nd Street
Tulsa, Okla 74103

The hotel will honor room rates 3-days prior and 3-days post Convention dates for those of you looking to turn this into a vacation.

Please direct any further questions or concerns to the Convention and Sponsorship Specialist, Uriah Quezada at 303.696.4559 or

For more information, see

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Dave Rabe Crowned 2019 Idaho IronButt Winner

October 15 2019
by Merri

Nevada endurance rider Dave Rabe (73,000+ AERC miles) - with his matchless, accomplished gray equine companions White Cloud (10,000+ AERC miles), Rushcreek Okay (9000+ AERC miles), and Chey’s Cocamoe Joe (6700+ AERC miles) - is the winner of Idaho’s inaugural Idaho IronButt award after crossing the finish line of day 3 of the Autumn Sun Pioneer endurance ride on October 13.

This unique and demanding Idaho Ironhorse Challenge - 465 miles, nine days - took place over the summer and fall at the 3-day City of Rocks Pioneer near Almo, 3-day Top O’ the World Pioneer near Spencer, and 3-day Autumn Sun Pioneer near Gooding. 

Nance Worman’s mare Second Chance Fance was the last rider-horse in the running for the ultimate Idaho Ironhorse award (all 465 miles with one horse), but she couldn’t quite pull it off, Fancy being unable to start the final day of Autumn Sun.

Dave was the only rider to complete all 465 miles aboard three of his horses, to receive the IronButt award. “It was easy,” he quipped, “Just ride 3 different horses.” Despite the frigid temperatures and howling winds, he of course wore shorts and made other riders bundled in layers look pretty wimpy.

Shyla Williams and her mare Bes Soumra Bint Karah completed all 9 days of the rides combining 25-mile and 50-mile distances. 

Six horse and rider teams completed the Limited Distance rides all 9 days. Carrie Johnson and Payback Daysea Duke won first place in this division. Marlene Moss and SA Alamo finished second, with her husband Stace Moss and Cerro Blanco third. Fourth was Catherine Cook and HMR Diamonds R Forever. Fifth and sixth were daughter-mother team of Kaili Worth aboard Red, and Sandy Smallwood aboard Ty.

The Idaho IronHorse Challenge was arranged and overseen by the four Jessicas: (head vet Heinrick, vet Simons, Top O’ the World ride manager Cobbley, Autumn Sun ride manager Huber). It was endlessly entertaining when anybody hollered "Jessica!"

Congratulations to all the 2019 Idaho IronHorse champions!

More at:

Monday, October 14, 2019

Michigan: Trail riders snag front-row tickets to autumn color show - Full Article


Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Fall 2019 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.

The Michigan Trail Riders Association thinks the state Shore-to-Shore Trail is something to sing about. The organization’s annual October Color Ride completes the group’s 56th year of saddling up for the iconic Empire to Oscoda crossing.

Veteran rider Judy Schlink of Kalkaska has logged 5,000 miles in the saddle over the years. She completed five 220-mile Shore-to-Shore Trophy Ride crossings as one of the trail’s early riders. Back then, as now, the day’s ride concluded with the equestrian group singing around the campfire Old West style.

“We wrote two songs,” Schlink said. “One was about riding to Tawas — and it’s still in print.”

The original trail songs and others were assembled into the group’s official songbook celebrating trail life, said MTRA spokesperson Jan Wolfin. Wolfin plans to complete her 51st Lake Michigan to Lake Huron crossing in September.

“Just because I did 50 doesn’t mean I’m going to stop,” she said...

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Enter Your Photo in's Third Contest: Horse and Companions!

We're still accepting your entries and votes in the third photo contest: Horses and Companions.

Send us a photo you've taken of your horse with a favorite companion: goat - dog - cat - kid - to Vote every day (one vote per email address per day) for your favorite photo at

Great prizes on offer including, for first place by highest number of votes, a framed pastel giclee’ portrait* of your choice (horse or other pet), courtesy Steph Teeter (

Contest deadline is November 15.

*More details at:

Monday, October 07, 2019

3000 Miles for Cindy Collins' AUR Sierra Wind at the Virgin Outlaw

by Merri
October 7 2019

The Virgin Outlaw XP ride in Utah last month saw a number of horses reach high AERC mileage marks: 7000 miles for Bogar Tucker, 8000 miles for Fire Mt Malabar, and 9000 miles for DE Golden Ali.

Add one more to that list: AUR Sierra Wind, an Arabian mare by Bucephalos X Katies Image, by the legendary Sierra Fadwah, owned and ridden by Cindy Collins of Cody, Wyoming. Cindy (with over 11,000 AERC miles) and her mare completed 200 miles at the Virgin Outlaw, and on the last day Sierra hit the 3000 mark. 500 of those miles have come in the Big Horn 100 (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 - Cindy's 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th finishes in that ride.)

Authors Hardesty and Perez Announce the Release of Their Fifth Book, Freedom – Wonder Horse Five on October 30, 2019

October 7 2019

Victoria Hardesty and Nancy Perez are pleased to announce the release of their fifth book Freedom – Wonder Horse Five, the fifth book in their series about Arabian Horses and the people who love them. Victoria will be at the American Endurance Ride Conference National Championships in Ridgecrest, CA from October 30 through November 2, 2019 to launch their new book. The AERC Championships will start from the Desert Empire Fairgrounds at 5205 Richmond Road, Ridgecrest, CA 93555 (760-375-8000). Victoria will be joined over the weekend by Vera Kalilla, founder of Love This Horse Equine Rescue in Acton, CA, the rescue that saved Freedom’s life; Gayle Pena, a devout follower, rider, and crew person at Tevis, and Virginia Jablonski, a nationally known Animal Communicator who actually communicated with Freedom when he first came into rescue.

Synopsis: Freedom was abused and betrayed by every human he came in contact with as a young horse. Despite his promise to his mother to grow up and become a “good horse,” he distrusted all humans while harboring the hope he would find his “Heart Human” someday. Nathan was born with Autism. He was brilliant but lacked the skill to communicate. His parents tried many forms of therapy to help their son and couldn’t find one that worked for him. He grew up isolated, passing his time on a computer learning about things he’d never be able to do. Freedom’s owner donated him to a therapeutic riding center. Nathan’s mother got an invitation to a fundraiser for that center and investigated equine therapy for her son. Something finally worked for Nathan. Then Nathan met Freedom and magic happened. Nathan wanted to ride the Tevis Cup Ride, the toughest 100 miles in one day ride in the world. Freedom’s previous owner conditioned Freedom for that ride before she donated him. Four new friends stepped up to help join the horse with the boy and help them make their dreams come true.

Per Victoria, their ideal reader is someone who loves to read a story about a horse that will make you laugh and make you cry and make you feel good you read the story when it ends. They initially wrote for the YA Market (12 to 18-year-old horse-crazy girls) but find their readers are 25 and older women who used to be them, and a surprising number of older gentlemen as well. One of their best reviews came from Paul Husband, son of Dr. Burt and Ruth Husband, breeders of the immortal Khemosabi++++////. Paul has read all four of their first books and says, “it is the best thing that has happened to Arabian Horses in North America in a long time.”

Victoria and her husband have owned, shown and bred Arabian horses since the early 1980’s. They owned and ran a small training/breeding/boarding facility for a number of years. Victoria says many of her stories come from the horses and the young people at their ranch as well as stories she’s heard over the years.

Nancy Perez worked for AT&T for more than 30 years selling, writing, editing, and proofing advertising copy. She wrote for herself from childhood, but never tackled something as difficult as a novel before the two paired up to write as a team. She was a city girl, through and through, except for the times she spent at Victoria’s ranch. She took over for them during vacations and holidays and discovered the joys of hay in your bra and mud on your boots for several days to a week at a time.

Nancy Perez and Victoria Hardesty have been friends since early high school years. (They will admit to 55 years of close friendship). They both suffered a life-threatening health crisis and decided to team up to write as they worked through them. Their first book was released in December 2017, their second came shortly after in April 2018, their third came out in July 2018 and their fourth was released in December 2018. Per Victoria, the first four books pair up four horse friends and four young human friends who will go on throughout the series to help other horses and their special young people.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

New York: From cowhide to horseback - Full Article

By Steve Lawrence Oct 4, 2019

Cody Middaugh is a sophomore at Ithaca High School, and when I learned that he had just completed a 30-mile endurance race last month, it got my attention. I always knew he was a determined young man, but 30 miles? That’s quite a distance.

Cody’s mom, Jan, is a longtime friend and former colleague, and I recall sitting with her at one of his Babe Ruth baseball games a couple of years ago. It was a continuation of a family legacy, as I had written a story about Cody’s brother, Brandon, who did a fine job on the diamond for the Little Red a decade earlier. Cody held his own as a baseball player, but it turned out that the sport just wasn’t his thing.

A few months after that, I asked Jan if Cody was doing any other sports, and she said that he had lost interest in baseball. I was sorry to hear that. Jan assured me that while her son had tossed the glove and bat into the closet, he had found another passion...

Read more here:

Friday, October 04, 2019

Alone across America: Montana long rider shares her stories - Full Article


We measure our lives in days, weeks and years.

Bernice Ende measures hers in mile markers.

Mile by mile, 10 miles at a time, 30 miles a day in a trot-walk-trot-walk cadence, the former ballet instructor from Trego in northwestern Montana lives with her horses of sturdy Norse heritage.

She’s up to more than 30,000 in 15 years of long rides that have taken her coast to coast (in one long ride) and to two other countries.


“The love and longing of the ride,” Ende said Wednesday. “I’m alone a lot. There I am in the desert with my little fire and the horses next to me with their bells. It’s like: And they wonder why I do this. It’s like it is so magical, it is so transforming. It’s just so ... submerged in life...”

Read more here:

Entries Still Open for AHA Distance Nationals in Oklahoma

The Distance Horse National Championships, which will be held October 25-27 in Vinita, Oklahoma, is the overhead titled event hosted by AHA which include Open Owl Hoot Rides along with breed National Championships. Our partnered breeds are the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), the Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA), the Performance Shagya-Arabian Registry (PShR), the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA), the Akhal-Teke Association of America (ATAA) and the American Saddlebred Registry (ASR).

Along with our many National Breed Championships we also offer an Open Owl Hoot Spook AHA recognized Competitive Trail Ride and several Open Owl Hoot Spook Limited Distance, 50 Mile, and 100 Mile rides. This year all endurance Open Owl Hoot Spook Rides will be sanctioned by the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC.) The Distance Horse National Championships have also added the LD Challenge to the event which is for the same rider/horse combination entered in the all three Open Limited Distance Rides; rules and the point schedule can be found under the Exhibitor Information tab. Remember that all Open Owl Hoot Spook Rides are open to all breeds and require no qualifications or memberships!

For entry qualifications, entry forms and more information see:

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Resilience: Debbie Grose and Jackpot Jackson

by Jo Christensen
October 2 2019

Each month on the banner of the PNER (Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides) FB page, we have feature someone or something that exemplifies the “heart and soul” of the PNER. This month we feature a horse-rider team who exemplifies a core quality of the organization and our community of riders: RESILIENCE.

Merriam-Webster defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Resilience is exemplified in its extreme this month in our feature horse-rider team: Debbie Grose and Jackpot Jackson.

Debbie is an endurance rider from Mountain Home, Idaho. Her partner is a thoroughbred-something cross, “Jack.” Amazingly, she had never owned a horse in her entire life until 2013, when she was 48 years old, and Jack “fell in her lap.” He had a "sketchy" past, supposedly having been used to pack and move cattle. Sketchy as in it took her 2 years to get a farrier under him and to get him to load in a trailer. Yet somehow, the two of them worked it out.

Debbie wasn’t much interested in riding boring circles in an arena and neither was Jack. She had heard about endurance and said that’s for us! Four seasons of endurance followed and the two forged a close partnership on the endurance trails all across the PNER region. However, their partnership was tested by a very unfortunate turn of events in July.

On Day 1 of the Top of The World Pioneer ride, they were riding alone and nearing the end of the 1st loop of the 50-mile ride. She dismounted to go through a gate and then jumped up on a rock to climb back on her 16.2 hand horse. She dryly observes “apparently my rock picking skills need to be honed…” Her mounting rock rolled out from under her and she tumbled to the ground. As she fell down the incline, she instinctively put her right arm out to break her fall.

She reports when she came to rest, she looked up at her patiently waiting steed, who seemed to be saying – “nice stupid human trick, can we get on with this now?” The problem was, as she got to her feet, it was apparent that her arm was “not in its natural state of straight, and had some pretty sexy curves going on.” The limb was clearly broken, or at least severely dislocated. But nothing was falling off, and no blood was gushing so she remounted her horse (from a different, very stable, rock,) and rode the last ½ mile into camp for the vet check.

As she rode into camp, news of her brokenness had already spread, and the family that is endurance ride camp swung into action. Someone vetted her horse through while others fetched water and ice for her arm. Volunteers with medical training looked at her arm, and she informed them she intended to finish the ride. She reports that they looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and splinted her arm. Moreover, in true endurance rider fashion, she was thrilled that the vet wrap they used to keep it secure perfectly matched Jack’s tack!

When their hold was up, they headed back down the trail together. She declared she would not be getting off my horse for anything on the final loop and she was able to tag along with a couple other riders who opened the gates. She found that at a walk she could keep her arm stable and elevated across her chest but at a trot, it was necessary to hold her arm out at a 90-degree angle to allow for some shock absorption. She says “I kind of felt like I was stuck in some kind of weird parade wave pose, and suppose that I looked even stranger than I felt.”

Now, it was Jack’s turn to rise up and lead the partnership. She reports that he was a wonderful partner for that last 25 miles. “He was calm and patient even though my reins were all over the place, and my head was swimming.” They were able to finish the 50 miles, in 13th place and Jack earned his 1000 mile endurance patch that day.

Most of us are amazed at the well of resilience in Debbie- that she was able to remount her horse after a serious fracture, ride back to camp, and then go out and ride for another 25 miles! Yet she shrugs this off as nothing and credits the support from her fellow riders, vets, and volunteers.

It’s true that the support of our community allows us to dig deep and find resilience, yet it’s obvious that Debbie has quite a bit of inherent ability to “recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” She says “some have called me a 'badass' for riding with a broken arm, I just figure that’s what endurance riders do. Isn't it?”

Debbie goes on to reflect that “To finish is to Win – that’s what I heard when I was first introduced to this sport of Endurance. I love my big lug of a horse, and I think he loves me too. We have learned to take care of each other and work as a team. Now, we finish when we can, and learn something when we cannot. Either way, I feel that any day spent with my Jackpot Jackson is a WIN!”