Congratulations to the 2019 Distance Horse of the Year, Giacomo “Jack”, a 15 year old gelding out of Gianni X Ahlaks Angel, and owned by Frances Muench.
Jack began his distance career in December of 2015 at not quite 12 years of age; since then this rock solid gelding has covered over 2000 miles. He has completed 36 North American Trail Conference (NATRC) rides and 4 American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) Limited Distance rides. The 2019 season was a stellar season for Jack as he completed 840 miles, 14 NATRC rides in 7 different states with 8 - 1st place awards, 7 of those being Sweepstakes. This year he takes the honor of earning NATRC’s prestigious President’s Cup (National Sweepstakes Champion award) and garnering other Regional NATRC awards. His previous accomplishments include multiple NATRC National Championships and AHA Region 9 Championships.
Jack originally was bred to be an endurance carriage driving horse but while waiting for him to mature, Jack’s original owner, who was battling cancer, realized that after 8 years, Jack should have a chance to do what he was bred for and gave him to a trainer. This is where Frances and Jack’s paths came together, Frances states “We literally hit the trails and haven’t looked back. He travels well, takes care of himself on the trail, eating and drinking when he can while covering miles of various terrain whether technically steep and rocky or flat and fast. Competing in NATRC has enabled our partnership to bloom thanks to mentoring and guidance from other successful friends and competitors in the sport”.
Thursday, December 05, 2019
Monday, December 02, 2019
December 1 2019
by Jo Christensen
We have celebrated volunteers before in our monthly Facebook page feature post and banner photo- the folks out in ride camp and on the trail that are key to successful endurance rides. Yet many do not know there are a host of volunteers outside of rides silently carrying out the often-mundane business that keeps the PNER going as an organization. These things usually involve late nights pecking away at a computer, answering endless emails, or sitting on the phone during long tele-meetings. So this month we begin a series featuring on our banner some of those unsung heroes of the organization whose quiet, often uncelebrated efforts keep the PNER ticking!
Everybody, meet Terre O-Brennan, the PNER British Columbia Provincial Representative. Terre is first a horsewoman and of course an accomplished endurance rider outside of her more mundane PNER duties. Pictured on the banner are Terre and her horse Koszaar at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 where she represented Canada.
Terre’s involvement with horses started with riding rental horses at 16, as soon as she got her driver’s license. She had lived an entirely urban life with a military family, always moving, and no opportunities to ride. Determined to make a horses a part of her life, she used a student loan to buy her first horse (a totally appropriate use of student loans, right!?) “Cavvy” was a 14hh stockhorse-type pinto of unknown age. Showing was not much fun for them, so they hit the trail and never looked back. They hauled all over British Columbia, camping and riding together.
Sometime circa 1982, she saw a poster in a feed store for something called an “endurance ride." When she called the number on the poster, the person on the other end of the line said “just show up and we’ll tell you what to do.” So, she showed up with her stocky little pinto pony, in jeans and a cowboy hat. They finished the 25 quite happily, in the middle of the pack. Someone later suggested she give him some salt and that was it for post-ride care. But she was hooked and they went on to do a bunch more 25s- all top 10! And a couple of 50s! But by then, he was well into his 20s she felt endurance was too hard for him. So like many wanting to continue on in the sport, she went out and bought an Arabian… and kept going.
Fast forward to today, she has accrued around 8600 miles, most of it with AERC and some FEI. She has done 23-24 one-hundreds on 3 different horses. Tequila Sunrise and Koszaar were her main mounts. She and Koszaar twice qualified for Worlds.
Her partnership with Koszaar is incredibly close and he is still going strong at 24, closing in on 5000 miles, almost all Top Ten, many FEI rides, and has completed 13 one-hundreds. She describes him as her soul-mate. but reflects that she was also incredibly close to her first horse, the little pinto Cavvy. Despite being different breeds, the two horses are so alike in personality that a rather new-agey friend of Terre’s seriously believes that Koszaar is Cavvy’s soul, found its way back to her.
When asked what challenges has faced as an endurance rider, she reports “like everybody else, money and time.” She has overcome them by "not spending either on anything else."
Terre has been a member of the PNER for 20 or so years. To her, the PNER serves as "a big extended family of like-minded people who love the mountains and lakes and rivers and grasslands, who value and respect their horses, and who love the challenge and thrill of the sport of Endurance. "
She is quite active as the British Columbia Provincial Rep. She forwards copies of all BC ride results to the points secretary; she submits funding requests to the Anna Sampson -Marry Nunn Fund to sponsor Junior riders; She strives to promote then PNER whenever possible and would like the BC riders to have a Team again (at one time BC had TWO teams before the border became so problematic); and she nags people to declare for awards and such, and mentors quite a bit. Somehow, she has also found time to serve on the Education Committee and continues to be a Ride Manager.
She reflects that each smaller ‘region’ within PNER (state and province) have unique problems that need to be brought to the Board for the benefit of those riders; they may be economic, or political, or whatever. She says "we need as many voices and viewpoints as possible to stay in touch with the riders, vets, ride managers, and even vendors who operate locally, in our region."
When asked about her favorite memory riding endurance, not surprisingly, it doesn’t involve participating in late night board meetings for the PNER. Rather she celebrates a moment that happened in the dark of night, towards the end of a tough 100. “We suddenly got full moon-light...you literally could have read by the light it was so bright...and I could see my horse’s shadow...the reins, the sponge, every detail...flying across the ground beside me as he cantered for home. Unbelievable.” We can't help but believe Cavvy's spirit helped light their way to home that night.
Mark your calendars for the 10th Anniversary of the City of Rocks Pioneer Endurance Ride in Almo, Idaho, on June 11, 12, 13.
Come join us for this spectacular ride at the City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park. The park has amazing rock formations and scenery, as well as a rich pioneer history which you will experience on the trail. We will have marked Trail rides as well as 25 and 50 mile rides each day. There are plenty of things to do for families and fun. Durfy Hotsprings has swimming and soaking pools for every temperature preference (be sure to bring your swim suit!). Try the Great Pizza at Rock City, and explore the trails and scenic spots. Basecamp is a large field adjacent to the City of Rocks National Preserve, elevation 5500 ft. The trail footing in this area is very good, with just a few rocky sections - it is NOT a rocky ride! City of Rocks is known for its botanical diversity - you'll see cactus, pinion pine, sagebrush, aspen and sub-alpine fire - all on one day's ride! The wildflowers should be in full bloom in June!
Camp: We'll be renting the same basecamp as in years past, large fields on both sides of the gravel road. We haul all of the water for horses to camp, you will need your own potable water.You do not need certified weed free hay in camp. We will supply hay at the out-vet check.
Basecamp is at 5500 feet, this is a high elevation ride!
From Boise take I-84 to exit 216 (Declo); go south on Idaho 77 to Conner Creek Junction, then southwest on the Elba-Almo Road.
One mile south of the visitor center in Almo, PASS BY the intrance to City of Rocks/Equestrian Campground. Instead, continue straight south onto dirt road, and you'll shortly see Ridecamp on your right - Castle View RV Park.
From Pocatello and Idaho Falls, take I-86 and I-84 to exit 216 and proceed as above.
From Salt Lake City take I-84 to exit 245 (Sublett/Malta) then head west toward Malta.
Turn left (south) onto highway 81 for .2 miles to Highway 77, then turn right (west). At Connor Creek Junction, follow directions above toward Almo.
Trails: The trails are challenging with elevations up to 7500' on some of the days. Footing is very good though, very little rock (except for the scenery), some gravel road, lots of single track in the mountains and jeep roads and cow trails through the BLM land.
How it got started, in 2011:
It's time to start thinking about our next event. We discovered this treasure in 2010. My son Clay had told me about an amazing place after his in-laws had their family reunion in the little town of Almo. Wynne's family came from the area, and it was a chance for them to revisit the old home place. Clay said "you gotta see this place!" .
So, I found myself veering off the Interstate when I saw the sign for 'City of Rocks' on our way home from Wyoming. Merri and I had been crewing for our friends Rusty, Kevin, and Kevin at the Big Horn 100. Heads full of adventure and beautiful scenery from several days in the Wyoming Bighorn Mountains, warm sunny July day ... just seemed like the right thing to do.
The road to Almo and City of Rocks passes through high desert scenery - farmland in the valleys, surrounded by mountains. We wind our way through the valleys and over a few passes and BOOM all of a sudden there is this immense world of granite.
and it just kept going, past Castle Rocks State Park and then into the City of Rocks National Reserve. An expansive stunning landscape of sagebrush, aspen, firs, pinon pines, cactus, sub-alpine firs, snowy peaks... dotted with cattle and old homesteads. This area was a major crossroads for emigrants as they traveled west toward California, Oregon and Nevada, or north to Idaho. Pioneer journal entries describe the site as "a city of tall spires,” “steeple rocks," and "the silent city."
There are natural granite caves with names and dates of the pioneers inscribed in axle grease, or etched into the rock . There is a very strong sense of awe, and perhaps humility, when confronted by such magnificent scenery, and how it must have affected these travelers.
It didn't take long for the idea (compulsion) of an endurance ride took hold. Perhaps a few seconds. I talked with the park managers - they were very excited about the idea having invested heavily in making the park horse friendly with trail heads and well designed equestrian trail. Oh my, getting better. I spoke with the Forest Ranger (Sawtooth National Forest) and he was very supportive. We met a rancher happy to lease us a campsite. And after one evening in the hotsprings there was no going back...the rest is history. The first ride was a mid summer 5-day 250 mile event with trails going off in every direction. Ambitious? of course! and the 'Crick Gang' spent many glorious days scouting new trail, riding the country, basking in the high altitude sunshine.
I've changed a few things since our first 2011 event - only three days now, and in early June instead of mid summer. With the high altitude and mountain ranges summer thunderstorms can get pretty Exciting, and the heat is intense. So we're doing cooler weather, and simpler rides - and sticking with the most scenic trails and easiest logistics. (smarter with age?)
Now... just waiting for springtime to actually arrive! Might be a little snow up at Indian Grove in the high country...
See a video of the trails here:
More information on the ride at: