Monday, August 03, 2020

Suzie Hayes and Sanstormm Win Big Horn 100

by Merri
August 3 2020

In a phenomenal comeback to the saddle, Montana’s Suzanne Hayes, 66, won the 50th anniversary of the Big Horn 100 aboard her half-Arabian Sanstormm in a ride time of 15:15. It was less than 7 weeks ago that Suzy was bucked off a green horse and broke 10 ribs (some in multiple places), punctured a lung, fractured a vertebra, and lacerated her liver. She rode with a protective vest, a crash vest (attached to her saddle so it would inflate if she came off), and a Spot locator.

Suzie was actually second over the finish line by 10 minutes, but the first over the line, Oregon’s Gabriela Blakeley and LLC Pyros Choice, didn’t pulse down to 64 within 30 minutes. This was Sanstormm’s first Big Horn 100 finish.

Rounding out the Top Ten were:
2nd Cameron Holzer and Kong (15:15.02)
3rd Ann Hall on Suzie Hayes’ horse Greenbriar Al Jabal “Atlas” (2012 Big Horn 100 winner)(15:19)
4th Sami Browneller and Annapurna (15:19.02)
5th Vicki Holzer and SW Majestica (15:19.03) (BEST CONDITION)
6th Sanoma Blakeley and OMR Quicksan (15:26)
7th Jeanette Mero and Ozark Kaolena SWA (17:08)
8th Reyna Mero and Vaz Djets On (17:087.01)
9th Heather Reynolds and ASuddenGift MHF (18:10)
10th Melissa Montgomery and Masterful (18:35)

80 started the 100 miler, with 39 finishing.

Hannah Pruss, from South Dakota, and the phenomenal one-eyed Kourageus Hope won the 50-miler in a ride time of 8:00. “Stuart” is a Big Horn fixture, having won the 100-miler three times (2015, 2017, 2018, and Best Condition twice).

20 started the 50 miler, with 15 finishing.

More stories and photos to come at:

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Appaloosa Endurance and Competitive Trail Championships Cancelled

July 24 2020

MOSCOW, IDAHO — Scheduled to be held September 25-27 in La Pine, OR at the Lava Cast Forest Site, the Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Rides (50-mile and 100-mile) and the National Championship Competitive Trail Ride have both been canceled for 2020. The Appaloosa Horse Club has partnered with the Arabian Horse Association for several years to offer a National Championship Endurance Ride. The event has grown to include six breed association championships including the Appaloosa Championship Competitive Trail Ride, and 2020 would have been the ApHC’s first-annual 100-mile championship ride. After much discussion with all breed groups, a decision was made to cancel the 2020 ride because of ongoing safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Reluctantly, we agree that it has become necessary to cancel this much-anticipated and prestigious event because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns,” ApHC President Ken Johnson said. “While not everyone will agree with this decision, the health, safety and well-being of all participants is our primary concern. We look forward to working with all parties involved to provide expanded opportunities in the future for our competitive trail and endurance riders.”

The ApHC would like to recognize and thank our event sponsors including Tioga Territory, the Equine Distance Riding Association, Schneider’s Saddlery, and the Western Washington Regional Appaloosa Club for their ongoing support of these events. We’d also like to thank those sponsors who were in the process of signing on for the 2020 event. The ApHC and our distance riding enthusiasts appreciate the support and passion of these individuals and businesses.

More information from the Arabian Horse Association can be found here:

The Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) was established in 1938 with a mission of preserving, promoting and enhancing the Appaloosa breed. The ApHC has since registered more than 700,000 Appaloosas, which are known for their distinctive color, intelligence and even temperament. True to their reputation as an extremely versatile breed, Appaloosas can be found in nearly every discipline including racing, endurance riding and serving as reliable family horses. The international breed registry is headquartered in Moscow, Idaho, the heart of the Palouse region—the Appaloosa breed’s namesake and point of origin.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Night racing at Ehrhardt SC to handle weather conditions - Full Article
23rd July 2020

Broxton Bridge Plantation in Ehrhardt, South Carolina, USA. Friday 10 and Saturday 11 July 2020.

This event was originally scheduled for May and postponed due to Covid 19. When the USA NF and FEI resumed the ability to hold CEI events, it was very challenging for the OC and Ride management to host the event with face coverings, social distancing, and no group meetings or meals! In addition, it was summertime and the heat index was well over 100 Fahrenheit (39 Celsius). Thus, the start times were late afternoon 17:00 -18:00 to ride through the night. The course was in great shape on one side of the Plantation, but the Bear Bay side was very wet and saturated from all of the summer rains and thunderstorms. Around 100 riders overall participated in the CEI and national distances. It was a great venue for night rides and for young novice horses. Distances offered included the 40, 80, 100, 120 and 160km events over three days.

In the 100 km, young rider Alex Shampoe, won the event along with Best Condition on her own Arabian gelding, TA Kwik Dance...

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Riverside Rescue: Pulling an Endurance Mare to Safety on the Deschutes - Full Article

What started as a pleasant day on the trail could have turned deadly when the riverbank failed as riders watered their horses. Thankfully, the area has a team of trained responders. This is how they helped.

Posted by Tracy Gantz | Jul 20, 2020

On July 16, a group of people in Central Oregon from all walks of life coordinated to save a trail horse, proving that pulling together can save lives.

Endurance rider Kris Olin and two friends were trail riding, Kris aboard Dixie, her 24-year-old Arabian who had logged more than 2,000 miles during her endurance career. They came to the Deschutes River and looked for a likely spot where they could water the horses.

“It looked like solid ground,” said Olin. “The water appeared to be shallow. We took a step or two in, and as soon as we did, we went down about three feet.”

Olin was able to dismount Dixie safely, but the mare became stuck in mud and water up to her back and could not extricate herself...

Read more here:

New Castle college student wins endurance ride in South Carolina - Full Article

July 21 2020
by Marjorie Lewter

On July 10, Laurel Pollock of Craig County tied for first place in the AERC endurance ride at Broxton Bridge Plantation in Ehrhardt, South Carolina.

Laurel is a dean's list student studying equine science and sociology at Emory and Henry College. This summer she has been working two jobs in the agricultural field and training for her first 25-mile American Endurance Ride Conference event. She and good friend Mikayla Nunn trailered their horses to the "Moonlight Madness" competition. The riders took off at 7:30 p.m., riding through the night hours on separate courses. Laurel crossed her 25-mile finish line on her Arabian, R-Kons Able, with fellow competitor Brooks Prater at 1 a.m. It is not unusual for riders to team up on the trail and finish together, sharing the top honors. Mikayla and her racking horse, Denver, crossed the 50-mile finish line at 6 a.m...

Read more here:

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Distance Nationals Suspended for 2020

July 21 2020

After careful consideration by the Arabian Horse Association and the Distance Nationals Show Commission, Distance Nationals has been suspended for the year 2020. The DHNC were to be held September 25 - 27, 2020 near La Pine, Oregon in conjunction with the Lava Cast Forest Memorial Endurance rides sanctioned by American Endurance Conference (AERC). This decision was made first and foremost with the health and safety of our competitors in mind.

Although AHA will not be involved with the ride, competitors can contact ride managers Paula and Suzy for information regarding the Lava Cast Memorial Endurance Ride.
For questions about refunds, please contact Rebecca Hankey at Any entries for the Arabian Horse Association, Appaloosa Horse Club, Paso Fino Horse Association, Performance Shagya Registry, Akhal-Teke Association of America, American Morgan Horse Association and American Saddlebred Registry affiliated rides will be refunded. 

Please find the press release here.

Friday, July 17, 2020

2020 July's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning

Endurance Day Emergency Preparedness, Melinda Guice and Diets for July 14, 2020

Jul 14, 2020
Glenn is joined by On this Endurance Riding Episode Victoria Beelik discusses the most important things to do to plan now for an emergency with your animals. Rider Melinda Guice stops by to tell us about her recent ride at the Bandit Springs Endurance ride in Oregon and Karen offers some good resources for exercise and diet programs. Listen in...

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The 2020 Virtual Tevis Cup!

2020 Tevis Cup - Virtual Western States Trail - 100 Miles in 100 Days

Sat August 1 - Mon November 9, 2020

Virtually travel along the Tevis Cup (Western States) Trail - Robie Park (Truckee, CA) to Auburn, CA
Your Trails, Your Location


About the Event

The Tevis Cup Ride is the founding modern-day equestrian event of its kind in the world. It is seen by many as the pinnacle of the sport of equestrian endurance and is a "bucket list" item for many riders. The magic of the trail is strong and special, and like a siren calls those to come and take on its challenge. Therein lies the essence of the Tevis Cup Ride and the historic Western States Trail.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Western States Trail Foundation Board of Governors voted for the first time in history to cancel the annual Tevis Cup Ride. But we want to offer a way for our riders, crews, volunteers, supporters and lovers of the trail to still be able to participate. Thus the creation of this virtual event.
You can complete the 100-miles in as many smaller excursions as you choose to finish the goal. We absolutely recommend NOT riding the 100-miles all at once unless you are participating at an actual sanctioned event with veterinary controls. As you log your completed miles, you will receive updates of where you now are on OUR historic Western States Trail. 

So pick your equine partner, or register for our non-riding division, and join us for 100-miles, on YOUR own trails at your own pace.

Description and Dates

The "Ride" will start on our original planned date of August 1, 2020.  Riders and their mounts (or those joining us without a horse) will have 100 Days to complete their 100-miles.  All miles must be completed by November 9, 2020 and results submitted by November 11, 2020.  Miles are ON YOUR HONOR.  We are not validating or requiring proof of completion, this event is for fun and to help support the Western States Trail Foundation.  The only person you would be cheating is yourself.

Riding Division

Riders MUST complete the challenge on ONE horse - just like the real ride - one rider, one horse, one hundred miles.  Riders are allowed to enter more than one equine and complete 100 miles on multiple horses if desired (one horse per entry please).  

Non-Riding Division

Want to participate but don't have a horse?  This is the division for you!!  We appreciate your support of this event.  Complete your 100 miles any way you choose under your own personal power (no motorized vehicles) - run, walk, bike, swim, crawl, shuffle, do the boogie, however you feel like getting it done!

International Participants

We welcome participants from ALL locations.  Feel free to sign up in either or both divisions!  Please note, due to the cost of shipping internationally, finishers from outside of the US will receive the bandana and sticker rather than a Tshirt.


All who complete the full 100-mile Challenge will receive a Tevis Cup Sticker and Finisher T-Shirt or Bandana.  Please be sure to specify your size when registering. You will also receive virtual milestones along the way in recognition of your ongoing achievement and quest to complete the trail. Please note in the interest of safety, there will be NO awards offered based on speed or for achieving greater than 100 miles within this time frame.  There may be other awards offered from our Sponsors, which will all be based on having participated in the challenge in either division.  Awards will be mailed at the conclusion of the EVENT, rather than when participants finish individually (sorry to make you wait, but its easier on our volunteers).

For more information, see!_Copy&utm_medium=email

Friday, July 10, 2020

100 Milers Back on AERC Calendar

July 10 2020

This weekend the Broxton Bridge Plantation Moonlight Madness ride in the Southeast region (South Carolina) will be the first 100-miler approved under the new AERC/COVID-19 regulations.

The Northwest region has the Top O' The World 100-miler approved for July 24 near Spencer, Idaho, (part of the 3-day Pioneer ride). Pre-entry is required for this ride

The Mountain region's Big Horn ride in Wyoming is approved for August 1. Entries and the wait list are closed due to the large numbers already entered, and Covid restrictions.

Good luck to all, be patient, be humorful, and enjoy the rides!

Friday, July 03, 2020

Talkin' Trot Podcast - Episode 10

Talkin' Trot Podcast - Listen

Episode 10 - Talkin about City of Rocks & an Interview with POTATO RICHARDSON!

We are so excited to bring you Episode 10!

We talked to riders from the City of Rocks ride in Idaho, one of the first rides to be held under the new guidelines.

Then we interview 3 time Tevis Cup winner Potato Richardson!

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did!


Thursday, July 02, 2020

Schedule Released for AHA Distance Nationals

The 2020 Arabian Horse Association Distance Nationals is scheduled to be held September 25-27 at the Lava Cast ride site in La Pine, Oregon.

The Distance Horse National Championships is the overhead titled event hosted by AHA which include Open Lava Cast Forest 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 Akhal-Teke Association of America (ATAA) and the American Saddlebred Registry (ASR).

Along with our many National Breed Championships we also offer an Open Lava Cast Forest AHA recognized Competitive Trail Ride and several Open Lava Cast Forest Limited Distance, 50 Mile, and 100 Mile rides. This year all endurance Open Lava Cast Forest 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 Lava Cast Forest Rides are open to all breeds and require no qualifications or memberships!

Ogden Group Camp
La Pine, OR 97739

For more information and to see the schedule, see:

Friday, June 26, 2020

Trail’s Open: Endurance Riders Hit the Trail After COVID-19 Lockdown - Full Article

City of Rocks in south central Idaho became one of the first three rides allowed to proceed with American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC)-approved safety regulations.

Posted by Merri Melde | Jun 25, 2020

Walk through any endurance ride camp, and you might raise your eyebrows at some riders’ fashion choices. But with the added specter of life during coronavirus, ride camp at the three-day City of Rocks Pioneer endurance ride June 13-15 resembled a masked bandit convention in the Wild West. Underneath those masks, though, were smiling riders delighted to return to the endurance trails.

With the entire horse sport industry, including endurance riding, shutting down for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City of Rocks in south central Idaho became one of the first three rides allowed to proceed with American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC)-approved safety regulations...

Read more here:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

2020 June's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning - Listen

On this Endurance episode Karen talks about how to get started in Endurance, The FEI gets tough on cheaters and rides are starting up again. We speak with Cathie Birmingham of the God’s Country Endurance Ride in the Missouri Ozarks and Sharalyn Hay of the Santiam Cascade ride in Oregon. Listen in...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

New MOU Signed for AERC and Bureau of Land Management Cooperation

June 2020

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bureau of Land Management. This agreement, dated June 7, 2020, establishes a framework for joint collaboration on “mutually beneficial programs, projects, training, and activities,” according to the MOU.

“AERC is excited to have a signed MOU with the Bureau of Land Management. We look forward to working together as partners in the future,” said AERC Trails Committee Co-Chair Monica Chapman.

Because the BLM and AERC work to promote participation in recreational activities on public lands, this MOU recognizes the benefit to both organizations, the BLM with its 245 million surface acres in the U.S., and the 501(c) (3) nonprofit AERC with its thousands of endurance riding members.

Both AERC and the BLM are devoted to sharing an interest in disseminating information to the public regarding the relationship between equestrian recreation and natural resource conservation. AERC has provided funding and AERC members have contributed thousands of hours toward trail design, trail building and trail maintenance projects.

AERC will also be encouraging its members to work on BLM planning projects to improve awareness and potential equestrian recreational opportunities.

“AERC members are constantly looking for new and exciting places to ride,” said Chapman. “We hope to continue our existing rides that are on Bureau of Land Management property and seek out new trails for new rides.”

As part of the MOU, the BLM will encourage AERC members and affiliated equestrian groups to attend events and projects on public lands, where communities and other agencies maintain and provide equestrian recreation opportunities. This is vital to the continuation of AERC’s endurance rides, which often take place on trails in public lands.

For its part, AERC will encourage members to be involved in the BLM planning processes “to improve awareness and potential equestrian recreational opportunities.” The MOU also notes that AERC will provide technical assistance to BLM offices involved in equestrian recreation management.

One section of the agreement encourages AERC members to attend wild horse and burro events with the possibility of using adopted wild horses in endurance riding.

“BLM Mustangs are resurging in popularity in the world of endurance riding. In the last few years a number of beautiful mustangs have placed in the top ten of the famous Western States Trail Ride (Tevis Cup) and at our National Championship Ride in Ridgecrest, California in 2019,” Chapman explained.

The MOU was entered into under the authority of Section 307(b) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1737(b).

More information about AERC is available through the association’s website,, or by calling the AERC national office, 866-271-2372.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Happy Trails Podcast: A Very Unlikely Trail Horse - Listen

Recorded on June 12, 2020

I’ve always loved an underdog story so I was immediately intrigued when I learned of a miniature horse competing in endurance. Kricket and her owner, Jen have accomplished amazing things out on trail and have some very entertaining stories to share. I had a great time interviewing Jen for this episode of the podcast. I’m sure you’ll enjoy hearing their story.

Listen at:

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Trails Podcast: Stewardship and Preservation - Listen

May 27 2020

On this episode of the podcast, Jess speaks with Holley Groshek, Executive Director of Equine Land Conservation Resource a non-profit dedicated to preserving lands for equestrian use.

The US is losing 6,000 acres of open land every day, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Large open spaces and contiguous tracts of land are critical to providing the space we need to support our nation’s equestrian heritage and economy. Concerned citizens across the nation are eager to get involved at a local level, but may not know where to start. Equine Land Conservation Resource provides easy access to the information, resources and tools that help horse people take action. Since 2007, ELCR has assisted in the protection of more than 200,000 acres of land and more than 1,200 miles of trails.

See more and listen here:

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Update to COVID-19 Competition Action Plan for USEF-Licensed Competitions

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jun 17, 2020, 10:07 AM EST

Dear USEF Members, Competition Organizers (Licensees and Managers), and Licensed Officials,

Now that some competitions have resumed, it is important that we all remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission when attending a USEF-licensed competition. Please remember that we are among the first sports to reopen, and by strictly adhering to these requirements and best practices we can demonstrate to local, state and federal authorities that the equestrian community is able to manage our sport in a safe and responsible manner. This process might be inconvenient and even uncomfortable at times, but together we can keep our sport going and avoid any further shutdown.

Public health authorities continue to promote social distancing and the use of face masks/face coverings as two of the most important tools in combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Included here are some best practices and guidance to assist you in maintaining compliance with the requirements.

Please note that there have been some recent adjustments made to the USEF requirements concerning use of face masks/face coverings for participants in driving competitions and to the social distancing requirements for members of the same household. These modifications can be found in the latest version of the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan.

Face Masks/Face Covering

Requirement: Face masks/face coverings must be worn whenever you have the possibility of being within six feet of another person (including members of your own household), except when mounted on a horse or seated in a horse-drawn carriage or cart. Please do your part and wear your face mask/face covering as required.

Because you cannot predict when another person may be within six feet of you, it is best to keep your face mask/face covering with you at all times while on competition grounds, including those times when you are going to an area where you may be alone or at a greater distance than six feet from another person. This will ensure that you are able to apply your face mask/face covering prior to being within six feet of another person.
Make sure you are wearing your face mask/face covering prior to entering competition areas where you are likely to be near other people, including areas such as the in-gate, arena, schooling area, restroom, food stand, show office, vendors, stabling, etc.
If you become hot while wearing your face mask/face covering, move to a location where you are alone or at a distance greater than six feet from another person (and preferably 12 feet or more), and lower or drop one side of your face mask/face covering to cool off.
If an official, competition organizer or member of the organizer’s team requires you to don a face mask/face covering, you must comply. The competition organizer can impose more stringent requirements than those contained in the Plan.

Social Distancing

Requirement: All individuals must practice social distancing (or physical distancing) at all times while on the competition grounds by staying at least six feet (about two arms’ length) from any person who is not a member of their immediate household. Exception: social distancing is not required while competing (including warm-up) in driving classes where more than one participant is seated in a horse-drawn carriage or cart.

An immediate household is comprised of individuals who may or may not be related but are consistently living in the same house or dwelling.
Members of an immediate household are still required to wear face masks/face coverings when there is a possibility of being within six feet of any other individuals, including members of their own household.
Competition organizers are encouraged to implement a system that visually (e.g., numbered or colored IDs or some other form of credential) identifies members of the same immediate household.
If a competition organizer requires that everyone on the show grounds respect social distancing for the consistency of enforcement, you must comply with this requirement. The competition organizer can impose more stringent requirements than those contained in the Plan.


We encourage competitions to utilize the downloadable, printable poster and digital graphic below to assist in communicating the face mask and social distancing requirements.

It is critical to our sport that if (or when) a positive case is reported on a show grounds, participants and competition management have complied with the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for USEF-Licensed Competitions. If contact tracing takes place and the investigating party determines that protocols were not followed, then equestrian sport as a whole can be shut down.

The safety and welfare of our members and their horses must continue to be our top priority. Thank you for doing your part to make sure everyone stays safe.

Best regards,

William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer

More at:

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Senior Showcase: Reyna Mero certainly stays busy - Full Article

June 04, 2020

Assistant editor

Reyna Mero is one busy athlete.

In the fall, she dedicated herself to volleyball, as the Mariposa County High School varsity team’s setter. Come springtime, it was all about softball.

She had her spring softball season cut short due to Covid-19. The senior outfielder was batting .375 in four games prior to the season being called off. She had scored two runs as well.

But in between those school sports, she finds time to endurance race, which is a sport in which riders, in partnership with their horse, travel typically 50-100 miles in a race.

The sport is recognized by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports Endurance riding and is in many ways a solo sport, such as tennis or golf.

With no further ado, here is a profile on the versatile Mero...

Read more here:

Behind the Lens: Get to Know Endurance Ride Photographer John Miller

by Merri
June 1 2020

Next in my “Behind the Lens” series, featuring members of the Endurance Ride Photographers Guild (ERPG), we meet long-time pro photographer John Miller from the Northeast region.

John says he’s “had a few images on magazine covers” though he’s probably being modest, and he’s had a lot of images in calendars.

John’s website is

Where do you live?
Belmont, Vermont

What is your profession?
I've been a professional photographer for 30 years. I started as a ski photographer at Killington Ski Resort in Vermont. I now work at a hotel to pay the bills.

Do you have horses? do you ride?
No I don't have horses. No I don't ride.

How did you first get into photography?
I started Spectrum Photography in 2000 and then converted to digital in 2004. We have provided photographic services to individuals, couples, families, seniors, at events, for non-profit organizations and corporations in Vermont and New England for 15 years. It is a family owned and operated business.

What equipment do you normally shoot with?
I shoot Nikon.

When did you start shooting endurance rides?

Why do you like shooting endurance rides?
Because I get to spend time in beautiful places. I really enjoy the beautiful places I get to shoot and where I get to spend my time.

What are challenges you find in shooting endurance rides?
Watch the legs, and getting nice backgrounds.

What are one or two of your favorite ride shooting stories/adventures/misadventures?
I can't think of any stories to tell.

Here are a couple of John’s favorite photos:

The Myopia Hunt Club in October in Hamilton, Massachusetts

“This is a fun story,” John says. “I took this picture while chasing an endurance ride. Then years later I got to meet Anya, one of the horses in the picture.”


Behind the Lens: Bill Gore profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Genie Stewart-Spears profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Susan Kordish profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Becky Pearman profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Dave Honan profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Linda Sherrill profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Steve Bradley profile is here:

US Equestrian Approves Additional COVID-19-Related Rule Modifications for 2020

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jun 5, 2020, 6:30 PM EST

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has approved additional modifications to USEF rules in accordance with a resolution approved by the Board of Directors to address issues related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A summary of the most recent modifications is listed below, and the full content of each modification has been added to the comprehensive listing of modifications and appears in blue font. The full listing of rule modifications related to COVID-19 impacts can be viewed by clicking here. Additional rule modifications continue to be reviewed and will be published when approved.

In an effort to minimize the risk of virus transmission through the physical handling of paper, modifications have been to made to rules allowing for judges’ cards and score sheets to be stamped as opposed to hand-signed, and adding the requirement for submitting all USEF Medication Report Forms electronically unless online submission is absolutely impossible.

The modifications listed below are effective immediately and remain in effect for the remainder of the 2020 competition year...

Read more here:

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Long Rider: HER JOURNEY

Bernice Ende photo - Full Story

Long Rider Bernice Ende

By: Sun Cooper

A singular rider surveys a sweeping landscape from horseback. The image is iconic to America; but this time, the rider isn’t emerging out of a Hollywood Western or a Great American Novel. This is real-life Lady Long Rider, Bernice Ende. Her signature wide straw brim wards off the kind of relentless weathering that comes from riding full days under the sun. The worldwide Long Riders’ Guild defines a long rider as someone who has ridden more than 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey. From 2005 till now, she has exceeded that distance thirty times over.

Long riders are rare today; still rarer it seems, a traveler who doesn’t construct a feed or a following. Bernice camps without internet, almost full time. I had traced her map where I could, following snippets on social media where someone had driven past her on a highway or hiked across her campsite. She navigates her way through urban cities and untamed lands at 4 miles per hour, and fences have taken on the grievances they inspired in the Old West. She has encountered grizzlies and snowstorms, outrun a tornado, had a stranger pull a gun on her, and has foraged for her own food and shelter daily. The day Bernice Ende set out to ride her Fjords – a strong horse breed from the mountains of Norway – across the country and beyond, she was fifty-years-wise. At a time in life when people are usually settling in, Bernice Ende was starting out on her most extraordinary journey...

Read more here:

Friday, May 22, 2020

2020 Big Horn 100 Date Changed to August 1

May 22 2020

The AERC Board approved the change of date for the Big Horn 55/100 to August 1, 2020. This gives us time to meet all of the new requirements, locate a larger (more spread out) ride camp in Shellm and gives folks time to condition and for their travel and quarantine restrictions to lift in their home states.

It is likely that I will have to cap entries soon, but first, let me say that if you pre-entered and are not able to attend the new date, please email me at and I will refund your entry. Also, I want to be upfront about what will happen if I need to drastically reduce numbers. If that is absolutely necessary, I will start by dropping the 55 miler and refunding those riders. I hope that is not necessary. If further reduction in numbers is required, the decision will be made based on date entry and payment was received.

We have the time now to wait and see what happens when the state updates its restrictions at the end of May. Thank you for your kindness and patience and your support of this iconic ride.

Cindy Collins

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

2020 May's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning - Listen

May 12, 2020
Endurance riding artist who makes pottery, t-shirts, decals and hosts virtual endurance rides Anne York and AERC board member Michael Campbell stops buy to give us an update on last nights board meeting and what the status is of the remaining 2020 ride season. Plus Karen introduces us to Milo the Mustang. Listen in...

Monday, May 18, 2020

City of Rocks Pioneer a Go: New Ride Safety Protocols to be Followed

May 18 2020

City of Rocks Pioneer Endurance Ride in Almo, Idaho is currently on schedule for June 13, 14, and 15 in Almo, Idaho, with certain COVID-19 safety measures to be followed, per AERC rules regarding coronavirus issues.

The ride will be following the state of Idaho's re-opening restrictions and travel rules. Please be aware conditions can change any day due to the virus, and the ride can be cancelled at any time by Idaho having to shut down again if current disease cases start to go up again. In other words, the ride is a Go until it is not.

We will have certain mandatory protocols in place to protect our volunteers and veterinarians and fellow riders.

Riders *must* pre-register with ride manager Regina Rose. Please email her your entry information to Not having to register at camp will prevent riders and ride manager from close contact.

Face masks or bandanas *must* be worn at vet checks, including pulse line and vet line. If you do come to vet in your horse or consult with the vets without face protection at any time, you'll be asked to go get your mask and come back to vet in or talk with it on.

You will be required to untack to vet in at the vet checks (all of which will be in camp), to minimize the contamination possibilities with our volunteers and pulsers. The pulsers will have special hand baggies for vetting each horse to protect themselves and riders and to minimize the risk of spreading germs between different horses and people.

There will be no meals or big gathering for meals. BYOF - bring your own food!

There will be portapotties in camp but... use at your own risk. We can't clean and sterilize between each customer. We recommend you come to the ride self-contained. There is a dump station on the road that leads into the park campground (you can see it from Ridecamp). And note that some or all of the park potties may be closed.

There will be no ride meetings. Protocols and all ride info (ride meeting information, vet check time, start times, trail information) will be emailed to you after you email your intent to enter the ride. You can ask questions via email or when you arrive at camp.

Please remember that you yourself may feel healthy as a horse, but you could be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19, and we want to protect our volunteers and veterinarians who will be constantly near every single person at the ride, as well as riders who may be jonesing to ride but who may have compromised conditions. Please take these COVID-19 protocols and precautions seriously at this AERC ride.

Thank you for your cooperation. Please be patient, kind, humor-ful, and please follow the rules. Times are different; we can easily adapt to these minor changes.

We look forward to seeing you at City of Rocks, and getting back on the endurance trails!

Keep checking for updates and developments at either of these pages:

Regina Rose

Friday, May 15, 2020

Behind the Lens: Get to Know Endurance Ride Photographer Bill Gore

by Merri
May 15 2020

My "Behind the Lens" series, featuring members of the Endurance Ride Photographers Guild (ERPG), showcases the West region's Bill Gore.

Most of you probably know him best for shooting Cougar Rock with his team at the Tevis Cup. For over two decades, Bill Gore has been behind the lens recording your endurance ride memories, starting with, in fact, the Tevis Cup. There's a good story behind that, of course, that Bill will tell you here.

Bill's website is

Where do you live?
Auburn, Ca 

What is your profession?
Fuel Transfer Engineer (Truck Driver)

Do you have horses? Do you ride?
I currently have 4-year-old mustang mare. Last endurance ride was Tevis 2004. Usually rent a horse when I go hunting.

How did you first get into photography?
Around my freshman year in high school I received my first camera (Pentax ME, which I still have). I used to carry that camera most everywhere but didn’t have a specific subject to shoot. It wasn’t until 1997 that I got into shooting endurance.

What equipment do you normally shoot with?
I shoot Nikon. First decent camera I got (at least that was how I looked at it at that time) was a Nikon N90 kit camera. So when I went to upgrade the body I already had Nikon glass, so I stuck with Nikon. I currently shoot a Nikon D5 with a 28-300 lens.

When did you start shooting endurance rides?
First endurance ride I shot was Tevis in 1997.

Why do you like shooting endurance rides?

Shooting endurance felt like a natural fit. Some disciplines you feel like an outsider, but when shooting endurance I felt like I belonged. The people in endurance are down to earth, always willing to help each other out. When at rides I feel like I am with my extended family.

What are challenges you find in shooting endurance rides?

There are plenty of challenges when shooting endurance.

Weather (insert wind, dust, wind, dust, rain, fog, snow, temperature (I can’t feel my fingers anymore) wind and dust). Operator error. Low battery, malfunctioning equipment, forgetting to update camera settings from previous shoot. Low light, you find that perfect spot but the horses arrive before the sun rises. Walking to chosen spot to shoot only to find you need to wade through a creek or swampy area. Forgetting bug spray.

Travel to rides can be a challenge. And stressful. Figuring that if you get up by 1:00 am and out the door by 1:45 am you should be able to get to the ride, park and hike in before the riders get to your spot. But once on the road you realize you need coffee, gas, snack and somewhere along the drive nature calls all cutting into your precious time. Once at the ride you park, grab all your gear (Hopefully) and hustle to your spot. Get there and put up your signs, check settings on camera, check trail to look for any fresh tracks. Then you can hear the front runners heading your way.

What are one or two of your favorite ride shooting stories/adventures/misadventures?
It is very difficult to pick a favorite story from a ride as there are so many.

From the simple; while shooting you notice that there is something just not right about the rider approaching only to realize they only have one stirrup attached to the saddle and the other is in their hand. But having seen the photographer sign they tried to ride past me to get their photo. They didn’t have anything to fix the issue. I pulled the shoe laces from my shoes and was able to patch together a quick fix and she was able to make that last until the next vet check.

To a more emotional story, which seems to happen a couple times a ride while shooting Tevis. When I get to watch a rider approach Cougar Rock with a look of focus, determination and a little fear. And when they make it over Cougar Rock I can hear them sobbing while they praise their horse saying, “We did it.” I always feel honored to be there to memorialize that moment for them.

Any other pertinent info you’d like to share with us?
When I first started shooting Tevis I met Kate Riordan. That progressed into me helping out showing film crews different locations along the trail. Which led to a very cool experience of being able to go up in the helicopter with a film crew.

All of my helping out/ volunteering for Tevis ended up rewarding me when I received a call from Melinda Hughes. She told me that she had contacted Kate and explained to Kate that she was giving up shooting Cougar Rock. (Which had to do with their photographer falling off CR and getting life flighted out the previous year.) Melinda said she wanted to hand over the reins of Official Cougar Rock Photographer and wanted suggestions for a photographer from Kate. Kate gave Melinda my name and I will always be extremely grateful to Kate for that.

As a side note, the first year I was to shoot Cougar Rock the ride didn’t even go over CR. That was the year they started in Auburn and finished in Auburn.

This is one of Bill's favorite shots, taken at Swinging Bridge on the Tevis Trail.

Bill explains: The photo is a shot of the cover for the Endurance News yearbook 1998. After I picked up the yearbook from the post office in Auburn I ran into Doyle Patrick just outside. As I recall, Doyle was the Executive Director of Endurance News. (I could be mistaken on the title.) While we were talking, Charlie Barieau [early eminent endurance photographer] walked over to us, showed Doyle the yearbook and said, "This is what an endurance ride photo should look like." That was a nice compliment coming from someone I considered a mentor to my endurance photography.

**Top photo is Bill and Diana Hiiesalu, who often shoots with Bill on rides. And, thanks to photography, they are engaged!

Behind the Lens: Genie Stewart-Spears profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Susan Kordish profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Becky Pearman profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Dave Honan profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Linda Sherrill profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Steve Bradley profile is here:

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

From President Murray Kessler: Returning to Competitions After COVID-19

by US Equestrian Communications Department | May 12, 2020, 3:20 PM EST

Dear USEF Members,

Here we go! About 50% of states have begun their phased reopening and several competitions are already on the new Calendar. This works well with the USEF date of June 1 for reinstatement of points. While many events and championships have been canceled, USEF has approved over 100 rule modifications to assist competition organizers with rescheduling events. We have also put in place strict competition protocols and resources to help make them as safe as possible under the circumstances. That’s the good news since we fully understand the economic hardship so many in our industry have suffered and recognize the need for them to get back to work.

I want to emphasize that while this will come as relief to many of you, a return to competition is not risk-free. As a community, we all need to be vigilant. The objective is not only to reopen competitions, but also to keep them open. If we don’t individually and collectively do our part, we could find ourselves shut down again. None of us wants that. My personal experience with the company I oversee as CEO has provided me good insight. We have been able to keep 38 essential facilities worldwide running without interruption through the height of the COVID-19 crisis. It hasn’t been easy. But we were able to do it because everyone is doing their part. So here are a few tips as you think about returning to competition.

If you are uncomfortable and feel the risk is too high – Don’t show!
If you are a high-risk individual – Don’t show!
If you have any symptoms at all (flu, fever, allergy, cough, etc…) – Don’t show!
If you become aware that you have come in “unprotected” contact with someone who has tested positive – Don’t show for 14 days!
If you test positive, do not return to showing until your symptoms are gone for 14 days and you have been cleared by your health provider, and notify anyone you have been in contact with so they don’t show for 14 days!
If none of the above applies, go show, but strictly follow the protocols established by USEF, federal, state and county law, and other Competition Organizer requirements. For example, whenever you are on the grounds of a competition, you will need to wear a mask unless you are up on horseback. You will need to maintain social distancing. Additionally, you should continue to frequently wash your hands and use hand sanitizer.

Separately, revised guidelines for horse of the year awards, qualifying and selection will continue to be published as they are finalized. Your working committees have been hard at work coming up with new procedures that are as fair as possible under the circumstances.

These are unprecedented times which have been difficult on all of us. For some, it has been more than difficult. They have lost their lives or lost the lives of their loved ones. Others have suffered deep economic hardship. Our hearts go out to them. Please keep this in mind when you return to showing. We must all count on each other to do the right thing.

I am confident our equine community will rise to the occasion.

Best of luck as you return to the competition ring. But, more importantly, stay safe.

Murray S. Kessler


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

What to Expect When USEF Shows Restart on June 1 - Full Article

Noelle Maxwell
May 8, 2020

A return to normal—or at least, a new normal—is on the horizon as the USEF announced Wednesday that recognized competitions would return June 1.

“New normal” is the operative phrase here, as the USEF also laid out requirements to keep competitors safe. Effective immediately and subject to revisions as the COVID-19 situation evolves, the new requirements will remain in effect until further notice. (Find the full list outlined in the COVID-19 action plan released May 5.)

Here are the key points you need to know...

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Talkin' Trot Podcast Episode 7

Talkin' Trot Podcast

Episode 7: Talkin AERC News/ Conditioning, Moving up & Making the most of your Ride Time

Episode 7: Talkin virtual riding challenges, how to support our sport when rides aren't being held, and part 1 of our 3 part series on conditioning. This episode covers information such as: adequate rest, considerations to starting a conditioning...


US Equestrian Announces First Webinar in Series: Planning for a Safe Return to Competition

Join us on Monday, May 4, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET
by US Equestrian Communications Department | Apr 30, 2020, 12:00 PM EST

Learn how USEF is planning to facilitate a safe return to competition following the COVID-19 suspension. This is a good opportunity for trainers, exhibitors and competition managers to understand how to work together to create the safest possible environment for everyone, as we look ahead to restarting 2020 competitions as early as June 1 with a phased regional approach in line with local and state government restrictions. USEF Guidelines for Competitions will be shared during the webinar. These guidelines have been developed by Dr. Mark Hart, USEF’s Team Physician and Chair of the Fédération Équestre Internationale Medical Committee, with input from competition management. Panelists will include USEF CEO Bill Moroney, Dr. Mark Hart, USEF General Counsel Sonja Keating, ESP President Michael Stone, and trainer John Madden.


Monday, May 4, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Key Topics/Agenda:

Overview of Approach to Reopening (Bill Moroney)
Competition Protocols and Recommended Best Practices (Sonja Keating and Bill Moroney)
Health and Safety (Dr. Mark Hart)
A Competition Manager's Perspective – How do you plan to navigate/manage start-up? (Michael Stone)
How will this impact trainers? (John Madden)

This webinar event is open to USEF members, with 1000 spots available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The virtual webinar will be held via Zoom. We encourage participants to submit questions in advance when registering. There will be a Q & A session following the presentation.

The recorded event will be posted on the USEF Network at the conclusion of the session.

More at:

Monday, May 04, 2020

Documentary Film Release: “Lady Long Rider”

“Lady Long Rider”

How far one woman went to find herself.

The Story of Bernice Ende

Film by Wren Winfield
W+E1 Productions

Approaching her 50th birthday, Bernice Ende picked up the reins and rode south on a borrowed horse. Her plan was to visit her sister, a 2000-mile ride from Montana to New Mexico. She never imagined that facing the challenges of life alone on the road, would take her so much further.… In Lady Long Rider, Bernice shares the miles of insight she gained on the horseback ride that ultimately became a 15-year 30,000-mile journey of self discovery.

What Bernice has to say about the film:

I was reluctant to watch the film. As I told the filmmaker, Wren Winfield, ‘I’ve lived it, I don’t need to watch it.’ However, curiosity got the best of me. Words failed me, but my tears did not. I was deeply moved by Wren’s ability to capture the essence of my rides. I applaud her presentation of my life with such artistic beauty and sincere dedication to depicting both the narrative and the insights gained from my life as a long rider...”

See more at:

Friday, May 01, 2020

Behind the Lens: Get to Know Endurance Ride Photographer Genie Stewart-Spears

by Merri
May 1 2020

In today's issue of my "Behind the Lens" series, featuring members of the Endurance Ride Photographers Guild (ERPG), we get to meet veteran photographer, journalist, and inspiration to many of us, Genie Stewart-Spears.

Genie has written and photographed for - to name a few! - Arabian Horse World, Western Horseman, Trail Rider, Chronicle of the Horse, Arabian Horse Express, Horse & Rider, Endurance News, Horse Women, Horse Play, Equus, Equine Images, Morgan Horse, Appaloosa Horse Journal, Inside International (AHA), Horse Care, Horse Show, Miles To Go, Ride, and Horseman. Her photographs have appeared in numerous books and calendars, and also in ads.  Most recently she sold an endurance photograph that will be on the side of a regional horse feed delivery truck!

Where do you live?
Southern Illinois

What is your profession?
Equine Photographer and Journalist since 1984 - 2020, but retired except for selling a few in-stock photos, writing a few articles a year, and running an airbnb out of my home (Inn To The Forest)

Do you have horses? Do you ride?

Yep, a now 13-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter and 22-year-old mule that I  trail ride all over the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.

How did you first get into photography?

I began photographing for my articles in equine magazines - how-to articles that included endurance, and then covering endurance rides for magazines.  I got a lot of practice photographing horses in motion at the nearby Paducah Downs, in Paducah, Kentucky.

I was an endurance competitor in the beginning (5-day Outlaw Trail and Renegade Rides were my favorites), and often carried my camera, getting off and photographing other riders (for the purpose of illustrating the magazine articles I wrote). And because I was frequently being asked by riders if they could purchase photos, my work morphed into also being an endurance ride photographer.

One of my first events to photograph and cover for magazines was the 1987 Race of Champions in Utah, followed by the World Championship (1988) in Virginia.  I also photographed and covered a number of North American Championships, more Race of Champions, Pan Americans, Old Dominions and Biltmore Rides, to name a few of the big rides.

What equipment do you normally shoot with?

I began with a 35 mm Olympus and went to Canon equipment with the 70-200 lens being my favorite.

When did you start shooting endurance rides?

Mid 1980s

Why do you like shooting endurance rides?

I was drawn to the athleticism of the horses and the riders.

What are challenges you find in shooting endurance rides?

Biggest challenge was getting trail maps/directions to preview the course. Ride managers or trail bosses back then didn’t comprehend what all goes into finding the best places to capture the essence of the competition with a strong background or foreground with the best possible light.  I often would arrive two to three days prior and explore the trail in reverse, because that is how I would be viewing the horses.

What are one or two of your favorite ride shooting stories/adventures/misadventures?

Endurance photographers often lend aid on the trail to lost or injured riders and horses!

#1 Oh mercy, I’m not a swimmer but I had to swallow my fear of water to get out in the middle of the Shenandoah River (Old Dominion Ride) year after year.  The second or third year a horse was as terrified as I was of the water, dumped its rider and fled across the river in terror. It was in full panic mode.  Suddenly it saw me standing in the middle of the river and I guess it thought I would save it from the water swallowing it whole, and turned straight for me. I was torn between photographing or running for shore! True to being a photographer, I kept shooting and then grabbed its reins. It stood, trembling, until the rider slogged her way across the river to retrieve her horse.

#2 At a ride in Kentucky (Land Between The Lakes), as I was driving to my next spot to shoot, a riderless horse came toward me at a full gallop. I was able to slow him and catch him. Once he was secured, I went in search of the rider who I found in the middle of the trail, conscious but in great pain. She had been full-bodied slammed into a tree. She was helicoptered from the local hospital to a major one in Tennessee where she underwent surgery. Thankfully she fully recovered and returned to competition. As I recall, she was riding the late Dr. Matthew Mackay-Smith’s horse that had its own idea how fast to run the course.

Any other pertinent info you’d like to share with us?

I was honored to meet and spend time with the late and great (and first ever) ride photographer Charles Barieau during the 1992 Tevis. Some of the stories he shared were wonderful pieces of endurance history! He talked about riding the Tevis Trail (in training) with Wendell Robie and about their adventures. Charles wasn’t into riding as much as Wendell. On one long ride, hoping to turn back for home, Charles told Wendell the horse he was riding was getting tired. Wendell told him the horse was just fooling him and swapped horses (both were Wendell’s horses) and they kept going. Not what Charles wanted!

I’ve ridden alongside some great riders and horses through the years and better yet I’ve photographed and interviewed many of the greats for magazine articles. People like Valerie Kanavy (Cash) and her daughter Danielle who is just as awesome of a rider as her mother; and there’s Becky Hart (Rio),  Jeanne Waldron (Brombe), Crockett Dumas (Grasshopper), Debbie Gordon (Redman),  Maggy Price (Priceless),  Beverly Gray (Omner),  Mary Koefod (Dana’s Northlite), Darla Westlake (RT Muffin), Sharon Ballard (Kidd), Kathy Arnold (Easter Charm), Stagg Newman (Drubin) and so many more greats that make up the sport and made it what it is today.  

While I’m not out there photographing rides anymore, I’m enriched with having been in the midst of great riders and learned from them, not just about riding but about life and how to roll with the punches as well as appreciate the good times.  I thank God for it all.

Below are a couple of Genie's favorite shots and rides over the years.

Valerie Kanavy with some of her horses on her farm in VA (2009)

Stagg Newman with Drubin after the horse’s retirement from endurance (2004)

Annie Whelan during the North American Junior and Young Riders’ Competition in 2015

Valerie Kanavy on Cash (Pieraz) in the 1993 Race of Champions.

Danielle Kanavy McGunigal at 2005 Biltmore finish line.

Top photo is a recent photo of Genie with three of her four poodles that often go hiking with her


Behind the Lens: Susan Kordish profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Becky Pearman profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Dave Honan profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Linda Sherrill profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Steve Bradley profile is here:

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Historical ApHC Chief Joseph Trail Ride Cancelled

April 28 2020

MOSCOW, IDAHO—The Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Chief Joseph Trail Ride, set to take place August 3 – 7, 2020. This would have been the 56th consecutive year the historical event has been held.

Due to COVID-19, the United States Forest Service (USFS) is unable to issue recreational permits, hindering the ability for ApHC trail leaders to access trails and establish a ride route. Trail maintenance has also been halted for the time being which would support a safe ride for members, organizers, and their Appaloosas.

“As a Board, this was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever had to make,” said ApHC President Ken Johnson. “But our hands were tied by circumstances out of control. That said, I’m confident that the historic Chief Joseph Trail Ride will be back next year better than ever, with even greater participation.”

The uncertainty of this situation and lack of a set timeline for when USFS operations will return to normal have required the ApHC to make this decision. In order for the Appaloosa Horse Club to successfully hold a safe and enjoyable ride, the time for proper preparation is not feasible this year.

While the situation is unfortunate, the Appaloosa Horse Club and its leaders encourage Chief Joseph riders and participants to look forward to next year when this special tradition can be continued. The fourth leg of the Chief Joseph Trail Ride over Lolo pass will now be ridden in 2021. Meanwhile, ApHC encourages members to spend quality time with their Appaloosa and consider enrolling in the Saddle Log program where awards are earned for their time spent in the saddle.

For additional information on the Chief Joseph Trail Ride and further updates that become available in the following months, please visit

The Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) was established in 1938 with a mission of preserving, promoting and enhancing the Appaloosa breed. The ApHC has since registered more than 700,000 Appaloosas, which are known for their distinctive color, intelligence and even temperament. True to their reputation as an extremely versatile breed, Appaloosas can be found in nearly every discipline including racing, endurance riding and serving as reliable family horses. The international breed registry is headquartered in Moscow, Idaho, the heart of the Palouse region—the Appaloosa breed’s namesake and point of origin.

USEF Update on COVID-19: Suspension Extended Through May 31, 2020

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Apr 25, 2020, 8:15 AM EST

April 25, 2020

Dear USEF Members and Competition Organizers (Licensees and Managers),

We continue to carefully monitor the COVID-19 Pandemic situation and the position of health experts, including the CDC and other public health authorities. It appears that in several areas of the country, restrictions put in place by State Governors, such as the “stay-at-home” orders, are making a positive difference. Federal, state and local governments are discussing plans for re-opening the environment in the near future. However, this will not occur overnight and will very likely consist of a graduated easing of restrictions over several weeks, which may vary greatly state-to-state, as well as within the states themselves.

The success of these plans is predicated on a mindful and responsible approach to easing restrictions while also maintaining best practices that we have all learned and adopted in order to reduce exposure to and transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Once USEF competitions resume, we must all continue to support and maintain these best practices as part of our daily activities to help prevent further disruptions to our lives. We hope that resumption of competition comes soon.

With that in mind, the suspension of all USEF owned and named events, selection trials, training camps, clinics and activities is being extended through May 31, 2020. This suspension also includes points, scores, money won, qualifications, or rankings toward any USEF award programs, USEF owned and named events, or selection to a US team including USEF National Championships. Upon the expiration of this suspension, competitions must comply with requirements issued by USEF for operating sport horse competitions in this environment.

Collaborating with competition organizers, affiliate leaders and other industry experts, USEF has been developing competition protocols for safely operating competitions and mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19. Once finalized, we will be providing all competition organizers with these protocols as well as other risk mitigation tools for their use. These tools and resources will also be front-facing on our website and accessible by all members and website visitors.

We have been working on amendments to qualification and selection processes for numerous USEF owned and named events as well as how USEF HOTY awards and ranking lists are calculated. We have started announcing modifications that will make the process as fair as possible for all participants, despite the disruption to the competition year and the likelihood of a staggered regional start-up.

We have received inquiries as to whether USEF will grant exemptions to the junior competitor age restrictions, equine age restrictions and equine eligibility restrictions based on competitive experience. While these topics are being discussed, it is still too early to make definitive conclusions regarding these issues.

We will continue to assess the pandemic impact, and we will keep you informed of any updates to our position as circumstances warrant or as instructed by the government and public health authorities.

The safety and welfare of our members and their horses must continue to be our top priority.

Stay safe,

William J. Moroney
Chief Executive Officer

Friday, April 24, 2020

Wild West Virtual Endurance Ride

Joining a couple of other innovative endurance riders and ride managers, Wild West is hosting a virtual endurance ride - a one day ride on May 9 or 10, or a week-long challenge May 9-17.

It's a way to get your virtual endurance riding on while still practicing social distancing and while having a goal for your fit equines.

After you complete your ride(s), you'll e-mail Wild West your GPS tracks, a screenshot of them or a link to them. Then watch on their Facebook page for your standings. Awards will be mailed out after the ride but depending on the popularity it could take up to a month to arrive depending on availability. 

For more information and to sign up, see

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Behind the Lens: Get to Know Endurance Ride Photographer Susan Kordish

by Merri
April 15 2020

Next up in my "Behind the Lens" series, featuring members of the Endurance Ride Photographers Guild (ERPG), is Susan Kordish, of AZ Cowgirl Photography.

Those of you who ride in the Southwest region have seen Susan behind the lens the last decade. In this article, Susan shifts between saying “I” and “We,” because her husband John is a very important part of her photography business. “He takes great photos,” Susan says, “and one of our Endurance News covers was actually his image. We are two halves of a whole.”

Where do you live?
We currently live in Skull Valley, Arizona. We vacationed here for 10 years prior to moving here in 2005 from Northern Vermont.

What is your profession?
My husband John and I owned and operated a convenience store/gas station for 20 years in Vermont. When we moved here to Arizona we both went to work for the local casino operation. I still work full-time as the Administrative Licensing Technician. My job is to process people's paperwork and do the initial background investigation for gaming licenses (required to work in a casino). I am hoping once I retire to make photography my full-time occupation.

Do you have horses? Do you ride?

I began riding at 8...and I am now 60. My very first horse was actually a Chincoteague Pony. His name was Little Fellow and the man that owned him wrote a book about his early life called "Hundred Acre Welcome" by Ronald Rood. Little Fellow came to me when I was 10 and he was 6. He lived with me until he was 36! Currently I have a registered Morab gelding named Chase. He will be 21 this year. John has a registered Arabian mare named Fancy. Fancy will be 28 this summer.

When I was a kid I competed in hunter/jumper, eventing, gymkhanas and some dressage. My husband and I competed as a team in hunter pace events in Vermont. Since moving here we are trail riders although neither of us is riding lately.

How did you first get into photography?
I casually did photography as a kid with a little 110 camera. My big breakthrough came on our first trip together to the West. We made a trip to Las Vegas in the early 90's. I had met a horseback rider and photographer on an AOL chat room. She said she would take us riding in the desert around Las Vegas. Not only did she take us riding, she took us on a photo safari to the desert near Vegas and handed me her Minolta 35mm with a 70-300 lens and pointed out mustangs in the desert! I was HOOKED! When we got home I bought the same camera and lens combo; I still have it but have moved on to digital. While in Vermont I mostly shot dressage, hunter/jumper and some gymkhana and team penning. I also do some fine art photography and editing.

What equipment do you normally shoot with?
I currently have two Canon 7D bodies, one has a 70-200 f2.8 pro lens and the other has a 24-105 f4 pro lens. My husband is my second shooter. We both use monopods to help with the long hours that shooting endurance rides entails.

When did you start shooting endurance ride
I originally shot alone. Our first endurance ride came about in an interesting way. We were set to volunteer at a new endurance ride happening right here in Skull Valley. I first tried to be the Official Photographer, but another photographer (Linda Sherrill), well known in the endurance world, was already chosen. The day before the ride I was asked if I could shoot the ride, as Linda was ill and couldn't make the trip. That ride was the Prescott Chaparral Ride in 2011. I had a Canon XTi and a 70-300mm lens and no website. I was able to get a website up and running in 3 days. It wasn't pretty but it functioned and I had a way to sell. A few years later my husband John started being the second shooter so we could get more images of each rider.

Why do you like shooting endurance rides?

We love the excitement and camaraderie of the endurance shoots. We know many of our riders by name and they know us at this point. I love the smiles and kind words they share with us. We feel like part of the endurance family here in Arizona.

What are challenges you find in shooting endurance rides?
The challenges are to find great locations, and the weather. Most of our rides are a bit of a distance from where we live, so we either have to make a scouting trip or arrive a few days early to scout. The weather is usually great but once in awhile the rain comes and makes it very hard. Had an expensive repair when the rain cover didn't protect well enough...I have since purchased a better rain cover!

What are one or two of your favorite ride shooting stories/adventures/misadventures?
Every November we photograph the Lead, Follow or Get Out of My Way ride at McDowell Mountain Regional Park down near Phoenix. We always take our mountain bikes because the biking is wonderful there. So, the ride was on Saturday...I spent much of Sunday working on images, so Monday we decided to head out for a bike ride. About 3 miles in...John fell crossing a dry wash. I could tell immediately that he was hurt bad!! The rest of that day was spent waiting for the helicopter to arrive...then meeting the ambulance back at the park. I was dropped off at our travel trailer to arrange to stay a bit longer - we were supposed to head home the next morning. I arrived at the hospital to find John in the ER with a broken femur/broken hip. A couple of days later while John was having surgery to put a titanium rod into his femur I had to learn to drive the truck pulling the travel trailer alone for the 3 or so hour drive back home. Having driven horse trailers I did fine, but yikes. The good news is he is on the mend and he only missed one shoot.

Also...last April while at our first location at the Lead, Follow or Get Out of My Way at Bumble Bee we got chased out of the desert by a huge bull. We were walking back towards the car to catch the last few riders when we started to hear a bull calling out behind us...then crashing in the desert brush...walking faster I looked back and it was coming our way! I don't think he actually had bad intentions towards us BUT we were in between where he was and where the other bull was. We stopped once we were safe and took a few shots of them sparring!

And any other pertinent info you’d like to share with us?
We have been fortunate to have been published extensively, with covers on The Horse, The Horse's Hoof, Trail Blazer and Endurance News. Many of our photos have been used to illustrate articles and for advertising. Along with our website we have a Fine Art America site. I also have my fine art work available locally at The Prescott Art Market and the Skull Valley Station. In the past I entered many juried art shows both locally and online.

Below are a couple of Susan’s favorite shots and rides over the years.

In the Flagstaff Monsoon Fever ride in Arizona, Junior rider Hailey Zehring is riding Andrea Maitland's mustang Wyatt Earp. This made the cover of Endurance News a few months ago.

Brad Person in the Lead, Follow ride in McDowell, Arizona. Brad is Susie Kramer's significant other.

Mary Jane Fridley on Dreamer, in the Dashing through the Trails ride near Goodyear, Arizona.

Here's one of Susan's favorite cover shots


Behind the Lens: Becky Pearman profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Dave Honan profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Linda Sherrill profile is here:

Behind the Lens: Steve Bradley profile is here:

Vermont 100 Cancelled

April 14 2020

 Due to the COVID-19 viral pandemic, the Vermont 100 ride committee made the very difficult decision to cancel this year's endurance rides, scheduled for July 18, 2020. 

"Consideration for the health and safety of the endurance riding community, our generous volunteers, veterinarians, and the public in general are our foremost concerns in making this decision. These are truly unique circumstances.

This was a very difficult decision for the committee, as we understand the love and passion so many have for this incredibly unique event. We feel that this was the only responsible course of action. We will be back stronger than ever for 2021! Please be safe and well as we rise to meet this global challenge by working together while staying apart."

 Pam and the ride committee.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

2020 April's Endurance Day on Horses in the Morning - Listen

Apr 14, 2020

Endurance Day Revisit: We chat with 2017 Tevis Cup winner Tenney Lane, Haggin Cup winner Jeremy Reynolds and Molly Farkas shares her adventures riding this year’s race on her Appaloosa Spotted Wap; 49 years after her first Tevis Cup. Listen in...

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Suzy Kelley Passes

The endurance community is not the same without Suzy Kelley, who passed away on the first of April.

She was the 2008 AERC Hall of Fame inductee and known as a tough competitor with a heart of gold. Her daughter, Laurel Wynn Black, wanted to be sure endurance riders knew that "You all were such a big part of her life for so many years!"

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

2020 AERC National Championships June 5-7 Cancelled

April 8 2020

Due to the uncertainty and upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 AERC National Championship June 5-7 at Fort Howes, Montana, has been cancelled. The difficult decision was made by ride managers and hosts Jan and Bill Stevens today.

They are uncertain at this time if they will postpone till a fall 2020 date, or June 11-13, 2021.

Stay tuned to for further developments.

Washington's Jill Ann Smith approaches her wide-ranging pursuits with passion and dedication - Full Article

By Carrie Scozzaro
April 8 2020

hat do Arabian horses, women veterans, ceramics and the food industry have in common? They're all things Jill Ann Smith has built businesses around.

"I've always been a niche marketer," says Smith, who lives in the Little Spokane River area in an older home with a newer shop surrounded by funky outdoor sculptures and a garden. From the road, a unique metal fence reads like a biography of Smith's life with cutouts of things like leaves and horses.

Cutouts of Air Force jets relate to her husband, Doug, whom she met while on the westside, where she grew up and earned her art degree at the University of Puget Sound. Fairchild Air Force base brought the couple to Spokane.

Smith likes to tell the story about a trip to Serbia she and her husband took to secure contracts for EarthGoods, one of many ventures she has run or created in her 50 years as a self-styled entrepreneur.

"In Serbia," explains Smith, "business is done over drinking." Only one person spoke English and none had ever dealt with an American nor a woman. Through hand gestures and smiles, they persisted, with Smith pointing to her husband as the "designated drinker," so as not to offend their hosts.

"My husband drank the Serbs under the table," says Smith, laughing.

Her husband also gave Smith her first horse, opening the floodgates, she calls it. Although she never rode a real one as a child — she made do with stick ponies and stories of the Black Stallion — Smith was especially enamored of Arabians...

Read more here: