Monday, February 10, 2020
Local Grass Roots Clubs Make the Endurance World Go Round
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
February 10 2020
Saturday night in Boise, a group of some 75 endurance riders from Southwest Idaho Trail & Distance Riders gathered for a banquet and celebration of the previous year's endurance riding accomplishments. Most, dressed in unusual finery, were almost unrecognizable without helmets, helmet hair, dust and grime, or their horses. And nobody had to rush away after dinner to care for their horses after a day on the trail.
While AERC is the overall country-wide main endurance organization, the local, grass roots clubs around the country bring people together for their own closer relationships, awards, and fun. For 41 years, SWITnDR has been in existence for riders in the southern Idaho and eastern Oregon area (and a few from Washington and Wyoming!) who enjoy the sport of distance riding.
Saturday's catered dinner was a gastronomic delight, and the volume in the gathering space was deafening, as endurance riders have a lot to say to each other when they aren't concentrating on steering their mounts down the trails.
The awards for 2019's top mileage horses and riders were fleece coolers with the embroidered SWIT logo. Kim Johnson of Belesemo Arabians annually gives away an award for the high point Belesemo line Arabian; this year's winner was Belesemo Asfaloth, ridden by Veronica and Matthew Stanley.
Lots of swag was handed out to the six horse-and-rider teams who completed all nine days in the Limited Distance division of the first ever Idaho Ironhorse - three days at City of Rocks Pioneer, three days at Top O' the World Pioneer, and three days at Autumn Sun Pioneer. A big thank you goes out to ride managers Steph Teeter, Jessica Cobbley and Jessica Huber, and to sponsors Renegade Hoof Boots, Platinum Performance, Valley Vet, Pure Sole Hoof Products, and Redmond Equine. And as always, thank you to Riding Warehouse, who donated coupons for prizes at the banquet, and who for years has supported many of our rids in the Northwest.
Next year, the new three-day Old Selam Pioneer (formerly a one or two-day ride) will join the Idaho Ironhorse Challenge, opening the door to a Super Duper Ultimate Idaho IronHorse.
At the end of the evening, everybody said goodbye in their finery, knowing that next time we meet, it will be under helmets and aboard horses for the start of the 2020 endurance season in the April Tough Sucker ride.