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: