Friday, October 30, 2020

AERC's National Championship rides are back on the calendar for 2021

AERC's National Championship rides are back on the calendar for 2021:
June 11 (50 mile championships)
June 12 (open 50 and 2 open LDs)
June 13 (100 mile championships)

The place: Fort Howes in Ashland, Montana.

The even bigger news is that on June 15, there will be an AERC Young Rider Championship 75-mile ride! This will be open to weight division riders age 14-21. (14-15 year olds with unsponsored junior status are welcome. See rule 10.3 for details.)

This link gives YR Championship qualification specifics:

Also, watch Endurance News for information on all 2021 National Championships at Fort Howes rides and check out the Fort Howes website:

Happy trails from the AERC Office
and 2021 National Championship Ride hosts Jan and Bill Stevens

P.S. Don't forget to renew your AERC membership by December 1 to be eligible for our drawing for a $500 custom tack package from Taylored Tack:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Fair Hill International made up for cancelled April event - Full Article

25 October 2020
Race Report made with the assistance of Alissa Norman

When manager Holly MacDonald was not allowed to run an endurance ride in her home state due to COVID restrictions, she approached Fair Hill International to ask them to host. As Fair Hill International’s national distance ride was cancelled in April, the venue was happy to host both national and CEI rides. Distances offered included the 40, 80, 100, 120 and 160km events.

In the 160km ride, Holly Corcoran (USA) rode her own Poete to the win through perfect fall weather, with dry footing and a hint of trees changing colour. She rode the entire ride with two of her other horses – Poetrie, ridden by Hanna Weightman (USA) and Lorienn, ridden by Carmine Villani (GBR)...

Read more here:

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Christoph Schork is AERC’s Four Hundred Win Man

An ongoing passion for the sport of endurance riding leads Christoph Schork to a phenomenal 400 wins

October 24 2020
by Merri

To the casual eye, the 5-day Autumn Sun Pioneer ride in October in Gooding, Idaho, was just another endurance ride. It wasn’t even all that unusual when Christoph Schork won all 5 days of the 50 milers. But what will be remembered of this now-historical event is that with his wins, Schork set another AERC record that’s unlikely to ever be touched. The Three Hundred Win Man transformed into The Four Hundred Win Man. If it wasn’t enough setting that win record, he also became the first rider to reach 200 Best Condition awards with his mounts.

According to AERC records, the endurance riders with the next most wins are the Midwest region’s Linda Hamrick with 178 wins, and the Central region’s Darolyn Butler with 168. The riders with the next most Best Condition awards are the Mountain region’s Crockett Dumas with 147, and the Pacific South region’s Suzy Kelley (who passed away in April 2020) with 138.

And if you think he’s excessively busy with just riding 50-milers and winning, you’d be missing the whole picture. Particularly during this strange COVID season, where his usual interns from Europe have been prevented from flying to the US, Schork has been handling a trailer full of horses at a multi-day ride by himself. After he pulls into Ridecamp, he’ll set up his 4 or 5 horses with food and water, and get each horse’s equipment ready. (He’ll also have several busy, opinionated little dogs to take care of.) After he finishes competing on Day 1, he’ll get back to camp, take care of the other horses, and take Day 2’s horse out for a warm-up ride, and so on throughout the event.

But he also stays busy helping other riders. Need advice or help with hoof care or glueing on boots? Schork will help. Need a saddle fitted before your ride? He will make time to do that also. His helpfulness is bountiful and his energy seems limitless.

Schork set the tone of his 33-year endurance career from his first ride in 1988 with a win. Since then he has completed 676 rides in 730 starts for a 92.6% finish percentage with over 38,000 miles, an outstanding figure when you realize he’s almost always competing to win. And many of his horses have had long careers, several having surpassed the 3000-mile mark, including:

• GE Double Zell (Brusally Orlen X Little Sisterzell, by Brusally Orlen) 3150 miles, 58 finishes in 58 starts, 8 seasons, 12 BCs, 6 of 6 100s (Schork’s most wins, 41, came aboard this horse)

• GE BW Triple Divide (Kishkov X BW Pavlova, by *Statuss) 3230 miles, 63 finishes in 69 starts, 9 seasons, 7 BCs

• GE Pistol Annie (Sulte X Sissy, by Baahy) 3550 miles, 63 finishes in 66 starts, 7 seasons, 31 BCs, 7 of 9 100s

• GE Stars Aflame (Flaming Tigre X Samoa Star, by Samstar) 3660 miles, 67 finishes in 72 starts, 12 seasons, 16 BCs, 5 of 8 100s

• DWA Powerball (*Sabson X WMA Lotto, by Cacko) 3720 miles, 72 finishes in 75 starts, 8 seasons, 7 BCs, 2 of 3 100s

• DWA Sabku +// (*Sabson X Saranade, by El Camino Samir) 4320 miles, 78 finishes in 85 starts, 15 seasons, 18 BCs, 11 of 14 100s

Schork’s Global Endurance Training Center in Moab, Utah, an ambitious endurance venture which he started with Dian Woodward in 2002, (she has since left), is the base of his endurance operations. Here he conditions his horses and also trains endurance riders, most notably for Mongolia’s Mongol Derby and the Gobi Gallop. He also leases his horses to endurance riders; multiple clients have earned Tevis Cup buckles aboard his horses.

Such a rise to the top rung in this sport has come with trials and errors and growing knowledge and fine tuning of Schork’s techniques over the decades. Though he makes it look easy, he’s the first to maintain he’s not an expert.

Asked how he’s earned such success, Schork summed up his methods.

First you have to have an inherent sense of competitiveness. If you’re not really competitive by nature, you’re probably not going to be that successful.

After that, you have to have a commitment to success. You must want to succeed. That only works if you have the dedication to the sport, that you actually love what you’re doing. If you don’t really have the passion for it, then you’re not going to succeed. That’s kind of the foundation.

Then after that, you have to have a plan. And in that plan, I think what’s really important is to have an alternate plan, or plan B, if it’s not working the way you want it to work.

And with both plans, the key is attention to the detail - the little things that could make or break success. If everything goes well, you’re doing OK. But if not, and you’re missing a detail, you might not succeed.

Never stop learning. That’s a big one. You have to learn from others, as well as from your own mistakes.

Also for success is my willingness to help others. If you actually sacrifice yourself sometimes for others, it always comes back to you and turns out as a benefit for you. So the time you spend and the energy you put into helping others to succeed also will come back as an additional benefit to you.

And last, whatever happens, always stay humble. Always be open to learn more. Be willing to admit to your own mistakes and your own shortcomings and work on improving on it. Learn from your own mistakes.

Schork also attributes part of his success to doing his own hoof care, changing over years ago to synthetic shoes and boots made by Easycare. Schork says, “Easycare was one of the front runners in that, and that certainly helped my horses to cover ground more expediently and more efficiently, and it also helps protect the joints and cartilage of the lower legs. Easycare’s R&D [research and development], their support, and their commitment to the welfare of the horse is a big thing for me.”

Asked what Schork has learned between win #300 (July 3, 2016 aboard GE Pistol Annie) and win #400 (October 11, 2020 aboard GE VA Blizzard of Oz), he points first to his horses’ mental states. “The more I work with horses, I realize how important it is to work with the psyche and the mind of the horses - getting more in touch with their minds and feeling the horses more, feel their strengths and weaknesses, and work close within these parameters,” he says. “I want to keep them happy, because a happy horse performs better.”

Schork has also learned to take each horse’s mind and ability into account. “A horse can have the perfect body and the best heart rate and lots of skills and talents, but if there is no drive or desire on the horse’s behalf, the best body does not bring home the gold. But the best mind can often overcome physical shortcomings. Discipline and mental toughness trump talent and conformation almost all the time.

“Another thing I realized as I learn more, that the more you try to force something or the more you are wanting something really bad, like forcing the win, the less it might happen. So I give much consideration to a horse’s mental state, allowing a win to happen, not forcing it. Stay relaxed about it, as the more relaxed you can be about it, the more relaxed the horse is going to be, and the better you’re going to perform as a team with the horse.”

He adheres to the phrase he coined years ago: “‘At any given day, ride the horse you have, not the horse you wish to have.’ Always be astute about the stage your horse is in at any given day; that will help minimize failures.”

While Schork himself is a person many endurance riders look up to, he cites several people who he has admired over the years, starting with his first mentors, Arlene and Bob Morris, longtime endurance riders now retired in the Northwest. Schork got his first endurance horse, Dahn Hallany from them.

“I was always looking up to Kevin Myers. He’s not with us anymore, but his dedication, his knowledge, and his problem-solving skills were always very inspiring, and we were also good friends.

“Another person I always look up to and admire is Garrett Ford, for his endless strive, for his ability to think outside the box, and to come up with solutions to problems. His mind is never resting. I think I’m able to say that I’m always busy, but not compared to Garrett, who’s in hyperactive mode in his mind all the time and physically. I certainly look up to him, and he’s also a friend. I can always learn something from him.

“I’m also always looking to Suzie Hayes for her tenaciousness, for being how relaxed she is, how successful, for how she never gives up no matter what comes her way. She’s always overcoming obstacles. She definitely falls in that category as somebody I look up to and respect highly.”

While Schork won’t single out a favorite horse (he says, “I have a lot of favorite horses. And what makes them my favorite horses is they work with me, if I want to get off and run, if they tail, if they are eager to compete, if they are high spirited, if they love the sport. That's what makes them my favorite”), he does have some favorite accomplishments over the years.

"The National 100 mile award on Pistol Annie in 2016 is one of my favorites, then the National Best Condition Award on Ozzy last year, then the two times War Mare Award on Stars Aflame and Pistol Annie in 2013 and 2017, and also the National Championship in 50 and 100 on Stars Aflame.

“Certainly the Top Ten finishes at Tevis fall in that category. (His highest finish was a 3rd on Taj Rai Hasan in 2005). The Big Horn 100 win (on DWA Express in 2008). The Virginia City 100 Best Condition (BC and 2nd place on GE VA Blizzard of Oz in 2018). The Australian Quilty win (in 2007 aboard Arovo Mini Harvest, owned by Anton Reid, who tied with Schork aboard Endurowest Kumari). The Gobi Desert Cup win in Mongolia (2018).

“And that win is maybe one that really sticks out, because you ride different horses, most of them are half wild, and they’re not really conditioned for 50 miles. They are conditioned for 30 or 35 miles, so you have to read the horse, know how you can ride the horse to their full potential, but not over their potential, but not too much under their potential, because otherwise you’re not going to win. So it’s a very fine line. Riding these horses to that exact point is just a special challenge, compared to one where you know exactly how it’s going to perform because you know their strength and weakness. There you have to really feel the horses and get in synch with them rather quickly.”

As for Schork’s goals, the 67-year-old is not ready to slow down yet. “Certainly I want to reach the 40,000 miles, which hopefully will happen in the next couple of years if the Coronavirus doesn’t cancel too many rides.” Schork is 7th on the all-time AERC mileage list, and during many normal ride seasons, he’s ridden well over 1800 miles.

“I would like another try at the French Florac (France’s most famous 100-mile ride). I also want to reach my 10 Tevis finishes. I have 6, and I’d definitely like to get the 1000 mile buckle.

“And, who knows what the future brings, but maybe I’ll make it to 500 wins before the inevitable retirement, sooner or later, when the body isn’t as strong anymore as the mind,” Schork laughs.

With Schork’s sustained passion for the sport of endurance and his quest to continue learning, it’s entirely conceivable he’ll achieve all of these goals.

Garrett Ford sums up his friend:

“There is not another person in the sport that is close [to his wins and BC records]. I would bet these marks will never be surpassed.

“Christoph has achieved these accomplishments with respect for his horses and fellow competitors. He’s a class act that is most often helping others with Hoofcare or saddle fit during events.

“I’m proud to call Christoph Schork a close friend.

“I’ll shed some tears when he enters the AERC Hall Of Fame.”

*top photo, Day 4 of Autumn Sun, Christoph Schork hitting win #400 aboard GE VA Blizzard of Oz
**bottom photo, Day 1 of Autumn Sun, Christoph Schork and GE Pistol Annie tie for the win with Ellen Hensley and Amira Bint Jahbon, and Suzie Hayes and Sanstormm. Pistol Annie also provided Schork with his 300th win in 2016

Friday, October 23, 2020

Angela Kay Davidson Passes Away

Angela Kay Davidson – age 61 of Laurel

October 22, 2020 Cook-Rosenberger Funeral Home

Angela Kay Davidson, of Laurel, was born on January 7, 1959 in West Harrison, a daughter to Robert and Laura Wolfe Farmer. She married Terry Davidson on January 11, 2000 in Brookville. Angela worked at Sperry Rubber for 25 years but her love was horses. She enjoyed endurance riding and was a member of the Daniel Boone Distance Riders and the Arabian Horse Association. On Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at the age of 61, she passed away at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois.

Those surviving who will cherish Angela’s memory include her loving husband, Terry Davidson; son, Wade Markland; daughters, Lorayne (Jason) Heaston and Karissa Markland; 16 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; 3 brothers, Robert Farmer, Mitchel Farmer and Curtis Farmer; a special aunt, Norma Geis and several nieces and nephews. Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by a grandson, Dylin.

Friends may visit with the family on Monday, October 26, 2020 from 5 until time of service at 7 p.m. at Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home, 929 Main Street, Brookville.

Due to the COVID-19 precautions and state mandates, all attending will be asked to follow proper social distancing protocol, including wearing a mask that covers the face and mouth while inside the funeral home. If you are not feeling well, or if you have compromised immune system, you are encouraged to stay home.

Memorial donations can be directed to the American Cancer Society. To sign the online guestbook or to leave a personal condolence, please visit The staff of Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home is honored to care for the family of Angela Davidson.

Friday, October 16, 2020

2020 October's Horses in the Morning Podcast - Listen

Gobi Gallop Solo Endurance Challenge, Young Barrel Racer Shooting for National Finals for Oct. 7, 2020 by State Line Tack

Oct 7, 2020

Julie Veloo from the Veloo Foundation joins us to talk about her solo ride across Mongolia; setting off to ride the longest annual charity endurance adventure, the 700 km Gobi Gallop…by herself. Along the way she will be sharing the adventure in real time via various social media platforms.

In our monthly Black Reins magazine segment we are joined by Tori Bush, a young barrel racer who has her sights set on qualifying for the National Finals High School Rodeo.

Debbie Loucks tells us about the new Monty Roberts’ Mustang & Transition Horse Program at Flag Is Up Farm streaming on Horse & Country TV.

Listen in...

Mary Margaret Byergo 1930-2020

October 13, 2020

Mary Margaret Byergo


Mary Margaret Byergo passed peacefully at her home in Warrenton Virginia on October 9, 2020. She was born in Maryville, Missouri on October 26, 1930, the daughter of the late Austin Gregory Felton and Eva Margaret Felton. She is survived by her husband of 70 years, Keith Morris Byergo. They were high school sweethearts, married December 23, 1950. Mary Margaret is also survived by her three daughters Elaine Margaret Byergo and her husband, John Burghardt; Madalyn Barbara White and her husband, David White; and Laura Gay Byergo and her husband, Mark Willis; and four grandchildren Megan White, Chris White, Nora Burghardt and Keith Burghardt.

Mary Margaret loved nothing more than a challenge. After earning her B.S. degree in Home Economics from the University of Missouri she joined her new husband Keith in California where he was serving in the United State Air Force for three years. Returning to Missouri, she taught High school Home Economics for several years before the two of them decided to go see the world with their three daughters. Keith joined the Agency for International Development and in February 1960 they took their first international flight to Iran.

Mary Margaret was an adventurous traveler, always curious about exploring another country. Keith and Mary Margaret lived in Asia and the Middle East for 15 years. Mary Margaret made a true home for her family in each posting. She looked forward to every new country telling her daughters, “Every posting is what you make of it.” She said that about life too. For herself she relished the chance to ride horses with Iranian tribal chiefs, teach nutrition to Iranian nurses and English to Pakistani and Turkish ladies. She developed a curiosity about Hittite ruins in Turkey and eventually began teaching the archivist of the national museum how to use cloth rubbings to bring out the secrets of carved stones thousands of years old. She used to tell us, “Be a ‘Momengator;’ a catalyst, a force of action.”

A savvy businesswoman, Mary Margaret managed family farms in Missouri, Iowa, and Wyoming, from around the world. When she came home to Missouri she brought the spice and color of the world back home with her. The farmers and businesspeople who worked with her told us many times with respect, “Your Mother was smart, she never missed a trick.”

Mary Margaret was a natural competitor. She found her passion raising, training and competing Arabian horses. Her grandfather gifted her a former circus pony when she was three years old and she grew-up riding horses while helping her father with the cattle. Settling in Virginia after their years overseas, Mary Margaret returned to riding. One of her proudest achievements was successfully raising a set of Arabian twin foals, a rare feat. She served as the Field Master of the Pohick Hunt in Virginia for several years. In her Fifties she began competing in 100 mile endurance trail riding, completing dozens of 100 mile races. In 1990 she competed in the World Equestrian Games as a member of the United States Endurance Team in Stockholm, Sweden.

She was a lifelong member of PEO, a Sorority Sister of Alpha Gama Delta, and a member of the Warrenton antiquarians.

She is deeply missed and remembered by friends and family for her strong spirit, keen wit, and the firm support she gave each of us to be true to ourselves.

A private family graveside service will be held October 14, 2020 at the Little Georgetown Cemetery. The service will be conducted by Rector Weston Mathews of Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, Virginia.

A public celebration of her life will be scheduled in the spring.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, friends wishing to may provide a donation to:

The Grace Episcopal Church: 6507 Main Street, P.O. Box 32, The Plains, Virginia 20198

The Alzheimer’s Association: 225 N. Michigan Ave. Floor 17 Chicago, IL 60601,

PEO International: 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa, 50312,

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Five Wins at Autumn Sun Endurance Ride Propels Christoph Schork to 400-Win AERC Record

October 13 2020
by Merri

Moab, Utah's Christoph Schork crossed the 400-win mark in AERC rides at the 5-day Autumn Sun endurance ride in Gooding, Idaho this past week/weekend.

July 3 2016 marked his 300th win; win 400 came during a discombobulated year of COVID-19 which caused months worth of ride cancellations. Jessica Huber's Autumn Sun ride, normally a 3-day Pioneer, became a 5-day ride this year, attracting riders from as far away as California, and providing Christoph the path to his 400th win.

More to come on this remarkable accomplishment at

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Talkin' Trot Podcast: Episode 13

Talkin' Trot: Endurance Riding News and Views - Listen

October 6 2020
by Angie

Finally! Episode 13 is here, we are so glad to be back!

Angie and Bridget catch up on what's happened since the last episode, including a first 100 mile attempt. Bridget shares the details on that ride plus her ride at the beautiful Antelope Island. Angie fills us in on what's she's been up to while she takes this season off from competition.

Listen now at:
Or by using Amazon Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

Happy Trails Podcast: No Hoof, No Horse Podcast - Listen

September 28, 2020
by Jess

Good hoof health is essential for all horses not just those in high performance events. Today’s episode will take some of the mystery out of hooves and hopefully inspire you to learn more and perhaps take up the rasp yourself.

My guest, Paige Poss is the owner and creator of Iron Free Hoof and co-creator of Anatomy of the Equine. She has taught trimming techniques and anatomy around the country and internationally through live dissections and her incredibly detailed photography. She teaches horse owners and hoof professionals about the internal structures of the lower leg through her online module at

In the following interview we discuss hoof care, horse health, and anatomy of the hoof as it relates to function and soundness. Paige gives some tips for identifying a laminitic horse as well as good or bad hoof shape. She tells me about her childhood, fearlessly riding the fields and trails of Arkansas and North Carolina. Then talks about, her current struggle to overcome riding anxiety after losing her trusted horse, Sophie.

Listen, and more at:

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Endurance riding runs in the family - Full Article

By Joe Sylvester October 4 2020

MUNCY — Sally Jellison doesn’t know why she enters endurance horseback rides, especially the 1,000-kilometer Mongol Derby across part of the Mongolian steppes.

She competed in that 10-day race in August 2019. In the race, riders change horses every 40 kilometers.

“I do endurance riding a lot,” said the 57-year-old Navy veteran, who runs a horse farm with her husband, John Dugan, 53, in Delaware Township, Northumberland County. “I think I have a mutated adventure gene.”

Dugan’s and Jellison’s daughter, Charly, 15, a Warrior Run High School sophomore, seems to be following in her mother’s footsteps. Jellison said Charly, in just her second season of competing, is ranked as one of the top juniors in the Northeast by the American Endurance Ride Council, one of the equestrian organizations to which both belong...

Read more here: