Thursday, March 30, 2023

Standardbred Good Bet is a “good bet” in Endurance - Full Story

Good Bet and Lindsay Toms won the 2022 American Endurance Ride Conference High Mileage Standardbred award.

March 28, 2023
by Jessica Schroeder, USTA Membership Enrichment and Outreach Coordinator

Columbus, OH — The 2022 American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) High Mileage Standardbred, presented by the United States Trotting Association, is Good Bet. The now 14-year-old Bettor’s Delight gelding earned nearly $300,000 on the track but has found his second stride in the endurance world with new owner Lindsay Toms.

“I work for a company (Maryland Equine Dental, Inc.) that does horse teeth, and one of our clients is Winbak Farm,” said Toms. “Jimmy (Ladwig) said he had a friend that was looking for a home for his horse. Sight unseen, I drove to Delaware to pick him up. I’m honored that Jimmy recommended me and that Ben Stafford chose me. He is such a wonderful person, and he was selective with who ended up with his horse.”

That was in 2019, shortly after Good Bet’s last race in February at Dover Downs. Now known as GB, his first ride was in April 2021 at Foxcatcher, in Elkton, Md., where Toms and GB had a rocky start and finished 21st out of 48 finishers.

“I love working with the Standardbreds and I wanted my own,” Toms said. “You can’t beat their temperament. I broke him to ride when I got him. The first time I competed him was 2021; it was a disaster of a year, we were horrible. We really just about gave it up, which is funny because of what this (2022) year turned into..."

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

2023 Distance Nationals Schedule in Minnesota Posted Online

The schedule for the Distance Nationals, to be held in Menahga, Minnesota, on September 29-October 1, has been posted.

The Distance Horse National Championships is the overhead titled event, hosted by AHA, which includes partnered Breed National Championships along with Huntersville Hundred Open Rides. Our partnered breeds are Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), Paso Fino Horse Association (PFHA), Performance Shagya-Arabian Registry (PShR), American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA), Akhal-Teke Association of America (ATAA) and the American Saddlebred Horse & Breeders Association (ASHBA.)

Along with the Breed National Championships we also offer Open Huntersville Hundred Competitive Trail Rides (12.5, 30 & 40 Miles) recognized by AHA, Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Rides Association (UMECRA) & Minnesota Distance Riding Association (MnDRA). We will also be holding four Open Huntersville Hundred Limited Distance Rides, three Open 50 Mile Endurance Rides and one Open 100 Mile Endurance Ride which is sanctioned by American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC), AHA, UMECRA and MnDRA.

Also offered is a Limited Distance Challenge which is the same horse/rider combination entered in all three Open Huntersville Hundred Limited Distance Rides; rules and information can be found under the Rider Information tab. All Huntersville Hundred Rides are open to all equines and have no qualifications or membership requirements!

Sign up for email updates, and see the schedule here:

Monday, March 27, 2023

Endurance Rider-Turned-Artist Steph Teeter Featured in Gallery Show

by Merri
March 27 2023

Steph Teeter, founder of and former Endurance rider-turned-artist, will be April’s Featured Artist in the Art Source Gallery in Boise, Idaho.

Created in 1993, this artist-owned fine art gallery exhibits the works of more than 40 Idaho artists with paintings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, photography and glass art.

Steph has been obsessed with horses her entire life. She’s ridden with sheiks and kings, the US Equestrian Team, on six continents - even Easter Island. Throughout her adventures, art-making has been a window into her soul and the world of the horse. Painting, sculpture, and drawing have satisfied her urge to create and share her adventures.

“At some point,” Steph said, “riding hundreds of miles on a splendid fast horse just didn’t feel as good as it used to! It became more of an obsession than a joy. The body wasn’t quite as tolerating. Time to move on.

“I miss the trail, the motion, the feel of the horse as it navigates the terrain… but have found that the time I spend creating art, particularly outdoor scenes and horses, has been a close second in terms of satisfying occupations.

“Memories become objects. I’m putting together a small show at the gallery I belong to, choosing horses and natural, outdoor scenes as the dominant theme. It’s been a fun experience so far, sort of wrapping things up. I’m still as driven as ever, but this new career is easier on me, and those around me!”

Meet Steph, see her work, and hear about her life on horseback First Thursday, April 6, 2023, at Art Source Gallery. Her show runs the full month of April.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

2023 March's Horses in the Morning Endurance Podcast Podcast - Listen

Endurance: Pardners Award, WEG Review and Food Storage for March 14, 2023

Mar 14, 2023

Cindy Bradley and her horse Bo won the 2022 AERC HOF Pard’ners Award and she joins us to tell us about her endurance career. We get an update on last months Endurance World Equestrian Games in Abu Dabai from USA riders Karen Binns-Dicamillo and Jessica DiCamillo. Plus, Karen has some tips on food storage and other camping ideas to help reduce reuse or repurpose items that would otherwise end up in the garbage. Listen in...

Read more here:

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Cliff Lewis 1936-2023

It is with great sadness to inform you that NASTR Co-Founder Cliff Lewis, passed away on February 16, 2023.

Cliff was born in Hayward, CA on August 29, 1936. He was 86 years old and lived an adventurous and influential life. He died at home while being cared for by his wife Kathy and son Tom, after a long illness. May he rest in peace. There will be a Celebration of Life for Cliff later this spring, to be announced.

Condolences to Cliff’s family can be sent to Kathy or Tom Lewis at 4185 Mulberry St. Silver Springs, Nevada 89429.

Some of Cliff’s history....

Cliff was introduced to endurance riding in 1964 by Ernie & Agnes Hutton in Reno, Nevada. Neil Hutton their son won the Tevis Cup in 1964 on their Arabian mare Salalah. It wasn’t called endurance riding at the time, but was simply called 100 mile riding. Pat Fitzgerald, who lived next door invited Cliff to ride with them and soon he became hooked on riding 100 miles in one day.

One day in early spring of 1968Cliff was riding withDean Hubbard on the top of Clark Mountain overlooking the wide open back country and they talked about holding a ride in the vast country, where there were no fences or gates.

In Cliff’s words......

“Dean and I realized it would take more than the two of us to put on an endurance ride. We decided we would start looking for support. We never expected much response but went anyway to the 102 Ranch to approach Nick Mansfield about our idea. We were surprised by his enthusiasm and were told that if we were willing to make it a 100 Mile One Day ride, that would start and finish at his ranch, he would get us all the support we needed and generally insure the success of the ride. We set a date for the first meeting to be held at the 102 Ranch Cafe. About ten people showed up. When at least half of these people declared they would ride their horses 100 miles in one day, we decided then and there to have the ride, even if we were the only ones to enter, knowing that the Tevis Cup started with 5 riders the first year. We had an election of officers: Nick Mansfield was elected President, myself as Vice President,and Andy Steen as Secretary/Treasurer. We laid out some of the general details, and hashed over many names and accepted Nick Mansfield's suggestion to call it the Nevada All-State Trail Ride, implying that although it was a Nevada based ride, it would be open to riders from all states.”

On October 5, 1968, the first Nevada All-State Trail Ride 100 Mile in One Day ride was held.Cliff riding the7 year old half Arabian Blackjack were the overall winners in a riding time of 16:41. The duo won the ride again the following year in 1969. OnDecember17, 1968Articles of Incorporation were adopted to form the Nevada All-State Trail Riders Organization witnessed by Cliff Lewis, Pat Fitzgerald and Cliff Ford. The 100 mile ride was moved to Virginia City in 1969 and has been held there annually ever since, except for the two years2020 & 2022 when the ride was cancelled from wildfire smoke.

Cliff served as NASTR President, Vice-President and on the NASTR Board of Directors for numerous years. He also was the Ride Chairman of the Nevada All-State 100, also known as the Nevada 100 and later the Virginia City 100, as well as the Derby Ditch 50 several times. Cliff proposed having the progressive silver buckle for the Nevada All-State 100, denoting the number of times a rider has completed the ride.He was a member of the travelling Nevada All State Trail Rider Endurance Team formed in 1969. Cliff’s son Tommy Lewis, completed the VC100 at five years of age in 1977 with his horse Milika. Grandson Cliffy (Clifford) Lewis following in his Dad Tom Lewis’ footsteps, completed the ride also at five years old in 2002,riding his father’s horse,29 year old Spiderman. This marked three generations of the Lewis family to complete the ride.

It was Cliff’s idea to sponsor a 50 mile spring ride to help pay for the Virginia City 100 mile buckles. The first “Son of a Derby Ditch 50” was held in Fernley, Nevada on April 3, 1971.Cliff served as the Ride Chairman. He proposed using the stop and go spot pulse checks on the ride for the first time. This would allow the more fit horses to continue while the lesser fit horses would require a mandatory five minute rest stop, continuing until the horses pulse recovered.The Derby Ditch 50, now known as the Nevada Derby 25/50 has changed locations and has continued to run annually since 1971.

Cliff was the Publisher and Editor of the Endurance Digest and the Trails Digest National “Saddle Up and Ride” Magazines from 1972 –1991. He was a long standing ride manager for over 40years and hosted many endurance rides of all distances from 25, 35, 50, 75, 2day 100, 1 day 100 mile and 3 day 150 mile pioneer rides. He introduced hundreds of people to the sport of endurance riding and driving over the years.Cliff served on the AERC Board of Directors as West Region Director from1988-1991.He accumulated 12067 AERC Miles.He also founded the National Endurance Driving Association (NEDA) in 1990.

*Thanks to Connie Creech for sharing this.

Thursday, March 09, 2023

PNER Spotlight: Darla Westlake and RT Muffin - Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides

Spotlight on Darla Westlake • (PNER member #954)

Family, Fun & Fame!

Darla’s long successful endurance career has been an exhilarating journey based on the foundation of family participation, some truly GREAT horses and the ultimate achievement of Fame with one exceptional equine athlete.

Darla answered some questions for us about her life with horses, family and endurance. She shared several photos for this interview which truly bring her story to life. Her husband Terry Westlake, and their three children; Nathan, Alex Ann and Sierra have all been endurance riders. Endurance riding for the Westlakes was always a family affair. The family has owned several wonderful horses, but the true star of Darla’s life was her gelding RT Muffin (Muffy) who carried her to remarkable career highlights and went on to also be a trusty mount for all their kids.

Darla: “I was born in Eugene Oregon. Third generation Oregonian. (My mother's family has held a family reunion, in the same park for over 100 years.)”

“ I loved horses as long as I can remember. My older sister was the first to own a horse. She traded her western saddle for a pony for my twin sister and me when we were seven years old. We named the pony Amos. When we were 11 years old our older sister gave us her quarter horse Arab cross and her best friend gave us her palomino national show horse.”

“ I rode in 4-H and got lessons from the trainer down the road. Raised and trained my own horse in 4-h. Next I rode in equestrian team, jumping and drill team at Oregon State University.”

“Terry and I met because his brother's wife was my older sister's best friend. Terry's brother Dave, and sister-in-law Arthel started riding endurance in the 70's."

"I went to help out at some endurance rides with Terry, Dave and Arthel. That was in the mid to late 1970's. They lived in LaPine Oregon and put on some endurance rides into the 1980's including the Chief Paulina endurance ride, which is now the Lava Cast ride. I actually found Arthel's best endurance horse, because my friend was selling her Arab gelding Jasam. She rode him 4,000 + miles, and won one of the few 150 mile rides ever offered. Karen Bumgardner was also a finisher!”

“When Terry and I started endurancee riding we had the Hollander family (Lew, Hannah, Ellen and Lewis) as a roll model. The Hollander's rode and kept multiple horses conditioned, while making it look simple. It was just our life to do the same! Terry and I worked full-time and conditioned three or four horses”. “My first endurance ride was in 1981. Then I bought Muffy (RT Muffin) as a 3 1/2 year old, to be my Arabian English pleasure show horse! They told me that he had a month under saddle and that he had been ridden in a Western saddle; and to be sure you lunge him first! I only owned an English saddle. I lunged him the first day and then said ‘he doesn't need this’, and off we went!! He was so brave and forward I loved every minute! “

“As a 4-year-old, we thought why not take Muffy on some 25 miles, he did five, that year. He knew it was a race and wanted to finish first, our commitment, to him, was to not let him win a 25 miler. I remember I was riding at Prineville, I had my English saddle and a snaffle bit. At the last vet check I was supposed to check my girth and tighten it, I forgot. He saw the horses in front of him and wanted to catch them, he went cantering fast down a steep hill; the saddle was loose and it went up on his withers, I had my heels behind his elbows, we got to the bottom of the hill and I went no, no, you are going to trot into the finish, I got off tightened the girth, he got fifth place (that was the last time I rode him in a snaffle bit!)"

“I also rode Muffy, english and jumping and lessons in the winter and the off season . I wanted to be the best rider I could be, for him. He was meant to be an endurance horse, it's what he loved to do, there was no question. Our goal for Muffy was to keep him in the best shape possible, so that he could do what he did best! WIN. His attitude was, where do we go, when do we start, and how fast.”

“I rode rides a couple months after each of the kids were born. Nursed each for six months, one year and two years. Terry pit crewed, friend's sometimes helped. Sierra was pit crewing with Terry from the time she was a toddler. Heidi Smith DVM, told me after I finished a ride one time, that Sierra was saying “Muffy Muffy”, not “mommy mommy” when I took off out of a vet check. I love, that she has my love of horses.”

“Here are some highlights of Muffy’s career: Muffy was PNER Champion in 1983 as a five year old.Then he was PNER Champion 1985 & 1988. Third place at the Race of Champions in Colorado. (I nursed three month old, Alex Ann, at the vet checks.)”

“1990 PNER veteran horse. In 1991 he completed Tevis top ten, 1991 won North American championship. AERC BC award in 1988. RT Muffin was inducted into the AERC Endurance Horse Hall of Fame in 1991. Muffy was endurance ridden until 2000, his last ride by Nathan Westlake”

“Muffy then retired at home, continued uspc pony club, did show jump rally with Sierra, when she was 6 years old! Many kids rode rallies, and passed ratings on Muffy."

A kid was riding him in a lesson, the lesson was over she was cantering around, stopped came over to me and said how much can I canter him? I said as much as you want. He didn't sweat, he was still in great shape, he just did whatever they wanted.”

“After Muffy, I rode our wonderful gelding MC Rams Z starting in 1995. He was Terry’s horse first. Rams Z was the AERC BC horse in 1996. In 1997 we were 2nd individual and and silver team medal in the Pan American championship in Manitoba Canada. In 1998 we finished 19th at the World Championship in Dubai, 3rd team finisher for the silver medal. In 2000 we were selected for the world championship in France. Unfortunately Ram Z slipped on a root, during a training ride before the race, fell flat on his side, his hoof kicked my helmet when he stood up, I snapped my collarbone and had a concussion, was not able to ride the ride. Rams Z’s record is 6285 AERC miles (105 starts with 103 completions) ”

“A favorite ride memory: Sunriver ride, the 50, I was on RamsZ, Nathan 12 years old on Muffy, Alex Ann 8 years old on Karmie. We were at the last water trough, not far from the finish, Alex Ann was getting tired and a little whiny, I was getting all the horses water on the necks, making sure they drank, and I saw another horse coming and said in a loud voice somebody's catching us, we're out of here. Muffy heard my voice and took off with Nathan, Alex Ann and I went after them! Alex Ann said do we have to go this fast? I said we aren't going fast we're just keeping up with Muffy. We were going very fast!! We had to finish within a minute of Nathan because he was a junior, I could see him through the trees, mostly... we finished the race it was an exciting one! The Sunriver times interviewed Nathan, the winner on the 50 mile ride.” “I’ve been a PNER member snce 1981. I love PNER. For me it stands for family. My kids grew up with endurance riding and their PNER family. Ride managers always think of the junior riders. The adults encourage them, riders volunteer to sponsor them. Nathan would tell his sponsors all about Spiderman, Alex Ann would watch out for herself and her sponsor, Sierra would sponsor their Mom, Pat Super, was Sierra's favorite. I could go on forever”

“Presently, I'm very involved with horses. We (Sierra, myself and four grandkids) have six horses, two retired endurance horses. They are MJ Figaro 23 years, my retired endurance horse, BRR Carmen Storm 22 years who is Sierra's retired endurance horse, CS Timbrel 26 who was Alex Ann and Sierra's endurance, high school equestrian, eventing, dressage and cow horse.

The current endurance wanna be's are Ali, my Arab rescue gelding, who has done a few LD's and a few 50's and Tuffy, Sierra's young mare, related to Muffy, a great prospect. Last but not least is Broccoli, our 14 year old pony that jumps, drives, trail obstacle, the bravest equine on the property." “What advice would I offer to someone who is new to the endurance world?

Find the horse that wants to be an endurance horse, train them honestly, consistently, religiously, listen, watch, ask questions, trust yourself when evaluating your horse, you know your horse better than any veterinarian, trainer...”

Darla Westlake • AERC #964 • 13,435 AERC miles

RT Muffin more than 9865 AERC miles (144 starts - 142 completions) * 108 first place finishes, 75 BC’s

* Note: the AERC online data base before 1985 is incomplete, (we kept handwritten records of all Muffy’s endurance rides before computers)

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Dr. Gail Conway 1953-2023


Gail Conway was born in Gorman, Texas, June 9, 1953. His parents were Jerry Conway and Ruby Lavada Conway (Flanagan). He lived in Comanche County his whole life. He graduated from Comanche High School in 1971. He attended Tarleton State University from 1971 to 1973. He was accepted into Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine where he graduated in August 1976. Soon after, he opened Conway Veterinary Clinic where he practiced small and large animal medicine until his death. On February 2, 1979, he married Sylvia Kay Conway (Speer). They shared 44 years together.

He is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, and many aunts and uncles, and several cousins. Gail is survived by his wife Kay; daughter Jenny Conway; Son Jon Conway; granddaughter Madison Conway-Gillette; and brother Cliff Conway; all of Comanche, many nieces and nephews.

Gail loved working with all animals and was especially gifted and capable of great care. He had several endurance horses over the years and loved riding them on trail rider and endurance riders. As a veterinarian, he helped check in the entrants' horses at the beginning of each ride. He then was at one of the check points of the riders. Later, he usually rode one of his horses 25 miles. These riders were mostly held all over Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. He loved working with his clients and their animals. He had a gift that allowed great compassion to the animals and their owners. He will be greatly missed by his family and all the people that knew him.

Visitation will be held on Monday, February 27, 2023, at the Comanche Funeral Home from 6:00p.m – 8:00p.m. His service will be held Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at the East Side Baptist Church with a graveside following at the Mayer Cemetery in Comanche, Tx. (Cemetery location is behind Board Church) In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to be made in Gail's honor to your favorite charity or local veterinarian.

Published by Comanche Funeral Home - Comanche on Feb. 26, 2023.