Saturday, April 29, 2023

Mongol Derby girl to tell all with ‘wild’ event at the Sebastiani Theatre

This rider rode 10 days across 600 miles of Mongolian wilderness on wild horses.

Lena Haug, a Sebastopol native, completed the Mongol Derby in July 2022. The race severely tests the equestrian and survival skills of all who attempt it. The world’s most challenging horse race, it lasts 10 days across more than 600 miles of Mongolian wilderness.

April 28, 2023, 4:00PM

After competing in the world’s longest and toughest horse race, rider Lena Haug will tell-all about her experience over the grueling 10-day wilderness trek on Thursday, May 4.

Sebastiani Theatre will present “The Mongol Derby: A Wild Evening With Lena Haug.” The Mongol Derby severely tests the equestrian and survival skills of all who attempt it. In July, 2022, Sebastopol native Haug competed in the Mongol Derby, the world’s most challenging horse race, lasting 10 days across more than 600 miles of Mongolian wilderness.

The theater welcomes the community to join in this thrilling evening as Haug shares her dramatic story of racing across Mongolia on wild horses...

For more information and tickets see:

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Amendments Approved for U.S. Endurance FEI Calendar Policies and Procedures

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Apr 21, 2023, 10:00 AM EST

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has approved several amendments to the U.S. Endurance FEI Calendar Policies and Procedures. These changes were made to align the Policies and Procedures with the internal approval process for late applications and calendar modifications which were made to help streamline the process. In addition, the deadlines for late applications and calendar modifications were amended to be more favorable for competition organizers.

Endurance competition organizers are encouraged to review the updated policies and procedures document here. The policies and procedures document outlines the process for application, review, and approval of the U.S. FEI Endurance competitions as a resource for competition organizers.

Please note that applications for the 2024 competition year are due by June 1, 2023. FEI applications must be submitted online through your USEF Competition Dashboard at Paper applications will no longer be accepted. Any questions can be sent to Requests for national and lite licenses should be sent to Questions can be addressed to Steven Morrissey, Managing Director of Sport Logistics & Non-Olympic Disciplines, at

Friday, April 21, 2023

Richard Dawson 1930-1923

With great sadness we announce the death of Dick Dawson, husband, father, horseman, musician, piano technician, music teacher, Alfa Romeo nut and all around fantastic person. Think of music events throughout the Owens Valley area and Dick was there, either organizing events, tuning pianos, or fundraising. Think horse endurance riding, and Dick is sure to come to mind. Think Deep Springs College music? Yep, Dick Dawson. How many of you were taught piano by him? Or had your piano tuned by him? Yes, he will be missed on so many levels. A life celebration to be scheduled.

Published by Legacy Remembers from Apr. 20 to Apr. 25, 2023.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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

Endurance: Containing Your Horse at Competitions, Trail Maintenance Volunteers, 1st Time Ride Manager for Apr 11, 2023

Karen Chaton offers advice on how do you safely contain your horse at a competition. Tami Rogeau, AERC West Region Trails Rep, discusses some of the issues facing our trails in the US, and how volunteers from AERC ranks are filling the gap. Laura Mayes shares her experiences as a first time rider manager for this year’s Nevada Derby Ride.


Monday, April 17, 2023

Midcoast Maine dairy farmer takes on 1,000-kilometer horse race - Full Story

By Freyja Grey
Apr 14, 2023

In August, Jessie Dowling will be competing in the longest and most grueling horse race in the world. But in many ways, she has been preparing for the event her whole life.

The 1,000-kilometer Mongol Derby, a race which roughly follows the network of equestrian highways utilized by Genghis Khan, spans harsh stretches of land shifting from deserts to prairies to bogs. The extreme racing conditions force riders and horses across rivers and over mountains and brings the potential of both heatstroke and hypothermia within the same day.

Unlike other derby races, the official Mongol Derby website promises that “horse welfare comes first on every agenda” which is proven in the training and general rules of the race. If a rider were to pass another mount who was incapacitated in some way, and fail to render aid, the negligent rider would then become disqualified from the race. The derby’s unique guidelines set the tone for a different type of race, rooting itself in Mongol family traditions. And the mental and physical stamina requirements demand a rigorous training regimen.

Once Dowling was selected to participate in the Mongol Derby via an interview, she threw herself into training through the Equestrianists Mongol Derby Academy...

Read more here:

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Chey’s Cocamoe Joe and Dave Rabe: A Perfect Ten

by Nina Bomar
April 6 2023

They did it… let’s all raise our glasses in celebration of our beautiful friend and hugely accomplished endurance rider Dave Rabe along with his handsome horse Cocamoe Joe. They never give up, which is why they have achieved the honorable perfect! We all know that it’s a challenge to get through one endurance ride but how about riding the same horse for 10+ years of 50 miles or more, competing at a high level that would include at least 10 wins and earning the most coveted 10 Best Condition Awards.

They achieved this long term goal on their own turf, while at the Nevada Derby Ride this past weekend… Dave had sent me a text saying “Cocamoe Joe and I finished at about 4:30PM.” He proudly stated, “Cocamoe did awesome and me… not so well. I’ve been sicker than a dog all week, my chest and my cough… it all felt horrible”. It was no surprise that he still went and pushed through the pain and the weakness, so that they could achieve their long term goal!

Dave was coughing horribly a few weeks back, while at the Cuyama @Laurel Mountain Ride and I suggested that he see a doctor. When I inquired about that, he did share… “I finally got some antibiotics from the VA and I tried them for five days and I never got any better, so I came out to the ride a day early and stayed in my trailer all day”.

Dave has a whole herd of amazing friends who genuinely love him and take very good care of him. He once told me that on occasion his dearest friend Tami Rougeau will buy him a new helmet, because surely she wants to insure his safety. He noted that at this ride “Tami was here and she and another nurse made me go to the Urgent Care”. They arranged for another gal to drive him down and see a doctor. Dave said… “I found out that I was on the wrong antibiotics, so they put me on some different ones and I am on Prednisone, which is a steroid pill”.

None of this stopped him from riding a tough 50 miles so he and Cocamoe could get’er done… Dave then explained, “I woke up on the following morning “ride day” feeling a little better so I rode. He then admitted, “It wasn’t a great day. I was dragging all day, but I made it and Cocamoe was really a good boy. I rode by myself almost the whole way, up until the end and Jim Brown rode in with me to the finish”.

Dave was understandably pretty tired but his champion friend was there for him and his horse. With a heartfelt gratitude he said, “Tami put my boots on my horse and saddled him up so I could ride and when I finished, she came and unsaddled him, took his boots off and wrapped his legs, while I rested”. It was obvious he felt incredibly thankful for her support and then he said… “I’m just ready to go home now, but I stayed at the ride again last night as I was completely beat after finishing the ride”.

The good news is that Dave says, “I’m finally starting to feel a little better and my shortness of breath has improved, but my terrible cough is still here.” Even through his weakness though, he still has a great sense of humor. When he asked me about my ride, I told him we’d finished 11th and he replied , “Well if you finished 11th, I beat you. I finished 9th, but we only had 22 riders on the 50.“ I sent him the pic of the Mojave Green we encountered and surprisingly he said… “I have never seen a live Mojave snake before, just our desert rattlesnakes. He looks pretty tame!”

Like always, I suggested that Dave get some rest now and let his lungs and body heal. He assured me, “I’m just taking it easy today. I’m on my last pill, so I’m going to call the VA and make an appointment and see if they will re-x-ray my chest and find out if I’ve gotten any better or what the deal is”. Then when I checked in on him throughout the day, I didn’t get a reply… hmmm? By sundown I got this message… “I’ve been outside working on my septic system. It’s all full of shit and not working. I haven’t gotten too far yet, but I smell like shit.”

All in all, Dave shared this… “It actually felt really good to get this completion. I didn’t know if I was going to make it physically, but I did have one beer, and then I was done for the day. I felt thankful that Tami who took care of my horse and it really helped me. I was very confident that Cocamoe could do it, but not so much for me. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick on a ride… actually never! I’ve been hung over quite a few times, but not like this”.

Dave being the strong man whom he is, he didn’t let his illness take away the joy… “I thought about everything, all the years, the wins and my horse’s Best Condition awards. I know Cocamoe Joe has all the talent to do all that but equally important was to always stay focused on keeping him sound. That’s always been important to me in order to get him through the miles. I thought that would be the hardest thing, but he came through amazingly.”

If you’ve ever wondered what the ingredients are to a super horse like Cocamoe… Dave says…”he has super recoveries. He can check in at a ride at 28 bpm and sometimes during a ride, he’s down to 32 bpm. He’s got awesome recoveries. He also has a great extended trot, if I let him use it, but sometimes he uses it on his own. He also has a great walk and if I would like him to, he could canter all day. He loves the canter but I don’t let him that often. He is a very straightforward horse and he just loves to go and go and go…”

I had asked Dave if he ever received the Perfect 10 Award prior to this recent achievement with Cocamoe Joe…? After all, with nearly 78,000 AERC endurance miles, 66 milers and winning almost as many Best Condition awards, he replied, “Cocamoe is my first horse for a first perfect 10. He is the 10th horse to ever achieve this feat”. He then sent me a list of the previous perfect 10 recipients.

AERC Perfect Ten Equines

Created in 1997 and sponsored by Joe Long, past president, former Southeast Region director, and member of the Hall of Fame. Must have completed 10 years, 10,000 miles, 10 first place finishes and 10 best conditions.

2016 LV Integrity+/ (Ritz)
Joyce Sousa

2015 GF Brazil's Envy
Ann Kratochvil

2011 MRR Pyro
Karen Fredrickson

2010 Robin Hood
Philip Ottinger, DD

2007 CH Catch Me If You Can
Earle Baxter

2004 Pandora's Pixy
Randy Coleman

2004 Sha-win
Roberta Harms

1997 Kahlil Khai
Joe & Robbie Long

1997 R.O. Grand Sultan+//
Becky G Hart

Dave did note… “White Cloud had 11,900 miles, but we only had a couple of wins and maybe one BC, mainly because I never raced him”.

It’s hard for Dave to sum up 10 years, 10 wins, 10 Best Conditions and 10,000 miles, but he does hold some very dear and momentous memories.

For example he explains, “When we are riding with other horses, Cocamoe can lose his mind, even after all these years and miles”. Dave then adds, “If we are by ourselves, Cocamoe Joe is very conservative and a joy to ride”.

Dave recalled how one year, not too far back, while at the at the Shamrock ride in Wyoming, Cocamoe won the ride and got Best Condition with a perfect score of 800 points. He was awesome on that ride and the veterinarians took great notice and interest. In order to get a perfect score, Dave said you have to have all tens on the vet scores and be the heaviest rider with the fastest time. Understandably, it was very memorable and a nod to just how magnificent of a horse Cocamoe is!

Another favorite memory Dave offered was at the Tevis when Charlie Gauchi from Australia came over and rode him. Dave said, “I told Charlie how I would ride him and he did as I told him and Cocamoe came through the ride, while also looking really good”.

Dave then continued, “That is how I got Cocamoe from Charlie. At the time, his only requests was that he wanted to come back one day and do the Tevis on him. Dave recounted “When Charlie had Cocamoe on the XP Ride and they were going to ride cross country in Nebraska, but Cocamoe stepped on a plastic water bottle and the noise from the bottle spooked him and then he took off bucking. Charlie finally came off and landed on his rib cage and broke three or four of his ribs. I was actually behind Charlie that day, so I saw it all. That is the reason I have Cocamoe, because at the end of the ride, Charlie sold all of his horses. Nobody would buy Cocamoe Joe because everyone was afraid of him and I didn’t want to see anyone get hurt. Charlie offered him to me and I took him home”.

Interestingly, Dave shared a little side note… “There was a girl in Virginia City at the end of the XP Ride and on the last day she tried to offer $3000 to Charlie for Cocamoe. Since Charlie would be returning to Australia and it was too expensive to bring all the horses back. That’s why he sold them. Only Charlie stuck to his word and said “no I already gave him away”. Dave continued, “that’s how I got him and I’m always very grateful to Charlie for giving me Cocamoe”.

At this past Nevada Derby Ride, Dave said along with earning the perfect 10, they gave him a lot of nice awards… “I got a nice halter for Top Ten, a beautiful set of reins, a beer mug, a bucket and lots of hugs!” He then said… “I didn’t want to hug because I didn’t want to get anybody else sick”.

Monday, April 03, 2023

AHA Recognizes 2022 AERC High Point Middle Distance Winners

Photo Credit: Becky Pearman Photography

The Arabian Horse Association recognizes the AERC high point earning Arabian and Half-Arabians/Anglo-Arabian in the AERC National 100 Mile and Middle Distance year-end standing that meets AHA membership and registration criteria. Congratulations to all the High Point winners!

Evanessence “Evee” (Syndicat X Evocativ) owned and ridden by Tracy Benedict a 2016 mare finishing the year with 921 points.

Tracy comments “This was Evee's first year of endurance mileage. We were only thinking of getting to the AERC National Championship this year but, She enjoyed the rides, so we took it easy and kept going. She ended up third in our division and tenth overall in the Southeast region. With 660 miles under her girth this season. She is gentle enough for the grandchildren to ride but, tough enough to go the distance.

Our favorite story about her is when we went to visit Tom Sayvetz at Asgard Arabians she kept following us around in the field, touging on my husband's shirt. I think she picked us instead of us picking her. She amazes us every day.”

GE Pistol Annie “Annie” (Sulte X Sissy) owned and ridden by Christoph Schork Is a 2008 mare finishing the year with a total of 1665 points.

"Annie has had many accomplishments over her career, she won the AERC National War Mare Award in 2016 along with the AERC National 100 Mile Award. In 2017 Annie also was the AHA National 100 Mile Half- Arabian Champion and now, 6 years later, she did it again and proved that she is still one of the best mares in AERC and AHA.

Christoph states “at Global Endurance Training Center we are all elated that Annie also has won the 2022 HA/AA AHA Middle Distance Award. At 14 years of age, Annie gives me so much pleasure. Not only does she know all the ropes, but she also still has the same enthusiasm for the trail and for the competition as she had when she did her first ride. It is pure bliss to ride her.”

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Arabian Horse Association Recognizes 2022 AERC High Point 100 Mile Winners

Photo Credit: Becky Pearman Photography

The Arabian Horse Association recognizes the AERC high point earning Arabian and Half-Arabians/Anglo-Arabian in the AERC National 100 Mile and Middle Distance year-end standing that meets AHA membership and registration criteria. Congratulations to all the High Point winners!

Poete (Bandjo De Falgas X Poetikka) is a 2007 gelding, who earned a total of 1515 points with Holly.

"Poete came from impeccable breeding representing premier Russian and French lines, hand selected by the Sayvetz family at Asgard Arabians. Poete has qualified for the 2016, 2018, and 2020 World Endurance Championships.

Since 2018, Poete has won most of his races and the 100 mile is their favorite distance. He just gets better and better as the day goes on.

In 2021, Poete represented the USA in Italy for the World Endurance Championship. For the 2022 season out of the 7 races he has been in, he has completed 5 and each of them a win and Best Condition."

Holly states “He is also a decade horse, meaning that he and I have completed a decade of competing together with at least one 50-mile ride or higher completion in each year."

"He is an incredibly fun horse to ride since he just loves to go and he has amazing stamina and recovery. Poete has been my heart horse and he has taught me so much over the years. I am honored that he trusts me. In times when we have been in a race and we were in a bad position where he started to become stressed, I would back him off and I felt blessed that he trusted me enough to comply. We have a once-in-a-lifetime bond, and I am so very grateful that I can call this horse mine.”

Artistri “Nick Knack” (DA Vinci FM X Color Me Beautiful) is a 16’1” 2011 gelding, earning a total of 675 points.

"Nick Knack was initially trained to be a show horse but he seemed to prefer the opposite; Nick likes to be free and expects to be entertained!

Heather originally started with an Arab, known as Prince who preferred to savor the trail versus consume every bit of it as fast as he could. He had less go than whoah. She was in the market for a spirited, but a not deadly horse. Heather comments that “most people look for confirmation, age, color, etc. I like spirit. I LOVE a horse who consumes the trail."

At 48 years old in the mud, rain, horse poop, sun, horse pond swimming with gators, and credit to Nick Knack, it was the first time in my life, my dad “got me”. From there we turned the page and we hit the endurance trail like a vengeance. I had Heather Reynolds as my coach who helped me set goals.

My spirit is like that of my horses “on the fly” and somehow after 4- 100s and a bunch of 50s in 2022, Nick Knack earned a ton of awards including 9th place Arab in the nation. Nick Knack is a lot to manage: he worries, more up than forward, loves to lay in the water, and is not phased by encouragement or discipline. If he feels it, he’s going to do it. I sound a little like him. I don’t believe in happen chance. I’m so thankful for that sleepless night that led Nick Knack to my pasture.”