The Hall of Fame Award is to be presented to a member of the Canadian endurance community in recognition of their long-term commitment and long-term active involvement, as well as their outstanding contributions and participation in the sport of endurance riding in Canada.
May 12 2023
Written by Kat Irvine
Earle Baxter of Ontario, now aged 82, started endurance riding in 1979. Since then, the list of rides he has ridden, and the awards he’s won, nationally and internationally, could fill a book. He has influenced and befriended elite riders, judges, veterinarians and those who are just starting out and need a little help.
His horses have jaw-dropping accomplishments and awards most riders can’t even imagine. Among them, in 2007 " CH Catch Me If You Can” and Earle were awarded with American Endurance Riding Conference “Perfect Ten Equines”, the only Canadian horse to be recognized for this award where they must have completed 10 years, 10,000 miles (16,000km),10 first places, and 10 Best Conditions.
January 26, 2019, at the age of 19, I AM Amazing,(Champ) reached his 4200 km lifetime achievement with (AERC)American Endurance Riding Conference.
“We love Earle’s kind and trusting horses”, was an accolade given by those who have aquired them, a tribute to his training and insight of the horse as an individual.
In 1986 he was instrumental in supporting early FEI in Canada by trucking four horses to the first North American Endurance Championship in California. Earle's background as a self-employed long-haul trucker, and a horseman, had everything going forward making decisive, efficient decisions all the way.
Attentive to junior riders, one year he trucked a promising young rider (later to become a Medical Doctor) to a FEI ride on the west coast of USA. Earle mentored several Young Riders, many of whom are in the sport today.
Earle went on to be a member on the FEI Canadian team at the first World Equestrian Championships in 1990 Stockholm, Sweden, where he was the first Canadian to finish the 160-km Endurance Championship. Earle went on to be team leader for five more Championship competitions in North America and overseas.
While he was leading teams to medals, and winning individual awards for himself and his horses, he was accumulating mileage in the Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association, (OCTRA) as well as being integral in its growth by participating on the Board. He was gathering honors such as Best Conditioned and Heavyweight Championships in Canada and U.S. At the same time he was burning up the track in both competitive trail, and ride and tie events.
When he competes, he has a time goal, whether he is riding a young horse at a relatively slow speed, or a top-level horse at a championship pace. One of the secrets to his success is his ability to pace his horse according to trail conditions. He respects the trail as his main opponent.
He takes a set time at water stops and doesn’t move on until his horse’s heart rate has dropped to 64 beats per minute. When he comes into the vet check he dismounts and walks in. It’s no surprise to the crew team and vets that the horse’s pulse reaches parameters within 1-2 minutes.
In Ontario, in1991, he proposed the following motion regarding mandatory rest after treatment “That any horse that requires intensive therapy for Exhausted Horse Syndrome following a competition will be barred from competing for a minimum of 90 days after therapy is discontinued.” The motion was passed. This was well before the FEI implemented mandatory rest periods after competition and any treatment received as a result of competition.
Earle is a marathoner. Always advancing forward, riding every step of the trail regardless of distance or terrain.
A summary of his riding record documented over 40 years of competitions speaks for itself. It involves a total of more than 900 rides, and over 50 of them 160km long.
In Canada he has completed distances of 22,559km/14,041mi with Ontario Competitive Ride Association (OCTRA) and that includes competitive trail ride miles, but not all of them. OCTRA only counts one out-of-province ride during a year. AERC record doesn’t count endurance miles from non-AERC sanctioned rides such as OCTRA, nor from international rides, so it would be difficult to compile a complete record.
We are not sure that Earle even knows his total mileage!
In April 2022, things took an unfortunate turn for Earle. During his normal daily chores, he sustained a back injury from which the doctors said he’d never walk.
With all the “move forward” attitude that make Earle who he is, guess what? He is now getting around with the use of a cane, but will likely retire from competition. This past winter he was mentoring a young man on his horses, what an honour.
He is an outstanding inspiration, combining science and spirit, education and sixth sense. He has been described as considerate, resourceful, determined, capable, helpful, competitive, efficient, and always moving forward. Earle’s education, determination, and horsemanship skills are a combination that has proven Earle a champion in Canada, United States, and overseas.
It’s why he is called “Boss”.