Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Build the Trails and They Will Come: Spanish Peaks Pioneer

By Merri Melde
August 30 2023

It’s the 8th year Tennessee Lane Blouin has hosted SoCo Endurance rides in La Veta, Colorado (including the AERC National Championships in 2017), and this year with over 180 early entries, she had to close registration before the ride started. The 5-day Spanish Peaks Pioneer is followed the next weekend by the 100-mile Wahatoya Cup, which, this year, also included a 25, 50, and 75-mile ride.

With the exception of a few county roads, all miles of trail are on private property. Tennessee constantly works with some two dozen land owners for permission to traverse their land, so this is a ride over unique parts of southern Colorado that can be accessed no other way. Just prepping for this ride takes months and months of work from family and volunteers (think clearing trails after winter, then re-clearing them after rains, keeping all the private owners permissions in mind), replacing or re-painting the hundreds of permanent Tposts that mark the trail, besides all the other regular work that goes into putting on a large ride. There’s plenty of trail marking with ribbons, which cows love to eat, so the trails have to be re-marked, on some trails the morning before the riders reach the trail.

Only in this ride can you join the “Over the Wall” club - riding through one of the Walls that radiate down from West Spanish Peak. And this year on Day 2 of the Spanish Peaks and in the 75-mile and 100-miles of the Wahatoya Cup, riders crossed it twice, the first time at a new spot, accessing it by a long, steep climb and riding beneath a 150-foot high section of the wall. For comparison, fewer people are members of the Over the Wall club than have climbed Mount Everest!

A roll call during one of the 5-day ride meetings revealed riders attending from an astounding 20 states*.

This is a true mountain ride, with base camp at 8000 feet, nestled below the East and West Spanish Peaks, and all the wildlife that comes with it. There were probably no riders that didn’t see at least one bear this year!

Five horse and rider teams completed all five days of Limited Distance rides. Robert Chambless from Georgia and his 9-year-old gelding AJ won the Championship as the fastest team, not only winning four of the five days (and finishing second on the other one), but nabbing Best Condition every day. “AJ is a roachback, and he was a cull, and I got him for free,” Robert said. “We train all over the hills of Georgia, and he’s my buddy.”

Only one other horse and rider had ever completed all five days/255 miles of the distance rides (Kerry Redente and Valero GA), and this year three riders accomplished the feat (who even attempts to ride all five days of a Pioneer on one horse anymore? Where can you even find other 5-day rides anymore?).

Kelley Stoneburner and Reckless, and her husband Jesse Feinsod and Kenlyn Easy Legasy from Colorado also finished the five days. Reckless got overall Best Condition.

Ann Wicks and her mustang mare Jicarilla Journey from Georgia finished all five days in overall first place. “She is kind, sensible, and as sure-footed as they come. And this past week, she gave me her all,” Ann stated later.

The Spanish Peaks Pioneer is truly a Bucket List ride, a true challenge for horses and riders in a most beautiful part of the country.

*All the states (and it’s possible there were more!):
Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, California, Kentucky

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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Muirneen Townhall On Tevis, Team Reynolds, and Treasure

Muirneen Townhall on the Tevis Cup, endurance racing, and bridleless riding on Friday, September 1 at 12 PM Eastern.

METRO DETROIT — August 22, 2023 — Muirneen Equestrian, an advocate for diversity and kindness within the horse sports community, is thrilled to announce an upcoming virtual townhall event. This townhall will delve into the captivating world of endurance racing, bridleless riding, and the treasures found in equine companionship. Hosted by the remarkable Team Reynolds duo Heather and Jeremy Reynolds, this townhall is a must-attend for the equestrian community.

"At Muirneen Equestrian, we want to introduce equestrians of color to the sport of endurance riding," stated Shelly Watts, CEO of Muirneen Equestrian.

The focal point of the conversation will be the prestigious Tevis Cup, an iconic endurance race known for its challenges and triumphs. With Heather and Jeremy Reynolds at the helm, attendees will gain unique insights into the rigorous training, boundless dedication, and profound bond with horses that define the world of endurance racing. Additionally, the duo will share their experiences of bridleless riding, shedding light on the art of communication and trust between rider and horse.

"I like to inspire riders to learn to listen to their horses and have fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my experience during the townhall," expressed Jeremy Reynolds.

This interactive and enlightening townhall offers a rare opportunity to gain direct access to the perspectives of accomplished endurance riders, creating a space for equestrians to learn, connect, and be inspired. "We are looking forward to sharing the sport and adventure of endurance riding with equestrians from other disciplines," shared Heather Reynolds.

Registration for Zoom Meeting (9/1 at 12 PM Eastern): To secure a spot for this invaluable conversation, interested participants are encouraged to register at For those who wish to learn more about townhalls or sponsorship opportunities, please reach out to Muirneen townhalls are sponsored by Via Nova Training, Tipperary Equestrian, and Safe Riding. All townhalls include an ASL interpreter and live captions.

About Muirneen Equestrian Muirneen Equestrian is a proud woman, minority, and veteran-owned company that designs bold and inclusive riding clothing. Muirneen clothing is tested by endurance riders for durability and comfort. Muirneen is committed to inspiring diversity, body positivity, and kindness in horse sports. To learn more about the mission of Muirneen Equestrian, visit

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Midnight led the way for Tevis Cup Sweep Riders - Full Article

Gazette staff
Aug 17, 2023

This is the second year Cool resident Kelly Turney has ridden her horse Midnight as a member of the Sweep Riders for the Tevis Cup.

Sweep Riders are a team of volunteers that ride 4-27 mile sections of the Tevis trail after the last competitor goes through the Sweep Riders' assigned section. The Sweep Riders are responsible for assisting competitors should they have an accident, injury, illness or become separated from their horse. One or more members on the team is a HAM Radio operator and will notify Net Control if there is a problem on the trail. Then appropriate emergency veterinary or medical assistance will be dispatched to their location, while the Sweep Team waits with the rider...

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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Behind The Photo: 100 Miles On A Shoestring

Lynne Glazer Photo - Full Article

PUBLISHED August 16, 2023
WORDS BY Christina Keim

Most of the time, if you are on your horse and the bridle is not, something has gone wrong. But for veteran endurance rider Jeremy Reynolds, who on July 29 won the one-day, 100-mile Western States Trail Ride, popularly known as the Tevis Cup, for the fifth time in his career aboard his Arabian mare Treasured Moments (DA Adios+—Hidden Treasure), going sans bridle was all part of the plan. Reynolds, 43, completed the oldest—and what is often regarded as the most challenging—endurance ride in North America with “Treasure” wearing nothing more than a neck rope.

“She normally goes in a really thin rope halter,” said Reynolds, who along his wife and fellow endurance rider Heather Reynolds operates Reynolds Racing in Dunnellon, Florida. “I’d like to say that I’m that good of a horseman, but really, I just have that good of a horse, and I’ve been able to listen to her and see what she likes.”

Jeremy initially planned to use the neck rope only along the first portion of the Tevis route, which travels along the notoriously rugged and occasionally treacherous Western States Trail in California’s Sierra Mountains. He began prepping his 13-year-old equine partner for this unique challenge earlier this year; after many trial ride successes, Jeremy decided to use the neck rope from start to finish...

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Monday, August 14, 2023

US Equestrian Announces Change to U.S. Endurance Team for FEI Endurance World Championship Young Riders and Juniors

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Aug 12, 2023, 10:10 AM EST

Lexington, Ky. -- US Equestrian has announced the combinations selected for the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders and Juniors will now compete as individuals on September 2 in Castelsagrat, France, due to a combination withdrawal. The U.S. will be led by Chef d’Equipe Lisanne Dorion with support from Dr. Olivia Rudolphi as veterinarian.

Fine Cut Gold, a 2011 Arabian mare owned by Valerie Kanavy and Wendy MacCoubrey, and ridden by Alex Shampoe (Colorado Springs, Colo.), has been withdrawn from the team after sustaining a minor injury in turnout. In the best interest of the horse’s welfare, Shampoe voluntarily removed herself from team selection to allow Fine Cut Gold the necessary time to recover.

“I was very excited to represent the U.S. with ‘Cut’ in France and, although this injury is minor, I knew it was in the best interest of Cut to remove ourselves from the competition," Shampoe said. "I look forward to riding Cut later this year and hoping to be considered for selection to the Pan American Endurance Championships Team in November."

The following combinations will represent U.S. Endurance as individuals and are listed in alphabetical order:

Avery Betz-Conway (Kingsland, Ga.) and RAS Istanbul, a 2011 Arabian gelding owned by Estanar S. A.

Meghan Wert (Spring Mills, Pa.) and Gilted Gold, a 2015 Anglo-Arabian mare owned by Valerie Kanavy

Competition Information
Learn more about the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders & Juniors here.

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Sunday, August 13, 2023

Big Creek’s Lud McCrary Passes

August 10 2023
by David Koenig

Frank “Lud” McCrary, co-founder of Big Creek Lumber, Davenport, Ca., passed away on Aug. 6 at the age of 95.

Lud co-founded Big Creek in 1946 after his service in World War II with his father, Frank McCrary Sr.; his uncle, Homer Trumbo; and his brother, Homer “Bud” McCrary. What started as a small operation milling lumber in the Santa Cruz Mountains has since grown to include a renowned sustainable forestry division, a redwood sawmill, a wholesale lumber division, and six retail lumber and building materials stores located throughout California. The business is still family owned and is currently being led by the third generation, with members of the fourth generation also working in the business.

Lud was born in Santa Cruz County on June 30, 1928 and was the fourth generation of his family to make his home in Swanton. He took a lot of pride and joy in tending his ranch and had a great interest in cattle and horses. He enjoyed spending time building trails and riding long distances with his wife Barbara and his family. For many years, Lud, Barbara, and their family managed the Castle Rock 50-mile Endurance Ride, as well as the Swanton Pacific 100-mile Endurance Ride, hosted on their ranch in Swanton. Lud and Barbara spent much of their free time building or maintaining public and private trails throughout Santa Cruz County, many of them in Big Basin State Park. Lud and his family donated their time assisting marine biologists with elephant seal research on Año Nuevo Island for several years. Lud and his wife Barbara also volunteered with State Parks as mounted horse patrol.

One of Lud’s greatest joys during his career at Big Creek was connecting with and learning from other people who had different backgrounds or experiences than him. He loved talking with truck drivers and learning about what they were seeing out on the road or how they thought the economy was doing, visiting with strangers or neighbors who stopped by the office for all sorts of reasons, calling ships passing by on the radio and talking to the captain, or visiting with co-workers who would often stop by his desk to catch up. He didn’t care who you were or where you came from, as long as you had an interesting story, and he could always find the ways in which you shared common ground. He had made many long-time friends from his wholesale customers who he sold redwood to over the years and he thought highly of those in the industry who he worked with.

He was known for having a great garden, especially a robust raspberry patch. He would often have so much extra produce that he would bring it to work and share it with co-workers in the office and sawmill.

His generosity of spirit meant that he was always jumping in to lend a hand if there was a need. Natural disasters and emergencies were commonly where you could find him jumping into action and helping his community. One of the acknowledgements that he was most proud of was a commendation from the U.S. Coastguard for his role in helping rescue a fisherman in distress off the coast. At the age of 15 he signed up with the Merchant Marine during World War II and later served in the Navy Seabees in the Korean War. Locally, he served on the Davenport Fire and Rescue in his younger years.

Lud was a dedicated student and avid consumer of history, especially local history, and was often consulted by local historians to lend his vast knowledge and perspective on a variety of topics. He was often known to participate in historical demonstrations or historical restorations by contributing his unique skills working with redwood making split shakes, posts and pickets or sourcing unique pieces of redwood for a special project. He kept a daily diary for most of his life, in which he would record what was going on in the family and neighborhood and significant events from around the world. Reading his diaries was a great way to catch up on what was going on if you’d been away for a while.

He served as a weather recorder for the Santa Cruz Sentinel for several decades. He served as a Board Member and President of the Santa Cruz County Fair Board for several years, as well as donating his time and experience serving on Santa Cruz County’s Agricultural Policy Advisory Commission. He was Farmer of the Year in 1988, and also received recognition from the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the State of California several times throughout his lifetime.

Up until his passing, Lud was able to enjoy an independent life on his ranch with his wife of 73 years. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, daughters Susan, Ellen, and Janet, sons-in-law Butch, Dennis, and Steve, four grandchildren Katie, Dennis, Agnes and Aleksey, a grand-daughter-in-law, Michelle, and two great-grandchildren Andy and June who were a great delight to him in his final years.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Dunnellon man and horse win 100-mile endurance race in California - Full Article

By Staff Report
August 9, 2023

A Dunnellon man and his horse claimed victory in the oldest “modern-day endurance ride” in the country for the fifth time in the past two decades.

Jeremy Reynolds, who owns Reynolds Racing with his wife, Heather, claimed victory atop his horse, Treasured Moments, in the 2023 Tevis Cup.

Held in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the competition takes riders and their horses through dozens of miles of challenging terrain.

During this year’s event, Reynolds and Treasure began their journey in Soda Springs at 5:15 a.m. and finished over 15 hours later, traversing Robinson Flat, Devil’s Thumb, and other parts of the mountain range...

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Sunday, August 06, 2023

Medeiros, Filouette tackle 100-mile Tevis Cup - Full Article

Isaac Streeter
Aug 5, 2023

Placerville resident Colton Medeiros and his horse Filouette completed the Tevis Cup 100-mile endurance ride with a 26th-place finish Saturday, July 29, in honor of his father.

Colton's father Matt Medeiros, who died at the age of 49 in early 2021 due to a stroke, introduced him to endurance riding.

“When he passed away I decided it was time to try it again,” Colton said. “I grew up watching him do it. He was my hero. I’ve ridden every ride he rode, so I decided I really wanted to make it to the end this time..."

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Saturday, August 05, 2023

Capturing the Tevis Cup, again - Full Article

The Tevis Cup, or Western States Trail Ride, was established in 1955 and is recognized as the founding ride of endurance riding. Competitors have 24 hours to finish the 100-mile ride to earn a silver buckle.

August 2, 2023 | By JoAnn Guidry, correspondent

Dunnellon-based Jeremy Reynolds notched his fifth Tevis Cup victory on July 29 in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Reynolds, 43, and his mount Treasured Moments, a 13-year-old Arabian mare, covered the 100-mile endurance ride in 13 hours and 14 minutes. Reynolds also won the Tevis Cup in 2021, 2011, 2007 and 2004.

“Treasure is such an amazing horse,” said Reynolds, who won the 2021 Tevis Cup with the same horse. “She is so special.”

He said he rode the horse with no bridle, just a loop around her neck, “and she did the rest.”

Reynolds was quick to credit Tevis Cup officials with designing a slightly different course due to heavy winter snowfall and wildfire in the mountains...

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Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Tevis Cup: Jeremy Reynolds claims title, Haley Moquin wins Haggin Cup - Full Article

Jeremy Reynolds and Treasured Moments capture their second Tevis Cup in 3 years, and it's the fifth title overall for Reyunolds

Jordan Georgeson
Jul 31, 2023 8:08 PM

Jeremy Reynolds claimed his fifth Tevis Cup title Saturday night, crossing the finish line at Auburn’s McCann Stadium at 8:29 p.m., 15 hours and 14 minutes after starting at Soda Springs on the back of his bay Arabian, Treasured Moments (Treasure).

It was the second win for the duo, which won the 100-mile, one-day ride in 2021.

"It feels great. I love this horse," Reynolds said after sharing a moment with his trusted steed at the finish line. “There were four previous winners in this year’s field, but three of them were recent winners, so I knew it was gonna be kind of tougher and a little bit more competitive this year...”

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