September 9 2023
by Angie McGhee
Photo by Becky Pearman
Angie McGhee shares her story of reaching 10,000 Endurance miles
Well, after 36 years of endurance competition, I finally hit the 10,000 mile mark. Was afraid to mention it out loud for fear I'd jinx it. Seemed as if the miles were just stacking up for several years then just slowed down to a trickle! So I am going to take the time to thank the ones really who earned this honor; the horses.
My first endurance horse was Tonka my big Appaloosa who had never been tired and never been lame. I did one 50 and he discovered how to be both.
Next my first Arabian, Isaiah 40:31 (Count Moonjour). 500 miles with no pulls, safe, fairly slow, rough ride, not much of a challenge. I took completing for granted, so sold him to a junior.
Next was Jommeh. He was my dream. 7 years old, well trained, sweet, SMOOTH, fast. Never lame at home, went to 5 rides and limped by the first check at every one. I learned to value a completion. As a parting shot he shattered a splint bone in the field, I spent all my money for surgery and had nothing to buy my next horse.
Then Danny Herlong offered me "a little gray horse I don't need" that I could pay for when I had the money. Enter Kaboot Herlong. 11 years of adrenaline. 7 100's, 2 plated collar bones, 1 win, 1 BC, 2001 Pan Am team, never ever boring. 3050 miles. (Post note. Surprised how interested people have been in the individual horse stories. Since I have a video of my 3 top horses for "their stories" posting links. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo-6PFvY7zI
Tried to replace him with Weifear. Bred for endurance, 2 accomplished parents, never made it to a ride, happy to get out of that with no lasting injuries.
Then there was Gunner McGhee. He was a solid broke Arabian trail horse I bought to ride while Josie started Cade. He gave me an honest 450 miles and 80 miles of a 100 he didn't finish.
Dreaming of another Kaboot, but ran across the total opposite; JA Hally's Eclipse, (Seven) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB7QEMnb8qk a 7 year old neglected race bred Arab who'd been forgotten in a field behind the sewage treatment plant. 7 years old, barely halter broken stallion. Rescued him just to try to get him a life but he sure wasn't anything I wanted to compete. But nothing else came along so took my clunky pot bellied, not competitive, rough riding boy off to a ride. That's where we found out nobody on this earth could give him electrolytes. Seemed hopeless, but he ended up competing for 9 seasons, 2,430 miles, 4 one day 100's, 2 "Consistent Condition awards" SERA Mileage champion, 2 wins, 4 BC, and a slew of high vet scores.
Overlapping that time several friends pointed out a little gray on craigslist so many times I finally went to see that one. He was starved and incredibly toed out but again, 5 years old, not broke, not much of a life ahead of him, so I figured I'd start him and pass him on. Turned out to be my all time favorite ride, Fadjur's Talisman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCCL6B74OTg&t=5s 22 straight 50's, Consistant Condition Award, GA High point endurance horse, 2 Best Conditions, 2 one day 100's. High vet score at Biltmore 100 on his first, finished Old Dominion 100 for his second. He had a canter that was to die for that was his favorite gait. Then right in his prime (12) he fractured a splint on the outside of his leg in a fall, wasn't displaced, but when it healed it put down a line of calcium which sawed on his ligament. Total heartbreak to lose him right as he "arrived". Surgery not very successful. He did make a comeback for 2 more 50's for Emma Kate. Tally retired with 1455 miles.
That's around when I hit 9,000 miles and thought I'd be at 10,000 in no time. HA!!
Bought Virginia Soldier (LR Gasuur Aamira). She was started under saddle but had never even had shoes. No trail miles. When she was right she was a machine, but what we found was a preexisting injury just kept causing problems. In three years she got 150 miles.
You think that's bad? Next was Justadulangdulang, (Dulang). His owner had a field full of horses, 3 5 year old geldings unhandled, seemed to think he wouldn't be around much longer and urged me to take Dulang. I didn't like the looks of his legs, But loved his name. An unbroken horse is doomed as he ages so I took him. 2 years of training and conditioning and went to his first ride to pull at the first check. X-rays said, "not the sport for me". So his grand total was zero like Jommeh and Weedy. AERC does not send patches for miles at home.
By now the "horse shortage" had hit and not much around to buy if you were willing. I saw an ad for an extremely well bred 3 year old gelding, but one catch. It was in Bismarck, ND in January. Poor Bill made the road trip of death and 64 hours of non-stop driving later we had Havana home. So, there you go. He just finished his 7th 50 and is getting the hang of this thing.
Those are MY horses that got me miles. Now, looking at my ride record I realize there are a LOT of people who have loaned me horses to ride during those above mentioned dry spells.
#1 has got to go to Suzanne Solis who Loaned me ALA Thor to get a Big Horn 100 buckle, then again for an AERC Championship buckle at the OD trail, then for the Big South Fork 100, and then loaned me Khorvet for a Tevis buckle. THAT'S a friend!
But, going back to the beginning: Kathy Tow loaned Merlynn (got a win and a BC and 150 miles on him) Dave Bennett and later Ashley Creswell Priban loaned me Southern Rock for 150 miles, Steph Teeter loaned The Great Santini, Connie Caudhill loaned Huckleberry Moon, Dave Bennet loaned Ben Amil for 100 miles, Claude Brewer loaned Filly Royel Dalyte, Jody Buttram loaned Petit Jets Aries for 150, Bruce Weary loaned Heisman, Lynda Webber loaned BR Jubaleigh, Josie loaned me TM Cade and Sumthngtosingabout, Vicki Monroe loaned me Chosen Ballast for 100, Lauren Irwin loaned me Elek for 100, and Claire Godwin loaned me Serene Zeliza.
Whew! I had no idea I'd been trusted with that many really nice horses and really want to thank every one of those people who made the "time between horses" bearable! I am really happy to have this monkey off my back. It took 7 years to get that last 1000 miles. Things are looking good. I've got a sound competition horse and an up and coming 4 year old. No, I am NOT retired.
Photo from yesterday's 50 at Big South Fork. Aul Sandy's Havana I hope will be with me for the next 10 years or so. :-))