Friday, February 17, 2017

South Africa: Race the Wild Coast

Horsenetwork.com - Full Story

February 17 2017
BRENT ALBUINO

One rider. Three horses. And 350 kilometers of untamed terrain on the remote east coast of South Africa. Australian Brent Albuino was among the first to brave the inaugural Race the Wild Coast last year. He won’t be the last.

Start line—Port Edward

The rider’s pour off a rusty old trailer trying to pretend everything’s going to be ok and we’ve all got our sh*t together and this epic race sorted! I’m nervous but I’m hung over just enough to not care so much if I drown at the first river crossing...

The crew is tramping through the sand dunes to bring us our first horses.

As we await I remind Maudes that being the inaugural riders for this crazy race I feel like a bit of a Guinea Pig.

“You know what happens to Guinea Pigs, Brentski?”

“No, what?”

“They f** die!”

The crew arrives. Pip has my horse and she looks f*d from trudging through the sand dunes. This gives me zero confidence of what’s to come as Pip is an Aussie, hard as nails, born and bred in the Pilbara. She has red dirt running through her veins and a f* you attitude only an Aussie with a can of Bundy would understand.

Anthony Ward-Thomas was going to ride with Maudes and me until his horse did its best impression of a submarine on a training ride at start camp. He bailed on the race and I’m starting to think he may be the most intelligent person I’ve ever met. He was last seen drinking with the locals at Port St Johns. Nice bloke, I hope he’s ok.

I get on my horse, Amir. He seems relaxed, like he has no idea he’s about to carry me through 100 kilometers of torturous terrain.

The race is about to begin!...

Read more here:
http://horsenetwork.com/2017/02/race-wild-coast/

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Horse riding in Tasmania: exploring the Tiger Trail by saddle

AFR.com - Full Article

SOPHISTICATED TRAVELLER
Feb 15 2017 at 10:00 AM

by Fiona Carruthers

With hindsight, attempting to clamber back into the saddle three wines down was bound to end badly. I don't even drink at lunch. No, really.

Just as my left foot hit the stirrup iron and I went to lunge off the ground and leap aboard in one graceful movement (in front of about, oh, 20 bystanders), my mount Coltie sidestepped that critical half-inch – just enough to see me come floundering down.

Packing for a four-day horse trek through Tasmania's rugged central north near the aptly named Meander River, I thought I'd covered all contingencies: from SPF50+ sunscreen to neck-to-toe oilskin, gloves, riding helmet still in warranty, boots with heels and fine-seamed jeans that wouldn't chafe. The prospect of drink-riding never occurred to me.

Out of curiosity, I casually phone the police on returning home to ask: "Is there a legal alcohol limit to riding a horse in Australia?"...

Read more: http://www.afr.com/brand/sophisticated-traveller/riding-tasmania-exploring-the-tiger-trail-on-horseback-20170130-gu1f7f#ixzz4Ylu713Yi


Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Saddletramp: The Nevada Discovery Ride" exhibition

UNR.edu - Full Article

Shared History Program exhibition features wild mustangs in need of home

Samantha Szesciorka will share her experiences traveling more than 1,000 miles to encourage wild horse adoption at on-campus exhibit opening Feb. 15

2/8/2017 | By: Hannah Richardson

Extreme weather, difficult terrain, route disruptions and broken gear all describe what might be a typical day on the trail for long-distance equestrian Samantha Szesciorka. Szesciorka rides hundreds to thousands of miles throughout Nevada on the back of her adopted mustang, Sage, to encourage wild horse adoption. At 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15, Szesciorka will share highlights of her most recent ride in a new exhibition titled "Saddletramp: The Nevada Discovery Ride." The reception and exhibition, hosted and curated by the Shared History Program at the University of Nevada, Reno, are located in room 120 of Lincoln Hall on the University campus.

The Shared History Program's exhibition will showcase select photographs and objects from Szesciorka's adventure in 2016, including journals, riding gear and things found on the trail. The exhibition will officially open with a special presentation from Szesciorka, followed by refreshments and socializing in the exhibition space.

Szesciorka moved to Nevada in 2008, and because of her love for horses and long riding, she began planning for her first long-distance ride in 2010. She was humbled to ride close to wild mustangs during her month-long, 500-mile journey in 2013, but was saddened to learn that many mustangs languish in holding facilities because they are not being adopted. This led her to begin the Nevada Discovery Ride project to encourage wild horse adoption...

Read more here:
http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2017/new-shp-exhibition

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Journal of an Endurance rider: first time competing in New Zealand

Equestrian.org.au - Full Story

Posted by Jessica Aistrope on 06/02/2017

Endurance rider Jessica Aistrope shares her eventful journey across the Tasman to gain her FEI 1* qualification. Along the way she enjoys a feast of cocktails and chicken wings in order to make the New Zealand minimum riding weight and wracks up an exorbitant data roaming bill by accident….this is her story as she tells it.

"Late last year Stella Harbison and I began discussing our plans for 2017.

The Tom Quilty is a major priority for me and I am the course designer and have ambitions to ride also. Stella has some amazing horses and we thought we should also try to aim for some FEI events as well as the Tom Quilty. Given my lack of participation in FEI over the years, not by choice but simply limited events to attend. I realised I had not competed in FEI since I rode as a youth in 2010. Figuring I would need to start my qualification again I began thinking of the horses Stella had for me to ride, realising we had 2 horses whom had already gained their 1* qualifications, it would be almost a waste to drive 1800+km return trip for a 1*. Stella suggested we start looking for other alternatives.

Upon checking the FEI calendar I noticed NZ had a number of events scheduled before our first FEI ride in Aus. I messaged a friend Mark Tylee in NZ and explained my situation and if he could keep an eye out for a spare horse if ever the opportunity arose.

Surprisingly Mark got almost straight back to me with information that there was an event in a month’s time and a generous lady named Ashley Cole said I could ride one of her horses. It suddenly became a possibility and after speaking with Ashley, Stella and I had our tickets booked and we were heading to New Zealand!...

Read more here:
http://www.equestrian.org.au/news/journal-endurance-rider-first-time-competing-new-zealand

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Fire Mountain - Nick Warhol


Baylor/Gore Photo

Fire Mountain 50, 2017

I had a great almost week down in the desert with only one glitch. I
got really lucky driving down on Tuesday, leaving the Bay Area in the
rain, and arriving in Ridgecrest in nice weather. Tuesday evening the
storm blew in and closed highway 395 due to the high wind. Whew! That
was close. Ride manager Gretchen Montgomery put me up in her house
again with pens for my horses. (The ride base camp is a 5 minute walk
away)

On Wednesday (after the daily morning hike in the hills) I went out on
the bike and worked on the 20 Mule Team trail in the wind. Wind does
not bother a dirt bike much. I figured out the new route to the 395
crossing since we can’t use bikes or quads any more on the old trail,
and then scoped out the new 50 mile trail in the morning. I rode the
whole 50 to check mileage. The desert was wet, which makes it
perfect. Such fun!

On Thursday morning, in nice breezy weather, after the hike I got to
work on the fire mountain trail. Gretchen has guys who mark it, then I
go out and fill in ribbons, put chalk down on the turns, put up signs,
and then ride it backwards on the bike to be sure it is marked okay
for day 2 which is the day 1 trail in the other direction. I noticed I
was coughing and sneezing a little, uh oh. The clouds rolled in as I
finished loop 1; I headed out on loop 2 and was high up on the ridge
when the front came in. I could see this black wall of rain heading
right towards me, and yes, it hit. Whammo! The wind came, and it
poured, hard, and even hailed. I continued with the trail, enjoying
all of it but the cold. Wet desert is magic on the bike! Unfortunately
my soaked gloves made my hands freeze, so bad that I had to stop and
put them on my engine to warm them enough to open the clothes pin on
the ribbons. The chalk was also useless in the downpour and wind. I
finished the loop soaked and cold, and after a lunch break and drying
out period, I finished the third loop in the sunshine. Thursday night
brought more coughing and a sore throat, oh great. Just what I need.

After a short hike on Friday morning, Gretchen rode my Donnie with me
on Sorsha, along with Peggy on Gretchen’s Coquette for 90 minutes or
so. It went well except for a couple of spooks from rabbits. We spent
the rest of Friday getting ready for the ride, with Gretchen doing
tons of stuff, and me running errands and putting up signs out on the
trail. The weather was supposed to clear, but it remained overcast
with light rain on and off all day, and pretty cold. My riding buddy
Ines Hofmann Kanna drove down on Friday afternoon to ride Donnie with
me on day 1. She stayed in my camper at base camp while I lounged with
my horses in the Montgomery Hilton, 5 minutes away. She camped next to
Brenda and Jenni, but poor Jenni could not start due to her horse
being lame on Friday night. Late Friday night I knew I was
sick. Perfect. I did the best I could to sleep, but it wasn’t much.

Saturday morning came clear and cold, and zero wind. Finally! At 5:30
am, sick as heck, I walked the two horses over to base camp and we
tacked up and headed out at 7. We rode out at the back of the pack
with Kristin Ojala from the Bay Area on her nice mare Lani. She and I
have been riding a little up here, with her helping Sorsha get used to
other horses. Sorsha did pretty well at the start with so few horses,
but she’s still too sensitive to horses being behind her, and in front
of her if it’s not Donnie. She’s a little competitive in the
morning. I can’t thank Ines and Kristin enough for helping me the
whole ride. I’d just ask them to be in front of me, or behind me, or
further behind. They were helping me do my ride on my young horse, and
I really appreciate it. Sorsha did really well passing other horses
and when other horses passed her- this was a real issue in my two
rides. I was very pleased when a horse cantered past us, and she did
okay when the 4 limited distance leaders came flying by later on. The
first loop is 15 miles, some rocks and climbing, but a lot of nice wet
desert. I had a strange problem in the last half of the loop- I was so
sick that my eyes were burning, and the wind from riding was killing
them. It made them burn, and it was so bad that I actually rode the
last 4 miles or so with one closed the whole time, and sometimes
both. That was weird. Blind Endurance! The first vet check went
perfectly, I spent the 30 minutes with my eyes closed. I tried eye
drops which them burn more. I had an idea- I had my bike stuff here,
so I put a pair of dirt bike goggles on over my sunglasses, then put
on my horse helmet. I looked really stupid, but it worked! Perfectly!
I rode out of camp on loop 2 looking like a bug, but it solved my
problem, and I could see again! And the goggles matched my helmet!
Ines thought I should have done that for the pictures, but no. The
weather was as nice as it gets in the desert- clear, cool to warm, and
calm. I had a little bit of young horse excitement on loop 1, nothing
bad, but it’s just not like riding Donnie. It’s fun to ride along with
him with another rider on his back. It’s a neat view of my best pony I
don’t get to see that often! Loop 2 turned into a fantasy ride; I left
camp in a tee shirt. Sorsha was perfect, well, almost. Just once when
Kristin came up a little close Sorsha did a little kick backwards:
Kristin backed off a little, and that was that. It was absolutely
fun. Ines and I took turns leading; Sorsha really prefers to be in
front, which I love. And this horse can move. What a motor! Kristin
led us down the valley for a couple of miles at a quick pace down to
camp for our lunch on a fantastic trotting trail. I told someone at
the check that if this were a test ride on this horse, I’d be getting
out my big checkbook. She was absolutely splendid. If I sound happy I
am. Wait till this horse is fit, and gets a few more rides under her
saddle! The hour lunch went quickly, and off we went on loop 3. This
loop has some fantastic trotting on it, which we did in wet perfect
desert. We picked up Tim Martin on his new mare after his wife was
pulled. Sorsha was even better on this loop. She just motored along,
her motivation and forward attitude never once even feeling any
different than she did at the start. I just LOVE it when you ask your
horse to trot from a walk, and they just spring forward, instantly,
even on the way out from camp. Donnie has always done that. The four
of us just bopped along the whole way, and we even survived the
infamous recliner chair that has been marking a turn for years. Sorsha
drank well all day, and was eating the desert vegetation as we
went. At the last water Tim led his horse for a while, so the three of
us trotted down to the finish just as the sun was setting. The
temperature started dropping about a degree every 5 minutes, but
that’s what it does out here. The horses vetted out great- Donnie with
his always CRI of 44/44, and Sorsha was at 40/40. This was her second
ride! Well, technically third, since I stopped because of me at gold
rush shuffle because of the weather. We had a nice ride dinner, and at
about 7:30 I led the ponies back to Gretchen’s, put them up, went to
bed and slept for 12 hours. I was sick, and no way was I going out on
Donnie again today. Didn’t matter- he blew through the ride as
usual. I loaded up and sneezed and coughed my way home on Sunday.

It was a great trip where I got to ride both the bike and horses in
the perfect desert, which I really love. I’m happy beyond words with
how Sorsha is doing. Wow. Thanks to Gretchen and Mike for putting me
up in their house- it’s a plush way to do a ride. Thanks to Ines and
Kristin for really helping me on the ride. Ines said I really had to
twist her arm to come down to ride Donnie. Next stop- 20 mule team. I
have not decided what I’ll do yet. I’d like to ride both horses again
like this ride, but also want to do the 100 on Donnie. We shall see.

It was hard to hear that our dear friend Jackie Bumgardner passed away on Tuesday, the day I arrived. It was not unexpected, but that does not make it any easier. We will all miss her very much. There will be an unofficial small memorial service for her at the 20 mule team ride, a ride she founded, on Friday after the riders meeting. It will be a chance for people to celebrate her life and share a couple of stories about her. I have some. Godspeed, Jackie.

More on the ride at:
2017 Fire Mountain on Endurance.net


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Australia: Trot to the Top: Riding the Bicentennial National Trail - Kim Delavere

Trot to the Top

Hi, I’m Kim, I’m 25, and I’m riding from Healesville, Victoria, to Cooktown in Queensland, along the Bicentennial National Trail!

The BNT is a 5330KM long track that has been specially designed with self-reliant trekkers in mind. It has taken me ten months to prepare myself and my steeds for the trip!

I began the trail on the 15th of December, 2015, with my two horses, Clem and Pippin. We travelled along the trail, over the mountains to Omeo where I retired my packhorse Pip and continued on with my gelding Clem. After arriving in Canberra Clem ran into traffic and was injured, putting a halt on our trip. I started the trail again in Winter with two new horses, Koshi and Archy, but we got snowed in at Crookwell. Now I’m heading back out on the trail with just Archy, while Clem enjoys a new home far, far away from any bike paths, and Koshi enjoys time with his new family.

My trip is unsupported and solo (and so much fun!), but could not have been made possible without the help and support from so many people. The Long Riders Guild has been a terrific source of advice and support, and have asked me to carry the LRG flag as I make my way along the BNT, which is totally exciting!

While I am embarking on this very ambitious adventure up the way, I plan to raise support and awareness for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation works to provide remote and isolated communities with books and literary resources to improve education and opportunities for Indigenous kids. They work within communities to increase exposure to books and literacy at a young age, in order to give children the best chance at a great education that they will benefit from as they become adults. The ILF also publish books written in English and first language, as well as fund other literacy projects too. They currently work within 230 Indigenous communities, receive no funding from the government, and continue to raise community awareness of the many issues surrounding Indigenous literacy levels. I believe that education is a vital key in improving the quality of life in any child. I also know from my own experience that reading, being read to, and developing an imagination, an understanding, and a passion for stories is a gift that should be shared, encouraged and nurtured.
Donations can be made through this link: https://www.mycause.com.au/page/116245/riding-the-bicentennial-national-trail

So please show some support! And hopefully I'll see you along the trail somewhere ;)

You can follow the entire adventure here:
https://www.facebook.com/Trot-to-the-Top-Riding-the-Bicentennial-National-Trail-1558904634379513/



Friday, January 06, 2017

Death Valley Encounter XP 2016 - Redheaded Endurance

Redheadedendurance.com - Full Story

January 3, 2017 / Redheaded Endurance

I was incredibly fortunate to end my 2016 calendar year, and start my 2017 AERC season, adventuring through Death Valley with good friends and borrowed horses. I rode all 4 days of the event, something I’ve never done before, and rode a different horse each day. It was an incredible adventure that I hope to do some justice to with a bit of summation, as there’s many things to say and pictures to share.

We left early the morning after Christmas–we being myself and my gear, hopping aboard childhood schoolmate Elicia’s rig, along with new buddy Jo. Elicia brought her Arabian Kenlyn Amir, one of Mark Montgomery’s Mustangs, her mini horse companion Jellybean, and Jo’s amazing Morgan mare Beetle.

It was a happily uneventful drive and we pulled into a relatively empty ride camp just after dark. Mark and the rest of his Mustangs rolled in later that evening but as we hadn’t entirely sorted out my sleeping quarters to that point I spent the first night on my cot in the cozy christmas light-decked tent of a kind new acquaintance, Lora, and her cutest-ever dog. The tight community feel at these XP rides truly cannot be overstated!

As usual, having “a whole extra day!” in camp quickly seemed like not enough time, as everyone settled in, Mustangs were clipped, and we got through our two sets of pre rides getting all the necessary steeds legs stretched. It’s a singularly interesting experience to be at a ride you’ve never been to, sleeping you’re not sure where, riding a number of new horses, in saddles you have not yet decided on. I’m fairly certain a number of Endurance Tenets were broken (don’t try something new at a ride? Pshhhh!!) throughout this saga but hey, that’s adventuring!...

Read more here:
https://redheadedendurance.com/2017/01/03/death-valley-encounter-xp-2016/

Monday, January 02, 2017

Something Wonderful - Marvel Endurance

MarvelEndurance Blog - Full Story

January 1 2017

Next up on our calendar for the year was one of my favourite tracks – Biggenden. The ride has never been run over the exact same trail, every year is new! What did Sue have in store for us this time? The last thing our horses wanted – a bloody big hill…

Here at home we don’t have hills. Not real hills, they’re more like gentle slopes really, so our horses tend to struggle on the hillier tracks and we have to slow down a good deal and take care of them through the tough parts. Most of the Biggenden track was undulating and good under foot which is a lot like what we train for, but that hill – oh lordy that hill…!

We had four horses in the 80km – Jasmine riding her horse Hala, Adriana with Sam, Erin on Koda and myself with Milton. We also happened to meet a new rider in our area who we managed to help along to the ride with her horse – her name was Kat and her little mare is Vegas. They were entering the 40km so we would begin a bit earlier.

Before we vetted in, Adriana and I clipped Sam and left a snowy patch of white hair in his yard which Revan (my dog) found to be such fun to play in. After a quick brush we vetted in and decided to go on a quick pre-ride. It was a lovely afternoon, Spencer and Erin’s dad, Craig, got the fire going and we all huddled around before heading off to the Biggenden pub for our customary pre-ride dinner...

Read more here:
https://marvelendurance.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/something-wonderful/

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A riding I will go............ - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

December 9 2016
by Karen Bumgarner

Summer came and went. I rode here and there and every where. I neglected my blog as I played with horses all through the fall and into the snowy weather. So now, since it's 26 degrees and dropping frozen rain drops on top of yesterday's snow, perhaps I'll get a bit creative.

Somewhere during summer my AERC patch for riding 26,000 miles on rides arrived in the mail. That doesn't include fun rides, trail rides, conditioning or goofing off rides. Just sanctioned AERC endurance rides.

I started this crazy activity in 1977 on my pony horse from the track, Sunny Spots R. At our first ride a vteran rider told me that Sunny would never make it because he was too big. Yes he was 16.2 and weighed 1250 pounds and I retired him from endurance years after that with 4,410 AERC miles and many awards...

Read more here:
http://karenshorsetales.blogspot.com/2016/12/a-riding-i-will-go.html

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Rough Going - Marvel Endurance

Marvelendurance Blog - Full Story

DECEMBER 4, 2016
MARVELENDURANCE

I remember a loud cracking sound, and I remember the feeling of my foot bending in a way it shouldn’t be expected to. I remember realising what was happening as I fell into the newly dug and uncovered fence post hole. The front half of my foot had almost made it over, another inch and I might not have even known the danger.

Earlier in the 2015 I had offered a young girl the opportunity to try endurance, riding my then 5 year old Arab Connemara mare, Ardair Skoda. The two of them got along very well and they came along so nicely in training that we planned for them to start in their first 40km at Rockybar, where I planned to do my next 80km with the new horse we had in training.

Haze went home on the 28th of March. I was heartbroken, but I knew that it was just too easy to keep riding the seasoned horse while the young ones stayed fat in the paddock so I had to remove the temptation. It isn’t like I would never see Haze again, he would be at Rockybar in preparation for the 50th Tom Quilty later in the year.

We had gotten into the year with one hell of a swing, things were going pretty damn well! I was two rides through novice, Jas had made it through her first 80km completion at Cooyar, Adriana had made a brave call on Sally at the ride and I couldn’t imagine a better outcome – the future was looking bright! Little did I know that tings were going to come crashing down around my ears in a short space of time...

Read more here:
https://marvelendurance.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/rough-going/



Sunday, December 04, 2016

Gold Rush Shuffle November 2016 - Nick Warhol

My first rider option pull!

November 27 2016
by Nick Warhol

I took Sorsha and Donnie to Camp Far West Lake for the three-day ride, hoping to ride day two on Sorsha on her second 50, and Donnie on Day 3. Rain was in the forecast, but who cares about a little rain? Gretchen Montgomery brought her two horses up from Ridgecrest, rode Coquette Friday on day 1, and finished, getting her 10,000th endurance mile. That’s a big accomplishment. Congratulations to Gretchen! Friday was nice weather wise; I drove up on Friday, having done thanksgiving with the family. The forecast for rain kept changing, and now it was supposed to start Saturday morning at 8am. Saturday morning came nice; clear and cool. Gretchen rode her 5K mile horse Spice with Sorsha and I. Sorsha passed test number one- she just walked out of camp with me, not caring in the least about leaving her pasture buddy. Nice! We left at 6:30 am near the back of the pack, with spice leading Sorsha and I down the road. Sorsha did a good job, being more relaxed than her first ride. She still gets a little nervous when horses pass us, especially at a trot. She wants to go with them! She also likes to be in front, but will follow other horses if need be. We switched back and forth as we rode the first hour and a half or so, having a really fun time. (the pictures above were taken before 8am!) Guess what happened at 8am? The rain started. Lightly at first, no problem. Then the front came in. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and the rain started. Real rain. In no time we were pretty wet, but worse was the cold temp and the wind. The trails were not too bad so far, but they were deteriorating fast. Real fast. By the time we got to the gun range the trails were either slippery mud, or actually running water, like little streams. It was very slippery, so we walked a lot, only trotting on the couple of roads we touched for a bit, and on some of the trails that were flat. By the time we got to the old ride Camp, the whole area was a swamp. There were deep mud holes you could not see under the standing (running!) water on the trails. And the cold. The temp as in the high 40s, we were soaked, and it was windy. We got off the horses and walked with them to help keep warm, but I kept falling down in the mud. Just past the old camp we got on a gravel road that was trottable, but it was covered in water, a couple of inches in places. When I first brought Sorsha home, she would not cross water or muddy spots. We spent a a lot of time working on that, but Boy, that’s a thing of the past! She’s an official water horse now, having done half of the whole loop in the water and mud. She was such a good sport.

We were cold to the bone, soaking wet, and walking in the slop. Reality set in when we looked at the clock. This loop was what, 22 miles or so? It was noon and we were still not near camp. It was an easy decision to quit. First, we were cold and quite uncomfortable. The rain, cold, and wind would not stop. Second, there was no way on earth we were going to finish on time, or in the daylight, since we still had 2 loops to go, and I was not going to trot her in this mud. But most importantly, I was not going to risk hurting my horse in this slop. If I hurt her I would not be able to forgive myself. We slogged our way into camp, arriving at about 12:45. We started at 6:30. We vetted the horses, turned in our cards, got the horses fed and blanketed, and hit the campers. Thank you whoever for the camper! That furnace and hot water heater were never more appreciated. It took a while to thaw out, and the hot chocolate and warm food made us feel more like humans again.

Was I going out the next day on Donnie? I don’t think so. Not a chance. Many people were not going out the next day after hearing the stories about the trail. Am I sorry I quit? Nope! She looked fantastic for the vet at the end, pulse 36. This was my pull, not hers. I think it’s the first time in my 24 years of endurance that I quit a ride because of me. On the bright side, I got the best practice ride in water and wet conditions for my horse I could ever hope for. Are you kidding? I would NEVER have done that as a conditioning ride. Yuck. You should have seen her trotting on that road, through 2 inch deep water for a half mile at a time, water spraying up over us like being sprayed by a fire hose. Diddn’t matter, we could not have gotten any wetter. I wish I had come a day earlier, but oh well. We drove home Saturday evening in the rain, all the way home. Okay rain, you can stop now. Im happy for Gretchen and her 10K miles, and im happy with how Sorsha is doing so far. Next stop- fire mountain in January, and 20 mule team in February.

You can read many more of Nick's entertaining endurance ride stories here:
https://www.facebook.com/nickwstories/

Friday, November 04, 2016

Skymont - Heather Reynolds

Reynoldsracing.us - Full Story

by Heather Reynolds
November 1 2016

The Skymont ride was a very nice change in weather for us. The temperature notably dropped from Florida up to Tennesee. It was a huge relief. The drive was an easy one and the horses were happy to get away from the heat as well. Jeremy and I took 2 horses each to ride one per day. I took Derby for day 1 and Gus for day 2. Jeremy took Lou for day 1 and Rictik for day 2.

When we arrived our friends Jesse and Aubree were waiting in camp for us, they had saved us a parking spot. We started to park and soon saw that our short bed truck combined with the auxiliary fuel tank in the bed of our truck was not going to allow for much navigating on the uneven terrain. We just got a new flatbed put on our truck and we have not gotten the sleeve needed yet to give us the distance we need to safely clear the gas tank. New dent... Oh well. We got it parked. Now to set up. We started to get everything set up and organized but when the time came to extend the slideouts we found out they didn't want to play this weekend. Damn things. One of them came out all slanted and jammed up. Jesse and Jeremy used a come-along ratchet strap and brute force to get it back in. One slide out worked but was leaking hydrolic fluid. Funtastic. (Turns out the hydrolics on both slides went bad and the AMAZING part about the design is that one of the slide's hydrolic systems is built in such a way that you actually have to tear out the living quarters to get to it, and this trailer company wonders why it went belly up??)

We vetted in and hung out. The ride camp is nicely shaded and by a lake. It was a pretty place. That evening we hiked, really hiked to the ride meeting. If Aubree hadn't been with us I would have totally thought we were just going out an a trail loop. It was about a mile to get to the meeting, on the trail. The meeting went on VERY long with a branch by branch trail description. Dinner was also served with the meeting. This ride is at a boys camp so the meeting is in the mess hall. It was pretty fun walking back, it was very dark and there were glow sticks...

Read more here:
http://www.reynoldsracing.us/heathers_blog/view/541/skymont

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Chief Joseph Trail Ride

Equitrekking.com - Full Article

June 27, 2016

Learn about this historic, progressive trail ride that traces the route Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce took while fleeing from the U.S. Cavalry in 1877.


by Jocelyn Pierce

The Chief Joseph Trail Ride, hosted annually by the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), is a progressive ride that follows the approximately 1300-mile trek the Nez Perce people took while attempting to escape the U.S. Cavalry in 1877.

The ApHC held the first Chief Joseph Trail Ride in 1965 in homage to the historical route traveled by the Nez Perce Tribe. It is the longest-running and most popular trail ride hosted by the ApHC, with a portion of the ride completed each year. This year marks the fourth time the ride will be completed, culminating at Bear Paw Battlefield in Montana, where Chief Joseph surrendered. Every year, riders travel 100 miles over a 5-day period, which means it takes a total of thirteen years to complete the entire trail from start to finish...

Read more here:
http://www.equitrekking.com/articles/entry/the-chief-joseph-trail-ride/?mc_cid=4e763d0cf9&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Friday, October 21, 2016

Great Britain: The Red Dragon Endurance Festival by Jo Bond

Hay-net.co.uk - Full Story

by Jo Bond
11 october 2016

The Red Dragon is a mythical endurance competition that people talk about being incredibly tough but incredibly beautiful. It takes place near Builth Wells in S Wales and takes you across amazing mountain landscapes. When we moved back from France this competition went on my Wish List for this year and I’m so pleased that we got there.

It really has something for everyone with Pleasure Rides through to the 2 day Red Dragon covering 80kms each day in a race ride. I decided to attempt The Dragon’s Days. This is 126kms over 3 days with 3200m of climbing.

The venue is stunning, being at the Welsh Show Ground and so there are lovely stables for the horses, trot ups indoors and even an on-site residential centre to stay at (but you do have to book early).

Day 1 was stunning with mild weather, red kites dancing overhead and the most beautiful views. I kept finding myself gasping at the views. There were of course big climbs but the going was nice and we both really enjoyed ourselves.

Day 2 was sent from hell. Torrential rain all day just destroyed the tracks and it got dangerous out there. It needed really steady riding...

Read more here:
http://www.hay-net.co.uk/jo-bond/9873/the-red-dragon-endurance-festival-by-jo-bond

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Colombia - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing - Full Story

October 7 2016
by Heather Reynolds

I have once again missed the boat in a big way on posting my blog! On our drive home from California to Florida (back in August!), just after we cleared Auburn, we received an invite from our friend Cristina Mutis to ride in the Colombian National Championship. Jeremy and I would be riding her horses on the 75 mile FEI ride. We thought about it very briefly and agreed to go...When else would an amazing opportunity like this come up?

This ride happened to be only a week after we left CA so we would have to get across the country and get things organized in a hurry and then head to the airport. We managed to get everything done and found ourselves sitting on a plane just a little over a week after leaving CA. CRAZY.

When we arrived in Bogota it was late in the evening and Diego Arboleda picked us up. We had never met Diego in person so I sent him a picture of a bright ball cap I would wear, to which he sent me a pic of an orange Bass Pro hat he would wear. It worked perfectly. When we were walking to the car we noticed that we were at elevation as our breath was short. Bogota is around 8675 feet.

Diego drove us to his farm where we spent the night. It was an amazing old house with a straw thatch roof, like from a fairy tale. In the morning we looked around his farm and met his horses.

It is colder in Colombia than we had imagined. The whole time we were there it was around 55-65 for the high and drizzling rain off and on.

We drove to the ride site, the road was a windy mountain pass. The roads in general are pretty rough. There are also amazingly random speed bumps in the middle of a two lane highway where you were just driving 50 MPH and then... SURPRISE! We managed to not meet the roof with our skulls but had a lot of really close calls.

Once at the ride site it was the same familiar territory of any endurance camp. The venue was really nice, it had an indoor lounge with full catering of breakfast, lunch and dinner that you could purchase as well as hot drinks and a fireplace going. Then there was music playing over a PA system all weekend. Just outside from this meeting area was a covered arena for vetting. There was a very nice social aspect to this event as far as being able to comfortably hang out. There were actually a surprising amount of spectators who had simply come to hang out...

Read more here:
http://www.reynoldsracing.us/heathers_blog/view/535/colombia_

Thursday, October 06, 2016

South Africa Sandymont Express Day 4 - Devan Horn

http://www.endurance.net/international/SouthAfrica/2016SandymountExpress1000/

october 4
South Africa Sandymont 1000 Day 4!!!

I am thrilled to report we are halfway there!!! Coco Channel was stronger today during her loop than yesterday, Hidalgo beasted up to 160 kilometres sound and happy, and Avatrix came through for our 45 kilometre loop like a dream. We have wrapped up day 4, and I’m beginning to get my schedule down:

4:00AM – Wake up

4:05AM- Breakfast (1 banana, a piece of toast with peanut butter, and a double espresso)

4:50AM- Rykie drives me to race site. She also picks what music I will have stuck in my head all day. Popular choices include Avicii and OneRepublic, at top volume.

5:00AM- Get to the race site. Go through list of stuff I have to do. Find out Jaco and Elias have already done the stuff I thought of and everything I’ve forgotten as well.

5:30AM- Ride an awesome horse

8:30AM- Ride another awesome horse

11:30AM- Ride a fantastic horse

4:00PM- Dinner 1 (cheese and either antelope or springbok, preferably both)

5:00PM- Dinner 2 (Brai…I look around in expectation when anyone says this word. It involves throwing some sort of animal over and open flame and cooking it with delicious spices. It’s like a dry rub barbeque) and a potato if there’s room.

9:00PM- Dinner 3 (Biltong in bed)

9:30PM – Sleep

I’m chronicling what I eat because as every endurance athlete knows, at some point during the race you usually hit a wall, slump, mental droop, or low point. For me, it has historically been day 3 of the race. This time, I have had ZERO slump or fatigue, and my body feels like it hasn’t started working yet at all. It’s probably because I’m in fair shape right now, feeding it correctly, and have the best possible fuel. Every Hammer Electrolyte product I packed for this trip is worth its weight in gold. During the ride I’m fuelling with HEED, E-lyte electrolyte pills, and 1-2 Hammer Gels.

We’re going into the back stretch, and not only am I 100% fresh, I have two horses that haven’t even done any miles yet on my string. The horse that I have ridden so far are happy and sound. I got a really nice complement from the vet today on how my horses’ backs are looking extremely good, which makes me feel great!
On to day 5!!!

“He said, "One day you'll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember."
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me
When thunder clouds start pouring down
Light a fire they can't put out
Carve your name into those shining stars
He said, "Go venture far beyond these shores.”” -Avicci

The Spanish Peaks Endurance Endeavour - Christoph Schork

The Ride Manager and Team Easyboot Member Tennessee Lane at Base Camp

Easycareinc Blog - Full Story

Monday, October 3, 2016 by Christoph Schork

What a privilege it has been for me being able to join Tennessee Lane, ride manager and dear friend, together with other well known riders for the inaugural Spanish Peaks 100 mile endurance ride last week. The location was very close to La Veta, Colorado; in fact, just a few miles outside of this marvel of a small town in southern Colorado. After the National Championship Ride in Utah three weeks ago, (I wrote a Blog about it last month) this ride was another highlight of the season.

The base camp is situated at over 8000 ft with the magnificent Spanish Peaks as a background. I am using the present tense, because this base camp has been permanently installed with buildings, water wells and electricity by the Lane family and will serve as base camp for all future rides there. All pertinent info for present and future events there can be found on the SoCo Facebook page.

As to be expected, the management and organization were first class, trails perfectly marked. Exquisite catered dinners for riders and crew were the reward for everybody's efforts and labor...

- See more at: http://blog.easycareinc.com/blog/bootmeister-natural-hoof-care-tips/the-spanish-peaks-endurance-endeavour#sthash.nGJLnyk3.dpuf

Saturday, October 01, 2016

South Africa Sandymont Express Day 1 - Devan Horn

October 1 2016

(You better sit down this one!)

Well, I came here to fight, and Africa threw the first punch! I started out the ride on Cowboy, setting out with 9 other riders on our first loop. It was impossibly beautiful starting out at sunrise with the wild game, until the buffalo attacked! Buffalo in America are fluffy cows. Buffalo here are tanks happy to charge horses and chase them if you come up on them unexpected! Luckily, Rachel and I got to sit on our horses and watch them chase the front runners instead of being chased. We waited until we were sure they were gone and continued our ride. I had a great loop with Cowboy, he was the smallest of my string but had the biggest trot! We went all the way around the loop, and started making the decent into camp. Suddenly, he was tender going downhill. I thought to myself "Oh no, this isn't happening, this is my first loop and first horse, he can't possibly be lame!" But when we got to the vet, he was footsore. He could technically ride again in 2 days, but we will probably give his miles to another horse.

As you know, if there is something wrong with your horse at Sandymont, you must repeat the entire loop...

And that's how I ended up riding 160k (100 miles) on my first day!

I did it in about 12 hours. After Cowboy vetted out, I became conscious of the fact that I was now in last place by a matter of hours. But luckily I was able to instead focus on doing the best for my team that I could, which did NOT include bumrushing to make up time, but getting them around safely and slowly, so we could keep going through the week. The course is a huge challenge, and more technical than I had given it credit for. I re-rode my first loop on Aviatrix, then rode Zara and Hidalgo as well. Luckily, I was able to get around without further penalties. Aviatrix is a solid veteran, takes care of herself and won't be rushed! Zara did her first endurance ride today, and rocked it, even if she is a bit green under saddle! Hidalgo is also a veteran, but would happily gallop every loop if I let him. He was not impressed by my attempt to get him to slow down.

So everyone else finished in between 1 and 4. I finished just before 6. On my last loop, I got a really nice surprise when fellow rider Tines packed his truck with friends and beer, and met me on the turnaround one extra loop! It was really awesome of him, It was a fantastic pick-me-up, and made me feel better about being out there so long. What a great competitor.

Elias says a bad beginning means a fantastic ending. At the end of day 1, I'm hours behind and have 40k extra on my legs. But...my horses look great, and I feel fantastic! Have you ever seen a more beautiful challenge?!?

Follow more of Devan's adventure at
http://www.endurance.net/international/SouthAfrica/2016SandymountExpress1000/

Monday, August 01, 2016

Tevis 2016: THINK PINK! - Aurora Grohman

Funder picture
Redheadedendurance.com - Full Story

JULY 30, 2016 / REDHEADED ENDURANCE

This was my fifth consecutive year crewing Tevis–and my favorite. If you immediately imagine 24+ hours of dirt, sweat, pain (blood? check!), excitement, hope, and inspiration, you are correct. If you were topping that imaginary scenario with a Completion and Buckle, sorry, that wasn’t the case. In fact, with a 28 mile Metabolic pull at Red Star, my rider made it the shortest of either her (she made it 55 miles in 2012) or my (I’ve crewed 3/4 buckles previously, the 1 non buckle being a Finish line pull) experiences.

Why on god’s green earth would a short ride and metabolic pull be your favorite experience, you whisper, perhaps horrified?

Because the heart of this sport of endurance besides the amazing partnerships with our horses are the great people we come to know and the true endurance it takes just to get to these starting lines. To have a great ride and finish is a true accomplishment–as is to do all that, *not finish,* and keep trucking undaunted, in it’s own right. Tevis has a completion rate of +/- 50% every year, no matter what–that’s a whole lot of technically qualified teams getting pulled despite their best efforts. No matter the end result, it’s no small thing just to be among the Vetted-in at Robie Park on Friday of Tevis weekend...

Read more here:
https://redheadedendurance.com/2016/07/30/tevis-2016-think-pink/

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Catching up from April...Dubai to Tevis - Heather Reynolds

ReynoldsRacing.us Blog - Full Story

July 26 2016
by Heather Reynolds

I have been super lax on writing my blog!!! I see that I haven't done one since March! We went to Dubai after FITS with Rictik and Chachie. The trip was really brief this time compared to the month long stay we had in Dec/Jan. Both of the horses traveled well. Chachie and Rictik both handled the desert without an issue. On loop two Rictik did leave me in the sand, that was a drag as she really wrenched my back. That was the only casualty we had though. She saw something that I didn't (and no other living thing did either) and did a huge twisting leap from cantering on a loose reign. I was airborn before I even knew what had happened.

Rictik and Chachie finished the 120/75 mile ride as the sun was setting. It was a successful trip. We had stellar crew once again. The crew was my mom Jean, sister Hannah, Adam Farmer, Lynn Kenelly and my brother Jonathan.

From here, the organizing committee graciously agreed to fly our horses to the UK rather than back to Miami. The horses went to Nicki and Andy Thorne's place in the UK. They would do the Windsor FEI race which was roughly 5 weeks after the Dubai race. Nicki and Andy hosted us and took wonderful care of us and our horses. They helped make us in making the arangements.

When we returned from Dubai we went to the McCulley Farm ride with Emma and Elaine. We did the two day ride. This is a very nice ride. Fun trails and a well organized event. Emma rode Code both days, Jeremy rode Liger day 1 and Sinister day 2, Elaine rode Benz both days and I rode Kellora the first day and pulled her on day 2. It was a fun time.

Jeremy flew out to the UK after this to take care of the two horses feet and ride them for a couple of weeks after the horses had been resting in the UK for a couple of weeks. At this point we found that Rictik was not sound. After a vet work up not much was found. Her suspensory was sore but clean in an ultrasound. Bummer. She would just rest in the UK and skip the race.

While Jeremy was in the UK I took his horse Danire to a local 50. Elaine took her Rocky Mountain horse, Hershey. It was an elevator ride so Elaine was starting with the LD and depending on how hot it was going to be she would either do the LD or elevate to the 50. Danire and Hershey went around nice and easy together. We had fun. At the halfway point, we were arriving into our 1 hour hold as the leaders were getting ready to head back out and it was really getting hot so Elaine decided 25 was enough for Hershey. I went out to do the rest of the 50. I had trotted the first half of the ride and now for training purposes I planned to canter the rest. Danire went around at a nice canter for the rest of the ride and won by a healthy margin. The leaders had not expected to see me so that was pretty fun. Danire also won BC and high vet score. This was his first ride after his 100 in the UAE in Jan...

Read more here:
http://www.reynoldsracing.us/heathers_blog/view/534/catching_up_from_april___dubai_to_tevis

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