Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Chief Joe Trail Ride - Onward to Musellshell - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

July 29 2019
by Karen Bumgarner

This had to be the fastest week ever! It seemed like I had barely left when it was time to say goodbye to my friends for another year, and we all load up and go home. To describe this years experience I could overuse the word "amazing" very easily. We had our ups and downs, it wasn't perfect, but as someone said, "We weren't living in teepees and when we get to camp dinner will be ready for us!" Truer words were never spoken. It's all an adventure.

The Chief Joseph ride began in 1965 and this was the 55th year, taking place over the third segment of the trail. It takes 13 years to complete the entire trail and it averages 100 miles a year. This years total by an average of several GPS' was 113 miles!! Last year we ended at Tolo Lake near Grangeville, ID, and this year we ended at the historic Musselshell Meadows. We rode through thick forests with magnificent views through the trees, old burns, beautiful wildflowers, along scenic rivers, historic routes and places. Each night we had Nez Perce speakers to learn the history of the events and places along the way...

Read more here:
https://karenshorsetales.blogspot.com/2019/07/chief-joe-trail-ride-onward-to.html

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Going the Distance: Riding my first 50 - Jessica Isbrecht

Ride+Climb blog - Full Story

June 24 2019
by Jessica Isbrecht

My horse and I have just gone our furthest distance yet. I’ve been in the saddle for hours. My knees and back ache. The sun is beating down; temperatures are climbing, causing us to slow to a walk. It feels like it will never end. The enthusiasm I felt at the start is waning but I don’t want to give up, so I just keep riding, taking it mile by mile.

The sport of Endurance Riding has always intrigued me. The athleticism of horse and rider teams competing on courses of 100 miles in a day is awe inspiring. I’ve always wanted to make it to that level but so far have only competed in limited distance rides, meaning shorter than fifty miles. Recently, I decided to attempt a longer distance. Here’s the story of how we reached our goal of completing a fifty mile endurance ride.

I started competing on River, Byron’s horse, this season out of necessity since Mackenzie is still healing from an injury. In March, River and I completed our first 25 miles at Old Pueblo in Sonoita, Arizona. The terrain consisted of gently rolling hills and River handled it beautifully. We were able to buddy up with fellow Greenbean, Christina McCarty and her horse, Hot Shot. Riding with them was a real pleasure. It gave me the confidence to ride away from camp on a prancing, head-tossing beast who was screaming for her friend back at the trailer...

Read more here:
https://rideclimb.com/going-the-distance-riding-my-first-50/

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Chasing Oregon’s Volcanoes - Robert Eversole

Trailmeister.com - Full Story

December 20 2018

As published in The TrailHead News Dec 2018 issue

Over the summer I had the opportunity to camp and ride throughout central Oregon for two weeks, stopping at 4 different equine camps along the way and riding some phenomenal country.

Celeste and I started at the Quinn Meadow Horse Camp, west of Bend. It’s a popular destination point for riders throughout the Pacific Northwest. This very clean, very welcoming camp offers sturdy corrals, potable water, private camp spots and miles of loop trails to enjoy through dense forest, and remnants of the area’s volcanic past.

Within 10 minutes of the horse camp riders can step back over 7,000 years to a time of bubbling basaltic lava flows and volcanic vistas. Riding through the lava flows that tower overhead is quite the experience! For more info on the horse camp including accurate directions, GPS tracks, pics, and more, visit https://www.trailmeister.com/trails/quinn-meadow-horse-camp/

Great Minds Think Alike at Todd Creek

After a few days at Quinn we decamped and traveled an impressive 5 miles down the road to the Todd Creek Horse Camp where I would be completing my unfinished ride of 2017. Pulling into the immense parking lot that is the Todd Creek Camp we saw that two of our Quinn Meadow mule neighbors had already arrived, made camp and were now planning the next day’s ride...

Read more here:
https://www.trailmeister.com/chasing-oregons-volcanoes/?fbclid=IwAR2zrNOyUPO6cjaplm1iicUedlf9RM5bVikvKeS4xByxEnjSQRZdM_83Wkw

Monday, June 17, 2019

2019 Wild West 50 Day 2 - Nick Warhol

by Nick Warhol
June 16 2019

I rode Sorsha on her second 50 of the year on Day 2 of the now 4 day wild west ride at Skillman campground near Nevada City in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Gretchen Montgomery joined me for the ride on her mare Coquette. I have done thirty plus 50 mile rides at this event over the years so I know the area pretty well. The ride this day was a modified version of the usual route with some differences. The day has been a little short in the past, but not on Friday. It was easily a full 50 on a long day in the saddle in a weird ride. It was very hot, which does not bother me, but the heat and trail took it out of many people. An amazing half of the riders got pulled on this day which I don’t ever remember happening. The ride used to be about 60% single track and 40% roads, but not now! Ride management did me a favor and made it about 90% single track. It was a great trail for me anyway. Long story short Gretchen and I just rode all day and had pretty much a perfect ride. We missed several turns, as did many people, but were able to back track and find the route pretty easily. The ride started at 7am and we finished at 6pm in 19th and 20th. I believe about 48 started and only 26 finished. My knee did well again as it did at Cache Creek 4 weeks ago. My solution is to walk a quarter mile every 5 miles or so- it really helps refresh my knee.

Oh, about my horse. When I got Sorsha 3 years ago I told people I think this is going to be a good endurance horse. Oh boy was I right on that one! She is no longer going to be a good horse, she is now officially a very good endurance horse! I’m astounded how far she has come so quickly. She is a metabolic machine with incredible recoveries, which is a good thing. In her first few rides I had to lead her on foot from camp due to her nerves and excitement- not any more. We walk out perfectly looking like a trail horse. She would not go near water, mud, or moist ground. (On my test ride before I bought her we had to turn around because of a little mud on the trail) Now she crosses anything. She used to have a fit and spin around when another horse passed her or she passed one- not any more. She goes up hills like no Arabian I have ever ridden. She eats and drinks like a seasoned pro. Her number one issue is she is flighty and spooks. She was VERY spooky at first which led me to have to ride her differently that Donnie, that’s for sure. I know she is going to launch so I have to be ready at all times.

Here’s where I admit that you never stop learning about horses. Before the Cache Creek ride a month ago I was talking to my friend Ines Hoffman who I rode with. I was explaining how I had to ride Sorsha differently than Donnie because of her spooks. She gave me some simple advice that at first I did not pay much attention to. She just told me “Don’t ride her like she’s going to spook, ride her like she won’t.” I started thinking about that, and during the ride she pointed out that I was looking for things for her to spook at, which the horse probably felt. I stopped doing that and just relaxed, like I do when I’m on Donnie.

Yeah- night and day difference. She did not spook at anything during the Cache Creek ride, even when she was in the lead of our group of horses. Not one spook. At the ride on Friday Gretchen and I spent just about half and half leading the other. Sorsha did not spook once. She looks at things, and will move over on the trail a little bit when she’s looking, but no spooks other than one little startle when she walked over a deep rut filled with branches. She’s a different horse in the last couple of months, and is an absolute joy to ride. I was obviously communicating nervousness to her. It is so neat to see the incredible improvement in just a couple of years.

Next stop is Fireworks where I will ride with Judy and Donnie on the 25. My year is focused on getting Sorsha primed for the Championship 100 at the 20 mule team on November 2nd. It’s my trail and I can’t wait!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Across Argentina on Horseback

FEI.org - Full Story and photos

14 June 2019

Harold and Danaé were novice riders until they embarked on a 1,000km trek across Argentina with three incredible horses...

El Carmen, Argentina - April 2019: The young couple on horseback are tired after another long day on the road. They are 600km into their epic trip across the wild terrain of northern Argentina, and there’s hundreds of kilometres still to go with their trio of horses.

On the horizon a vehicle is coming their way. Dust spits up from the road as the engine roars. The car nears – faster and faster, louder and louder - and Pilpinto, their sturdy and reliable saddlebag horse, takes fright, leaping over a barrier by the roadside and then back over it again. He screams in pain.


The young couple, Harold and Danaé, come to his aid. Poor, brave Pilpinto is spooked. He’s bleeding from his leg. The blood rushes. He needs help...

Read more at:
https://www.fei.org/stories/argentina-horseback-los-nomados

Saturday, June 01, 2019

2019 Torre Creek 2019: Scenery, and Snail! - Redheaded Endurance

Redheadedendurance.com - Full Story

May 29, 2019 / Redheaded Endurance

Kenny and I jumped aboard adventure pal W’s trailer last Friday morning for a journey to the new high desert multi-day endurance ride Torre Creek in north eastern Nevada. Kenny and I’s last endurance ride (complete with exciting travel issues) was in September and we had had truly minimal saddle time since the new year between life and the new job; that coupled with ride camp at 6500 ft elevation (we live at about 1200 ft) with climbs promised had me already weighing the idea of changing my planned 50 to an LD once or twice in the week leading up to the event.

Morning of departure, the weather forecast was dire and we had a long (7 hr) drive ahead of us, but a friend of W’s was putting the ride on and we had long ago committed to attending. Feeling as discombobulated as one does after not going to a ride in ages, and then not in your own rig, I scrabbled together what I thought we would need for an “arrive-Friday, ride-Saturday, home-Sunday” weekend and off we set (note to self: always pack more hay than you think you should).

An aside: If you have followed this blog at all then you may know that trucks have a tendency to misbehave around me. Here I would like to record a BIG shout out to W’s 1997 Ford, who laid to rest all past transgressions by charging through the 14+ hours of travel like a fresh faced youth, apparently unphased by being backed into at ride camp mid weekend. Thank you, Ford!

Suffice to say that we arrived at ride camp as planned late afternoon on Friday–and that’s about where “as planned” ended for the weekend! Things got real quite quickly, as Kenny has barely made his opening tour of the grounds and taken in his ride camp spot before it started hailing– with conviction...

Read more here:
https://redheadedendurance.com/2019/05/29/torre-creek-2019-scenery-and-snail/

Friday, May 10, 2019

2019 Biltmore 50 - Liz Stout

Liz-Stout Blog - Full Story

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Shortly after I tossed aside my hopes of attending No Frills earlier in April, Lauren reached out to me about being her sponsor for the Biltmore 50 on May 3. (In AERC, a sponsor is an adult ride who agrees to ride with a junior rider for the duration of the ride.) I’ve crewed this ride for an FEI rider once and again for Sara on her first 100. With added time to put weight on Q during April and knowing the grass was coming in strongly already, I accepted her proposal, excited to finally have a chance to ride at Biltmore!

It’s always been a dream of mine to ride at Biltmore, but one that didn’t work out in the timeline I’d hoped after Q tore her LH suspensory at the end of August in 2016. As I’ve written about at length since the injury, I’ve brought Q back slowly. In addition to rehabbing her suspensory, we’ve rehabbed our fractured relationship and our trust/confidence in one another. Slowly and steadily, with a lot of patience and a lot of time and miles, we made it back to where we were and then beyond. Since then, I’ve been eager to put everything to the true test of an endurance ride...

So the short of it? Q exceeded any and all expectations I had for her. She carried us to a completion after 50 miles of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever competed on. She led for nearly half of the ride, 12 of 15 miles of the final loop, like a total BOSS. Does this mean that we don’t have more to work on? Absolutely not. We’ve still got lots to improve on, but this new baseline is lightyears ahead of the old one and I couldn’t possibly be more thrilled.

The long of it? Gather your drink of choice and settle in for the first endurance ride story on this blog since June 2016, and I’ll tell you...

Read more here:
http://liz-stout.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 02, 2019

A Hunter Jumper Gone Rogue - Sonya Bengali

RidingWarehouse Blog - Full Story

April 16 2019

There is a ton of crossover between disciplines these days, but often it still feels like each operates in its own "world," with unique sets of rules and customs. Below, RW crew member and hunter/jumper rider, Sonya, hops disciplines and shares her experience doing her first Endurance ride, the 2019 Nevada Derby!

-----------------------------------

A Little Background Info

I started my riding career in Pony Club, and throughout the years have dabbled in a variety of English riding disciplines. In my younger, crazier days, I hopped back and forth between eventing and equitation/medals, with the occasional dressage show or hunter derby thrown in the mix. Point chasing to qualify for Maclay Finals while simultaneously working towards my first CCI** (Long) was already seen as an obscure mix of disciplines, especially on the same horse. But, I genuinely loved both disciplines so I made it work.

Now that I'm officially an amateur, I've lost the guts I used to have for the upper levels of cross country, so these days I ride mostly in the medal/equitation ring. Still, I've always loved long solo trail rides and been intrigued by Endurance riding. I just never thought I'd act on it!

Then one day I found myself talking to RW customer and Endurance rider, Stevie Delahunt of Action Horse LLC., on Instagram direct message. She sent me a photo from a training ride to feature on the Riding Warehouse Instagram page, and casually mentioned that I should come ride with her sometime. Since I was a complete stranger, really just a mysterious entity managing the RW social channels, she probably didn't expect me to take her up on it. But after 10 seconds of contemplation, I thought, "why not?!"...

Read more here:
https://blog.ridingwarehouse.com/threads/a-hunter-jumper-gone-rogue.51/?fbclid=IwAR06M9UYt531v_hznnM2r75lHI6yQfPaQegdJVT2Y2Yq8dT9kgxslU8maaE

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Redefined Goals for Ride Season 2019 - Kimi Linnell

Milestogobeforeisleep Blog - Full Story
Merri Melde photo

April 23, 2019
Kimi

I am a person who thrives off of goal-making, planning and progression. So I find it a little odd that I never took the time at the beginning of 2019 to make goals for myself (and Sego). Now that our first ride of the season is out of the way, I have come up with some goals that I’d like to share here.

1. Attend All Utah Limited Distance Rides

Sego and I will be in Utah for the summer. Luckily for us, there is a good-sized endurance community here and plenty of neat rides (4 to be exact). Antelope Island (complete!), Mt. Carmel, Strawberry Fields, and Outlaw and the Virgin. With Sego being so young, I don’t want to do a 50 this year...

Read more here:
https://milestogobeforeisleep.blog/2019/04/23/redefined-goals-for-ride-season-2019/

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Riding through the Lesotho highlands

Getaway.co.za - Full Story

Posted by Teagan Cunniffe on 28 March 2019

Khotso Lodge’s new accommodation in Ha Thamatu offers an ideal base to experience the simplicity and beauty of life in rural eastern Lesotho.

What Three-day horse trail

Where Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho

Who Teagan Cunniffe

At 9pm on a Friday night, the door to our rondavel opened. We turned from the fire and peered out through the doorway, where a stranger’s face shone dimly back at us from the gloom. The man was wearing biking gear and had that worn-out expression that comes with an unexpectedly-long day’s journey. We were equally surprised to see one another: this deep into Lesotho, you encounter few other tourists. We welcomed him inside and the grateful traveller joined us with stories of his road trip.

Our day had started with the stamping of our passports at the Bushman’s Nek border post, and meeting our horses. Mine was Slowsaw, a Basotho pony with curious eyes and a quick gait. Then onwards into grassy transfrontier Sehlabathebe National Park, splashing through rivers with cameras held high, and 1,400 metres up, up, up through Bushman’s Nek Pass. We passed herders going in the opposite direction, and Khotso Lodge’s owner, Steve Black, pointed out shallow ponds where endemic Maluti minnows live, surviving the altitude and sun exposure...

Read more here

Monday, March 25, 2019

Riding Horses on Mount Spokane in Washington

Equitrekking.com - Full Story

August 4, 2017
by Shelah Wetter

Mount Spokane, at an elevation of over 5,800 feet, has a summit that's the highest point in Spokane County, and it is one of the tallest peaks in the Inland Northwest.

Mount Spokane is surrounded by Mount Spokane State Park, Washington's largest at over 13,000 acres. It's a wonderful place to explore on horseback in the summer and fall months with 100 miles of trails, huckleberry picking, and beautiful surrounding views of the Selkirk ranges...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/riding-horses-on-mount-spokane-in-washington/?mc_cid=b8d2d457aa&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Monday, February 25, 2019

20 Mule Team 65 - Nina Bomar

February 24 2019

I’m always enlightened by my fellow endurance riders. As we drive home from the 40th annual 20 Mule Team Endurance Ride, I’m heartened by the many stories that were shared over this past weekend. For some people it just wasn’t their weekend, while others were floating on cloud nine and ecstatic with their horse’s accomplishments. It doesn’t matter the distance but it’s more about the process that one goes through to get out there and do it.

With the recent weather, I’m sure there were many who couldn’t come but for those who did, I sincerely applaud their efforts. There were first timers in all distances and then there were folks like Laurie Birch who rode her mare Scud Run, completing their tenth 100 miler and reaching her horse’s 11,000 mile achievement. It’s truly mind boggling.

Kudos to my friend and frequent training partner Lisa Rushing for braving the snow and ice and still coming out with her horse Razor and completing the 35 miler. She often makes the trek all the way down to Malibu and we spend hours together climbing mountains and conditioning the horses. They are committed to building strength and confidence and will soon be doing the 50 -100 milers. I look forward to that day!

It was on this ride a few years ago in 2015 that I rode the 100 miler with my good friends Carlita J Roberts, Helen and Marci Schmidt Cunningham We had such a fantastic ride that year and I’ll always remember them passing by my trailer in the morning to pick me up so that we could ride together. This year Carlita did it once again completing the 100 miler with nothing but giggles and smiles. She is so inspiring and her wealth of energy is off the charts. She is always happy and having a good time. This morning we joked about how it was our 4 year friendversary and I feel blessed to have met her at such an iconic ride. She is as special as the history of this ride, which always reminds me of its earliest beginnings when Jackie Baumgardner got it all started. In fact John was given a special recognition award this year for his volunteerism after all these years. He rode the very first ride and is humble as pie and an unbelievably sweet man.

During the ride, Cheeky and I had the pleasure of sharing the trail with a variety of friends over the course of 65 miles. It was truly a solo ride for us with intermittent join ups that always left us smiling. Allan Horn on his hot mare Rosie went on to finish in the top 5 but there was a time when he slowed her down and we got to chat for a mile or two. She’s an impressive girl who reminds me of my Glorianna, with her busy mind and flawless movement. Allan is a big guy and his girl carries him with ease. It’s quite a site to see.

On a few occasions, we rode together with Crysta Turnage She is the ride manager for the Virginia City 100, which Cheeky and I also completed back in 2015. She shared with me how much she loves putting on the ride and said that she has a lot of great helpers to rely on. She’s a project manager by trade so keeping the ride going is her passion and a skill that she has lots of experience at doing. She also hosts AERC clinics and actively contributes to our sport. I enjoyed listening to her many achievements, while I admired her horse as we trotted alongside one another for several miles.

My longtime friend Lisa Schneider was out there on her boy Sky. We have done many training rides together and although we have not seen each other much of late, it was great to see them floating down the trail. Lisa lives in an area that was affected by the fire and most recently the rains. Her road and its bridge have been washed out for months now making it extremely difficult to get in and out with a rig. I look forward to the day when all that mess gets cleared and we can resume training. She and Sky enjoyed an impressive ride with an 8th place finish.

Terrie LaPorte had a very unfortunate dismount after completing nearly 90% of the 100 mile course, when her horse suddenly spooked and she found herself on the ground. Her story is harrowing but in true Terrie spirit, she managed to make it back and her horse is fine too. She’s another gal who loves endurance and no matter what’s thrown her way, she has goals fulfill and ain’t nothing stopping her.

Above all I’d like to express my deepest admiration for my horse Cheeky. He carried me with enthusiasm and purpose from the start until the finish. His vet card was testament to his level of fitness and his ability to take care of himself throughout the ride. I loved our time together and my heart swells with pride and sincere admiration for my special boy. He worries like me but always gives it his all and uses his skills to get us through. I wanted to finish before dark and he made that happen for me. We also crossed the finish line with all four of our grape colored Renegade Hoof boots... thx Gina Lander for sending us the good luck color 💜 Cheeky had lots of attitude as he showed off for Juan who was out there cheering for us from the start until the finish. It was a magical ride and we thank all the volunteers, veterinarians and ride management for making it happen.

Lastly... I want to thank all those responsible for gifting me the gorgeous Virginia City 100 sterling silver belt buckle. I never dreamed that would happen. I thought I didn’t want “stuff” anymore since the fire but this buckle has made me smile and it’s a beautiful reminder of one of Cheeky and my greatest achievements together. The inscription on the buckle is priceless and says it all. Please believe me when I say that my heart is completely filled with emotion and gratitude and total surprise that y’all did that for me... Muchas gracias from the bottom of my heart.

20 Mule Team 100 - Lucy Chaplin Trumbull

February 25 2019

It hurts to breathe - I’m suffering from full-body work over - but we got it done:

20 Mule Team - Turtle version:

I was super happy to complete the 100 for the sixth time (on three different horses) and got my 5,000 miles in the process. I don’t ride many rides each year, so was happy to reach this milestone.

This year I had the pleasure of riding Andrea Maitland’s mare Lily - chaperoning her #2 horse, Wyatt, on his first 100.

We had a couple of incidents of Wyatt’s brain falling out during the course of the ride, so had to adjust our pace accordingly. Add in some unexpected course changes, and we found ourselves several hours behind schedule, both a little frazzled (Andrea from dealing with Wyatt’s antics, me from riding a strange horse in a strange saddle on too little personal conditioning [i.e. I haven’t actually ridden anything close to a conditioning ride since last summer]).

By 65 miles, I was close to tears trying to get everything done in the “hour hold”. Of course we were parked about as far away from the vetting area as possible. I opted to switch to my treeless saddle for the final 35 miles, but that meant switching stirrups and rump rug onto it, attaching a pommel bag, and transferring the contents of the bag; I needed a headlight taped to my helmet (the moon didn’t rise until 10:45 and was then behind cloud cover - and riding rutted trails in pitch black is much tougher than I realized - even if the horse can see the way); I needed glow sticks that actually gave out light taped on (the red ones make you visible to others, but don’t actually give out any ambient light); I needed to switch out my entire lower half of clothing - and “anti-chafe” my legs which were rubbed to cr*p from the strange saddle; I needed to tack up Andrea’s horse (health issues mean she has difficulty you that time of the ride); and I needed to feed myself.

Thankfully, Anne Williams (fresh off her 65 miler, and “off to take a nice shower” - b*tch)(and I mean that in the nicest possible way) drove past and came to my pathetic-state rescue, helping me with all the above)(well, not the clothing/anti-chafe part). Many thanks to her.

The result was we were out 30 mins late (not helping our “tight on time” schedule), but at least we were out.

Doing the math as we set off into the darkness to anxiously spot glow sticks, I realized we had to maintain slightly over 5 mph for the next seven hours. Which may not sound bad, but it includes several long climbs and a couple of descents, and sand.

Andrea had “Endomondo lady” on her phone, calling out the miles as we checked them off. I told her we needed 12 minute miles, or below if we wanted to finish. In addition, I worked out that we needed to be in to VC5 by 3:30 latest.

We stuck Lily in front and told her “trot” and trot she did. That little mare maintained a consistent trot for the next 15 miles, much of it uphill in sand, carting my extra 35-40 lbs of unused-to weight (her usual rider Andrea is less, er, “muscular” than I).

By the time we reached the 395 crossing (80 miles ish) around 1 am, we’d bought ourselves about 25 mins of time. Just as well, as we both got dizzy and peculiar when we stopped trotting here, and Andrea’s body decided enough was enough, and she had the pleasure of her first endurance-induced puke fest. Thankfully Wyatt didn’t care (stood in front of hay), and after 5 mins of wavering, she sucked it up (so to speak) and off we went again.

We even caught and passed a couple of riders at this point and worked hard enough to get into VC5 by 2:45.

It was freezing at this check, but the horses scarfed down mashes and Andrea scoffed down tums.

To show you how far gone I was, when we arrived, I unclipped my tailing rope from the saddle, hopped off the horse and walked her over to the in timer. Only when I got there, I realized that my tailing rope wasn’t actually attached to the horse - I was just holding an empty rope - and she’d gone off, got herself a drink, and found the hay.

The vet pronounced her “a little stiff” (you think? After what she just pulled off?) and by then we had 2:45 hours to get the last 10 miles, so we took it really easy on the way in and finally got in at 5:40 am (ride start was 6 am the previous day).

This would have been fine if, by then, I wasn’t hallucinating from tiredness (not the first time on this ride). Amongst other things, I hallucinated an elephant, two dragons, an extra horse that Andrea was ponying, and an overhead banner that was so real I reached out to touch it (it turned out to be the skyline). I had to hand-walk Lily down the long hill to stay awake, and at one point when she stopped to pee and I leaned over her neck, I fell asleep completely.

But get it done we did - and Wyatt was still rooting and pulling and wanting to go faster at the end of his first 100 - amazing.

Many thanks to Andrea for hauling the horses from AZ and entrusting me with her gem of a mare. Such a great mare to borrow.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

New Zealand’s Most Incredible Horse Rides - Huia

Equitrekking.com - Full Story

June 18, 2017

Get the inside word from a Kiwi rider on her favorite horse trekking experiences.

New Zealand is well known for the amazing scenery and the incomparable natural beauty of our beaches and wild spots. As riders, we know that pretty much every view looks better between two furry ears, and New Zealand is no exception to that rule!

Travelling in New Zealand is simply full of opportunities to get in the saddle and experience the best that we can offer from horseback, from mountains to rivers and golden beaches. There are ways to go horse trekking in our famous Southern Alps with businesses like this and this, and tourist mecca Queenstown has lovely horse rides. Just out of Auckland is a gorgeous horse trekking business with rides that take you up to views over the Hauraki Gulf and volcanic islands. Further North is 90 Mile Beach, with a great local riding business right on the beach. The whole of New Zealand is dotted with riding stables and horse trekking businesses – just ask a local and they will point you in the right direction!...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/new-zealands-most-incredible-horse-rides/?mc_cid=a82fc155f7&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Horse Riding and Mule Packing in the Ansel Adams Wilderness - Michael Church

Equitrekking.com - Full Story

June 12 2017
Story and photography by Michael W. Church

Why go on a horse riding vacation in the Sierra Wilderness? It’s simple. As beautiful as this country is, it’s always twice as nice when seen between the ears of a horse.

Story and photography by Michael W. Church Michael W. Church

It was August 16, 2015 and the fourth year of an epic drought for California. The Owens Valley was baking in 100°F heat and the Sierra foothills and mountains were plagued by a record number of forest fires. As I drove down Highway 395 from Carson Valley toward the tiny town of Lee Vining, I could see large thunderclouds towering high above the mountain peaks. “Good,” I said, “we desperately need the rain.”

As I drove closer to Lee Vining, the storm clouds grew bigger and darker. Finally, I reached the scenic Vista Point that overlooks Mono Lake and Lee Vining far below. What I saw next made my heart sink to the very bottom of my soul. Those weren’t storm clouds! They were great billowing clouds of smoke from a forest fire that was raging out of control near Tioga Pass. With high winds at its back, the Walker Fire quickly spread out of control.

Airplanes and helicopters were flying in formation over the fire and dropping orange fire retardant in a feeble attempt to quell the fire. Silhouetted against an enormous wall of swirling red fire and black smoke, even the largest planes looked like tiny flying insects. Crestfallen, I forged onward to Mammoth Lakes.

Mammoth Lakes to Johnston Meadows (Day 1)

The following morning, our group met for breakfast at The Stove Restaurant. There were two male wranglers (Clay and Andy), one cook and lady wrangler (Anna), and eight guests comprised of four ladies from Indiana, a married couple from England, a gent from California, and me from Michigan. After breakfast, we drove to Horseshoe Lake Trailhead, where our horses and pack mules were waiting. Some of us rode horses that were a quarter horse-warm blood mix, whereas others rode mules.

We mounted up and took Red’s Meadow Trail over Mammoth Pass. At the mountain crest, we could see the majestic Minaret Peaks in the distance. We descended into a valley and rode across the wooden bridge that spans the San Joaquin River, rode past the basalt rock formation called The Devils Postpile, then joined the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail and made our way through a forest of Lodge Pole pines to a campsite at Johnston Meadows (8,100 ft. elevation)...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/horse-riding-and-mule-packing-in-the-ansel-adams-wilderness/?mc_cid=a82fc155f7&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Horseback Riding Arizona’s Tonto National Forest - Lisa Florey

Equitrekking.com - Full Story

June 23 2017
by Lisa Florey

Trading in Chicago winters for Arizona sunshine was a no-brainer. Instead of slogging through slush in downtown Chicago, I explored the canyons, washes and rugged trails of the Tonto National Forest on horseback. The fifth-largest national forest in the United States, Tonto boasts nearly 900 miles of trails.

For several months, I had the Superstition Wilderness — one of eight wilderness areas within the Tonto National Forest — as my back yard. Located east of Phoenix, the Superstition Wilderness has 180 miles of trails spread out over 160,000-plus acres. This “forest” is populated with saguaro, cholla, prickly pear, mesquite, palo verde, ocotillo and many other cactus, trees and shrubs I still need to learn to identify.

Exploring by horseback is the best way to access this sprawling national forest. From the steep, primitive trails around the Superstitions to the colorful Old West canyons of the Goldfield Mountains and the winding trails around Saguaro Lake and the Salt River, there are no bad rides, only scenic (and sometimes challenging) ones...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/horseback-riding-arizonas-tonto-national-forest/?mc_cid=a18aa07f36&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Monday, January 28, 2019

Close Encounters with a Deer! - Nancy Sluys

FB.com - Full Story

NANCY SLUYS·SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019

As a remedy for cabin fever I decided to travel to the Broxton Bridge Endurance Ride in Ehrhart, South Carolina with my horse, Summer, this past weekend. Since I hadn’t been able to ride much lately, due to the bad weather, I entered her in the limited distance 25 mile ride both days, intending to ride at a slower pace in hopes of getting her ready for a 50 miler in March.

The first days ride went as planned, I started near the end and kept Summer at a moderate and steady pace, using caution in areas of loose sand and muddy places. Even though the trails were well packed, we don’t train in sand so I needed to be careful. We rode alone most of the time and enjoyed each other and the nature around us. She was really tuning in to me and didn’t mind when groups of faster riders cantered past us. We hooked up from time to time with friends for short distances, which kept things interesting with occasional conversations. She finished the ride looking fresh and ready to do it again. At the awards ceremony that night I discovered that we had won the coveted turtle award for being the last one’s over the finish line.

The next day I decided to ride with my good friend, Dana, and her mare, Beryl. Being a 16 hand Belgian/Arabian cross she made an odd pairing with Summer who is only 14 hands but they get along well and are surprisingly well paced together. Along the way we picked up another rider, Alicia, whose horse was looking for company and then we were a group of three. The first loop winds in and out of the woods and sometimes around fields. The trail loops back on itself many times. We rode at a moderate pace, although faster than my ride the day before...

Read more here:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/nancy-sluys/close-encounters-with-a-deer/2282368405141761/

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Death Valley Encounter XP Ride Dec 2018 - Kip

TheMonkeysKnowNothing Blog - Full Story

Commentary by Kip the endurance horse
January 13 2019

Little late writing this. The Monkey has had some bronchitis and laryngitis ( same stuff I had after Moab a couple of years ago) and a few other things so I had to wait in line.Geez!

Once again we all had fun in Trona! Mr Monkey and Ice did all four days! I'm proud of them especially Ice who skipped and danced over all those rocks bare foot!She has cast iron hooves I think!

I only did two days because of the monkey's bronchial condition.Geez. Anyway, on day one we got to ride with the front runners for the first cold and windy loop. The monkey just wanted to get her wheezy little body back to the warm trailer so off I went following Christoph's cute little filly. Her Monkeyship usually only lets me catch up to Christoph on a ride to say hello then pulls me back. Today was my day! It was Christoph's cutie, Mark Montgomery's Mustang Gus and......littl' ole me! We had a ball for the first loop. Wheee! I was as hungry as a horse (funny about that) at the hold and wanted to stay there but those youngins' would listen to me. Wait I said, there's no salad bars on the trail. Not even slim pickins'!Just sticks and dirt!Let's chow down here.

Wouldn't listen. So I went after them with my mouth stuffed with hay. Then I remembered,Gus told me he was 8. Hey, I'm three times their age. Yep! Three times! Three times plus one I think. So I came to my senses and let them go...

Read more here:
http://themonkeysknownothing.blogspot.com/2019/01/death-valley-encounter-dec-2018.html

Monday, January 21, 2019

Horseback Riding Graves Mountain in Syria, Virginia

Equitrekking.com - Full Article

May 8 2017
by Susan St. Amand

Close to Skyline Drive and Luray Caverns, read about riding out from Graves Mountain Lodge in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

On an unusually warm spring weekend in late April, members of the Shenandoah Trail Riders and Horseman's Association ventured to Graves Mountain in Syria, VA to participate in a benefit trail ride for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Graves Mountain Lodge provides overnight accomodations in a lodge that is rustic in appearance and family style food in their restaurant, along with a gift shop.

On this 300+ acre family-owned property, you can enjoy life's simple pleasures such as fishing and hiking. It is also a working farm with a pick your own apple orchard and provides educational farm tours to school children. Graves Mountain Lodge also hosts many events on the premises throughout the year, such as the fall Apple Festival and Bluegrass Festival, which attracts a large crowd.

In a partnership with Graves Mountain Lodge, Circle B Stables provides guided horseback riding tours. It also offers day parking for persons wanting to trailer their own horses to ride, or in our case, primitive overnight camping for multi-day stays...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/horseback-riding-graves-mountain-in-syria-virginia/?mc_cid=d77a56ec5a&mc_eid=290b655fe3

Why Viñales, Cuba is the Perfect Backdrop for Horseback Riders

Equitrekking.com - Full Article

May 7 2017

Travel expert Jeannette Ceja rides horses in Viñales, Cuba, just two hours from Havana through tobacco fields and lush forests.

Cubans frequently told me that I had to make time to visit one town during my stay in Cuba. To really know Cuba, I have learned to always listen to what the locals recommend. And the experience exceeded every expectation I had.

One must pay a visit to a breathtaking town called Viñales located a little over two hours away by car from Havana. If you love horseback riding, Viñales offers the perfect backdrop of mountain forests, caves and endless tobacco fields. You will literally feel as if you are in a movie. Visitors can go on many trails led by local trail ride guides that will lead you anywhere you like. Make sure to request a visit to a local tobacco farm during your ride...

Read more here:
https://equitrekking.com/articles/entry/why-vinales-cuba-is-the-perfect-backdrop-for-horseback-riders/?mc_cid=d77a56ec5a&mc_eid=290b655fe3



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