Thursday, January 01, 1998

Pony Becomes A Horse - John Parke

Remington, the 13.3 hh Icelandic gelding, has now completed 1,000 miles in AERC 50 & 100 mile endurance rides. Although Icelandics traveled accross the country in the Great American Horse Race and the Pony Express in 1976, I believe Remington is the first Icelandic to reach this milestone in regular AERC competition. Many thanks to Terry Woolley Howe, Kim Fuess, Cherry Stockton and others who honored Remington at last weekend`s Manzanita Endurance Ride by presenting him with a beautiful blanket embroidered with words recognizing his achievement.

Many people have complimented me for completing this many rides on a non-Arab. It should be the other way around. Remington deserves congratulations for going this far with an utterly inexperienced, middle-aged, middleweight rider, namely me. I only took up horseback riding when I brought him home as the family Christmas present in 1994. We rode in our first limited distance ride at the Precipitous Poppy in April, 1995. We did our first 50 miler at Fire Mountain in January, 1996. Remington was pulled at mile 50 of the Twenty Mule Team 55 the next month for owner dumbness - I had been unintentionally starving him on an unsupplemented bermuda grass hay diet and competing without adequate amounts of electrolytes.

He hasn`t been pulled since. We returned to complete the 100 miler at the same ride this year. Remington has also completed some of the tougher SW Region 50 mile rides like Bear Valley Springs and the Lakeside Classic, as well as the first 3 days of this year`s Fall XP. (He was ready for all five days but I had to get back to the office.) I may have learned a little during this time, but haven`t gotten any lighter or younger.

Several quotations in justifiable praise of the Arabian Horse have been repeated over this mailing list since it began. I would like to offer one about another breed. In 1864, Jules Verne wrote: "I begin to think no animal is more intelligent than an Icelandic horse. Snow, tempest, impractible roads, rocks, icebergs - nothing stops him. He is brave; he is sober; he is safe; he never makes a false step; never glides or slips from his path."

This aptly describes Remington. We will probably never go very fast, but he has shown the willingness to go any distance over any terrain at any time and under any conditions. As different as he is, I believe he has earned the right to be respected as a true endurance horse.

Me, I`ll still call him a pony.

John Parke, Solvang, CA.

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