Monday, January 26, 2009

Forgotten Heroes - the 20,000 mile horse trek across the US

Forgotten Heroes - the 20,000 mile horse trek across the US

(This article was first published in the United States by Western Horseman magazine and is based on original research done by the Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation. For more information, please visit their websites:,, or

The setting of a new record for mileage in competitive trail-riding by 37-year-old Elmer Bandit is a remarkable effort. CuChullaine O'Reilly delves back nearly 100 years to describe another astonishing feat of equine endurance.

In 1912, four riders embarked on a 20,000 mile cross-country trip they hoped would bring them fortune and fame. One magnificent horse made their dream a reality.

It was called the ride of the century, a 20,000-mile, three-year odyssey through desert, mountain, and swamp that four young horsemen dreamed would make them famous.

Instead, they rode into oblivion.

The year was 1912, and as George Beck, part-time Washington logger, sometimes visionary, and full-time horseman explained to his three closest companions, fame and fortune lay in the saddle, not with the axe.

"Logging is a lousy business," he said. "We're lucky if we work 6 months a year. In the meantime, there's a World's Fair, the Panama Pacific International Exposition, comin' up in San Francisco in 1915. The gold is there. We have the nags and gear. Let's ride to every state capital in the Union. Let's make the longest horse ride on record and get ourselves a reputation. We'll win fame. We'll write an adventure book. We'll put on a show on the midway at the Exposition. There's a pot of gold out there and we'll find it," Beck assured his friends.

Full story can be read at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trans Scotland - Run for the Roses, John's Blog

Run for the Roses Blog

...With each steady footfall we got deeper into the narrowing glen. Its spectacular countryside, wild landscape of craggy tops, heather clad hillsides. It was an idyllic day; the early morning mist had cleared, leaving brighter more settled skies. At any other time it would have been a place to linger. But for us we had a task in hand. A few minutes later we reached the ford where the Geldie Burn meets the Alt-an-t-Sleilich. The approach to the ford looked fine, a nice easy gradient slanting down into the river then out again at the opposite side. What didn’t look like an immediate source of fun was the height and velocity of the river? The heat of the past few days had created a fairly substantial snowmelt. Combined with the thunderstorm of the previous afternoon, this of course had put the rivers and wide burns, all tributaries of the Dee into spate.


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Endurance Challenge ~ by OHHAWA member Megan Harrod, owner of Earaheedy Roscoe

Wild Horses of Australia blog

January 19th, 2009

Sunday the 22 June saw two of Earaheedy’s finest compete for the first time at an endurance competition. Being their first time out Earaheedy Norma (4 yo) and Earaheedy Roscoe (4.5 yo) were entered in the 20km social ride just to get a feel for the busy (and at times ’scary’) atmosphere.

After an uneventful trip to Gidgegannup we found a camp spot and took Roscoe and Norma (aka ‘the kids’) for a bit of a trot out, then it was off to their stables for a brief spell whilst we set up camp. Finally the time came to go down to the vet ring. To get to the ring we had to walk ‘the kids’ through the very busy main camping area. Both were nervous, especially Norma because we were surrounded by smoke from camp fires not to mention other horses who were less than calm. Roscoe seemed to take the whole thing in his stride.

Once at the vet ring Roscoe and Norma turned heads and set tongues wagging. Roscoe went through first and behaved perfectly, I could not have asked for more or been prouder of him, that amazing Earaheedy temperament shone through. Norma was a bit unsettled, however despite her age and nervousness she did exceptionally well. Both made it through, Roscoe with a starting heart rate of 40 and Norma with a starting heart rate 52.

{It is worth noting at this point that Megan and her Mum, who owns Norma, had done a great deal of prior training and preparation to introduce these two heritage horses to the world of endurance, and this - combined with the natural endurance abilities of these horses - no doubt resulted in some outstanding veterinary results, particularly for Roscoe who was calmer and had a lower heart rate overall as a result.}

That night proved to be a long one for some.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My first year in endurance, Tami

By Tami Bromley, Northwest Region

With the start of the 2009 ride season, the Competitions Committee would like to share with the AERC membership some of the projects and goals we are working towards in the new ride season.

My Arab Ali Hadid and I had a fabulous year learning all about endurance riding! The photograph is our "prom picture" as it was our very first 50! We had done 5 LDs in the spring and were increasing our mileage to help Ali's mind since he is proving to be a very gifted athlete! The Old Selam ride, perfectly managed by Cinni Baumhoff, was an absolutely perfect first 50! We were riding up an old logging rode in the heart of scenic Idaho as the morning light edged above the ridge; mist was wafted from the nearby stream. Ali's girlfriend DA Nejwah, ridden by Roz Cusack, and he were 'purring' with every stride. The purring was just like dressage horses who purr in venting—the horses were as ecstatic as we were! Ali and I have been infected with a love for the sport!

The initial spring training and many LDs filled me with tremendous pride in my horse and how much we learned as we became a team. Spring training was guided by a very competent mentor, Skyla Stewart, who guided initial tack and conditioning regimens. Skyla guided us through our first LDs and coached us through our first three -- day ride at Owyhee Fandango I, II and III. At Owyhee, we witnessed and the International Owyhee Fandango I, II and III with the nation's top riders which was a great thrill and very educational! Ali was adorned with special prayer beads in his mane to ensure his safety. Owyhee taught me to try and be the brains of the team and keep my four -- legged pal's extreme competitive spirit from taking over and getting us both into trouble. This season, while my pony's foot recovered from stepping on a nail, I volunteered at the rides and learned about P&Ring, and became quite adept at taking a pulse with a stethoscope! We learned all about building cardiovascular health, building up leg, proper nutrition, electrolytes, hoof care and maintenance, and of course the endless pursuit of tack and gear!

In all Ali and I learned a lot this past year! Our local riding club SWIT&DR has been absolutely fabulous with many people willing to share their knowledge and advice, including a fabulous veterinarian, Dr. Robert Washington, who has been very generous with his knowledge in keeping my friend sound! Sally Tarbet and the rest of the folks at Broken Diamond Ranch have become like a second family for my pony and me -- as they are all about the sport of endurance with the number one rule: take care of your horse! And of course we could not have gotten through this year without the wise and patient tutelage from Roz Cusack and the rest of the PNER Outlaw's team.

The entire endurance community of SWIT&DR, and our PNER riding team The Outlaws have surrounded Ali and me to help us in every way. They have been wonderfully supportive, especially when we experienced a few set backs (as all endurance teams do) which further taught us that endurance riding is about more than just endurance on the trail on a given day. It is about a special bond between a rider, their horse and the amazing community of caring people that rally 'round to care for one another and our ponies. I hope that all new riders experience a first season as fabulous as this year has been for me. It was simply fabulous!