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!