Thursday, December 22, 2011

Goethe Challenge Endurance Ride FEI - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing Blog

Monday, 19 December 2011
We did our first Endurance ride since moving out here. On Wednesday Jeremy booted all of our guys for the race, we were really excited as we were going to be testing out some new tread patterns.

On Friday we loaded up Tiran, Chanses and Marvel to drive the 8 miles over to the Goethe Challenge Endurance Ride. We got to camp around 10 am, I drove seperately as I had to take our dog Daisy to the vet for an acupuncture appointment. I was only present for the picking of the parking spot, then I had to leave.

I drove to Ocala and went to the vet appointment and then the grocery run and then back to the race.

When I got back to the ride Jeremy had set up camp and the crew area. We went to the check in and did our paperwork and then went to vet in and get our passport inspections done.

After all of the official business was taken care of we went for a pre ride. Our friend Barbara Hershberger was riding her horse AnyDayNow aka "P" and our long time friend Sarah Schick (from back in our days of training in VA) were riding with us as well. Sarah was on Barbara's other horse Storm.

Our pre ride was short and sweet. All 5 of the horses looked great.
Barbara and I were entered in the 75 FEI 2*, Jeremy on Chanses, Sarah on Storm and Rachel Shackelford on Marvel were entered in the 50 mile 1*.

After the Pre ride we hung out a while and then went to the dinner and the ride meeting. The cool thing about the East Coast rides is that the dinner is usually on Friday night. After dinner we headed to bed.

Saturday morning I started out at 7 on Tiran. He warmed up really well and was nice and calm. Our start was uneventful. The first loop went well, about 5 miles into it Barbara joined us on P. He was looking nice and was moving well...

Read more here:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Death Valley Warm Up - Karen Chaton - Full Story

Death Valley Warmup, December 10 & 11, 2011

We had a pretty good time last weekend. I rode Chief on Friday to mark trail along with Sue Wilkie and her horse Rocky. Then, I rode Bo on the first day of the ride in the 50, and Chief in the 50 on the 2nd day. The weather turned out great, and all things considered the turnout was decent – though still down over the previous year. I think that may just be the trend with the economy the way it is – ride participation is going to be down.

On day 1 there were around 21 in the LD and 31 in the 50. Winning time on the 50 was 5:52. On day two there were 8 in the LD and 24 in the 50 with the winning time on the 50 being 5:25. Rouven Krauer got BC on day 1, and on day 2 Mae Chase-Dunn got BC. Four people rode 2 horses both days, and 12 people rode the same horse both days.

My horses had just had a nice break in between ride seasons. Chief had nearly three months off, and Bo had six weeks off. They both had pretty incredible seasons in 2011. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that horses need breaks, even if they are performing extremely well. I’ve seen too many people not follow that protocol and have seen their horses fall apart prematurely (versus if they had been more generous when it came to giving their horse a vacation after a busy year). I’m still never quite sure where that imaginary line is. You know the one in the sand, the one that should you cross it means that something is going to go wrong with your horse. And, they aren’t like our vehicles that we can simply go out and buy a new part for. When a horse breaks it usually means time off, or worse case scenario an end of their career. So I’m kind of cautious there, always trying to figure out how much is too much, not enough, or just right. Always watching for signs of wear and tear.

You can imagine how happy I was that both of my horses finished their ride day at this ride in great shape. I took it pretty easy on both of them, using this more as a pre-check ride for the upcoming Death Valley Encounter where they will hopefully each do two days. Yet, still not easy so a good test to ensure that they are indeed ready to go. Besides always being concerned about how much time off is appropriate is the worry about giving too much time off. A super fit horse that is idle is not always a good thing...

Read more here:

Monday, November 14, 2011

In which Endurance 101 moves us closer to a real event - Haiku Farm

Haikufarm Blog

November 12 2011

Endurance 101 – Countdown to your first endurance ride

Your horse is getting fit, and you are getting excited. You visit the website and check the calendar: There’s a ride that you can attend! It’s only two months away…


Here’s a bare-bones calendar of stuff you’ll want to do before ride day, arranged in a countdown format. The schedule isn’t set in stone, but it is a handy list of stuff to remember.

Ride day minus 2 months:

* Check the fit of your saddle, and make necessary adjustments.
* Take a riding lesson (on trails, if possible). Ask your instructor to focus on helping you and your horse move freely and comfortably at various speeds over different terrain.
* Call your farrier NOW to set a farrier appointment for 1-2 weeks before the event.
* Administer any needed vaccinations.
* Ask your vet about medical paperwork that may be required for the ride. If you need to cross state lines for your event, be sure to alert your vet so that the paperwork can be readied in time.

Ride day minus 1 month:

* Safety-check your rig: tires (check your spare tire, too!), wiring, brakes, floorboards. Fix anything that needs fixing.
* Check out your camping arrangements: do your sleeping quarters leak? Do you know how to set up in windy or rainy conditions? Does your campstove work? Repair or replace anything that will fail in camp.
* Practice administering electrolytes to your horse via syringe. Start with a diluted dose mixed with applesauce or yogurt. If your horse does not take the syringe quietly, start teaching him now to accept it...

Read more here:

Friday, November 04, 2011

2011 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride - Karen Chaton

Enduranceridestuff Blog - Full Story

Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & Photos

This past weekend was the 2-day Bill Thornburg endurance ride. I rode both days of it on Pro Bono (“Bo”). The weather was perfect, though a bit warm for those of us with horses that already have winter coats.

Ride entries have been down a lot this season and this was a fairly small ride. The first day there were 28 or 29 in the 50 and on the second day there were only 12. I’m not sure how many were in the LD, tho on the second day there were more than were in the 50.

Daniel Brown and wife Callie along with Jeanine Corzine and crew do a great job on the ride. They have a lot of volunteers and do a fantastic job with everything. The trail was expertly marked the entire way! On the first day they had hot dogs for lunch for us, and both evenings of the ride we were served an excellent meal of tri-tip. Awards are nice – t-shirts for completion both days and lots of other items. I got a middle of the pack water bottle on the 2nd day – finishing 6th out of 12 icon smile Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & Photos . I also got a small flatback bucket for finishing in the top ten.

I’ve done this ride before when it was called Git’r'Done. The footing for both rides is excellent, with only a very small portion having any rocks...

Read more here:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spook Run 100 - 3 Morgans and Me - Shannon Loomis

October 31 2011

To all who did not attend the Spook Run ride in SE Indiana this weekend, you missed a beautiful ride.  Trails were in great condition and well-marked, plenty of water in the creek crossings, late fall color, and cool enough for the Morgan horses!  Lois McAfee managed the 50/25 on Friday and Amy Whelan took over the controls for the 100/50/25 on Saturday.  My daughter, Morgan, and I showed up Friday afternoon with our Morgan horses, Angel (aka "The Devil's Handmaiden") and Quest, to tackle the 100 mile trail on Saturday.  Mary Chmielski and Helen Cantrell rode the LD on Friday and volunteered to crew for Morgan and I on Saturday.  All the holds were in camp, but life is so much easier when help is available.  They were awesome.  We were met at the entrance to camp by a "blanket brigade" all day as Mary and Helen seemed to sense our arrival each time and were prepared with coolers for the ponies.

The weather was crisp, definitely requiring gloves and hats Friday afternoon.  Friday's ride had about 20 50's and 13 or so LDs.  Saturday was 13 100s (!), 23 (or so) 50's and 13 LDs.  The vets were Mike Habel and Maureen Fehrs.   Saturday morning was quite cold with a hard frost and a layer of ice on the water buckets.  Our trailer lacks a furnace so it was very difficult to get out of our nice warm bed to tack up the horses for a 7 AM start.

It was quite dark at 7, so Lois and Connie Caudill led the 100s on a controlled start for a few miles until it was light enough to see the ribbons.  The Morgans and I cruised along as the sun peeked over the yellow and orange hills of So Indiana.  The first loop was 25 miles and by the time we returned to camp it was warm enough to start shedding coats and gloves but standing in camp was a bit breezy, so the horses were kept covered all day.  Connie pulled after the first loop, feeling her horse was not quite right to go another 75 miles and Lois continued on alone.

The next two loops were a 19 mile trail repeated twice which also covered most of the final 10 mile loop, which meant we were able to see in daylight what we would be riding after dark.  The Morgans were pulsing down nicely, though since we were afraid to throw much water on them in the cold and kept the rears well covered, it did take a few minutes each hold, as we were moving along pretty well.  In the third loop we joined up with Amy Yatsko and Earl Baxter and rode with them for the next 3 loops.  Angel and Morgan took a bit of a header towards the end of the 3rd loop as they jumped a little ravine and Angel lost her footing on the other side (leaves hid a lot of little roots and erosion ruts) and planted her face in the trail.  Morgan "dismounted" over Angel's head - she claims she did it on purpose, somehow missing Angel's devil horns as she went over - and both popped up relatively unscathed.  Angel had a bit of a bloody nose but it stopped quickly and she seemed unfazed.

The 4th loop was a 15 mile out and back which repeated a lot of the first loop, which is fortunate, because most of the 100s rode it in the dark.  It was a nice ridgeline trail, so easy to make time on.  We watched the sun go down on the opposite side of the mountain on the same trail we watched it come up on.  Amy, Earl, Morgan and I managed to get all but the last 4 or 5 miles of this loop under our belts before darkness fell around 6:45.  Coats, gloves and hats were quickly replaced as the sun went down but it was not nearly as cold as the previous night.

The last two loops were the traditional "pink loop" known to those who have done rides at Bill Wilson's farm before.  We set out in the black - the tiny little crescent moon set about an hour after the sun did but it was so low to the horizon, it didn't offer any help at all - head lamps on and booked around the loop; we had already seen it twice, so the horses were comfortable on it though the second half of it seemed to go on forever, winding through the woods.

After a short 20 minute hold, Amy and Earl went ahead and the Morgans and I set our own pace in the dark.  Quest was a little hesitant at first - he had some eye trouble last year and I don't think his night vision is great, plus he had spent the last loop following Amy's horse, Captain.  We put Angel in front for a while, but after a few miles, Quest decided he was up for the challenge.  Boy, did he move!  Once he figured out where we were, and I figured out how to hold my light for him, we Zoomed!  This loop seemed to fly by since we knew the finish line was so close!  We finished both pink loops in 1 1/2 hrs each in the dark....

Lois and Hoosier finished first (BC and 1st FW) about 90 minutes ahead of us, her ride time must have been about 12 hr and 15 min (I am estimating) - she was finishing as we were leaving on our last loop - not feeling well, but still with a smile on her face.  Earl and Champ (1st HW) and Amy on Captain (2nd FW) finished just a few minutes ahead of us (1st Jr and 1st LW) and then the next riders were more than 40 minutes behind us, so a big gap in the 100s.  We finished with a ride time of 13:44 and a total time of 17:04 crossing the finish at 4 minutes after midnight.  The last riders finished sometime after 3 AM.  BRRR!  Vets Mike and Maureen had a bonfire and Bill's heated garage to wait in, but still a long cold night.....

Our Morgans ate like pigs all day, going through a banana box of deer apples and my buffet of feed.  I don't think they stopped eating at any of the holds - hay, grain, grass - it all disappeared.  Quite a change for my ulcer boy, I think I finally have him under control and haven't used any Gastrogard all summer.  Quest tried to cramp a little in the cold during the last hold but I gave him some extra calcium and an extra cooler and he warmed up very quickly as we loped down the lane to the last loop.

Sorry I don't know the final results for everyone - awards were handed out as riders finished - and Morgan and I went to bed.  I do know that except for Connie, all 100s finished (92%)!

Thanks for having a 100 for us, Lois, Amy and all her volunteers and crew (especially the popsicles formally known as Mike and Maureen)!  And thanks to Teddy Lancaster who donated all the junior awards this weekend.  And finally, mucho thanks to our great crew, Mary and Helen!

Shannon Loomis
Pleasant Creek, WV

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bar H Bonanza NATRC - Kandace French

October 23 2011

We just got back from the inaugural Bar H Bonanza NATRC Ride put on by Katy Taylor and Gail Shepherd. If you weren’t there, you missed a fabulous time at the Bar H Bonanza Region 2 NATRC ride in Corona, California.

Wow! What a GREAT first ride! A fabulous group of talented horse and rider teams from California Region 1, Region 2 and Arizona converged for a fabulous opportunity to ride the beautiful countryside of Gavilan Hills, California. The management did an amazing job and thought of so many of those special, small details that made the ride a winner. Top notch judges, Dr. Michael Peralez and Jim Ferris made it fun and challenging. Both the judges and their teams zipped all over the countryside in record time and got tons of opportunities to judge all the competitors a numerous opportunities.

The ride was staged at the Bar H Ranch owned by Chris Herron of Gavilan Hills, California. He raises Arabian horses and Texas Longhorns cattle. Wow! Seeing these Long Horns up close and personal was a treat, and sometimes intimidating. Beautiful animals. Another treat was learning that after watching Katy and her team scout and mark trails over the prior weeks and learning about the philosophy of NATRC, AERC competitor/Ranch owner Chris Herron decided to enter his stallion, a Gulastras Splash son, in the NATRC novice ride himself and did very well, placing in both horse and horsemanship.

Our rider’s packets were filled with fun and thoughtful treats. The catered meal was wonderful and the riding area was beautiful. The trails were varied. The volunteers worked tirelessly and the talent pool of the P&R teams was of the highest caliber. I can’t believe this was the first time this management team put on a ride. They did a great job and didn’t miss a thing. Even the awards were beautiful; hand made and decorated horse shoes. Words can’t do them justice. An extra special pleasure for me was the opportunity to finally meet Shelley Housh and her Sterling Shagya Sport horses in person. Spectacular!

I can’t wait to go again next year. This is definitely a ride that will be on my calendar every year. Fun, fun, fun. Thanks for a great ride. Congratulations to everyone who attended, special congratulations to those who placed among touch competition and thanks to Katy and her team for adding yet another ride to the calendar.

Yankee and I competed in Easy Boot Gloves as well. I am so thrilled NATRC allows boots with gaters now :) All my horses are barefoot and I compete in Gloves or Glue Ons.

Kandace French

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Raptor Run - Susan Franklin

October 18 2011

I have to write about Raptor Run this weekend just because I want to gush some more about how great the ride was.  Soooo great!  Alabama the Beautiful baby! 
If you don't know us, Mike rides Ender & I ride Bird.  I've been wanting to try a 100, but not on Bird.  Mike wants to try Ender in a 100, but doesn't want to ride it.  We're so smart we figured out that I could ride Ender in the 100, problem solved.  So this weekend we were testing a ride start strategy that I'm calling Operation Keep Susan Alive because my big fear of riding Ender is that he has a lot of eagerness for the sport & can get, um, revved up at the start.  Mike uses Bird's rear end to control Ender in these situations.  He sticks Ender's nose into Bird's hind end & doesn't let him see daylight until things have calmed down a bit.  Well, I won't have a Bird, & I don't want to die, so I decided that we needed to find a strategy to get me through that first loop by myself.  (yes, 100-milers have all told me that 100-mile starts aren't as energetic, but still... this is about me being scared.)
So, to Raptor Run we go, with our strategy.  We spent the warm-up way back on a grass hill by the pond waiting for everyone to leave.  Lucky for us, it was a controlled start, so our horses didn't hear thundering hooves leaving them, either.  Even though we were all alone, we still did a walking start down the paved road & past the steep gravel downhill.  Worked like a charm.  Ender was a perfect gentleman, calmer than Bird even.  We were planning to slowly pick horses off on our way to our favorite spots. (Bird's is mid-pack, Ender's... well Ender wants to keep picking off horses to infinity.  He's always looking for the next one & if he thinks he's run out of them, he pouts.)
The first loop was slow, but awesome.  (Our start strategy worked, but it might not be the best idea on a ride with lots of riders & lots of single track.  We found ourselves at the back of a long, slow line we couldn't get around. waah)  But such nice forest, nice trail.  I loved it!  My horse loved it!  We learned later that Jody (ride manager) thought it was the "bad loop."  Well, I swear we must have inhaled some sort of pre-historic raptor pixie dust back in those woods that confused our thinking, because we couldn't find any fault in it & I came out loving me some Alabama, even though we made a stupid rookie mistake & added 4 miles to the loop backtracking.  I came out saying, "Oh it was just so nice out there, 16, 20, who cares?"  (later, when the GPS said 50 miles & I should have been finished, I was a little less pleased. haha) 
The second loop was fun, too.  We saw a lot of day riders.  They were all so nice & some of them we saw over & over & over.  I don't know how that was happening exactly, but it was pretty comical.  Mike would jokingly say, "There's only one or two ahead of us, right?" & they'd answer, "Oh, no, there's a ton ahead of you!  You'd better kick 'em if you wanna catch 'em." haha   One of them asked me about the trail, if I knew whether it was "about an hour" back to their camp.  I thought how funny that question was because that all depends on how fast you're going!  I told him I thought it was about 8 miles & I heard him say to his friends as we trotted away, "She doesn't know." hahaha  
Before we had left home, Mike & I had decided we were going to this race to test our strategy (Operation K.S.A.), then otherwise just ride our ride & depending on how things "shaked down" during the race, if we got close to Top Ten in the last loop, I would drop back & he would go for it.  Bird had a quiet gut after our last race, so I was giving probiotics a try & wanted to take it easy.  We were going to carry radios & I was going to call him & tell him if someone was coming up behind him. haha  Like Nascar.  Well, we forgot the radios, but when we left out on that last loop, we asked Lance (timer) where we were & he said 11th & 12th!  What?!  I had no idea we had moved up like that.  I was clueless.  I know we went straight in to p/r every check, but still....
Sure enough, as we got into that loop, faster riders (the Texans) came up from behind & we had to execute our "shuttle separation" so that Bird could drop back & Ender could go for the gold!  I was worried that I would have a problem with Bird when Ender left him, but it worked out ok.  I guess he was tired by then & didn't care.  We found a place to scoot over & didn't see Mike & Ender again.
At one point when we were alone, my heart rate monitor started beeping at me & it said Bird's heart had spiked to 220 bpm!  What?  I slowed down to a walk & worried about my horse for a long way.  It slowly came down, but was still high, then (too much later) I looked down & the contact pad had slipped around facing the air!  Dang it!  Why on earth would a HRM spike when it loses contact with the heart??  Why wouldn't it drop to zero?  What is up with that?!  Anyway, I don't suppose Bird minded the break.  I know better than to rely solely on HRM to know how my horse is doing, so that was sort of a dumb mistake.  I turned it off.
We ended up Ender squeaked into the 10th place spot & got to stand for BC.  He got high vet score!  Yaay!  (Mike noticed that he maxed out on the weight portion of the scoring - heehee - my 100-miler horse is being conditioned heavy weight.  He & I are gonna soar!!)  Bird & I got in about an hour later, 17th.  Mike had a run-in with his big (heavy >g<) western saddle, so he was hurting.  Somewhere on one of the steep parts, he leaned up over the horn & Ender did a hop to get up the step & drove that horn up under Mike's ribcage & it got stuck!  He had to lean up to "unhook" it.  Ouch!  He's heading to the doctor as I write this, so let's hope that turns out ok.... [[update: He'll live.  It's only a cracked rib.]] Oh yeah, & Mike is saddle shopping.  Endurance style.
For a first time managing, Jody Buttram sure did seem like she knew what she was doing.  She did a great job, prayed up some great weather, & surrounded herself with great help.  (I haven't competed in any other region, but I swear we must have the best & nicest group of people working endurance rides anywhere.  It's hard to even describe how good they all are, in every way.)  Everything was just great!  Jody had awards for everything you can imagine, this ridiculously tasty Flintstones-looking slab of meat on a bun for dinner, a perfectly Alabaman guitar player, & lots of dancing under a big tent under a big moon with coyotes singing background.  Love.
If you live anywhere even remotely close to north Alabama & didn't make it to the ride, I'm sad for you & hope that Jody does it again so you can do it next year.  The trail is technical.  Strangely, I didn't realize it at the time, even when I was taking all day to complete it.  I heard people talking about it being technical, but I thought they were exaggerating.  At the awards ceremony, I was stunned at the ride times.  (almost 7 hours for the 50-mile winner?)  I thought they were accidentally reading off the total times with holds included.  I still didn't believe it until I read my card the next morning & sure enough, I had been out there on trail almost 9 hours!  Really?  (Bird says, "Yes, really.")  There were several steep, deep-step, rock "staircases." I remember saying, "Uuugh" a lot going down them, but they were neat.  (Bird says "neat" is not the right word.)  Anyway, it's difficult without seeming difficult.  Or maybe I was just mesmerized by that forest & everything seemed fun to me.  Or maybe it was the raptor dust?  Either way, next year, y'all all need to come!!  Bring a tough horse, do a tough ride, and maybe it will cast a spell on you like it did me, & you'll have a good, relaxing, fun time, too!

Raptor Run - Angie McGhee

October 18 2011

This weekend was the first ever Raptor Run at the Bankhead National Forest in Alabama and it was GREAT!  Photos at:

Back when I got into endurance in 1987 Alabama had as many or more rides than most other states...a spring *and* fall 25/50/100 and it was a hotbed of competition. Unfortunately, the ride went away and Alabama has had no rides other than the Talladega ride which is very near the Georgia line. Slowly we lost Mississippi and Alabama and endurance barely seemed to exist there any more. In the last couple of years there's been a wonderful revival. Terry Price brought back the Mississippi rides with Blazing Saddles and Witch Dance and we suddenly started seeing some families like the Carraways, & Huffmans who used to be the 'big dogs" but hadn't been seen lately. Now with the return of the Bankhead Ride it's as if the clock is turning back and the whole area is waking back up! This is such a great part of the country with pleasant weather and great footing. It's like mixing a little Florida sand which is "too soft" with some TN/GA red clay which is "too hard" and getting "just right"!

The old Bankhead Ride was held at a camp called "Owl Creek" which used to accommodate a bunch of 2 horse stock trailers and tents just fine but would never handle even a dozen of today's bigger it was an absolute jackpot when Jody Buttram met her pal "Ronny" and discovered he had a huge beautiful bermuda hay field (the horses were in heaven) just a hundred yards or so from the entrance to the national forest...and that he was willing to let us use it!!  For those who have known Jody only as a rider for...pretty much may come as a surprise that she was such a natural ride manager, but for those of us who know the way she plans ahead and can tell you every ride she plans to do and on which horse for the next 24 months it was a no brainer.

As a rider my review of the ride would be: Great camp, well organized, all the right support people there to have total confidence it would be run perfectly. Lance and Samm Bartee and Nancy Gooch as timers, Danny Herlong and Carmen Blaylock taking pulses, and Otis Schmitt and Dee Dee Huff as vets. Doesn't get much more experienced than that. I even had my own personal farrier, Jason Bagley there as ride farrier! Add to that the local Ham Radio club out there to make you feel confident, and fun messages stapled on pie plates going down the trail to keep  you amused and it was a great day. The messages for those who didn't know were aimed at Jody's Co-worker "Frannie" who had decided to attempt her first LD on her huge blue roan foundation QH. Her friends at work made up the signs and had Jody post them on trees going down the trail. Franny finished with a whole five minutes to spare! The weather was pretty much what I plan to order up when I make it to heaven. Beautiful fall temps with brilliant blue skies and colorful leaves.  Jody was sporting a "new improved" svelte figure after marking the entire trail on foot. After just riding it I was even more impressed with that fact.

Loop one  was what Jody considered the "bad loop" that she'd get over with then we'd get to ride her "good trails". Funny, everyone I talked to loved the first loop best. The level of difficulty (for those who know the SE rides) is much like Talladega, but the scenery is much more Big South Fork. Beautiful rock formations, spruce trees, going down into cool hollow sand crossing mountain streams, things you'd never suspect were waiting as you drive through the flat cotton fields on the way to the ride. My theory is that in Alabama if it's flat, you farm it, if it's not you ride it. I've never seen more day riders on the trail. They were very nice and so anxious to yield the trail even when you assured them they didn't have to. Alabama is just horse country!  There were so many rigs all over the roads on our drive out. Even passed one fellow calmly riding his horse down the side of a major divided highway with semi traffic going by as he talked on his cell phone.  The rocks Jody had warned us of weren't so much the little kind that bruise the sole as they were sandstone formations that you had to hop up on or step down off of. They weren't slick so it was actually kinda fun.  Josie and I rode the last half of the first loop with Keith Kibler and wife on a TWH and a Missouri Fox Trotter and Steve Huffman on his Spanish Mustang. Jody went way out of her way to present LOTS of breed awards, contacting the parent organization of pretty much every breed that she knew was coming. Steve is one of the old timers we've gotten back out on the trail and it's amusing to watch the reaction of those who don't know who he is. These days when a guy shows up in jeans, western shirt, cowboy boots and hat, on an old time western saddle riding on a non-Arab we don't expect them to smoke our horses on the trail and look good doing it! We especially don't expect them to hop off their horse and  jog the last 1/2 mile uphill into the vet check in their cowboy boots but he did that too!

It turned into a warm day but with all the trademark  blue "Jody tubs" of water put out and topped off all day by Jody's husband Joel, and the nice cool streams it was no problem at all. The trail was tough, lots of ups and downs and turns that tend to work the rider more than usual but the footing was soo nice and the scenery too that it was well worth the effort.  The ride went off flawlessly and then the fun began...

The ride meal was "sandwiches"...which didn't sound so exciting until you opened your bag and realized your "sandwich:" was a double slab of grilled sirloin steak on a hamburger bun! EXCELLENT!!! That was provided by Jody's brother-in-law and I vote for that to become a tradition!!!  Jody's mother, Barbara Rogers (again one of our former competitors from AL) handed out fruit & snacks to riders as they worked during the vet a mom trying to make her kids take care of themselves. :-)

I'll let Jody post the results. I know some of it by memory though:

30 started
1st Karen Dely
2nd Steve Huffman on Southern Motion, Spanish Mustang, home bred, gaited, doing his first 50. BEST CONDITION!
3rd Angie McGhee on JA Hallys Eclipse (WOOP WOOP!)
4th McKinley Borden
5th Summer Borden
6th Ron Chapman (raced in...had his great grandson there as crew. How many kids have a great grandpa like that?)
7th Jason Stasiek
8th Josie McGhee on TM Cade
9th Cici Butler-Stasiek
10 Mike Miller on Ender (High Vet Score)

32 started
1st Eddie Edwards
BC Ike Nelson on Spiderman (8 straight BC's!)

Next came the great awards.  Lots of friends who were happy to have rides back in Alabama had donated great stuff....Alice Smith (another old timer from Mississippi) donated beautiful "first junior" halters with plaques. The Pow Wow ride donated a free entry for last junior in both distances. Terry Price of MS donated "Redneck Wine Glasses" for high vet score (a mason jar on a can screw the lid on so you don't spill it when you're drunk...order yours now!) I donated a copy of my book "The Lighter Side of Endurance" to a first time rider (Order TWO now!). Bags of Legends endurance feed ($20 or so value) for top 10 in the 50, Raptor Run buckets, tubs, leads with engraved tags for breed awards, a big coffee table book for first TWH from their parent club, beautiful engraved silver platters for BC in both distances and War Mare in the 50. LOTS OF LOOT! :-)

After the awards Jody had hired a fantastic performer, Joseph Baldwin  I enjoyed just leaning back in my chair under a blanket and listening to him. He could do popular songs as well as the original performers but I especially enjoyed his very well written originals of his own. Then he turned up the dance tunes and got the less inhibited to entertain us with some fun dancing. That ended a great ride day and early morning Cowboy Church with Ike Nelson ended a great weekend. Can't wait for next year. :-))

Linda Toops was the ride photographer and should have her photos up soon at  Jody allowed me to post my personal photos directly onto the Raptor Run page at  I kind of forgot while I was posting them that I was on her page so if I by any chance put a comment on like, "Jody did a wonderful job" it's going to look like she was bragging...but that was me. >g< Didn't have time to go all the way back through and figure out if I had done that or not. :-P

Thanks Jody and all those who made it possible!
Angie McGhee

Saturday, October 15, 2011

2011 Tevis: Did It! - Jenni Smith - Jenni Smith - Full Story

October 10, 2011

The motto of the Western States Trail Ride (aka Tevis) is “To finish is to win.” It is truly apt. Even this year, with a significantly different route that took out a majority (in my opinion) of the more challenging trail, the completion rate only climbed to 60%. When the ride follows its typical course, that rate typically hovers around 50%. Which ever way you slice it, this is a tough stinkin’ ride.

That said – we finished! And it definitely feels like a win – for us, for our horses, for all the careful preparation, time and monies spent. Whoo hoo!

Jenn and I got to McCann Stadium (in the Auburn fairgrounds), did our victory lap around the arena, and passed under the official finish line just after 10 PM Saturday evening. Definitely the earliest time I will ever finish the ride, by a margin of at least two hours. Bear and I finished in 16th and Jenn and Stella were 18th (another rider named Pam Bailie on a cute paint mare named Macy did the last four mile stretch with us and finished 17th).

The amazing thing is that the winner – Jeremy Reynolds – finished three hours ahead of us. He did the entire course in 10 1/2 hours. Amazing. We came into the first vet check just behind him and were maybe 10 minutes behind him by the mid-point of the ride. It’s a testimony to an amazing horse and a fit rider (he runs quite a bit with his horses) that he could pick up the pace so much in the second half of a very tough ride.

Even though the course was largely different, I still thought of this as three rides sewn together – here are their stories;


The start was something to behold. They had all of the horses muster in one open field at 6 AM (start was at 6:30) and asked us to keep moving them around in a large circle – both for safety (fewer dust-ups) and to give them opportunity to warm up. Jenn and I malingered near the start line because we wanted to get out in the first part of the herd (again for safety – we knew our horses capable of a pretty fast pace and the fewer horses you have to pass the less chance for wrecks). Then a lead rider walked us some distance in a controlled start (much like a car race, my SO pointed out). As we wound down a hillside on an asphalt one-lane road, Jenn called out to look back and it was just a sea of horses winding up the hill in the early morning light. So wished I had a camera with me.

When the lead horse stepped aside, the pace exploded. Jenn had been concerned about Stella in this setting – she’s young yet, a little inexperienced, and has a tendency to lash out with her heels at other horses. But she was good – only aimed two retaliations at horses that crowded her from behind and didn’t cause any damage (it does help that she isn’t wearing steel shoes). There was some jostling and Jenn and I had to make an effort to stay together in the low light as we sped down a dirt fire road, headed toward the Tevis trail to Foresthill. But things shook out pretty quickly and we landed in a good space...

Read more here:

The Tevis 2011* It’s always an adventure! - Nick Warhol - Full Story

October 13 2011

(* The Tevis with an asterisk)

This ride just seemed like it did not want to want to be held. It was supposed to happen in the summer, but there was too much snow in the Sierra to allow it. Something like 10 feet was still standing in and around Robinson Flat in August, and Squaw Valley had a reported 700 inches this winter, which is something like 60 feet of snow? That’s a bigger snowpack than a lot of ski lift towers are high! It sure would not work for the horses. Rather than cancel, those dedicated WSTF people made the call to move the ride to October 8th- a very daring move to say the least. There were concerns about the fewer daylight hours, the campgrounds, the cold, and perhaps would it rain? Yeah, that turned out to be the biggie. Not only did it rain all over northern California, but it snowed, again, in the Mountains. Not your nice, light, fluffy dusting of powder. No sir- this was a storm that dumped between 2 and 3 feet at the upper elevations. In October? It’s the Donner party all over again. At least that’s what I thought when on Thursday afternoon I nervously looked up at the ski runs at Squaw Valley that were covered in snow, just begging for skiers, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Lucky for me I was really sick the weekend before the ride. So sick that I would not have been able to go if it had been a week later. Sometimes my luck works out in the right direction! I felt a little funky on Wednesday, but not enough to keep me away from the ride. (I just wired up a box of Kleenex and a bottle of DayQuil on the front of my saddle.) Donnie and I are having our best ever year and he’s in splendid shape. My wife Judy once again “volunteered” to crew for me and my Donnie on my ninth start, Donnie’s fourth. He’s three for three here- twice under me and once under Judy. The deal is if Judy crews for me at Tevis I get to crew for her at 5 other rides during the year (if I don’t ride) It’s a fair deal, since crewing at Tevis is more work than riding it. Our best buddy Becky Glaser also joined in to provide the much needed second vehicle, as well as giving Judy a hand. It’s SO nice to have a crew, especially these people with such experience. They just know what to do.

We tried to pack up and leave for the ride Thursday morning as we usually do, but we found ourselves watching a movie in the house while the rain poured outside our home in Hayward. I wasn’t packing up in this. I kept looking at the road conditions- highway 80 was still open without chains amazingly enough. (I ordered some for the trailer a couple of days before we left, just in case. You know- If you have ‘em you won’t need ‘em.) At about 10:30am it let up and blue sky appeared. We tossed our stuff in the rig, loaded up the boy and set forth in the mighty Pony Tug wondering what we were in for. The trip up was completely uneventful until we started climbing the Sierra. It was blue sky and clear all the way, with roads open, but the snow on the ground in the mountains started about 3000 feet. It kept getting deeper and deeper, until at the Donner summit there was easily 2 plus feet on the ground. It looked like the dead of winter. There were small walls of plowed snow on the edges of the highway. All I could think was “there is NO WAY the ride is going to through this snow.” This is 7000 feet; the top of Squaw is above 9000. It sure was a nice day, though. We rolled down through Truckee and down highway 267 to the turn for the entrance to Robie Park. It wasn’t marked, but we turned in to the forest onto the narrow paved section. Uh oh- here comes a rig from the other direction. And another. A third. This can’t be good. We pause at the tow truck, and see a rig turning around in a spot that worked. The driver, Leigh Bacco, stopped and rolled her window down as she passed us coming out and told us it was a no-go. A rig had been stuck ahead of us, and the tow truck driver had apparently said it was a thousand dollar tow job, and that there was no way he was going back in there, so we were on our own. Leigh had made the right call! She said she was planning on driving over to Squaw Valley and hanging out there until we knew what to do. It took about a half hour to get to Squaw, but we were sure wondering out load what in the heck would happen with the ride. Start at Squaw? Um, no, not with all this snow. We pulled in and found a nice place in the parking lot to set up the rigs. We unloaded the boys and put blankets on; it was 4:30pm, but under 30 degrees and getting colder. Donnie and the other horses happily stood and ate while Judy and I, Leigh, and Matt Scribner all threw on ski parkas and sat around enjoying Bloody Marys and Gin and Tonics that Matt graciously made. They were great! We were waiting for the decision that would be announced at 5 pm. Smart phones are wonderful- sure enough we saw the announcement that Robie Park was out of the question and we should all head for Auburn. There would be a ride! Of some sort. The boys had been in the trailer for too many hours straight, so we walked over to the local Sushi restaurant and had a fantastic dinner and really enjoyed ourselves. Just like being on a Ski vacation! With my horse? It was that cold! After dinner we trundled the boys back in to the trailers and drove on back to Auburn. I was quite relieved, since I had already made up my mind I would not start if they intended to head up over Squaw Valley. We found a nice spot in the grass field by the finish, put up the horses and went to bed by 10:30 pm.

Friday morning brought all kinds of speculation. There would be a ride, but where? How? It seemed pretty unlikely that anything could be done. I chatted with Barbara White in the morning and she gave me the straight scoop- a hundred miles, out backwards on the trail to Foresthill, to Chicken Hawk, then an out and back loop, then back on to Auburn the way we came. A Tevis lollipop ride! The mind reels! What about the start? On the finish single track? Come on! Two way traffic on the California loop? You have to be kidding. What about the river in the morning? Would it be lowered in time? These WSTF crazies re-did the ride in 24 hours that it had taken them a year to plan. Who would be where, when, I can’t believe how much they must have gone through. The ride meeting was pretty funny. Poor Chuck Staley probably had not slept in 2 days, and Tony Benedetti tried to explain the start. What pens? All we had to do was walk along the railroad tracks, go to a field, muster there awhile, head through a gate under the underpass, through the skateboard park, down a paved road for 10 minutes, hit the field at the bottom, not enter the ditch on either side, only enter the lower pen in one spot, circle around, and they would release us at 6:30 am when we could at least see. Right. Everyone was really wondering how this would work. I tried to calculate a start time that would get us just to the start just as they left.

It turned out to be unbelievably good. I mean REALLY good. Like better and easier than any Tevis start I have been on...

Read more here:

Tevis - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing Blog - Full Story

Monday, 10 October 2011
This year Tevis was a really different experience for everyone who attended. The week leading up to the ride there had been a storm that had left the sierras covered in snow. It would be extremely dangerous to attempt to cross through the Granite Chief wilderness area. On Thursday I called the Tevis office and was told that it would be fine but that I should wait to drive to Robie Park on Friday to let the snow melt a little. This looked really bad to me as I knew there had to be a lot more snow up in the high country if basecamp was hard to access.

Six weeks before Tevis I was contacted to help a couple of UAE riders through the race. I had been preparing horses like crazy for 100 mile races for both Tevis and the North American Championship that had been two weeks before Tevis and was working really hard. I also went and picked up two of Hillorie's horses to train them as well, Jordan and Sandy, so that we could use Sandy and have Jordan as a back up. I was now really worried that all of the hard work was going to now be faced with danger.

My friend Chris Long was driving in with Andy Bown from Utah. Andy was lending Chris a horse so she could help assist me in getting the riders through. Chris called me to let me know that she had heard there would be an update on the Tevis web page later in the day.

Upon looking it was later learned that we would start from the Auburn Fairgrounds (the finish line) and do the race in reverse all the way to Chicken Hawk, then do a new trail down Gorman Ranch Road to a number check and turn around from there and go back to Auburn, the way we had come. Essentially Tevis would be an out and back. What a relief from the hazards that were out in the high country covered in 3 plus feet of snow!!

Friday we drove up to Auburn, which shortens our drive by over an hour. We found a great parking spot and unloaded the 4 horses. We had with us Marvel for Jeremy, Tiran for Mohammad, Sandy for Sultan and Bey for myself.

After setting up it was only 9 am. We had left home at 5 am to get a good parking spot. We decided to walk to downtown Auburn for breakfast. We hit up Aweful Annies. It was a great breakfast but while we were there, there were an alarming amount of Bloody Marries being bought and consumed from surrounding tables. Not sure what was up with that, I counted at least 12 and we were sitting on the outdoor patio deck!

We looked around a couple of shops then headed back to the ride site. Around noon the whole gang showed up. Almost all of the crew as well as the riders. We visited for a bit and then went to get our rider packets and vetted in. After all of this we went for a pre ride. I wanted to get the two riders on their horses and make sure the tack would work out. The ride went well. On our way back when we were almost back a super, super long train went by and all of the horses had to wait it out. They did ok with it, a little anxious but ok.

The ride meeting was at 4 pm. It was shorter than normal which was great. It left time for dinner before bed without it getting too late. During the ride meeting we found out the vet check arrangements. The first vet would be a trot by at the lower quarry, then a full vet check at Francisco's, and hour hold at Foresthill, another trot by at Chicken Hawk, then loop back to Chicken Hawk for a full vet check, back to Foresthill for another hour hold, full vet checks at Francisco's and the Lower Quarry then the finish.

We all headed into town for dinner, I must say having Tevis this way was SOOO civilized, restaurants, real bathrooms with showers and no red dirt!

Saturday morning we even got to sleep in compared to normal, the ride didn't start until 6:30. Wonderful! The two riders showed up around 5:30 and Hillorie even brought us Starbucks! We saddled up and got on at 6. Jeremy a little sooner, as he would be riding faster and wanted to get down to the start.

My group had a relaxing walk to the start. I was wearing a red glowing armband so that my riders could spot me easily in the little darkness in the morning. It worked well. We all kept together easily. It is about a 15 min ride down to the start so we got there a little over 10 mins before the start.

The ride began and we were off...

Read more here:

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

North American Endurance Team Challenge - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing

Sunday, 02 October 2011
This is a little over due! Jeremy and I are still going full steam preparing five horses for Tevis.

On Tuesday before the NAETC we headed up to the ride. It was super hot out so we left at 6 pm. Skip was hauling our trailer up as we had had a license issue with our hauling vehicle and Jeremy was still in the process of getting his class "A" non commercial license. We pulled into camp about 12:30 am.

Wed we got up and Jeremy took Dee and Kutt for a nice long walk. Then we made coffee with the amazing machine Jeremy had gotten me for my birthday. The rest of the Pac South team trickled in throughout the day. Becky called and was having some rig issues and would be coming much later in the evening than planned.

We went out for a ride and both horses felt great. After hanging out and saying hi to friends we went to town for a few items and for dinner. Greenville is a small town. It is a very welcoming town and the locals all seem like friends. We had dinner in the local cafe/diner. It had a very hometown feel to it.

Thursday everyone had arrived that would be riding for our zone. My main crew Nicole Chappel arrived. We started to get all of the crew stuff out and buckets organized. The Pac South riders were: Alex North, Nicole Smith, Becky Hart, Jeremy Reynolds and myself. You should have seen the piles of buckets, ice chests and crew stuff that we had out!

A group of crew also went to scope out the crew points. Skip was keeping everybody informed as he was our chef and he was attending daily, morning meetings with the officials, who would go over logistics and details.

All of the teams had their passports inspected with the horses present. After the inspection we rode Dee and Kutt again and they got to see the change that had been made to the finish line loop.

I clipped both horses after the ride. It was still very hot and they both had decent coats growing.

Our team vet, Jay Mauro looked all of our horses over thoroughly and watched them trot in straight lines and circles to evaluate their soundness.

Becky went out for a ride on Pete and wasn't happy with him, she was feeling something funky in the front end. She asked Jeremy if he could check him out. She was thinking about not riding! It was decided that Jeremy would mess with his feet after he vetted in Friday.

That night there was a wine and cheese reception hosted by Pac North. It was fun to visit and see everyone. A lot of people were dancing to the live music. Jeremy and I left early and hit the hay. The next morning we heard that a few of our team mates and friends from other teams had shut the place down and then had headed into town to the local bar!

At O'Dark Thirty Rebecca Silva arrived. Jeremy had to drive her to the cabin where she would stay. About :45 after Rebecca, in the middle of the night when you are dead asleep Jeremy's main crew and identical twin brother, Tim arrived with Lori Olson, Becky's crew. Jeremy had to get up and drive her over to the cabin she would be staying! Becky you owe him!

On Friday we rode first thing in the morning as vetting in would be at 9 am. Dee and Kutt were both feeling ready.

Skip would have to figure out who he wanted to have as the official team of 4 and who would be the 1 individual rider. He would have to decide very shortly after vetting...

Read more here:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hillbilly Shuffle - Cindy Stafford

September 18 2011

Just got back from HIllbilly Shuffle held in Black MO on the Ozark Trail.  Many thanks to the Coles for putting on this ride, and for all the helpful volunteers - I'm sure its not fun to be sitting in the rain all day!  And thanks to the nice hosts at Brushy Creek Campground - always so friendly.
I rode my 6 yr old horse Hula (DB Hula Mayya), this was her 2nd LD.  Her first was this same ride last year when it was the Ozark Trail ride.  She's not in great condition, not a pudge ball but not ready for fast miles.  I"ve been scared to do another LD with her without a 'babysitter' :) to keep her steady.  Last year I rode with my friend Paula and her steady gelding Ibn Desert Dhellal and they kept a nice pace for us the whole ride.  I thought this ride might be OK since it's single track and technical (lots of rocks!) and so might keep her focused on the trail rather than getting race brain.  Turned out Paula could ride with us on this one after all, since she her horses had just done 50's the weekend before, so she was going to ride a borrowed horse from the barn where we board (Desert Bred Arabians) who hadn't done any long distance work yet, so the plan was a nice conservative ride.  Her borrowed horse, DB Fatima (Bernie), was fit, but had never seen a hill since only being ridden around the trails where she lives - nice flat floodplains in IL.
Friday was lovely - nice cool sunny day, we got a couple hr pre-ride in.  Both did well.
Saturday the forecast was a chance of a T Storm in the afternoon.  They were wrong.  It started raining early in the AM, the rest of the day was periods of drizzle, then heavy showers off and on.    Plan was I was going to lead on Hula, poor little Bernie is just a spooky little girl,she would've ping ponged the entire 25 miles if she led.  I wanted to be back of the pack, my one concern was having riders come up from behind , last year that got hula pretty revved up and she threw some bucks and I didn't want her to get swept up with other horses with the trail being so technical and me losing control.
So we started out a couple minutes behind the crowd...she settled in very nicely, kept up a nice trot, slowed for the downgrades and hills if I asked.  Was riding with a loose rein - very nice!  The trail is very nice - Barry Cole and Back Country Horsemen and Paul Sidio and I'm sure miriads of others have worked hard this past year to repair all the damage from the downed trees from the storm a couple years back.  While you are riding in the Ozark Hills, it's not steep climbs.  The trail stays on the hllsides and is very undulating, some rocky spots, other areas where you can move out.  At various points the Ozark Trail crosses gravel roads and county roads - they all look alike after a while.  The course is you go up a trail from the campground to get onto a gravel road that hooks you up with a crossing of the Ozark Trail.  The LD"s were to follow red/white/blue ribbons 10 miles south on the trail, 30 min vet hold at Sutton Bluff, come back - cross the gravel road that takes you back to Brushy Creek, and then follow red/white ribbons 2.5 miles north on the OT, turn around at a creek and come back, then hit that magic gravel road and hook back up with the Brushy Creek trail to come back in.  This is important later :).
At about mile 7 we caught up with Ivan from Springfield (didn't get his last name - sorry Ivan!) who was enjoying his first LD on his grey gelding.  We all rode together to the first vet hold at Sutton Bluff.   To get there, the trail crosses a paved road where we needed to go down a long hill about 3/4 mile to a spot on large creek.  The road had just been paved and the rain had just started to fall harder when we got there, making it especially slick if your horse had shoes.  So we got off and handwalked to the vet hold - I was worried about sharing the road with traffic since there were no shoulders and blind hills and curves, but luckily nothing came along.  crossed a bridge into the hold.
30 minute hold   - horses ate and drank at the creek, no probs, all A's.  Still raining....
Got back on to head back up the long hilll up the road, got to the bridge, horses suddenly noticed the bridge when we were on their backs - of course!  didn't want to try and work thru the prob with the rain and slick pavement, got off again and this time handwalked UPPPPP the hill on the paved road.  ugh - I was not in shape to be doing this :).  Plus I have a tall horse and short legs - tough for me to mount without a step, was worried how to get back on.
Halfway up the hill, found a place to mount, got back on, Paula still handwalked Bernie.
Got to the trail, Paula got back on.  Just as we were heading back down the trail, I could feel Hula get a little excited about heading back toward home, those 10 miles hadn't phased her.  Then we heard traffic coming behind us on the road.  Very LOUD screeching motor bikes and a semi it sounded like.  Horses got very wiggy but we wre keeping things at a walk and relaxed mostly, Hula was getting a little jiggy but she was listening for the most part with me bending her head left and right.  UNTIL...two riders caught up to us from behind - very nice very polite ladies, but poor Hula had a little meltdown and started crowhopping.  The ladies passed nicely, but Hula still was jiggy,crowhopping.  I was trying to keep her at a relaxed walk, I was afraid if I let her go, I would lose all control while she tried chasing the other horses, and we were on the narrowest part of the trail, rain was falling the heaviest it had all day, and we were heading toward steady downhills back into a little valley.  I just didn't want to be on a bucking horse pitching down a hill and coming off. 
I thought I should just walk back to the vet hold and RO....  Paula suggested just handwalking Hula for a while until she settled down, so I tried that.  Bad part was this was the narrowest part of the trail with the steepest hillside - or it just seemed that way because I was walking it :~P.  Hula kept trying to get in front of me, so I kept fighting to keep her back while we tried to share this teeny tiny trail, stumbling over rocks, in the rain, up and down the hills...seemed like I walked FOREVER!, but it was probably only a half mile or so.  Finally though I could handle getting back on, but unfortunately the RM's Linda and Barry Cole hadn't left mounting blocks scattered throughout the trail for us.  Sheesh!    Tried getting on from a boulder, but every time I'd get my foot in the stirrup, Hula would swing her butt around.  Bernie was too nervous to stand still which complicated things.  Finally found some wonderful downed trees (there's a good part to that storm damage!) and it took a while but finally managed to get back in the saddle.  Whew!
Hula finally got a brain back, and we just kept it a nice, but still a bit excited and tense, walk for a bit.  I was still too nervous to try much trotting, afraid I'd lose control of her.  Paula, bless her heart, was very patient and didn't get fed up with us while the race clock kept ticking away as we walked, in the rain, in the cold.   
After some time walking, started some trotting spots again, mostly on the uphills to keep her steady, and started feeling more confident again.  But lots of thoughts went thru my head during that period handwalking my horse - why am I doing this silly sport?  I'm not having fun - this is miserable.  I hate being scared...this is dangerous...this isn't the horse for me, I need a quiet horse who doesn't buck...I just need to sell her to someone that likes a little onriness....I should stick with pleasure riding so I'm not riding in this much I missed riding my 16 yr old 'perfect' horse with the bad joints in endurance...I couldn't wait to get back to camp and call it a day.  
But around mile 15, things were looking better, the rain was petering off again, I got my loose reined horse back, we were back by ourselves on the trail.
Mile 20 - crossed the Brushy Creek gravel road to head north on our 5 mile out and back following the red and white ribbons .  Hula balked just a moment wanting to head back to Brushy Creek there, but a couple of little squeezes she willingly passed it to head north to follow those red and white ribbons.  Those 5 miles were lovely, nice steady trotting, passed some LD's as they were headed back.  Got to the creek at Hwy J, horses drank.  We turned around to head back and we were doing good on time.  Should get back with some time to spare. 
Trotted a couple miles, got to a gravel road and Paula said this is where we turn left to go back.  Hula pulled at me to go straight ahead to stay on the trail and balked when I tried to make her go left "toward camp" ahem.  We thought - silly horse!  She wants to still do more miles!  Horse are so confused - they don't know where they're going.  So we nudged nudged nudged and started trotting up the road to find the Brushy Creek Trail.  And trotted.  And trotted.  Saw the big pile of dead trees on the side of the road from that morning.  Still trotted.  No ribbons...lots of trail crossings, but no ribbons.  Where did we miss them?  Did they fall down in the rain?  Horses kept wanting to stop to eat grass....talked about it for a while, then trotted all theway back to the OT crossing.  Still couldn't find the Brushy Creek trail back to camp...Then Paula noticed the trail crossing, the ribbons that would have been taking you back to Sutton Bluff, well they were still red and white...not red white and blue as the north trail had been marked.  We hadn't hit the Brushy Creek road yet - ARGH!  Now we were way behind the clock.  Got back on the OT (Sorry Hula!  You were right!), trotted another 1/2 mile, saw the pie plate for 1 mile to finish, and kept trotting trotting.  FINALLY hit the Brushy Creek road, turned left - trotted, found our RIBBONS - yea!  Followed them back to the Brushy Creek trail and down down down the hill back to the finish line with 10 minutes to spare! 
PHEW!  We survived :). 
Horses vetted in good, pulsed in around 48 I think, mostly A's, rain had stopped, I was soooo glad to be done!  and Hula was too :).
So that's my long ride story from an inexperienced LD'er. I know this isn't an inkling of what the 'real' riders do at Tevis and OD and Big Horn, but I am proud of Hula for leading for 25 miles on a loose rein for 20 of those.  There were a lot of pulls I heard in the 50 and a couple in the LD's, so very happy that we finished with healthy sound horses :). 
And very proud of little Bernie - for a horse that's never done any long trail rides and has never seen a hill, she kept up like a champ.  Paula called her a little mountain goat, just glided up and down those hills.
Thanks again for all who helped put on this ride - it was a challenge!
Cindy and DB Hula Mayya
(and Zoey the 16 yr old arthritic mare who's very happy she's figured out how to avoid going with Cindy on these silly rides)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 Lincoln Trail 100 - Keith Kibler - Full Story

Posted on September 12, 2011 by Keith Kibler

Lincoln Trail 100, 2011

A TWH and Gypsy the Mule

My name is Kate. I am a grey TWH. My human is Keith. Sometimes he is my best buddy, sometimes he is my food slave. You would not believe how I have this guy trained. I can go and stand at the gate and Keith brings me food. I have him trained to give me an apple treat every time I nuzzle him. He was a little slow to train, but he is catching on. Part of my training of Keith is that I take him to endurance rides. Giving him a job has made him a much better human.

One of my favorite places to take Keith is Stephen Forbes State Park in Salem Il. It is only a 90 minute drive and the course is really technical and it is almost always muddy with lots of climbing and creek crossings. I like that. I finally convinced Keith that he was ready for 100 mile rides a year ago.

Cheyenne, one of my pasture mate TWH’s went with her human, Sandy. For some reason, we decided to take Samba. She is just a 4 year old MFT. I think we took her so she could see what a ride camp iss like. You know how youngsters can be.

The 100 started off at 5:45 and it was very dark. This trail has always been very muddy and it is mostly in woods. The trail is not completely cleared and you have to duck under limbs and go around occasional trees that completely block the trail. There are never any glow sticks on the trail. I appreciate Keith’s light on his helmet. I went to the lead and off we went...

Read more here:

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

COOKED Over the Mountain! a.k.a. Canter Over the Mountain - Charles Coleman

September 4 2011

YEP that sums it up me and my new Morgan Justice were fried! Been a very long time since Mary Coleman was pulled quite the humbling experience. Justice and me were not alone 20+ started the LD only 6 completed not sure about the 50 I think 29? and 9 were pulled when we headed home Saturday evening.
I believe I did make the remark at one time if my AC needed to be run (and run it did all day and night) my body and my Morgans did not need to be riding. So what was I thinking?
 One thing I was thinking the weather forecast could not be right hazy, hot and humid. All week it had been wonderful but they hit the nail on the head for this one.
 I begged Charles to haul us down me, Justice, my boarder Mary and her 1/2 Arab Possum. We arrived Friday 11ish with the plan on competing 25/25 for both horses. Possum fixed that by being lame at the vet-in which yes I had checked both horses Thursday evening and they were fine. Not sure what's up with him but he picked a good ride to sit-out. However he is a bondy horse and I knew Mary was going to have her hands full when Justice left without him. Justice on the other hand is much like his rider don't look back as Patti Stedman has told me more than once. On the bright side I now had crew, the use of a hose and eons of ice.
 LDs started at 7:30 off into the humidity and hills of West Virginia. We did a 15 mile loop I was so hot and so worried about Justice I could not really tell you much about the trail except I almost started following the wrong color ribbons at one point. Worse yet I nearly left without a sponge. Just when Mary had Possum somewhat calmed down I went back and had her hand me my sponge which I left in the tub at the water stop anyhow.
 Arriving back at camp at 10:15 with one very hot Morgan it took an hour just to make a 66 pulse by than I was beat and put him back next to his now happy grey buddy. Except for being fried Justice was none the worse and kept eating and drinking and hopefully forgiving me. His starts had been a little gnarly at other rides but he was great at this one and his legs are nice and tight and his attitude remained chipper. I am very proud of him.
  We will go back next year weather permitting and try again!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Shore to Shore - Shannon Loomis

August 21 2011

My daughter and I attended the Shore to Shore Pioneer ride last week put on once again by Wayne Gastfield and Drs Rae and Brett and timer extraordinaire Bruce Birr (no numbers here, Bruce does it all by name and acts as PR, in-timer, out-timer, and direction giver)....

The miserable hot weather of the last month or so finally broke the weekend before the ride.  My dad was in the area about 10 days before the ride and called me to suggest perhaps we should reconsider due to the extreme heat and humidity but we were committed and figured we could always slow down and take our time.

Unfortunately, my daughter's mare hurt herself in her stall the week before the ride, so we had to bring the emergency back-up horse, my son's fat gelding, Qui instead.  Originally, the plan was for me to ride the 250 on my gelding, Quest and sponsor my daughter as she rode the LD 125 on Qui.  When we arrived at camp, however, Morgan was really disappointed that she couldn't ride the 50's, so I wandered around camp wrangling sponsors and back-up sponsors for the week with contingencies for sponsors who may not finish the 250.  Fortunately, Morgan has ridden the 125 there twice and the whole 250 last year, so she is familiar with trail and method of marking, which may be a bit - shall we say "subtle" for those not used to it and she is a very experienced competitor (she finished OD 100 this past June).  I was a little nervous as Morgan had never ridden my horse before and he can be a handful, but for some reason he is a different horse at s2s - he unloads at the first camp, looks around and says "Not this again!" and starts to eat, knowing that he won't be done for 5 days.  He is overall relaxed at this ride and paces himself, knowing exactly how far he will have to go before he gets in the trailer again, this being his 3rd year in a row.....  And she is a very strong rider, as her mare is not a walk in the park to ride, but I still held my breath the first day.

Five riders signed up for the whole 250 (Lois McAfee also showed up to ride all 5 days on one horse, but did not sign up for the pioneer) - Morgan, Bill Wilson, Earl Baxter, Denise Tudor-Hayes (a fellow Ohio Arabian and All-breed Trail Society (OAATS) member) and Rodne LeCouteur, a local Michigan endurance rider.  Denise and Rodne were completely new to Shore to Shore but decided to attempt the entire ride.  

Four signed up for the LD, myself, two OAATS riders, Leah Palastrant and her junior rider Paige Underwood, and another rider whose name I do not recall (sorry!).

My mom and son very graciously offered to pit crew for us.  My mom never drives my rig except at shore to shore and of course my check engine light was on (don't get me started!), so US Rider was on speed-dial.  Denise's 18 year old daughter, Rebecca, crewed for her mom and had never driven the gooseneck before.  Leah and Paige had Paige's mom, Carla, to crew, again a very novice driver and Rodne's wife, Barbara, drove his huge rig.  Other OAATS friends, Mary Mast and Mary Chmielski, showed up to take turns riding and crewing for the week.  Everyday, a big caravan drove out of camp with my mom leading her little line of ducklings from check to check.  Mama isn't the most experienced driver, but this was her third s2s and she is fairly competent with map, gps and driving directions.

I rode the LD's with Morgan and her sponsor(s) for the day.  My fat little black horse is very herd bound and the first few days became very distraught if a horse was between him and Quest, but by the end of the week, had improved greatly, though still screaming if left behind in camp.  He also improved a little bit if Quest moved more than 15 feet away from him at the vet check, but definitely something we need to work on, though it is hard with a horse usually ridden by a junior - he is just never alone at a ride!  This arrangement actually worked out rather well with my mom as I was able to help her make crew stops along the road in the afternoon (there are no official checks after the halfway at s2s, which can make for a very long afternoon for horse and rider) and set up once we arrived at the next campsite.  After the first day or so, we would pass our ducklings off to Leah, who would lead them to the final camp of the day and take my horse with them so he wouldn't have to stand in the trailer all afternoon while we zoomed ahead to offer food and water to any and all who passed by our road stop.  

Monday was a bit wet but cool and went by without a hitch.  The only major incident of the week was on Tuesday when Earle Baxter's horse fell and caught him with a hoof across the forehead, laying it open.  I was sitting along the road with my water buckets and mash, waiting for riders when Earle, Tracy Blue and Amy Yatsko popped out of the woods.  I asked if they needed anything and they asked for bandages!  He had a bandana on but blood all down his face and neck.  I cleaned it the best I could and applied band aid butterflies but told him he needed stitches because I was looking at bone.  At the end of the day, he ended up with 13 stitches in his forehead....

Bill, Earle, and Denise all ended up on their back-up horses on Wednesday, so only Morgan and Rodne (and, unofficially, Lois) were left in the 250.  Rodne's horse had a pretty severe girth gall in his armpits where his saddle slid up a little, but seemed to be going along well.  Quest looked awesome, though he also suffered from a small girth gall which I treated by loosening his girth to hang a few inches under his belly, tightening the crupper a notch and telling Morgan to ride balanced....

Friday, Rodne very graciously offered to sponsor Morgan since he was the only one who could go to Lake Michigan with her (only entered horses could go on to Empire).  Otherwise, I would have had to walk the last 6 miles with her on foot....  His horse was a bit lame at the half, the girth galls flaring up.  We coated him in Desitin and put my treeless saddle and mohair girth on him, since I was finished with my LD.  With breastplate and crupper (which his horse, Son had never worn before, but on the 5th day, he didn't really care!) and girth hanging loose, off they went.

Morgan and Rodne went all the way to the lake, got their ice cream (of course!) and then loaded up into my trailer to head back to camp.

Lois beat Morgan and Rodne by quite a bit, as she, Earle and Bill battled for first all week, but since she was not signed up for the 250, Morgan ended up with 1st and BC for the week.  I don't know the individual day results, sorry....  My fat black horse finished 1st for the LD, Leah and Paige also completed the LD with Paige's mount, Apollo getting the LD BC.  The fourth rider did not finish the week on the same horse.

Overall, we had a great time, Morgan and Quest got along better than expected with only a couple of minor "Quest moments", Morgan kept her sponsors on the trail with her eagle eye marker-sighting skills, my little black back-up horse did great on his first major test since his colic surgery 18 months prior, the truck limped through the entire week without completely stranding us, the weather could not have been better, other than Earle's skull laceration there were no major catastrophe's, no one got seriously lost, and only a few fenders were smashed on trees in the tight spaces of the camps....

Shore to Shore is a great ride to go to.... Lots of camaraderie, everyone willing to give a hand and leave water on the side of the road to share (especially Linda Hamlin's husband - thank goodness for little herds of pastry buckets!).  I highly encourage one and all to come and join us next year.

Thanks again to all who put out buckets to share, to Morgan's sponsors - Denise, Rodne, and Mary Mast (we love you, Mary!), and ride management....

Shannon Loomis

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fab F.E.I. Endurance Ride At Dullstroom, South Africa This Weekend! - Full Story

August 16 2011

Cules and I left for a bit of a holiday on Thursday...We loaded the horses...check...tack...check...camping equipment..check..nada! We booked ourselves into a chalet on the premises of the endurance ride! After two years of camping in the ice cold weather at this same ride,we booked a chalet four months in advance! It was heaven on earth,no dripping tents, no racing to the toilets in the middle of the night..,just exquisite luxury..Every morning we awoke to utter bleating,mooing,baaing,oinking,barking,quacking or crowing....only the horses making horsey noises...

Read more here:

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

a different kind of ride story - Susan Franklin

I've been competing in endurance rides
since 2007, and one of my favorite things about a ride is the "ride photo."
I'm building my wall of 8x10's in my tack room as we speak. I love ride photos. In fact, even before I started competing
myself, I searched the internet for ride photos. There could be hundreds of pictures, of
people and horses I didn't know, it didn't matter, I'd look through them,
sometimes more than once, sometimes when I was at work and supposed to be doing
something else. I'd go through once
looking at the horses, then again looking at what tack they were using. Maybe a third time to look at the riders. I'm not sure why I'm using past tense. I still do this. And don't ask me why I can't look at all of
those things at once. I can't answer

Anyway, I've always had an interest in
photography, but the endurance horse is responsible for re-igniting my passion
for it enough to make me run out and buy one of those newfangled DSLR cameras, and
I started lurking around taking pictures at the endurance rides that I wasn't
riding in. Of course, nothing is ever simple,
and I soon realized that it was awkward, and maybe even rude to take pictures
where there was a professional photographer working. The last thing I wanted do was interfere with
a real photographer trying to make money, especially a ride photographer
because I love ride photographers! I
just wanted to take pictures. So I
decided to take the pictures, but wait until after the pro posted their ride
pics before uploading mine. Only my
friends knew about my photo album anyway. Now that more people know about my smugmug
page, I'm going to start posting a link to the ride photographer's website,
too. But I'm getting ahead of myself....

So I'm riding in some rides, and going
to others with my camera, having a good time, taking my bike and biking around
clicking pictures of fabulous endurance horses in some beautiful places. Then all of a sudden, a few weekends ago, I showed
up at a ride all ready to play (I was going to practice panning shots to streak
the background and some other stuff), only to find out that they had no ride
photographer for the weekend. Well,
there I stood with my big camera, planning to take pictures anyway, and I
couldn't stand the thought of all those riders not having some sort of ride
picture. That happened to me once, and I
was devastated! It was the only ride
where my horse top-tenned and got high vet score, and I had no picture. Very sad. So I quietly volunteered myself to try and get pictures of everyone, and
let me say this right now: that sounds a whole lot easier than it actually is! In fact, I decided I wanted to write
this little story to let everyone know about some of the stuff these
photographers are going through for us. It's kind of brutal. They're
definitely "endurance" folk, too.

To start with, they get up every bit as early as we do. 5:00 a.m. to get up, get all of your gear
ready, and get to your shooting spot before the leaders get there. I had no idea where any good places to shoot
might be, and now instead of just wandering around on my own time doing my own
thing, I had Responsibility... to be in
a good spot, in time to get the leaders, and to stay there long enough to get
the turtle. I had gotten a few leads about where to
go, but then when I went out "into the field" it was a whole
different thing trying to get to these locations. The Forest Service had closed a bunch of roads,
so people would tell me where to go, but I couldn't get "there from
here" on the available roads. But I
had my bike. I figured that I could just
ride out to the good spot on my bike. That did not work out. It was
very far and very, very hilly, and I almost burst my heart out of my chest
trying to ride that bike carrying my heavy camera equipment up and down and up
and down hill after hill after hill after hill, and I never I even made it out
to the spot. I gave up, turned around,
and decided the closer spots were fine.

I settled in to a morning of shooting
at the serene river crossing where everyone was pausing to do some serious
sponge fishing and cool their horses down. That's where I had the very close call when a horse spooked coming up
out of the water about two feet away from me as I tried to flatten myself
against the riverbank not to get trampled. Scary! Then, I switched locations
to what I thought was a very good strategic spot on a lollipop loop where I would
have riders coming from both directions. Turns out it was a really good spot for briars and bugs, too. After standing for hours (I'm talking Endurance
Standing. I mean you can't even stand where
you want, like in the shade. You have to
be at the best vantage point which inevitably turns out to be the full-sun spot),
my legs looked like I had the measles. I
had been eaten alive by some bug that didn't care that I had sprayed my legs
with Off before hiking out there. I'm
telling you -- hug your ride photographer! The job is perilous! And you
can't even move out to create a nice breeze.

Later that afternoon, I had moved to
another location to get riders coming in to the finish line. I had been standing still (soooo much
standing still) listening for the next rider for so long that I started to go a
little mental. Once, I heard the 3-beat
thrum of a cantering horse complete with huffing breaths, heading my way. I popped up the camera, turned it on, got
ready for the picture, and no horse. There was no horse coming. I
decided that I'd been out there too long. I was going crazy. I needed a
drink. It was only later that someone
suggested, "You know, there are bears in these woods...." And
then... I learned that it could have been an albino, 5-legged, mutant bear. Apparently, back in the 50's, 60's, and 70's,
our government used to zap Dawson Forest with radiation to see how long it
would take to recover if Russia decided to nuke us. A double-fenced, 3-story, hot-cell, concrete
block building still stands in the overgrowth just yards away from
ridecamp. It was a seriously big secret
facility back in the day, but the locals knew and have been telling stories of
seeing these albino, extra-legged mutants ever since.

That evening, I was worn out. It was a long day on my feet, and I needed to
look at the pictures, charge my camera batteries, get fresh memory cards, eat
dinner, and get to bed early enough to get up at 5:00 the next morning to do it
all again, so I didn't stick around for the ride meeting. That was a rookie mistake because the next
day, they had 'called an audible' and moved the start time up fifteen minutes
which caused me to miss catching the leaders at my first spot. That day was another 12-hour shift of more driving
around on wild goose chase, closed-road hunts, standing and standing and
standing in the heat, this time in long, hot but also bug-proof pants, a snake
encounter at the river, and a major freak wind/thunder storm to top off the day. I didn't get to do any of the 'playing' I had
planned on, and didn't get to spend any time in ridecamp because I was so
paranoid about getting at least one good picture of each rider. I took 1,303 pictures. When I got home, I had to buy some hefty
software to handle the volume.

The moral of my story is... love your
ride photographer! They work for it, and
they endure long hot hours of standing still, bugs and briars, snakes and
storms, closed roads and mutant bears. And
if you're like me, you want them to keep showing up to do it. Buy their photos, and if there's a rogue
photographer at the ride (like me), please remember, we're there for us, not
you. Your ride photographer is there for
you! Thank them, and buy their

-Susan Franklin

Monday, August 01, 2011

Patriot's Day Lake Almanor LD - Funder

Fundersgoodidea Blog - Full Story

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My overall impression is: And now I know!

So, my original plan was to ride my friend's grey Arab mare in the 50. I've been helping to condition her for a month and she is a nonstop trotting machine. Aaaand Friday she was a three-legged trotting machine - she got kicked in the pasture Thursday night. Sigh. So I rode a green chestnut mare on her second LD. Fire's first endurance ride was last year or early this year, and she hasn't been ridden all that much since then. I thought a 50 would be iffy on her so I pushed to ride her LD - I think her owner would've been happy either way, and I think Fire could've done the 50, but I don't want to break somebody else's horse!

I knew Lake Almanor was an FEI* ride, and I knew that FEI rides are usually very flat, very fast, and precisely the correct distance. It didn't really sound like my cup of tea, but I'm a very openminded newbie, so off I went!

I drove by Lake Almanor... and kept right on going, a good 30 minutes away. It is a really pretty lake and I'd love to go back to see it!

Ridecamp is in a huge meadow. The tiny glints in the distance are rigs in the meadow. Most people parked back under the trees.

We set up our camps on the far edge of the meadow and took the Arabs down to vet in. Fire vetted in with all A's, and she behaved pretty well. We let the horses graze and listened to the ride meeting and looked over our packets.

I had three different sheets of paper detailing the 25. A color map showing all the loops (numbered phases), with my two loops written on the bottom - red white & blue and pink & pink checkered. A sheet showing all the out times and phases for each distance - again, rw&b and p&p. And a written description of my two loops - really handy, except it said rw&b and green & green polka dots. I did ask at the RM, but I asked at the wrong time, they said they'd address it, and I never heard them answer the question. (Neither did two other people on the LD.) I decided I'd go with my time-honored system of following everybody else, because I usually forget what loop I'm supposed to be on anyway. I figure if you're gonna get lost you might as well have company.

At the RM, they changed the start times. They were originally supposed to be staggered every 30 minutes (100s at 5:30, 75s at 6, etc) but management changed it to one hour intervals. As a lowly LD, I got to leave at the scorching hour of 8:30 am. Yippie.

The horses ate and drank well overnight, and the owner and I managed to cram four Gloves on Fire before she headed out on her 50. She warned me that at Fire's first LD, she had to get Karen Rabow, endurance mom extraordinare, to hold Fire to get mounted. I've lived through all of Dixie's meltdowns so I wasn't too worried about it.

Fire lost her mind when her buddy Spirit left without her...

Read more here:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Euston Park... Success for the USA!! - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing - Heather's Blog

Sunday, 24 July 2011
On Saturday, the day before the race, Jeremy Becky and I went to Juma's barn again and all three of us went out for a nice ride with Maria and Juma. It was very nice and fun.

After we were done there Emmett, Dwight, Becky Jeremy and I headed over to the venue. We had a bite to eat at the venue from Jack's Snack Shack. Pretty good.

In the mid afternoon we were getting our ride packets from the race secretary when a phone call came in from the barn that I was borrowing Ox from (ultimately Sheik Mohammad). Apparently Sheik Mohammad reviewed the group of his horses racing in the race with the riders who were riding them and he saw that I was on Ox doing the 50 mile/ 80k and said "no", she must do the 75/120k. So the phone call was to offer me a horse for the 120k. Of course I accepted. I would now be riding a horse that I would meet on Sunday morning right before the start. I was told that he is very big and that he is a grey Anglo Arab. His name is Opium Lord!! Too funny.

The rest of the horses that the USA would ride were vetted in on Saturday. Darren, Cheryl and Becky's horses all vetted in.

After hanging out, watching the vetting and hearing the ride meeting there was a big party with dinner and live music. It was really nice and there was ice cream:)

We headed back to the hotel to hear the party going on from the wedding that was happening in our hotel. I fell asleep regardless and was deeply sleeping when the fire alarm went off. After the third time that it went off Jeremy called the front desk to make sure there wasn't a real problem. The person who answered told him there was no problem, the DJ had set off a smoke machine or something on the dance floor. Great.

This morning was race day, Sunday morning. We piled into the cars at 6 am. The races began at 7 for the 100 mile/160k and 7:30 for the 75/120k. Becky was doing the 160k and the rest of us were doing the 120.

When we got there I went to weigh in as my saddle arrived with my horse that morning, new saddle, new horse. Then I got to meet my horse. Very cool horse. He was probably around 16 hands with a lean racy body.

Becky started the race without an issue. Then it was our turn to get going. I mounted Opium and started warming him up. He was excited and I think he was worried that I was going to not let him do his job because he crow hopped a few times when I didn't let him canter right away. After a 20 min warm up with me riding him we were off. My instructions were to go with the lead

Read more here:

Euston Park - World Championship Pre Ride - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing - Heather's Blog

Friday, 22 July 2011
Jeremy and I went to the SFO airport on Wednesday with Becky Hart, however we weren't on the same flight as her even though we were all headed to the same destination.

After the first leg of the flight we landed in Atlanta. Jeremy and I had a short lay over so we were looking for our gate when all of the sudden a stewardess that was walking towards us fell down in front of us. Jeremy and I reached down to help her up and a man behind her bent down to help her up as well. When we looked up it was Emmett Ross, our new Chef for team USA! How funny. He was headed to England as well and he was on yet another flight. His flight left Atlanta 30 mins ahead of ours.

The second flight was long and I slept a lot and then watched a movie. We landed a little after noon on Thursday. Jeremy and I headed to the rental car location where we would meet up with all the USA team that was on this trip.

When we got there Emmett Ross, Becky Hart, Vonita Bowers, Dwight Hooten, Sue Hedgecock & Devon Horn were there. We got our cars and started the 2 hour drive to the hotel. It was colorful as we were on the wrong side of the road on the wrong side of the car. Emmett drove our car and Dwight drove the other. We were all a bit tired and navigating was really fun! On one of the round-abouts we made a bonus round and noticed a Starbucks half way around and pulled in. We were all due for some caffeine and a sandwich.

After about another hour we arrived at the hotel. It is really beautiful. We are at the Grange Hotel. It is about a 20 min drive from here to the race venue. When we walked into the lobby we saw Valerie Kanavy, John Crandell, Deborah Reich and Melody Blittersdorf. All of them looked like sleep should happen soon!

When we got checked in we all got back into the cars and went to the race venue to check things out. It was still being set up but was looking nice. The terrain is very flat and grassy. The weather is cloudy and in the mid 60's. Everything is green and beautiful...

Read more here:

Friday, July 01, 2011

2011 Dead Dog Creek - Keith Kibler - Full Story

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Keith Kibler

Gaiting for a Weekend

This is one of my favorite rides. It is named after a creek that the race managers used to race through on another course that has absolutely nothing to do with this course. Then, they found out that “Dead Dog Creek” itself was actually named something other than “Dead Dog Creak”. They kept the name for this event and in the world of endurance that makes perfect sense.

The course is windy, wet and is frequently crossing creeks and has climbing. What more could a gaited horse want? It is also within 2 hours from our home, and that is a real blessing. On top of that, Aaron and Linda Mowrer are real peaches as the ride managers. They are non assuming, old school endurance to the bone. They don’t care if you ride a 3 legged pogo stick if your horse can do the deal and they will encourage you and help you along the way. They get 5 out of 5 stars.

So, we had 7 horses ready, and only 6 trailer spots. I elected to leave Blues at home and accept the help of my friends Kelley Powell and Jeff Anderson. I would put Kelley on Niki, who I thought fast enough to keep up with Sandy and Cheyenne in a 50 on Saturday and then have Jeff ride with Sandy and Savannah on Pippin in a Ld. on Sunday. I decided to ride Jazz in a 50 and then follow up with Kate in a 50. Blues is the fastest critter we have but he was staying home. So 6 horses, two rigs and 4 riders went to Salem.

This course, which I earlier described, has two conditions. Those conditions are wet and REALLY wet and sloppy...

Read more here:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cheap Thrills - Zapped Ranch

Reprinted from Karen Bumgarner's blog:
Posted on June 28, 2011 by zapped6000

photo: Blue and author Karen Bumgarner at Oreana, photo by Steve Bradley

Owyhee Cheap Thrills gave riders two days of fun in the Oreana sunshine thanks to John & Steph Teeter. As always the hospitality is awesome and they even opened up a small new pasture for riders to hand graze their horses in! Always so much fun to go to the rides and see all my buddies. I love it!

I took Blue to ride the first day of the two day ride. I started with Linda Ballard and her mare, Aire, Blue’s buddy. Tamara Baysinger with her mare Consolation came along with us too. Cons was quite full of it when Tamara got on, she took off and had a bit of buck to her. But Tamara made a great save, stopped her safely and stayed on board! Woohoo for cheap thrills!

Blue was calm until we got up on the road and several other horses surrounded him. He got nervous real fast and so did I. More cheap thrills! He is quite timid and thinks strange horses are going to kill him just because everyone at home beats up on him. We had tried to start late so we would stay calm but a lot of other riders had the same plan. Grrrr! Took a couple miles with him in the back, where he was happiest, to settle down. Consolation and Tamara led the way and set a nice pace for us on our first loop of 15 miles out through the Badlands. We got hung up with a group of riders again at a gate and again it took Blue a bit to figure it out, putting him in the back was again my option. Back in camp Tamara was a couple minutes ahead and unfortunately Linda’s mare was off and pulled. Blue vetted through with A’s and a bouncy trot that pleased the vet.

We had a 40 minute rest hold that seemed to whiz by. Mix feed for him, I ate, cleaned his boots, I drank, tried to get what I needed for the next 20 mile loop, took him to eat grass and it was time to go. Whew! Off we went on two slightly reluctant horses. Blue was whinnying for the red mare and his last rides had been one big 50 mile loop where he didn’t have to leave camp again. I’m sure when we ride out of camp on loops that horses think humans are just plain stupid.

Meanwhile we trotted out for the high country, toward the famous or maybe infamous landmark of Booby Rock. We kept getting in groups of horses and Blue was just rattled and he popped a right front boot off. More thrills!! We had creek crossings offering lots of water for the horses and gorgeous wildflowers along the way. Only Blue was such a handful I didn’t get to take any pics. That was a bit disappointing. Eventually we managed to separate out from the group and he settled in happily behind the grey mare that was his new buddy.

Back in camp. A succesful vet check again with A’s and a bouncy trot. Food, boots, drink, graze and out again. Our last 15 mile loop went out to lower Hart Creek, through the sand and some ravines. A few horses caught up to us in this slow stretch but didn’t want by. Tamara put Cons inbetween Blue & the growing herd behind us. Then we caught three riders. The parade got longer, my horse got bouncier, he knew he could get to the finish a lot faster without me! Then we caught two more, still no where to pass. Finally it widened out, briefly, and Blue pulled out through the brush and zipped around. Now Blue was in front and very happy. He was feeling cocky passing those horses and getting racy, tossing his head. Even with the martingale I was getting ears up my nose! More thrills! We left the notch of Hart Creek Canyon, passed through the gate and I decided this was it.

We had about 8 miles yet to go. And I let him out a notch. We both knew this trail and he ate it up, climbing the hill through the rocks at a good strong trot. “Please Lord don’t let us lose a boot now!” Thrills! He trotted all the way up to Knife Ridge. Walked a short distance. I looked back and the herd was spreading out and had dropped back walking where we had trotted. He picked up the trot again, cruised right on up to the top road and knew he was heading in. We weren’t going real fast but faster than we had all day at 10 – 11 mph. His legs weren’t moving faster, his stride just lengthened as he found another gear. Both he and Cons were having a blast! At the top of the slide Tamara and both I got off and led down as we had done earlier in the day. We got back on before the creek crossing where the two horses tried to suck it dry. We left just as one group of horses was coming over the top to start down the slide.

Both horses were eager and strong and would’ve happily raced in but that wasn’t an option. Just a nice trot was all I wanted. We lost that dang boot again after the creek, I popped it back on as fast as I could, jumped back on and didn’t waste any time with it. I held my breath at the next crossing but it was OK this time. Never lost a boot like that dangit! Tamara and I decided maybe that foot was a bit smaller than the other and needed a smaller size, next time. We trotted into the finish in 11th and 12th. Only we really had no idea where we were in the mix of things with all the shuffling of riders until they told us.

We vetted through one last time, again A’s and the vet said, “His trot still has lots of bounce!” For me it’s a thrill to know my horse has finished healthy, happy, sound and yes, still bouncy. It just doesn’t get much better than that!