Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's Not Easy Being.... Green?

Riding Journey Blog - Full Story

by Laura Spear
December 20 2015

When I saw that they were holding a Green Bean Endurance competition I jokingly told Kat that we should join. You needed to have a combined amount of miles- LD and Endurance of under 1,000. As of the beginning of the year I had a whopping 475 endurance miles and 25 LD miles. Yet within those miles there was a 75, a 100 and a 50 mile win. We ended up being on the Turtle Trotters team. We tried to change the name to Tenacious Trotters which would suit all speeds and distances the team members planned to go but it didn't happen. Oh well. Turtle Trotters it was.

I doubt Jacke Reynolds really expected a Green Bean to go out and do what I set out to do with Quick this year- namely Tevis. Other 100s perhaps but Tevis quite frankly needs no introduction to how difficult it is...

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

2015 Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of My Way

November 14 2015
by Jodie Dukerich & Stephanie DuRoss

The 5th annual Lead Follow Or Get Out Of My Way Ride went well, with only a couple minor hiccups. We had a rider and horse get a little too friendly with the local cactus. A lost horse that was found by a biker who actually left his bike and rode the horse back to base camp. The helpful biker was Mike Bilsky who happens to be a trainer at the barn where Jodie board's her horse. Then we had a fountain of our own, almost as big as the Fountain Hills one that flooded our P & R, In timer, and Ride manager area when the hose pipe broke and it took a while to get the water shut off. Otherwise the weather was fantastic. The 75 mile ride had a good turnout. We had a total of 105 riders, 9 from California, 5 from Colorado, 3 from Utah, 3 from Washington, 2 from Canada and the rest from Arizona.

1st place awards were a nice halter and lead rope combo, B.C was a Zilco snap on trail bridle. Top ten was various types of stowaway saddlebags. Completion was a perfect sized zipper pouch for your vet card and essentials that can clip to your saddle and a tumbler with a lid and straw.

1st place in the 30 mile ride was Caliente ridden by Mary Morrow, Best Condition in the 30 mile ride was Lance ridden by Shery Babyak.

1st place in the 50 mile ride was Hallie Rey Oma (Hallie) ridden by Teresa Waddell, Best Condition in the 50 mile ride was Freda Baskin (Jantar) Ridden by Lancette Koerner.

1st place and Best Condition in the 75 mile ride was TK Tiki (Egypt) ridden by Dennis Summers.

Thank you to all of the fun riders who participated in our ride. Hope to see you at our future rides.

At ride meeting this year we surprised our 5 year volunteers that helped at the last 4 Lead Follow Or Get Out Of My Way Rides and Jodie's 1st ever Endurance ride to manage the AAHA Halloween ride with a award for all their continued help. This includes volunteers Tom Dukerich, Elizabeth Young, Jim Tilman, Debbie Fleming, and A.D. Williams. We also celebrated the riders that completed all 5 years with a personalized framed photo by ride Photographer Susan Kordish of our favorite photos of them. The riders are Aileen Baca, Barb Debi, Greg Rose, Valerie Savino and Bruce Weary. At ride meeting we also had our ever popular horse name drawing that you need to be present to pick out your prize. We like the idea that riders have a chance to win something extra without having to worry about where they place in the ride.

We would like to also send out a huge thank you to head Vet Rick Poteste for vetting all 5 rides as well. We are so lucky to have such experienced, friendly and knowledgeable Vets including head Vet Rick Poteste, Greg Houser, and Mark Anderson.
Thanks again to Kurt and Gina Lander sponsor’s from Renegade Hoof Boots for donating items to our raffle, the winners were Dave Wisniewski with a boot bag, Ellen Rosenberg won a vest, Troy Eckard, Cheryl Johnson, Sandy Dory and Pam Bingham won boots. Also, our additional sponsors: Power RV-Barb & Doug Clausen, The Long Ride, Lucian Spataro, A.D. Williams, Pet Club, Platinum Performance and Jan Mutchler.

This ride would not be the success it is without the help of our volunteers. Volunteers can make or break a ride and are not easily replaceable. We had a grand total of 40 volunteers. We had positive feedback that most the riders were kind and pleasant to our volunteers. We thank the riders for that because it is so hard to get volunteers to help and we need to all be grateful to them.

We were thrilled to have back with us Master timer Steve Powers to help make the vet check run smoothly. He stepped back into the roll like he never was gone.

Trail markers were A.D. Williams, Clydea Hastie, Tammy Gagnon, Andrea Fix, Jacquie Martin, Amy Schnick, and Barb Clausen.
Checkpoint volunteers were Jenny Powers, Amy Schnick, Danny Meeker, Debbie Fleming, Roger Taylor, Paula Prather, Jim Tillman and Jennifer Leckman.

Base camp volunteers were Tom Dukerich, Elizabeth Young Julie Beltz & Mike McClaren, with our emergency horse trailer.
New rider briefing was conducted by Jenny Powers. We are so lucky to have the Pre Vet students from Tucson. They were Kaitlin Dickson, Madie Seltzer, Grace Fell, Aiden Tansey, Melissa Morgan, Alli Meaux, Jasmine Acosta, Caroline Manrubia, Susana Torres, Hayli Burdsal, Ashley Hintze, and Mollie Wiegand. They did In timing, P & R, Vet Scribe and Out timing.
Glow stick trail markers were Phil Martin, Susan Kramer and Bobby Kramer.

Trail take down was Joe Jajack, Julia Lynn Elias, Cristina Winemiller, Cheryl Johnson, Dennis Summers, Sue Summers, Taylor Pashong-Walck, and Barb Clausen.

As always thoughtful ideas of improvement are welcome and appreciated. Criticism and negative feedback are not necessary.
We also want to thank you our riders for supporting our rides. Your rider packet had an entry to fill out for our Bumble Bee ride January 23 rd. Get your entries in soon.
Hope to see you all there.

Thanks Jodie and Stephanie

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Foo: Endurance Horse in Training

Rarejourney-Laura Blog - Full Story

November 18 2015

I have been working with Foo since April of this year. I am actually one of the people responsible for Paula purchasing her as her next endurance prospect, along with her daughter Kathleen. Foo is not actually her registered name, but as we were leaving after looking at her, none of us could remember her name. And she had a lot of foofy hair. It was shorter then and all over the place, so Paula dubed her the Foo.

She was already well ahead of the game from Quick. She had just returned to her breeder and had been in show reining training for a short period of time. She was safe and had three gaits. Did I ever mention that Quick could not canter? It was more of two drunks in a horse suit, legs everywhere.

Foo had some setbacks, probably a couple bouts of ulcers. She would also get angry, and seemly stuck in this angry state. She also started losing her mind, she was just reacting. All the while she was still really safe, no spook none of the issues that Quick had that made him dangerous. Everything was coming to a head with Foo, it seemed as if this downward spiral was out of control. But I always had the feeling that this was the right horse, I just questioned if I could pull her out of where she was.

At first Foo was really good, we had a couple good rides then out of the blue it went south and I couldn't do anything with her. So much discussing with Paula about her, and lots of thinking on my part. In the end there were two options, she pulls through it and becomes Paula's next endurance mount, or she finds a new home. I took on the challenge...

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Great Britain: Katie Bedwin's Derriere Equestrian Endurance Season Roundup Blog 2015

Derriereequestrian Blog - Full Story

20 November 2015
Derriere Equestrian Endurance Season Roundup Blog

They say time flies when you’re having fun and that can certainly be said about the 2015 endurance season! It seems only yesterday that I was planning the events for the year, and now I’m reminiscing about what a brilliant season 2015 has been, whilst watching my horse’s grazing in the field on their winter break.

I always set a main goal for each competition horse at the start of every season so that all of my team now what we are aiming for and how we are going to achieve it. Every horse is different, and I am fortunate to have three current competition horses at different levels.

My aim with my top horse Elayla, was to complete our first CEI *** 160km, which we completed back in April in a respectable 2nd place. Since then Layla has gone above and beyond my expectations, picking up a 1st in a 80km YR class, 2nd in a CEI ** 120km and 3rd in the prestigious Red Dragon 160km...

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Speed Control

Horse-canada.com Blog - Full Story

by Chase Endurance | November 17, 2015

It wasn’t necessarily my best idea, but it seemed like a good training endeavour (for myself) to let my OTTB (OT) run as fast as he wanted through the single track trail at Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, B.C. My initial thought was that I should get used to not having steering or speed control while riding.

On the Adventurists website the author describes the Mongolian riding style as much different than the North American style of complete control. In fact, Mongolians “leave the horse a great amount of freedom in a given situation whilst they perform other tasks. They do not expect to completely control the horse but trust it to do its job and find the best way through. Therefore, if a western rider gets on a Mongolian horse and expects absolute control the Mongolian horses essentially rebel.”
I’ve also watched quite a few videos online about prior race competitors and their first rides on the Mongolian horses. I can only assume that the horses were rebelling from western control by trying to behead their riders by running under the tether ropes at break neck speed. Surely, if the new riders simply trusted their horses, they would have found a better way across the wide open steppe.

Luckily the trail I was training on has a significant elevation gain, which kept OT’s speed to a minimum, which further reduced any other possible risks of harm. It was exhilarating to say the least – dodging branches, suffering knee bruises, scratching my new helmet, getting leaves ground into my sunglasses and destroying stirrups...

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Big South Fork - Heather Reynolds

Reynoldsracing.us - Full Story

6 October 2015
by Heather Reynolds

This is long over due. After our 10,000 mile summer road trip and two weeks of fixing and organizing our property from being gone all summer as well as getting back into a routine with all of the horses that we had left at home, it was time to hit the road again for a measly 11 hour drive. We were heading to Big South Fork Tennessee for the AHA National Championship.

We booted up a few horses as well as putting on the Easyshoe Prototype shoe onto Honor.

We loaded up Rictik and Chachie for Jeremy, (they would do a slow 50 each) and King and Honor for myself (King would do the 100 and Honor the 50). It was an uneventful trip up. When we arrived it had been raining and camp was super muddy. We made some interesting manuevers that required not stopping the rig as we would have gotten stuck right then and there! We stopped rolling at the crest of a small rise and left it there for the weekend.

We got all set up and then visted with friends before the ride meeting. The first day Jeremy and our friend Misty would be riding our mare Kellora in the Ride & Tie. Misty has had Kellora all summer and she had trailered her to the ride. It was to be Misty and Kellora's first R&T. I would be running out to the 1 mile mark for a hand tie and then I would crew the rest of the day.

The next morning I was out on the trail waiting for the herd to come stampeding. It was pretty fun. Kellora led the charge, trotting. I grabbed her and Jeremy took off running. The horses started coming very shortly after that, Kellora was confused but really cool. She watched as riders jumped off and tied their horses and then took off running away from their horses. I can only imagine what she was thinking...

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Great Britain: Sa’da Sekora meets the Red Dragon

Endurancegb.co.uk - Full Article

20 October 2015
by Gillian Talbot

A week before Red Dragon and Welsh Team Member Hannah Maskell has a lame horse and sadly has to withdraw from the 160km class – Jane Tennant rings me to ask if I would consider riding for Wales as I have an entry in the Red Dragon 160km CER and Sa’da Sekora is slotted into the vacant position.

The Friday before the ride is busy as a team member, but also good fun as we parade around the show ground with the Irish, Scottish & English Teams. Later that evening we welcome the visiting teams to Wales with drinks and canap├ęs followed by wonderful singing from the local Welsh children and a hugely entertaining speech from the local Mayor of Builth Wells.

Saturday morning arrives, the mist is present and it’s cold. There is a good entry of 17 starters in the 160km class this year and we start out in the mist behind the car along the road. Sekora is quite chilled out in this her 2nd CER mass start and quite bemused by some of the antics going on around her. She settles into her wonderful ground covering trot and we are soon striding our way to the top of the first hill. We canter and trot through the mist to the first CP, take a slosh and trot off down the very familiar road...familiar to me that is.... my three companions suddenly veer off to the right, up the hill and away.... I am slightly behind them at this point so a bit bemused as I was not aware of a route change. As I get to the right turn I realise the markers are still taking me to the left so I trot on and shout at the top of my voice that they are going in the wrong direction!

The mist comes and goes which obscures the scenery but the turf rides extremely well, bit slick in places but far less mud around than in previous years. We are soon heading into the first vetgate and riding a section of route completely new to me.

Rob is waiting with a slosh and bucket, we check the pulse as I dismount, dropping nicely and settling well at 59 bpm so we pull off the saddle and head toward the vetting area....we are about to present in first place.....our ‘Team’ is hovering around us, ready to offer assistance if needed.... It is at this point I realise the vetting is to take place in a cow shed...

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 AERC National Championship 100 Mile Ride on the Old Dominion Trail

Full Article

by Nancy Sluys
October 12 2015

The time leading up to the National Championships was filled with question as I tried to decide which horse to ride. Zanie (FYF InZane+/) and Able (R-Kons Able) were both showing that they may be ready. In my original plan Zanie would do the 100 but she had a minor lameness issue earlier in the summer that made me decide to ride Able in the 100 instead. A week before the ride Able developed a cough and had to be treated so fate decided that Zanie would be the one after all . A month earlier she had won reserve champion at the AHA Distance Nationals at Big South Fork in the 2 day 70 mile Competitive Trail Ride so I knew she was fit enough but the question of her previous soundness problem plagued me as the trail would be very tough. She had been feeling great and very sound since Big South Fork so I put my faith in my tough mare and headed to Orkney Springs on Wednesday. Although my ride wasn’t until Saturday I planned on crewing for some in the 50 mile championship on Thursday. This would also give Zanie a few days to get adjusted.
The week leading up to the ride was very rainy and I was concerned about the footing but being mostly on a rocky mountain the trail drained well and held up just fine. The camping field didn’t fare as well and part of it remained unusable throughout the week. Other than that, the camp was beautiful and reflected all the hard work done by the Old Dominion organization to make it ready for this national event. The hospitality was unmeasurable as smiling faces and helpful people were everywhere they needed to be all weekend.

Crewing for the 50 mile ride on Thursday was fun and I was proud of our group of riders and how well they did. Jesse Jarrett won Middleweight Champion, Gina Hagis won third overall and her horse, Lumina, reached her 3000 miles and Tom Hagis won 11th. Roxanne Ciccone did not fare as well as her horse, Mister, stumbled and received a puncture wound causing lameness and earning her a trailer ride back to camp. After the 50 mile awards I had organized a jam session to celebrate the day and treat the hard working riders and volunteers to some good southern music. Being a banjo and fiddle player I couldn’t let this event go by without a little celebrating! A couple of musician friends who lived nearby came to join Bill and I, as well as Paul Sidio from Missouri, who not only brought his acoustic guitar but his electric guitar with battery powered amp! As we searched for common ground we ran through a few fiddle tunes and folk and country songs and we were coming together nicely. As usual a request from the audience for Free Bird came up. Usually I would pass this one by but being a well rounded musician Paul knew it and grabbed his electric guitar and began playing. Everyone joined in and I managed to find my way on the fiddle and we pulled it off nicely!

Friday was filled with preparations for the big ride on Saturday. I organized and packed all the things that would be needed by my crew for the many vet checks along the way. I took Zanie out for a little shake down ride to make sure everything was a go and to stretch her out a little. She felt good to go. Becky Pearman, the ride photographer, was taking complementary portraits of all the horses and riders participating in the National Championship so I brought Zanie over for her picture.

Saturday dawned a little overcast but clear of the rain that fell the night before. The temperature was crisp in the 40s. The horses were eager as the ride started and trotted briskly down the gravel road heading for the right hand turn that would carry us up the mountain. We passed the smelly turkey farm that was now disgusting but later in the night would be would be welcome as it would signal the last half mile before the finish and we all hoped to be smelling it later! The riders were in a big line going up the mountain and I was in the middle of the pack with horses tightly packed in front and behind. Zanie kept her cool and did her job, briskly trotting up the mountain. When we reached the top and the water tank, the sun was just rising over the mountain where a nice view opened up and I was able to snap a good shot with my pocket camera.

The fall colors had intensified with the cool weather and the leaves were breathtaking, especially on the north side of the mountains. The ride was still tightly packed as we made our way into Bird Haven and the first vet check. I was at the end of a big group who were the first to arrive putting me at 16th place as I was timed in. My fabulous crew, husband Bill and friends Holly and Roxanne, started to get to work. Bill pulled the saddle and put the heart monitor on Zanie and her rate was dropping, 78,72,68, the gals put water on her neck and her heart rate shot up. She didn’t like that cold water at all so we quit the water and took her right in to the vetting area. She pulsed in at 58 and by the time we got to the vet her CRI was 56/48 causing the vet, Dr. Jim Baldwin DVM, to ask if I had trailered her into the vet check!! I had been a bit nervous about our fast pace coming into the check, covering the tough 15.7 miles in 1:44, but this information surely eased my mind! We had passed a bunch of horses right then on recovery and went out on the second loop in 11th place. I decided to let her move out and see where it got us.

The second leg to the Laurel Run vet check was 16.4 miles. They had changed the route from previous rides to allow riders to get further along the trail before dark due to the lateness in the year (the Old Dominion ride is in June). Instead of the long excruciating rocky climb we usually had, they replaced it with a shorter climb, less time on the slow rocky ridge and a 6 mile section of gravel road going down into Laurel Run. I was a bit nervous with the long downhill on gravel,worrying about Zanie’s soundness but she was moving well and had no intention of letting me slow her down. She acted like she knew what she was doing so I got out of her way and went with it. The riders were starting to spread out a bit as the trail had it’s challenges. I was still in the front group of riders, a position I am not as familiar with as I am usually more of a middle of the pack kind of rider but Zanie was moving easily and negotiating the mountainous terrain like the pro she is. We were having the time of our lives! By now I was mostly riding with Tom Hagis, Claire Godwin and Trish Juerling.

The horses were moving efficiently and enjoying the cool weather. The trail was sorting things out and the riders were not so tightly packed when we made it to Laurel Run. Once again Zanie’s pulse was down when we arrived so we wasted no time vetting in. She was starting to get really hungry and was looking for food. Since crews are not allowed at this location I was glad I had packed a bag to be sent there with her favorite alfalfa and peanut hays which she started to devour. I was getting hungry too and there was food provided at this stop but being gluten intolerant, I must be careful and they had sandwiches. I extracted the cheese and turkey from the bread, rinsed it off in a water bucket and I was good! After a 40 minute hold we left Laurel Run with Claire and her horse, Merc, and at that point we were in 5th and 6th place! Zane’s fast recoveries were working to our advantage.

We left Laurel Run by going up the same long gravel road we had come down to get there. The horses weren’t too happy with this plan and we kept having to convince them that it was the right way. We finally reached the turnoff to the right onto a single track trail, giving us relief from the relentless climb up the gravel road. This is one of my my favorite parts of the trail, along the spine of a long ridge, very alpine in nature, with lichen covered rocks. The horses picked up their energy with the change in direction and footing but soon the going became technical as the trail narrowed and became clogged with rocks and boulders. Zanie, being a mountain horse, was handling the terrain very well, placing her feet (which were protected with Easyboot Glue On boots) expertly between the rocks and maintaining a good steady pace. Claire and I were riding together at that point and we soon caught up to the front runners again, picking their way through the boulder and rock strewn trail. The pace here was slowed to a crawl but the scenery was spectacular and we were glad for the break as were the horses. The sun was starting to come out, making the colors pop! After a while the trail opened up a bit and allowed for some trotting. At one point, I’m not even exactly sure how it happened, I found myself at the very front of the ride for about a mile or so, it was a thrilling feeling! Of course Zanie has a way of setting a steady pace and sticking to it that is just a tick slower than most folks think they want to go, so I was soon passed. The 13.5 mile segment From Laurel Run to Bucktail Vet Check was shorter than the previous one in mileage but it took us much longer due to the rough terrain and we were glad to arrive at Bucktail and our longest hold at 50 minutes.

At Bucktail Vet Check, Bill, Holly and Roxanne were waiting for us with food for me and Zanie. She was going for the grain and carrots now, bypassing the beet pulp. The leafy, newly cut alfalfa was also on her menu and she once again chowed down ravenously as there had been very little forage on that last loop. Bill had stopped at a benefit barbecue on the way and had picked up some awesome chicken which hit the spot along with lots of fruit and coconut water. We were at 45.6 miles and I was feeling great. I was also using a new product called Tailwind Endurance Fuel which you can mix in your water bottle or Camelback that contains electrolytes, carbs and everything you need to keep going. It was working great for me and it was easier to keep sipping the drink than to remember to take electrolyte capsules, energy bars, etc. regularly and my stomach was feeling good, which can be a my weak link in a 100. Zanie took a little snooze after she had her fill of food and we were ready to hit the trail again. It would be about 25 trail miles until we would see our crews again with a 10 minute hold and a hospitality stop along the way and one of our longest climbs up and over Little Sluice Mountain.

On the 5.5 mile trail to the Wates Run Gate and Go we passed and were passed by other riders. We joined up for a few minutes with Meg Sleeper, who had been in the lead and had to slow down due to a lost shoe and rode we rode for a while with Lisa Green. Kathy Broaddus and Ann Mebane and Pam Karner passed us just before we came into Wates Run. After having just ridden with just Claire for quite a while the riders were bunched up together again as we came into the gate and go. Meg decided to pull since even with an easy boot as a spare, her horse was a bit off. Some folks took a little longer to pulse so once again we were more spread out when we all left for the 19.2 mile stretch to Big 92 where our crews would meet us. I was still riding with Claire and Merc (the 24 year old wonder pony!) and we were still making good time until Zanie hit her nap time. It’s been very consistent on her previous 100 mile rides that around 60 miles Zanie will slow way down for an hour or two and take a big break. I have learned that it is her self preservation kicking in and just go with it because no matter what you say she is going to just do her thing and she knows best. Claire was getting a little frustrated because Merc had buddied up with Zanie and didn’t want to leave her. She asked if I could convince Zanie to move along a little faster but knowing what Zanie’s answer would be she would have to take it or leave it. About that time we hit the big long climb and Zanie just wanted to walk it. Claire moved down the trail with Merc and soon they were around the curve and gone.

The sun was getting low and with the acute angle of autumn and the changing leaves, the light was golden. We were by ourselves now and the silence took over and I was able to slow myself down too and really take in the beauty of the day. My horse felt good and I was glad to know that she is wise enough to take a break when she needs to. This will be her 9th 100 mile completion and she knows her job. I was also getting a bit weary and needed the break, the tough trail was taking a toll. I got off and walked a ways to stretch my legs and gave Zanie a break from my weight. It seemed like the mountain went on forever but I didn’t mind because we were in the moment, just enjoying the day. After a while I heard some riders catching up to us. We tagged along welcoming the company. About halfway up the mountain we came upon some bear hunters in 4 wheel drives with dog boxes on the back. The dogs had their heads out and were baying at us as we tried to get past them. The trail was too narrow so we had to follow them up the mountain for a long time. We all moved up the hill slowly like a parade and when we finally got to a wide space in the trail they let us go by. We met many more hunters with trucks and dogs. Sometimes we passed them and sometimes they passed us, the dogs baying the whole time. It was a unique experience and a little frustrating at times but it was giving the horses a good break and us a dose of comedy. It was certain that this obstacle was giving the front runners a big advantage as we probably had lost 45 minutes on that mountain navigating the hunters and dogs. When we finally got to the top we took a turn that that pleased Zanie, she felt like it was taking us somewhere worthwhile and picked up a good trot. I guess her nap time was over. We came down a rough washed out logging road and arrived at the hospitality stop. There they had water, hay and grain for the horses. Zanie was famished and I let her eat there for a good while, staying 10-15 minutes after the others had left. I didn’t want to leave when she was so hungry and let her stay as long as she needed to even though I knew our crew at Big 92 was only about 3.5 miles away. Soon we headed off alone down the gravel road.

We came into Big 92 as the sun was setting and was surprised that they had changed the 40 minute hold to 30 minutes. I wasn’t exactly sure why they did that but maybe because it was cooling off they didn’t want the horses cramping up. I was chilly myself and added a jacket to my layers. Bill had heated up some soup and had it waiting for me in a thermos which warmed me right up. I fished around for my headlamp and got it adjusted on my helmet. We were ready to ride alone into the night. I love the night riding for the strong bond you feel with your horse. You really have to depend on each other and the communication runs deep. Zanie had picked up some energy with the rest stop and was moving nicely down the road. I knew we had about 5 miles or more to do on the gravel road and so decided to play some music on my phone. Zanie enjoyed the sounds and it helped with the rhythm of her pace and helped the time go by on the boring road. It seemed as though we climbed, although gradually, for miles and I got off again to stretch my legs and give her a break for a mile or so. When I got back on we developed a system of alternating walking and trotting to keep time on the grade. We turned off the road finally onto a woods trail but soon we were back to road. Suddenly we came upon the Laurel Run Vet Check for the second time that day. The 8 miles from Big 92 had passed quicker than I had expected. Our crews were allowed to meet us there that time.

Laurel Run was another 30 minute hold and the temperatures were dropping now into the upper 30s. Bill put a blanket around my shoulders so I wouldn’t get chilled and Zanie got a heavy wool blanket for her rump. I ate some more soup but Zanie wasn’t eating. We watched her closely but she seemed fine and had a good look in her eye so we decided that she was just taking a nap and didn’t get worried. I had stopped several times to graze on grass on the side of the trail before getting there so her belly was full. The 30 minutes seemed to fly by and soon we were getting ready to go again. As we were leaving camp I was told that we were still in 9th place.

We headed out of Laurel Run for the 13.4 mile stretch to Bird Haven. The trail has many technical areas and I knew the going would be slow so I warned my crew that it could be up to 3 hours before they would see me again. We followed a road for several miles and the climbs felt like they just kept coming. It was starting to feel like we had done twice as much up as down that day, could that be possible? I got off and walked a little more and just about the time I finished taking a pottie break and was getting back on my horse I saw a light coming and Tom Hagis had caught up to me. He had dropped back earlier in the day when Mustafa was slow to recover but they were picking up steam and he had made up 30 minutes since Big 92 to catch me. At that point, though, Mustafa only wanted to walk the hills there were lots of hills! Both horses were glad to see each other as they had been camp neighbors all week and they gave each other the motivation to continue at a faster pace. I had been riding alone for about 35 miles and I know Zanie was glad for the company and so was I. We trotted the flat sections and walked the hills, keeping our pace just a tick above 5 mph. We were almost to Bird Haven and our last vet check by that time and we were still running 9th and 10th with the nearest riders about 15-20 minutes behind us. Soon after we met up with Tom the trail turned rough and we had to pick our way through rocks and mud. Every time we thought we could trot for a ways an obstacle would slow us down. The horses were picking up strength but we had no where to go with it. We did end up making better time that I had predicted as we made it to Bird Haven in less than 2 and a half hours.

Bird Haven was just a short 20 minute hold and the vet advised us to get out on time and keep the horses moving down the trail so they would not stiffen up from the cold. Holly, Roxanne and Bill were getting really cold too and had spent the time in the truck trying to stay warm until I got there. Bill did have the camp stove set up and Roxanne had made some hot cider. I heated up some chicken from earlier in the day to give me a boost for the rest of the night. The hot food tasted really good! Before long we were mounting the horses again ready for our last 6.5 miles to the finish. About this time the next riders were arriving, we realized that if we just kept our forward motion going we would make it in to the finish and keep our placings. The horses were doing well. The trail for this last section is very technical with lots of rocks, mud, creeks and other obstacles to negotiate in the dark. I was thankful that I had packed a second head lamp as mine was fading. The going was slow but we kept pressing on, trotting wherever we could even if it was just a few strides. We came by the water tower we had passed in the morning and knew we were about 2 miles from camp. Pretty soon we started smelling it, the disgusting odor of the turkey farm we passed in the morning became the best smell ever as it meant that we were about to hit the gravel road and the last half mile before the finish line. As we trotted down the road we saw the lights of the finish line in the distance, we decided that we should tie and held hands as we crossed the finish line. There was a good sized crowd to cheer us as we ended our ride. Bill threw a blanket over Zanie and we hurried on to the final vet check before the cold set in. Zanie and Mustafa both looked good although understandably a little tired and both received their completions. Unfortunately one rider in front of us got pulled at the finish which made us now 8th place. We had done it, finished the 100 mile National Championship on the Old Dominion Trail and in the top ten!

For me it was a dream ride, everything just came together for us and flowed! I have my fabulous crew to thank for taking such good care of me and my wonderful mare. They went above and beyond, anticipating what we would need at any moment and they were truly a part of the team! Many thanks also go to the Old Dominion organization and the numerous volunteers who put together a first class event and made everyone feel well cared for and important. Every detail was considered and taken care of, it was just amazing. I was truly proud to be a part of it!

Happy trails, Nancy Sluys

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Detours, Diversions and Transitions

Enduranceintrospection.com - Full Story

By Patti Stedman | September 19th, 2015

Life is a journey with almost limitless detours. (Ken Poirot)

This has been an unusual endurance season for me.

It started with a fairly abrupt end to any official involvement with the AERC organization. I dare you to find any non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that is without dysfunction, but the foibles and the characters within it were triggering my own shortcomings. I needed out.

This left me to focus on re-finding my mojo for 100-mile rides. I was just on the cusp of grasping, a ride in my sights, when my 100-mile horse, Ace, took a few wrong steps on a conditioning ride. Once, then again. Diagnostics. Ringbone. A month or two of clinging to the hope of a fairly simple fix, some shoeing changes, some joint support in the form of pharmaceuticals and a sad realization that it was not to be. It was too much to ask. I often spend a good deal of time worrying about imagined ‘off’ steps on perfectly sound horses; to ask one who might actually limp, whose retirement might be less comfortable, to carry me to some ego-induced goal? No. Just no.

My husband’s new horse was a bright and sparkly distraction from my disappointment. So much potential, some training and tack issues to resolve. Wynne and I kicked off Memorial Day weekend with a conditioning ride that started with me smugly “fixing” what I perceived as the holes in his training; it finished with a rough fall and a concussion when I pushed him past his tipping point.

Needless to say, I began to question my own competence...

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Lincoln Trail 2015

Shawneesunrisefarm.net - Full Story

by Keith Kibler
September 13 2015

The names of Endurance races/rides or whatever you feel compelled to call them, always make me tilt my head like a dog trying to figure out a tricky math problem.

Dead Dog Creek has a Creek but it is not “Dead Dog Creek” nor is a dog involved. “Barefoot Run” is decidedly not a good event to run barefoot. You get the idea.

“Lincoln Trail” used to be somewhere else but it moved to “Kinmundy” which is actually “Omega”, which is a beer sales one room package store (that also has great ice cream, about 12 residents and a dog that barks enough to entice campers to consider deadly force.) Actually, the nearest town is Salem Il. Illinois claims to be the “Land of Lincoln”, but Lincoln was actually from born in Kentucky. But, I digress, Lincoln Trail is in extreme Southern IL. It is on a trail, but Lincoln was never there.
It is also a fantastic ride and, I believe, a ride everyone needs to check out. Ruth Stewart has been putting it on since forever. The Mowrer family who have been hosting endurance rides for most re years than I know also help her.

To say they make you feel welcome would be an understatement. You can ride 50 miles, 30 miles, 100 miles, a novice 15 mile ride or do CTR. To say you have choices would be an understatement. Saturday night features a great potluck with wonderful deserts than Linda slaves over. Seriously, have you had a berry cobbler that is slow cooked in cast iron over a wood fire? The ride is worth going to for the desert alone. The trail is technical and almost always muddy in places. It is what it is. Slow down or you will wish you had.
I usually do the 100 here but my top mare, (Kate the twh really likes this course) is in foal. I sold my second 100 mile TWH, and I recently sold the standie, twh cross I had ready for this 100. So, I was out of 100 mile horses. My next in line horse was Southern Honey, a smokey black 6 year old twh mare. She had one 50 under her belt.

I really want to support this ride and have taken as many as 5 horses to it but this time I only competed one. I did take two others to play with so that my super crew (my friend David) could have something to ride after crewing. It has been about 90 degrees in southern IL but the night before the ride had the temperature drop to about 60.

My bride of 35 years was getting ready for a womens week of camping and riding in the Ozarks and she said that my taking the live aboard would leave her with a “less than clean” trailer. She coyly suggested I take the stock trailer and sleep in the truck. Yup, stock trailer time for me.

Southern Honey is a Pusher bred mare. I know these horses and have trained and competed three of them. They are, well, “emotional” and athletic. You can not bully one of them. If you fight with them you will both get tired and stuff will get broke and you might end up rolling around on the ground together. Seriously, you don’t need the wreck. But, if you can connect with their emotional side and win their trust, you end up with one super duper gaited endurance mount. I had BC’s with both the other ones I trained...

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Monday, August 31, 2015

2015 Canada NAETC - Heather Reynolds

Reynoldsracing.us - Full Story

Sunday, 30 August 2015

After Tevis we rested up for about a week at the Shackelford's house. During this week we also made a trip to the Tamberbey Winery in Calistoga to visit Barry and Jennifer Waitte. We had a very fun time seeing the beautiful winery and getting the full walk through of how things work. Amazing wine and great friends. We stayed in Yountville at the Waitte's house. It was a very enjoyable time. The next morning we had breakfast with one of my other moms, Jacqueline. It was fun catching up and visiting. The cameo visit from my highschool friend, Alethea was also amazing! We hadn't seen each other in over 20 years and we picked up right where we had left off.

After doing all of the paperwork for the Canadian border crossing with the horses and dogs and doing all of the summer planning it felt odd to be pulling out of CA. We had an excellent summer staying with Mike and Janet. We also made and stregthened some incredible friendships, old and new.

Onwards... we left in the early evening on Wednesday as the weather through the NV desert is brutal this time of year. Jeremy is an amazing driver and drove all through the night. In the early AM as the sun was rising I took the wheel. Our layover spot was Nebraska, we arrived there around 3 pm. The four horses were really happy to get out and relax. The horse hotel was queit and clean and run by a very nice lady. We stripped the trailer out, refilled mangers and took care of the horses. When all was done we unhooked the truck and drove to "The Restaurant". It was alright. We were seriously zoning out by this point. We went back to our trailer and crashed. Sleep was instant.

We got out of there for another long day to Iowa to stop at the Olson's for the weekend. We arrived on Friday. It was great to get out of the truck for a few days. The horses were happy too...

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2015 Tevis - Heather Reynolds

Reynoldsracing.us - Full Story

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tevis was great up until when it wasn't. My day started off perfectly with King behaving himself very well. He trotted along. King doesn't have a very fast trot as he is more of a cantering horse. The trot pace in general for the morning was around 10 mph, King is really comfortable around 8.5. My choices were trot faster than he goes naturally or canter bouncing around on a horse that was worried he was being left. I opted for the trot. I didn't feel the trot was so big that I was risking a strain or anything like that but it was bigger than ideal for King.

I was lucky that when I got to Granite Cheif I was in front of my group so I got to take my time through this section. King was a perfect gentleman. I did cause a bit of traffic by the end of it as many people were choosing to go faster through that rough section than I wanted to go. Just after the Wilderness area the trail opens up and the Cavalry charged on past us. It turned in to total mayhem for several miles. People were passing by galloping down steep, REALLY rocky sections. Impressive...not in a good way.

King trotted on like a professional. We reached the cabin trot-by and we had gone from somewhere in the top ten to somewhere around 30th I'd guess, after the stampede:)...

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Crewing Tevis 2015: It Ain’t Over til It’s Over

Redheadedendurance.com - Full Story


This was my fourth year crewing Tevis and as ever there was much to see, plenty to learn, and lots of strategic waiting to do. The weather also threw a nice curveball, as Tevis is always hot but this year it was literally raining en route to Robie, as well at Robinson Flat on Tevis morning. Eventually the sun came out and upped the humidity factor nicely, too. If it wasn’t a big tasty bowl of challenges it wouldn’t be Tevis, right!

This year there were 10 Rushcreeks vetted into Tevis on Friday, here’s a fun group picture. Also interesting to note, 50% completed, in accordance with overall Tevis completion average.

I did my usual gathering of crew bags (including Dr. Lydon’s this year), dialing in of rider wishes (what do you want specifically met with, tack/clothes changes, highlighting small details not to be overlooked), and met my crew buddy. It was still impressively cool and grey as I headed back down to Auburn to my old friend Motel 6–aaand promptly proceeded to lock my keys in the truck while shuffling gear. Fortunately I’d just devoured a #2 Animal Style from In n Out so I was chuckling instead of raging when I called AAA. That was sorted out easily enough and before I knew it the alarm was pinging in the wee hours and it was time to head for Robinson Flat!...

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Tevis Ride by Dace Sainsbury

Horsereporter.com - Full Article

by Pamela Burton

Would you jump at the chance to ride the Tevis 100-mile trail in California, with the previous year’s winner as your mount?

Dace’s story:

“I first met Hillorie Bachmann whilst racing in Abu Dhabi for Emaar stables. I had been with this stables for only half of the season in the UAE so was really getting to know the people, horses and the track. Emaar looked after me so well in the races and I put a lot of trust in the trainers, grooms and the horses, which was invaluable for a newcomer. Hillorie gave me sound advice and supported me throughout the races, and our friendship soon grew to outside the endurance scene. I had never met such a strong, smart and still beautiful woman and I admired her in every aspect. She is my role model.

Hillorie and I had talked about me coming to the USA, but work and my own endurance commitments made it difficult. Early in 2015 however, Hillorie sent me an entry form via the web with my name and French Open as an entry for the Tevis Cup. This was 2014’s winning horse and this was the world renowned Tevis Cup challenge. I was going to make sure that I would be there...

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Monday, July 27, 2015

My Chief Joe Experience - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

July 26 2015
Karen Bumgarner

I have always wanted to ride the Chief Joseph Trail Ride. This is a special ride retracing the route of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce people after defying orders to move to the reservation in 1877. Sadly, we all know that it didn't end well. After the Nez Perce people faced the hardships of miles, starvation, illness, battles and death, it all ended at Bear Paw when Chief Joseph surrendered.The atrocities of what the U.S. government did to the Indians in those days should not be forgotten. Especially in todays political world where so much is rapidly changing. The heart of the Nez Perce and all American Native tribes are strong and amazing. They have endured a great deal and are tough beyond words.

There are different ways to experience the historic route of 1300+ miles. There is an auto route, a back roads route, or you can hop on an Appaloosa horse and participate through the Appaloosa Horse Club as they complete a segment of trail each year. The ride was launched in 1965 by the late George Hatley who has done so much for the Appaloosa for many years! These riders love the horse, the history and they return year after year! Jim and Anne Mischel have never missed an event! Unfortunately Jim was taken into the hospital at Billings and then went home. Anne has ridden it 47 times and now comes to just enjoy it and her extended Chief Joe family!...

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lake Almanor/ Camp Far West - Heather Reynolds

Reynoldsracing.us - Full Article

Sunday, 05 July 2015

The Lake Almanor ride was cancelled at the last minute and then in a mad dash, scramble it was re-established at a new location, the Camp Far West venue. Jeremy and I are staying near the Camp Far West camp so we volunteered to help mark trail so that it would eleviate some of the work load from the generous volunteers that had agreed to help host the ride.

We met up with Shawn Bowling and his friend John on the first day of marking. It was HOT and dry. We did 22 miles of the long loop and had some fun with it. When we were done we enjoyed a yummy spread of food and drinks provided by Shawn's wife, Lisa. Very much appreciated.

The next day I went without Jeremy, as he had to do a long run in preparation for his Vermont 100 mile run that is happening on July 18th. Shawn came and picked up my horse and I again. This time Nicole Chappel and I marked one loop while Jeremy Precopio and Shawn morked a different loop.

When we were done we had another Lisa meal:) Then we went over to the base camp to mark out where the FEI and AERC parking were. There were several rigs already in camp. Both days of marking trail were long, hot ones. I got home after 10 pm...

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Friday, June 26, 2015

My First Official Endurance Ride - Liz Brown

Horse-canada.com - Full Story

by Liz brown
Desk to Derby | June 23, 2015

I’ve been riding every day for almost three weeks in Moab. Surely, I thought, I’m now fit enough to attempt two 50 mile (80 kilometre) endurance races in one weekend.

So we packed up the trailer and drove nearly five hours to the Strawberry Fields Endurance Ride near the Strawberry Reservoir in Utah. Dubbed the “most scenically beautiful ride in the mountain region,” the ride takes you up mountains, through creeks, winds in and out of dense forest and through lush meadows of pretty yellow flowers.

I’ve been told it’s all very lovely and tranquil and I’m sure it is – if you aren’t preoccupied with preventing your horse from bucking you off, worrying about your hydration pack chafing a festering wound in your neck and gritting your teeth because your knees are about to explode from absorbing the shock of hours of trotting...

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

An Old Wife’s Tale — OD 100 - Patti Stedman

Enduranceintrospection Blog - Full Story

By Patti Stedman | June 16th, 2015

[Disclaimer: As I write this post, I do so knowing that my husband may veto its publication. While he grudgingly tolerates my it-sounds-over-the-top-to-say “public” persona, he’s a pretty private guy, and while I might be okay sharing with the world where I peed behind a bush in Vermont, being the subject of a blog post might cause a nay vote. We’ll see.]

My close personal friend Oprah says that everyone has a story.

Without question everyone who rides a horse 100 miles in one day, on what is arguably the toughest 100-mile endurance course in the world, the Old Dominion 100, renowned for its rocks, its heat, its humidity, and its unrelenting climbs and descents — they have a tale to tell.

It was not Richard’s idea to ride the OD 100. It was mine.

He loves the Vermont ride, and rode his first 100 there on Sarge last year.

But over the course of the now eleven years that the two have been competing, I’ve always believed the OD course was right up Sarge’s alley. He’s a mountain goat of a horse, able to climb nimbly over rocks and boulders without slowing, undaunted by huge climbs, able to make time on hard pack with his Amish road buggy trot, and possessed of a work ethic I’ve frankly never encountered in a horse. In short, and I say it repeatedly, Sarge is a rock star.

I’d suggested the OD 100 to Richard, I don’t know, perhaps 47 times and this year he said ‘yes.’ With an important out. As long as it wasn’t too hot. (A prophetic man might have said ‘as long as it isn’t too humid...’)

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Friday, May 08, 2015

Biltmore 100...Razz and Me

by Mike Everett
May 7 2015

"The time is now!" Those are the words I used to motivate myself to get Razz and me ready to do my first one day 100 mile race. Razz was approaching his 21st birthday and I was bearing down on turning 61 on April 1st 2015. It was time for Razz and me to have our own special time together.

I first saw Razz when he was less than 24 hours old and knew he was for me. He was an impressive Anglo/Arab baby. I finally bought him when he was four years old from his breeders Claude and Marion Brewer. He was Marion's baby. When I bought him she cried as I pulled off. Marion was concerned I would ride him hard and use him up.

Razz was my first round draft pick and my plans were to make him the best possible athlete I could without compromising his wellbeing and long term comfort. He would define my skills as a coach. To everybody's surprise I turned him out for two years to mature.

We started conditioning him at six years old and he has had a stellar career.

I have always been on the cusp through the years of doing a 100 mile race myself but have deferred to Ruth Anne riding and me crewing because it was best for the performance of the horse. Plus, I can't express enough how much satisfaction I get watching Ruth Anne riding and enjoying her time competing.

But, "The Time Is Now!"It was time for Razz and me to do our 100 together. We owed it to each other at this point. So I committed and set a realistic goal to do Biltmore and keep it a priority.

I consulted my neurosurgeon and we made a plan to time my spinal stenosis therapies with the training and ride schedules Razz and I needed to accomplish our goal at Biltmore. Everything went as planned for the most part; almost perfect, really.

The most comforting aspect came into play when Ruth Anne stepped up a couple of weeks before the ride and told me she was going to crew for me. Then Elise Rogers agreed to crew too. We were set. I was confident with the crew in place. I was getting extremely excited to accomplish my goal with Razz.

Razz and I could complete The Biltmore 100 if I rode smart. It was all on me! He was ready and needed me to lead.
The ride began and Nancy Sluys and Zanie and Razz and I started in the rear at a controlled pace. Our horses really paced out well together and came into the first check well. Razz did not drink at all on the trail or in the hold. He is always that way at the first check. Makes me worry but I know he will be fine after a few more miles and he was. He started drinking like a fish and eating everything in sight. He looked stronger as the day went on. He and Zanie became girlfriend and boyfriend. It was fun.

After about 35 miles, in camp I was asked if I was having a good time and I said it was the best time I have ever had at a ride. They said, "yeah but you have only been about 35 miles."I said, "Yes, that is true but it is the first time I have ever been 35 miles on my way to 100 miles." I was so pumped to have this challenge before me.

Nancy Sluys and Zanie and Razz and I came in to the 86 mile vet check. On that loop we had come up on a rider on his final leg of the 75 and a lady on her last loop of the 100. It was a rather slow pace but fun in the dark as Nancy started singing one of her favorite endurance songs. Full moon, dark woods and Nancy Sluys singing. How sweet it was!

Razz vetted through with all As and only 14 miles to go with an out time of 12:44 AM. I was pumped and I felt really good. Home stretch...baby!!!!

Then BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Zanie was tight in the rear and Nancy pulled! I had lost my prescription glasses and Nancy led us the whole previous loop because I could hardly read the signs. I was not sure I could follow the trail and was talking about pulling. Everybody was rallying around me and telling me I could do it. I was contemplating a rider option but when I said it, I felt soooooo empty. I felt really good and Razz felt really good. As everybody kept cheering me on, I processed the loop in my mind's eye. Pam said, "Trust Razz". Sudi said, "Razz knows the trail now". Elise said, "There is no reason to stop". A turning point was when my lovely and calm wife looked at me and said, "Dad you can do this". Debate over! We tacked up Razz and he trotted out of camp. We were going to complete.

Razz and I trotted about a half mile out and when we got to where our horse trailer was parked he stopped dead cold. When Razz stops.......Razz stops! He would not go. So I got off and hand walked him while he continuously jerked back for almost three miles before I got in the saddle to continue.

Little did I know Stagg Newman had a plan to see me through. All through that loop Stagg, Ruth Anne and Pam Burrows were at different points to cheer me on and let me know how far it was to the finish. This loop was the most fun loop of the whole race. I really was confident and comfortable at this point. God's full moon was shining in the partly cloudy sky and it silhouetted the big trees with definition. Deep in the woods it was magical. I felt like I was following the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz. I was waiting on the trees to throw apples and start shouting at me. Ha, Ha!

Finally we passed the big sheep pen where the big dog had been and then on past the cows to the top of a hill overlooking the Biltmore House on the left. Spectacular place. I reached in my pommel bag and got a container of Razz's sire's cremated ashes and sprinkled them from the top of the hill. The gray ashes sparkled in the moonlight as they drifted to the ground. The moment was so moving to me to be with Razz, my first draft pick, on The Biltmore Estate at 4:00 am spreading his Daddy's ashes.

I have always understood the definition of the AERC motto "To Finish Is To Win" and thought it was just ok. On this magical morning, I felt it's meaning. Razz brought me on in for the win

Thursday, May 07, 2015

2015 Biltmore - Heather Reynolds

Reynoldsracing.us - Full Story

by Heather Reynolds

May 7 2015

This year the Biltmore was absolutely beautiful. We (Jeremy) booted all four of our horses with the Easyboot Glue ons (we always use them for races) earlier in the week, before we made our drive. This year we would be taking 2 horses each so we could ride both days. Jeremy would be riding Fiddlin on the first day on his first 2* 75 mile race and Honor on the second day for another 2* 75. I would ride Errow on his first 1* 55 miler and King on his first 3* 100 miler.

We pulled out of our driveway at 7 am on Wednesday and roughly 9:30 uneventful hours later we arrived at the stunning landscapes of the Biltmore Estate. Every time we pull into this venue it amazes me how beautiful the grounds are.

We unloaded and took care of the horses. All four had traveled well and it really helped that it was pretty cold out compared to Florida! The low was calling for 37 degrees and in Florida the low had been mid 60's. After all of the horses were cared for we drove into town and had dinner with Lynn Kenelly, Sarah Engsberg and Emmett Ross. We went to a great Greek restaurant. It was a fun evening.

The next day we set up our crew area that Melody Blittersdorf had saved for us. It was perfect, Thanks Mel!! Then we spent the day in the usual, day before race fashion scurrying about. Jeremy was doing hooves for people and we also pre rode all 4 horses and checked in, vetted in and weighed in. Our friends Lynn and Mark Ashby came in that day as well as Amy Hall. The day ended with the ride briefing and off to bed.

The 2* race at the Biltmore on Friday was the Pan American and Young Riders time trial for riders wanting to make the teams. There was a great turnout for this. Our new Chef, Mark Dial and new team veterinarian Ann Christopherson were there at full attention as well...

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nevada Derby I, 50 miles. Flying On The Ground.

EasternSierraRider Blog - Full Story

April 9 2015
by Jennifer Langlo Sheldon

Peter, Rio, Hana and I arrived at ride camp at Washoe Lake, NV. on Friday, April 4th in the late afternoon. Rio and I would be riding the 50 mile endurance race the next day. After setting up our nice camp site, taking Rio through his pre-ride vet check as well as taking him and Hana on a few walks, then going to the ride meeting, I went to bed early and fell asleep instantly.

The 50 mile race would be starting at 7 a.m. I set my alarm to wake up at 5:30, but I had such a great night sleep that I woke up at 5. After dressing and putting water on for coffee, I went out to give Rio his breakfast. Although I had gone to bed with a bright full moon, it was pitch black at 5 a.m. A lunar eclipse was happening. Beautiful! I was happy to see that Rio had ate all his dinner and drank quite a lot. I fed him his breakfast of grass hay, and then went inside to get ready.

In the last two endurance rides/races that we have completed this year, Rio has proven to me that his fitness level is to the point of finishing his last 10 miles as fast, or faster, than his first 10 miles. I feel that I am doing him justice and allowing him to be the exceptional athlete that he is by going a faster pace now that he has proven himself. He is either pulsed down upon arriving at a vet check, or within 4 minutes. He takes good care of himself, and his attitude is great!

For me, racing Rio to be in the top ten depends on a combination of things, including the pace of other riders, and how Rio is doing that day...

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Eastern Mojave Scenic XP 2015: Sweet and Sour

RedHeadedEndurance Blog - Full Story

by Aurora Lily Grohman

Sunday, February 15, 2015
Eastern Mojave Scenic XP 2015: Sweet and Sour
Let me tell you a story. It's a winding tale of ups and downs of a horse and rider who have spent the last year and a half ironing out their game, and fortunately it's all mostly already been told. From the first AERC ride together after purchase and back soreness at Gold Country 2013 to the first RO at Chamberlain Creek, to the first 50 completion with back soreness at Derby 2014 and on to the RO at Gold Rush Shuffle 2014 for poor behavior (but no back soreness!). Not featured so prominently in those blogs because I really only care about my horse and have been battling it forever, are my migraine/heat issues that take me down at or after nearly every single ride. Endurance is called what it is for a reason, certainly.

So now we come to Scrappy and I merrily setting off for Eastern Mojave XP, 4 days of riding that I hoped would calm down the race brain exhibited at Gold Rush Shuffle. It was a 12 hour haul and quite interesting to pull into unknown desert ride camp in the dark, alone, and find a spot and pitch my tent, but it was done quite handily if I do say so myself...

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

2015 Seasons first ride ~ Blackbutt 80km - Mindy Nguyen

ToCompleteIsToWin Blog - Full Story


30 January 2015 I got up at the crack of dawn to ride Azzaro at home. He wasn’t doing a ride for a few weeks but I was starting to leg him up slowly in preparation for a 40km sometime in the coming weeks. We rode up into the hills where we watched the sun rise over the Surfers Paradise high rises and filter across the long stretch of Gold Coast beaches. Then we climbed even higher into mountain goat country. I jumped off and climbed up the steepest sections to get some fitness for myself. Azzaro wasn’t training for the Quilty so it wasn’t necessary to make him carry me up but this climb was the perfect way for me to prepare my own fitness for Teddy. Azzaro did well and I was feeling great!

Afterwards about lunch time I packed up my car and headed to my best friend Monique’s place to pick her up. We were on our way to the season’s first ride at Blackbutt, north of Toowoomba. Monique is now expecting… a very proud mummy to-be of a little girl so she wasn’t riding but was coming along to have some fun in the atmosphere she missed so much. She always looked after me so well and I often called her my “wifey” as she even knows me better than I do sometimes and we tend to fuss over each other a lot especially when our husbands aren’t around to do the fussing.

At Blackbutt we would meet up and camp with Karen and Mick. They were bringing Teddy down so that I could do the 80km ride in an attempt to get him qualified as “Open” in preparation for the Tom Quilty in June. Karen was also collecting her new horse Pumpkin from the ride and doing her first 20km. We were all bubbling with excitement with so much to look forward to.

I really love rides that are close to my home town of Toowoomba. Any chance I get to go that way I love to drop in and see family. So Monique and I went via my Grandparents where we had lunch and spent some time with them. Then we collected some Splendacrest riders who were going to be riding for Nicholas on two of his horses in the 80km. It was a long but fun drive along picturesque roads, good music and in great company...

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

On The Edge Day 2 - Heather Reynolds

Reynoldsracing.us - Full Story

by Heather Reynolds
25 January 2015

This past weekend we did the "On The Edge" ride at Black Prong. On Thursday afternoon we loaded up Sudden, Errow and Jetta to go vet in for the following days 50. I would ride Sudden (of course, he's one of my favorite horses!), Jeremy would ride Errow and Cynthia Peticulous would ride her horse Jetta (that we have at our house, in training). We put the horses in our small 4 horse to have a trailer to haul home and back during the weekend. It was calling for rain both Friday and Saturday so we also took our LQ so that while it was raining we would have a place to hang out during our holds. Lucky for us the race is only a 20 min drive.

Just before we went over to the ride we realized that for the ump-teenth time our trailer wasn't charged. It had been plugged in but everything was dead... very depressing as we have recently had it in the shop several times for this very issue. We got the tractor and jumped the batteries so that we could operate the jack legs and put in the slide outs. We were taking this trailer come hell or high water!

After the circus of getting both trailers road worthy we headed over to the ride. Cynthia met us over there and Jetta went to her rig for the night. I went and got our paperwork and then we vetted in Sudden and Errow. This was Sudden's second time at this venue and he seemed like he knew what was going on this time, he was so much more relaxed. Errow was cool as usual. They both vetted great.

We had to use our smaller rig to jump the LQ batteries so that we could put out our slides on the LQ, oh what fun!...

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kevin Myers and Far, Tevis 2009

Tevis Ride Stories Blog

Quoting Julie Suhr: How Will You Know How Far You Can Go Until You’ve Gone Too Far?

Far and I took on the ultimate challenge last weekend and I daresay we are both stronger beings as a result of it, and I have yet to find my own answer to Julie Suhr’s question. . .

Far: who could resist?

I have felt drawn back to the Tevis trail since riding it two years ago on a wonderful horse lent to me by a generous friend. There is not a more challenging trail and there may only be a few trails on earth more beautiful and more liberating than the Western States Trail. I have yet to find them. I rode in Easyboot Glue-On boots this year, and the difference from riding in steel shoes was quite remarkable.

Far is one of those horses you know will only cross your path once in your life. I am fascinated in his curious mind and by a fire that burns in him very deeply. He grew up in the large open spaces of the mountains in the interior of British Columbia and he loves life...

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dubai Wrap Up - Heather Reynolds

ReynoldsRacing.us - Heather's Blog

Wednesday, 14 January 2015
by Heather Reynolds

Pictured above: Riverwatch on his 3rd loop

We went to the race venue on Friday afternoon. We walked around briefly and then had lunch there. The venue was beautiful. The permanent vet check makes it very nice and established.

The hold area is landscaped. You arrive off of the trail on a track with gaurdrails. You go through something that looks like a ticket window counter. There is a walkway/bridge to get from the one side of the venue to the other, above the ticket counter window/walk throughs (kind of like you are entering a castle). There are about 6 or so arrival walk throughs. There is also a tower on both sides of the bridge for the announcer to view the race from.

The horse wears a GPS tracking system which is on a headstall that is put on by the vet staff when you vet in. It stays on for the whole event. This system is the system that registers your arrival time. When the horse passes through the arrival gate (ticket window) it registers to a computer system. Then you proceed across the cooling area. This is a wide area with many, many garbage cans full of water to cool the horses from. In this section, whoever designed it had great foresight. The whole ground is covered with rubber mats and there is a drainage system to recycle the water. If you have ever done mass crewing with a lot of water, you would appreciate the fact that you won't be in a swamp of crazy mud by the middle of the race. From the cooling area you proceed through another electronic time gate for your pulse. Once the horses crosses over that line your recovery time is recorded. Then the vet takes your heart rate with a hand held heart rate monitor and the pulse displays on a big digital read out so anyone watching can see the pulse. This area is very nice, green grass. Then you proceed to the trot out lanes, again being very nice green grass. You stand for vetting as usual and then, when ready, you trot down and back on the manicured grass lane for the vet...

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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Greenway Gallivant - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing Blog - Full Story

January 5 2015

This past weekend we did the Greenway Gallivant 2 day ride. It was really fun. The camp had changed locations from years past and with that there were entirely new trails. The best part was that we had an FEI ride in OUR town!!!

Nicki and Andy came up, so it was fun to see them as well:) When they arrived we loaded up our four horses and drove over to the ride site, a whopping 25 mins. Part way over to the ride we got a text from a young rider who needed her horse's feet done. Jeremy got out of the truck and he and Andy doubled back to get the size Easy shoe that was needed for her horse while Nicki and I continued on.

We got the four horses all settled. King and Rictik would do day 1 so they stood on one side of the trailer, while Sam and Fiddlin were doing day 2 and they were on the other side. After getting all of them hay and water I went and got the paperwork taken care of and then Jeremy was there and we vetted in King and Rictik.

Nicki was going to ride Ellen Olson's horse, Scarlett on the 2* for day 1. I would ride King on the 2* and Rictik and Jeremy Reynolds would do the 1*...

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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The “C” Word - Kat Irvine

from Kat’s adventures in Abu Dhabi for the Al Maktoum Cup

January 6, 2015 - It was quiet at the barn this morning. We put our last ride before the race on the horses with bending and stretching exercises and turned them out for the day with fly sheets and masks without having getting the sweated up. The barn inside was quiet with horses getting last minute, feel good treatments and there was even a saddle being cleaned. This would be the last quiet moments because when the crews got there, the pandemonium would start.

In those moments, before the distraction would start I had to approach Jess with a subject that is sensitive between us. She rolls her eyes when I dare to use the "c" word. Camel market.

The camel market and the village is the center of the camel racing culture. As we come into the village there are miles of race tracks and not unusual to see a trainer with half a dozen or so camels of all ages as they exercise along the track. The all have racing silks of sorts, matching blankets on them and some have the colourful crocheted muzzles.

I had made no secret to Jess I wanted a muzzle. Besides, it was time to pick up fresh alfalfa. And given that our vet Dr. GlenN, who is known far and wide for his advocacy of date syrup, would love to have some of the local produce, Jess agreed that it would be okay if we went "just this once".

I love the camel market. I love the little stores filled with all kinds of things- rainbow stacks of feed tubs and buckets, carpets, robot jockeys, hay, etc. Just to be clear, this is not a tourist place. There is dust on everything, the store owners don't speak English, and why would anyone want a robot jockey anyway?

Camel racing is one of the UAE's traditional sports and an important part of the region's heritage. However, there was vigorous international criticism of the use of young children to ride camels during long and hazardous races. Many of they children are said to be have been kidnapped and trafficked from South Asia.

Robotic jockeys were invented to take the place of small children in order to lower the level of child labor as well as the risk attached with the lives of those young children.

I didn't want a robot jockey, I wanted a camel muzzle.

"Why do you want a camel muzzle?" Asked Jess.
"Because not everyone has one." Was my reply.
There is no arguing with that kind of logic.

So off we went the first thing we did is pick up our fresh alfalfa or "grass" as our driver, Madhu, has learned to call it. He, as usual does the dealing and wouldn't you know it our bundles are getting cheaper all the time!

Then off to find the camel muzzles. Our first store owner was uncooperative. After we (Yep, she got into the spirit) had gotten all excited about picking out our colours and tying our fastening strings in, Madhu said, "leave it".

We carried on and in a few steps we came across our date vendor. That's all he had to sell, dates and date syrup in 2 litre pails and little containers that look like they hold about a litre. Great, the horses and we will have our power boost.

Next store we had better luck with the camel muzzles and got a really them at a good price.

Follow the rest of Kat’s adventures at: